The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism 

By Darko Lazar

During the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the Western military alliance devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. The long list of targets included 19 hospitals, 18 kindergartens, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges. 

Several weeks into the military campaign, which was fiercely opposed by Russia and China, a total of five satellite-guided bombs, delivered by American B-2 bombers, slammed into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. 

The attack on the symbol of Chinese sovereignty in the heart of the Balkans killed three Chinese nationals and wounded twenty others. 

Washington and Brussels claimed the attack was a mistake. But NATO’s increasingly bloody push eastwards would have unintended consequences. 

The Belt and Road Initiative vs. Western dictates 

Just a few months after the bombing of Serbia, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin was quietly pushed out of office and replaced by the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin.

When Putin won his first election in 2000, he is rumored to have had two inauguration ceremonies. One was held in full view of the global media and another unfolded in the Kremlin’s underground chambers. 

There he was joined by a small group of Russian military officers and operatives from the country’s security apparatus. These men understood that it was only a matter of time before NATO bombs started falling on downtown Moscow, and the decision had been made to confront Western expansionism. 

In the years that followed, China and Russia would join hands with Iran to suppress American influence though the creation of a Eurasian union made up of sovereign and independent nations. 

This ambitious scheme reached Serbia in the form of Russian military hardware and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Beijing found a reliable partner in the government of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and in less than a decade, the Chinese poured billions of dollars in investments into the Balkan state. 

The investments propped up critical industries in Serbia, including a copper mine, a steelmaker, and a thermal power plant. While safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs and driving much-needed growth, the Chinese were also building new bridges, roads, and ports. 

Meanwhile, Vucic adopted an intelligent foreign policy – one made possible by the reemergence of a multipolar world. He reached out to both east and west and then took the best deal on the table. But the West had little to offer. 

Most of the exchanges with Brussels consisted of dictates. No longer able to bomb embassies, the West demanded Belgrade introduce ‘political reforms’ and restrict Chinese investments. 

Western political elites remained convinced that China and Russia have nothing to offer countries like Serbia that could rival joining ‘democratic’ Western alliances. 

The coronavirus pandemic delivered yet another serious blow to this arrogant and abominable point of view.     

Solidarity and fairytales

As coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe earlier this month, Vucic declared that “European solidarity does not exist.” 

“This was a fairytale on paper,” Vucic said as he announced a state of emergency in his country. “Today I sent a special letter to the only ones who can help, and that is China.” 

He explained that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping “not only as a dear friend, but as a brother” to provide Serbia desperately needed assistance after the EU imposed a ban on exports of medical equipment.  

Once again, when time came for building bridges instead of destroying them, the great humanitarians of the West had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Chinese gear and experts flooded Serbia virtually overnight.

Beijing’s assistance and strict measures imposed by the government early on helped Serbia stave off disaster.   

But Serbia isn’t the only country receiving planeloads of supplies from the east. Chinese medical equipment is being sent to Iran, Iraq, and a number of European states including Italy where over 10,000 people have thus far perished due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Italy – the first EU state to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019 – turned to China after its plea for help from its European neighbors was refused. 

Similar acts of solidarity came from the Russians and some Latin American states. The Cubans flew their doctors to Italy and were asked to return to Brazil where they were expelled in 2018 and labeled “Communist spies” by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

Meanwhile, Western powerhouses are looking inwards. As they cling onto stocks depleted by years of healthcare cuts, the Trump administration was reportedly caught offering piles of money for ‘exclusive rights’ to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imprisoned by their own twisted interpretations of human rights, many of these governments were slow to react. They hesitated in following the Chinese model and imposing drastic restrictions on freedom of movement. Instead they were worried about profits and how the stock markets would react. 

And even as the U.S. becomes the new epicenter of this pandemic, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to potentially risk millions of American lives by reopening the country in just a few weeks.

This brutal face of capitalism is also on full display for Washington’s adversaries, namely Iran and Venezuela, where unilateral sanctions are preventing the delivery of desperately needed medical supplies.  

As such, Western governments and their policies are not only endangering individual nation states. At a time when a highly infectious disease is spreading at an unprecedented speed, these policies are threatening the entire global population. 

De omnibus dubitandum est

Despite extensive global coverage of this pandemic, very little is actually known about Covid-19. We don’t know how dangerous the virus is or its concrete consequences. And we certainly don’t have tangible details about what caused the outbreak. 

This leaves plenty of room for speculation, conspiracy theories, and even talk about aliens. Whatever the truth, biological warfare involving powerful political currents can never be ruled out. 

In an op-ed published more than two years ago, Al-Ahed pointed to the existence of hundreds of American military biological laboratories across the Eurasian continent. The labs were being used by the Pentagon to gather intelligence on microorganisms – vital for the creation of highly effective biological weapons. 

