Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, via videoconference, Moscow, June 9, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, via videoconference, Moscow, June 9, 2021

June 10, 2021

Mr Dynkin,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Friends,

I am grateful for the invitation to speak again at the Primakov Readings International Forum. It is one of the most highly respected international venues for a committed professional dialogue, although probably the youngest. I would like to thank the leadership of Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) for suggesting the idea of this forum and for the commendable organisation of this year’s event amid the COVID-19 restrictions.

I would like to welcome all the forum’s participants, who represent the Russian and international community of experts and political analysts. A dialogue on all aspects of the current international order is especially important at this stage.

These readings are integrally connected with the intellectual heritage of Yevgeny Primakov, an outstanding statesman. It was during his term as the Foreign Minister of Russia that the principles of Russia’s current foreign policy were formulated. These principles are independence, pragmatism, a multi-vector approach, respect for international law and openness to cooperation with anyone who is willing to interact on the basis of equality and mutual respect.These principles have been incorporated in the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, which was approved in 2000 after Vladimir Putin’s election as President of Russia and subsequently modified. The current wording of the Concept was adopted in 2016. But the principles I have mentioned, which Academician Primakov formulated, remain effective to this day.

Russia’s major advantage is that these principles allow us to ensure the predictability and sustainability of our foreign policy. This is especially important now that the world order is at an extremely contradictory stage of its development marked by increased turbulence. But as a Chinese saying goes, such periods also offer enormous opportunities, which we must make use of to boost cooperation in the interests of all nations. We can see that positive trends are gaining momentum. I would like to mention in this context primarily the strengthening of the new centres of economic and political influence and the promotion of democracy in interstate relations in general. Incidentally, Yevgeny Primakov predicted this process back in the middle of the 1990s in his concept of a multipolar world.

Russia will energetically promote the continuation of the peaceful movement towards a polycentric world based on the leading states’ collective guidance of efforts to resolve global problems. But we are also realists and hence cannot disregard the stubborn, and I would even say aggressive unwillingness of our Western colleagues to accept this objective reality. We cannot disregard the striving of the collective West to ensure itself a privileged international position at all costs. The results of the upcoming G7, NATO and US-EU summits will be a gauge of the current mentality in the leading Western countries.

Not only Russia but also many others face the situation where the West’s representatives are unprepared for an honest, facts-based dialogue, preferring to act in the “highly likely” spirit. There are many instances of this approach. This is certain to undermine trust in the very idea of dialogue as a method of settling differences and to erode the capabilities of diplomacy as a crucial foreign policy tool.

The zeal, with which our Western colleagues started promoting the notorious “rules-based world order” concept, looks even more irrational and devoid of prospects.  Rules are always needed. Let me remind you that the UN Charter is also a body of rules, but these rules have been universally accepted and coordinated by all members of the international community, and they are not called into question by anyone. This is called international law. The UN Charter is the main part of international law and its foundation. While dodging the term “international law” and using instead the expression “rules-based world order,” our Western colleagues have in mind a totally different thing: they want to develop certain West-centric concepts and approaches to be later palmed off as an ideal of multilateralism and the ultimate truth. These actions are undertaken in areas such as chemical weapons, journalism, cyber security, and international humanitarian law.  There are universal organisations dealing with all these issues, but our colleagues, primarily in the EU as well as in the United States, are eager to promote their own concept in each of these areas.  If asked why this is not being done at the top organisation of multilateralism, the UN, they give no clear answer. We understand that it is, of course, more difficult to advance some initiatives of theirs and reach agreements in a universal format, where there are not only the “docile” members of the Western club but also Russia, China, India, Brazil and African countries. We will see how this “rules-based world order” concept will be reflected in the outcomes of the events that have already been announced, including the so-called Summit for Democracy announced by US President Joe Biden, or in the initiatives in the area of multilateralism announced by President of France Emmanuel Macron and a number of other leaders.

I am confident that we cannot ignore the incontrovertible fact that the present world order is a sum of agreements between the countries that won World War II. Russia will object to those wishing to cast doubt on the outcome of that war. We cannot and will not play up to those who would like to reverse the natural course of history. We, incidentally, have no superpower ambitions, no matter how hard some people try to convince themselves and everyone else of the opposite. Nor do we have the messianic zeal, with which our Western colleagues are attempting to spread their axiological “democratising” agenda to the rest of the world.It has long been clear to us that the outside imposition of development models will do no good. Look at the Middle East, Northern Africa, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan.

A specific feature of the current situation is that the coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated the events, helping to settle existing problems and at the same time creating new ones.  I am referring to the global economic decline, destroyed industrial and marketing chains, growing isolationism and geopolitical opportunism. This common trouble is also reminding us, through growing problems, about the unprecedented connection between all members of the international community. Nobody can weather it out in a safe haven. This is probably one of the main lessons we must draw from what is happening.

Russia calls for cooperation with everyone, as I have already mentioned, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and a balance of interests. We are aware of the value of each international partner, both in bilateral relations and in the multilateral format. We value our friendship with everyone who reciprocates this feeling and is willing to look for honest agreements, without ultimatums and unilateral demands.

The issues we are ready to discuss cover nearly all important spheres of life: security, trade, environmental protection, climate change, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and plenty more.

Russia is promoting its ideas in Eurasia. The principles I have mentioned underlie the operation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). These associations are based exclusively on the principle of voluntary participation, equality and the common good. There are no “bosses” and “subordinates” in them. These organisations have creative goals and are not spearheaded against anyone, and neither do they claim to spread their narrow values throughout the world, demanding that absolutely all states without exception comply with them, as some other integration structures are doing.

Our unconditional priorities include the strengthening of our comprehensive interaction with China. This year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between Russia and China. Another similar goal is to promote our privileged strategic partnership with India. This is how it is defined in the documents that were adopted at the top level. We are expanding our cooperation with ASEAN nations and other Asian-Pacific countries. We are doing this within the framework of the unification philosophy, which constitutes the basis of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. It is open to absolutely all countries of our common Eurasian continent, and the membership of this association will dramatically increase the comparative advantages of all Eurasian countries in this highly competitive world upon the assumption that they will make good use of their natural, God-given advantages and will not try to create new or deepen the existing dividing lines on our continent.

Both China and India support, in principle, the concept of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, which I have already mentioned. Its merits have been highly assessed at the SCO. We are discussing it with ASEAN nations. We are also open for discussions with the EU as our natural neighbour on this huge continent.

I believe that forums such as the Primakov Readings provide ideal venues for discussing any related ideas. There can be alternative approaches by all means, but we would like our discussions to be focused on the future in the interests of all countries of this vast region.

Russia will actively continue to facilitate the settlement of international conflicts. We are working in Syria and helping the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to restore peaceful life after we stopped the bloodshed there. We are taking a vigorous part in international efforts to achieve a settlement in Afghanistan, Libya, around Iran, the Korean Peninsula and many other hot spots.

I am referring to this not to attract attention to our achievements. We do not have an inferiority complex (just as we do not have a superiority complex in global politics) but we are always ready to help those who need assistance. This is our historical mission that is rooted in the centuries of our ancient history. Therefore, we will continue working to this end even on those problems that seem insoluble at first sight like a settlement in the Middle East. We are actively trying to restore the work of the Quartet of International Mediators and promoting the concept of ensuring collective security in the area of the Persian Gulf. We are willing to host a meeting of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Moscow as soon as possible. Now it is necessary to wait for the results of the internal political processes in Israel. It is very unfortunate that no attention was paid to our repeated reminders over many years that the concept of normalising Israeli-Arab relations cannot be carried out at the expense of the Palestinian problem. I believe that this is a very serious problem that will only continue to get worse.

We are actively working to coordinate the rules of responsible conduct in the information space now in the UN’s multilateral format. We are promoting cooperation in countering the coronavirus. I would like to emphasise that contrary to the Western allegations, we are invariably interested in pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with all parties, including the West, be it the United States, its NATO allies or the EU. We are promoting a package of initiatives to prevent the complete collapse of the agreements and understanding in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation after the Americans destroyed many treaties, for instance, START-3. We suggested a voluntary moratorium on the deployment of the missiles covered by it at least in Europe. Despite our proposals on verifying the moratorium, the West continues avoiding any honest discussion. In much the same manner, NATO has been literally talking our ear off for over two years in response to our very specific proposals aimed at reducing tension and military threat along the entire Russia-NATO contact line.

We are willing to work with any partner but there will be no one-sided game. Neither sanctions nor ultimatums will help anyone talk with us and reach any agreements.

In conclusion, I will quote these words by Yevgeny Primakov: “A strong Russia should not be seen as a threat to world stability. Only the inertia of thinking may suggest the conclusion about a threat emanating from Russia…”

Russia will never give up its fundamental values and will be true to its spiritual sources and its stabilising role in world politics.Therefore, we will continue doing everything for the firm, non-confrontational promotion of our national interests and developing cooperation with as many countries as possible.

I would like to emphasise only one idea: do not interpret our willingness for dialogue with any partner as a weakness. President of Russia Vladimir Putin stressed recently in his response to Western ultimatums that we will determine ourselves the red lines in relations with our Western partners and will primarily uphold our views on the world arrangement, on how to develop international relations in full conformity with the principles fixed in the UN Charter rather than some agreements between a narrow circle of parties.

Question: A question from Wolfgang Schussel, head of the Dialog-Europe-Russia forum and Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria in 2000-2007. The leaders’ summit for Russia and the United States is invariably a major international event that introduces new vectors into the work of the diplomats, the military and business on specific issues. The meetings are not always successful like, for example, the most recent summit in Helsinki with the 45th US President Donald Trump. We hope this time everything will be different. President Biden is interested in arms control and resuming the Iranian nuclear deal.

What are your expectations for a possible new agenda after the meeting of the two leaders in any area, in particular, cyberspace, autonomous weapons, or the regional conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and North Korea?

Sergey Lavrov: I am happy to greet my good friend Wolfgang Schussel. I thank him for the question.

We have repeatedly made our position known in connection with the upcoming summit in Geneva on June 16. We do not set our expectations high, nor do we entertain any illusions about potential “breakthroughs.” But there is an objective need for an exchange of views at the highest level on what threats Russia and the United States, as the two largest nuclear powers, see in the international arena. The fact that a conversation is happening between the leaders of the two leading nuclear powers is, of course, important. We strongly support this approach by our US colleagues.

Clearly, normalisation of Russian-US relations, I’ll stress this again, can only be possible if the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs are observed. This is a prerequisite not only for maintaining a normal, predictable and steady dialogue (which the Americans claim they want), but it is also important for removing the accumulated issues of confrontation between our countries. We are ready for a candid conversation like this.

I hope that in preparation for the summit, those who are now dealing with Russia in the Biden administration (they used to say “Sovietology,” which would now be called “Russology, I would guess,” though it would be nice if it was “Russophilia”), will finally appreciate the actions, interests and position of the Russian Federation, and our red lines, and will be willing to correct the mistakes in recent years and will not conduct a dialogue solely from a position that claims hegemony in global affairs.

Clearly, any dialogue is better than no dialogue.But if a hegemonic mindset continues to determine the US’s position, if our colleagues from the United States continue to follow in the footsteps of their own propaganda, which deafens the US elite as well, then there’s not much we can expect from this summit. In any case, I think it is important to have a candid exchange of views at the highest level, even if there are differences that many believe are insurmountable.

We share an interest in strategic stability. We have fairly strong contacts on how to approach this area of ​​international politics at this point. Frankly, we advocate a comprehensive approach and taking into account all, without exception, factors influencing strategic stability in our dialogue with the United States. I mean nuclear and non-nuclear, and offensive and defensive weapons. Anything that affects strategic stability must be discussed during a dialogue.

The Americans have a much narrower approach. They are only interested in certain aspects of our nuclear triad and are not inclined, at least at this point, to agree on a comprehensive concept that would include everything without exception.

I hope that, based on the preliminary work and consultations in preparation for this summit, President Vladimir Putin and President Joseph Biden will be able to determine a strategic policy for future work in these areas.

Mr Schussel mentioned cyber security as well. We have no shortage of goodwill here. Ever since 2016, when the Obama administration began accusing us of “meddling” in their elections, we have suggested dozens of times sitting down and laying out specific facts and concerns that both sides have in a professional and trust-based manner. What we received was a strong refusal to do so. Now, I hope, we will discuss this matter and see to what extent the Biden administration is ready to do sincere work in this area.

You mentioned Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and North Korea. We maintain communication on all these matters, especially Afghanistan, North Korea and certain aspects of the Syria crisis and the situation in Libya. Together with the Americans, we are participating in internationally recognised multilateral forums. I’m referring to the talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and what we call the expanded Troika on Afghanistan (Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan).

There is a bilateral mechanism for Syria, primarily dealing with deconfliction. We always emphasise the US’s illegal presence on Syrian soil, especially since it includes plundering Syria’s natural resources and taking advantage of its oil fields and farm land. They use the proceeds to support (everyone is aware of this) separatism on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River thus flirting with a very dangerous problem – I mean the Kurdish problem. These games could come to a sticky end.

Since the US armed forces and combat aircraft are present in Syria, we have a deconflicting mechanism maintained by our respective defence ministries. In addition, sometimes we also have political consultations on how to move forward. We would welcome the United States resuming its participation as an observer in the Astana format and, in general, being more committed to the key principles of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the Syrian settlement.

The summit has no agreed upon agenda on paper. Sometimes our colleagues from the European Union (at a time when we still had relations and interaction bodies) focused on the word-for-word, scrupulous coordination of each item, which should then become the agenda of the negotiations. We didn’t have this with the Americans. We just listed the topics that the parties intended to touch on. We are doing the same this time. The work continues. It won’t be a long wait. I think things will become clear soon.We are interested in positive results from the summit, but, as they say, it takes two to tango. And if one party is break dancing, tangoing becomes a more difficult proposition.

Question: The Trump administration threw out the mechanism of the INF Treaty. Russia responded with an unprecedented act of goodwill. The Russian leaders sent a proposal to the United States and NATO to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in Europe. The Trump administration did not respond. There was only a weak reaction from European capitals. Is it possible to continue the dialogue on this problem? Is the proposed moratorium possible at all?

Sergey Lavrov: The INF Treaty is history. It doesn’t exist anymore. We have expressed regret over this.

You mentioned a very important fact. Immediately after this happened, apart from expressing regret over the treaty’s demise, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based medium and short-range missiles in Russia. It banned the deployment of the missiles prohibited by the defunct treaty unless similar US systems appeared in a given area. This was a unilateral moratorium.

Later, a few years ago, when this moratorium failed to generate much interest, President Putin took one more step. He sent a detailed message to the US and the other NATO and EU members and our Eastern neighbours (about 50 states in all). In this message, the Russian leader described in detail our moratorium proposal and supplemented it with an invitation to cooperate. He suggested that the Western countries also announce a reciprocal moratorium on their own without signing any legally binding agreements, simply as a goodwill gesture. In this detailed message, we discussed the West’s skeptical statements about Russia’s unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based systems that were banned by the former treaty. The West’s politicians reasoned: “Russia is as cunning as a fox. It has already deployed Iskanders in the Kaliningrad Region that violate the parameters of the former treaty” while the NATO countries have no counterpart, thus this would be an inequitable exchange. However, to begin with, nobody has proved that Iskanders violate INF-established criteria and bans on the range of missiles. The Americans refused to provide any rationale on this.

I would also like to note at this point that they are still stubbornly refusing to present satellite photos from July 2014 when the Malaysian airliner crashed. The court in the Netherlands openly announced recently that there is no hope that the Americans will provide them. So, this question is closed for the court. In other words, evidence of paramount importance is being concealed.

Likewise, nobody has ever shown us the satellite photos that were used by the Americans to prove that our Iskanders violate the INF Treaty.

Considering that the Western countries believe Russia has already done this ahead of them and as we suggested freezing this situation, Russia would benefit from this, President Vladimir Putin said it straight in his Address to the Federal Assembly: considering the mutual mistrust, we suggest measures to verify a reciprocal moratorium. We invite you to come to the Kaliningrad Region and see these Iskanders. In exchange, we want our experts to visit missile defence bases in Romania and Poland because Lockheed Martin, the producer of missile launchers openly promotes them on its website as dual purpose: for launching both counter-missiles and anti-strike cruise missiles. I think this is a very honest proposal. Let’s check: you are concerned about our Iskanders, and we are worried about the dual purpose of those missile defence launchers.

The only positive response came from President of France Emmanuel Macron. He said this was an interesting proposal and that he was ready to take part in implementing it via a multilateral dialogue. But this didn’t happen. The Americans ignored the proposal for obvious reasons since they do not want to let anyone visit their missile defence sites (this is a separate question), while all the others obediently kept silent.

Our proposal remains on the table. I think we will certainly bring this up at the Geneva summit on June 16. Let’s see the response.

Question: Often, especially recently, you have said that the European Union is an unreliable partner. Unfortunately, this is the case, especially against the backdrop of insane and unbecoming for the 21st century Russophobic propaganda and scandals that are made up without providing any evidence.

You have extensive political experience. Do you think the low level of leadership in the EU may be at least partially mitigated during this year’s elections in Germany and other countries? Will the overall crisis be able to give rise to modern European leaders who will “emancipate” themselves, at least a little, from the United States and fulfil their mission which is to serve their respective peoples? This calls for a radical change in the EU’s policy towards Russia. Unfair and ineffective sanctions must be forgotten and we must return to dialogue and mutual trust in order to overcome common problems which cannot be resolved without a full dialogue and cooperation, including with Russia.

We look forward to seeing you in Bulgaria for the unveiling of the bust of our teacher Yevgeny Primakov.

Sergey Lavrov: God willing, I will definitely be there. We maintain a dialogue with Bulgaria via our respective foreign ministries. However, recently, certain factors have appeared, not from our side, that are not conducive to an expansion of constructive interaction. I hope this is temporary.

As for your question about the European Union and our relations with the EU, I have covered this issue many times. We want relations with the European Union that are equal and mutually respectful. We cannot have relations with the EU based on demands for Russia to change its behaviour. The foreign ministers of Germany and other European countries have said many times that we need to be partners (they no longer say friends) with Russia, but it must change its behaviour first. This is a mindset that cannot be changed.

I was talking about the rules-based order which they came up with. In fact, it is the Western vision of how to maintain relations between countries in the 21st century and, moreover, how to organise life within a country. These “messianic” processes on the advancement of democracy are quite aggressive. But as soon as you start talking with the West about democracy in the international arena and ways to promote it not only within the borders of a country (this is each individual state’s concern), but in international affairs so everyone is treated equally and heeds the voice of the majority, but also respects the minority, they immediately back pedal. They do not want to discuss the democratisation of international relations. The very concept of a “rules-based international order” negates any hope that the West will get drawn into a discussion on democratising global processes in international relations.

Literally in May, promoting one of the main elements of the concept of a rules-based world order, namely effective multilateralism, French President Macron bluntly stated that multilateralism does not imply the need to achieve unanimity. “The position of conservatives should not be an obstacle for ambitious frontrunners,” he said. I think this is clear. “Conservatives” are revisionists (you can call them that, although these words are antonyms). We and China are called “conservatives who do not want change” and “revisionists who want to slow things down that move the Western world forward.” At the same time, President Macron did not mention either the UN or international law.

