واشنطن تستعدّ لشنّ حرب نوويّة ضدّ موسكو وبكين…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

في الوقت الذي ينشغل فيه الرأي العام والإعلام الأميركيين بمهرجان الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية فإن المخططين الاستراتيجيين العسكريين في واشنطن منشغلون بالتخطيط لحرب نووية ضدّ كل من موسكو وبكين.

اي انّ الولايات المتحدة قد تجاوزت مرحلة الحشد الاستراتيجي ضدّ هاتين القوتين العظميين، الصين الشعبية وروسيا الاتحادية، وانتقلت الى مرحلة الاستعداد العملياتي لتنفيذ ضربات نووية ضدهما، وذلك بعد فشل كل المشاريع الأميركية، في كل من غرب آسيا وجنوب شرق آسيا (بحار الصين) وأميركا الجنوبية (فنزويلا)، التي كانت تهدف الى استعادة الهيمنة الأميركية المطلقة على العالم والتي بدأت بالذوبان، بعد صعود القوى الدوليّة، روسيا والصين، والقوى الاقليمية الدولية، الجمهورية الاسلامية، وبعد ان بدأ الاقتصاد الصيني يقترب بتوأدة / بثبات من التربع على الكرسي الاقتصادي الاول في العالم.

وبالنظر إلى أهمية هذا الموقع الإخباري، الذي تديره وزارة الخارجية الالمانية، بشكل غير مباشر، ويرأس تحريره هورست تويبرت ، المعروف بارتباطاته الوثيقة ليس فقط بالخارجية الألمانية، وإنما باجهزة الاستخبارات الالمانية، وفِي مقدمتها الاستخبارات العسكرية، وبالنظر الى ما جاء في التقرير من تفاصيل غاية في الأهمية، والتي سنأتي على ذكرها لاحقاً، وانطلاقاً من ردود الفعل الروسية، الدبلوماسية والإعلامية، على هذه الاستعدادات العسكرية الأميركية الأطلسية الخطيرة، فإن من الضروري التأكيد على النقاط المهمة التالية:

أولاً: امتلاك القيادة السياسية والعسكرية الروسية والصينية معلومات دقيقة جداً، عن خطط الحرب النووية التي يجري التخطيط لها، في البنتاغون الأميركي وفي دوائر حلف شمال الأطلسي في أوروبا، وهو:

البقية

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

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By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

October 16, 2020

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Editorial : Before we start with Godfree’s news, a short commentary on Pompeo’s attempt to create an type of NATO by way of the QUAD.  Plot Spoiler – did not work.

From Moon of Alabama

The US administration revived the 2007-2008 Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and rebranded it as the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations Quad. The aim was to turn it into an Asian NATO under U.S. command:

The U.S. State Department’s No. 2 diplomat said Monday that Washington was aiming to “formalize” growing strategic ties with India, Japan and Australia in a forum known as “the Quad” — a move experts say is implicitly designed to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.“It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don’t have anything of the fortitude of NATO, or the European Union,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said in an online seminar on the sidelines of the annual U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

The end of this meeting was disappointing for Pompeo as he could not even break through to a joint statement.  It is not that Mr Pompeo’s diplomacy failed, it is just that nobody is interested any longer.

MK Bhadrakumar, a very well known and now retired Indian career diplomat describes the Indian stance on the Quad meeting and the aftermath as well as the ASEAN positioning.

“The heart of the matter is that India has no reason to be the US’ pillion rider. Whatever remained of the US’ exceptionalism is also gone as the world witnesses its pitiable struggle with Covid-19, repeated displays of racism, gun violence, political venality, xenophobia. No wonder, the transatlantic alliance is withering and Europeans are dissociating from the US’ effort to “contain” China.

The US created the ASEAN but today no Asian security partner wants to choose between America and China. The ASEAN cannot be repurposed to form a coalition to counter China. Thus, no claimant against China in the South China Sea is prepared to join the US in its naval fracas with China.

China has resources, including money, to offer its partners, whereas, the US budget is in chronic deficit and even routine government operations must now be funded with debt. It needs to find resources needed to keep its human and physical infrastructure at levels competitive with those of China and other great economic powers.

Why on earth should India get entangled in this messy affair whose climax is a foregone conclusion? No, things should never be allowed to reach such a pass that India needs to tackle a China-Pakistan collusion.”


from Here Comes China and we start with protest in Thailand

[Ed.] As the lead-up to these protests are very similar to those others that we’ve seen, we have to come to conclusions that these are not grassroots, but the flames are fanned by outside influence.  I cannot help but consider and speculate that Quad Attempt failure may have kicked off this new attempt at influence. 

US efforts to overthrow the Thai government by funding and backing anti-government groups stems from Thailand’s growing ties with China and Washington’s desire to reverse them. China is currently Thailand’s largest trade partner, largest foreign investor, largest source of tourism, largest arms supplier, and a key partner in several major infrastructure projects including Thailand’s rollout of 5G telecommunication technology and a regional high-speed rail network.

Having clearly failed to attract public support since the 2014 coup ousting Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister from power and since 2019 after vowing to reverse the outcome of general elections the opposition squarely lost – protesters have resorted to increasingly violent and confrontational tactics to attract attention and provoke a government response they and their Western media partners want to portray to the world as “crimes” in order to invite wider Western pressure and possibly even intervention.

There are now fears that – having failed to attract public support – the protests will attempt to trigger violence to have their Western media sponsors spin as government-initiated and used as the Western media has in other nations targeted by similar US-backed “soft power” interventions to pressure the Thai government to step down or at the very least sow chaos and clear the way for sanctions and other punitive measures aimed at targeting Thailand’s economy and international standings. The protest leaders have demonstrated extraordinarily poor judgement and leadership throughout their protest campaign – not unlike other US-funded agitators such as in Hong Kong, China. Since their movement is ultimately directed by foreign interests seeking more to agitate China and those doing business with it than actually deliver “victory” to the protesters themselves – the protesters were always seen as expendable – with chaos always more preferable than  building a genuine, constructive, and sustainable opposition. –Tony Cartalucci – ATN. [MORE]


To counter some of the Xinjiang propaganda:

Xinjiang received 15 mln visitors during the holidayup 11% yoy. Tourism revenue during the holiday reached US$1.24 billion U.S. dollars.[MORE]

José Freitas wrote to say that you may have been unable to open Daniel Dumbrill’s Xinjiang links in last week’s issue, so I added more resources from the Qiao Collective and published everything to the web.


Christine Hong’s ‘A Violent Peace’: Race, U.S. Militarism, and Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific, arrives at a time when Washington’s Indo Pacific Strategy is driving U.S. political, economic, and military confrontation in the Asia-Pacific, as the culmination of a long process that began in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. A Violent Peace examines how the United States sought to encompass the Asia-Pacific “within the securitized contours of U.S. military empire,” and the responses to that policy by “a range of people’s struggles – black freedom, Asian liberation, and Pacific Islander decolonization.”

Hong focuses her political analysis through the the literary and artistic lens of relevant works by black authors Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, Japanese writer Kenzaburō Ōe, Japanese-American artist Miné Okubo, and Philippine-American novelist Carlos Bulosan.

Following World War II, the United States swiftly expanded its military presence in the region and established and supported reactionary client states. It aimed to roll back socialism and pursue economic, political, and military domination throughout the region. Those goals remain unchanged to this day. As Hong writes: “Understanding the role of U.S. police and war power within the political economy of postwar U.S. ‘democracy’ entails critically revisiting World War II’s structural legacies. How we explain postwar U.S. militarism—its reliance on superior force to achieve political ends in foreign and domestic arenas—depends on our grappling with the transformation of the United States during World War II, a time of Jim Crow, into a boundary-blurring, total-war state, permanently mobilized not only for war abroad but also for war at its very core.”

The United States imposed regional postwar democratization and development based on how it defined those terms. This was a political project that was “realized at the barrel of a gun,” subsuming Asian and Pacific nations into American military and police power projection that encircled China and the Soviet Union.

The U.S. introduced a democratization model that established postwar Japan as an important client state and anchor for the projection of U.S. war power throughout the region. Rehabilitating capitalism and providing opportunities for Western investors were prioritized as goals over meeting the people’s needs, despite the fact that many Japanese urban areas lay in ruins, and the population faced food shortages and mass unemployment.

For U.S. capitalism, a more pressing task than improving peoples’ quality of life was to solidify a system that would serve U.S. power, and the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps “enlisted the Japanese police in routing out labor organizers with alleged Communist Party ties.” This policy planted “the ideological seeds of anticommunist U.S. police actions to come,” including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. “In the dawning Cold War order, wartime allies thereby morphed into peacetime targets whereas former rightist foes in Japan and the region were rehabilitated as linchpins of anticommunism.”

The Marshall Islands served as a sacrificial offering to U.S. nuclear weapons development. The disregard shown by U.S. officials toward islanders is stunning in its inhumanity. Residents of three islands that were downwind from the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test on March 1, 1954 were not evacuated until three days later, by which time their “hair began falling out in clumps” and “their skin displayed burn patterns.” In the view of American officials, U.S. administrative control over the islands trumped the territorial rights of the inhabitants, giving the United States “the right to close areas for security reasons,” as it “anticipated closing them for atomic tests.”

Returning the Rongelapese to their contaminated homes was regarded by American researchers as an opportunity that would “afford most valuable ecological radiation data on human beings.” What better test subjects could there be? As Merril Eisenbud, director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Health and Safety Laboratory, observed in an internal 1956 memorandum, “While it is true that these people do not live…the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless true that these people are more like us than mice.” One may question just who is civilized and who is uncivilized in designating Marshallese people as “model organisms for biomedical study.”

As Marshallese politician Tony deBrum noted, “Some of our people were injected with or coerced to drink fluids laced with radiation. Other experimentation involved the purposeful and premature resettlement on islands highly contaminated by weapons tests to study how human beings absorb radiation from their foods and environment.” Hong observes that in this context, “no Marshallese could sustain the illusion that near-likeness meant an assurance of their humanity.”

Although the Marshallese were routinely denied medical care, U.S. researchers diligently conducted examinations and blood tests to gather data. Noting islander resentment, researcher Robert Conrad suggested that “next trip we should consider giving them more treatment or even placebos.” In a scathing public letter to Conrad in 1975, Rongelap magistrate Nelson Anjain wrote: “There is no question about your technical competence, but we often wonder about your humanity.”

U.S. policy in the postwar Philippines followed a familiar pattern, prioritizing opportunities for Western investors to exploit the land, labor, and natural resources. The United States “installed, most flagrantly in the office of the president, Filipino collaborators with the Japanese” and “secured military basing rights, transforming the Philippines into a launching pad for its anticommunist insurgencies in the region.” Inevitably, leftist guerrillas who had fought against Imperial Japanese occupation discovered that with the advent of peace, they were transformed into “targets of brutal U.S.-backed counterinsurgency campaigns.”

Postwar decolonization in the Asia-Pacific generally failed to free the region’s nations from domination, transferring that relationship from Imperial Japan to the United States. “Having returned in the garb of antifascist liberator,” Hong observes, “the United States erected a formidable extraterritorial garrison state, unleashing catastrophic violence throughout the region and placing the Asian communist opponents of Japanese fascism in its war machine’s crosshairs.”

In contrast to the punishment meted out to erstwhile wartime allies, the United States installed in power many of those who had collaborated with Japanese occupiers, valuing their experience in fighting against liberation movements. Hong points out, “In rehabilitating the empire it succeeded, the Pax Americana, as a military-imperial regime in its own right, strategically gave new life to subfascist figures who had served under the Japanese, thus thwarting the process of decolonization.”

U.S. power abroad is interrelated to issues of class and race at home. As was often the case when American soldiers encountered the local citizenry in Vietnam, there was and is a mirrored pattern at home. In both environments, “racial profiling presumes guilt not just by association but by location, sweepingly conflating racialized humanity with areas where ‘mere presence in a certain place’ is tantamount to a crime.” In that context, people are erased as individuals and incorporated into the category of “perceived threat.”

In the postwar era, the persistence of black exclusion from U.S. society contrasted with the image of inclusion provided through the U.S. military’s desegregation. This “liberal cover of integration, coalition, multiculturalism, and democratization” masked what was mainly “un-visible” to the U.S. domestic population – the “U.S. national security apparatus, military-industrial complex, empire of bases, and permanent war economy.” The military offered a politically equivocal personal emancipatory model that was essentially “extractive and destructive.” The “harnessing of race to the war machine required that racial labor risk its own obliteration” in performing its role in a “lethal agenda geared toward the devastation of distant lifeworlds.” The image of the military’s inclusivity “belied the U.S. war machine’s brute geopolitics and antihumanism.”

Black radical appeals to the United Nations General Assembly, such as W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1947 petition and William Patterson’s 1951 indictment We Charge Genocide, outlined a structural relationship between U.S. domestic and foreign policy, “construing racism within the United States to be the domestic expression of a global pattern of U.S. imperialism.” These appeals fell victim to intensifying Cold War pressures and the unequal power relationship between imperialism and Third World nations. Patterson approached several UN delegations, only to be informed that while they were in sympathy with the appeal, “championing such a petition, no matter how valid, would not be diplomatically prudent.” The United Nation’s human rights program was, and remains so today, inextricably bound with U.S. power. “Any account of black radical human rights as an oppositional politics,” Hong explains, “thus must theorize U.S. dominance in the Cold War system, the very institutional basis for human rights that emerged out of World War II’s ashes.”

U.S. domestic repression against oppositional voices during the Vietnam War, including COINTELPRO, the CIA’s Operation CHAOS, and other repressive mechanisms, blurred the distinction between the home front and war front, unleashing a “national security juggernaut” against “Americans perceived to be enemies.” The methods deployed against activists and organizers “uneasily mirrored, though by no means on the same scale, U.S. strategies of pacification and neutralization in Vietnam.”

Racial counterintelligence aimed to neutralize enemies both at home and abroad. “Predictably,” Hong notes, “each author of black radical human rights petitions to the UN – Du Bois, Patterson, Newton, and Seale – as well as key affiliates like Robeson, would be subjected to counterintelligence investigation.” Hundreds of thousands of American citizens were the targets of investigation and surveillance, while COINTELPRO engaged in burglaries, disinformation programs, and efforts to create discord and conflict within oppositional groups. “The vast military-industrial complex and intelligence apparatus that emerged from World War II paved the way” for police militarization and human rights violations throughout the “U.S. military empire, including at its imperial core.”

In the space of a short review, it is only possible to touch on a few of the book’s themes. A Violent Peace covers a much broader spectrum of topics, from which even the most knowledgeable reader will find much to learn. Christine Hong has written a profound and multilayered analysis of the U.S. military’s role in the postwar Asia-Pacific, and its relationship to militarized repression at home. Enriched by a deeply sympathetic understanding of black and Asian oppositional voices, Hong’s book exposes the reality behind comforting myths about the American democratization mission.

With great eloquence, she draws insightful connections between race, class, and power, while vividly demonstrating how the expansion of U.S. power into the Asia-Pacific in the postwar era has led to the world we live in today. Deeply considered and thought-provoking, A Violent Peace is essential to understanding our current predicament. [AMAZON]


Cover Art : A 75-minute bidding battle broke out as collectors competed to acquire Ren Renfa’s

Five Drunken Princes Returning on Horseback,

a late 13th / early 14th scroll from the Yuan dynasty. Over 100 bids pushed the final sale price to US$39,555,000, well beyond the pre-high estimate of US$15,484,000. The sum establishes the scroll as the most valuable work sold at auction in Asia in 2020, and the most valuable Chinese ink painting sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong.  Ren’s masterpiece was already highly prized duringf the Ming dynasty, in the words of painter Zhang Ning (1426-1496), “Black, Yellow, Red, White, and Mottled Horses. Every horse is worth a thousand taels of gold.”

Selections and editorial comments by Amarynth.  (Go Get that newsletter – it again is packed with detail).

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SUNNIS AND SHIITES AGREE IN LEBANON

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

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BY GABRIEL ROCKHILL

“The U.S. has established itself as the mortal enemy of all people’s government, all scientific-socialist mobilization of consciousness everywhere on the globe, all anti-imperialist activity on earth.”

– George Jackson

One of the founding myths of the contemporary Western European and American world is that fascism was defeated in WWII by liberal democracies, and particularly by the United States. With the subsequent Nuremburg trials and the patient construction of a liberal world order, a bulwark was erected—in fits and starts, and with the constant threat of regression—against fascism and its evil twin in the East. American culture industries have rehearsed this narrative ad nauseum, brewing it into a saccharine ideological Kool-Aid and piping it into every household, shack and street corner with a TV or smartphone, tirelessly juxtaposing the supreme evil of Nazism to the freedom and prosperity of liberal democracy.

The material record suggests, however, that this narrative is actually based on a false antagonism, and that a paradigm shift is necessary in order to understand the history of actually existing liberalism and fascism. The latter, as we shall see, far from being eradicated at the end of WWII, was actually repurposed, or rather redeployed, to serve its primary historical function: to destroy godless communism and its threat to the capitalist civilizing mission. Since the colonial projects of Hitler and Mussolini had become so brazen and erratic, as they shifted from playing more or less by the liberal rules of the game to openly breaking them and then running amok, it was understood that the best way to construct the fascist international was to do so under liberal cover, meaning through clandestine operations that maintained a liberal façade. While this probably sounds like hyperbole to those whose understanding of history has been formatted by bourgeois social science, which focuses almost exclusively on visible government and the aforementioned liberal cover, the history of the invisible government of the national security apparatus suggests that fascism, far from being defeated in WWII, was successfully internationalized.

The Architects of the Fascist International

When the United States entered WWII, the future head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, bemoaned that his country was fighting the wrong enemy. The Nazis, as he explained, were pro-capitalist Aryan Christians, whereas the true enemy was godless communism and its resolute anti-capitalism. After all, the U.S. had, only some 20 years prior, been part of a massive military intervention in the U.S.S.R., when fourteen capitalist countries sought—in the words of Winston Churchill—to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.” Dulles understood, like many of his colleagues in the U.S. government, that what would later become known as the Cold War was actually the old war, as Michael Parenti has convincingly argued: the one they had been fighting against communism since its inception.

Towards the end of WWII, General Karl Wolff, formerly Himmler’s right-hand man, went to see Allen Dulles in Zurich, where he was working for the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor organization to the CIA. Wolff knew that the war was lost, and he wanted to avoid being brought to justice. Dulles, for his part, wanted the Nazis in Italy under Wolff’s command to lay down their arms against the allies and help the Americans in their fight against communism. Wolff, who was the highest-ranking SS officer to survive the war, offered Dulles the promise of developing, with his Nazi team, an intelligence network against Stalin. It was agreed that the general who had played a central role in overseeing the Nazi’s genocidal machine, and who expressed his “special joy” when he secured freight trains to send 5,000 Jews a day to Treblinka, would be protected by the future director of the CIA, who helped him avoid the Nuremberg trials.

Wolff was very far from being the only senior Nazi official protected and rehabilitated by the OSS-CIA. The case of Reinhard Gehlen is particularly telling. This general in the Third Reich had been in charge of Fremde Heere Ost, the Nazi intelligence service directed against the Soviets. After the war, he was recruited by the OSS-CIA and met with all of the major architects of the postwar National Security State: Allen Dulles, William Donovan, Frank Wisner, President Truman. He was then appointed to head the first German intelligence service after the war, and he proceeded to employ many of his Nazi collaborators. The Gehlen Organization, as it was known, would become the nucleus of the German intelligence service. It is unclear how many war criminals this decorated Nazi hired, but Eric Lichtblau estimates that some four thousand Nazi agents were integrated into the network overseen by the American spy agency. With an annual funding of half a million dollars from the CIA in the early years after the war, Gehlen and his strong men were able to act with impunity. Yvonnick Denoël explained this turnaround with remarkable clarity: “It is hard to understand that, as early as 1945, the army and the US intelligence services recruited without qualms former Nazi criminals. The equation was, however, very simple at the time: the United States had just defeated the Nazis with the help of the Soviets. They henceforth planned to defeat the Soviets with the help of former Nazis.”

The situation was similar in Italy because Dulles’ agreement with Wolff was part of a larger undertaking, called Operation Sunrise, which mobilized Nazis and fascists to end the Second World War in Italy (and begin the Third World War across the globe). Dulles worked hand in hand with the Agency’s future chief counterintelligence officer, James Angleton, who was then stationed by the OSS in Italy. These two men, who would become two of the most powerful political actors of the twentieth century, showed what they were capable of in this close collaboration between the American intelligence services, the Nazis and the fascists. Angleton, on his end, recruited fascists to end the war in Italy so as to minimize the power of the communists. Valerio Borghese was one of his key contacts because this hardline fascist in Mussolini’s regime was ready to serve the Americans in the anti-communist struggle, and he became one of the international figureheads for postwar fascism. Angleton had directly saved him from the hands of the communists, and the man known as the Black Prince was given the opportunity to continue the war against the radical Left under a new boss: the CIA.