There is no doubt that the coronavirus transcends borders and religions and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. But that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t helping further certain political agendas. 

The coronavirus has done what “Israel’s” politicians have failed to do for over a year. It’s brought an end to the political deadlock with indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to form the next government. 

By bringing the global economy to a screeching halt, Covid-19 has given birth to another Great Depression and paved the way for the collapse of certain governments. 

Equally important is the fact that the virus has the potential to determine the outcome of every single election process in the Western world for some time to come, including the U.S. presidential race. 

At times like these, it would be wise to remember the words of the late Danish philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard who titled one of his books, De omnibus dubitandum est or “everything must be doubted”. 

Al-Jaafari calls for lifting economic coercive measures imposed on Syria in the light of coronavirus outbreak globally

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:15 

ST

New York, (ST)_Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, called for lifting the illegitimate economic, coercive measures imposed on Syria and other states, particularly after the spread of Coronavirus in the world. 

Al-Jaafari, speaking at a UN Security council session on the situation in Syria via video, said that the continuation of the economic sanctions stresses the hypocrisy adopted by some sides in dealing with the humanitarian situation in Syria and those states. 

He thanked the People’s Republic of China, for presiding over the work of the Council in these difficult and exceptional circumstances, and for China’s efforts in assisting 89 member states affected by the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in a true embodiment of the values and meanings of international cooperation, humanitarian feeling and impartial implementation of the responsibility of the Presidency of the Council in maintaining international peace and security under the provisions of the Charter. 

Al-Jaafari expressed hope to jointly overcome the catastrophic repercussions of this pandemic. This pandemic has united our peoples away from the efforts of some governments to create a rift between them, and revealed the fragility of the international structures that have existed since the end of the Second World War, and their inability to serve humanity and mankind. 

In this context, the Syrian delegation reiterated its strong condemnation of the unilateral economic coercive measures used by some governments of member states of this organization as a weapon in their sinful war against Syria, and on other member states, which prevent, among other things, the Syrians and their medical healthcare workers from obtaining their basic needs to prevent this pandemic and dealing with possible cases of infection, as well as preventing the provision of food needs and basic services to Syrians. 

“Persistence of imposing these unjust coercive measures that violate international law, the Charter of the United Nations and human rights instruments, and not responding to our repeated requests to end them, the most recent of which is contained in the joint letter sent by the Permanent Representatives of eight countries: China, Cuba, DPRK, Nicaragua, Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela to His the Secretary-General on 25 March 2020, demonstrate once again, what we have always emphasized in terms of hypocrisy that some have adopted in dealing with the humanitarian situation in my country and other countries. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the prompt positive response of the Secretary-General to the initiative of the eight countries,” al-Jaafari said. 

He added that Syria has received recently a number of high ranking officials of international organizations partnering with the Syrian government in humanitarian work, including Mrs. Henrietta Four, UNICEF Executive Director, and Mr. David Paisley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The discussions with them were positive, and included stressing the pursuit of joint cooperation, in a manner consistent with the principles of non-politicized humanitarian action, and the willingness of the Syrian government to facilitate access to all parts of the country from within Syrian territory and through a mechanism that includes alongside the Syrian state both the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to ensure that aid reaches those who deserve it and that it does not reach terrorists. 

“Syria has affirmed to its partners the necessity to compel the Turkish regime and its affiliated terrorist organizations to stop their crimes, and to enable the Syrian civilians detained by these terrorist organizations in some areas of Idleb to return to their homes in areas liberated from terrorism, and to provide immediate assistance to them from inside Syria, and support national efforts to normalize life once again,” al-Jaafari affirmed. 

He went on to say that Syria stresses that it is unacceptable to allow the terrorism-sponsoring Turkish regime to take advantage of the suffering of the Syrian refugees and use them as a bargaining card to blackmail Europe and pressure European governments to support this regime militarily under the umbrella of NATO or to give it advantages and privileges of European Union countries. It is also unacceptable to tolerate the Turkish regime’s support for terrorism and to transfer publicly, without shame, terrorists from Idleb to Libya and to other countries, after it had transferred, several years ago, many terrorists from Libya to Syria. 

“The Syrian delegation again draws the kind attention of the Security Council to the fact that the doors of Syria are wide open to receive Syrian refugees to return to their homeland, and that the Syrian state has created all conditions to ensure a dignified return to them,” al-Jaafari said. 

He condemned the prevention by the American forces and their affiliated terrorist gangs, which occupy al-Tanf area in which the Rukban camp is located, of the return of displaced persons in the camp to their chosen areas of residence. The Syrian government reaffirms its full readiness to facilitate their return and rid them of the inhuman conditions in which they live, and the exploitation of American occupation forces and their tools, which claim that they are unwilling to return. 