There are “ambitious front-runners” who promote this concept, and there are those who want to “conservatively” hold on to UN Charter principles. That’s the problem. This was expressed by the president of the country, which was among those who, at some point, called for the EU’s strategic autonomy. But these discussions have been muted even in Germany.

At one EU event, President of the European Council Charles Michel praised the return of the United States to Euro-Atlantic solidarity. EU leadership was clearly relieved to know that everything is “good” again, the United States is “at the helm” again and they can follow in its wake.

I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I hope no one takes offense, but it’s a fact. These are publicly stated assessments that have been repeatedly uttered by EU leadership.

The Munich Security Conference was held in May where Charles Michel said that the alliance between the United States and Europe is the basis for a rules-based international order. International law was not mentioned. He stressed that it is necessary to aggressively promote democracy to protect this order from “attacks” by Russia, China, Iran and other “authoritarian regimes.” That is, it follows that democracy for these purposes needs to be promoted within these respective countries and not in the international arena. This is more than self-revelatory. Without reservation, a concept is being put forward that is openly seeking dominance, at least claiming it.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, for example, that with respect to digital transformation, it is necessary for the United States and Europe to develop a “rulebook” that the world can follow.

More recently, our US colleagues said that new trade rules must be determined by the West, not China. What does this mean? A reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is being discussed, because the Americans have understood one simple thing: that based on the currently approved rules of international trade and economy, which the United States initiated after WWII (the Bretton Woods system, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation), that determined the course of globalisation, China has achieved much greater success in playing the Americans on their field. So, WTO activities are now blocked. The United States does not allow the appointment of officers for vacancies in the Dispute Settlement Body. All claims brought to this body that the Americans would have surely lost, cannot be considered.

We are talking about creating a new system and reforming the WTO. It is being clearly said that “the new rules of international trade must be determined by the United States and Europe, not China.” That is what this is about. This underlies the concept of a rules-based order.

You asked about the potential outcome of the upcoming elections in European countries, in particular, Germany. This is a question that only the German people and the peoples of the other EU countries can answer.

I have already covered the prospects for the “emancipation” of the EU from the United States.

Question: The United States often introduces sanctions against foreign companies or countries by suspending them from SWIFT, a major financial tool, which they use by virtue of their position of hegemony in the world. As a matter of fact, many countries, including China and even some European countries are suffering from SWIFT, which is controlled by the United States. Recently, the Russian government said the dollar might be removed from the country’s currency reserve. The Chinese government has started issuing digital currency. In theory, digital currency could lead to the creation of a new international financial system, which would significantly alleviate the threat of being suspended from SWIFT. What do you propose that Russia and China do to create a new international financial transaction system and reduce their financial dependence on the US?

Sergey Lavrov: Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed answer to this question when speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum last week. We are not looking to pull out of the existing system, which largely relies on the dollar. The problems stem from the United States being unaware of its responsibility as the country issuing the main reserve currency in the world, or else the US is aware but blatantly abuses its role. There are quite a few stories of how everyone argued that the dollar could be used for political purposes, which makes it unreliable. As we continue to make the point that everyone must honour the universal multilateral approach and not politicise the mechanisms that have been agreed on once and for all but rather use them to achieve objectives that underlie these mechanisms, we, of course, are considering how to respond if our colleagues show yet again their willingness to dictate and punish and use international trade and transaction leverage for this purpose

I want to note that not a single official in the West ever in my memory demanded that Russia, China or any other country be disconnected from SWIFT. That is what some politicians are calling for, but this has never been borne out either in statements by officials from leading Western countries or in SWIFT administration statements.

We really want, and this was officially announced, to remove the dollar from our economy and our financial system. The other day a decision was taken to cease holding the country’s gold and forex reserves in dollars. Appropriate measures have already been taken. But I want to emphasise again that this does not mean that we are discarding the dollar altogether, however, for the reasons mentioned earlier we are interested in relying more on other currencies, including national currencies, in bilateral trade with our partners, including our Chinese partners, other SCO members and many other countries. We are also ready to support transactions that are not denominated in dollars and but that are based on the use of other currencies.

In this context, crypto-currency is a very popular topic today. China is vigorously developing it and has achieved remarkable results. We are also working on this in a substantive manner. I believe there will be a time when crypto currencies will play a significant role and occupy a considerable niche in international settlements, but it might be better to discuss the details of this with economists. The Russian Foreign Ministry watches political developments. We are concerned about how to make sure our country’s economic ties do not pose threats to our security.

Question: Currently, a fairly intensive three-way process is underway to restore transport connections in the region. This process involves Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, but not Turkey, which was a full participant in the last war in Karabakh and which is actually a party to the conflict. Meanwhile, you know that the Armenian-Turkish border has been blocked for 30 years after Armenia gained independence. This, by the way, is the only blockade on the territory of geographical Europe and transport lines are there, in particular, a railway which was built in Czarist Russia. It uses electricity from high-voltage power lines that have existed since Soviet times. Don’t you think that Turkey should be involved in this process of unblocking transport connections in the region and bear its share of the responsibility for this?

Sergey Lavrov: I would like to add that Iran does not take part in the work of this trilateral group either, and Iran is no less and, perhaps, more interested in having its interests taken into account. You asked whether we should involve Turkey in this work and make it bear responsibility. The work of the trilateral group on restoring economic ties and transport links is not about punishment; it is about resuming normal economic life, which existed until the late 1980s when the war broke out, which stopped only four years later.

Now the bloodshed is over. It ended a little later than we proposed to the parties. It is not our fault that the war lasted longer than it could have and the truce was reached later than it could have been reached. We were only intermediaries; we could not force either side to do this or that. We only convinced them that further bloodshed was pointless and extremely dangerous, first of all, for how people will continue to live on this land.

Currently, our peacekeepers are carrying out their mandate. There have been no major incidents. Both Baku and Yerevan recognise this. Any minor problems are quickly corrected. Yes, there are tensions at some sections of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan but they have nothing to do with Nagorno-Karabakh. Simultaneously with the ceasefire, the leaders of our countries agreed on November 9, 2020 to unblock all communications. This was one of the main items that was agreed upon years ago by the OSCE Minsk Group chaired by Russia, France and the United States.

Following this agreement of principle, the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in January. They established a trilateral working group at the prime minister level to deal exclusively with unblocking of all economic, transport and other connections in the region. The examples you gave – railways, roads and electricity lines are all subject to negotiation where professionals will prioritise opening them.

Naturally, the parties are considering the interests of their other neighbours. It would probably be unrealistic to hope that having reached agreement the three sides could neglect the views of Turkey or Iran. This would be a mistake. Many strategic routes pass through this critical area: both north-south and east-west. The most important goal is to develop relations for the long-term perspective rather than think of involving or not involving someone else.

I understand that many people say that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh remains open. This will eventually be coordinated with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. At this point, they should not worry too much about its status. Instead, they need to promote confidence measures and the settling of humanitarian issues, and help both Armenians and Azerbaijanis live together in peace, security and economic wellbeing. I can assure you that if we help establish this lifestyle in two or three years, it will be much easier to resolve all the problems of the status of this area.

I would not focus on these or other statements from the capitals of the countries in the region or the immediate parties to the conflict. Emotions tend to prevail in these statements for the most part. We urge everyone involved in this to continue to help those on the ground to remain calm and return to normal life. We are actively involved in doing this via our peacekeeping contingent and the Emergencies Ministry. The results of the efforts by the trilateral group will depend on how much the unblocking efforts help improve everyday life.

Regarding Turkey and its role in this, as I said, the participants of these trilateral discussions do consider the interests of Turkey and Iran because otherwise the opening of links will not produce the best results.

The Russia-Turkey centre is monitoring compliance with the ceasefire from Azerbaijan. With technical equipment, it ensures joint observation of the developments on the ground. This is a very useful part of this general agreement. It ensures the involvement of our Turkish colleagues in this process and is a stabilising factor.

Question: The Russia-India partnership continues to flourish even though the world is going through hard times. Our cooperation on the Sputnik V vaccine confirms this. India and all Indians are grateful for the assistance offered by our Russian friends during the receding second wave of the pandemic.

What short- and long-term lessons can the international community learn about the origin and spread of COVID-19? Some people are worried that even 18 months later, we do not know about the origin of the virus that first appeared in Wuhan. This will not help us in preventing future pandemics.

How can we balance our national responsibility and international cooperation to follow the international health regulations and help the WHO to identify and prevent future outbreaks?

Sergey Lavrov: In general, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly created an unprecedented challenge. It has become a kind of test for “true friendship.” As we know, a friend in need is a friend indeed. However, several states decided not to share their vaccines. Probably, this approach is not justified by human morality or ethics, especially under conditions of interdependence and globalisation. We share these moral principles, as do our dear Indian friends.

Thank you for your kind words about the assistance we have been providing to Indians in these difficult times. During the past month, we managed to organise several large consignments of humanitarian medical aid, including the Sputnik V vaccine and other medications. We are currently developing the production of this vaccine in India. We hope that by taking these and other steps, by pooling our efforts, we will manage to deal with this grievous disease and protect the health of our people as soon as possible.

As for revealing the source of the virus, as you know, the WHO has made serious efforts in this respect. It sent experts to China. They came from 10 countries, including Russia. They also represented related international agencies. The results of their inquiry were published immediately after their visit. They were also presented at the 74th World Health Assembly that ended last week.

You are right. There are no decisive conclusions on the initial origins of COVID-19 so far, but this is not unique. Neither WHO specialists nor we know yet the origins of the Ebola virus that appeared in the 1970s. The specialists continue working on this. As you know, I am not well versed in this discipline, but I am convinced that the specialists must continue this work without politicising it. Any attempt to politicise the situation around COVID-19 is similar to efforts we are seeing in other areas. They reflect a striving of some countries to use methods of unfair competition. We need to develop comprehensive and transparent international cooperation on further studies of the origin of the virus, and, most importantly, on overcoming the pandemic. Talk about who is to blame and who is innocent must not obstruct any response effort.

When emergencies in health protection occur, the main goal is to have strong national healthcare and sanitary-epidemiological systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed this conclusion. I think the countries with well-organised healthcare systems and a high ability to mobilise medical and other resources have made a more effective response to the challenge of the coronavirus infection.

As for international cooperation, we have been developing this for some time, practically from the start of the pandemic through both bilateral channels and via international agencies. We promote the realisation of the International Health Regulations. They were drafted at our initiative and approved by the WHO but have not yet been incorporated into practical systems in many countries. These regulations are the main instrument of international law in developing national systems for preventing and dealing with epidemics like this. So, the way out of the current crisis probably lies in coordination, transparency, as well as an ability and willingness to share experience and pool efforts.

Question: Would it be possible and desirable for the United States and Russia to undertake, as part of studying cyberspace challenges, to work on countering cyber attacks by criminal groups that use ransomware against a particular country emanating from Russia or the United States? What could the parameters of such cooperation be? Or is the level of mistrust so great that this kind of cooperation is simply not possible now?

Sergey Lavrov: We have been hearing accusations against us of all kinds of transgressions for many years now. With regard to the cyber world, I mentioned the 2016 elections. In later occurrences, a number of incidents in the United States or other countries were immediately and publicly ascribed to the Russian Federation. Not a single fact has ever been presented to us. Now, the latest incident (President Vladimir Putin commented on this at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum) is the notorious attack against Colonial Pipeline and meat processor GBS. Even you in your question wonder whether it is possible to establish cooperation between Russia and the United States on investigating such incidents and on fighting criminal groups, in particular those that demand ransom. Even from this question, it becomes clear that you are motivated by a surge in public opinion about two specific incidents. Notably, I would like to stress, that the US administration does not promote the thesis that the Russian state is responsible for these incidents.

Antony Blinken recently said that these are probably private hackers, but Russia must stop them, because they originate from its territory. As a reminder in this regard (double standards), when the problems in the United States were at their height, American social media and internet platforms were blocking access to information on a particular issue. This topic was discussed, among other things, at the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We emphasised the responsibility of the United States, just like any other country, to ensure that its citizens have 100 percent access to any kind of information. Then the American side told us: “Right, but these are the obligations of the state, and we are talking about the actions of private corporations. We cannot be responsible for their actions.” In this case, the Americans are urging Russia to find these “private operators” and still fulfil the function of the state to suppress illegal actions. Let’s make sure we all follow the rules, and that the rules are universally applicable. Any state that has signed on to the obligation to ensure freedom of access to information is obliged to do so regardless of who is hiding the information – a state entity or a private corporation. Moreover, the bulk of all information is now in the hands of private corporations.

Now, I would like to say a few words about cybersecurity. We not only want, but we have repeatedly proposed to the United States, even, perhaps, somewhat obtrusively, to deal with this issue. When, as part of the above accusations we heard in 2016 (the Obama administration began alleging these things back in October, before the election day) we were presented with claims, we reminded our American colleagues that there’s a closed channel between Moscow and Washington in case of incidents, including in cyberspace. After accusations against the Russian Federation of interfering in the US elections were loudly read out, we suggested that the Americans provide us, through this closed channel, with the facts corroborating their concerns. We sent this proposal, I think, seven times from October 2016 to January 2017, right up to the Trump inauguration. None of these proposals were answered by the Obama administration’s relevant services. Instead, an annoyed Barack Obama, at the end of his tenure, raided and seized our diplomatic property in the US and drove the diplomats out. This impulsive step was a response to our professional offers to do honest and specific work.

This is not the only example. The cybersecurity dialogue with Washington was frozen through no fault of ours. Subsequently, we proposed returning to it. In July 2017, we handed over a draft memorandum on establishing a Russian-American ICT security group. The response appeared to be positive, and we agreed to hold the first meeting in Geneva in early 2018. The US delegation went there, and the Russian delegation was on its way there, too, but when our specialists landed at the Geneva airport, they were told that the Americans canceled the meeting without providing any meaningful reason.

In September 2020, President Vladimir Putin, at his level, issued a statement on how we would want to see cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation in developing a comprehensive programme of measures to restore cooperation in this sphere. It included specific proposals. After President Biden’s inauguration, we reaffirmed this proposal. It is being reviewed by the US administration. I hope that we will find out in Geneva the reaction of President Biden and his team. The UN is working on international cybersecurity in the context of military-political problems, and at the same time a decision was made to start developing a convention on combating cybercrime. This is exactly what happened to Colonial Pipeline and the GBS meat processing company. In both cases, a consensus was reached, although before that our Western colleagues had objections. But consensus was reached on both issues. I have reason to hope that this will help advance the bilateral dialogue as well. But most importantly, the dialogue must be conducted professionally, rather than loudly and without facts.

Question: Angela Merkel has been Germany’s chancellor for 16 years. What is your opinion of Russian-German relations over this period? How will they change?

Sergey Lavrov: This is another issue President Vladimir Putin spoke about during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). He expressed his opinion of the professionalism and experience of Chancellor Merkel and his satisfaction with their cooperation. Of course, we are monitoring the developments in Germany in the context of the upcoming elections. We hope that their outcome will ensure what I wanted to describe as continuity in our relations, but it would be better if it were not just continuity in the form of a regular dialogue, but continuity that would also take into account the lessons of the past 16 years.

When President Putin assumed his position in the Kremlin after the 2000 election, one of his first foreign visits was to Germany. He addressed the Bundestag in German. Many of us, including yours truly, perceived the emotional and positive energy of his address as the addition of a personal dimension to the previous historical reconciliation of the Russian and German nations. This was obvious.  He invested a huge part of his authority and his policy into Russian-German relations, into reconciliation that should take the form of practical deeds in great many spheres. We are not to blame that our relations have cooled. Incidentally, alarming signs appeared even before 2013 or 2014. For example, in 2010, then President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev had a summit meeting with Chancellor Merkel in Meseberg. One of the decisions reached concerned the establishment of a Russian-German crisis management committee. It was not designed as a simple discussion venue, but as a body that would coordinate joint crisis settlement mechanisms. On the practical level they mentioned Transnistria. The document was coordinated, but Germany later abandoned all efforts to implement it.

Of course, we are aware that the main reason for a far from sunny state of our bilateral relations is support provided by Berlin, the EU in general and the West as a whole to the armed, bloody and anti-constitutional coup that took place in Ukraine in February 2014, barely 12 hours after Germany, France and Poland, acting through their foreign ministers, said they would guarantee compliance with the agreement on a settlement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition.  The agreement was buried by the opposition signatories the very next day. Germany, France, Poland and the EU, which these countries represented, did nothing to challenge the opposition in response to our calls; worse than that, they even encouraged the new turn of events. Those who came to power put forth their anti-Russia position in their very first statements; they called for throwing Russians out of Crimea and sent trains with armed thugs there.

Germany and other European countries closed their eyes to these developments (the United States did the same), saying that reality on the ground had changed. In addition to this extremely negative policy, they accused us of violating the rules they themselves invented, and denounced the free expression of the people’s will in Crimea as annexation. Sanctions were adopted against Russia for the failure of European diplomacy to force the opposition to honour the agreements reached with President Yanukovych through the mediation of Germany, France and Poland.

This is when it all began. But we did not get confrontational; we did not cancel the planned Russia-EU summit. Despite all of this, in 2014 President Putin attended the celebrations of the allied landing in Normandy and the opening of the Second Front. It was there that the sides coordinated the Normandy Format, which led to the signing of the Minsk Agreements in February 2015. We thought once again that the document would be honoured. But just as in the case of the February 2014 agreement, the Minsk Agreements are not being implemented, and it is deeply regrettable that Germany and France, as parties of the Normandy format, are trying to justify Kiev’s absolutely destructive position. Vladimir Zelensky said more than once that he doesn’t want to implement the Minsk Agreements, but that he wants to keep them because as long as they exist there will be sanctions against Russia. Our German, French and other colleagues have never tried to overturn this logic or as much as comment on such statements.   We do want to have normal relations with Germany and work together with it to settle the crises that exist in our common space, in our neighbourhood. But we would like to see that Germany is able to honour agreements.

We appreciate Berlin’s stand in the face of US attacks on Nord Stream 2, which began during Donald Trump’s presidency. President Putin mentioned this as well. But he also pointed out that Germany has done this for a reason, because this is in the fundamental interests of Germany. Incidentally, the story with Nord Stream 2 is not over yet. I have read comments by Antony Blinken to the effect that they are discussing ways for Ukraine to preserve fees for the transit of gas to the EU. We have a transit agreement with Ukraine until 2024. What will happen after that should be discussed, but the US administration is already discussing what should be done to protect Ukraine from harm. According to Blinken, one of the possible ways is to extend the transit agreement “for many years into the future,” so that Ukraine will continue to benefit from the transit fees. If this doesn’t work out, another option is to compensate for the transit fees that Kiev may lose, which is something the Europeans should do.