Once the war was over, Senior U.S. intelligence officials, including Dulles, Wisner and Carmel Offie, “worked to ensure that denazification only had a limited scope,” according to Frédéric Charpier: “Generals, senior officials, policemen, industrialists, lawyers, economists, diplomats, scholars and real war criminals were spared and put back in their positions.” The man in charge of the Marshall Plan in Germany, for instance, was a former adviser to Hermann Göring, the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force). Dulles drafted a list of high functionaries of the Nazi state to be protected and passed off as opponents to Hitler. The OSS-CIA proceeded to rebuild the administrative states in Germany and Italy with their anti-communist allies.

Eric Lichtblau estimates that more than 10,000 Nazis were able to immigrate to the United States in the post-war period (at least 700 official members of the Nazi party had been allowed into the U.S. in the 1930s, while Jewish refugees were being turned away). In addition to a few hundred German spies and thousands of SS personnel, Operation Paperclip, which began in May 1945, brought at least 1,600 Nazi scientists to the U.S. with their families. This undertaking was aimed at recovering the great minds of the Nazi war machine and putting their research on rockets, aviation, biological and chemical weapons, and so forth, in the service of the American empire. The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was set up specifically to recruit Nazis and find them positions in research centers, the government, the army, the intelligence services or universities (at least 14 universities participated, including Cornell, Yale and MIT).

Although the program officially excluded ardent Nazis, at least at the beginning, in actual fact it allowed for the immigration of chemists from IG Farben (which had supplied the deadly gases used in mass exterminations), scientists who had used slaves in concentration camps to make weapons, and doctors who had participated in hideous experiments on Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and other prisoners of war. These scientists, who were described by an official in the State Department opposed to Paperclip as “Hitler’s angels of death,” were received with open arms in the land of the free. They were given comfortable accommodations, a laboratory with assistants and the promise of citizenship if their work bore fruit. They went on to conduct research that has been used in the manufacturing of ballistic missiles, sarin gas cluster bombs, and the weaponization of the bubonic plague.

The CIA also collaborated with MI6 to set up secret anti-communist armies in every country in Western Europe. On the pretext of a potential invasion by the Red Army, the idea was to train and equip networks of illegal stay-behind soldiers, who would remain behind enemy lines if the Russians moved westward. They would thus be activated in the newly occupied territory and charged with missions of exfiltration, espionage, sabotage, propaganda, subversion and combat. The two agencies worked with NATO and the intelligence services of many Western European countries to build this vast sub-rosa organization, establish numerous weapons and ammunition caches, and equip their soldiers of the shadows with everything they needed. To do this, they recruited Nazis, fascists, collaborationists and other anti-communist members of the extreme Right. The numbers vary according to the country, but they are estimated between a few dozen and several hundred, or even a few thousand, per country. According to a report from the television program Retour aux sources, there were 50 stay-behind network units in Norway, 150 in Germany, more than 600 in Italy and 3,000 in France.

These trained militants would later be mobilized to commit or coordinate terrorist attacks against the civilian population, which were then blamed on the communists in order to justify ‘law and order’ crackdowns. According to the official numbers in Italy, where this strategy of tension was particularly intense, there were 14,591 politically motivated acts of violence between 1969 and 1987, which killed 491 people and injured 1,181. Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a member of the far-right group Ordine Nuovo and the perpetrator of the bombing near Peteano in 1972, explained that the fascist “Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo, were being mobilized into the battle as part of an anti-Communist strategy originating not with organizations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state’s relations within the Atlantic Alliance.” An Italian parliamentary commission that undertook an investigation of the stay-behind armies in Italy, reached the following conclusion in 2000: “Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.”

The U.S. National Security State was also involved in overseeing ratlines that exfiltrated fascists from Europe and allowed them to resettle in safe havens around the world, in exchange for doing its dirty work. The case of Klaus Barbie is but one among thousands, but it speaks volumes regarding the internal functioning of this process. Known in France as ‘the butcher of Lyon,’ he was head of the Gestapo office there for two years, including the time when Himmler gave the order to deport at least 22,000 Jews from France. This specialist in ‘enhanced interrogation tactics,’ known for torturing to death the coordinator of the French Resistance, Jean Moulin, organized the first roundup of the General Union of Jews in France in February 1943 and the massacre of 41 Jewish refugee children in Izieu in April 1944. Before arriving in Lyon, he had led savage death squads, which had killed more than a million people on the Eastern Front according to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. But after the war, the man whom these same authors describe as third on the most-wanted list of SS criminals was working for the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) of the U.S. Army. He was hired to help build the stay-behind armies by recruiting other Nazis, and to spy on French intelligence services in the French and American controlled regions in Germany.

When France learned what was happening and demanded Barbie’s extradition, John McCloy, the U.S. High Commissioner of Germany, refused by claiming that the allegations were based on hearsay. Nevertheless, it ultimately proved too expensive, symbolically, to keep a butcher like Barbie in Europe, so he was sent to Latin America in 1951, where he was able to continue his illustrious career. Settling in Bolivia, he worked for the security forces of the military dictatorship of General René Barrientos and for the Ministry of the Interior and the counter-insurgency wing of the Bolivian Army under the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer, before actively participating in the Cocaine Coup in 1980 and becoming the director of security forces under General Meza. Throughout his career, he maintained close relationships with his saviors in the U.S. National Security State, playing a central role in Operation Condor, the counter-insurgency project that brought together Latin American dictatorships, with the support of the United States, to violently crush any attempt at egalitarian uprisings from below. He also helped develop the drug empire in Bolivia, including organizing gangs of narco-mercenaries whom he named Los novios de la muerte, whose uniforms resembled those of the SS. He traveled freely in the 1960s and 1970s, visiting the U.S. at least seven times, and he most likely played a role in the manhunt organized by the Agency to kill Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The same basic pattern of integrating fascists into the global war against communism is readily identifiable in Japan, whose system of government prior to and during the war has been described by Herbert P. Bix as “Emperor-system fascism.” Tessa Morris-Suzuki has convincingly demonstrated the continuity of intelligence services by detailing how the U.S. National Security State oversaw and managed the KATO organization. This private intelligence network, very much like the Gehlen organization, was stocked with former leading members of the military and intelligence services, including the Imperial Army’s Chief of Intelligence (Arisue Seizō), who shared with his American handler (Charles Willoughby) a deep admiration for Mussolini. The U.S. occupation forces also cultivated tight relationships with senior officials in Japan’s wartime civilian intelligence community (most notably Ogata Taketora). This remarkable continuity between prewar and postwar Japan has led Morris-Suzuki and other scholars to map Japanese history in terms of a transwar regime, meaning one that continued from before to after the war. This concept also allows us to make sense of what was happening above ground in the realm of the visible government. For the sake of concision, suffice it to cite the remarkable case of the man known as the “Devil of Shōwa” for his brutal rule of Manchukuo (the Japanese colony in Northeast China): Nobusuke Kishi. A great admirer of Nazi Germany, Kishi was appointed Minister of Munitions by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in 1941, in order to prepare Japan for a total war against the U.S., and he was the one who signed the official declaration of war against America. After serving a brief prison term as a war criminal in the postwar era, he was rehabilitated by the CIA, along with his cell mate, the kingpin of organized crime Yoshio Kodama. Kishi, with the support and generous financial backing of his handlers, took over the Liberal Party, made it into a rightwing club of former leaders of imperial Japan, and rose to become Prime Minister. “The [CIA] money flowed for at least fifteen years, under four American presidents,” writes Tim Wiener, “and it helped consolidate one-party rule in Japan for the rest of the cold war.”

U.S. national security services have also established a global educational network to train pro-capitalist combatants—sometimes under the leadership of experienced Nazis and fascists—in the tried-and-true techniques of repression, torture and destabilization, as well as propaganda and psychological warfare. The famous School of the Americas was established in 1946 with the explicit goal of training a new generation of anti-communist warriors worldwide. According to some, this school has the distinction of having educated the greatest number of dictators in world history. Whatever the case may be, it is part of a much larger institutional network. It is worth mentioning, for example, the educational contributions of the Public Safety Program: “For about twenty-five years,” writes former CIA officer John Stockwell, “the CIA, […] trained and organized police and paramilitary officers from around the world in techniques of population control, repression, and torture. Schools were set up in the United States, Panama, and Asia, from which tens of thousands graduated. In some cases, former Nazi officers from Hitler’s Third Reich were used as instructors.”

Fascism Goes Global under Liberal Cover

The American imperium has thus played a central role in the construction of a fascist international by protecting right-wing militants and enlisting them in the Third World War against ‘communism,’ an elastic label extended to any political orientation that entered into conflict with the interests of the capitalist ruling class. This international expansion of fascist modes of governance has led to a proliferation of concentration camps, terrorist and torture campaigns, dirty wars, dictatorial regimes, vigilante groups and organized crime networks around the world. The examples could be enumerated ad nauseum, but I will curtail them in the interests of space and simply invoke the testimony of Victor Marchetti, who was a senior CIA official from 1955 to 1969: “We were supporting every half-assed dictator, military junta, oligarchy that existed in the Third World, as long as they promised to somehow maintain the status quo, which would of course be beneficial to U.S. geopolitical interests, military interests, big business interests, and other special interests.”

The record of U.S. foreign policy since WWII is probably the best measure of its unique contribution to the internationalization of fascism. Under the banner of democracy and freedom, the United States has, according to William Blum:

+ Endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments.

+ Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

+ Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

+ Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

+ Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.

The Association for Responsible Dissent, composed of 14 former CIA officers, calculated that their agency was responsible for killing a minimum of 6 million people in 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor operations between 1947 and 1987. These are direct murders, so the numbers do not account for premature deaths under the fascist-backed capitalist world system due to mass incarceration, torture, malnutrition, lack of drinkable water, exploitation, oppression, social degradation, ecological illness or curable disease (in 2017, according to the U.N., 6.3 million children and young adolescents died from avoidable causes linked to the socio-economic and ecological inequalities of the Capitalocene, which amounts to one child dying every 5 seconds).

To establish itself as the global military hegemon and international guard dog of capitalism, the U.S. government and National Security State have relied on the help of the significant number of Nazis and fascists it integrated into its global network of repression, including the 1,600 Nazis brought into the U.S. through Operation Paperclip, the 4,000 or so integrated into the Gehlen organization, the tens or even hundreds of thousands that were reintegrated into the ‘postwar’—or rather transwar—regimes in fascist countries, the large number who were given free passage to Empire’s backyard—Latin America—and elsewhere, as well as the thousands or tens of thousands integrated into NATO’s secret stay-behind armies. This global network of seasoned anti-communist assassins has also been used to train armies of terrorists around the world to participate in dirty wars, coups d’état, destabilization efforts, sabotage, and terror campaigns.

All of this has been done under the cover of a liberal democracy, and with the assistance of its powerful culture industries. The true legacy of WWII, far from being that of a liberal world order that had defeated fascism, is that of a veritable fascist international developed under liberal cover in order to try and destroy those who had actually fought and won the war against fascism: the communists.

Gabriel Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher, cultural critic and activist. He the founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop and Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics (2016), Radical History & the Politics of Art (2014) and Logique de l’histoire (2010). In addition to his scholarly work, he has been actively engaged in extra-academic activities in the art and activist worlds, as well as a regular contributor to public intellectual debate. Follow on twitter: @GabrielRockhill

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More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

20 years of Vladimir Putin in power: a timeline.

Source

October 17, 2020

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can’t. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia’s neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.

It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.

The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the ‘western’ strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for ‘ramping up on Russia’ with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The ‘rules of the liberal international order’ are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin’s close advisors is of course Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: […] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety ‘rules of the liberal international order’.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it’s about that.

Yes, it’s about that. Russia is militarily secure and the ‘west’ knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia

Before The Bidens “Did” Ukraine, There Was Iraq… And Serbia – Finanz.dk
Analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership

James George Jatras

October 16, 2020

The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.

Among the possibilities:

For those who have followed events outside the United States during the past few decades, much of this sounds familiar. We’ve seen it before – inflicted on other countries.

Now It’s Coming Home to the U.S.

As explained by Revolver News, what happens in America next to a great extent may be a form of blowback from a specific event: the U.S.-supported 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine:

‘A “Color Revolution” in this context refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be “authoritarian” and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.

‘It would be disturbing enough to note a coordinated effort to use these exact same strategies and tactics domestically to undermine or overthrow President Trump. The ominous nature of what we see unfolding before us only truly hits home when one realizes that the people who specialize in these Color Revolution regime change operations overseas are, literally, the very same people attempting to overthrow Trump by using the very same playbook. Given that the most famous Color Revolution was the [2004] “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine, and that Black Lives Matter is being used as a key component of the domestic Color Revolution against Trump, we can encapsulate our thesis at Revolver with the simple remark that “Black is the New Orange.”

This hardly should come as a surprise. The same government agencies and their corporate, NGO, and think tank cronies that are now weaponizing Black Lives Matter, Antifa, other Wokesters, and military putsch plotters here at home to remove Trump have turned regime change abroad into an art form. Ukraine was one of their signal successes, featuring a cast of characters later key to the failed “Ukrainegate” impeachment.

Another consequence of regime change: corruption. As the old saying goes, any idiot can turn an aquarium into fish soup, but no one has yet figured out how to reverse the process. Once a country gets broken it tends to stay broken, whether the “breaking” is accomplished by military means (Serbia 1999, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011) or by a color revolution from the streets (Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004-2005 and again in 2014, Kyrgyzstan 2005, Lebanon 2005, Armenia 2018, plus many others of varying degrees of success, and failures in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China (Hong Kong), and Belarus). With the target nation’s institutions in shambles, the dregs take over – in Libya, for example, even to the point of reintroducing trade in sub-Saharan African slaves, whose black lives evidently don’t matter to anyone at all.

Iraq: Crush, Corrupt, Cash In

Finally, once regime change occurs and corruption is rampant, another shoe drops: foreign vultures descend on the carcass, profiteers who in many cases are the very same people that helped to create the chaos on which they are cashing in. Invariably, these carpetbaggers are well-connected individuals in the aggressor states and organizations positioned on the inside track both for the carve-up of the target country’s resources and (the word “hypocrisy” doesn’t begin to describe it) for funds to implement “reform” and “reconstruction” of the devastated target.

The showcase of this scam, pursuant to Colin Powell’s reported “Pottery Barn Rule” (You break it, you own it) was the money ostensibly spent on rebuilding Iraq, despite assurances from the war’s advocates that it would pay for itself. With the formal costs conservatively set at over $60 billion to $138 billion out of a tab for the war of over two trillion dollars, the lion’s share of it went to U.S. and other vendors, including the notorious $1.4 billion no-bid contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR, of which then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a major proponent of the war, had been a top executive. (“Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for the Iraq War So Halliburton Would Profit.”)

In Ukraine, Biden’s Son Also Rises

The predatory cronyism vignette most pertinent to the Black/Orange regime change op now unfolding before us with the intent of installing Joe Biden in the Oval Office is that of his son, Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company with a sketchy reputation, Burisma Holdings. (Right at the outset, even some of Hunter’s associates though the gig with Burisma was too “toxic” and broke off ties with him.) Though ignored or dismissed as fake news and a conspiracy theory by Democrats and legacy media (or do I repeat myself?), the facts are well enough known and fit the Iraq pattern to a T: then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed for regime change in Ukraine, which succeeded in February 2014 with the ouster of the constitutionally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. In April 2014, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was brought onto Burisma’s board (along with a fellow named Devon Archer, later convicted of unrelated fraud) at an exorbitant level of compensation that made little sense in light of Hunter’s nonexistent expertise in the energy business – but which made plenty of sense given that his dad was not only Veep but the Obama administration’s point man on policy toward Ukraine, including foreign assistance money. [NOTE: It now has come out that in 2015 Hunter put his dad, the U.S. Vice President, in direct contact with Burisma, news the giant tech firms sought to suppress on social media.]

When a troublesome Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin seemed to be taking too much interest in Burisma, Papa Joe came to the rescue, openly threatening the western-dependent politicians installed after Ukraine’s 2014 color revolution with withholding of a billion dollars in U.S. aid until Shokin, whom Joe unironically alleged to be “corrupt,” got the heave-ho. As Tucker Carlson nails it, Shokin’s ouster followed a direct request from Burisma’s Clinton-connected PR firm, Blue Star Strategies, to Hunter to lobby his dad to get Shokin off their back. Joe did just what was asked. He later bragged: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here [i.e., Kiev] in, I think it was about six hours.’ I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But First There Was Serbia

Today many people remember Iraq, some have a clue about Ukraine. But Serbia, which preceded them, is off the radar screen of most Americans. To recap:

As a Senator in the 1990s, Joe Biden was one of the most militant advocates of U.S. military action against Serbs during the breakup of the Yugoslav federation, first in Croatia (1991-95), then in Bosnia (1992-95), and then in Serbia’s province of Kosovo (1998- 1999). (As has been said about others like Hillary Clinton and the late John McCain, Biden evidently has never met a war he didn’t like. Along with Hillary, in 2003 Biden helped to whip Senate Democrat votes for the Bush-Cheney Iraq war.) Channeling his inner John McCain, Biden continually called for the U.S. to bomb, bomb, bomb bomb the Serbs while (in a foreshadowing of the Obama-Biden administration’s support for jihad terrorists in Libya and Syria, which ultimately resulted in the appearance of ISIS) pushed successfully for sending weapons to the Islamist regime in Bosnia and then for the U.S. to arm the Islamo-narco-terrorist group known as the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA).

Joe Biden was the primary sponsor of the March 1999 Kosovo war authorization for military action against Serbia and Montenegro, S. Con. Res. 21. (As a little remembered historical note, Biden’s resolution might be seen as the last nail in the coffin of Congress’s constitutional war power. While S. Con. Res 21 passed the Senate, it failed in the House on a 213-213 tie vote, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting Nay. It didn’t matter. Bill Clinton, reeling from the Lewinsky scandal, went ahead with the bombing campaign anyway.) The ensuing 78-day NATO air operation had little impact on Serbia’s military but devastated the country’s infrastructure and took hundreds of civilian lives. (Even now, more than 20 years later, Serbia suffers from elevated cancer levels attributed to depleted uranium munitions.) But for Jihad Joe even that wasn’t punishment enough for people he collectively demonized as “illiterate degenerates, baby killers, butchers, and rapists.” In May 1999, at the height of the NATO air assault, he called for the introduction of U.S. ground troops (“we should announce there’s going to be American casualties”) followed by “a Japanese-German style occupation.”

Eventually the bombing stopped in June 1999 when then-Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević acceded to temporary international occupation of Kosovo on the condition that the province would remain part of Serbia, as codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. It was a promise the U.S. and NATO, not to mention their European Union (EU) concubine, had no intention of keeping. Under the nose of the NATO occupation, ostensibly demobilized KLA thugs were given virtually free rein to terrorize the Serbian population, two-thirds of whom were driven out along with Jews and Roma, the rest sheltering in enclaves where they remain to this day. Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries, many of them centuries old, were particular targets for destruction and desecration. KLA commanders – who were also kingpins in the Kosovo Albanian mafia dealing in sex slaves, drugs, weapons, and even human organs – were handed local administration.

In 2007 Senator Biden praised the new order as a “victory for Muslim democracy” and “a much-needed example of a successful U.S.-Muslim partnership.” A year later, the Bush administration sought to complete the job by ramming through Kosovo’s independence in barefaced violation of UNSCR 1244 and despite strong Russian objections. But instead of resolving anything the result was a frozen conflict that persists today, with about half of the United Nations’ member states recognizing Kosovo and half not. Touting itself as the most pro-American “country” [sic] in the world, the Kosovo pseudo-state became a prime recruiting ground for ISIS.

But hey, business was good! Just as in Iraq, the politically well-connected, including former officials instrumental in the attack on Serbia and occupying Kosovo, flocked to the province fueled by lavish aid subsidies from the U.S. and the EU, which for a while made Kosovo one of the biggest per capita foreign assistance recipient “countries” in the world. One such vulture – sorry, entrepreneur – was former Secretary of State Madeleine we-think-a-half-million-dead-Iraqi-children-is-worth-it Albright, a prominent driver of the Clinton administration’s hostile policy on top of her personal Serb-hatred. Albright sought to cash in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars on sale of the mobile telephone company PTK, originally a Yugoslav state-owned firm that was “privatized” (i.e., stolen) in 2005 as a joint stock company, but who later dropped her bid when it attracted unwanted publicity. Also in the hunt for Kosovo riches was former NATO Supreme Commander and operational chief of the Kosovo war General Wesley Clark, who reportedly cornered a major share of the occupied province’s coal resources under a sweetheart deal that seems to have vanished from public scrutiny since first reported in 2016.