“The terrorist organizations supported by the Turkish regime still impose their control on some areas of Idleb Governorate,” al-Jaafari added. 

He went on to say that on Monday, March 16th, 2020, those terrorist organizations, supported by the Turkish occupation forces, attacked the facilities of humanitarian NGOs in the cities of Idleb and Ariha in northwest Syria, looting and seizing their assets, and assaulting their volunteers. 

“In my letter sent to your good self on March 24th, 2020, I conveyed to you that Erdogan’s regime and its terrorist proxies continue to use water as war weapon against civilians in Al-Hassaka city and surrounding congregations north-east Syria. It keeps cutting of the water from Allok station and its wells which prevents million Syrian civilians, the majority of which is children and women, from drinking water. This is a war crime especially in the time we are all trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic,” al-Jaafari said. 

He stressed that some member states and OCHA were dead silent in dealing with such information, while they broke all hell loose because of alleged rumors of Gaziantep office, which became a hub for terrorist organizations and their supporting countries with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of the Syrian government. 

“In the phone call between the Syrian and the Russian presidents, on March 6th 2020, my government welcomed the achievements of the Russian leadership on March 5th, that adds to the efforts aiming to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria expressed in the latest agreement. Furthermore, the agreement stressed the necessity of combating terrorism. The Syrian government has been fully committed to all ceasefire agreements that were concluded previously, and this also applies to the recent Moscow agreement concerning Idleb. Although we do not trust the Turkish part, that has not honored the two year- old Astana agreements, nor Sochi agreement that was concluded a year and a half ago before Moscow agreement, we are looking forward to the full and timely implementation of Moscow agreement by the Turkish regime’s terrorist groups, since it has guaranteed their commitment, the Syrian diplomat said. 

He underlined that Pederson has just conveyed to the UN that the Syrian national delegation accepted the agenda to continue the work of the constitutional committee. “Thus, the other party no longer has any excuse to evade its responsibilities, especially that its empty maneuvers and futile attempts were behind the impediment of the constitutional committee work. We were also informed that during the last period, the Syrian national delegation has suggested many proposals for an agenda according to the rules of procedure, but they were all rejected without any explanation, which led to the disruption of the Committee’s third session, until now,” al-Jaafari concluded.

COVID-19: UN Revisits Orwell, Goebbels, for Guidance on Syria Recolonization

March 30, 2020 Miri Wood

Al Zabadani Hospital in Damascus, disinfected & designated isolation facility.

As COVID-19 ravages the ill-prepared western world with death, panic, and shortages of essential materials, the UN has been busy figuring out how to link Orwell and Goebbels for the purpose of recolonization of Syria.

During the recent period, a small battalion of NATO stenography journalism have engaged in a not insubstantial amount of rug chewing, outraged there was no corona outbreak in Syria. Some even went so far as to try to spread rumors, based on made-up sources.

A gaggle contingent even tried a slight besmirching of WHO’s EMRO, on and after 5 March when it reported on its website that Syria was COVID-19 free, and that rumors should halt. On 13 March, Syria announced that schools would be closed as a precautionary measure. On 17 March, the government disinfected public transit in Aleppo and disinfected the Damascus International Airport.

Continue here

THE ISTANBUL CANAL AS AN INSTRUMENT OF ERDOGAN’S MULTIPOLARITY

South Front

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

From Father of Turks to Father of Ottomans

Turkey’s president Erdogan will no doubt go down in history as the leader who overturned the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and ended the country’s experiment as a secular nation-state. Perhaps that experiment was doomed to fail from the start—Turkish leaders over the decades have never found a workable formula for including the Kurds in the larger Turkish body politic, except through policies of forcible assimilation. Erdogan, however, was the first to decide to put an end to it and instead reorganize Turkey around principles of neo-Ottomanism and pan-Turkism, in which the economically powerful, politically viable, and culturally proximate Turkish state would no longer seek to join the European Union. Instead it would become a source of international governance, development, and security assistance to the polities which emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, and even to those which were not part of the empire.

As this policy was guaranteed to provoke a negative reaction from every other power player in the region, including Turkey’s ostensible allies in NATO, Erdogan ended up pursuing a policy of “equidistance” with every politically relevant player in his neighborhood. NATO, yes, but also S-400 from Russia. Allowing Russian military flights to use Turkish airspace, yes, but also sales of Bayraktar attack drones and other military equipment to Ukraine. Turkish Stream, yes, but also the Instanbul Canal.