In other words, the Europeans’ attitude to the issues on which we are cooperating will be put to the test many times yet. I hope very much that the German people will be guided by their interests, just as they always have been throughout their history. We are interested in strengthening our partnership as much as possible. Many people say that the Russian-German partnership and rapprochement threaten the trans-Atlantic alliance. But this is an issue for the future periods of geopolitical research.

G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy

G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy

June 09, 2021

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have few if any takers due to members’ rising dependence on Chinese goods and markets

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”.

The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva – which certainly won’t be a reset.

The controlling interests behind the hologram that goes by the name of “Joe Biden” have a clear overarching agenda: to regiment industrialized democracies – especially those in Europe – and keep them in lockstep to combat those “authoritarian” threats to US national security, “malignant” Russia and China.

It’s like a throwback to those oh so stable 1970s Cold War days, complete with James Bond fighting foreign devils and Deep Purple subverting communism. Well, the times they are-a-changin’. China is very much aware that now the Global South “accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared to one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite.”

For the Global South – that is, the overwhelming majority of the planet – the G7 is largely irrelevant. What matters is the G20.

China, the rising economic superpower, hails from the Global South, and is a leader in the G20. For all their internal troubles, EU players in the G7 – Germany, France and Italy – cannot afford to antagonize Beijing in economic, trade and investment terms.

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have no takers. Including Japan and special guests at Cornwall: tech powerhouse South Korea, and India and South Africa (both BRICS members), offered the dangling carrot of a possible extended membership.

Washington’s wishful thinking cum P.R. offensive boils down to selling itself as the primus inter pares of the West as a revitalized global leader. Why the Global South is not buying it can be observed, graphically, by what happened for the past eight years. The G7 – and especially the Americans – simply could not respond to China’s wide-ranging, pan-Eurasian trade/development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The American “strategy” so far – 24/7 demonization of BRI as a “debt trap” and “forced labor” machine – did not cut it. Now, too little too late, comes a G7 scheme, involving “partners” such as India, to “support”, at least in theory, vague “high-quality projects” across the Global South: that’s the Clean Green Initiative , focused on sustainable development and green transition, to be discussed both at the G7 and the US-EU summits.

Compared to BRI, Clean Green Initiative hardly qualifies as a coherent geopolitical and geoeconomic strategy. BRI has been endorsed and partnered by over 150 nation-states and international bodies – and that includes more than half of the EU’s 27 members.

Facts on the ground tell the story. China and ASEAN are about to strike a “comprehensive strategic partnership” deal. Trade between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CCEC), also known as the 17+1 group, including 12 EU nations, continues to increase. The Digital Silk Road, the Health Silk Road and the Polar Silk Road keep advancing.

So what’s left is loud Western rumbling about vague investments in digital technology – perhaps financed by the European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg – to cut off China’s “authoritarian reach” across the Global South.

The EU-US summit may be launching a “Trade and Technology Council” to coordinate policies on 5G, semiconductors, supply chains, export controls and technology rules and standards. A gentle reminder: the EU-US simply do not control this complex environment. They badly need South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Wait a minute, Mr. Taxman

To be fair, the G7 may have rendered a public service to the whole world when their Finance Ministers struck an alleged “historic” deal last Saturday in London on a global, minimal 15% tax on multinational companies (MNCs).

Triumphalism was in order – with endless praise lavished on “justice” and “fiscal solidarity” coupled with really bad news for assorted fiscal paradises.

Well, that’s slightly more complicated.

This tax has been discussed at the highest levels of the OECD in Paris for over a decade now – especially because nation-states are losing at least $427 billion a year in tax-dodging by MNCs and assorted multi-billionaires. In terms of the European scenario that does not even account for the loss of V.A.T. by fraud – something gleefully practiced by Amazon, among others.

So it’s no wonder G7 Finance Ministers had $1.6 trillion-worth Amazon pretty much on their sights. Amazon’s cloud computing division should be treated as a separate entity. In this case the mega-tech group will have to pay more corporate tax in some of its largest European markets – Germany, France, Italy, UK – if the global 15% tax is ratified.

So yes, this is mostly about Big Tech – master experts on fiscal fraud and profiting from tax paradises located even inside Europe, such as Ireland and Luxembourg. The way the EU was built, it allowed fiscal competition between nation-states to fester. To discuss this openly in Brussels remains a virtual taboo. In the official EU list of fiscal paradises, one won’t find Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Malta.

So could this all be just a P.R. coup? It’s possible. The major problem is that at the European Council – where governments of EU member-states discuss their issues – they have been dragging their feet for a long time, and sort of delegated the whole thing to the OECD.

As it stands, details on the 15% tax are still vague – even as the US government stands to become the largest winner, because its MNCs have shifted massive profits all across the planet to avoid US corporate taxes.

Not to mention that nobody knows if, when and how the deal will be globally accepted and implemented: that will be a Sisyphean task. At least it will be discussed, again, at the G20 in Venice in July.

What Germany wants

Without Germany there would not have been real advance on the EU-China Investment Agreement late last year. With a new US administration, the deal is stalled again. Outgoing chancellor Merkel is against China-EU economic decoupling – and so are German industrialists. It will be quite a treat to watch this subplot at the G7.

In a nutshell: Germany wants to keep expanding as a global trading power by using its large industrial base, while the Anglo-Saxons have completely ditched their industrial base to embrace non-productive financialization. And China for its part wants to trade with the whole planet. Guess who’s the odd player out.

Considering the G7 as a de facto gathering of the Hegemon with its hyenas, jackals and chihuahuas, it will also be quite a treat to watch the semantics. What degree of “existential threat” will be ascribed to Beijing – especially because for the interests behind the hologram “Biden” the real priority is the Indo-Pacific?

These interests could not give a damn about a EU yearning for more strategic autonomy. Washington always announces its diktats without even bothering to previously consult Brussels.

So this is what this Triple X of summits – G7, NATO and EU-US – will be all about: the Hegemon pulling all stops to contain/harass the emergence of a rising power by enlisting its satrapies to “fight” and thus preserve the “rules-based international order” it designed over seven decades ago.

History tells uss it won’t work. Just two examples: the British and French empires could not stop the rise of the US in the 19th century; and even better, the Anglo-American axis only stopped the simultaneous rise of Germany and Japan by paying the price of two world wars, with the British empire destroyed and Germany back again as the leading power in Europe.

That should give the meeting of “America is Back” and “Global Britain” in Cornwall the status of a mere, quirky historical footnote.

Erdogan Kills 3 More Turkish Troops in Afrin, in Northwest of Syria

 ARABI SOURI 

Turkish army and al qaeda terrorists in northern Syria

The latest victims among NATO’s second-largest army in Erdogan’s criminal war against the Syrian people were caused by an attack carried out against their illegal outpost in the countryside of Afrin, Erdogan’s ministry of war confirmed the attack in a statement yesterday.

In response to the attack, Erdogan’s occupation forces shelled indiscriminately with heavy artillery bombing the villages of Burj Al-Qass, Maraanaz, and Soughaniyeh in the northern Aleppo countryside, Erdogan’s propaganda claimed they attacked posts of the PKK terrorists in those areas, these allegations are common by Erdogan’s propagandists whenever they commit war crimes.

Erdogan’s forces invaded multiple towns and cities in northern Syria taking advantage of Syria’s Armed forces and their allies fighting US-sponsored ISIS and other terrorist groups in over 40 fronts across the country and repelling Israel’s continuous bombings. The Turkish madman Erdogan sent thousands of Turkish Army’s soldiers as cannon fodders to protect the tens of thousands of terrorists of Al Qaeda, Uighurs, Afghanis, Chechen, and a host of other terrorist groups tasked to Israelize large areas of northern Syria within Erdogan’s larger dream to revive the most hated Ottoman sultanate.

NATO’s armies embedded with Al Qaeda and ISIS in northern Syria are a familiar scene, claims that the NATO coalition is fighting ISIS in Syria is meant for the consumption of ignorant citizens of NATO member states footing the bill from their hard-earned tax money for NATO’s illegal and criminal operations in Syria.

Despite continuous condemnations and calls to end the illegal incursion of the Turkish army and their sponsored terrorists to northern Syria, the Turkish madman continues to beef up his soldiers under claims he’s helping the Syrian people by replacing the owners of the land with his imported terrorists and their families. The Turkish army’s cannon fodders lost already hundreds of personnel killed and maimed in his anti-Islamic adventure.

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Iran And The Great War

Jun 4, 2021

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President Bashar Al Assad Won Re-election with 95.1% of the Total Votes

ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad and First Lady Asmaa Assad

President Bashar Assad won the presidential election race with a whopping 95.1% of the total voters, contender Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai came second with 3.3%, and Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah came 3rd with 1.5%.

The Speaker of the Syrian Parliament announced the results which he received in turn from the Constitutional Court shortly before midnight, Damascus local time, in a televised broadcast, and he detailed:

The total number of eligible voters in the country and in the diaspora reached 18,107,109 voters.

The total number of voters who cast their votes: 14,239,140 voters, an overwhelming outcome of 78.64%.

The total number of votes incumbent President Bashar Assad received: 13,540,860, that’s 95.1%.

Total number Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai received: 470,276 votes, that’s 3.3%.

Total number Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah received: 213,968 votes, that’s 1.5%.

There were massive rallies all over the country flooding the streets of every city in support of President Assad starting from the 16th of the month when the campaign started, the Syrians packed all the cities waiting for the results while in joy as they consider this the main milestone in their victory over the US-waged war of terror and war of attrition over a whole decade.

President Assad’s reelection was anticipated, the Syrian people are people of pride and they honor their heroes who fight for them and despise those who have betrayed them. A high outcome of the voters for the elections was also expected but not at the levels we’ve followed in all the cities across the country, save the Al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib which is run by the Turkey-sponsored Nusra Front (aka Al Qaeda Levant) and parts of northeastern Syria under the control of the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists.

The enemies of Syria in the USA, EU, Gulfies, Israel, Al Qaeda and the Kurdish SDF terrorists have declared their intentions not to recognize the Syrian Presidential election citing different reasons and that was before the elections took place, their recognition is not required by the Syrian constitution.

One of the main masterminds behind the terrorist war against Syria wrote in an article after watching the Syrians yesterday interacting with the election all over the country, President Assad and the first lady voting in Duma, which followed the Syrians abroad flocking in large numbers to the Syrian diplomatic and consular missions abroad showing their support to President Assad, the former US ambassador to Syria and head of terrorist groups Robert S. Ford wrote: ‘The US policy in Syria failed.’ Let’s hope the White House junta of Joe Biden will realize the lesson and fix its policies, the sooner the better for them.

President Bashar Assad is now the Syrian president for the coming 7 years, the US officials and their Western European stooges, the Gulfies, and other enemies of humanity can howl to the moon now, they can also start with their u-turn from their evil and criminal policies that led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed, maimed, displaced, and impoverished. The NATO and stooges officials can also start rebuilding proper bridges back to Syria and come humble filled with the humiliation of the defeated in one of the worst global wars of terror waged by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries against a single small country.

Congratulations to the victors of the war, the Syrian people now under the leadership of Bashar Assad will write a better chapter of history, a brighter one, and a chapter full of pride and honor.

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Putin: If They Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Their Teeth So That They Cannot Bite!

Putin: If They Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Their Teeth So That They Cannot Bite!
[please make sure to press on the ‘cc’ at the bottom of the screen to see the English subtitles]

May 20, 2021

Terrorizing and Massacring Civilians Israel’s Specialty

Victorious Gaza

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, May 21, 2021

Israeli terror-bombing and shelling of besieged Gazans continues in its 11th day with no letup so far.

Unindicted war criminal Netanyahu says he’s “determined” to keep massacring Gazans and terrorizing Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories until his diabolical aims are achieved.

A readout of Wednesday’s conversation between him and Biden’s impersonator was more head-fake deception than a White House call for “significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire (sic).”

For 73 years, the US aided, abetted, and financed the worst of Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, and preemptive wars against neighboring states.

In the past week, the Biden regime blocked three Security Council (SC) joint statements that called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — showing its dominant hardliners support war, not resolution.

On Wednesday in response to a French draft SC statement, jointly supported by Egypt and Jordan — that states “(t)he shooting must stop.” 

“The time has come for a ceasefire and the UN Security Council must take up the issue,” the Orwellian response of the Biden regime’s UN mission was as follows:

“(W)e will not support (what furthers deescalation and ceasefire) actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate (sic).”

According to an unnamed French source, Wednesday discussions on the above joint proposal at the UN were “very intense.”

See the source image

Separately from Beirut, Lebanon,  Islamic Jihad official Ziad Nakhaleh said neither nuclear weapons, warplanes or peace agreements between Israel and some Arab states achieved regional peace and security, adding:

Gazan resistance against Israeli state terror “made miracles that you can see with your own eyes and you live them every moment when you run to shelters.”

He referred to Strip responses to longstanding Israeli state terror against millions of long-suffering Palestinians under militarized occupation.

Because of increased dispossession of Palestinians from their homes on their own land, “we had two choices, to surrender and to give them everything or fight them over everything,” he explained.

One-sided US-dominated Western support for the highest of high Israeli high crimes permits its ruling regimes to do whatever they damn please with impunity — no matter how egregiously in breach of international law.Israeli War on Gaza Over Kites?

As for long-suffering Palestinians, rhetorical Western concern for their rights and welfare is hollow.

It’s virtually never followed by actions with teeth on their behalf. 

Support for apartheid Israel has always been and remains entirely one-sided.

In January 2006, Hamas democratically won a Palestinian legislative majority over pro-Israeli puppet rule under Fatah.

Yet in October 1997 at the behest of Israel, the Clinton co-presidency false designated Hamas a “foreign terrorist organization” — what it never was and isn’t now.

At the time in response to what Israel urged, Hezbollah was falsely given the same designation.

Its officials are part of Lebanon’s elected government.

In May 2018 general elections, its candidates and allies won a 67-seat majority of parliament’s 128 seats – equally divided between Muslims and Christians. 

At the time, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called parliamentary results a “political and moral victory” for the resistance — giving the group and its allies power to veto legislation they consider unacceptable.

For self-defense against threatened Israeli aggression, its ruling authorities maintain a military wing.

Much stronger today than during Israel’s 2006 aggression against Lebanon, embarrassing IDF ground forces at the time, it’s a force to be reckoned with if the Jewish state again preemptively attacks the Lebanese people.

In April 2019, the Trump regime falsely designated Iran’s military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)— a terrorist organization even though the Islamic Republic never attacked another nation preemptively or threatened one except in self-defense if attacked, the UN Charter right of all nations.

In stark contrast, aggression is what the US, NATO and Israel are guilty of time and again.

The world community of nations for peace, stability and compliance with the rule of law should designate them terrorist organizations.

Overnight Wednesday, Israel continued to terror-bomb and shell Gazan residential areas.

According to the Strip’s health ministry, at least 64 children and 38 women was massacred so far, the overall death toll around 230 — numbers that keep rising by the hour.

Interviewed on French television Wednesday, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said the following:

“Palestinians want their own self-determination rights.” 

“They want their own state. They want to be able to run their own affairs and have freedom, and not have to be restricted to move around.”

Israel denies them “their rights” as affirmed under international law.

It’s an “apartheid” state. “I have no other reference point to describe what the Israelis are doing against the Palestinians.”

According to political analyst Omar Baddar, “Israeli leadership understands that…they are completely free to carry on with their massive assault against Gaza’s civilian population.”

No US/Western actions against the Jewish state will follow.

For 73 years, Israel has been free to commit the most egregious high crimes with impunity.

The US-dominated West and world community never did anything to hold its ruling authorities accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes.

Nothing punitive will follow its ongoing rape and destruction of Gaza — for the fourth time since December 2008.

Nor will anything be done to halt its state terror against Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories.

*

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Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Featured image is from The Bullet

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وثائق تأسيس التحالف الاستراتيجي… ومحاضر مفاوضات الخليج واميركا

ابراهيم الأمين، دعاء سويدان، ملاك حمود

السبت 8 أيار 12021

وثائق تأسيس التحالف الاستراتيجي...  ومحاضر مفاوضات الخليج واميركا

لم يوفّر الرئيس الأميركي السابق، دونالد ترامب، أيّ وسيلة لتحقيق ما يرى أنه مفيد لاستراتيجيته «أميركا أوّلاً». منذ زيارته الأولى للرياض، كانت تَعِنّ له فكرة إغراء «الحلفاء» بتشكيل جبهة تحاكي مخاوفهم من «العدو الإيراني»، وتَصلح في الوقت نفسه للتخفّف من أعباء تحدّيات بات على هؤلاء التعامل معها بدرجة أكبر من الاعتماد على النفس، توازياً مع استمرار «حلبهم». رؤية لم يتأخّر ترامب في بدء ترجمتها؛ إذ لم تكد تمرّ أشهر على زيارته، حتى انطلق فصل جديد من «الاستعراض» الأميركي تحت شعار «تحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي» أو «الناتو العربي».