At the moment there seems to be no smoking gun of a direct Biden family payout, à la Ukraine, but there is a possible trail via Hunter’s Burisma-buddy Devon Archer and Archer’s fellow-defendant John “Yanni” Galanis, who in turn is connected to top Kosovo Albanian politicians. In any case, the Biden clan seems to have paid a lot of attention to Kosovo for not having skin in the game. Joe’s late son and Delaware Attorney General, Beau, worked in Kosovo following the war to train local prosecutors as part of an OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) “rule of law” mission (admittedly a big task in a mafia-run pseudo-state), for which a road was named after him near the massive U.S. base Camp Bondsteel. With Hunter on hand for the naming ceremony, Joe Biden took the opportunity to express his “condolences” to Serbian families who lost loved ones in the NATO air assault – of which he was a primary advocate.

A ‘Shokin’ Demand  

Perhaps the best parallel between Biden’s handiwork in Ukraine and his interest in Kosovo also relates to getting rid of an inconvenient individual. But in this case, the person in question wasn’t a state official like Burisma prosecutor Viktor Shokin but a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In May 2009 Vice President Biden insisted on visiting one of Kosovo’s most venerable Serbian Orthodox Christian sites, the Visoki Dečani monastery. Ruling Bishop Artemije of the Eparchy of Raška and Prizren, which includes Kosovo and Metohija, refused to give his blessing for the visit, in effect telling Biden he was not welcome. Bishop Artemije long had been a bane of Biden and others advocating detachment of Kosovo from Serbia, starting with his first mission to Washington in 1997 as war clouds gathered. In 2004 Bishop Artemije sued the NATO powers in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following their inaction to protect his flock during an anti-Serbian rampage by Muslim Albanian militants in March of that year. Then, in March 2006, as preparations were underway for a “final solution” to the Kosovo issue, Bishop Artemije launched an intensive multinational lobbying and public relations effort (in which Yours Truly was the lead professional) to try to derail the U.S. policy to which Biden had devoted so much attention. While the Bishop’s campaign was unsuccessful in reversing U.S. policy it was instrumental in delaying it for over a year – to howls of outrage from Biden’s associates in Washington. Thus, for Biden, the monastery visit snub by Bishop Artemije was adding insult to injury.

The end for Bishop Artemije came a few months later, at the beginning of 2010 at the time of two visits to Kosovo by U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, (who retired later that year, becoming, unsurprisingly, a consultant “with numerous defense and commercial maritime and aviation contractors”). At that time, an unconfirmed report indicated that a high NATO officer (whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified) stated in the course of one of his local meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase): “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.” (More details are available here. Since that posting last year the NATO command in Naples seems to have scrubbed the items about Fitzgerald’s 2010 visits from their site.)

Shortly afterwards, Biden’s troublesome priest was forcibly removed by police and exiled from his see, without ecclesiastical trial, by Church authorities in Belgrade under pressure from compliant Serbian politicians installed after the October 2000 color revolution, in turn pressured by NATO. The pretext? Transparently baseless charges of financial wrongdoing. In other words, bogus accusations of “corruption” – like against Ukraine’s Shokin.

One could almost hear Joe Biden chortle: “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But Look at the Bright Side…

Back to the incipient coup facing the United States, there should be no illusion that what’s at stake in the unfolding scenario for the removal of Donald Trump is not just his presidency but the survival of the historic American ethnos of which he is seen as an avatar by both his supporters and detractors. Remember, we’re dealing with predators and scavengers who are happy to burn the old, evil America down as long as they can achieve total power and continue to feather their cushy nests. Short of a blowout Trump victory by a margin too big to hijack, we’re headed for a dystopian state of affairs.

If they do manage to remove Trump, “by any means necessary,” and Joe Biden takes the helm, we can anticipate a bevy of globalist warmonger appointees that make Trump’s team look like disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. Among the names floated like Nicholas BurnsAntony BlinkenMichele FlournoyEvelyn Farkas, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, all were on board with Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria … [NOTE: The Atlantic Council, known as NATO’s semi-official think tank in Washington and which will be instrumental in staffing a future Joe Biden administration, also has been the beneficiary of generous donations from Hunter Biden’s paymaster, Burisma.]

It’s a recipe for wars, regime changes, and color revolutions galore.

But to finish on a positive note, the potential future business opportunities will be endless!

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan’s Revenge for Syria

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan's Revenge for Syria - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

October 17, 2020

Turkey’s outsize role in fueling the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is becoming more apparent. That’s why a peace deal will be hard to cut and indeed the conflict may blow up further into a protracted regional war. A war that could drag Russia into battling in the Caucasus on its southern periphery against NATO proxies.

In a phone call this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly backed Moscow’s efforts at mediating a ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Notwithstanding, Erdogan appeared to deliver an ultimatum to his Russian counterpart. He said that there must be a “permanent solution” to the decades-long territorial dispute.

Erdogan and his Azerbaijan ally have already made it clear that the only solution acceptable to them is for Armenian separatists to relinquish their claim to Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan – bound by common Turkic culture – have long-called the Armenian-held enclave an illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territory since a border war ended in 1994.

When hostilities flared again last month on September 27 initial reports suggested the clashes were of a haphazard nature with both sides trading blame for starting the violence. However, it has since become clear that the actions taken on the Azeri side seem to have been a planned aggression with Turkey’s full support.

Following a previous deadly clash on July 12-13 involving about a dozen casualties among Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, there then proceeded massive military exercises in Azerbaijan involving 11,000 Turkish troops beginning on July 29. For nearly two weeks into August, the maneuvers deployed artillery, warplanes and air-defense units in what was evidently a major drive by Ankara and Baku to coordinate the armies from both countries to fulfill joint operations. Furthermore, reports indicated that Turkish forces, including F-16 fighter jets, remained in Azerbaijan following the unprecedented military drills.

Alongside the drills, there was also a dramatic increase in military arms sales from Turkey to Azerbaijan. According to Turkish export figures, there was a six-fold increase in weapons deals compared with the previous year, with most of the supply being delivered in the third quarter of 2020 between July and September. The armaments included drones and rocket launchers which have featured with such devastating impact since hostilities erupted on September 27.

A third factor suggesting planned aggression was the reported transport of mercenary fighters from Syria and Libya by Turkey to fight on the Azerbaijani side. Thousands of such militants belonging to jihadist brigades under the control of Turkey had arrived in the Azeri capital Baku before hostilities broke out on September 27. The logistics involved in organizing such a large-scale deployment can only mean long-term planning.

Armenian sources also claim that Azeri authorities had begun impounding civilian vehicles weeks before the shooting war opened. They also claim that when the fire-fights erupted on September 27, Turkish media were present on the ground to give live coverage of events.

It seems indisputable therefore that Turkey and Azerbaijan had made a strategic decision to implement a “final solution” to the protracted dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

That’s what makes Russian efforts at mediating a cessation to hostilities all the more fraught. After marathon talks mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a ceasefire was introduced on October 10. However, within hours the truce unravelled with reports of resumed exchange of fire and shelling of cities on both sides. The main violations have been committed by the Azerbaijani side using advanced Turkish weaponry. Armenian leaders have complained that the Azeri side does not seem interested in pursuing peace talks.

More perplexing is the widening of the conflict. Azerbaijan air strikes since the weekend ceasefire broke down have hit sites within Armenia, extending the conflict beyond the contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has also claimed that Armenian missiles have hit cities within its territory. Armenia flatly denies carrying out such strikes, which begs the question: is a third party covertly staging provocations and fomenting escalation of conflict?

What is challenging for Russia is that it has a legal obligation to defend Armenia as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (1992). With Armenia coming under fire, the pressure will be on Moscow to intervene militarily.

This would see Russia being embroiled in another proxy war with NATO-member Turkey. But this is not in Syria. It is the Caucasus region on Russia’s southern border. There are concerns among senior Russian military figures that such a scenario is exactly what Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is aiming for. Turkey was outplayed by Russia in the proxy war in Syria. Erdogan and NATO’s plans for regime change in Damascus were dealt a bloody nose by Russia. It seems though that conflict in the Caucasus may now be Erdogan’s revenge.

Moscow may need to seriously revise its relations with Ankara, and let Erdogan know he is treading on red lines.

تركيا «وحيدةً» في حرب قره باغ

الأخبار

السبت 17 تشرين الأول 2020

تركيا «وحيدةً» في حرب قره باغ

توازياً مع استمرار المعارك بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، بعد فشل الهدنة في وضع حدٍّ للاقتتال الدائر حول إقليم ناغورنو قره باغ الانفصالي، تبدو تركيا ميّالة إلى التصعيد ضدّ روسيا. وإن كانت الأخيرة لا تزال، منذ انطلاق جولة الاقتتال هذه، تحافظ على مسافة أمان مِن طرفَي الأزمة، فهيَ دشّنت، يوم أمس، مناورات عسكرية في بحر قزوين شمال باكو، تصرّ على أنها ليست موجّهة ضدّ أيّ طرفمنذ انطلاق جولة الاقتتال الأخيرة بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان في السابع والعشرين من الشهر الماضي، سعّرت أنقرة، باصطفافها إلى جانب باكو، الحرب الدائرة بين الجارتَين للسيطرة على إقليم ناغورنو قره باغ، في ظلّ مواقف دولية جديدة بدأت تتكشّف، وتشير إلى تصعيد تركي – روسي متضادّ، لاقته الولايات المتحدة على الطرف الآخر، حين انتقدت دور حليفتها الأطلسية في هذا الصراع، آملةً أن تتمكّن أرمينيا من «الدفاع عن نفسها» في وجه جارتها الأذربيجانية.

ومع استمرار المعارك بين القوات الأرمينية والأذربيجانية، بعد أسبوع مِن توقيع وزيرَي خارجية البلدين اتفاق هدنة برعايةٍ روسية، عَدّته الأخيرة مقدّمة لإطلاق محادثات «سلام» ترغب تركيا في أن تمثِّل «حلّاً نهائياً» لهذا الملفّ المتفجّر. غير أن المصالح المتضاربة حالت دون تطبيق بند وقف إطلاق النار، ما دفع روسيا إلى بدء تدريبات عسكرية في بحر قزوين، تصرّ على أنها ليست موجّهة ضدّ أيٍّ من دول الجوار. وتَجري المناورات العسكرية شمال شبه جزيرة أبشرون الأذربيجانية حيث تقع باكو، وتشمل إطلاق صواريخ ونيران مدفعية، ومشاركة ستّ سفن وسبع طائرات وأكثر من 400 جندي، بحسب بيان لوزارة الدفاع الروسية، أكد أن «الأنشطة… لا تشكل أيّ تهديد ولا تفرض قيوداً على الأنشطة الاقتصادية للدول المطلّة على قزوين».

إعلانٌ ما لبث أن ردّ عليه الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، إذ سعى إلى شرح موقفه «المبدئي» من الصراع حول قره باغ، بالقول إن بلاده لم ولن تعترف بضمّ روسيا غير المشروع لشبه جزيرة القرم الأوكرانية إلى أراضيها، مؤكداً في مؤتمر صحافي مشترك عقده، أمس، مع نظيره الأوكراني فولوديمير زيلينسكي، في إسطنبول، أن بلاده تعتبر أوكرانيا دولة محوريّة لضمان الاستقرار والأمن والسلام والازدهار في المنطقة. كذلك، أكد إردوغان أن أنقرة ستواصل دعم سيادة أوكرانيا ووحدة أراضيها، بما فيها القرم.

يبدو أن واشنطن بدأت تصطفّ بوضوح إلى جانب يريفان


في هذا الوقت، يبدو أن واشنطن التي شدّدت، منذ انطلاق المعارك، على ضرورة إيجاد «حلّ دبلوماسي» يجنّب أرمينيا وأذربيجان حرباً طاحنة، بدأت تصطفّ إلى جانب يريفان. ذلك ما بيّنته تصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، الذي أعرب عن أمله في أن تتمكّن أرمينيا من «الدفاع عن نفسها» في وجه أذربيجان، في ما بدا أنه مساندة لأحد قطبَي النزاع الدائر في منطقة ناغورنو قره باغ. وقال بومبيو في حديث إلى إذاعة محلية في ولاية جورجيا الأميركية: «نأمل أن يتمكّن الأرمينيّون من أن يدافعوا عن أنفسهم في وجه ما يقوم به الأذربيجانيون»، مجدّداً الدعوة إلى احترام وقف إطلاق النار و«المباحثات السلمية» لوضع حدّ للصراع. تصريحاتٌ جاءت بعدما أعرب الدبلوماسي الأميركي عن أسفه إزاء شروع تركيا في «دعم أذربيجان»، ودعا الأفرقاء الدوليين إلى عدم التدخل في المنطقة وتجنّب «تأجيج الاضطرابات» في «برميل بارود». وهو ما تساوق أيضاً مع إعلان وزارة الخارجية الأميركية أن الولايات المتحدة عبّرت لمستويات رفيعة في الحكومة التركية عن عدم قبولها حيازة أنقرة أنظمة أسلحة روسية مثل «إس-400»، وحذّرت من «عواقب وخيمة محتملة» لعلاقتها الأمنية مع تركيا في حال إقدامها على تفعيل النظام المذكور. وقالت الناطقة باسم الوزارة، مورغان أورتاغوس، في بيان: «إذا تأكَّد ذلك… سندين بأشدّ العبارات اختبار إطلاق صاروخ من منظومة إس-400 باعتباره لا يتّسق مع مسؤوليات تركيا كعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي وكشريك استراتيجي للولايات المتحدة».

War in Nagorno-Karabakh Is a Gamechanger in Russian-Turkish Relations

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, October 17, 2020

After Turkey downed a Russian jet operating in Syria in late 2015, there was a major risk that the Syrian War could explode into a greater conflict between the two Eurasian countries. The Turkish attack resulted in the death of two Russian servicemen and relations between Moscow and Ankara were again tested in December 2016 when Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the explanation from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the assassination was not ordered by the state, Nordic Monitor has published compelling evidence that Altıntaş had strong connections to the so-called Turkish deep state. Despite these major setbacks in Russian-Turkish relations, by the end of 2017 the two countries signed a $2.5 billion agreement for Turkey to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defence system, considered the most sophisticated of its kind in the world.

As is well-known, this deal resulted in tense relations between Turkey and its NATO allies, and many speculated that with Russian encouragement Ankara would eventually leave the Atlantic Alliance. It is highly unlikely that Turkey will ever leave NATO willingly or be ejected from the organization. Turkey, as a key country connecting East and West and controlling Straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, knows that it is one of the most important geostrategic countries in the world and can afford to leverage both NATO and Russia to advance its own ambitions.

The Russian-Turkish partnership has seen Ankara acquire the S-400 system, Russia has a critical part in the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and cooperation on significantly reducing conflict in Syria. However, it now appears that Moscow is becoming increasingly frustrated and antagonized by Ankara’s constant escalation of hostilities across Russia’s southern flank and/or areas of interest. Despite Russia and Turkey cooperating in Syria, they support opposing sides in Libya, but this is not considered a major issue between them, or at least not enough to change the course of their bilateral relations. However, the war in Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, has exposed the fragility of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Artsakh, despite being an integral part of the Armenian homeland for over 2,500 years and always maintaining an overwhelmingly Armenian majority population, was assigned to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920’s. However, in 1989 Armenians in Artsakh demanded unification with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. This demand was ultimately rejected by Moscow. However, the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 sparked a war in Artsakh. The Armenians achieved a decisive victory in 1994 and the Republic of Artsakh emerged, although it is still internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan.Turkey and Syria Are at War Without a Declaration of War

The OSCE Minsk Group, comprising of France, Russia and the U.S., is the foremost international body attempting to end the decades-long conflict between the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although minor wars and skirmishes have been commonplace since 1994, the current war is the most serious escalation, especially when considering the internationalization of the conflict because of Turkey’s transfer of special forces, military advisers, and more importantly, Syrian jihadist mercenaries.

Many within the Syrian government and military have expressed frustration that Russia effectively prevented a Syrian Army offensive at the beginning of the year to liberate more areas of Idlib from Turkish-backed jihadist rule. It is likely that Moscow’s push for a ceasefire in Idlib was to appease Turkey in the hope that it would slowly de-escalate and eventually withdraw from Syria. However, Erdoğan used the lull in the fighting in Idlib to transfer Syrian jihadist mercenaries to fight in Libya. These militants fight on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords based in Tripoli. They are in opposition to the Libyan National Army, which is based in Tobruk and has ties to Russia.

The transfer of Syrian militants to Libya certainly concerned Moscow, but Libya is not as geopolitically crucial for Russia. However, the transfer of Syrian militants to Azerbaijan brings various terrorists and mujahideen forces right to the very doorstep of Russia in the South Caucasus. Whereas Syrian militants in Idlib and Libya were no real threat to Russia directly, bringing such forces can now easily put them in direct contact with Islamist terrorists based in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia in Russia’s Caucasus region.

This will likely be a gamechanger in Russian-Turkish relations.

Moscow’s reaction to Turkey transferring Syrian terrorists to Azerbaijan is beginning to reveal itself. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow “has never considered Turkey as a strategic ally” and emphasized that Russian military observers should be placed on the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly calls for Turkey to be involved in the Minsk Group or in negotiations, Russia has continually blocked Ankara from being involved in any negotiations.

Russia’s frustration with Turkey can even be felt in the East Mediterranean now. As recently as September 5, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova angered many Greeks when she urged states to be “guided by common sense and take into consideration the geographical peculiarities of a region” when discussing Turkey’s illegal claims against Greece in the East Mediterranean. Zakharova effectively adopted Turkey’s arguments that if Athens enacts its international legal right to extend its territorial waters from six nautical miles to 12, then the Aegean will effectively become a “Greek lake,” and therefore the Turks believe “common sense” has to prevail over this “geographical peculiarity.”

However, only yesterday, it appeared that Moscow now indirectly supports Greece’s position in the East Mediterranean, with the Russian Embassy in Athens tweeting that “Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is the starting point. We consider the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the ‘cornerstone’ of international maritime agreements. The Convention explicitly provides for the sovereign right of all States to have territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles and sets out the principles and methods for delimiting the [Exclusive Economic Zone]. This also applies to the Mediterranean.”

It was also announced yesterday that Lavrov will be making a working visit to Greece on October 28. Russia’s repositioning on the East Mediterranean issue by firmly supporting a states’ right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as permitted by international law, something that Turkey has said would be a “reason for war” if Greece enacts its legal right, is likely part of its retaliation against Erdoğan’s transfer of Syrian terrorists to the doorstep of Dagestan. Although Moscow tolerated Erdoğan’s aggression in Syria, Iraq and Libya, by threatening war on Armenia, a Collective Security Treaty Organization member state, and transferring militants to the border of Dagestan, Turkey has overstepped Russia’s patience and this can be considered a gamechanger in their bilateral relations.

*

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

Turkey Allied with Azerbaijan Against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 15, 2020

Months of planning preceed preemptive wars.

Since July, Turkish and Azeri troops participated in joint air and ground military exercise.

Most often these type drills are defensive. They’re conducted to prepare for possible attacks on the territory of participating nations.

Azeris launched war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below), its campaign for control of the enclave backed and likely encouraged by Ankara.

The same likely holds for the US and UK, supporting the agenda of one country over another and their own interests.

Most often when conflicts erupt, their fingerprints are all over them, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Why would the US and Britain support Turkey over Armenia? One reason could be to draw Moscow into the conflict.

Along with Russia and four other regional countries, Armenia is a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) state.

If the territory of any CSTO member state is attacked by a foreign power, other alliance members are obligated to provide military support.

NK is not Armenian territory, so conflict there doesn’t require other CSTO countries to aid Yerevan militarily.

Turkey is a NATO member.

Despite uneasy relations between Ankara and the West, notably the US and UK, alliance Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. Collective self-defense is called for.

Based on what’s now known, Turkey helped Azerbaijan prepare for preemptive war on Armenia in NK.

Preparation included training, supplying Baku with heavy weapons, providing command and control involvement, along with deploying jihadist fighters to aid Azeri troops.

If Turkish commanders are harmed by ongoing fighting, accidentally or otherwise, Ankara could retaliate against Armenia militarily.

Azerbaijan borders Russia. Iran borders Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The US and maybe Britain would very much like to draw Iran into the NK conflict.

If fighting spills into its territory, its forces might respond in self-defense, giving the US and UK a pretext to terror-bomb Iranian targets.

On Wednesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijan of striking military equipment in its territory.

Saying Armenian forces reserve the right to respond in kind against an Azeri military facility risks expanding conflict to the territory of both countries.

Under this scenario, Russia could get involved to defend its CSTO partnered state — potentially drawing the US, UK, and other NATO countries into the conflict, Turkey as well more directly.

The above is a nightmarish scenario Moscow and Tehran very much want avoided.

During a Wednesday interview on the NK conflict, I was asked what more can Russia do resolve it.

Major differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the one hand, Yerevan and Ankara on the other, are longstanding.

Resolving them to halt fighting might be beyond the diplomatic skills of any negotiator.

I responded to the question, saying Sergey Lavrov’s strategy may be to keep talking to his counterparts and leadership of both warring sides — in person as much as possible, otherwise by phone, urging a halt in fighting.

Protracted conflict in NK assures losers, not winners, he understands.

With Turkish help, Azeri forces could gain an advantage over Armenia’s military.

Baku perhaps could drive Yerevan out of NK partially or entirely.

If fighting continues for weeks or months, mass slaughter and destruction in the enclave will leave no prize for either side to claim.

The prevailing side, if things turn out this way, will have countless numbers of corpses to bury and likely billions of dollars needed for reconstruction.

On Wednesday, Lavrov proposed deploying Russian peacekeepers to monitor things along the line of control in NK.

He clarified his proposal, saying “not even peacekeepers (should participate in the verification mechanism), but military observers that would be sufficient.”

“We believe that it would be perfectly correct if these were our military observers, but the final word should be with the sides (of the conflict).”

“Of course, we proceed from the fact that both Yerevan and Baku will take into account our amicable relations, relations of strategic partnership.”

Stressing his country’s close ties to Turkey, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said Baku, Yerevan, and Ankara would have to agree on Russia’s involvement this way.

On October 14, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Azerbaijan wants total control of NK, calling the situation on the ground “very difficult.”

He claimed Baku and Ankara do not want “to stop their aggression.”

NK defense forces accused Azerbaijan of “violat(ing) the humanitarian truce, targeting peaceful settlements,” adding:

“In addition to shelling the city of Martakert, the enemy (Baku) also employed air force (warplanes) in the northeastern direction.”

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry accused Armenia of shelling the town of Tartar, causing at least seven casualties.

It’s unclear if they’e civilians or military personnel.

Lavrov criticized Turkey’s involvement in the fighting.

Calling a military solution unacceptable, he said “(w)e do not agree with the position voiced by Turkey, that was also expressed several times by (Azeri) President Aliyev,” adding:

“It is not a secret that we cannot agree with a statement that a military solution to the conflict is permissible.”

International Committee of the Red Cross director for Eurasia Martin Scheupp called on both sides to halt fighting.

“We project that at least tens of thousands of people across the region will need support over the next few months,” he stressed, adding:

“Civilians are dying or suffering life-changing injuries.”

“Homes, businesses and once-busy streets are being reduced to rubble.”

“The elderly and babies are among those forced to spend hours in unheated basements or to leave their homes for safety.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke to his Armenian and Azeri counterparts, urging them to observe ceasefire.

Conflict is in its third week with no signs of either side backing down.

Russia continues trying to get them to halt fighting and discuss differences diplomatically.

Ceasefire agreed to by their foreign ministers in Moscow didn’t take hold.

On Tuesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said Azeri forces launched attacks in “three to four directions, and battles continued throughout the day.”

“Particularly intense fighting occurred in the northern sector.”

“It was probably among the most difficult battles in this war.”

Fighting could continue for weeks if Russia’s best efforts fail to get both sides to observe ceasefire agreed to last Friday.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

Source

12 OCTOBER 2020

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

The head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference warned late last month against efforts to “build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West” in light of the Navalny incident and the many other disagreements between both sides, and while it’s unrealistic to expect another Berlin Wall-like physical division of Europe, there’s no denying that their different governing models have created a sharp split across the continent.

Welcome To The New Cold War

Last month will probably go down in history as the moment when the New Cold War became impossible to deny. The US has been attempting to rekindle its fading unipolarity since the onset of its coordinated Hybrid War “containment” campaigns against Russia and China in 2014, which only intensified in the aftermath of Trump’s election. The leaders of all three countries addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by video in a series of speeches that laid bare these two sides’ contradictory assessments of contemporary global affairs and related visions of the future. Their keynote speeches were preceded by UN Secretary General Guterres warning the world that “We must do everything to avoid a New Cold War.” Trump obviously didn’t listen to him, which is why the head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference (MSC) followed up that global representative’s warning with his own at the end of that historic week cautioning that “It will result in nothing if we now try to build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West because of Navalny and other sad and terrible events.” It’s his dramatic words that form the basis of the present article.

The US’ Hybrid War On Russia

There are many angles through which the ongoing global competition can be analyzed, but the prospect of a new wall of some sort or another accompanying the New Cold War in Europe is among the most intriguing. The MSC head presumably isn’t implying the creation of a 21st-century Berlin Wall, but seems to be speaking more generally about his fear that the growing divisions between Russia and the West will soon become irreversible and potentially even formalized as the new status quo. The author wrote last month that “The US’ Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria”, pointing out how even the partial success of this latest “containment” campaign will greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Russia and the West. That would in turn help secure American grand strategic interests in the continent. This “decoupling” would reverse the progress that was made in bilateral relations since the end of the Old Cold War up until the Ukrainian Crisis. Taken to its maximum extent, the spiritual return of the Berlin Wall seems almost inevitable at this point.

Governing Differences

It’s true that the border between the NATO countries and Russia’s CSTO (which importantly includes Hybrid War-targeted Belarus) represents the modern-day military equivalent of the “Iron Curtain”, but the situation isn’t as simple as that. While military divisions remain (albeit pushed much further eastward over the past three decades), ideological and economic ones are less apparent. Russia no long ascribes to communism but follows its own national variant of democracy within a mostly capitalist system, thus reducing the structural differences between itself and its Western counterparts. Unaware observers might wonder why there’s even a New Cold War to begin with when considering how much both sides have in common with one another, but that overlooks their contradictory worldviews which lie at the heart of their mutual suspicions. Russia strongly believes in safeguarding its geopolitical and domestic socio-political sovereignty so it accordingly follows a more conservative path whereas Western countries mostly submit to the US’ authority and generally regard their liberal position on many social issues as universalist.

The End Of The “Great Convergence”

The reason why the thaw in Russian-Western relations failed to achieve the “Great Convergence” that Gorbachev originally hoped for was because the US wanted to impose its will onto Russia by treating it as just another vassal state that would be forced to follow its lead abroad and accept extreme liberal social mandates at home instead of respecting it as an equal partner. Nevertheless, this policy was actually surprisingly successful all throughout the 1990s under Yeltsin, but its fatal flaw was that it went much too far too quickly by attempting to dissolve the Russian Federation through American support for Chechen separatist-terrorist groups. That inadvertently provoked a very patriotic reaction from the responsible members of Russia’s military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who worked together to ensure their motherland’s survival in the face of this existential crisis. The end result was that Putin succeeded Yeltsin and subsequently set about to systematically save Russia. This took the form of stabilizing the security situation at home in parallel with reasserting Russia on the world stage.

The “Russian Model”

Putin, though, was always a liberal in the traditional (not post-modern) sense. He never lost his appreciation for Western civilization and sincerely wanted to complete Gorbachev’s hoped-for “Great Convergence”, though only on equal terms and not as a US vassal. Regrettably, the Russian leader’s many olive branches were slapped away by an angry America which feared the influence that a powerful “moderately liberal” state could have on its hyper-liberal subjects. All of Putin’s efforts to take the “Great Convergence” to its next logical step of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” failed for this reason, after which an intense information warfare campaign was waged to portray Russia was a “radical right-wing state” even though it was never anything of the sort. This modus operandi was intended to prevent Europe’s indoctrinated masses from ever countenancing whether a “moderate” alternative exists whereby they’d preserve their domestic and international sovereignty despite remaining committed to traditional liberal values, just like the “Russian model” that Putin pioneered. Understandably, this would pose a serious threat to American strategic interests, hence the campaign against it.

The Rise Of America’s Russian Rival

As time went on, the “Russian model” was partially replicated in some of the countries of Central Europe such as Poland and even within the US itself through Trump’s election, though this wasn’t due to any so-called “Russian meddling” but was a natural result of the ideological interplay between radical and “moderate” liberals. It just so happened that Russia was the first country to implement this model not because of anything uniquely “Russian” within its society, but simply as the most pragmatic survival plan considering the extremely difficult circumstances of the 1990s and attendant limits on the country’s strategic maneuverability during that time. It was considered by the patriotic members of Russia’s “deep state” to be much too risky to reverse the direction of post-Soviet reforms, hence why the decision seems to have been made to continue with them, though doing all in the country’s power to regain control over these processes from Russia’s Western overlords in order to protect national geopolitical and domestic socio-political interests. This struggle led to Russia becoming an alternative pole of influence (in the governance sense) within the “Greater West”, rivaling the US.

Hillary & Trump: Same Anti-Russian Strategy, Different Infowar Tactics

With this insight in mind, the New Cold War was inevitable in hindsight. Had Hillary been elected, then the infowar narrative would have focused more on Russia’s different “values”, seeking to present its target as a “threat to the (hyper-liberal) Western way of life”. Since Trump’s America interestingly enough shares many of the same values as contemporary Russia does, however, the focus is on geopolitical differences instead. From the prism of International Relations theory, Hillary’s angle of attack against Russia would have been more liberal whereas Trump’s is more realist. Either way, both American leaders (theoretical in the first sense and actual in the second) have every reason to fear Russia since it challenges the US’ unipolar dominance in Europe. Hillary would have wanted to portray Russia as being outside of the “Western family of nations”, though Trump can’t convincingly do that given his much more high-profile provocations against obviously non-Western China, hence why he’s basically competing with Russia for leadership of the “moderate” liberal model of Western civilization, ergo accepting their structural similarities but instead over-hyping their geopolitical differences.

Post-Soviet Russia’s Irreversible Impact On Western Civilization

Taking all of the aforementioned into account, it’s understandable why the US wants to build a “new wall” in Europe by “decoupling” its NATO-captive subjects from Russia through a series of Hybrid Wars, though the genie is out of the bottle since some Central European countries like Poland the even the US itself under Trump already implement elements of the “Russian model”. This means that while the physical separation of Russia and Europe along military, geopolitical, and soon perhaps even economic-energy lines is practically a fait accompli at this point, the ideological-structural influence emanating from Moscow is impossible to “contain”. No “wall” will reverse the impact that the “Russian model” has had on the course of Western civilization, though it should be remembered that the aforesaid model wasn’t part of some “cunning 5D chess plan” but an impromptu survival tactic that was triggered in response to American unipolar-universalist soft power aggression on post-Soviet Russia. It’s not distinctly “Russian”, which is why the hyper-liberal Western elite fear it so much since they know very well that it could take root in their countries too, just like in Poland and the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The typical Western mind is conditioned to think in terms of models, especially historical ones, which is why they imagine that the New Cold War will closely resemble the Old Cold War simply because of the effect that neuro-linguistic programming has on their thought process. This explains why the MSC head warned against the creation of a “new wall” between Russia and the West even though no such scenario is realistic. No physical barrier like the Berlin Wall will ever be erected again, and even though the geopolitical, military, and perhaps even soon economic-energy fault lines between them might become formalized through the impending success of the US’ “decoupling” strategy, this will not address the root cause of the New Cold War which lies with Russia’s “moderately liberal” model of state sovereignty in contrast to the US’ (former?) hyper-liberal universalist one of state vasselhood. It’s this difference that’s primarily responsible for every other dimension of their competition since it placed Russia on the trajectory of supporting a Multipolar World Order instead of the US’ hoped-for Unipolar World Order.By Andrew KorybkoAmerican political analyst

US Is the Top Human Rights Violator in the World, and It’s Not Even Close

By Danny Haiphong

Source

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Few things are more politicized and distorted in the United States than the subject of human rights. Over the last two generations, the U.S. political class and its conduits in the corporate media have weaponized human rights to serve an imperialist agenda. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International tend to focus much of their time crafting human rights narratives on matters of critical importance to the U.S. Department of State. Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and a host of countries have been condemned by these organizations for alleged human rights violations. Since 2018, China has been targeted for the same treatment.

China is accused of detaining millions of Xinjiang-based Uyghurs in “concentration camps.” Thanks to Ajit Singh and The Grayzone, we know that the sources for these allegations are far from reliable. We know that the principle source for all things Xinjiang in the U.S. is Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes he is led by God to overthrow the Communist Party of China. We know that the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders responsible for the study that conducted a total of eight total interviews to derive conclusions of mass Uyghur internment is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-linked organization. We also know that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) currently leading the charge to demonize China on human rights issues is sponsored by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The primary concern of institutions such as ASPI is not the issue of human rights, but rather the creation of an atmosphere of war that will service its donors in the U.S. weapons industry. This is exactly what the propagation of the “Uyghur oppression” narrative has achieved. While relying completely on speculation, faulty satellite imagery, and testimonies from Uyghur-exile groups funded by the NED, the successful penetration of the baseless claim that China is detaining millions of Muslims in camps has played an important role in building up public support in the U.S. for a New Cold War against China. U.S. public opinion of China has dropped significantly over the past year. The U.S. has used the Uyghur human rights narrative to successfully sanction businesses and Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang.

When U.S. officials accuse other countries of human rights violations, what comes afterward is always far worse than the allegations. After 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies accused Saddam Hussein of stockpiling non-existent Weapons of Mass destruction. The U.S. went on to invade Iraq in 2003—a war that caused the death of over one million Iraqi civilians and poisoned thousands more with toxic depleted uranium. In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was accused of “murdering his own people” only to have Libya transformed into a failed state following a more than six month bombing campaign by NATO to protect a jihadist insurgency. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons “on his own people.” Syria has been mired in an endless war with both the U.S. and its regional allies which has left hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced, and nearly one-third of its oil-rich and water-rich territory occupied by the U.S. military.

These examples are just a few of many that demonstrate why the U.S. is the chief human rights violator in the world. However, it is important to note that how the United States conducts itself abroad is a reflection of the myriad of ways that it violates the human rights of people living in the United States. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown are just a few of hundreds of examples of Black Americans that have been killed by police officers without redress. An average of 1,000 people in the United States are killed by police officers each year. Unlike the U.S.-led Xinjiang narrative, it is well-documented that over 2 million people reside in U.S. prisons and that nearly three-quarters of that prison population is Black, Latino, or Native American.

The U.S. is home to a quarter of all prisoners in the world. Around 80,000 of these prisoners are held in solitary confinement, a practice of prolonged isolation that the U.N. has firmly declared to be an act of torture. Research suggests that solitary confinement is directly linked to a host of psychological maladies from psychosis to suicide. Solitary confinement also causes lasting structural damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus region responsible for memory and spatial awareness. Widespread use of solitary confinement in the U.S. is not a benign practice but one that specifically targets racial groups. Over forty percent of all male prisoners in solitary confinement are Black American. The world has long known that the U.S. engages in torture abroad at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay Prison but fewer are aware of how torture is commonplace in the U.S.’ numerous prisons.

For decades, the U.S. has accused countries such as China of the very policies that make up the foundations of its domestic and foreign policy. U.S. elites have accused China of suppressing free speech but say little about the NSA’s massive surveillance program or the attempted extradition of a non-citizen in Julian Assange for publishing documents relating to U.S. war crimes. China has been accused of sterilizing ethnic minorities yet U.S. officials have failed to scrutinize documented cases of sterilization within U.S. immigration detention centers or its mistreatment of Muslim citizens since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The Economist has accused China of using its anti-poverty campaign to build loyalty to the Communist Party of China but has yet to call out Joe Biden or Donald Trump for ignoring the needs of the forty percent of people in the U.S. who have virtually no disposable income. China is routinely accused of possessing an “aggressive” foreign policy by the same policy makers and thought leaders who have kept the U.S. at war for more than two-hundred years of its existence.

The ideology of American exceptionalism has created the illusion that the U.S. deserves to hold a monopoly on the issue of human rights. American exceptionalism presumes that the United States is the model example for countries and peoples all over the world. However, the days when the world was forced to bow to the U.S. are over. Most of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to human rights and a peaceful existence. The U.S.’s human rights track record suggests that the world is correct, and it is the entire planet that suffers when issues such as war, climate change, poverty, and racism are blamed on China rather than addressed with solidarity and cooperation at a global level. 

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

October 09, 2020

THE SAKER • OCTOBER 10, 2020 

This war is officially a war between Azerbaijan and the (unrecognized) Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (RNK) aka “Republic of Artsakh” (ROA) which I shall refer to simply as Nagorno Karabakh or “NK”. As is often the case, the reality is much more complicated. For one thing, Erdogan’s Turkey has been deeply involved since Day 1 (and, really, even much before that) while Armenia has been backing NK to the hilt since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is even worse: Turkey is a member of NATO while Armenia is a member of the CSTO. Thus a war started over a relatively small and remote area could, in theory, trigger an international nuclear war. The good news here is that nobody in NATO or the CSTO wants such a war, especially since technically speaking the NK is not part of Armenia (Armenia has not even recognized this republic so far!) and, therefore, not under the protection of the CSTO. And since there have been no attacks on Turkey proper, at least so far, NATO also has no reason to get involved.

I should mention here that in terms of international law, NK is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Still, almost everybody agrees that there is a difference between NK proper and the kind of security zone the army of NK created around NK (see map)

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

(note: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is part of Azerbaijan)

The reality on the ground, however, is very different, so let’s look at the position of each actor in turn, beginning with the party which started the war: Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has been reforming and rearming its military since the Azeri forces got comprehensively defeated in the 1988-1994 war. Furthermore, for President Aliev this war represents what might well be the best and last chance to defeat the NK and Armenian forces. Most observers agree that should Aliev fail to achieve at least an appearance of victory he will lose power.

Armenia would have been quite happy to keep the status quo and continue to form one country with the NK de facto while remaining two countries de jure. Still, living in the tough and even dangerous “neighborhood” of the Caucasus, the Armenians never forgot that they are surrounded by more or less hostile countries just like they also remained acutely aware of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology which, sooner or later, would make war inevitable.

Iran, which is often forgotten, is not directly involved in the conflict, at least so far, but has been generally sympathetic to Armenia, primarily because Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology represents a danger for the entire region, including Iran.

Turkey has played a crucial behind the scenes role in the rearmament and reorganization of Azeri forces. Just as was the case in Libya, Turkish attack drones have been used with formidable effectiveness against NK forces, in spite of the fact that the Armenians have some very decent air defenses. As for Erdogan himself, this war is his latest attempt to paint himself as some kind of neo-Ottoman sultan which will reunite all the Turkic people under his rule.

One of the major misconceptions about this conflict is the assumption that Russia has always been, and will always be, on the side of Armenia and the NK, but while this was definitely true for pre-1917 Russia, this is not the case today at all. Why?

Let’s examine the Russian position in this conflict.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Armenia (proper, as opposed to NK) is a member of the CSTO and should anybody (including Azerbaijan and/or Turkey) attack Armenia, Russia would most definitely intervene and stop the attack, either by political or even by military means. Considering what Turkey has done to the Armenian people during the infamous Armenian Genocide of 1914-1923 this makes perfectly good sense: at least now the Armenian people know that Russia will never allow another genocide to take place. And the Turks know that too.

And yet, things are not quite that simple either.

For example, Russia did sell a lot of advanced weapon systems to Azerbaijan (see herefor one good example). In fact, relations between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev are famously very warm. And while it is true that Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, Russia and Azerbaijan have retained a very good relationship which some even characterize as a partnership or even an alliance.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been a much better partner to Russia than Armenia, especially since the Soros-financed “color revolution” of 2018 which put Nikol Pashinian in power. Ever since Pashinian got to power, Armenia has been following the same kind of “multi-vector” policy which saw Belarus’ Lukashenko try to ditch Russia and integrate into the EU/NATO/US area of dominance. The two biggest differences between Belarus and Armenia are a) Belarusians and Russians are the same people and b) Russia cannot afford to lose Belarus whereas Russia has really zero need for Armenia.

On the negative side, not only has Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, but Azerbaijan has also joined the openly anti-Russian GUAM Organization (which is headquartered in Kiev).

Next, there is the Turkey-Erdogan factor as seen from Russia. Simply put, the Russians will never trust any Turk who shares Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman worldview and ideology. Russia has already fought twelve full-scale wars against the Ottomans and she has no desire to let the Turks trigger another one (which they almost did when they shot down a Russian Su-24M over northern Syria). Of course, Russia is much more powerful than Turkey, at least in military terms, but in political terms an open war against Turkey could be disastrous for Russian foreign and internal policy objectives. And, of course, the best way for Russia to avoid such a war in the future is to make absolutely sure that the Turks realize that should they attack they will be suffering a crushing defeat in a very short time. So far, this has worked pretty well, especially after Russia saved Erdogan from the US-backed coup against him.