Ending Montreaux

The 1936 Montreaux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits is but one of many Ataturk’s legacies. Signed in 1936 in the Montreaux Palace in Switzerland, it is arguably the only arms control treaty of the interwar era still extant. At the time, it represented an effort to put an end to the centuries of conflict over the control of the Black Sea Straits by giving Turkey control while at the same time limiting other powers’ ability to project naval military power in or out of the Black Sea. In some respects the restrictions on the passage of warships are very real. For example, the Convention allows no more than nine warships with a total displacement of 15 thousand tons to pass through the Straits at any one time. In practice it means a single US AEGIS cruiser or destroyer, and while nothing prevents additional ships from passing later, the total tonnage of foreign warships belonging to powers that do not have Black Sea coastlines of their own cannot exceed 30 thousand tons (45 thousand in exceptional cases), which, again, limits the US Navy to no more than 2-3 AEGIS ships. Combined with a ban on capital ships, which includes aircraft carriers, from foreign navies, it means NATO would be hard-pressed to mount a serious aeronaval operation against any target on the Black Sea. While Montreaux was not greatly tested during World War 2, and the Warsaw Pact aerial and naval preponderance meant challenging it would be a futile exercise in the first place, it has proven its worth in the last decade, particularly after the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation. Had it not been in place, NATO’s demonstrations of force in the Black Sea might have been considerably more muscular, to the point of accidentally triggering an armed confrontation. While Russia has always been a supporter of the Montreaux Convention, its current relative military weakness in the Black Sea, where it faces the navies of three NATO member states and currently also that of Ukraine, means the Convention is all the more important to its security.

However, the proposed Istanbul Canal is not covered by the Montreaux Convention, as it specifically pertains to regulating military traffic through the Straits. To be sure, interested parties are bound to argue the intent of the Convention was to cover the passage of naval warships in and out of the Black Sea, and establish a certain level of collective security there. With that in mind, it should not matter whether foreign warships enter the Black Sea via the Straits or through the new Istanbul Canal. Moreover, even when the Canal is functioning any warship entering the Black Sea will have to have passed through one of the two straits—the Dardanelles, since the Istanbul Canal, if completed, will bypass only one of the two straits. The Montreaux Convention specifically refers to the “regime of the Straits”, not a regime of the Bosphorus. Nevertheless, one can be equally certain that some interested parties will make the legalistic argument that that the Montreaux Convention only regulates the passage of warships that pass through both of the straits. Ships may, after all, gain access to the Sea of Marmara that separates the two straits without restrictions placed on ships passing into the Black Sea. Turkish officials have been ambiguous on the future status of the Montreaux Convention, should Istanbul Canal enter into operation.

Gas Warfare

The second dimension of the proposed canal is economic. While the Montreaux Convention does not regulate the passage of cargo ships through the straits, the Bosphorus in particular remains a relatively narrow and convoluted passageway. When one also considers the high population density on both banks of the Bosphorus, the use of this strait by oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers raises particular safety concerns. Indeed, up to about 2015 the Turkish government prohibited LNG carriers from traversing the Bosphorus. While this changed during Erdogan’s rule, the ever-present danger of a serious incident means it is only a temporary solution.

Thus even if Turkey opts to apply Montreaux Convention rules on passage of warships remain unaffected, Istanbul Canal will have the potential to considerably increase tanker traffic in and out of the Black Sea. In view of Erdogan’s interest in building up relations with Ukraine, and Ukraine’s search for alternative sources of natural gas, the Canal would have the effect of increasing Turkey’s sphere of influence over the Black Sea. At the moment, there is not a single LNG terminal anywhere on the Black Sea. However, that could change once the construction of the canal moves forward. The most likely candidates are Ukraine, with a proposed site in Odessa, and Romania, with the natural location being Konstanta. US interest in promoting its own interests and expanding political control through oil and gas exports means that either or both projects would be met with enthusiastic US support.

The Mentally Sick Man of Europe

While even the most optimistic estimates do not predict the canal could be built in less than a decade, at a cost approaching $100 billion. Turkey’s own financial situation is not such that it can allow itself such a luxury without undermining other projects, and Erdogan’s ability to alienate other leaders means outside funding might be difficult to come by, particularly if outside funding means outside control over the canal. Yet the whole idea behind the canal is that it should serve the sovereign needs of Turkey. In such circumstances, who would be willing to bankroll Erdogan’s unpredictable whims? No amount of refugee crises is liable to extract that kind of a contribution from the European Union, and US funding would naturally come with US control. So it is no surprise the project’s initial construction start date of 2013 has slipped rather dramatically. Even right now, in 2020, the Turkish government is only talking about launching a tender to select firms that would be engaged in its construction.