حصل ذلك في خضمّ حملة «الضغوط القصوى» على إيران، والتي جاء إعلان نيّة تشكيل التحالف المذكور ليضيف عامل تهويل متعدّد الأبعاد إليها. بدت السعودية، آنذاك، الأكثر حماسة لمشروع من هذا النوع، هي التي «آمنت» باستراتيجية ترامب، ووضعت كلّ بيضها في سلّته. لكن وقائع من الاجتماعات المكّوكية التي رافقت خروج الحديث عن «الناتو العربي» إلى العلن، والتي تنشر «الأخبار» تفاصيلها في ما يلي، تُظهر كم أن الرياض «كبّرت» آمالها بما يخالف الواقع، فيما يتبيّن عمق الخلافات بين الأطراف الذين أريد تكوين جبهة موحّدة للدفاع عنهم. في التفاصيل، يتأكّد أن أحد الأهداف الرئيسيّة لـ«ميسا» كان تعديل منظومة «الحماية» لأمن الخليج على قاعدة ترامب الشهيرة: «يجب أن يدفعوا»، فضلاً عن تحصيل المزيد من صفقات الأسلحة من تلك الدول، وهو ما تتمّ الإشارة إليه بصراحة في المقترح الآتي من البيت الأبيض، والمُفصّل في وثيقة سعودية سرّية بتاريخ 4 تموز 2019، حيث يرد أن على الأطراف كافة «تعجيل صفقات التسليح مع الولايات المتحدة، والالتزام بإبرام صفقة عسكرية لنظام إقليمي مشترك للإنذار المبكر ضدّ الصواريخ الباليستية». كما يرد أن الاتفاقية المتوقّعة «لا تُلزمنا (أي الولايات المتحدة) باتّخاذ أيّ إجراء عسكري في حال حصول اعتداءات». من هنا، رأى الجانب السعودي أن «هذا التصوّر يحقّق فوائد مهمّة للولايات المتحدة دون أن يفرض عليها أيّ أعباء تُذكر، في الوقت الذي يحقّق فيه فوائد محدودة للغاية للدول الأخرى، ومنها المملكة». اللافت، أيضاً، إلحاح السعوديين، ومعهم الإماراتيون والبحرينيون، غير مرّة، على ضرورة جعل مواجهة إيران و«أذرعها» المحور الرئيسيّ لعمل التحالف المنشود، وكأنهم كانوا متشكّكين في نيّات الأميركيين من وراء «الناتو العربي». تشكّكٌ تنبئ به أيضاً مطالبتهم بـ«ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على تنويع مصادر منظومات الدفاع أو على الاتفاقيات الثنائية القائمة العالية السرية مع الدول الأخرى»، وذلك في إطار سياسة «التحوّط الاستراتيجي» التي يتّبعونها منذ زمن.
أمّا على ضفة دول الخليج الأخرى، فقد ظهر موقف كلّ من عُمان والكويت أقرب إلى المسايرة منه إلى الانخراط الجدّي، مثلما يوحي قول رئيس وفد عمان: «نعم نحن مع الشق الاقتصادي وليس العسكري»، أو طلبه «تغيير كلمة التحالف إلى تجمّع أو منتدى أو اتحاد أو مبادرة»، وكذلك حديث الجانب الكويتي عن أن «لدينا إجراءات دستورية ملزمة». وبالنسبة إلى الجانب القطري، يَظهر، كما العادة، حريصاً على مناكفة السعوديين، ولا سيما بتأكيده أن استمرار الأزمة الخليجية يُعدّ واحداً من التهديدات التي تعترض تشكيل المشروع. الأكثر بروزاً هو موقف مصر، التي لم تَدم مشاركتها في الاجتماعات التأسيسية طويلاً، إذ سرعان ما انسحبت منها بعدما دعت إلى «التركيز على الجانب السياسي أكثر»، مشدّدة على ضرورة أن «نفرّق بين الجماعات المسلّحة والجماعات الإرهابية». وفي ما يتّصل بالموقف الأردني، يمكن القول إنه جاء متّسقاً مع وضع المملكة المسكونة دائماً بهاجس انقطاع «المساعدات» عنها؛ إذ ظلّ التشديد على أهمية الركيزة الاقتصادية ــــ خلافاً للموقف السعودي ــــ محوراً رئيسيّاً لرسائل عمّان طوال فترة الاجتماعات.
كلّ تلك التباينات كانت كفيلة بتطيير المشروع الذي لم يُعمّر طويلاً، شأنه شأن عرّابه ترامب، الذي سرعان ما غادر البيت الأبيض، ليَخلُفه جو بايدن، وتنفتح صفحة جديدة في المنطقة، لم تجد السعودية بدّاً، أخيراً، من التعامل معها، وفق ما تنبئ به التحوّلات المستمرّة في سياسات المملكة.
التحولات الظاهرة الآن في سياسات الرياض لا تعني تخلياً عن «الأهداف الوجودية» التي ظهرت في أوراق المقترحات السعودية ومواقف ممثليها الى جانب الإمارات والبحرين. هذا البناء الذي بدأ العمل به فعلياً قبل وصول ترامب الى الحكم في أميركا، لن يكون خارج اهتمامات أي إدارة أميركية جديدة، لكن قد لا يحتل مكانة متقدمة في أولويات أميركا، وهو ما ينزله حكماً درجات في سلّم أولويات دول المنطقة، وعلى رأسها السعودية التي دخلت الآن في مرحلة «تصفير التوتر»!

1 – المقترح الأمريكي

هنا الخطوط العريضة للمقترح الأمريكي المتعلق بتأسيس التحالف، كما ظهر في وثيقة سعودية سرية بتاريخ الخميس 1 ذو القعدة 1440 هـ/ 4 يوليو 2019م.

الهدف الرئيس:
«بناء المؤسسات لخلق قوة ضد العدوان الإيراني، والإرهاب والتطرف، وتعزيز النمو والتنوع الاقتصادي»

الأهداف الفرعية للتحالف:
• أن يصبح الشرق الأوسط حصناً منيعاً أمام أي قوى معادية.
• أن يصبح الشرق الأوسط بيئة لا تمكن الإرهابيين الجهاديين من العيش فيها.
• أن تسيطر الاقتصادات القوية المترابطة والحكومات المستقرة على المنطقة.
• إنشاء سوق قوية للقطاع الخاص في دول التحالف.
• تعزيز استقرار أسواق الطاقة العالمية.
• رفع القدرات العسكرية والتكامل العسكري بين القوى الإقليمية، وقوى الأمن الداخلي،
وأجهزة الاستخبارات.
• الدفع نحو تكامل اقتصادي أقوى.
• تزويد الدول الأعضاء في التحالف بأحدث المنظومات الدفاعية الأمريكية.
• توفير التدريب والتسليح للدول الأعضاء بطرق فريدة.

مسار تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (ميسا MESA) لمكافحة الإرهاب:
يسعى تحالف ميسا الدولي لتحقيق النتائج النهائية التالية:
• ردع أو منع الدول الراعية للإرهاب والداعمة لجماعات إرهابية من استخدام العنف وتقويض قدرتها ورغبتها في إستعمال الإرهاب لزعزعة استقرار الشرق الأوسط.
• القضاء على التهديد الناتج من الجماعات الإرهابية غير الدولية.
• تقليص وصول الإرهابيين للمواد والموارد المالية ومنع قدرتهم على عبور حدود دول تحالف (میسا).
• منع التأثير الناتج عن الإرهاب والنشاطات العنيفة الأخرى المدعومة من الأيديولوجيات المتطرفة في المجالات الواقعية والمعلوماتية والسيبرانية.
• تعزيز جهود التواصل الإستراتيجي الموحد لدول تحالف (ميسا) لفضح التكتيكات الإرهابية علنياً وتكذيب الرواية الإرهابية ودعم العناصر التابعة لدول التحالف في تطوير ونشر المنظور الخاص بهم في مكافحة الإرهاب
وقد أنشأت لجنة (ميسا) الأمنية آلية دورية لمراجعة وتحديث الإستراتيجية المعتمدة.

میسا مفهوم شامل للأمن الإقليمي:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية أنه يجب النظر الى تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بنظرة شاملة ومن منظور أمني وسياسي وطاقة وتعاون اقتصادي، وأن وجود كل هذه العناصر سيوفر فرصة لتحسين أمن واستقرار وازدهار المنطقة.
– تدعم بعض الدول الأعضاء بالتحالف التصور المطروح من الجانب الأمريكي بشأن دعامتي الاقتصاد والطاقة لتحالف ميسا، ونحن نحث حكوماتكم على التفكير في الفوائد المترتبة على تحالف ذي منظور أوسع عوضاً عن تحالف ذي منظور ضيق يركز فقط على الجانب الأمني.
– لا تمانع الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بأن يكون هناك تركيز أكبر على جانب معين من الجوانب الأربعة المنشودة من التحالف (الأمنية، والسياسية، والاقتصادية، والطاقة)، وترى أنه يمكن التركيز في مرحلة ما على جانب معين. ولكن نظرتنا أن ميسا ينبغي أن يقوي الجوانب الأربعة كلها، وعدد من الدول يتفقون معنا في ذلك.

الإطار التنفيذي للتحالف
1 – الجانب العسكري:
– منح كافة الأعضاء تصنيف (حليف رئيسي خارج الناتو). في هذه المرحلة، لا ترغب الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بأن يكون هذا التحالف شبيها بتحالف (الناتو) العسكري أو أن يشتمل على التزام المادة الخامسة منه التي تنص على قيادة عسكرية متكاملة أو تواجد قوات عسكرية. كما ترى الولايات المتحدة أن التحالف ينبغي أن ينشأ من خلال وثيقة موقعة من جميع الدول تتضمن التزامات كل دولة تجاه الركائز الأربع المنشودة للتحالف (أمني، سياسي، اقتصادي، طاقة).
– تعجيل صفقات التسليح مع الولايات المتحدة، والتزام كافة الأطراف بإبرام صفقة عسكرية لنظام إقليمي مشترك للإنذار المبكر ضد الصواريخ الباليستية.
– توفير التدريب والتسليح للدول الأعضاء بطرق فريدة (برامج تدريب – التفضيل في الأنظمة العسكرية الجديدة – إنشاء مؤسسات تعليمية إقليمية).
– توفير إطار ملزم للأمن المشترك.
– تأسيس إطار للتعاون في مجال أمن الملاحة البحرية.

السعودية: لدينا تصور لمواجهة استراتيجية مع ايران ونريـد تحالفاً عسكرياً – أمنياً فقط، وشراكات استراتيجية مع دول أخرى


2 – الجانب السياسي:
– حل الخلافات بين الدول الأعضاء.

3 – الجانب التجاري:
– التمهيد لإبرام اتفاقية تجارة حرة.
– بناء إطار اقتصادي مدمج.

4 – جانب الطاقة:
– اتخاذ خطوات إضافية لرفع مستوى التكامل في قطاع الطاقة.

أعضاء التحالف:
– يبدأ الحلف بدول مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية، والأردن، مع فرصة انضمام
مصر وغيرها لاحقاً.
– ستمنح الفرصة لدول أوروبية وآسيوية محددة للمشاركة في هذا التحالف، تشتمل (ولا
تقتصر) على المملكة المتحدة وفرنسا واليابان.

مقر میسا:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أن من السابق لأوانه تحديد مقر دائم للتحالف، خاصة وأنه لم يتم بعد التوافق حول دور وأنشطة الركائز الأربع ودور كل دولة فيها.
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أنه على المدى البعيد يجب النظر في مأسسة تعاوننا، بما في ذلك تأسيس مقر دائم للتحالف بتمثيل دائم للدول الأعضاء.

آلية التصويت:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أن نظام التصويت المبني على الإجماع هو الآلية الأنسب، خاصة في مرحلة التأسيس.

مراكز الجودة:
– ننظر الى هذه المراكز على أنها عنصر أساسي في الدعامة الأمنية لميسا.
– ستعزز المراكز الإمكانات والقدرات والعمل المشترك للقوات الأمنية للدول المشاركة، الخطوة الأولى الطبيعية لتعزيز التماسك والإندماج بين دول ميسا.
– وظائف كل مركز ستشمل التدريب، التعليم، التمارين، تطوير العقائد العسكرية، تحديد العتاد الضروري لتأسيس إمكانات جديدة وجعل قواتكم قادرة على العمل المشترك مع الولايات المتحدة ومع بعضكم البعض.
– نقطة التركيز لكل مركز ستكون متوائمة مع العناصر الرئيسة في البيئة الأمنية، ومن شأنها تطوير قدرات جماعية في مجالات الدفاع الجوي الصاروخي، العمليات البحرية، الدفاع السيبراني، الحروب غير المتكافئة، القيادة والسيطرة، التعبئة والدعم على المستوى الاستراتيجي، وأمن الحدود.

2 – التصور السعودي

حدد السعوديون ملاحظات وتوصيات بشأن أهداف واستراتيجية التحالف، أهمها:
– فصل المسار الأمني والعسكري عن المسار الاقتصادي والتجاري، واذا لم يتسن ذلك يكونان تحت مظلة واحدة بمسارين منفصلين.
– ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على قرار المملكة في مجال النفط.
– التأكيد على أن يشمل الحلف مواجهة أذرع ايران في المنطقة.
– أهمية انضمام مصر الى الحلف في مرحلته الاولى، خاصة في المجال العسكري.
– أن تتضمن آلية حل الخلافات بنداً يؤكد على تعليق عضوية الدولة التي تسهم في تهديد الأمن والاستقرار للدول الأعضاء.
– ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على تنويع مصادر منظومات الدفاع أو على الاتفاقيات الثنائية القائمة عالية السرية مع الدول الأخرى والتي بموجبها تم الحصول على منظومات تسليح استراتيجية، بالإضافة الى تأثيره على اتفاقیات تبادل المعلومات السرية وغيرها التي لا يمكن الافصاح عنها لأطراف اخرى.
– ضمان أن يسهم الحلف في رفع تصنيف دوله بما يحقق تعزيز التعاون مع الجانب الامريكي في المجالات كافة، خاصة في تسريع صفقات الأسلحة ونظام الإنذار المبكر ضد الصواريخ الباليستية وأنظمة المراقبة والإستطلاع والإستخبارات.

رأي اللجنة السعودية
وبعد دراسة أولية للتصور الأمريكي لتحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي، رأت «اللجنة التوجيهية» السعودية أن هذا التصور يحقق فوائد مهمة للولايات المتحدة دون أن يفرض عليها أي أعباء تُذكر، في الوقت الذي يحقق فيه هذا التصور فوائد محدودة للغاية للدول
الأخرى، ومنها المملكة. وأوصت اللجنة بما يلي:
أ – الإبقاء على التصور الذي قدمته المملكة لتشكيل التحالف قيد النقاش مع الولايات المتحدة والدول الأخرى المدعوة لتشكيل التحالف، ومحاولة العمل على تبنيه.
ب – العمل على تحقيق مكاسب إضافية تشمل ولا تقتصر على ما يلي:
– التزام الجانب الأمريكي الواضح بدول التحالف.
– أن تعامل الولايات المتحدة الدول الأعضاء في التحالف بعد تأسيسه فيما يتعلق بآلية مبيعات الأسلحة الأمريكية والتصريح بالأسلحة بشكل مماثل لصيغة الناتو + 6.
ج – في ما يتعلق بشقي الاقتصاد والطاقة الواردين في التصور الأمريكي، رأت اللجنة أن تتم هذه الدراسة في مركز الأمن الوطني بحضور أعضاء الفريق المشكل بموجب الأمر الملكي رقم 40005 في 1440/7/18هـ، وبمشاركة مستشاري اللجنة، مع الإستئناس برأي جهات استشارية دولية مختصة.

مواقف الدول المعنية من التصور السعودي:
المملكة العربية السعودية ودولة الامارات العربية ومملكة البحرين: مؤيد
سلطنة عمان: تصور مختلف
دولة الكويت ودولة قطر: غير واضح التوجه
الولايات المتحدة والمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية: تأييد التصور الأمريكي

الإجتماعات التأسيسية:
• اجتماع جانب الطاقة في مسقط يناير 2019.
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في واشنطن- فبراير 2019.
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في الرياض – أبريل 2019 (تشكيل 4 لجان فرعية).
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في واشنطن- أبريل 2019 (لدمج المقترحين السعودي والأمريكي، معالجة التضارب بين تصريحات الدول الأعضاء للجانب الأمريكي وما تتم مناقشته خلال الاجتماعات، والتريث في الأهداف الفرعية والتمويل والحوكمة).
• اجتماع استراتيجية محاربة الإرهاب في واشنطن- يونيو 2019: (ملاءمة الاستراتيجية من ناحية المبدأ مع طلب بعض الايضاحات؛ اقتراح الشراكة مع مركز التحالف الاسلامي العسكري لمحاربة الإرهاب، ومركز اعتدال، ومركز الحرب الفكرية، ومركز الامير محمد بن نايف للرعاية والمناصحة؛ – إرسال مسودة الاستراتيجية للدول الأعضاء قبل 12 يوليو ومن ثم عقد اجتماع لمناقشتها).
ضم الوفد الأمريكي الزائر للمملكة العربية السعودية (3 – 9 أبريل 2019) للمشاركة في محادثات تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (MESA): تيموثي ليندر كينج نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية، تشارلز کامبارو مدير مجلس الأمن القومي لشؤون الخليج، بن امبري مسؤول في مكتب شؤون الشرق الأدنى، جوشوا فولز مسؤول في مكتب موارد الطاقة، الفريق سكوت بنيديكت، نائب مدير الشؤون السياسية العسكرية، كيلي كالاوي مخطط سياسي/عسكري، أماندا دوبن مسؤولة عن استراتيجية وتخطيط مكافحة الإرهاب، وليام ماكغلوين مسؤول عن استراتيجية وتخطيط مكافحة الإرهاب. وشارك من السفارة الأمريكية في الرياض: كریستوفر هنزل القائم بالأعمال، اللواء ويندول هاغلر كبير مسؤولي الدفاع / ملحق الدفاع، وترايسي لوكبرين نائبة مستشار الشؤون السياسية

المبادرات المشتركة بين السعودية والولايات المتحدة

حددت وثيقة سعودية غير مؤرخة المبادرات الهادفة لتعزيز العلاقات العسكرية والأمنية الاستراتيجية بين الجانبين الامريكي والسعودي، كما يلي:

1 – مبادرة تحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي
قدم الجانب الامريكي لسمو سفير خادم الحرمين الشريفين في واشنطن مقترحاً معداً من مجلس الامن القومي حيال هيكل وآلية تحالف الشرق الاوسط الاستراتيجي. ويتضمن المقترح الخطوات المستقبلية للمضي قدماً في هذا التحالف. وقد أحالها سموه ببرقيته رقم 100408 تاريخ 16-9 -1439هـ الى معالي رئيس الديوان الملكي للعرض على النظر الكريم للتوجيه حيالها.

2 – مبادرة القضاء على داعش ومحاربة الإرهاب عسكرياً
أبرز ما تم: الإعلان عن جاهزية الدول الإسلامية لتوفير قوة الاحتياط
تم الاعلان في «بيان الرياض» عن جاهزية الدول الاسلامية لتوفير قوة الاحتياط. اتفق الجانبان على استئناف اجتماعات فريق التخطيط المشترك لمناقشة النواحي المتعلقة بالقيادة والسيطرة والدعم اللوجستي ومسؤوليات التدريب ومهام العمليات لقوة الاحتياط الاستراتيجي، وتم التواصل مع الجانب الامريكي عدة مرات لطلب تحديد توقيت الاجتماع.

البحرين: اميركا تتراجع عن اولوية التهديدات الإيرانية، ونريد ضمانات بعدم التخلي عنّا كما خرجت من الاتفاق النووي


3 – مبادرة تعزيز التعاون الثنائي
أبرز ما تم:
أ – جاري العمل بين البلدين على تأسيس قاعدة جوية بحرية مشتركة في البحر الأحمر. تم الاتفاق المبدئي على الموقع المقترح للقاعدة.
ب – إستكمال الخطوات المقبلة في مذكرة النوايا الموقعة مع الجانب الأمريكي. تم التوقيع خلال زيارة الرئيس الامريكي على مذكرة نوايا خاصة بمتطلبات وزارة الدفاع من الجانب الامريكي لمدة عشر سنوات.

4 – مبادرة دعم التحالف في استعادة الشرعية في اليمن
أبرز ما تم:
أ – جاري العمل على تقديم الجانب الأمريكي للدعم اللازم لقوات تحالف دعم الشرعية في اليمن. تم تقديم متطلبات قوات التحالف من الجانب الامريكي خلال اجتماع اللجنة الثلاثية في الرياض. كما تم تقديمها للمختصين في البيت الأبيض في الاجتماع الذي عقد برئاسة سمو الامير بتاريخ 30-7- 1439هـ. وقد ذكر الجانب الامريكي أنه ستتم دراستها ومن ثم العمل على تقديم الدعم اللازم.