Some observers have suggested that Russia and Armenia being Christian, the former has some kind of moral obligation towards the latter. I categorically disagree. My main reason to disagree here is that Russians now are acutely aware of the disgusting lack of gratitude of our (supposed) “brothers” and (supposed) “fellow Christians” have shown as soon as Russia was in need.

Most Armenians are not Orthodox Christians, but members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which are miaphysites/monophysites. They are also not Slavs.

The ONLY slavic or Orthodox people who did show real gratitude for Russia have been the Serbs. All the rest of them have immediately rushed to prostitute themselves before Uncle Shmuel and have competed with each other for the “honor” of deploying US weapons systems targeted at Russia. The truth is that like every superpower, Russia is too big and too powerful to have real “friends” (Serbia being a quite beautiful exception to this rule). The Russian Czar Alexander III famously said that “Russia only has two true allies: her army and her navy”. Well, today the list is longer (now we could add the Aerospace forces, the FSB, etc.), but in terms of external allies or friends, the Serbian people (as opposed to some of the Serbian leaders) are the only ones out there which are true friends of Russia (and that, in spite of the fact that under Elstin and his “democratic oligarchs” Russia shamefully betrayed a long list of countries and political leaders, including Serbia).

Then there is the religious factor which, while crucial in the past, really plays no role whatsoever in this conflict. Oh sure, political leaders on both sides like to portray themselves as religious, but this is just PR. The reality is that both the Azeris and the Armenians place ethnic considerations far above any religious ones, if only because, courtesy of the militant atheism of the former USSR, many, if not most, people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and even Russia nowadays are agnostic secularists with no more than a passing interest for the “spiritual values which shaped their national identity” (or something along these lines).

One major concern for Russia is the movement of Turkish-run Takfiris from Syria to Azerbaijan. The Russians have already confirmed that this has taken place (the French also reported this) and, if true, that would give Russia the right to strike these Takfiris on Azeri soil. So far, this threat is minor, but if it becomes real, we can expect Russian cruise missiles to enter the scene.

Finally, there are major Azeri and Armenian communities in Russia, which means two things: first, Russia cannot allow this conflict to sneak across the borders and infect Russia and, second, there are millions of Russians who will have ties, often strong ones, to both of these countries.

Though they are not currently officially involved, we still need to look, at least superficially, at the Empire’s view of this conflict. To summarize it I would say that the Empire is absolutely delighted with this crisis which is the third one blowing up on Russia’s doorstep (the other two being the Ukraine and Belarus). There is really very little the Empire can do against Russia: the economic blockade and sanctions totally failed, and in purely military terms Russia is far more powerful than the Empire. Simply put: the Empire simply does not have what it takes to take on Russia directly, but setting off conflicts around the Russia periphery is really easy.

For one thing, the internal administrative borders of the USSR bear absolutely no resemblance to the places of residence of the various ethnicities of the former Soviet Union. Looking at them one would be excused for thinking that they were drawn precisely to generate the maximal amount of tension between the many ethnic groups that were cut into separate pieces. There is also no logic in accepting the right of the former Soviet Republics to secede from the Soviet Union, but then denying the same right to those local administrative entities which now would want to separate from a newly created republic which they don’t want to be part of.

Second, many, if not most, of the so-called “countries” and “nations” which suddenly appeared following the collapse of the Soviet Union have no historical reality whatsoever. As a direct result, these newborn “nations” had no historical basis to root themselves in, and no idea what independence really means. Some nations, like the Armenians, have deep roots as far back as antiquity, but their current borders are truly based on nothing at all. Whatever may be the case, it has been extremely easy for Uncle Shmuel to move into these newly independent states, especially since many (or even most) of these states saw Russia as the enemy (courtesy of the predominant ideology of the Empire which was imposed upon the mostly clueless people of the ex-Soviet periphery). The result? Violence, or even war, all around that periphery (which the Russians think of as their “near abroad”).

I think that most Russian people are aware that while there has been a major price to pay for this, the cutting away of the ex-Soviet periphery from Russia has been a blessing in disguise. This is confirmed by innumerable polls which show that the Russian people are generally very suspicious of any plans involving the use of the Russian Armed Forces outside Russia (for example, it took all of Putin’s “street cred” to convince the Russian people that the Russian military intervention in Syria was a good idea).

There is also one more thing which we must always remember: for all the stupid US and western propaganda about Russia and, later, the USSR being the “prison of the people” (small nations survived way better in this “prison” than they did under the “democratic” rule of European colonists worldwide!), the truth is that because of the rabidly russophobic views of Soviet Communists (at least until Stalin – he reversed this trend) the Soviet “peripheral” Republics all lived much better than the “leftover Russia” which the Soviets called the RSFSR. In fact, the Soviet period was a blessing in many ways for all the non-Russian republics of the Soviet Union and only now, under Putin, has this trend finally been reversed. Today Russia is much richer than the countries around her periphery and she has no desire to squander that wealth on a hostile and always ungrateful periphery. The bottom line is this: Russia owes countries such as Armenia or Azerbaijan absolutely nothing and they have no right whatsoever to expect Russia to come to their aid: this won’t happen, at least not unless Russia achieves a measurable positive result from this intervention.

Still, let’s now look at the reasons why Russia might want to intervene.

First, this is, yet again, a case of Erdogan’s megalomania and malevolence resulting in a very dangerous situation for Russia. After all, all the Azeris need to do to secure an overt Turkish intervention is to either attack Armenia proper, which might force a Russian intervention or, alternatively, be so severely beaten by the Armenians that Turkey might have to intervene to avoid a historical loss of face for both Aliev and Erdogan.

Second, it is crucial for Russia to prove that the CSTO matters and is effective in protecting CSTO member states. In other words, if Russia lets Turkey attack Armenia directly the CSTO would lose all credibility, something which Russia cannot allow.

Third, it is crucial for Russia to prove to both Azerbaijan and Armenia that the US is long on hot air and empty promises, but can’t get anything done in the Caucasus. In other words, the solution to this war has to be a Russian one, not a US/NATO/EU one. Once it becomes clear in the Caucasus that, like in the Middle-East, Russia has now become the next “kingmaker” then the entire region will finally return to peace and a slow return to prosperity.

So far the Russians have been extremely careful in their statements. They mostly said that Russian peacekeepers could only be deployed after all the parties to this conflict agree to their deployment. Right now, we are still very far away from this.

Here is what happened so far: the Azeris clearly hoped for a short and triumphant war, but in spite of very real advances in training, equipment, etc the Azeri Blitzkrieg has clearly failed in spite of the fact that the Azeri military is more powerful than the NK+Armenian one. True, the Azeris did have some initial successes, but they all happened in small towns mostly located in the plain. But take a look at this topographic map of the area of operations and see for yourself what the biggest problem for the Azeris is:

Almost all of NK is located in the mountains (hence the prefix “nagorno” which means “mountainous”) and offensive military operations in the mountains are truly a nightmare, even for very well prepared and equipped forces (especially in the winter season, which is fast approaching). There are very few countries out there who could successfully conduct offensive operations in mountains, Russia is one of them, and Azerbaijan clearly is not.

Right now both sides agree on one thing only: only total victory can stop this war. While politically that kind of language makes sense, everybody knows that this war will not end up in some kind of total victory for one side and total defeat of the other side. The simple fact is that the Azeris can’t overrun all of NK while the Armenians (in Armenia proper and in the NK) cannot counter-attack and defeat the Azeri military in the plains.

Right now, and for as long as the Azeris and the Armenians agree that they won’t stop at anything short of a total victory, Russia simply cannot intervene. While she has the military power to force both sides to a total standstill, she has no legal right to do so and please remember that, unlike the US, Russia does respect international law (if only because she has no plans to become the “next US” or some kind of world hegemon in charge of maintaining the peace worldwide). So there are only two possible options for a Russian military intervention:

  1. A direct (and confirmed by hard evidence) attack on the territory of Armenia
  2. Both the Azeris and the Armenians agree that Russia ought to intervene.

I strongly believe that Erdogan and Aliev will do whatever it takes to prevent option one from happening (while they will do everything in their power short of an overt attack on Armenia to prevail). Accidents, however, do happen, so the risk of a quick and dramatic escalation of the conflict will remain until both sides agree to stop.

Right now, neither side has a clear victory and, as sad as I am to write these words, both sides have enough reserves (not only military, but also political and economic) to keep at it for a while longer. However, neither side has what it would take to wage a long and bloody positional war of attrition, especially in the mountain ranges. Thus both sides probably already realize that this one will have to stop, sooner rather than later (according to some Russian experts, we are only talking weeks here).

Furthermore, there are a lot of very dangerous escalations taking place, including artillery and missile strikes on cities and infrastructure objects. If the Armenians are really pushed against a wall, they could both recognize NK and hit the Azeri energy and oil/gas infrastructure with their formidable Iskander tactical ballistic missiles. Should that happen, then we can be almost certain that both the Azeris and the Turks will try to attack Armenia, with dramatic and most dangerous consequences.

This conflict can get much, much more bloody and much more dangerous. It is thus in the interests of the entire region (but not the US) to stop it. Will the Armenian lobby be powerful enough to pressure the US into a more helpful stance? So far, the US is, at least officially, calling all sides for a ceasefire (along with France and Russia), but we all know how much Uncle Shmuel’s word can be trusted. At least there is no public evidence that the US is pushing for war behind the scenes (the absence of such evidence does, of course, not imply the evidence of the absence of such actions!).

At the time of writing this (Oct. 9th) Russia has to wait for the parties to come back to reality and accept a negotiated solution. If and when that happens, there are options out there, including making NK a special region of Azerbaijan which would be placed under the direct protection of Russia and/or the CSTO with Russian forces deployed inside the NK region. It would even be possible to have a Turkish military presence all around the NK (and even some monitors inside!) to reassure the Azeris that Armenian forces have left the region and are staying out. The Azeris already know that they cannot defeat Armenia proper without risking a Russian response and they are probably going to realize that they cannot overrun NK. As for the Armenians, it is all nice and fun to play the “multi-vector” card, but Russia won’t play by these rules anymore. Her message here is simple: if you are Uncle Shmuels’s bitch, then let Uncle Shmuel save you; if you want us to help, then give us a really good reason why: we are listening”.

This seems to me an eminently reasonable position to take and I hope and believe that Russia will stick to it.

PS: the latest news is that Putin invited the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Moscow for “consultations” (not “negotiations”, at least not yet) with Sergei Lavrov as a mediator. Good. Maybe this can save lives since a bad peace will always be better than a good war.

PPS: the latest news (Oct 9th 0110 UTC) is that the Russians have forced Armenia and Azerbaijan to negotiate for over thirteen hours, but at the end of the day, both sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire and for substantive negotiations to begin. Frankly, considering the extreme hostility of the parties towards each other, I consider this outcome almost miraculous. Lavrov truly earned his keep today! Still, we now have to see if Russia can convince both sides to actually abide by this agreement. Here is a machine translation of the first Russian report about this outcome:

Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia

In response to the appeal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and in accordance with the agreements of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I.G. Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N.V. Pashinyan, the parties agreed on the following steps :

1. A ceasefire is declared from 12:00 pm on October 10, 2020 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead, mediated and in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

2. The specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon additionally.

3. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, begin substantive negotiations with the aim of reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.

4. The parties confirm the invariability of the format of the negotiation process.

موسكو تقطع الشكّ باليقين و واشنطن تخرج بخفي حنين…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

القوقاز روسية إيرانية مشتركة لا مكان فيها للغرباء ولا نفايات الصهاينة أو الإرهابيين…!

وأردوغان يخسر المعركة، وإيران تحبط الإنزال الإسرائيلي التكفيري خلف خطوطها…!

هكذا تلخصت نتائج غزوة الأطلسي لجنوب القوقاز، وتقطعت السبل بجسور عبورهم التي تخيّلوها وخططوا لها من البحر الأسود إلى بحر الخزر…!

تخبّط أذربيجان، وصمود أرمينيا، وتعقل إيران، أفرز حصاداً روسياً لغير صالح أميركا والأطلسي، وضاعت طموحات أردوغان بين قره باغ ونقچوان والطرق السريعة التي تحمل غاز القوقاز الجنوبي…!

انتهت اللعبة بدخول بوتين شخصياً على الخط بتفويض إيراني وإكراه تركي، بدعوته الطرفين المتنازعين الى موسكو للتفاوض ومن ثم ترتيبات وقف إطلاق نار ستحمل في طياتها حضور روسي عسكري (مراقبين أو ما شابه ذلك) إلى حين البتّ في أصول النزاع بعيداً عن توظيف ثلاثي الإرهاب الأميركي الأطلسي العثماني الذي ظنّ للحظة انّ بإمكانه إعادة إطلاق سيناريو سوري في القوقاز…!

في هذه الأثناء وتعزيزاً للتفوّق الروسي والثلاثي الشرقي الصاعد فقد وضعت روسيا اليوم صاروخ تسيركين الأهمّ والأخطر في تاريخ الصناعات الصاروخية في العالم في الخدمة، أيّ بتصرف القوات البحرية والجوية الروسية…!

وصاروخ تسيركين هذا لمن لا يعرف تبلغ سرعته 12 ألف كلم في الساعة أيّ 12 مرة أسرع من الصوت، ويتمّ إطلاقه من الجو ومن البحر مدمّرات وغواصات، وليس بإمكان أيّ رادارات اكتشافه أو التقاطه فضلاً عن إسقاطه لأنه يتحرك بشكل طبقي ولولبي بشكل سريع جداً، وتتمّ حمايته بشبكة من أنظمة الدفاع التي تجعل منه غير قابل للاصطياد من جانب العدو مطلقاً…!

ويستطيع تدمير حاملة طائرات مع مرافقاتها خاصة عندما تطلق منه عدة صليات مرة واحدة…!

وهكذا يكون العالم قد تقدّم خطوة إضافية باتجاه خروج الأميركي من أحادية القوة التي لا تقهر، فيما دخل ثلاثي طهران موسكو بكين سباق الجلوس على عرش العالم رغم أنف الامبرياليين وأذنابهم الذين يتهاوون الواحد بعد الآخر…!

لا تغرنكم استعراضاتهم التلفزيونية ولا حتى أصوات مدافعهم الصدئة والبالية والمهترئة، فهي ليست سوى مناورات لقتال تراجعي تقهقري لقوة غزو فاشلة تحاول العودة الى قواعدها بأقلّ الخسائر الممكنة…!

عالم تتكسر موجاته على شواطئ بحارنا، فيما عالم تتشكل قدراته في جغرافيا آخر الزمان…!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Video: A Conspiracy Against Armenia? The Role of the Pashinyan Government

By South Front

Global Research, October 07, 2020

South Front 6 October 2020

The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan supported by Turkey continue their large-scale offensive to capture the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region from Armenian forces. Following the gains of the previous days, when Azerbaijani forces captured the towns of Talish, Jabrayil and Mataghis, they developed momentum in the Jabrayil district capturing the villages of Shikhali Agali, Sari jali, and Mezre, and several other hill tops, according to the country’s president Ilham Aliyev.

Currently, Azerbaijani forces are working to consolidate their gains and conduct artillery and air strikes on positions of the Armenians preparing for a further offensive. So, the Azerbaijani advance slowed down due to weather conditions. The bad weather in the area complicates the usage of combat drones and aviation.

Meanwhile, forces of the Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic announced that they had carried out ‘powerful’ retaliation strikes on territory of Azerbaijan. Armenian sources insist that after the strikes, several hundred thousand residents of different cities of Azerbaijan have been fleeing in panic to Baku. The Armenian military claimed that Azerbaijan paid a heavy price for the recent gains. According to it, Armenian forces inflicted to the ‘enemy’ 3154 casualties and destroyed 368 armoured vehicles, 4 rocket launchers, 124 UAVs, 17 military planes and 14 helicopters. The Armenian side emphasizes that Azerbaijani forces have been extensively bombing civilian targets, including the largest Karabakh city, Stepanakert. Azerbaijan denounces these claims as blatant propaganda.Video Player

The ongoing Azerbaijani advance is not only supported by Turkey and involves Turkish military specialists, special forces and military equipment, but also became another case of the employment of Turkish-backed Syrian militants.Video: Azerbaijan-Turkey Alliance Is Taking “Upper Hand” in War with Armenia

On October 5, Russia’s state-run news agency RIA reported citing its own sources that at least 93 Turkish-backed militants had been killed since the start of the war on September 27. The report added that at least 450 more militants were deployed to the combat zone last weekend. This was reportedly the third batch of Syrian militants deployed to the area.

The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc has been taking an upper hand in the battle against Armenian forces. The decisive role belongs to the air dominance and the numerical superiority of the Azerbaijani side. The only current advantage of Armenian forces is the low quality of Azerbaijani infantry and Turkish-backed Syrian militants involved in the ground advance as well as the low planning and management skills of the ground phase of the Azerbaijani operation.

Azerbaijani infantry and motorized units marching towards fortified positions of Armenians become an easy target for counter-attacks, artillery and missile strikes. This reminds one of the approaches employed by Turkey in Syria and Libya, when Ankara was sending waves of cannon fodder (consisting of members of various militant groups) to capture positions of the ‘enemy’, while Turkish special forces, artillery and air power were doing the main job.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of Armenia are not employing all the variety of means and measures that they have to fight back the advancing Azerbaijani military. Despite the loud propaganda about the Armenian key role in resisting to the ‘terror alliance’ of Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Pashinyan government has no political will to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and go for a full-scale war to defend Armenian population there.

Thus, the participation of the official Armenian military in supporting forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (as it remains a de-facto independent state with its own military forces) are limited as of now. This raises reasonable questions regarding the real goals of the Pashinyan government. Experts say that in fact what it aims is to achieve are the goals of his government’s foreign patrons in the Washington establishment thus losing Karabakh and using this as a pretext to break its remaining ties with Russia and push the country towards its integration with NATO.

On October 5, Pashinyan publicly admitted that the situation on the frontline is “complicated” and called on servicemen demobilized a year ago to rejoin the Armed Forces. The prime minister said that he was calling them not to a simple service, but to the battle “between life and death”. Pashinyan also declared that he is confident in Armenian victory.

Nonetheless, the mobilization of reservists showcases that the real situation is much more complicated than everyone wants to admit. Moreover, just fresh troops, without modern weapons, experienced commanders and instructors, will not be able to turn the tide of the conflict. In the worst case scenario, this may just increase casualties on the Armenian side.

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لماذا إيران ليست مع أذربيجان…!؟

محمد صادق الحسيني

بصراحة واختصار لأنّ أذربيجان مع الشيطان…!

هذا هو جواب الذين يتساءلون، لماذا لا تقف إيران الى جانب أذربيجان، بما انّ أذربيجان دولة مسلمة وشيعية ولديها أراض محتلة لدى أرمينيا (غير قره باغ التي هي إقليم حكم ذاتي مستقل، فهناك أراض سيطرت عليها أرمينيا خلال حرب ١٩٩٤، منها بلدة جبرائيل التي زعمت أذربيجان انها استرجعتها اخيراً) فلماذا إذن إيران لا تقف معها وتساندها…!؟

سؤال مهمّ نحاول الإجابة عنه هنا بكلّ موضوعية ومسؤولية وإليكم البراهين:

١– انّ إيران تقف بقوّة مثلها مثل كثير من الدول الى جانب هذا الحق للشعب الأذربيجاني، والذي ضمنه لها أيضاً قرار أممي اعترفت به معظم دول العالم.

٢– انّ جمهورية أذربيجان الحالية تعتبر واحدة من الدول الغارقة في الفساد والمتحالفة تحالفاً عميقاً مع الكيان الصهيوني قلباً وقالباً منذ إعلانها دولة مستقلة بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق، ويتحكم في قرارها نحو ٤٠ مليونير يهودي من الأقلية القليلة جداً الأذربيجانية لكنها التي تحيط بالرئيس الحالي الهام علييف، وهي التي توفر له حالياً الجسر الجوي الصهيوني من مسيّرات وتسليح متعدّد الأهداف، بالإضافة إلى تدريب مرتزقة أجانب وإرسالهم إلى باكو..!