Therefore at the moment Istanbul Canal is confined to the realm of pipe dreams. In order for it to be completed, it would have to become the biggest state priority in Turkish politics, and would require international financial and possibly also technological support. While there is no doubting Erdogan’s determination to transform Turkey into a power player capable of dictating its will to its geopolitical neighbors and rivals, the country he governs lacks the capacity for transforming his dreams into reality.

صراع القيَم حول العالم

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

تعرّضت بلادنا منذ عقد من الزمن لحرب ضروس بيننا وبين الإرهاب المعولم والمؤدلج بـ «قيم» الفوضى الخلاقة للشر متخذاً من الدين وقيم الحرية والعدالة والديمقراطية قناعاً يخفي وراءه قباحته وشروره. هدفت الحرب إلى إعادة إنتاج الاتفاق الانجلو – الفرنسي (سايكس – بيكو) باتجاه ما هو أدهى وأمرّ بمزيد من التفتيت والشرذمة، وكان آخر ما حرّرته الجهات المعادية في دفترنا هو صفقة ترامب الأميركية (صفقة القرن). في غمرة تلك الأحداث المزدحمة داهمنا وباء كورونا سالباً منا الطمأنينة والصحة والسلامة وحاصداً آلاف الأرواح ومحاصراً ما يزيد عن مليار شخص في معازل صحية او منزلية، وكثير منهم من الذين لا يجد قوت يومه إلا بيوم عمله.

وإذا كان هذا الوباء يصيب الجهاز التنفسي للإنسان ويدمّره ويؤدّي إلى وفاته، فإنّ هذه الأزمة قد كشفت أنه يصيب بأعراضه النظم السياسية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية أيضاً، ويكشف ماهو منها زائف ومخادع وما هو منها يملك قيماً إنسانية راقية وأخلاقاً نبيلة. فقد تعرّت عورات أنظمة عديدة لطالما تغنّت بالديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان، بالحريات والعدالة الاجتماعية، لا بل وزادت بأن أبدت اهتمامات بالطيور وهجراتها وقردة الباندا وإمكانيات انقراضها، وإذا بها تتهاوى وتتكشف على حقيقتها أمام هذا الوباء فأبدت لنا وجهها القبيح معلنة بصريح القول والعبارة درجة انحطاطها القيمي والأخلاقي بشكل غير مسبوق.

الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب لا يجد في موت آلاف البشر والذين من المرشح أن تتزايد أعدادهم بأصفار عديدة إلى يمين تلك الآلاف، إلا فرصة لتعزيز وضعه الانتخابي أمام الاستحقاق المقبل في تشرين الأول المقبل، ثم لتحقيق أرباح ومكاسب مادية من تجارة الأمصال والعلاجات المداوية له، لم يتوانَ أن يتخلى عن أصدقائه وحلفائه في الناتو من الأوروبيين، تاركاً لهم مهمة نزع أشواكهم بأيديهم. الأمر الذي دعا صحافية إيطالية شجاعة لأن تقدّم هدية لوزير خارجيته بومبيو وهي عبارة عن علبة طعام كلاب ليأكل منها هو ورئيسه وطاقم إدارته علهم يتعلمون من الكلاب بعض الوفاء، فيما نظيره وصديقه بوريس جونسون، أخذ ومستشاره الطبي بنظريات إسبارطية وبعض الأفكار الداروينية والتي ترى أنّ البقاء للأقوى أو فكرة مناعة القطيع، وبمعنى أوضح ليمت من يموت من كبار السن والضعفاء والمرضى بأمراض مزمنة ويرتاح جونسون من مصاريف رعايتهم الصحية والاجتماعية المرتفعة وليبقى الأصحاء فقط، ولم يعد عن ذلك إلا بعد تصاعد الاحتجاجات الشعبية والبرلمانية إثر التقارير الصادرة عن الامبيرال كولدج ذات المصداقية العالية ومركز الأوبئة التابع لها، الأمر الذي دعا جونسون ليخفف من صفاقة أقواله وليعود عن تجاهله لضرورات التصدي للوباء.

الثالث في حلقة الأصدقاء هو بن يامين نتنياهو، فحسب ما ذكرت القناة الثالثة عشرة العبرية أنّ خلافاً قد حصل بين وزير الصحة (الإسرائيلي) ونائبه وهو بروفيسور في علم الأوبئة وذلك في حضور نتنياهو، حيث قدّر البروفيسور أنّ عدد المصابين بالوباء يتجاوز عددهم خمسين ألفاً فيما التقارير الرسمية والإخبارية تتحدث عن إلفين، فيما قال الوزير إنّ الأرقام الحقيقية للمصابين أكبر من الأرقام المعلنة، ولكنها لا تصل إلى الرقم الذي ادّعاه البروفيسور، مع ذلك فما يشغل بال ووقت نتنياهو هو كيفية التهرّب من المحكمة وقضايا الفساد التي تلاحقه، كيف يستطيع البقاء في مقعد رئاسة الوزراء؟ كيف يستطيع أن يستغلّ الانشغال العالمي بالوباء لتنفيذ مخططاته الرامية لضمّ المستوطنات والأغوار ومناطق أخرى من الضفة الغربية؟