الإستراتيجية السعودية للمواجهة مع إيران
أعدت اللجنة التوجيهية (السعودية) بتاريخ 1440/10/30هـ (4/7/2019م) الخطوط العريضة لما أسمتها «مراحل إعداد الإستراتيجية الشاملة للتعامل مع إيران»، وجاءت كما يلي:

المرحلة الأولى: مرحلة التهيئة
– التوجه الاستراتيجي والحوكمة
– جمع التقارير والمعلومات المختصة بالشأن الايراني من الجهات الحكومية والخبراء والمصادر ذات العلاقة وتشكيل فريق العمل الخاص بالمبادرة.

المرحلة الثانية: مرحلة التحليل والتقييم
– عمل تقييم استراتيجي لدولة ايران ويشمل تحديداً ووصفاً للبيئة الداخلية والاقليمية والدولية بالإضافة الى التوقعات المستقبلية والاستشرافية لإيران ودورها في المنطقة والعوامل المؤثرة فيها.
– تحليل وتقييم السياسات الحالية للمملكة تجاه ايران ومدى فعاليتها والفجوات الموجودة.
– مراجعة وتحليل الأهداف الاستراتيجية.
– عرض المخرجات على الفريق الإشرافي.

المرحلة الثالثة: بناء وإعداد الاستراتيجية
تحلیل مخرجات ورش العمل والاجتماعات مع الجهات ذات العلاقة، اعتماد الاهداف من اللجنة التوجيهية، بناء وإعداد المسودة الاستراتيجية من قبل الفريق المكلف، ورفع وثيقة الاستراتيجية المقترحة.

محاضر من اجتماعات الدول الأعضاء في تحالف «ميسا»

الإمارات: قلقون من عدم وجود ضمانات أميركية، ولماذا نتجاهل خطر ايران وحزب الله؟
مصر تخرج لأن لديها انشغالاتها: يجب أن نفرق بين الجماعات المسلحة والجماعات الإرهابية
عُمان: لن ندخل في تحالف يخالف سياساتنا… لا نعارض مطالب السعودية لكن المقترحات لا تلزمنا
قطر: الاشارة الى المنظمات الارهابية يجب ان تكون مطابقة لتوصيفات الأمم المتحدة

محضر اجتماع تنسيقي بين دول الخليج عقد في مقر الملحق العسكري السعودي في واشنطن، 19 فبراير 2019، لتنسيق الموقف من المقترح الذي تقدمت به الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بشأن تأسيس تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (MESA)

شارك في الإجتماع: السفير د. أحمد العقيل/ وزارة الخارجية السعودية، السيد سالم الزعابي/ مدير إدارة التعاون الأمني في وزارة الخارجية الاماراتية، الشيخ د. عبده بن أحمد آل خليفة/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون الدولية في البحرين، الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح/ مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء وزير الخارجية، د. أحمد السعيدي/ القائم بالأعمال في سـفارة سلطنة عمان لدى الولايات المتحدة.

أبرز المداخلات:
رئيس الوفد السعودي: المقترح الأمريكي بصيغته الحالية لا يلبي الطموحات، فليس هناك أي التزام من الجانب الأمريكي، بالإضافة إلى أنه لا يقدم أي مزايا للدول الأعضاء. نريـد أن يقتصر التحالف على الشق العسكري – الأمني فقط، ويتضمن مصادر التهديدات، إضافة الى إمكانية عقد شراكات استراتيجية مع دول حليفة أخرى.
رئيس وفد البحرين: هناك فرق كبير بين المقترحين الأول والثاني في ما يخص تحديد التهديدات. فبعد أن كان المقترح الأول المقدم من البيت الأبيض يشير بوضوح الى مواجهة التهديدات الإيرانية، كان المقترح الثاني الذي أتى من قبل وزارتي الدفاع والخارجية الأمريكتين أقل حدة. نرغب بالحصول على ضمانات بعدم تخلي الولايات المتحدة عن هذا التحالف كما حصل بانسحابها من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران.
رئيس وفد دولة الإمارات: لدينا مصادر قلق تتلخص في أمرين:
1) الضمانات من الجانب الأمريكي. فليس هناك ما يطمئننا بشكل قاطع.
2) الأعباء الماليـة الناتجة عن هـذا التحالف، إذ تحاول الإدارة الأمريكية الحالية تقليصها.
رئيس الوفد الكويتي: ننوه بأهمية العمل على صياغة الهيكل الإطاري للتحالف والذي ستندرج تحته كافة القطاعات المقترحة (السياسي، العسكري، الاقتصادي، الطاقة).
بعدها طرح ممثلون عن الديوان الملكي ووزارة الدفاع السعودية ورقة تتضمن التالي:
– يرتكز التحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط على 4 محاور رئيسية: الدفاع المشترك، إدارة الأزمات، التعاون الامني، الهجوم الإستباقي (اذا لزم الامر).
– الهدف الرئيسي هو المحافظة على أمن واستقرار منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا.
– يدعم التحالف دور المنظمات الإقليمية القائمة (مجلس التعاون).
– يكون التحالف بصيغة معاهدة (ملزمة).
– تمرر القرارات بأكثرية ثلثي دول التحالف المؤسسين، حتى لا تعطل قراراته من دولة معينة.
– مقر التحالف المقترح هو الرياض.

محضر اجتماع الدول الأعضاء في التحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط (MESA)، والذي انعقد في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشنطن، 21 فبراير 2019

شارك في الإجتماع ممثلون عن المملكة العربية السعودية، دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة، دولة الكويت، مملكة البحرين، سلطنة عمان، دولة قطر، جمهورية مصر العربية، المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية، والولايات المتحدة الامريكية.

المملكة العربية السعودية: السفير أحمد سليمان العقيل/ وزارة الخارجية؛ اللواء طلال العتيبي/ مستشار وزير الدفاع.
دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة: سالم الزعابي/ مدير إدارة التعاون الأمني في وزارة الخارجية.
مملكة البحرين: الشيخ د. عبدالله بن أحمد آل خليفة/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون الدولية.
دولة الكويت: الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح/ مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء؛ العميد الركن محمد عبدالعزيز الظفيري/ مدير العمليات المشتركة في وزارة الدفاع.
سلطنة عمان: – د. محمد بن عوض الحسان/ القائم بأعمال وكيل وزارة الشؤون الخارجية.
جمهورية مصر العربية: السفير معتز زهران/ نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب الوزير.
المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية: العميد ركن عمر العبابنه/ الملحق العسكري للمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية في واشنطن.
الولايات المتحدة الامريكية: السفير ديفيد هيل/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون السياسية؛ تیم لاندر کينج/ نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون الخليج؛ فيكتوريا كوتيس/ ممثلة وكالة الأمن القومي؛ مايكل مولروي/ نائب مساعد وزير الدفاع؛ سكوت بنيديكت/ نائب مدير الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية؛ جون غودفري/ نائب مدير المركز الوطني لمكافحة الإرهاب.

أبرز المداخلات:
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: مقترح التحالف الحالي يحتاج إلى التعديل، نحن كمجموعة اجتمعنا في مقر السفارة السعودية قبل يومين، وأولى الخطوات التي نراها هي تشكيل مجموعة عمل معنية بإعادة صياغة المقترح.
– ممثل وزارة الدفاع السعودية: عندما نعود للخلف، نستذكر الوعود الأمريكية بحماية المنطقة وحفظ أمنها واستقرارها. المحور العسكري مهم بالنسبة لنا.
– رئيس الوفد المصري: نحن نرى أن هذا التحالف يميل لكونه ذا طبيعة استشارية، نتطلع إلى تطبيق رؤى الرئيس دونالد ترامب على أرض الواقع وتأمين منطقتنا من القلاقل وعدم الاستقرار. كما نؤيد التركيز على الجانب السياسي أكثر وأن نتوصل للإطار الذي يمكننا من خلاله مناقشة بقية المحاور. كما يجب أن نفرق بين الجماعات المسلحة والجماعات الإرهابية.
– رئيس وفد عمان: نؤيّد رؤية الرئيس دونالد ترامب ونراها طموحة وذات فائدة على المنطقة. لكن هذا التحالف ليس بديلاً عن الترتيبات الثنائية التي تربطنا بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية.
– مايكل مولروي: يجب أن نكون واضحين بأن الحلف ليس مماثلاً لـ NATO. ليست لدينا استراتيجية لتوزيع قواتنا على الحلفاء، ونحن نتطلع للعب دور عسكري إشرافي.
– سكوت بنيديكت: مراكز الإمتياز (centers of excellence) حسب الرؤية الأمريكية ليست مراكز قيادة أو عمليات، ولكن مراكز للتدريب وذات طبيعة استشارية. هذه المراكز ستساهم في بناء القدرات العسكرية لحلفائنا.
– جون غودفري: سنتابع العمل وسنأخذ بملاحظات الدول بعد هذه المداولة، ونأمل أن يكون الإطار المنشود جاهزاً خلال شهر.

محضر الإجتماع التنسيقي بين دول مجلس التعاون + الأردن حول تحالف (MESA)، والذي عقد يوم الأحد 7 أبريل 2019 ، بمقر الاستخبارات العامة في العاصمة الرياض

قائمة الحضور: المملكة العربية السعودية (اللواء طلال العتيبي والسفير أحمد سليمان العقيل)، دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة (السفير سالم بن محمد الزعابي والعميد الركن حمدان بن أحمد الزيودي)، مملكة البحرين (الشيخ عبدالله بن علي آل خليفة والمقدم رکن سلمان بن عبدالله آل خليفة)، دولة الكويت (الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح)، سلطنة عمان (السفير محمد بن عوض الحسان والعميد سيف البوسعيدي)، دولة قطر (عضو في بعثة قطر لدى الأمانة العامة لمجلس التعاون)، المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية (السفير خالد الشوابكة والوزير المفوض محمد التل).

أبرز المداخلات:
قدم العقيد سلمان الحربي من وفد المملكة عرضاً بملاحظات الجانب الأمريكي، وهي كالآتي:
– أن يكون هذا التحالف شاملاً، ولا يقتصر على الجانب العسكري والأمني.
– أن لا يأخذ التحالف شكل حلف الناتو، وتحديداً المادة الخامسة من اتفاقية الحلف.
– لا تحالف بصيغة معاهدة، وإنما يمكن البدء بأمور غير ملزمة، ومن ثم الإنطلاق لتعميقها.
– يرى الأمريكيون عدم جدوى إنشاء مقر للتحالف بالرياض حالياً، وانما اقتراح مقر كأمانة عامة للتحالف.
– يرون أن آلية التصويت ينبغي أن تكون بالإجماع.
– في ما يخص التزام الولايات المتحدة بأمن الخليج، فإن قطاعات في الإدارة الأمريكية غير ملتزمة به.
– حول موضوع مصر، أفاد اللواء طلال العتيبي بأن الأخوة في مصر يرون أن هذا التحالف غير واضح الأهداف، لكنهم قد يعودون الى التحالف اذا اتضحت الرؤية لهم.
– رئيس وفد عمان شكر المملكة العربية السعودية، وأشار الى أن مقترح MESA ليس وارداً من جانب الخارجية الأمريكية، وإنما من الرئيس الأمريكي، وأفاد بأن المسؤولين العمانيين التقوا ثنائياً بالجانب الأمريكي الذي أبلغهم أن مقترحه أشمل من المقترح السعودي، وان القاعدة في هذا التحالف هي المقترح الأمريكي. وأكد ان عمان، ومنذ أيام الملك فهد بن عبدالعزيز رحمه الله، تؤيد التعامل الجانب الأمريكي في المجال العسكري ثنائياً، وذلك لاختلاف قوانين وأنظمة الدول الخليجية، وقال: لن ندخل في أي شيء يخالف سياساتنا، لكن الأمور الأخرى نحن معها.
– اللواء طلال العتيبي (مستشار وزير الدفاع السعودي) سأل رئيس وفد عمان: «هل نفهم بأن عمان ليست من ضمن التحالف العسكري؟».
– رئيس وفد عمان أجاب: «نعم نحن مع الشق الاقتصادي وليس العسكري»، وأكد ان السلطنة لا تمنع المملكة العربية السعودية من المضي قدماً في ورقتها المقترحة، لكن هذه الورقة لا تلزم عمان.
– اللواء العتيبي استغرب طرح الأخوة في عمان، وأكد أن السعودية لا تطالب بشيء جديد، فهناك تجربة مماثلة وهي قوة درع الجزيرة. وطالب الأخوة في سلطنة عمان بإعادة النظر في موقفهم.
– رئيس وفد دولة الكويت: في ما يخص موضوع معاهدة التحالف، تم إبلاغنا من قبل الجانب الأمريكي بصعوبة تمريرها في الكونغرس الأمريكي، وحتى نحن في دولة الكويت لدينا إجراءات دستورية ملزمة. وفي ما يخص الإلتزام الأمريكي بأمن دول الخليج، من الممكن الإشارة إلى ما سبق ذكره في البيانات الختامية للقمم الخليجية الأمريكية.
– رئيس وفد البحرين ذكر ان المادة الخامسة من اتفاقية الناتو ملزمة، ولكن نستطيع عمل اتفاقيات MO أو DCA لا تحمل أي عنصر التزام مثلما فعلت الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية مع كوريا الجنوبية وأفغانستان.
– رئيس وفد الإمارات شدد على ضرورة أن لا تمس الاتفاقية سيادة الدول، ولا تؤثر على علاقاتنا الثنائية مع الدول الأخرى، ولا تتعارض مع التزاماتنا الدولية. كما طالب بعدم احتكار استيراد الأسلحة من دولة واحدة.
– اللواء طلال العتيبي طلب من الحضور رأيهم حيال طريقة التصويت في التحالف، حيث يرى التصور السعودي أكثرية الثلثين، والجانب الأمريكي يريد الإجماع.
رئيس وفد عمان: نحن مع الاجماع.
رئيس وفد الاردن: نؤيد الإجماع.
رئیس وفد البحرين أيد مقترح السعودية في مسالة التصويت، أي الثلثين.
رئيس وفد الإمارات أيد مقترح السعودية في مسألة التصويت بأكثرية الثلثين.
قطر : نحن مع الإجماع.
الكويت: لدينا نموذج حي وفعال أقره قادتنا وهو النظام الأساسي لمجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية، ونصوصه واضحة وبالإمكان الاستعانة به في هذا الصدد.
– إقترح مستشار وزير الدفاع السعودي إبلاغ الجانب الأمريكي تأجيل موضوع التصويت إلى وقت آخر لكي تتمكن الدول من دراسته.

محضر الإجتماع العام حول تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بين دول مجلس التعاون+ الأردن + الولايات المتحدة، والذي عقد بمقر الإستخبارات العامة في الرياض يوم 8 أبريل 2019

قائمة الحضور: السعودية (العتيبي والعقيل)، دولة الإمارات (الزعابي والزيودي)، مملكة البحرين (عبدالله بن علي آل خليفةوالمقدم الرکن سلمان بن عبدالله آل خليفة)، الكويت (أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح)، عمان: (الحسان والبوسعيدي)، قطر (الدكتور خالد الخاطر مدير إدارة السياسات والتخطيط في وزارة الخارجية والدكتور عيسى المناعي مدير إدارة الأمريكتين)، الأردن (الشوابكة والتل)، الولايات المتحدة (تيموثي ليندر كينج نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الأدنى، كريستوفر هنزل القائم بأعمال سفارة الولايات المتحدة في الرياض،
تشارلز کامبارو مدير مجلس الأمن القومي لشؤون الخليج، جوشوا فولز مسؤول في مكتب موارد الطاقة – وزارة الخارجية).

أبرز المداخلات
– العتيبي: نرحب بحضور الوفود الشقيقة والأصدقاء الأمريكان، ونعرب عن أسفنا لعدم حضور جمهورية مصر العربية لهذا الاجتماع، ونتمنى عودتها للتحالف لما تقدمه من قيمة مضافة. نتطلع إلى إعداد تحالف عسكري في الشرق الأوسط لضمان أمن واستقرار منطقتنا من مخاطر التهديدات والتحديات الاقليمية والتصدي لمخاطر الإرهاب. نتطلع إلى ايجاد قواسم مشتركة بين الورقة السعودية والورقة الأمريكية للمضي نحو دمجهما، من أجل حصول دول تحالف MESA على ضمانات والدفاع عن الدول وتسهيلات التسليح، بالإضافة إلى معاملة مماثلة للناتو + 5.
– رئيس وفد مملكة البحرين: نتطلع للحصول على التزامات وامتيازات من الحليف الأمريكي ومثال على ذلك ناتو + 5 ، مع آلية للدفاع المشترك للحماية من الأخطار الخارجية.
– رئيس وفد سلطنة عمان: للسلطنة رغبة بتغيير كلمة «التحالف» إلى تجمع او منتدى او إتحاد او مبادرة، لما يمثّله مسمى التحالف من حساسية لدى السلطنة حيث يعطي الإنطباع بأنه موجه ضد أحد، وهو أمر ضد واحدة من الركائز الرئيسة لسياسة سلطنة عمان. وأود أن أتقدم بهذا الطلب رسمياً.
ونأمل ان لا يكون هذا المشروع الذي يحمل أربع ركائز مهمة من أجل التواصل فيما بيننا فقط، وإنما يساهم في حل ازمات المنطقة. كما ان لدينا نحن والأشقاء ملاحظات كثيرة نرغب بطرحها في مناسبات أخرى.
– رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة: نحن نميل لمصطلح التحالف لأنه يعبر عما نتطلع إليه، لكننا مرنون لمناقشة قلق الأصدقاء في عمان.
– رئيس وفد قطر: بعد الإطلاع على الورقتين المطروحتين للنقاش (السعودية والأمريكية)، نحن ندفع باتجاه مناقشة وتعديل الورقة الأمريكية للبقاء في مسار واحد.
– رئيس وفد الكويت: نؤيد ما عبر عنه اللواء طلال من الأسف لانسحاب مصر من هذا التحالف، وأذكر انه عندما استلمت الكويت أول مقترح لهذا التحالف في مايو عام 2018، كان يضم دول المجلس والأردن فقط ولم تكن الشقيقة مصر ضمن الدول المقترحة للانضمام إليه، ونقلنا للأصدقاء في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ضرورة وجود مصر في هذا التحالف.
– وفد الولايات المتحدة: بالتأكيد نرغب بعودة مصر إلى الفريق، ولديها هموم ومشاغل يجب إيضاحها.
اللواء طلال العتيبي سأل الوفود عن موقف كل منها من عودة مصر الى التحالف، وجاءت الأجوبة على النحو التالي:
– البحرين: مع عودة مصر.
– الإمارات: مع عودة مصر.
– الأردن: مع عودة مصر.
– الكويت: الكويت أساس هذه الفكرة.
– عمان: لم يعلق الوفد (فهم بأنهم موافقون).
– قطر: لم يجب وفد قطر.
ثم قدم د. سعود التمامي من الديوان الملكي السعودي عرضاً للتهديدات والمخاطر التي مرت بها المنطقة، وأشار الى ان المنطقة شهدت تجارب تحالف ناجحة، مثل تحالف حرب تحرير دولة الكويت والتحالف الدولي لمحاربة تنظيم داعش، الا انها كانت تحالفات مؤقتة، وهو ما يدفع للبحث عن تحالف دائم.
رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة عرض ورقة خاصة بمكافحة الإرهاب، وقال ان بلاده تتطلع إلى تلقي أجوبة الدول عليها. ثم طرح العناوين التالية:
– تبادل المعلومات بشكل فعال بين أعضاء التحالف من أجل دحر الارهاب.
– ردع الدول التي تدعم تمويل الارهاب، وتبادل المعلومات بهذا الشأن على الصعد السياسية والدبلوماسية والأمنية والقضائية.
– تنظر الإدارة الأمريكية لهذا التحالف نظرة بعيدة المدى، فالأعداء الذين نواجههم اليوم قد يتغيرون بعد 15 عاماً.
– رئيس وفد دولة الامارات: لدينا قضايا مهمة تهدد الأمن القومي، وأستفسر هنا: هل سيناقش فريق العمل الخاص بالإرهاب قوائم الارهابيين، وآلية محاربته، والارهاب الممول من الدول؟ كما نتطلع الى الخروج بتعريف محدد لمصطلح الارهاب، نظراً لتباين الآراء في هذا الشأن.
ولدينا ملاحظات تتعلق بمسألة تقليل تواجد القوات الأمريكية في المنطقة، وتقليل الأعباء المالية على الجانب الأمريكي، بالإضافة الى أهمية مراعاة سيادة الدول، وعدم احتكار مصادر التسليح.
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: نقترح عقد اجتماعات الفرق العاملة في الرياض، واجتماع مكافحة الارهاب في واشنطن، وإذا تم التوافق على ذلك نقول على بركة الله (لم يعلق احد).