٣– انّ جمهورية أذربيجان الحالية تلعب دوراً قذراً وخطيراً جداً تجاه الجمهورية الإسلامية حيث تحتضن ومعها تركيا مجموعات من الانفصاليين الأذربيجانيين الإيرانيين (من القسم الأصلي لأذربيجان الذي لا يزال في حضن الدولة الأمّ بعد انفصال جمهورية أذربيجان الحالية مع أرمينيا وجورجيا التي كانت أراضي إيرانية تمّ سلخها عن الوطن الأمّ في نهاية الحرب الثانية بين روسيا القيصرية وإيران القاجارية عام ١٨٢٨).

وهم الذين تحضّرهم الآن حكومتا أنقرة وباكو ليلعبوا دوراً تخريبياً على الحدود الإيرانية، بهدف تمزيق وتجزئة إيران وإشعال حرب قوميات فيها، في حال نجحتا في توسيع نطاق حرب القوقاز الحالية واستدراج إيران إليها…!

٤– انّ أذربيجان دولة قرارها ليس بيدها، والحرب الحالية التي يتمّ تسعيرها تحت غطاء حق قره باغ في الحكم الذاتي ضمن نطاق جمهورية أذربيجان كما تنصّ المقررات الدولية واسترجاع أراض محتلة لها، إنما تمّ شنّها بأمر عمليات أميركي ودعم جزء من الأطلسي وبرأس حربة أردوغانية خبيثة هدفها التحشيد ضدّ روسيا وإيران والصين، ومحاولة استنساخ سيناريو سوري من خلال عمليات نقل وتثبيت عصابات إرهابية تكفيرية من جنسيات ذات أصول سوفياتية وصينية وقوقازية في كلّ جمهوريات القوقاز وفي مقدّمها أذربيجان، بهدف السيطرة على منابع النفط والغاز والطرق الاستراتيجية التي تعيق عمليات الدفاع لثلاثي القوة الصاعد المناهض للأحادية والهيمنة الأميركية أيّ روسيا والصين وإيران في أيّ مواجهة مرتقبة.

وهي عملية هيّأت لها تركيا بنقل مستشاريها الى باكو قبل اندلاع النزاع الحالي تحت عنوان مناورات مشتركة وأبقتهم هناك، بالإضافة الى القيام بعمليات نقل واسعة لمجموعات إرهابية من سورية بتمويل قطري.

٥– انّ حكومة باكو تلعب دور المطية والأداة الطيعة بيد أردوغان الذي سيستخدمها في أيّ مقايضات مستقبلية دولية بين القوى المتصارعة في البحرين الأسود والخزر وكذلك شرق المتوسط حيث تحاول أنقرة أخذ موقع لها مستجدّ هناك، في ظلّ تحشيدات الناتو والأميركي اللذين يقاتلان قتالاً تراجعياً بعد هزائمهما المتكرّرة أمام أسوار وبوابات عواصم محور المقاومة تاركين المجال لأدواتهم الصغار ليملأوا الفراغ…!

٦– انّ سياسة الجمهورية الإسلامية الخارجية لا تقوم مطلقاً على قواعد طائفية او مذهبية في كافة الملفات الدولية والإقليمية، وإنما على قواعد العدالة والقانون الدولي ونصرة المستضعفين أينما كانوا، ومقاومة الظلم والهيمنة والتسلط من اي طرف جاؤوا…

اخيراً لا بدّ من القول بأنّ الطغمة الحاكمة حالياً في أذربيجان هي من بقايا الحزب الشيوعي السوفياتي السابق والتي باتت الآن منقسمة على نفسها بين الرئيس الهام علييف المشهور بالفساد والذي ربط مصالحه الشخصية بأنقرة واستلحاقاً بالغرب من بوابة تل ابيب، فيما زوجته مهربان التي تشغل موقع نائب الرئيس في الجمهورية والتي تترأس جمعية الصداقة الأذربيجانية الروسية وهي التي قلدها الرئيس بوتين أعلى وسام للصداقة في موسكو قبل أشهر، تتمايز عنه بعض الشيء في ميلها نحو موسكو، وهي التي أطاحت بوزير خارجية بلادها ورئيس هيئة الأركان قبل مدة بعد اتهامهما بتغليب مصالح الخارج على مصالح الداخل، ما اعتبر زعزعة للأمن القومي الأذربيجاني!

أما حكاية دعم إيران لجمهورية أرمينيا المسيحية في المقابل فهي حكاية منقوصة التداول…

فإيران لا تصطفّ مع أرمينيا ضدّ أذربيجان في الصراع حول قره باغ، وإنما تحترم وتقدّر دور جمهورية أرمينيا باعتبارها دولة مستقلة تمارس سياسة متوازنة في القوقاز، ولا تساهم مطلقاً في زعزعة استقرار المنطقة، تماماً كما هو دور المواطنين الأرمن الإيرانيين الشرفاء الذين كانوا ولا يزالون يلعبون دوراً ايجابياً في الدفاع عن سلامة واستقرار واستقلال ووحدة أراضي بلدهم ووطنهم إيران، رغم حمايتهم وحبهم وعشقهم لوطنهم الأمّ أرمينيا.

لتجدنّ أشدّ الناس عداوة للذين آمنوا اليهود…

ولتجدنّ أقرب الناس مودة للذين آمنوا الذين قالوا انا نصارى… وانهم لا يستكبرون…

المعيار إذن هو الموقف من مقولة الاستكبار والمستكبرين.

سئل الإمام علي: كيف تعرف أهل الحق في زمن الفتن، فقال: اتبعوا سهام العدو، فإنها ترشدكم إلى أهل الحق.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

الأطلسي في القوقاز بعد خسارته المتوسط والخليج…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

يحاول الأميركي الذي تهشمت صورته الدولية وانكسرت كلّ موجاته المتتالية على بوابات الشام وتخوم بغداد وأسوار صنعاء… بعد أن عجز في شرق المتوسط، وفشل في هرمز، فضلاّ عن باب المندب في تحقيق اختراق مهمّ ضدّ محور المقاومة وتحالف القوى المناهضة للأحادية الأميركية…

نقل مسرح عملياته إلى القوقاز عبر مخلبه العثماني لتحقيق الأهداف التالية:

١ – تحويل القوقاز إلى جسر عبور لقوات الناتو من البحر الأسود الى بحر الخزر لإعاقة دفاعات القوات الروسية عبر نهر الفولغا (خط الدفاع الأول في صدّ أيّ حرب عالمية)

٢ – محاولة ربط أربيل المتحالفة مع تل أبيب بباكو المتحالفة هي الأخرى مع الكيان الصهيوني عبر الحاضنة التركية الأردوغانية لوضع إيران (شمال غرب) في وضع قوس او هلال يُطبق على القوة الإيرانية الصاعدة حاملة مشروع العبور الى فلسطين لتحريرها.

٣ – حماية خطوط نقل الغاز الأذربيجانية والطرق السريعة التي تنطلق من باكو عبر جورجيا وصولاً الى تركيا.

واليكم تفاصيل الأهداف المباشرة والبعيدة المدى للعدوان الأميركي الاطلسي (العثماني) الإسرائيلي على القوقاز:

ليست هي المرة الأولى، التي تحاول فيها قوى الاستعمار الغربية السيطرة على منطقة القوقاز، لأسباب استراتيجية واقتصادية، بسبب امتلاكها كميات كبيرة من النفط، في اربعينيات القرن الماضي، مضافاً اليها الغاز في القرن الحالي.

اذ انّ زعيم الرايخ الثالث، ادولف هتلر، قد وقع أمراً عسكرياً، بشنّ حملة عسكرية لاحتلال منطقة القوقاز كاملة، وذلك بتاريخ ٢٨ / ٦ /١٩٤٢، أسماها: الحملة الزرقاء او المهمة الزرقاء بلغة هتلر الالمانية.

وقد جرّد هتلر لهذه الحملة القوات التالية:

– مليون جندي ألماني.

– ألف ومائتين وثلاثة وستين دبابة.

– سبعة عشر ألفاً وخمسة وثلاثين مدفع ميدان.

– ألف وستمائة وأربعين قاذفة قنابل ومقاتلة اعتراضية.

ولكن كلّ هذه القوات عجزت عن تحقيق ايّ تقدم، في المعركة التي استمرت من ٢٨/٦/١٩٤٢ وانتهت بتاريخ ١٩/١١/١٩٤٢، عندما نجحت الجيوش السوفياتية بتدمير كلّ القوات المُشار إليها أعلاه وفرض الحصار الشامل على الجيش السادس الألماني، في منطقة ستالينغراد، ذلك الحصار الذي انتهى بتدمير الجيش الألماني السادس (بقيادة مارشال الدبابات الالماني باولوس) وإبادته بالكامل وتحرير منطقة ستالينغراد.

ان ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان أميركي أطلسي، عبر مشاركة تركيا المباشرة فيه، إسرائيلي سعودي خليجي، ليس سوى نسخة عن حملة هتلر الزرقاء، ذات الأهداف القريبة جداً من أهداف النازية الالمانية، لا بل هي اكثر شموليةً من اهداف المانيا النازية.

نقول ذلك لانّ ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان شامل على جمهورية أرمينيا، عبر الرئيس الأذري، إلهام علييڤ وزوجته مِهربان التي عيّنها نائبةً له، وهما الأكثر فساداً في العالم، لا يمكن وصفه (العدوان) بحربٍ او نزاعٍ بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان وإنما هو عدوان شامل، على منطقة القوقاز وما بعد بعد القوقاز.

اذ انّ هذا العدوان، حسب ما أفادت مصادر استخبارية مختصة ومتخصصة بشؤون القوقاز ومستندة الى معلومات دقيقةٍ، ميدانيةً والكترونية، يستهدف المحاور التالية:

أولاً: إيران.

انّ أهمّ الأهداف الفورية، التي تطمح قوى العدوان الأميركي الأطلسي الإسرائيلي الى تحقيقها، هي جرّ إيران الى حرب إقليمية في منطقة القوقاز وشمال غرب إيران على وجه الخصوص، وذلك لاستنزافها في حرب لا ناقة لها فيها ولا جمل. فالقصف المدفعي الذي تعرّضت له بلدة محمد صالح، في محافظة، خدا آفارين الحدودية الإيرانية أكثر من مرة، منذ بدأ العمليات العسكرية في منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، لم يكن قصفاً عن طريق الخطأ، سواء البشري او الحسابي، بل انه كان عملية قصف مدفعي مبرمج نفذتها بطارية مدافع هاون يديرها ضباط مدفعية «إسرائيليون»، في داخل الأراضي الأذرية، بهدف استدراج ردّ مدفعي إيراني توريطاً للأخيرة. وما التسريبات التي تنشرها المصادر الاستخبارية «الإسرائيلية» والخليجية/ السعودية، حول استنفار الحرس الثوري الإيراني، وتجهيزه لكتيبة مدفعية ميدان وكتيبة دبابات للردّ على مصادر النيران، إلا دليلاً اضافياً على أهداف العدوان.

ثانياً: روسيا.

انّ روسيا اليوم مستهدفةً، تماماً كما كان الاتحاد السوفياتي مستهدفاً آنذاك، خاصة اذا ما اخذنا بعين الاعتبار قيام الولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الاطلسي، بضخ آلاف من عناصر داعش المسلحين، عبر تركيا الى أذربيجان، وتسريبها من هناك الى كافة مناطق القوقاز وما بعد القوقاز، ايّ شرقاً باتجاه اوزبكستان وتركمانستان وقرغيزيا وطاجيكستان قرب الحدود الصينيه، ثم شمالاً، باتجاه الجمهوريات الاتحادية الروسية، مثل جمهورية داغستان والشيشان وإنغوشيا وجمهورية شمال أوسيتيا وجمهورية كاباردينو / بالكاريا / وجمهورية الشركس، وكلها جمهوريات من جمهوريات الاتحاد الروسي. الامر الذي يجعل من خلق حالة عدم استقرار دائمة على حدود روسيا الجنوبية، وربما حتى داخل حدودها الجنوبية، أمراً في غاية الخطورة الاستراتيجية، اذ انّ هذا التهديد قد يصل الى دعم المعسكر الأطلسي الأميركي لمحاولات انفصالية في هذه الجمهوريات، كما حدث في بداية تسعينيات القرن الماضي في جمهورية الشيشان، التي شهدت حربين دمويتين فشلت خلالهما المخططات الاميركية في تحقيق أهدافها. وهو ما يعتبر تهديداً استراتيجياً مباشراً لروسيا لا يمكنها السكوت عليه.

اذن، ها نحن نرى أهداف هذا العدوان تصل الى ما وراء القوقاز، ايّ الى هدف تفتيت الاتحاد الروسي وإخضاع جمهورياته للهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، حيث لا بدّ ان نرى هذه المخططات مقترنة مع الجهود الأطلسية الأميركية المتواصلة، لضم أوكرانيا وجورجيا الى عضوية حلف شمال الاطلسي، احكاماً لتطويق روسيا الاستراتيحي، نظراً لما تقوم به دول هذا الحلف، من استفزازات مستمرة ضدّ روسيا، من البحر الأسود جنوباً (محاولات طائرات الاستطلاع والقاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية اختراق الأجواء الروسية باستمرار انطلاقاً من قواعدها في تركيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا)، وصولاً الى نفس هذا النمط من الاستفزازات، عبر الأجواء الأوكرانية والبولندية واللتوانية وأجواء لاتفيا واستونيا في الغرب، وصولاً الى مدينة لينينغراد، على بحر البلطيق، شمال غرب روسيا.

ايّ انّ كلّ ما ذكر أعلاه يؤكد انّ الهدف، مما يجري في منطقة كاراباخ، هو تحويل القوقاز الى منطقة عدم استقرار دائم، مما يستنزف طاقات روسيا المالية والعسكرية، في ما لو نجحت قوى العدوان، في التمكن من إقامة وتثبيت بنى تحتية قادرة، لداعش وغيرها من المسمّيات الإرهابية، في أذربيجان بدايةً ليتوسع هذا الوجود الى مناطق أخرى في الخاصرة الجنوبية لروسيا.

ولكن ما فشل في تحقيقه الزعيم النازي الألماني عام ١٩٤٢ لن ينجح في تحقيقه أحفاده الأطلسيين وأتباعهم، من صهاينة وأعراب، لا من خلال هذا العدوان الممنهج ولا من خلال التآمر المساند لهذا العدوان، الذي تمثل في مسرحية «تسميم» المعارض الروسي نافالين، التي تتواصل فصولها حالياً، كما تتواصل مؤامرات نفس غرف العمليات السوداء، في إعداد مؤامرة «تسميم» جديدة في سورية، ليس ضدّ معارض سوري بل ضدّ الشعب السوري في محافظة إدلب بهدف اتهام الجيشين الروسي والسوري بتنفيذ الجريمة التي يخططون لها.

ثالثاً: الصين.

وفي إطار ما تقدّم، من معلومات، مقترنةً بقراءةٍ موضوعيةٍ لهذه المعلومات، لا بدّ لنا أن نؤكد على أنّ جزءاً أساسياً من الجهود التخريبية، التي يجري تنفيذها في جنوب القوقاز، عبر إشعال فتيل الحرب في منطقة كاراباخ، موجه ضدّ جمهورية الصين الشعبية بشكل مباشر أيضاً، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1 ـ عجز الولايات المتحده ودول حلف شمال الأطلسي معاً، ليس فقط عن مواجهة الصين عسكرياً فحسب، وإنما عجز واشنطن وحلفائها في الاتحاد الأوروبي حتى عن منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، الأمر الذي سيؤدي بالضرورة وبصورة مجردة تماماً الى تربّع الصين على عرش العالم خلال سنوات قليلة. وهو ما يعني إنهاء الهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية الأوروبية في العالم أجمع والى غير رجعة.

وبالنظر الى انّ مشروع طريق الحرير الصيني هو أحد أهمّ ركائز سياسة الصين الدولية، على الصعيد الاقتصادي وبالتالي السياسي والعسكري مستقبلاً، وهي السياسة المبنية على المنافسة الاقتصادية الشريفة والابتعاد عن سياسات العدوان وإشعال الحروب، تلافياً لنشأة أوضاع غير مستقرّة لا تساعد على تنمية التعاون الاقتصادي بين الدول، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة قد لجأت الى إشعال فتيل الحروب المتدحرجة في منطقة القوقاز، التي شكلت عقدة أساسية واستراتيجية هامة على الصعيد التجاري والسياسي والعسكري وحتى الديني، في حقبة طريق الحرير الصينية القديمة، التي كانت قائمة منذ سنة ١١٥ قبل الميلاد وحتى بداية القرن الثالث عشر الميلادي، والتي كانت تتمّ عبرها التبادلات التجارية بين الصين وجنوب أوروبا على وجه الخصوص، مارةً بمنطقة القوقاز الشمالي والجنوبي. وهي المناطق التي تحاول واشنطن وأدواتها السيطرة عليها حالياً لعرقلة تنفيذ مشاريع البنى التحتية الضرورية للحركة التجارية، التي هي قيد التبلور على قاعدة مشروع طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق.

وهذا يعني ان الولايات المتحدة، ومن خلال أدواتها الاقليمية، الصهيونية والعثمانية والرجعية العربية تسعى الى السيطرة على كامل منطقة القوقاز الاستراتيجية، وليس فقط إلحاق إقليم ناغورنو كاراباخ بأذربيجان كما يدّعي أردوغان.

من هنا فإنّ من الضروري فهم طبيعة هذا المخطط العدواني على حقيقته، ايّ على انه حلقة مكملة لتطويق الصين الشعبية استراتيجياً. فبالاضافة الى التحرشات والاستفزازات المتواصلة، التي تقوم بها الأساطيل البحرية الأميركية والأوروبية، كالقوة المسماة «قوة حماية التجارة الدولية» وغيرها، في بحر الصين الجنوبي، وبحار الصين الأخرى، وشرق المحيط الهندي وغرب المحيط الهادئ (الممتدة من جزيرة غوام حتى بحر الفلبين وجزيرة تايوان الصينية المنشقة)، بالاضافة الى هذه التحرشات ومثيلاتها الجوية، المنطلقة من القواعد الأميركية في اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية وقواعد المحيط الهندي، نجد ان الخبراء الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين، وفي ظل عجزهم عن المواجهة العسكرية المباشرة، في جنوب شرق آسيا، يلجأون الى خلق المصاعب الاستراتيجية للصين، على صعيد التجارة الاستراتيجية، أملاً منهم في إضعافها اقتصادياً، وبالتالي عسكرياً، كي يتمكنوا من تحقيق أهدافهم، في تكريس الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم من جديد.

لكن ما يغيب عن بال هؤلاء المخططين هو حقيقة انّ المصالح المشتركة، بين الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران، وعلاقات التنسيق الوثيق، التي تربط الدول الثلاث، على مختلف الأصعدة، كفيلة بإفشال كلّ هذه الأوهام، وانّ أتباع واشنطن في أنقره وتل أبيب وأعراب النفط لن يكونوا قادرين على تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، لا على صعيد منطقة القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، ولا على صعيد موازين القوى في جنوب شرق آسيا وغرب المحيط الهادئ. وهي بالتالي مشاريع محكومة بالفشل، كسابقاتها من المشاريع الاميركية، التي انطلقت من احتلال أفغانستان، ثم العراق ومن بعدها محاولة ضرب حزب الله في لبنان سنة ٢٠٠٦، تعزيزاً لاحتلال العراق وتمهيداً للسيطرة على «الشرق الأوسط» بأكمله، وصولاً الى الفتن والحروب التي أشعلتها الولايات المتحدة في الدول العربية، تحت مسمّى الربيع العربي، منذ عام ٢٠١١، وانتهاءً بالعدوان الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» السعودي على اليمن، الذي فشل تماماً في تحقيق أيّ من أهدافه.

2 ـ التمهيد لتوسيع دائرة الحروب والفتن الطائفية والعرقية، في عموم منطقة آسيا الوسطى، وليس فقط في منطقة شمال وجنوب القوقاز، وذلك عبر تكليف مخلب الناتو، تركيا أردوغان، وتحت إشراف غرفة العمليات الأميركية التركية الإسرائيلية المشتركة، وبتمويل سعودي، بنقل الآلاف من مسلحي داعش، الموجودين في سورية حالياً، والذين تمّ نشرهم على محاور: فضولي وجبرائيل، جنوب منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، على الحدود الإيرانيه الاذرية، لاستخدامهم ضمن الأهداف المذكورة أعلاه، إلى جانب إنشاء معسكرات تدريب مخصصة لإعادة تدريب هذه العناصر، وتسريبها الى دول وسط آسيا السوفياتية السابقة، وصولاً الى الصين، ظناً منهم انّ بمقدورهم تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، أو خلق مناطق عدم استقرار دائمة، على حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية والجنوبية الغربية وحدود إيران الشمالية الغربية.