مقابل هذه البشاعة وهذا الانحطاط الذي يمارسه هؤلاء لا بحقّ الإنسانية فحسب، وإنما بحق شعوبهم وأهلهم وذويهم، نرى في الجانب المقابل لهذه الصورة البشعة أنّ الصين وهي أول من أصيب بالوباء، وأول من تصدّى له، ومع أنّ شعبها البالغ تعداده مليار ونصف مليار إنسان وأنّ اقتصادها عانى من التراجع أكثر من أيّ اقتصاد آخر، حيث توقفت كثير من صناعاتها عن الإنتاج وتجارتها وسلعها من التداول، مع ذلك كله نراها تحقق نجاحات نسبية في محاصرة الوباء ومكافحته، وتقدّم في الوقت ذاته أفضل ما لديها لخدمة شعبها وتمدّ يد العون والمساعدة لغيرها في مجالات الخبرة والمساعدة العينية، في حين دولة التشيك الصديقة الحميمة لدولة الاحتلال والولايات المتحدة تسرق ما يمرّ عبرها من مساعدات صينية كانت في طريقها إلى إيطاليا. إنه موقف أخلاقي يعبّر عن نبل الشرق وأخلاقة وفلسفاته الإنسانية ويعاكس المواقف والأفكار النيوليبرالية والرأسمالية المتوحشة والمتمثلة في الأميركان وتوابعهم. في المقام ذاته نرى كوبا برغم فقرها وهوانها على الناس في وقت تراجعت فيه قيم الحرية والكرامة والثورة، ها هي تقف بكلّ شجاعة بأطبائها ومعداتهم وأدويتهم، تطوّعاً لا مأجورة لإنقاذ من يفوقها قوة وثراء، ولكنه دونها كرماً وعطاء.

عودة إلى عالمنا العربي الذي يبدو عصياً عن سماع الأخبار (بالطبع بعضه لا كله)، غير مستجيب للمتغيّرات التي أحدثها الوباء، حيث يتحالف السياسي المفرط في قضايا شعبه وأهله مع رجل المال الفاسد والجشع في ثنائية شيطانيّة، الأول يريد أن يبقى جالساً على كرسيه وبالتالي الاستمرار في خدمة مشاريع أعداء بلده ويجد في هذا الوباء دثاراً له والثاني يجد في الوباء فرصة لتحقيق أرباح ومكاسب. لا يوجد ما يشير إلى أنّ تغيّراً في أخلاق وعقول ومسلكيات هؤلاء قد طرأ عليه أيّ تغيّر او تبديل، برغم انّ الموت يترصّد بالجميع حاكماً ومحكوماً، غنيّاً وفقيراً، وهو لا يجد فرقاً في مذاق رئتي الأمير تشارلز ورئتي أيّ مواطن صيني او إيطالي أو غيره، لا فرق أبداً في الطعم والمذاق.

الكورونا تفتك بالعالم، ولكن الحرب على اليمن وقد دخلت عامها السادس لا تزال تستعر وتزداد ضراوة ولا نية على ما يبدو لإيقافها، برغم انّ أكلافها قد تجاوزت نصف تريليون دولار، فهل مَن تحمّل هذه الأكلاف في هذه الحرب القذرة والظالمة يرغب او يقبل أن يدفع جزءاً ولو بسيط منها لإغاثة المليار محاصر في معزله الصحي أو بيته؟ أو لإنتاج أدوية ولقاحات لمعالجة المصابين؟ واليمن ليس إلا مثالاً لما يجري في فلسطين المحتلة وغزة المحاصرة وسورية وليبيا التي لا يزال الإنفاق على تدميرهما على أشدّه.