الجلسة الثانية:
الوفد الأمريكي (تشارلز كامبارو – وكالة الأمن القومي NSA): – لقد أتينا بمفهوم للتحالف يقوم على نظرة استراتيجية وشمولية، فالإدارة الأمريكية داعمة بقوة لهذا التحالف.
– لقد أمضينا وقتاً طويلاً مع الجانب السعودي لمناقشة الورقتين، وكيفية الوصول إلى ورقة مشتركة.
– في الوقت الحالي، نحن غير مستعدين لأن يأخذ هذا التحالف شكل حلف الناتو، ومن بينها المادة الخامسة فيه. كما ان فكرة إنشاء مقر رئيسي على غرار الناتو سابقة لأوانها.
– الأمور تسير بشكل إيجابي. وعلينا أن نرى إن كنا نستطيع تعزيز هذا التحالف من خلال الميثاق الأساسي لمجلس التعاون الخليجي.
رئيس الوفد السعودي:
اتفقنا اليوم على خارطة طريق وهي على النحو الآتي:
1 – أن نعقد اجتماعا مع الولايات المتحدة قبل شهر رمضان من اجل دمج الورقتين.
2 – أن تقوم الدول بإرسال ملاحظاتها على ورقة مكافحة الارهاب خلال ثلاثة اسابيع.
3 – اتفقنا على إنشاء فرق عاملة تجتمع بشكل دوري في الرياض.
4 – دراسة هموم الجانب العماني فيما يخص تغيير مسمى التحالف.

محضـر الاجتمـاع حـول تحـالف الشـرق الأوسـط بين دول مجلس التعاون + الأردن + الولايات المتحدة، والذي عقد في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشـنطن في 18 أيلول/ سبتمبر 2019

– أوضح الوفد السعودي مجدداً أن افضل وسيلة لإنشاء هـذا التحالف هي عبر الركيزة الأمنية، وليس عبر الرائز الأربع (الأمن والاقتصاد والسياسة والطاقة)، كما يطرح الوفد الأمريكي.
في المقابل، أكد المسؤول عـن ملف MESA بالبيت الابيض في الاجتماع على أهمية الركائز الأربع للتحالف، وقال: أتمنى من الدول الداعمة لها أن تعلن موقفها الآن، أما الدول التي لديها رأي آخر فعليها أن تعلم أن العمل مستقبلاً لن يتم إلا وفق الركائز الأربع.
– رئيس وفد الأردن: نرى أن الركائز الأربع لا يمكن اجتزاؤها حيث أنها تعمل جميعاً بخط متواز.
– رئيس وفد مملكة البحرين: نؤكد على أهمية الركيزة الأمنية واعتبارها أولوية لهذا التحالف.
– رئيس وفد سلطنة عمان: نعتبر أن أحد أسـباب عدم الاستقرار فـي المنطقـة هـو الجانب الاقتصادي، ونـحـن فـي عمان ندعم أي تحرك يساهم بدعم الجانب الاقتصادي، ونرى المضي قدماً في الركائز الأربع.
– وفد المملكة العربية السعودية: نحن لم نوافق على ورقة الركائز الأربع.
رئيس وفد الأردن: حسب فهمي أنا اتفقنا على العمل وفـق الركائز الأربع، ونؤكد على دعم الأردن لها.
– رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة: ما حدث في السعودية (هجوم بقيق) يجعلنا نهتم بركيزة الطاقة، خاصة أن هناك العديد من الدول النفطية في المنطقة.
– نائب مساعد وزير الدفاع الأمريكي: بالنسبة للركيزة الأمنية، ستكون الاتفاقية المتوقعة ملزمة للدول من ناحية التشاور الأمني، لكنها لا تلزمنا باتخاذ أي إجراء عسكري في حال حصول اعتداءات.
– رئيس وفد المملكة العربية السعودية: مـا نسعى له هو إقامة تحالف على أسـاس صيغة النـاتو + 5، والتوصل الى اتفاق ملزم للدول في هذا الشأن.
– رئيس وفد الامارات العربية المتحدة: لم نسمع من قبل عن اتفاقية غير ملزمة. وفي هذه الحالة، نرى أن الأفضل أن يكون بمثابة إعلان نوايا.

التحالف الإستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط وإسرائيل:
تعود جذور التفكير بإنشاء التحالف الى طرح أمريكي أعلنت عنه كونداليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية عام 2004 ، عندما تحدثت عن «الشرق الاوسط الجديد» الذي يضم دولاً عربية «معتدلة» وإسرائيل.
وتم التطرق الى دور اسرائيل في تحالف الشرق الاوسط الاستراتيجي في إجتمع 18 سبتمبر 2019 بين دول مجلس التعاون والأردن والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، والذي عقد فـي مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشـنطن. هنا ملخص لأبرز الحوارات التي دارت بهذا الصدد، كما ظهـر في وثيقـة سعودية سرية:
– قـدم الوفد الأمريكي بإدارة تيموثي ليندر كينج عرضاً حول الركيزتين السياسية والإقتصادية للتحالف، وقال: أقترح فتح قنوات جديدة بـين دول التحالف كمجموعة، والبلدان الأخرى لمواجهة التحديات الاقتصادية التي تواجه دول التحالف. لدينا اهتمام لزيادة تواجد الشركات الأمريكية في المنطقة. رؤيتنا تتلخص في أن تكون هناك مذكرة تفاهم غير ملزمة تحتوي على الركائز الأربع (السياسة، الإقتصاد، الأمن، الطاقة)، وسيكون من المهم التفاوض لاحقاً حول الأمور التي تشغلكم مثل آلية فض المنازعات وانضمام دول جديدة. ولا يخفى عليكم أن إسرائيل ترغـب بالإنضمام مسـتقبلاً للتحـالف، ولكنهـا ليست الدولة الوحيدة. نريد أن نطور منظومة تسمح بإنضمام دول أخرى، وليست لدينا وثيقة جاهزة الآن، ولكن من الممكن أن نقدم لكم خلال الأسابيع القادمة وثيقة من ورقة واحدة لكي تقدموا ملاحظاتكم عليها.
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: نحتاج شرحاً لنقطة العلاقات مع الدول الأخرى.
– رئيس وفد قطر: من المفيد أن نحصل على المستندات حتى يتسنى لنا دراستها وتجهيز الردود عليها.
– رئيس وفد الكويت: أثني على العلاقـات بين دولنا وشريكنا الأمريكي. وأقترح أن تقدم لنا الولايات المتحدة نسخة من مذكرة التفاهم لمناقشتها.
– كينج: نؤكد التزامنا بالتحالف. ستكون هناك أحداث في عالمكم ونتطلع الى استمرار تحالفنا وشراكتنا. ونؤكد أن أي رئيس سيستلم رئاسة الولايات المتحدة سيثمن هـذا التحالف. سنواصل الحوار للتعامل مـع هذه التحديات، فأنتم حلفاء رائعون لنا.

التهديدات التي تواجه التحالف
جرت في الإجتماعات التأسيسية لتحالف الشرق الأوسط الإسـتراتيجي مناقشات حول «التهديدات» الرئيسة التي تواجهها دول التحالف. وكان لافتاً أن الجانب الاميركي تـطرق الى تحديد العراق كأحد مصادر الخطر على مصالحه، الى جانب إبـداء تحسس خاص من دور الصين التكنولوجي والإقتصادي في المنطقة، مضافاً الى دور إيران الإقليمي. وتم التطرق الى هذه «التهديدات» في مناسبتين على الأقل. في اجتمـاع ناقش التحضير لإطلاق تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بين دول مجلس التعاون والأردن والولايات المتحدة، في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في 18 أيلول/ سـبتمبر 2019، تحدث الجانب الأمريكي عن تهديدات تمثلها الصين وإيران والعراق. وأكد فيليـب بيرتسيون، وهو مسؤول في الاستخبارات الامريكية على ضرورة مواجهة التحديات التي تمثلها ايران، على ضوء «الإعتداء» الأخير على المعامل النفطيـة السـعودية فـي البقيـق.
وذكر أن مواجهة ايران هي أولوية أمنيـة، وقال انها والحوثي يمثلان تهديـداً للمنطقة. وأشار إلى أن هناك قوى خارجية مثل الصين وروسيا «يقومون أيضا بعمليات ليست في صالح المنطقـة». وقال ان عودة روسيا الـى المنطقة عام 2015 من خلال انخراطها فـي حرب سوريا، كان لها دور في التأثير على الأمن الإقليمي.
وأبدى الجانب الأمريكي فـي المحادثات الجماعية والثنائية قلقاً خاصاً تـجاه تصاعد الدور الصيني في المنطقة، وخاصة في موضوع تكنولوجيا الاتصالات والخدمات التي تقدمها شركة هواوي، واعتبر أن الأخيرة مصدر مهم للإستخبارات الصينية.
وخلال الجلسة الثانية في الإجتماع ذاته، أعاد رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة الكلام على ضرورة مواجهة التهديد الآتي من الصين وإيران والعراق. وقال عن الصين:
لدينا قلق تجاه شركة «هواوي» الصينية. الجيـل الخامس للإنترنت يؤثر ايضاً على الأمن القومي لدول التحالف، حيث أن القانون الصيني يجبر الشركة على افشـاء بيانات عملائها للاستخبارات الصينية. نحن نرى أن اريكسون، نوكيا، وسامسونج هي الشـركات التي نثق بها، ولا نقـول إن الشركات الأمريكية هي الحل، ولكن يجب أن نستخدم شركات موثوقة.
رد الوفد السعودية: في ما يخـص موضـوع الجيـل الخـامس 5G، كيـف تقـارنون شـركات خارجة مــن السوق مثل اريكسون ونوكيا، بشركة تمتلك قدرات مثل هواوي؟
أجاب وفد الولايات المتحدة: الأمن الاقتصادي يعتبر مـن روافد الأمن القومي. ونحن في الولايات المتحدة ومن خلال مواجهتنا لإيران لم نطلق رصاصة واحدة، بل واجهناهم عبر الجانب الاقتصادي.
وفي الاجتماع الأمني – السياسي للتحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط (MESA) والذي عقد بمقر الخارجية الأمريكية في واشنطن بتاريخ 21 فبراير 2019 ، اعتبر وفد قطر أن التحالف المقترح سيكون قاصرأ في حال استمرار الأزمة الخليجية، داعياً الى تحديد مصادر التهديد التي يمكن أن تكون محل اتفاق بين الاطراف المشاركة.
بينما سأل وفد البحرين: لماذا لم يتم ذكر إيران كتهديد كما كان الحال في الورقة السابقة؟ فأجابت ممثلة وكالة الامن القومي الامريكي فيكتوريا كوتيس: ذكرتُ إيران في كلمتي الافتتاحية.
وطرح وفد الإمارات سؤالاً عن سبب عدم ذكر «الجماعات الإرهابية» التي ترعاها إيران كحزب الله. هنا تساءل وفد قطر: «هل هذا النقاش يدور حول ورقة لم تقدم لنا بعد؟ نود أن يتضمن ورود أي منظمة إرهابية تماشياً مع ما يصدر عن الأمم المتحدة».

 اشترك في «الأخبار» على يوتيوب هنا

من ملف : «السعودية – ليكس»: وثائق التحالف الاستراتيجي الخليجي – الاميركي

Russian Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean — snapshot of activity

May 06, 2021

A snapshot of the Russian Navy escorting Iranian shipping from the Suez Canal to Syria.

By Nat South for the Saker Blog

Back in April there was uncorroborated information circulated on social media, announcing that Russia was to protect the Iranian ships — in particular the tankers carrying vital oil supplies to Syria.  Yet, it wasn’t readily known whether this would be a regular mission for the Russian Navy.   For a while now, tankers and cargo ships heading to Syria would go “dark” on AIS after transiting the Suez Canal. Hardly any Russian warship regularly uses AIS, so any information on escorts is sketchy to say the least.

The following article provides some details on an escort carried out by the Russian Nav back in October 2020.  Very little information is available on other escorts undertaken since then, until now. This is how the escort was framed by the UK tabloid newspaper, the Daily Express: with its lurid far-fetched clickbait headline,  — WW3 stuff, hardly.

A picture containing text, indoor, screenshot Description automatically generated

The reality is more mundane, with all likelihood elements of NATO SNMG2 keeping tabs on both the Russian Navy in the region and also Iranian shipping, but it is Israel that has more at stake in this matter, (more on this later).  The UK sent a patrol ship to the region recently as part of the NATO ‘Operation Sea Guardian’.  HMS Trent was last in Cyprus after having been off the coast of Port Said and also the Levant coast too. Add this, NATO SNMG2 ships were in the Syrian channel (between Cyprus and the Levant).

The Russian Navy had dropped a hint about escorting merchant ships back in October 2020, about ensuring “smooth passage of civilian ships.” The timing fits in with the article previously mentioned above.  In fact, the VMF carried out an exercise off Tartus “to monitor the situation at depth and on the surface, and to create a safe area for the passage of merchant ships.”  Certainly, it suggests that Russia was aware of ships being targeted by Israel back even.

Fast forward 6 months, the WSJ ran an article in March 2021, alleging a dozen of Israeli attacks on merchant shipping, (which I wrote an article about).

On 17 April Arabic Sputnik reported that a “tripartite joint operations room” would be established in the Mediterranean to ensure the safe arrival in Syria of oil and flour shipments as well as other goods to the Syrian ports.  This news came on the back of recent incidents with Iranian ships.  Several days later, there was a reported attack on an Iranian tanker moored off Baniyas.  Claims were made by officials that it was attacked by a drone, causing a large fire in which a Russian helicopter had to drop water to extinguish the fire.

This would have ruffled a few military feathers in Russia and Damascus, given the proximity to the Russian naval base at Tartus.  What with the deployment of air defense ashore and the deployment of the designated anti-saboteur ‘Grachanok’ class and the fast Raptor boats for port protection.  Even more, the Russian Navy has conducted exercises repelling an attack by saboteurs, (undersea and afloat), hinting at concern over covert operations. Similarly, the naval exercise in October 2020 was also about responding to a potential threat of SOF “group of swimmers” that could have been deployed from a submarine.

The Baniyas’ attack’ took place after another Iranian cargo ship off Yemen, the ‘Saviz’, was reportedly attacked by Israel in the Red Sea on 6 April. The ‘Saviz’ has been stationed in the southern Red Sea for several years and is reported to be an Iranian intelligence ship.  Reports of an Israeli submarine operating in the Red Sea were noted on social media and also featured in an article by H.I. Sutton.

Israel had once more stepped up its tit-for-tat attacks against Iran.

Snapshot of an escort

Image 1 Ivan Antonov. Source: author

Image 1 Ivan Antonov. Source: author

A Russian ship was seen on AIS, about 25nm to the north of Port Said in the evening of the 4th of May, waiting.

AIS screenshot: Source: vessel finder.com

AIS screenshot: Source: vessel finder.com

At the same time, a 231 m long Aframax Iranian tanker, ‘Sirvan Sabou’ was leaving the Suez Canal, entering the Mediterranean.

AIS screenshot

AIS screenshot

The AIS specifications matches to the  ‘Ivan Antonov’,  a Black Sea Fleet minesweeper forward deployed as part of the permanent naval squadron in the Mediterranean is based in Tartus, Syria.  Marine Traffic clearly shows the naval ship:

AIS screenshot: Marine Traffic

AIS screenshot: Marine Traffic

Interesting to note that it is a minesweeper that is providing an escort, but I doubt it is on its own though.  Until recently, the Russian Navy had a Project 22160 class large patrol ship ‘Dmitry Rogachev’ but it returned to the Black Sea at the beginning of April. There is the ‘Admiral Grigorovich’ frigate and also a Buyan-M missile ship part of the squadron.

[NB: HMS Trent which had been visible on AIS until its Cyprus port call has gone AIS dark since then].

Russian Navy escorts will help in circumventing the repugnant US and EU sanctions, since Syria is reliant on Iranian oil and wheat imports, thus effectively breaking the sanctions siege.   This is largely due to the fact the majority of Syria’s oil and gas resources as well the traditional breadbasket is located in the northeast, the area being under US-backed Kurdish control and out of reach of Damascus. To note that the US not only guards the oil infrastructure but also facilities the transfer of oil and wheat out of Syria via Iraq.

Middle East media reported that a convoy of three Iranian vessels has already arrived at Syria’s Baniyas under Russian naval escort in late April.  This was particularly noteworthy as the Suez Canal was temporarily blocked by the mega containership “Ever Given’, which caused a backlog of shipping, including much-needed oil imports for Syria. The Suez Canal blockage only serves to highlight even more the vulnerability and severe shortage of Syrian imports, and it stands to reason why the Russian Navy is escorting ships, to allow “smooth passage of civilian ships”.

According to social media information, Israeli defense sources claiming that the Russian Navy is also helping with the smuggling of weapons to Syria.  Israel has for a long time been monitoring and carrying out airstrikes to deny Syria armaments, that have been either flown in or transferred by land from Iraq.  Now it seems according to Israeli experts that there is a shift to the transportation on ships. Consequently, Israel is apparently vexed about this recent arrangement because targeting a ship under Russian Navy escort would incur hefty risks.  (Not that I see Israel unable to find another way or location to hamper such voyages, as hinted by the attack on the ‘Saviz’ in the Red Sea, or indeed infrastructure on land). Russian Navy presence in the Red Sea is limited to an intelligence (AGI) and a floating maintenance ship, (both called into Port Sudan recently), not something likely to undertake an escort role.