بائسون هؤلاء الاطلسيون من واشنطن حتى أنقرة…

لم يقرأوا التاريخ جيداً ولا استوعبوا بعد السنن الكونية الحاكمة في كلّ تحوّلات الدنيا…

وما يمكرون إلا بأنفسهم ولا يشعرون

سأريكم آياتي فلا تستعجلون

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

البحار الخمسة والانسحاب الأميركيّ والإسرائيليّ من أذربيجان أولاً

ناصر قنديل

تتقاطع المعطيّات التاريخية مع الأسباب الوطنية والأتنية والعرقية والقومية في نزاعات العالم الجديد، بعد نهاية الحرب الباردة، مع مصالح النفط والغاز ومصادرهما والأنابيب الناقلة لهما، والممرات المائية للناقلات التي تحمل هذه الموارد من مصادرها إلى أسواق العالم، مع التبدّلات التي تصيب موازين القوى العالمية وتصادم الاستراتيجيات، لتتشكّل مشاهد الحروب الصغيرة – الكبيرة، الممتدّة على مساحة العالم والمتركزة في مناطق تتوزّع بين أحواض البحار الخمسة، التي شكلت عنوان مشروع يحمل اسم الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، تحت عنوان الدعوة لمنظومة إقليمية تضم الدول التي تشاطئ البحار، الأبيض المتوسط والأحمر والأسود وقزوين وعُمان وتقع مناطق القوقاز والمشرق وتركيا وإيران وروسيا والخليج في قلبها، ووفقاً لبعض قراء الاستراتيجيات أن الحرب الاستباقية على سورية التي قادتها واشنطن جاءت لمنع قيام هذه المنظومة الإقليميّة، التي تستند دعوة الأسد لقيامها إلى استقرائه بدء مرحلة فراغ استراتيجي ستخيم عليها في ضوء الفشل الأميركي في حربي العراق وأفغانستان، فجاءت الحرب على قاعدة الإنكار الأميركي للتسليم بالفراغ وإغلاقاً لباب البحث بالبدائل إقليمية.

الانسحابات الأميركية من أوزباكستان، والتي على الطريق من أفغانستان، والموعود بها من كل من سورية والعراق، تجعل الفراغ الاستراتيجي أمراً واقعاً، بالتزامن مع استرداد روسيا زمام المبادرة في مناطق النزاع الواقعة ضمن المدى التاريخي للاتحاد السوفياتي، وفي محيطها الأبعد لأمنها القومي، انطلاقا من حسمها العسكري مع جورجيا، عبر اجتياح أوسيتيا الجنوبية عام 2008، وصولاً لحسم أمر شبه جزيرة القرم وشرق أوكرانيا، عام 2014، وصولاً للتموضع العسكري المباشر في سورية عام 2015، وبالتوازي مع ذلك ظهور إيران كقوة إقليمية صاعدة بعد حضورها في الحرب على سورية من جهة وفوزها بالاتفاق النووي من جهة مقابلة، وتبلور دورها كقوة داعمة لقوى صاعدة في لبنان والعراق واليمن وفلسطين، وظهور تركيا كقوة إقليميّة تملك مشروعاً لفرض حضورها كشريك إقليمي، سواء تحت سقف الانضواء في حلف الأطلسي أو من خارجه وعلى حساب حلفاء فيه، أو بمواجهة بعض الحلفاء الأعضاء البارزين فيه كفرنسا، ما يعني عملياً أن مشروع المنظومة الإقليمية التي تحدث عنها الرئيس بشار الأسد منذ عام 2009، عادت لتشكل إطاراً يملأ الفراغ الاستراتيجي الناجم عن الانكفاء الأميركي، رغم الإنكار، لكن بدلاً من أن يتم ذلك على البارد وبوعي استباقي، فهي تتم الآن على الساخن وبدفع أثمان باهظة، وربما تكون مغامرات ورعونة الرئيس التركي المسؤول الرئيسي عن تضييع فرصة الخيار الاستباقي السلمي وحلول الخيار الدموي مكانه.

تشبه الحرب بين اذربيجان وأرمينيا في كثير من وجوهها الجيوسياسية، الحرب على سورية، حيث تحضر ثروات وأنابيب النفط والغاز، وحيث تحضر التجاذبات الإقليمية والدولية. ففي أذربيجان أقرب القواعد الأميركية لحدود روسيا في آسيا، وأقرب تمركز إسرائيلي لإيران، وترابط تاريخي وجغرافي لمنطقة النزاع بكل من روسيا وإيران وتركيا، ومصالح أوروبية حاضرة بتدفق موارد الطاقة، وخصوصاً خط تاناب الذي يزود أوروبا بغاز بحر قزوين والممتد على مسافة 3500 كلم عابراً الأراضي التركية. والحل الذي ينهي الحرب الممتدة الجذور إلى صراعات الهويات التاريخية والتنازع الحدودي، لا يمكن أن يجد فرصته إلا عندما تتبلور توازنات متفق عليها ومسلم بها لموقع الصراع في الخرائط الجيوسياسية والعسكرية على الصعيدين الإقليمي والدولي. وهذا لن يتحقق من دون الانسحاب الأميركي والإسرائيلي من أذربيجان، وتموضع تركيا خارج المشروع الأطلسي للضغط على روسيا اسوة بما فعلته في سورية من قبل، ليتم تظهير إطار للحل السياسي وفق قواعد شبيهة بمسار أستانة الروسي الإيراني التركي.

كما كان تأخير مسار منظومة البحار الخمسة بفعل رعونة وغرور وخطأ رهانات وحسابات الرئيس التركي، سيتأخر الحال في ناغورني قره باغ حتى تنضج تركيا لصالح تكرار ما فعلته في سورية بانضوائها ضمن ثلاثية روسية تركية إيرانية، سيتكفل وجودها بتخفيض التوتر من جهة، وبتسريع القناعة الأذربيجانية بضرورة تسريع انسحاب أميركي إسرائيلي من أراضيها، كشرط لجهوزيتها لنزع الفتائل الإقليمية والدولية من النزاع، والمفارقة اللافتة في هذا الصراع أن إيران المتهمة ببناء هلال شيعي أو أكثر والتي ترتبط بالانتماء للمذهب الشيعي مع أكثر من 85% من الآذريين، فيما ينتسب 20% من الإيرانيين للعرق الآذري الذي يشكل القومية الثانية بعد الفارسية بين مكوّنات الشعب الإيراني، تجد نفسها أقرب لأرمينيا المسيحيّة، بينما تجد تركيا التي تخوض معركة زعامة سنة العالم الإسلامي مع أذربيجان الشيعية، ما يكفي لفهم كيفية تموضع الدول في السياسات والحروب، وفقاً للاستراتيجيات العليا والمصالح الكبرى، فيما لا تشكل القومية والمذهبية إلا الغطاء أو الذريعة عندما تنسجم مع المصالح العليا، فحيث تنوجد أميركا و«إسرائيل» يستحيل أن تجد إيران حليفاً كما يصعب أن تجد تركيا عدواً.

آخر الحروب الأميركية قبل الانهيار كاراباخ مقتل أنقرة وتل أبيب

محمد صادق الحسيني

أياً  تكن عائدية الأراضي المتنازع عليها بين أذربيجان وأرمينيا وأياً تكن الاصطفافات العرقية أو الاثنية أو الطائفية أو الدينية المحيطة بالصراع حول ناغورنو كاراباخ، وماهية الحلّ العادل المطلوب لها، فإن ما يجري في الهضبة الاستراتيجية الواقعة بين البحرين الأسود وقزوين من تصعيد لنزاع تاريخي قديم انما يهدف الى محاولة أميركية يائسة لمنع صعود الثلاثي الروسي الصيني الإيراني لعرش العالم…!

فرملة الاندفاعة الروسية الهادفة الى قيادة العالم المتعدد الأقطاب، وتوسيع حزام التخريب على إيران وتعزيز الحشد الاستراتيجي ضدّ الصين هو الهدف الأعلى والأبعد في كلّ ما يجري في القوقاز…!

لا شك أنّ جذور الصراع، بين القوى الدولية والإقليمية في مراحل التاريخ المختلفة، حول منطقة القوقاز بشكل عام ومنطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ بشكل خاص، ضاربة في عمق التاريخ.

فمنذ أن كانت هذه المنطقة جزءاً من الدولة الآشورية القديمة، في حدود سنة 800 قبل ميلاد السيد المسيح، وهذه المنطقة تشهد صراعات مسلحة بين العديد من الدول.

من هنا فإنّ الصراع الدائر حالياً، حول ناغورنو كاراباخ، هو امتداد لصراعات قديمة، دارت معظمها بين دول الاستعمار الأوروبي، وعلى رأسها بريطانيا، وبين روسيا القيصرية والامبراطورية الفارسية ووريثتها إيران الحديثة.

وفِي هذا الإطار، قامت بريطانيا بإشعال حرب، بين روسيا القيصرية والامبراطورية الفارسية، سنة ١٨٠٤ استمرت حتى سنة 1813، بهدف “وقف توسع روسيا” في آسيا الوسطى. ولكن هذه الحرب قد حُسمت لصالح روسيا واضطر شاه إيران، فتح علي شاه، لتقديم تنازلات كبيرة لروسيا، سواء عبر التنازل عن أراضٍ واسعة، كانت ناغورنو كاراباخ جزءاً منها، أو دفع تعويضات مالية أو غير ذلك.

وعلى الرغم من هزيمة حليف بريطانيا في إيران، الشاه فتح علي شاه، إلا أنّ بريطانيا واصلت تحريضه على شنّ حرب جديدة ضدّ روسيا، لاستعادة الأراضي الإيرانية، التي خسرتها إيران في حرب 1804 – 1813، على الرغم من أنّ روسيا لم تكن تريد الدخول في حرب جديدة وإنما سعت الى تثبيت وجودها في تلك المناطق والاستعداد لصدّ هجمات بريطانية، تُشنّ على أراضيها عبر عملاء بريطانيا في الجواسيس آسيا، من سلاطين وأمراء وإقطاعيين.

وتأكيداً على ذلك قام القيصر الروسي، نيكولاس الأول، بإرسال مبعوث سلام روسي خاص الى إيران، هو الأدميرال، أليكساندر مينشيكوف حيث عرض على شاه إيران عقد حلف روسي إيراني لمواجهة الأطماع التركية التوسعية في اواسط آسيا (القوقاز). ولكن شاه إيران، فتح علي شاه، عوضاً عن الاستجابة لدعوة السلام والعمل المشترك، التي عرضها عليه الجانب الروسي، قد أقدم على خطوتين مدمّرتين لتلك المبادرة وهما:

أ ـ وضع مبعوث السلام الروسي، الأدميرال مينشيكوف، تحت الإقامة الجبرية في ربيع سنة 1826.

ب) تجريد حملة عسكرية فارسية، قوامها 35000 رجل، بتاريخ 16 / 7/ 1826، بقيادة ابنه الثاني، عباس ميرزا، الذي كان يطلق عليه اسم نائب السلطان ايضاً، واجتاح بهذه القوات منطقتي كاراباخ وتاليش المجاورة، دون إعلان حرب على روسيا بشكل رسمي. وهي الخطوة التي شكلت بداية للحرب الروسية الفارسية الثانية والاخيرة، التي استمرت من سنة ١٨٢٦ حتى ١٨٢٨، حيث تمّ توقيع اتفاق وقف الحرب بين الطرفين، بتاريخ 22 /2/ 1828، والتي سُمّيت: عهدنامه تركمنچي وبالانجليزية: Treaty of turkmenchey، والتي تنازلت الامبراطورية الفارسية بموجبها عن:

– خانات ايريفان Khanat irevan.

– خانات ناخشيڤان Khanat Nachshivan.

– بقايا خانات تاليش Khanat Talysh.

– منطقة اوردوباد Ordubad.

وبالنظر الى ما تقدّم، من حقائق تاريخية، فإنّ أهداف دول الاستعمار الأوروبي، ومن بعدها الدور الأميركي، يتمحور حول محاصرة روسيا وتهديد حدودها من كلّ الاتجاهات، سواء من الجنوب الشرقي (الامبراطورية اليابانية) أو من الجنوب الغربي (الامبراطورية العثمانية) او من الغرب (الامبراطورية الفرنسية/ نابليون) ثم ألمانيا النازية في القرن الماضي، وصولاً الى التهديدات الأميركية في الشمال الشرقي (بحر بارنتس) والمحيط الهادئ من الشرق.

من هنا فإننا نجزم تماماً، وبناءً على معلومات دقيقة، انّ ما يجري حالياً من اشتباكات حدودية، بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، ليست صدامات عارضة ومنقطعة التواصل، مع الوضع الاستراتيجي لكل من روسيا وإيران وتركيا، وإنما هي عبارة عن جزء أو حلقة من مخطط أكبر بكثير، من المساحة الجغرافية، التي تشكل مسرح العمليات الحربية هذه. وهي بالتالي عملية لها أهداف وتداعيات استراتيجية هامة، على الصعيدين الإقليمي (إقليم وسط آسيا) والدولي، المتمثل في الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى في العالم.

أما عن المعلومات والأدلة، التي تؤكد انّ طبيعة هذه الاشتباكات تتجاوز كونها اشتباكات حدودية، بل انها استمرار لخطط الحشد والتطويق الاستراتيجي الأميركي لكلّ من روسيا والصين وإيران، فهي (المعلومات) كثيرة ومتشعّبة نكتفي بذكر الأهمّ منها، وهي ما يلي:

أولاً: التدخل التركي المباشر في العمليات العسكرية، الى جانب أذربيجان، وتسلمها قيادة غرفة العمليات المشتركه مع “إسرائيل” في أذربيجان، وهو تدخل ليس سرياً وليس جديداً، وقد بدأ بنقل قوات تركية جوية وبرية قبل عدة أسابيع بحجة إجراء تدريبات عسكريه مشتركة مع الجيش الأذري وإبقاء تلك الوحدات العسكري التركية في أذربيجان، وفي محيط منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ ونقچوان بالتحديد.

وما قام به سلاح الجو التركي من إسقاط مقاتلة أرمينية، من طراز سوخوي 25؛ يوم أمس الأول إلا أبرز دليل على ذلك.

ثانياً: انّ الهدف التركي، من هذا التدخل، لا يقتصر على مؤازرة دولة لها علاقات عرقية (إثنية) مع تركيا فقط، بل ان هذا التدخل يهدف الى:

اقامة قواعد عسكرية تركية دائمة في هذه الدولة، تعزيزاً للحشود الأميركية الأوروبية والاستفزازات الجوية والبحرية المتواصلة، من قبل الأساطيل الغربية، ضدّ الأراضي الروسية المجاورة للبحر الأسود، وكذلك تعزيزاً للدور الاستخباراتي التخريبي الإسرائيلي ضدّ إيران، انطلاقاً من القواعد التجسّسية “الإسرائيلية” الموجودة حالياً في أذربيجان والتي ستكون القواعد التركية بمثابة إضافة كمية لها وتمهيداً لتوسيع الهجوم الاقتصادي على الصادرات النفطية والغازية الروسية الى الاسواق الأوروبية، حيث تعمل تركيا على التوسع شرقاً، الى ما بعد بحر قزوين، بهدف ربط منابع الغاز في تركمنستان وغيرها من دول آسيا الوسطى بناقل الغاز الأذري التركي، الذي ينقل الغاز حالياً الى تركيا، ليصار تصديره في ما بعد الى الاسواق الأوروبية، من خلال محطات التصدير التركية. وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة لـ “إسرائيل” التي تغطي ٤٠٪ من احتياجاتها النفطية من النفط الأذري، الذي يجري ضخه إلى ميناء شيخان التركي ومن هناك الى ميناء حيفا.
انشاء بنية عسكرية لحلف الناتو، تحت مسمّى تركي، في أذربيجان لزيادة الضغط والتهديد العسكريين على إيران، خاصة في شمالها الغربي الذي يسكنه أذريين وتركمان، تعتقد تركيا ومعها حلف الناتو، انّ من الممكن استغلال انتماءاتهم العرقية، لتحقيق أهداف جيوسياسية.
ثانياً: وفي هذا الإطار، نعني إطار تمدّد الناتو في وسط آسيا، عبر القواعد العسكرية التركية في أذربيجان، فإنّ الخطة المعدة، من قبل غرفة العمليات المشتركة، الأميركية التركية الإسرائيلية الأذرية، تهدف الى اقامة تواصل جغرافي أرضي بين أذربيجان وتركيا، عبر إعادة احتلال الكوريدور (الشريط)، الذي تسيطر عليه القوات الأرمنية، والفاصل بين جيب كاراباخ الأرمني وأراضي جمهورية أرمينيا، والممتدّ من منطقة جبرائيل، في جنوب الجيب وحتى منطقة موروفداغ في شماله. كما ان الخطط العسكرية الاذرية، الموضوعة قيد التنفيذ الآن، والتي يشارك في تنفيذها بشكل مباشر في الميدان، ثلاثة جنرالات وثمانية عشر ضابط أركان إسرائيليين، انما تهدف الى توسيع سيطرة القوات الأذرية، واحتلال شريط حدودي داخل الأراضي الأرمينيه، يمتدّ بموازاة الحدود الإيرانية، من منطقة Nrnadzor في أقصى جنوب شرق أرمينيا وحتى منطقة Meghri / Agarak / Kuris، في أقصى جنوب غرب أرمينيا، لاقامة تواصل جغرافي مع جمهورية نقچوان الاذرية، المتصلة جغرافياً بحدود مشتركة مع تركيا، في اقصى شمال غرب ناخشاڤان، قرب نقطة الحدود التركية الأذرية في ساداراك (Sadarak).

ثالثاً: نشر المزيد من عناصر داعش والتنظيمات الإرهابية الأخرى، في أذربيجان تحت غطاء مساعدة أذربيجان في صدّ “العدوان” الأرميني واستعادة الأراضي التي سيطرت عليها أرمينيا في حرب عام 1994، حيث تمّ حتى الآن نقل 5300 عنصر من هذه التنظيمات، ومن عناصر داعش تحديداً، من السجون التي تديرها الميليشيات الكردية، في شمال شرق سورية، بالتعاون مع الاستخبارات العسكرية والخارجية الإسرائيلية، تحت الإشراف الكامل لأجهزة الاستخبارات والجيش الأميركيين. وهي مراكز إيواء يعيش فيها حوالي 80 ألف عنصر من داعش، بينهم الآلاف من مواطني دول وسط آسيا الإسلامية، إضافة الى آلاف المواطنين الصينيين الذين ينتمون لقومية الايغور، وموطنها في شمال غرب الصين.

وهذا يعني انّ عمليات المناورة بعناصر داعش، التي تنفذها القيادة العسكرية الأميركية، بأدوات إسرائيلية وتركية، هي استمرار لعمليات المناورة الشبيهة والتي نفذها الجيش الأميركي نهاية سنة 2017، عند سقوط الموصل والرقة بشكل خاص، حيث تمّ، آنذاك، نقل الآلاف من عناصر داعش، جواً وبتمويل قطري الى كلّ من ليبيا، لتتمّ إعادة تدريبهم، ونقلهم من هناك الى دول الساحل الأفريقي والى سيناء وكلّ من: تركمنستان وأذربيجان واوزبكستان وجنوب شرق طاجيكستان وشمال شرق افغانستان، قرب الحدود مع الصين، كجزء من خطط التطويق الاستراتيجي لكل من الصين وروسيا وإيران واثارة الحروب والتوترات في تلك المناطق، وهو ما يعني انّ عمليات ضخ عناصر داعش الى أذربيجان لن تتوقف وانما سيتمّ الاعتماد مستقبلاً عليهم في تنفيذ عمليات ارهابية، في كلّ من الصين وروسيا وإيران، رغم كلّ ما يعلن من نفي تركي لنقل هذه العناصر الى تلك البلدان.

وما إعراب وزارة الخارجية الروسية، يوم 30/9/2020، عن قلقها من نقل إرهابيين ومرتزقة الى أذربيجان، الا دليل جديد ومهمّ على انّ هذه العمليات لا تزال تجري على قدم وساق، وان ذلك يجري تحت إشراف هيئة أركان عامة تتابع كل التفاصيل الميدانية المتعلقة بأماكن انتشارهم أو زجّهم في المعارك الدائرة حالياً في جمهورية ناغورنو كاراباخ.

كما لا بدّ من التذكير بسيل التصريحات الإسرائيلية، الصادرة بالأمس، حول الدور الإسرائيلي في ما يدور في كاراباخ وكذلك تصريحات المسؤولين الأذريين حول دور السلاح الإسرائيلي في العمليات التي ينفذها الجيش الأذري.