وإذا كان ما تقدّم عن أهل السياسة فماذا عن حلفائهم وشركائهم من وحوش المال؟ يتداول الناس مقارنة بين هؤلاء وبين مصمّم أزياء إيطالي تبرّع بمعظم ثروته لحكومته لإنقاذ أهله وشعبه فيما مواطنته ممثلة الأفلام الإباحية تتبرّع بستين مليون يورو للسبب ذاته. أثرياؤنا لم يتبرّعوا إلا بالفتات ولذرّ الرماد بالعيون، فكلّ ما سمعناه عن كرمهم وعطائهم في هذه الأزمة يقلّ كثيراً عما تبرّعت به مومس إيطالية تفوقهم شرفاً وعفة وكرماً وعطاء وانتماء لبلدها ولشعبها. لا يفكر هذا النوع إلا بكيفية الاستفادة من الأزمة ولتحقيق مزيد من الربح، ولنضرب مثلا أنّ إحدى شركات الخلوي في بلادنا والتي تحقق سنوياً أرباحاً خرافية، فبدل أن تقدّم يد العون أخذت ترسل رسائل sms لزبائنها للاشتراك في تطبيق مدفوع الثمن: اعرف آخر أخبار الكورونا.

هكذا يبدو العالم من حولنا… إفلاس وانكشاف أنظمة لطالما تغنّت بالقيم والمبادئ السامية، نراها بأمّ العين تتمرّغ قيمها المزعومة في أوحال الوباء بشكليه الفيروسي والقيمي، وفيما أنظمة لطالما اتهمت من قبل الفريق الأول بشموليتها وعدم احترامها للإنسان، نراها ترتقي وتسمو على آلامها وجراحها وتقدّم لشعوبها وللعالم خدماتها. وهكذا يبدو شرقنا الذي لم تصل إلى أسماع بعض قادته أخبار الوباء، فواصلوا حروبهم العبثية لقتل أهل فلسطين وسورية واليمن وليبيا تاركين للوباء مهمة قتل مَن لم يقتلوه بأيديهم وأسلحتهم.

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في الضفة الغربية.

NUKES, BUGS, AND GAS IN HYBRID WARS: NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL PROTECTION TROOPS OF RUSSA

South Front

This video was originally released by SouthFront in August 2016. In the coming weeks, SouthFront is going to release a series of exclusive videos covering various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These videos will provide a closer look at means, measures and structures employed by nations to combat the outbreak.

The recent spate of reports that Russian Radio-Chemical Defense (RKhB) Troops  have been deployed to the Yamal Peninsula in order to combat an anthrax breakout among the local fauna brought attention to a relatively unknown and even unglamorous branch of the Russian Armed Forces which is tasked with protecting own forces, infrastructure, and civilian population from the effects of weapons of mass destruction. With a history dating back to Russian Imperial Army’s independent chemical companies of World War I, and extensive service during the Great Patriotic War as smoke-laying and flame-throwing troops, the best known example of RKhB Troops in action is the operation to put out the fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which demonstrated their technical prowess and self-sacrificial dedication to their life-saving mission.

Even though the Cold War, and the prospect of widespread use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, have receded in the public’s mind, having been replaced by terrorism as the most immediate security threat, the recent deterioration of the international situation means that we are likely to see increased usage of these weapons in the coming decades.

The growth in the importance of non-state actors as US and NATO proxy warriors in Libya, Syria, and other parts of the world also have meant that such actors, confident in their Western patronage, may use prohibited weapons with legal impunity. We have seen such use on several occasions in Syria, with “moderate rebels” using nerve agents shipped from the post-Gaddafi Libya and possibly even Saudi Arabia, and more recently resorting to chlorine cylinders. The use of a so-called “dirty bomb”, or a radioactivity dispersal device, is an ever-present threat lurking in the minds of security planners around the world, including Russia. Finally, given the importance of Russia’s agriculture as a pillar of its economy and a component of its national security strategy, the use of pathogens targeting crops and livestock is also a plausible threat that must be countered. While Russian forces or civilians have not yet been explicitly targeted by such weapons, it is a virtual certainty that they will be used if the West’s so far unsuccessful “hybrid war” against Russia continues. With the West growing increasingly desperate to compel Russia to abandon its sovereignty, and given its until recently unthinkable policies such as arming radical Islamists and neo-Nazis, providing them with weapons of mass destruction for use against Russia cannot be ruled out either.

For that reason, RKhB Troops have also been the beneficiaries of the recent Russian military modernization efforts, and have undergone an expansion following the drastic post-Soviet cutbacks. The core of today’s RKhB Troops consists of four RKhB brigades, stationed one apiece in each of the four military districts. The post-2008 financial crisis rise in international threat levels has prompted an expansion by reactivating 10 RKhB regiments, with each army headquarters receiving a regiment. In addition to conducting radiological, chemical, and biological reconnaissance and decontamination, RKhB Troops retain the traditional roles of smoke-laying and flame-throwing, which means their armament even includes the TOS-1 Solntsepyok rocket self-propelled flamethrowing vehicles that have proven themselves in Syria and Iraq against Islamist militants.