I think that there is a lot more behind the scenes to this, escorting Iranian ships is just one facet, barely visible, given the complicated and overall geopolitical context.  Although, it has become clear that a line has been drawn in not accepting the US and EU sanctions or Israeli actions in the Mediterranean.

The Russian naval escorts are another spanner thrown into the works by Russia as far the US and its allies in enforcing sanctions intended to deprive the Syrian state of a vital lifeline for the population.

The forthcoming inevitable battle for Middle-East Peace

May 05, 2021

The forthcoming inevitable battle for Middle-East Peace

by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The alleged stray ground-to-air Syrian missile that landed near the nuclear reactor in Dimona Israel carried many messages; both overt and covert.

And, as if the fact that this missile managed to penetrate Israel’s formidable ‘Iron Dome’ was not embarrassing enough for Israel, the official Israeli report alleged that the missile was actually Iranian-made; not Russian as initially perceived by the world.

In other words, the Israeli report is saying that its ‘Iron Dome’ has been easily penetrated by a missile that is 1) not meant to hit ground targets, 2) had already spent its fuel and maneuverability and was literally on a free fall trajectory by gravitation and not propulsion, 3) yet it penetrated the allegedly most advance air defense system in the world, and 4) above all, it was made in Iran; a nation ‘crippled by sanctions and governed by ‘fundamentalist Mullas’.

Seriously, Israel has never before admitted a defense failure that is even close to such similar proportions.

Ironically, almost simultaneously, Iran revealed photos of an American aircraft carrier taken by a drone; not to forget mentioning that Iran also revealed that it has developed kamikaze drones ready to attack any target within their range in the Gulf.

But the Dimona incident alone cannot be seen in isolation of the recent Russian ‘diplomacy’ initiatives in the Middle East. I have deliberately put the word diplomacy under inverted comas, because that Russian version of diplomacy has a side that proves its worth in both traditional diplomatic ways as well as ones that are unorthodox.

Russia has thus far been very tight-lipped about its objectives in the Middle East. My own analysis of it has landed me in hot water with Russian friends and media allies, and I accept their stand. Perhaps they do not want me to ‘spoil the hidden agenda’, but my role as an analyst is not going to stop, and their views, directives, and concerns will not make me feel guilty for expressing my analyses and predictions.

In this portrayal of recent regional political events in the Middle east, I am relying on bits of pieces of information from here and there, but the analysis of it all is based on my own understanding of what makes sense in combining all what is currently taking place. My analysis does not represent the views of any blog, news agency or government. I have expressed similar views earlier, but events keep progressing, and in every step of the way, it seems that my initial prediction about the Russian initiative in the Middle East was accurate. So here is an updated summary of it all with a bit repetition of earlier material for the benefit of first-time readers.

Ever since Russia responded to Syria’s request to offer military aid, Russia responded with accepting the request under certain conditions; conditions that stipulate a Syrian-Israeli peace settlement agreement.

But this wasn’t all. Putin’s Russia is trying to reverse what Kissinger did to Russia some forty years ago when he catapulted the USSR out of Middle East politics and conned Egypt into accepting a unilateral peace deal with Israel in the so-called Camp David Accords.

Ever since then, Russia has been deprived of a role to play in the Middle East, none at all, until Putin sent troops into Syria and thereby changing the status quo not only in the Middle East, but also heralding the end of the single global superpower status of the post USSR USA.

The post-USSR world has seen Russia suffering from huge American-based NATO encroachments in Eastern Europe, and the current impasse in Ukraine is only one aspect of it. Former Warsaw Pact nations have gone full dipole away from Russia and in cahoots with their new-found Western ‘allies’. The Stalin era might have left a bitter taste in the palate of some East European countries, but this was a long time ago, and nations like Poland and Ukraine surely must understand and know who are their historic regional and global allies. With the era of Nazism and Fascism in the dust bin of history that Europe would like to forget, even Germany and France ought to realize that today’s Russia cannot be associated with Stalin’s-USSR any more than today’s Germany and France can be associated with Hitler and Petain.

And, if Poland wants to remained mentally entrenched in the Stalin era and forget about who liberated it from Nazi occupation, it should look further back in history and remember that the partition of Poland in the 19th Century was not only orchestrated by the Russian Czars, but also in collaboration with Prussia and Austria.

As discussed in the previous article, the current animosity of Eastern European nations towards Russia is not something that can be rationally explained and justified.

Back to the Middle East.

Only Russia can broker a peace deal in the Middle East, a deal that includes not only Syria and Israel, but also Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The main sticking elements in any such deal are Israel and Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran.

In the same previous article mentioned above, I predicted a win-win scenario that Russia will broker between Iran and Saudi Arabia; one that guarantees the mutual withdrawal of Iran from Syria and Saudi Arabia from Yemen. As a matter of fact, a few days ago Saudi Crown Prince MBS announced that he wants to have a good relationship with Iran. Is this a sign that this deal is closer than we think? Perhaps not, but I cannot think of any other reason.

Turkey will undoubtedly want a bite of the cherry, and I not sure how will Russia be able to diplomatically appease Erdogan without giving him too much more than what he has taken already. However, his recent stand on Ukraine has put him in deep hot water with Russia and in any future bargains, he will find that his Ukraine venture will be used against him. He has deliberately introduced a bargaining chip that can be used only against himself.

This leaves Israel; how to bring Israel to the negotiating table for a deal that is unlike all previous American-brokered deals.

All American-brokered deals have thus far been based on providing Israel with the lion’s share and the Arab party with very little; especially when it came to making deals with the Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, on top of the political and strategic gains that America delivered to Israel in all of those deals, America ensured that Israel continued to have military superiority and that Arabs would never be able to score a major military victory, even if united.

Despite the October 1973 (ie Yom Kippur War) and what followed it, all the way up to the July 2006 war with Hezbollah, and the humiliations that Israel suffered from all of those military engagements, Israel remains mentally entrenched in the euphoria of the huge Six-Day War win of June 1967 and what ensued afterwards, resulting in what can best be described as the invincible army complex.

Israel will not be prepared to sign a peace agreement with Syria while it believes that it continues to have this military superiority; the power to shape events in its favour. For Israel to change course and become more realistic, it needs either a new generation of political leaders who are more rational, or a reality check; a punishment if you wish.

This is why it is that, inasmuch as the corridors of negotiations are opening up and the tables are being prepared, so are the drums of war.

It is worthy to note here that major reconstructions have not begun in Syria yet. The underlying message here is that perhaps Syria is expecting more carnage, and that reconstruction will have to wait. Why reconstruct twice? In its current state of devastation, Syria has little to lose.

Israel, on the other hand, is in a very vulnerable situation, and the Dimona incident has exposed this gaping hole.

Syria has exercised great restraint in the face of the ongoing Israeli airstrikes. Even though an Israeli jet was downed a few years ago, by-and-large, Syria has remained non-respondent. We do not know exactly what is happening behind the scenes, but it seems that Israel is misreading Syria’s lack of response and seeing weakness, despite information from Russia that such is not the case. Israel will continue to act like the regional bully, refusing to sit at the negotiating table as an equal partner, unless it receives a significant hit.

This hit is not necessarily one that will cause much carnage in Israel such as civilian and military loss of life. Putin will not accept or allow such a level of devastation to be inflicted on Israel. After all, a significant fraction of Israel’s population is originally Russian. Putin, furthermore, is intent on convincing Israel that it is Russia, and not America, that can give Israel real peace with its Arab neighbours.

To this effect, Israel only needs to lose a few fighter-jets, ten, maybe twenty, finding itself unable to defend key military and strategic land targets in order for it to realize that the days of military superiority are gone.

The Dimona incident is a forewarning, but only if Israel wants to read in between the lines. Otherwise, there will be a war in the Middle East, a war that will be intended to be contained and limited to be a punch, a powerful punch, but not a knockout.

With this said, this is the Middle East, a very volatile region, with many volatile heads. A limited war aimed at showing who has muscle may end up spiraling out of control and into something very large. With experience of such unpredictability, Syria is presenting to Israel that a long war will bring more destruction upon Israel than it will on an already destroyed Syria.

What seems certain is that peace initiatives are on the table, but not all parties are yet convinced that they will attend such talks as equal partners before some arms are twisted and statures rattled.

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford

Source

Finian Cunningham

April 30, 2021

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford -  TheAltWorld

“The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away,” says former British ambassador to Syria in an interview with Finian Cunningham.

The United States, Britain, and other NATO powers failed in their covert military efforts for regime change in Syria, thanks in large part to the principled intervention by Russia to defend its historic Arab ally. However, Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria, contends that regime change is still very much a top priority for Western powers and their criminal agenda of reshaping the Middle East according to their imperial objectives. In the following interview, Ford explains how the Western tactic has now shifted to intensifying economic warfare in order to buckle the Syrian government led by President Assad. Nevertheless, the former British envoy envisages that the presidential election on May 26 will see Assad being resoundingly re-elected by a nation defiant towards Western aggression.

peterford hashtag on Twitter

Peter Ford is a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) who has publicly denounced Britain’s proxy-terror war for regime change in the Arab nation, along with other NATO accomplices. He is a seasoned diplomat having graduated in Arabic Studies from Oxford University and serving as an envoy in several Middle East countries. Ford has incurred the wrath of the British establishment for his outspoken truth-telling about their nefarious agenda in Syria. On the other hand, he has won the admiration of many people around the world for his courage and integrity. He is a recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism.

Interview

Question: What do you make of the ruling last week by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to strip Syria of its member rights based on allegations that the Syrian government military forces have repeatedly used chemical weapons during the 10-year war? It seems that the OPCW has become extremely politicized by the United States and its Western allies. Do you see a lot of arm-twisting of member states by Western powers to produce OPCW sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

Question: The OPCW’s executive has been exposed in distorting its own reports for the objective of incriminating the Syrian government over alleged chemical weapons attacks. Do you think the OPCW has been turned into a lever to enable Western powers to harass Syria because these powers have been blocked by Russia and China from using the United Nations Security Council as a mechanism for aggression against Syria?

Peter Ford: The United States and the United Kingdom have not hesitated to ventriloquize the OPCW executive to get their way on Syria, stifling whistleblowing even where the cases of misreporting have been flagrant. As a former United Nations official myself, I can say that international organizations are nearly all controlled and used by the U.S./UK, with the Security Council thankfully the one arena where they are unable always to get their own way. This irks them considerably, leading them to go even further in exploiting and debasing agencies like the OPCW.

Question: Three months into a new administration in the United States under President Joe Biden, is there any discernible change in Washington’s policy towards Syria? You have stated publicly before that the whole war in Syria was a regime-change operation orchestrated by the U.S., Britain, France, and others. Is regime change in Syria still on the Western powers’ agenda?

Peter Ford: Regime change is very much still on the agenda. It cannot be openly avowed, of course, but how else to describe a policy of seeking a  “transition” under conditions that would guarantee removal of the present government? Those conditions include rigged elections and “justice” against “war criminals”. The economic warfare is as severe as anything that was waged against Iraq to bring Saddam down. It is blatant deceit to pretend this policy is not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. Biden brings no change. If anything he is doubling down on the policy of his predecessor, without even the pretense of wanting out of Syria, holding on to sanctions, and deliberately hampering reconstruction.

Question: The United States still has troops illegally occupying parts of eastern Syria near the country’s oil fields, denying the Syrian state important resources for national reconstruction. You have described the American forces there as functioning like a “tripwire”. Could you expand on that concept?

Peter Ford: U.S. forces in occupied parts of Syria number around a thousand. The Syrian Arab Army could overrun these forces and their Kurdish allies in a matter of days. What stops them? The certain knowledge that any advance towards the American forces would trigger massive retaliation from the U.S. Air Force operating from its bases in the region. So the function of these U.S. forces is not to help “eradicate ISIS terror remnants” as implausibly claimed, but to serve as a tripwire and thereby deter Syrian forces from recovering territories that hold most of Syria’s oil and grain resources. Denial of these resources is key to bringing Syria to its knees via economic warfare.

Question: Could Biden step up the military intervention in Syria? Or is it more likely that the U.S. and its Western allies will pursue economic warfare through sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: It must be considered unlikely that the U.S. would put many more boots on the ground but many in the Pentagon are straining at the leash to bomb Syria at the slightest pretext. For the moment, the policy planners are counting on economic sanctions and are content to wait for the Syrian government to buckle.

Question: What are the strategic reasons for Western regime change in Syria?

Peter Ford: It’s a way of getting at Russia and Iran, essentially. A little thought experiment proves it. Imagine Assad suddenly said he was ready to get rid of the Russians and Iranians and complete America’s set of Arab powers in return for being left in power. Egypt’s Sadat did something similar in the late 1970s so it’s not unthinkable, and Assad was having tea with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth not so very long ago. Would the U.S. not then cast aside without a moment’s hesitation all the blather about democracy and human rights?

Question: How significant was Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian war in October 2015?

Peter Ford: It was a life-saver. Most people do not realize how close ISIS and other terrorist proxies were to grabbing control of Damascus. Naturally, the Western powers never like to acknowledge this awkward truth.

Question: France’s former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas remarked in a media interview back in 2013 how he was privately approached by British officials with a scheme for regime change in Syria two years before the war erupted in 2011. As a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) can you recall noticing any such plot being considered?

Peter Ford: Planning for regime change in Syria only really began when the aftermath of the Iraq war went really sour and rather than blame themselves, the U.S./UK sought to deflect blame on to Syria. It accelerated after Britain’s Conservatives with their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian obsessions, and their support for Israel, came to power in 2010.

Question: Your principled and outspoken criticism of the British government’s involvement in the Syrian war has won you much respect around the world. Do you feel personally aggrieved by the malign conduct of Britain in Syria?

Peter Ford: I feel ashamed for my country’s actions. It really is quite shameful that we have been instrumental in causing suffering for millions of Syrians while hypocritically claiming we are doing it for their own good.

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

Brave New Cancel Culture World

Brave New Cancel Culture World

May 01, 2021

If we need a date when the West started to go seriously wrong, let’s start with Rome in the early 5th century

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

In 2020, we saw the enshrinement of techno-feudalism – one of the overarching themes of my latest book, Raging Twenties.

In lightning speed, the techno-feudalism virus is metastasizing into an even more lethal, wilderness of mirrors variant, where cancel culture is enforced by Big Tech all across the spectrum, science is routinely debased as fake news in social media, and the average citizen is discombobulated to the point of lobotomy.

Giorgio Agamben has defined it as a new totalitarianism.

Top political analyst Alastair Crooke has attempted a sharp breakdown of the broader configuration.

Geopolitically, the Hegemon would even resort to 5G war to maintain its primacy, while seeking moral legitimization via the woke revolution, duly exported to its Western satrapies.

The woke revolution is a culture war – in symbiosis with Big Tech and Big Business – that has smashed the real thing: class war. The atomized working classes, struggling to barely survive, have been left to wallow in anomie.

The great panacea, actually the ultimate “opportunity” offered by Covid-19, is the Great Reset advanced by Herr Schwab of Davos: essentially the replacement of a dwindling manufacturing base by automation, in tandem with a reset of the financial system.

The concomitant wishful thinking envisages a world economy that will “move closer to a cleaner capitalist model”. One of its features is a delightfully benign Council for Inclusive Capitalism in partnership with the Catholic Church.

As much as the pandemic – the “opportunity” for the Reset – was somewhat rehearsed by Event 201 in October 2019, additional strategies are already in place for the next steps, such as Cyber Polygon, which warns against the “key risks of digitalization”. Don’t miss their “technical exercise” on July 9th, when “participants will hone their practical skills in mitigating a targeted supply chain attack on a corporate ecosystem in real time.”

A New Concert of Powers?

Sovereignty is a lethal threat to the ongoing cultural revolution. That concerns the role of the European Union institutions – especially the European Commission – going no holds barred to dissolve the national interests of nation states. And that largely explains the weaponizing, in varying degrees, of Russophobia, Sinophobia and Iranophobia.

The anchoring essay in Raging Twenties analyzes the stakes in Eurasia exactly in terms of the Hegemon pitted against the Three Sovereigns – which are Russia, China and Iran.

It’s under this framework, for instance, that a massive, 270-plus page bill, the Strategic Competition Act , has been recently passed at the US Senate. That goes way beyond geopolitical competition, charting a road map to fight China across the full spectrum. It’s bound to become law, as Sinophobia is a bipartisan sport in D.C.

Hegemon oracles such as the perennial Henry Kissinger at least are taking a pause from their customary Divide and Rule shenanigans to warn that the escalation of “endless” competition may derail into hot war – especially considering AI and the latest generations of smart weapons.

On the incandescent US-Russia front, where Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sees the lack of mutual trust, no to mention respect, as much worse than during the Cold War, analyst Glenn Diesen notes how the Hegemon “strives to convert the security dependence of the Europeans into geoeconomic loyalty”.

That’s at the heart of a make-or-break saga: Nord Stream 2. The Hegemon uses every weapon – including cultural war, where convicted crook Navalny is a major pawn – to derail an energy deal that is essential for Germany’s industrial interests. Simultaneously, pressure increases against Europe buying Chinese technology.

Meanwhile, NATO – which lords over the EU – keeps being built up as a global Robocop, via the NATO 2030 project – even after turning Libya into a militia-ridden wasteland and having its collective behind humiliatingly spanked in Afghanistan.

For all the sound and fury of sanction hysteria and declinations of cultural war, the Hegemon establishment is not exactly blind to the West “losing not only its material dominance but also its ideological sway”.

So the Council on Foreign Relations – in a sort of Bismarckian hangover – is now proposing a New Concert of Powers to deal with “angry populism” and “illiberal temptations”, conducted of course by those malign actors such as “pugnacious Russia” who dare to “challenge the West’s authority”.

As much as this geopolitical proposal may be couched in benign rhetoric, the endgame remains the same: to “restore US leadership”, under US terms. Damn those “illiberals” Russia, China and Iran.

Crooke evokes exactly a Russian and a Chinese example to illustrate where the woke cultural revolution may lead to.

In the case of the Chinese cultural revolution, the end result was chaos, fomented by the Red Guards, which started to wreak their own particular havoc independent of the Communist Party leadership.

And then there’s Dostoevsky in The Possessed, which showed how the secular Russian liberals of the 1840s created the conditions for the emergence of the 1860s generation: ideological radicals bent on burning down the house.

No question: “revolutions” always eat their children. It usually starts with a ruling elite imposing their newfound Platonic Forms on others. Remember Robespierre. He formulated his politics in a very Platonic way – “the peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality, the reign of eternal justice” with laws “engraved in the hearts of all men”.

Well, when others disagreed with Robespierre’s vision of Virtue, we all know what happened: the Terror. Just like Plato, incidentally, recommended in Laws. So it’s fair to expect that the children of the woke revolution will eventually be eaten alive by their zeal.

Canceling freedom of speech

As it stands, it’s fair to argue when the “West” started to go seriously wrong – in a cancel culture sense. Allow me to offer the Cynic/Stoic point of view of a 21st century global nomad.