رابعاً: صحيح انّ البنتاغون وقيادة الناتو يقومون بتنفيذ كلّ ما ذكر أعلاه، من خطط عسكرية استراتيجية، ولكن هذه التحركات والمناورات لا تعبّر إلا عن فشل، أميركي إسرائيلي أوروبي سعودي، شامل وعلى طول مسرح العمليات، او مسرح المواجهة الشاملة، بين الولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الأطلسي، ومعهما التابع الإسرائيلي السعودي الخليجي، من جهة، وبين روسيا والصين وإيران وحلف المقاومة من جهة أخرى.

اذ يكفي ان ننظر الى مسلسل الفشل، الذي لحق بمشاريعهم العسكرية والسياسية، بدءاً بهزيمة الجيش الإسرائيلي في لبنان سنة 2006، مروراً بالهزيمة الأميركية في العراق وانسحاب الجيش الأميركي من هناك سنة 2011، وصولاً الى هزيمة مشروعهم في إسقاط الدولة السورية وإعادة احتلال العراق، عبر مشروع داعش، وما يحصل في اليمن، من هزائم متلاحقة لقوى العدوان الأميركي الإسرائيلي، بواجهة سعودية إماراتية، وما لهذا الصمود اليمني العظيم والنصر المؤزّر الناجز القريب، للشعب اليمني وقواته المسلحة، من آثار استراتيجية غاية في الأهمية، سواء من جهة المحافظة على حرية الملاحة في المضائق المائية من باب المندب وصولاً الى هرمز والى مداخل المحيط الهندي، عند جزيرة سوقطرى اليمنية المحتلة حالياً، من قبل مرتزقة بن زايد والجيش الإسرائيلي.

إذ انّ صمود اليمن وجيشه ومعهم أنصار الله قد أسهم في إفشال الجهد الأميركي الإسرائيلي في السيطرة على هذه المضائق البحرية الاستراتيجية، الأمر الذي دفع واشنطن وبروكسل وأذنابها في الشرق الأوسط لوضع الخطط الجديدة، التي تهدف الى إنشاء حزام ناري إرهابي، يطوّق روسيا من الجنوب والجنوب الغربي، ويطوّق الصين من الجنوب الغربي (جنوب شرق آسيا في الفلبين/ ابو سياف/ وفي بنغلادش وغيرها من الدول). وكذلك من الغرب، من خلال المناطق الحدودية مع افغانستان وطاجيكستان.

لا نقول انّ إطلاق هذه الخطط العسكرية هو انعكاس لضعف أميركي اطلسي جزافاً، وانما ننطلق في تحديدنا لطبيعة هذه الخطط، من كونها تعبيراً عن غياب الخطط الاستراتيجية، المرتكزة الى واقع ميداني وموازين قوى محددة وواضحة ومدروسة بدقة، وكذلك المرتكزة الى قدرات على دراسة المتغيّرات التي شهدتها الفنون العسكرية في العقدين الاخيرين بشكل خاص وعدم قدرة الجيوش الأميركية والاطلسية على التعامل مع هذه الفنون والتكتيكات، التي كان أبرزها ما استخدم في سورية، من قبل الجيش السوري وقوات حزب الله (الرضوان) والوحدات الرديفة الأخرى من إيرانية وعراقية خضعت جميعها لقيادة الجنرال قاسم سليماني، الذي اضطرت الإدارة الأميركية الى الانتقام منه شخصياً، بسبب ما لحق بها وبمشاريعها من هزائم في “الشرق الاوسط”.

إذا كان قاسم سليماني قد أخرجك من مشهد الدولة العظمى يا ترامب وحوّلك الى جمهورية موز. فإنّ آلاف قاسم سليماني بانتظار الإشارة ليحوّلوا ما تبقى من امبراطوريتك الهزيلة الى هشيم تذروه الرياح.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

What’s at stake in the Armenia-Azerbaijan chessboard

What’s at stake in the Armenia-Azerbaijan chessboard

October 01, 2020

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Few geopolitical hot spots across the planet may rival the Caucasus: that intractable, tribal Tower of Babel, throughout History a contentious crossroads of empires from the Levant and nomads from the Eurasian steppes. And it gets even messier when one adds the fog of war.

To try to shed some light into the current Armenia-Azerbaijan face off, let’s crisscross the basic facts with some essential deep background.

Late last month Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s proverbial “strongman”, in power since 2003, launched a de facto war on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh held by Armenia.

At the collapse of the USSR, Nagorno-Karabakh had a mixed population of Azeri Shi’ites and Armenian Christians. Yet even before the collapse the Azerbaijani Army and Armenian independentists were already at war (1988-1994), which yielded a grim balance of 30,000 dead and roughly a million wounded.

The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1991: but that was not recognized by the “international community”. Finally there was a ceasefire in 1994 – with Nagorno-Karabakh entering the gray area/no man’s land of “frozen conflict”.

The problem is that in 1993, the United Nations had approved no less than four resolutions – 822, 853, 874 and 884 – establishing that Armenia should withdraw from what was deemed to be roughly 20% of Azerbaijani territory. This is at the core of Baku’s rationale to fight against what it qualifies as a foreign occupation army.

Yerevan’s interpretation though is that these four resolutions are null and void because Nagorno-Karabakh harbors an Armenian-majority population who wants to secede from Azerbaijan.

Historically, Artsakh is one of three ancient provinces of Armenia – rooted at least in the 5th century B.C. and finally established in 189 B.C. Armenians, based on DNA samples from excavated bones, argue they have been settled in Artsakh for at least 4,000 years.

Artsakh – or Nagorno-Karabakh – was annexed to Azerbaijan by Stalin in 1923. That set the stage for a future powder keg to inevitably explode.

It’s important to remember that there was no “Azerbaijan” nation-state until the early 1920s. Historically, Azerbaijan is a territory in northern Iran. Azeris are very well integrated within the Islamic Republic. So the Republic of Azerbaijan actually borrowed its name from their Iranian neighbors. In ancient history, the territory of the new 20th century republic was known as Atropatene, and Aturpakatan before the advent of Islam.

How the equation changed

Baku’s main argument is that Armenia is blocking a contiguous Azerbaijani nation, as a look in the map shows us that southwest Azerbaijan is de facto split all the way to the Iranian border.

And that plunges us necessarily into deep background. To clarify matters, there could not be a more reliable guide than a top Caucasus think tank expert who shared his analysis with me by email, but is insistent on “no attribution”. Let’s call him Mr. C.

Mr. C notes that, “for decades, the equation remained the same and the variables in the equation remained the same, more or less. This was the case notwithstanding the fact that Armenia is an unstable democracy in transition and Azerbaijan had much more continuity at the top.”

We should all be aware that “Azerbaijan lost territory right at the beginning of the restoration of its statehood, when it was basically a failed state run by armchair nationalist amateurs [before Heydar Aliyev, Ilham’s father, came to power]. And Armenia was a mess, too but less so when you take into consideration that it had strong Russian support and Azerbaijan had no one. Back in the day, Turkey was still a secular state with a military that looked West and took its NATO membership seriously. Since then, Azerbaijan has built up its economy and increased its population. So it kept getting stronger. But its military was still underperforming.”

That slowly started to change in 2020: “Basically, in the past few months you’ve seen incremental increases in the intensity of near daily ceasefire violations (the near-daily violations are nothing new: they’ve been going on for years). So this blew up in July and there was a shooting war for a few days. Then everyone calmed down again.”

All this time, something important was developing in the background: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power in May 2018, and Aliyev started to talk: “The Azerbaijani side thought this indicated Armenia was ready for compromise (this all started when Armenia had a sort of revolution, with the new PM coming in with a popular mandate to clean house domestically). For whatever reason, it ended up not happening.”

What happened in fact was the July shooting war.

Don’t forget Pipelineistan

Armenian PM Pashinyan could be described as a liberal globalist. The majority of his political team is pro-NATO. Pashinyan went all guns blazing against former Armenian President (1998- 2008) Robert Kocharian, who before that happened to be, crucially, the de facto President of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Kocharian, who spent years in Russia and is close to President Putin, was charged with a nebulous attempt at “overthrowing the constitutional order”. Pashinyan tried to land him in jail. But even more crucial is the fact that Pashinyan refused to follow a plan elaborated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to finally settle the Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh mess.

In the current fog of war, things are even messier. Mr. C stresses two points: “First, Armenia asked for CSTO protection and got bitch slapped, hard and in public; second, Armenia threatened to bomb the oil and gas pipelines in Azerbaijan (there are several, they all run parallel, and they supply not just Georgia and Turkey but now the Balkans and Italy). With regards to the latter, Azerbaijan basically said: if you do that, we’ll bomb your nuclear reactor.”

The Pipelineistan angle is indeed crucial: for years I have followed on Asia Times these myriad, interlocking oil and gas soap operas, especially the BTC (Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan), conceived by Zbigniew Brzezinski to bypass Iran. I was even “arrested” by a BP 4X4 when I was tracking the pipeline on a parallel side road out of the massive Sangachal terminal: that proved British Petroleum was in practice the real boss, not the Azerbaijani government.

In sum, now we have reached the point where, according to Mr. C,

“Armenia’s saber rattling got more aggressive.” Reasons, on the Armenian side, seem to be mostly domestic: terrible handling of Covid-19 (in contrast to Azerbaijan), and the dire state of the economy. So, says Mr. C, we came to a toxic concourse of circumstances: Armenia deflected from its problems by being tough on Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan just had had enough.

It’s always about Turkey

Anyway one looks at the Armenia-Azerbaijan drama, the key destabilizing factor is now Turkey.

Mr. C notes how, “throughout the summer, the quality of the Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises increased (both prior to July events and subsequently). The Azerbaijani military got a lot better. Also, since the fourth quarter of 2019 the President of Azerbaijan has been getting rid of the (perceived) pro-Russian elements in positions of power.” See, for instance, here.

There’s no way to confirm it either with Moscow or Ankara, but Mr. C advances what President Erdogan may have told the Russians: “We’ll go into Armenia directly if a) Azerbaijan starts to lose, b) Russia goes in or accepts CSTO to be invoked or something along those lines, or c) Armenia goes after the pipelines. All are reasonable red lines for the Turks, especially when you factor in the fact that they don’t like the Armenians very much and that they consider the Azerbaijanis brothers.”

It’s crucial to remember that in August, Baku and Ankara held two weeks of joint air and land military exercises. Baku has bought advanced drones from both Turkey and Israel. There’s no smokin’ gun, at least not yet, but Ankara may have hired up to 4,000 Salafi-jihadis in Syria to fight – wait for it – in favor of Shi’ite-majority Azerbaijan, proving once again that “jihadism” is all about making a quick buck.

The United Armenian Information Center, as well as the Kurdish Afrin Post, have stated that Ankara opened two recruitment centers – in Afrin schools – for mercenaries. Apparently this has been a quite popular move because Ankara slashed salaries for Syrian mercenaries shipped to Libya.

There’s an extra angle that is deeply worrying not only for Russia but also for Central Asia. According to the former Foreign Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, Ambassador Extraordinary Arman Melikyan, mercenaries using Azeri IDs issued in Baku may be able to infiltrate Dagestan and Chechnya and, via the Caspian, reach Atyrau in Kazakhstan, from where they can easily reach Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

That’s the ultimate nightmare of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – shared by Russia, China and the Central Asian “stans”: a jihadi land – and (Caspian) sea – bridge from the Caucasus all the way to Central Asia, and even Xinjiang.

What’s the point of this war?

So what happens next? A nearly insurmountable impasse, as Mr. C outlines it:

1. “The peace talks are going nowhere because Armenia is refusing to budge (to withdraw from occupying Nagorno-Karabakh plus 7 surrounding regions in phases or all at once, with the usual guarantees for civilians, even settlers – note that when they went in in the early 1990s they cleansed those lands of literally all Azerbaijanis, something like between 700,000 and 1 million people).”

2. Aliyev was under the impression that Pashinyan “was willing to compromise and began preparing his people and then looked like someone with egg on his face when it didn’t happen.”

3. “Turkey has made it crystal clear it will support Azerbaijan unconditionally, and has matched those words with deeds.”

4. “In such circumstances, Russia got outplayed – in the sense that they had been able to play off Armenia against Azerbaijan and vice versa, quite successfully, helping to mediate talks that went nowhere, preserving the status quo that effectively favored Armenia.”

And that brings us to the crucial question. What’s the point of this war?

Mr. C: “It is either to conquer as much as possible before the “international community” [in this case, the UNSC] calls for / demands a ceasefire or to do so as an impetus for re-starting talks that actually lead to progress. In either scenario, Azerbaijan will end up with gains and Armenia with losses. How much and under what circumstances (the status and question of Nagorno-Karabakh is distinct from the status and question of the Armenian occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh) is unknown: i.e. on the field of battle or the negotiating table or a combo of both. However this turns out, at a minimum Azerbaijan will get to keep what it liberated in battle. This will be the new starting point. And I suspect that Azerbaijan will do no harm to the Armenian civilians that stay. They’ll be model liberators. And they’ll take time to bring back Azerbaijani civilians (refugees/IDPs) to their homes, especially in areas that would become mixed as a result of return.”

So what can Moscow do under these circumstances? Not much,

“except to go into Azerbaijan proper, which they won’t do (there’s no land border between Russia and Armenia; so although Russia has a military base in Armenia with one or more thousand troops, they can’t just supply Armenia with guns and troops at will, given the geography).”

Crucially, Moscow privileges the strategic partnership with Armenia – which is a member of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) – while meticulously monitoring each and every NATO-member Turkey’s movement: after all, they are already in opposing sides in both Libya and Syria.

So, to put it mildly, Moscow is walking on a geopolitical razor’s edge. Russia needs to exercise restraint and invest in a carefully calibrated balancing act between Armenia and Azerbaijan; must preserve the Russia-Turkey strategic partnership; and must be alert to all, possible US Divide and Rule tactics.

Inside Erdogan’s war

So in the end this would be yet another Erdogan war?

The inescapable Follow the Money analysis would tells us, yes. The Turkish economy is an absolute mess, with high inflation and a depreciating currency. Baku has a wealth of oil-gas funds that could become readily available – adding to Ankara’s dream of turning Turkey also into an energy supplier.

Mr. C adds that anchoring Turkey in Azerbaijan would lead to “the creation of full-fledged Turkish military bases and the inclusion of Azerbaijan in the Turkish orbit of influence (the “two countries – one nation” thesis, in which Turkey assumes supremacy) within the framework of neo-Ottomanism and Turkey’s leadership in the Turkic-speaking world.”

Add to it the all-important NATO angle. Mr. C essentially sees it as Erdogan, enabled by Washington, about to make a NATO push to the east while establishing that immensely dangerous jihadi channel into Russia: “This is no local adventure by Erdogan. I understand that Azerbaijan is largely Shi’ite Islam and that will complicate things but not render his adventure impossible.”

This totally ties in with a notorious RAND report that explicitly details how “the United States could try to induce Armenia to break with Russia” and “encourage Armenia to move fully into the NATO orbit.”

It’s beyond obvious that Moscow is observing all these variables with extreme care. That is reflected, for instance, in how irrepressible Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, earlier this week, has packaged a very serious diplomatic warning: “The downing of an Armenian SU-25 by a Turkish F-16, as claimed by the Ministry of Defense in Armenia, seems to complicate the situation, as Moscow, based on the Tashkent treaty, is obligated to offer military assistance to Armenia”.

It’s no wonder both Baku and Yerevan got the message and are firmly denying anything happened.

The key fact remains that as long as Armenia proper is not attacked by Azerbaijan, Russia will not apply the CSTO treaty and step in. Erdogan knows this is his red line. Moscow has all it takes to put him in serious trouble – as in shutting off gas supplies to Turkey. Moscow, meanwhile, will keep helping Yerevan with intel and hardware – flown in from Iran. Diplomacy rules – and the ultimate target is yet another ceasefire.

Pulling Russia back in

Mr. C advances the strong possibility – and I have heard echoes from Brussels – that “the EU and Russia find common cause to limit Azerbaijani gains (in large part because Erdogan is no one’s favorite guy, not just because of this but because of the Eastern Med, Syria, Libya).”

That brings to the forefront the renewed importance of the UNSC in imposing a ceasefire. Washington’s role at the moment is quite intriguing. Of course, Trump has more important things to do at the moment. Moreover, the Armenian diaspora in the US swings drastically pro-Democrat.

Then, to round it all up, there’s the all-important Iran-Armenia relationship. Here is a forceful attempt to put it in perspective.

As Mr. C stresses, “Iran favors Armenia, which is counter-intuitive at first sight. So the Iranians may help the Russians out (funneling supplies), but on the other hand they have a good relationship with Turkey, especially in the oil and gas smuggling business. And if they get too overt in their support, Trump has a casus belli to get involved and the Europeans may not like to end up on the same side as the Russians and the Iranians. It just looks bad. And the Europeans hate to look bad.”

We inevitably come back to the point that the whole drama can be interpreted from the perspective of a NATO geopolitical hit against Russia – according to quite a few analyses circulating at the Duma.

Ukraine is an absolute black hole. There’s the Belarus impasse. Covid-19. The Navalny circus. The “threat” to Nord Stream-2.

To pull Russia back into the Armenia-Azerbaijan drama means turning Moscow’s attention towards the Caucasus so there’s more Turkish freedom of action in other theaters – in the Eastern Mediterranean versus Greece, in Syria, in Libya. Ankara – foolishly – is engaged in simultaneous wars on several fronts, and with virtually no allies.

What this means is that even more than NATO, monopolizing Russia’s attention in the Caucasus most of all may be profitable for Erdogan himself. As Mr. C stresses, “in this situation, the Nagorno-Karabakh leverage/’trump card’ in the hands of Turkey would be useful for negotiations with Russia.”

No question: the neo-Ottoman sultan never sleeps.

Related

The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane!

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.
  • There is exactly zero evidence that the mineral water bottle which the Germans claim contained traces of, what else, “Novichok”, ever was anywhere near Navalnyi or even that it ever was in Russia. No such bottle was found by, or mentioned to the Russian investigators. This bottle was, allegedly, hidden from the FSB by Navalnyi supporters, and secretly brought to Germany. What that means in terms of “chain of custody” is self-evident.
  • As I have mentioned in my past article, if what the German authorities are claiming is true, then the Russians are truly the dumbest imbeciles on the planet. Not content to use this now famous “Novichok” gas against Skripal in the UK and after failing to kill Skripal, these stupid Russians decided to try the very same gas, only “improved”, and they failed again: Navalnyi is quite alive and well, thank you!
  • Then there is this: according to the imperial propaganda machine, Novichok was so horribly dangerous, that the Brits had to use full biosuits to investigate the alleged poisoning of Skripal. They also said that they would completely destroy the dangerous Skripal home (though they never did that). The self same propaganda machine says that the Novichok used on Navalnyi was a more powerful, improved version. Okay. Then try to answer this one: why did the Russians NOT put on biosuits, why did not a single passenger suffer from any side effects (inside a closed aircraft cabin!)? How is it that this super-dooper Novichok not only failed to kill Navalnyi (who, allegedly, ingested it!) but also failed to even moderately inconvenience anybody from the many people Navalnyi was surrounded by on that day?

I could continue to deconstruct all this nonsense, but that would take pages. I will mention two thing though:

First, the Russians have requested any and all evidence available to the Germans and to the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – but they got absolutely nothing in return. Yet the EU is demanding an investigation (which is already under way in Russia anyway!) as if the Russians did not want the exact same!

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

Second, Navalnyi apparently has an immunity to otherwise deadly Russian biological agents, just take a look at him on this post-Novichok photo:

[By the way, the first time around the Brits also never gave the Russians any information, nevermind any kind of evidence. Apparently, to hide some super-secret secrets. Yeah, right!]

Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus.

To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special “Marshall Plan for Belarus”, to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the “Leader of Belarus” (whatever that means).

As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened “Juanita Guaido”

But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.

What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don’t care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.

Still, I think that the “top honor” in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea (see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland’s entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse!) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don’t count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin’s expression, start oinking) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper “hydrosonic” weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the “armed forces” of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of “show of force”. Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a “Russian lake” and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей, which can be translated as “trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom”.

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about “the best XYZ in the world”). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

Well, they apparently can hide these truisms from most of their public opinion: Trump promises super-dooper missiles and big red buttons, and his supporters immediately wave (Chinese made) US flags! But I assure you that the Russians (political leaders and even the general public) know what the real score is.

Yet the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results”.

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov’s great column “Russia Steal Everything”.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat!

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated “doubleplusgoodthinking” into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of “proof” or “evidence” which we have replaced with variations on the “highly likely” theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with “rules-based international order“. In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the “Empire of illusions” and of the “triumph of spectacle”. He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big “master plan”, no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire’s ruling classes.

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