Historically the best equipped chemical troops in the world, Russian RKhB Troops are continuing that tradition to this day, with the introduction of the Nerkhta gas-proof suits and PMK-3 protective masks and the extensive provision of advanced armored reconnaissance vehicles, including the BTR-80-based RKhM-6 and MTLB-based RKhM-5. Recent large-scale military exercises have also featured the employment of RKhB units and troop operations under the conditions of simulated contamination.

Like other recent Russian military preparations, these efforts are intended with deterrence in mind.  Having potent defensive capabilities may be sufficient to dissuade would-be attackers from using such weapons in the first place. However, should deterrence fail, RKhB Troops stand ready to perform their missions.

Pompeo Warns ICC Against Investigating US/Israeli War Crimes

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the International Criminal Court never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless it goes another way for justice never pursued before.

It’s hard taking seriously chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announced probes into whether Israel and the US committed war crimes in Occupied Palestine and Afghanistan respectively.

The former probe was announced in December, the latter one in early March — whitewash twice over their likely outcomes if conducted.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems militantly oppose revealing anything that exposes high crimes committed by the state and those of its imperial allies, notably Israel.

Last December, Pompeo slammed the ICC, saying:

“We firmly oppose…any…action that seeks to target Israel unfairly (sic),” adding:

“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state (sic), and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC (sic).”

Despite a rap sheet of nearly 75 years of high crimes of war, against humanity, and other abuses of international law, Israel was never held accountable — what’s long overdue.

The State of Palestine exists as a PLO-represented UN observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) as the PLO’s legislative body is empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

Bensouda said she’s “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” adding:

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by Israeli forces, evidence indicating they engaged in disproportionate attacks, “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health…and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”

In response to a proposed ICC investigation of US war crimes in Afghanistan, Pompeo said the Trump regime “will not tolerate…attempts to investigate or prosecute Americans,” adding:

“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel.”

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will permitted to enter the United States.”

“We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change its course.”

Perhaps the Trump regime will invade or terror-bomb the court and/or assassinate its prosecutors if they dare investigate and pronounce the US or Israel guilty of high crimes the world community knows both countries committed time and again.

In response to Pompeo’s March remarks, an ICC statement said the court “will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law” — what it never did before so the claim is dubious at best.

In response to Israeli AG Mendelblit’s objection to an ICC investigation of Netanyahu regime war crimes, falsely claiming it has no jurisdiction over Israeli actions, B’Tselem responded as follows:

Mendelblit falsely claimed that there’s no Palestinian state or occupation.

He “conveniently ignor(ed) the facts on the ground, the principles of international law, and the declared positions of the international community,” adding: 

“He glosse(d) over more than 52 years in which Israel has kept the West Bank and Gaza Strip under a cruel, violent occupation regime, transforming the area completely.” 

“Palestinian space is now fragmented into isolated units in which Palestinians live without political rights or any real control over their lives – which are run by various Israeli authorities.”

He also turned reality on its head, claiming Israel and Palestinians negotiate in good faith — what never occurred since Israel’s 1947-48 war of aggression, stealing 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, it took the rest extrajudicially — thereafter seizing Palestinian-owned land dunum by dunum, the process continuing until there’s nothing left but isolated/worthless scrubland, surrounded by Israeli security forces and hostile settlers.

B’Tselem: Israeli regime officials admitted that they do not “view the occupation as temporary and intend to cement control over the Palestinians while dispossessing them of land and rights” — what’s been ongoing since 1947.

Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015. They’re entitled to petition the court to investigate Israeli high crimes too egregious to ignore.

B’Tselem: Throughout Jewish state history, its regimes “enjoyed total immunity regarding its actions in the Occupied Territories.” 

“Domestically, not a single person has paid a significant price for these actions thanks to the almost blanket criminal and civil immunity Israel accords itself.” 

“Internationally, (virtually nothing) has been done to compel Israel to change its policies,” nothing to hold its war criminals accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

“Instead, (the Jewish state) enjoys generous financial benefits and international legitimacy. Israel is now railing against the prospect of actually being held accountable for some of its crimes.”

B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said the following:

“Israel’s attempt to clutch at formalistic straws to evade the ICC’s jurisdiction is shameful.” 

“Since Palestine joined the Rome Statute, it has the right to demand an investigation into the situation there.” 

“Palestine…is under Israeli occupation, whose crimes the ICC has the jurisdiction – and responsibility – to investigate.” 

“We hope the Court will make the right decision, sustain the (chief) prosecutor’s position, and decide: indeed it has jurisdiction – and there will be an investigation.”

If Bensouda is serious about investigating and holding Israel and the US accountable for their high crimes of war and against humanity, she should pursue her mandate in both cases expeditiously without restraint.

It never happened before and most likely won’t seek accountability and justice ahead  against the US and Israel — no matter how grievous their indisputable high crimes.

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