If we need a date, let’s start with Rome – the epitome of the West – in the early 5th century. Follow the money. That’s the time when income from properties owned by temples were transferred to the Catholic Church – thus boosting its economic power. By the end of the century, even gifts to temples were forbidden.

In parallel, a destruction overdrive was in progress – fueled by Christian iconoclasm, ranging from crosses carved in pagan statues to bathhouses converted into churches. Bathing naked? Quelle horreur!

The devastation was quite something. One of the very few survivors was the fabulous bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, in the Campidoglio/ Capitoline Hill (today it’s housed in the museum). The statue survived only because the pious mobs thought the emperor was Constantine.

The very urban fabric of Rome was destroyed: rituals, the sense of community, singin’ and dancin’. We should remember that people still lower their voices when entering a church.

For centuries we did not hear the voices of the dispossessed. A glaring exception is to be found in an early 6th century text by an Athenian philosopher, quoted by Ramsay MacMullen in Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries.

The Greek philosopher wrote that Christians are “a race dissolved in every passion, destroyed by controlled self-indulgence, cringing and womanish in its thinking, close to cowardice, wallowing in all swinishness, debased, content with servitude in security.”

If that sounds like a proto-definition of 21st century Western cancel culture, that’s because it is.

Things were also pretty bad in Alexandria. A Christian mob killed and dismembered the alluring Hypatia, mathematician and philosopher. That de facto ended the era of great Greek mathematics. No wonder Gibbon turned the assassination of Hypatia into a remarkable set piece in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (“In the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit the female philosopher”).

Under Justinian – emperor from 527 to 565 – cancel culture went after paganism no holds barred. One of his laws ended imperial toleration of all religions, which was in effect since Constantine in 313.

If you were a pagan, you’d better get ready for the death penalty. Pagan teachers – especially philosophers – were banned. They lost their parrhesia: their license to teach (here is Foucault’s brilliant analysis).

Parrhesia – loosely translated as “frank criticism” – is a tremendously serious issue: for no less than a thousand years, this was the definition of freedom of speech (italics mine).

There you go: first half of the 6th century. This was when freedom of speech was canceled in the West.

The last Egyptian temple – to Isis, in an island in southern Egypt – was shut down in 526. The legendary Plato’s Academy – with no less than 900 years of teaching in its curriculum – was shut down in Athens in 529.

Guess where the Greek philosophers chose to go into exile: Persia.

Those were the days – in the early 2nd century – when the greatest Stoic, Epictetus, a freed slave from Phrygia, admirer of both Socrates and Diogenes, was consulted by an emperor, Hadrian; and became the role model of another emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

History tells us that the Greek intellectual tradition simply did not fade away in the West. It was a target of cancel culture.

إردوغان وبايدن والأرمن.. ليته لم يتصل! Erdogan, Biden, and the Armenians… If Only He Hadn’t Called!

! Erdogan, Biden, and the Armenians… If Only He Hadn’t Called!

ARABI SOURI 

US Vice President Biden with Turkish Madman Erdogan April 2016
حسني محلي

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

Five years ago, and specifically, on April 23, 2016, Recep Tayyip Erdogan received then US Vice President Joe Biden in his office in Sultan Abdul Hamid’s palace and sat him on the golden royal chair, noting that he was 80 minutes late after he was in a private lunch with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whom Erdogan “expelled” a month later after this occasion.

Five years after this meeting, President Biden, 3 months after his election, surprised his Turkish counterpart by calling yesterday (24 April), which carried with it many annoying and even humiliating meanings for him. The White House said “Biden called him to tell him that he would describe what the Armenians were subjected to in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide and ethnic cleansing,” which he did on Saturday evening.

US President also promised Erdogan to have “a lengthy and expanded” meeting on the sidelines of the Atlantic summit in Brussels next June, during which all issues of concern to Turkish-American relations in all their aspects will be discussed; bilateral, regional, and international, which may require many hours of discussion due to the heated nature of these issues, including the Russian “S-400” missiles, the relationship with Moscow, the situation in the Black Sea, the Turkish role in NATO, and its details include the Syrian crisis and American support for the Kurds, the situation in Iraq and the Turkish role in it, the Turkish-Iranian relations, the Turkish role in the region, democracy, and human rights in Turkey…

The former Turkish ambassador to Washington, Shukri Al-Akdag, expected “a difficult stage in Turkish-American relations during the coming period,” and pointed out that “Biden has not yet received the credentials of the new (Turkish) ambassador, Murat Morjan, and he has been waiting for him for 6 weeks.” The two countries are at the last turning point in their history, all because of President Erdogan’s wrong policies regionally, internationally, and internally.

Erdogan, who spoke highly of his intimate relations with Biden when he said on December 9 last year, “Biden visited me at my house when I was sick,” seems to have forgotten or ignored when he said about him in December 2019 that he is “tyrannical and must be disposed of democratically through supporting the opposition.”

On October 3, 2014, (Biden) said on Turkey, Erdogan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, “It supported all jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIS and Al-Nusra, to get rid of President Assad, and spent millions of dollars, and transferred weapons and foreign terrorists to Syria.”

In all cases, and while awaiting the Atlantic summit in Brussels on June 14, everyone knows that President Erdogan will face many difficult and complex challenges in the entirety of his regional and international calculations, due to his contradictions, which seem to have brought Turkey to the end of the dark road. A good example of this is Washington’s decision to exclude it from the F-35 project, due to its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, without this being sufficient to win the favor of Moscow, which said a day after this decision: “Russia will reconsider its military relations with Ankara if it continues to send its drones to Ukraine.”

Erdogan’s efforts to reconcile with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, and later “Israel”, constitute another example of these contradictions that President Erdogan is preparing to exploit in his upcoming and decisive meeting with Biden. The former Turkish ambassador to Washington, Namiq Tan, expecting this meeting “to put points on the letters in the future of Turkish-American relations, in all its political, military, and economic aspects, this will require Erdogan to accept or reject the requests and conditions of Biden, who knows the extent of the strategic importance of Turkey.

The statements of the two Turkish ambassadors, Al-Akdag and Tan, clearly reflect how important the next few days are for Erdogan, who has only to close all the files that will be on the table during his meeting with Biden. This will require him to clarify the image of the relationship with his friend, President Putin, with all its implications for Turkish-Russian coordination and cooperation in Syria in the first place, because Washington has its own calculations there, and in particular its support for the Kurds, despite Turkey’s deep concern about that.

The prevailing opinion in Turkey is that Erdogan tends to accept most of the conditions and demands of President Biden, who will not be late in supporting Ankara to get it out of its serious economic and financial crisis, as getting out of this crisis will help the Turkish president to address all his internal problems and get rid of the opposition pressures that he will easily overcome if Washington flooded him with its dollars that would tickle the feelings of the Turkish citizen, without being indifferent to what Erdogan offered or would offer in terms of concessions to the strategic ally Washington.

Turkey has been for many years a “fish in its hook that cannot be easily disposed of,” and the saying here is by former US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and the ultimate decision by President Biden, and Erdogan before him, because he has not yet determined the course of his regional and international policies, beginning with Iran, with their implications on all regional issues, the most important of which is Syria, Iran, and Yemen, due to the concerns of “Israel” in it, and finally with Russia, which Biden wanted to try his luck with it in Ukraine, in which its response was firm, decisive and clear.

In all cases, and whatever the content and duration of the possible meeting between Erdogan and Biden on June 14, the recognizing of the Armenian genocide by the latter will worry Ankara, with or without Erdogan, as his recognition of this genocide, which 28 countries have recognized so far, maybe followed by the demands of the Armenians for monetary compensation for their property in Turkey, after they were expelled from it at and during the First World War.

Although these potential demands are reminiscent of Israel’s demand for material compensation from the Arab countries that the Jews left after the “establishment of the Hebrew state” in 1948, some expect Tel Aviv and the Jewish lobbies in Washington to impede the Armenian demands, so that they continue to exploit emotional sentiment and global human solidarity with the victims of the Nazi genocide of the Jews at and during the First World War.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=4BrfZmXy7L

Others expect Tel Aviv and the Jewish lobbies to provoke the Armenians in the issue of compensation, as this would be a card that would help Tel Aviv in its attempts to pressure Ankara to force it to reconcile or keep it away from any hostile approach to it, with the continuation of Turkish contradictions in this area, especially after the so-called “Spring” Arabi”.

Despite the threat and menacing that President Erdogan issued, on more than one occasion, against “Israel” and Netanyahu, Ankara did not use the right of veto against “Israel” joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and opening an Israeli representation at NATO headquarters.

The file of the Marmara ship case was also closed in exchange for 20 million dollars donated by Tel Aviv to the families of the victims, at a time when trade exchange between the two countries reached record numbers, with the continued flow of Azerbaijani and Iraqi oil from Turkish ports to Israel.

There is no doubt that President Biden attaches special importance to these issues in Washington’s regional policies, regardless of the shape and size of the apathy with Netanyahu, given that “Israel” is a distinct American product that Washington does not want anyone to say it is corrupt and not consumable anymore, provided that the recognition of the genocide is an emotional issue with a weak displaced people without diminishing regional and international calculations, especially after the recent displacement they were subjected to from Syria and Iraq, without any indifference from Biden and Macron, who tweeted today to say: “We will not forget you!”

إردوغان وبايدن والأرمن.. ليته لم يتصل!

حسني محلي

الرأي السائد في تركيا أن يتجه إردوغان للقبول بمعظم شروط بايدن ومطالبه، والذي لن يتأخر حينها في دعم أنقرة لإخراجها من أزمتها الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة.

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

المصدر: الميادين نت

24 نيسان 2021

السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع
السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع “مرحلة صعبة في العلاقات التركية – الأميركية خلال المرحلة القادمة”.

قبل 5 سنوات، وتحديداً في 23 نيسان/أبريل 2016، استقبل رجب طيب إردوغان نائب الرئيس الأميركي آنذاك، جو بايدن، في مكتبه في قصر السلطان عبد الحميد، وأجلسه على الكرسي السلطاني المذهّب، علماً أنه تأخر عن موعده 80 دقيقة، بعد أن كان في حفل غداء خاص مع رئيس الوزراء أحمد داود أوغلو، الذي “طرده” إردوغان بعد شهر من هذه المناسبة. 

بعد هذا اللقاء بخمس سنوات، فاجأ الرئيس بايدن، وبعد 3 أشهر من انتخابه، نظيره التركي باتصاله الهاتفي أمس، والذي حمل في طياته الكثير من المعاني المزعجة، وحتى المهينة بالنسبة إليه، فقد ذكر البيت الأبيض “إن بايدن اتصل به ليقول له إنه سيصف ما تعرض له الأرمن في العام 1915 على يد الدولة العثمانية بالإبادة الجماعية والتطهير العرقي”، وهو ما فعله مساء السبت. 

كما وعد الرئيس الأميركي إردوغان بلقاء “مطول وموسع” على هامش القمة الأطلسية في بروكسل في حزيران/يونيو القادم، يتم خلاله بحث مجمل القضايا التي تهم العلاقات التركية – الأميركية بكل جوانبها؛ الثنائية والإقليمية والدولية، وهو ما قد يحتاج إلى ساعات طويلة من النقاش بسبب سخونة هذه القضايا، ومنها صواريخ “أس-400” الروسية، والعلاقة مع موسكو، والوضع في البحر الأسود، والدور التركي في الحلف الأطلسي وتفاصيله تشمل الأزمة السورية، والدعم الأميركي للكرد، والوضع في العراق والتحركات التركية فيه، والعلاقات التركية – الإيرانية، والدور التركي في المنطقة، والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان في تركيا…

السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع “مرحلة صعبة في العلاقات التركية – الأميركية خلال المرحلة القادمة”، وأشار إلى “عدم استلام بايدن حتى الآن أوراق اعتماد السفير الجديد مراد مرجان، وهو ينتظره منذ 6 أسابيع”، وقال: “العلاقات بين البلدين في المنعطف الأخير من تاريخها. كل ذلك بسبب سياسات الرئيس إردوغان الخاطئة إقليمياً ودولياً وداخلياً”.

إردوغان الذي تغنى بعلاقاته الحميمة مع بايدن عندما قال في 9 كانون الأول/ديسمبر العام الماضي: “بايدن زارني في منزلي عندما كنت مريضاً”، يبدو أنه نسي أو تناسى عندما قال عنه في كانون الأول/ديسمبر 2019 إنه “استبدادي ويجب التخلص منه ديمقراطياً عبر دعم المعارضة”.

وقد قال في 3 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 2014 عن تركيا إردوغان والسعودية والإمارات “إنها دعمت كل الجماعات الجهادية الإرهابية، بما فيها داعش والنصرة، للتخلص من الرئيس الأسد، وصرفت الملايين من الدولارات، ونقلت الأسلحة والإرهابيين الأجانب إلى سوريا”.

 في جميع الحالات، ومع انتظار القمة الأطلسية في بروكسل في 14 حزيران/يونيو، يعرف الجميع أن الرئيس إردوغان سيواجه الكثير من التحديات الصعبة والمعقدة في مجمل حساباته الإقليمية والدولية، بسبب تناقضاته التي يبدو واضحاً أنها أوصلت تركيا إلى نهاية الطريق المظلم. خير مثال على ذلك هو قرار واشنطن استبعادها من مشروع طائرات “أف-35″، بسبب شرائها صواريخ “أس-400” الروسية، من دون أن يكون ذلك كافياً لكسب ود موسكو، التي قالت بعد يوم من هذا القرار “إن روسيا ستعيد النظر في علاقاتها العسكرية مع أنقرة إذا استمرت في إرسال طائراتها المسيرة إلى أوكرانيا”.

مساعي إردوغان للمصالحة مع السعودية ومصر والإمارات، ولاحقاً “إسرائيل”، تشكل مثالاً آخر على هذه التناقضات التي يستعد الرئيس إردوغان لاستغلالها في لقائه القادم والحاسم مع بايدن، فالسفير التركي الأسبق في واشنطن نامق، توقع لهذا اللقاء “أن يضع النقاط على الحروف في مستقبل العلاقات التركية – الأميركية بكل جوانبها السياسية والعسكرية والاقتصادية، وهو ما سيتطلب من إردوغان قبول أو رفض طلبات وشروط بايدن الذي يعرف مدى الأهمية الاستراتيجية لتركيا”.

أقوال السفيرين التركيين الأكداغ وتان تعكس بوضوح مدى أهمية الأيام القليلة القادمة بالنسبة إلى إردوغان، الذي ما عليه إلا أن يغلق مجمل الملفات التي ستكون على الطاولة خلال لقائه مع بايدن. وسيتطلب ذلك منه توضيح صورة العلاقة مع صديقه الرئيس بوتين بكل انعكاساتها على التنسيق والتعاون التركي – الروسي في سوريا في الدرجة الأولى، لما لواشنطن من حسابات خاصة بها هناك، وبشكل خاص دعمها للكرد، على الرغم من القلق التركي البالغ من ذلك.

الرأي السائد في تركيا أن يتجه إردوغان للقبول بمعظم شروط الرئيس بايدن ومطالبه، والذي لن يتأخر حينها في دعم أنقرة لإخراجها من أزمتها الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة، فالخروج من هذه الأزمة سيساعد الرئيس التركي على معالجة مجمل مشاكله الداخلية والتخلص من ضغوط المعارضة التي سيتغلب عليها بسهولة إذا أغرقته واشنطن بدولاراتها التي ستدغدغ مشاعر المواطن التركي، من دون أن يبالي بما قدمه أو سيقدمه إردوغان من تنازلات للحليف الاستراتيجي واشنطن.

لقد كانت تركيا لسنوات طويلة “سمكة في صنارتها لا يمكن التخلص منها بسهولة”، والقول هنا لوزير الخارجية الأميركي الأسبق جون فوستر دالاس، والقرار في نهاية المطاف للرئيس بايدن، وقبله إردوغان، لأنه لم يحدد بعد مسار سياساته الإقليمية والدولية، بداية مع إيران، بانعكاساتها على مجمل القضايا الإقليمية، وأهمها سوريا وإيران واليمن، لاهتمامات “إسرائيل” بها، ونهايةً مع روسيا، التي أراد بايدن أن يجرب حظه معها في أوكرانيا، فكان الرد منها حازماً وحاسماً وواضحاً.

 في جميع الحالات، ومهما كان مضمون اللقاء المحتمل بين إردوغان وبايدن في 14 حزيران/يونيو القادم ومدته، فإن الإبادة الأرمنية التي أقرها الأخير ستقلق بال أنقرة، بإردوغان أو من دونه، فاعترافه بهذه الإبادة التي اعترفت بها حتى الآن 28 دولة قد يلحق بها مطالب الأرمن بالتعويض المادي لممتلكاتهم في تركيا، بعد أن طردوا منها إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها.

ورغم أن هذه المطالب المحتملة تذكّر بمطالبة “إسرائيل” بتعويضات مادية من الدول العربية التي غادرها اليهود بعد “قيام الدولة العبرية” في العام 1948، فالبعض يتوقع لتل أبيب واللوبيات اليهودية في واشنطن أن تعرقل المطالب الأرمنية، حتى تستمر في استغلال الشعور العاطفي والتضامن الإنساني العالمي مع ضحايا الإبادة النازية لليهود إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها.

ويتوقع آخرون لتل أبيب واللوبيات اليهودية أن تستفز الأرمن في موضوع التعويضات، ليكون ذلك ورقة تساعد تل أبيب في محاولاتها للضغط على أنقرة لإجبارها على المصالحة أو إبعادها عن أي نهج معادٍ لها، مع استمرار التناقضات التركية في هذا المجال، وخصوصاً بعد ما يسمى بـ”الربيع العربي”. 

وعلى الرغم من التهديد والوعيد الذي أطلقه الرئيس إردوغان، وفي أكثر من مناسبة، ضد “إسرائيل” ونتنياهو، لم تستخدم أنقرة حق الفيتو ضد انضمام “إسرائيل” إلى منظمة التعاون والتنمية الاقتصادية (OECD) وفتح ممثلية إسرائيلية في مقر الحلف الأطلسي.

 كما أغلقت ملف قضية سفينة مرمرة مقابل 20 مليون دولار تبرعت بها تل أبيب لعائلات الضحايا، في الوقت الذي سجل التبادل التجاري بين البلدين أرقاماً قياسية، مع استمرار تدفق النفط الأذربيجاني والعراقي من الموانئ التركية إلى “إسرائيل”.

لا شك في أن الرئيس بايدن يولي هذه القضايا أهمية خاصة في سياسات واشنطن الإقليمية، مهما كان شكل الفتور مع نتنياهو وحجمه، باعتبار أن “إسرائيل” صناعة أميركية مميزة لا تريد واشنطن لأحد أن يقول عنها إنها فاسدة وغير قابلة للاستهلاك بعد الآن، على أن يبقى الاعتراف بالإبادة موضوعاً عاطفياً مع شعب مشرد ضعيف من دون أن يقلل ذلك من الحسابات الإقليمية والدولية، وخصوصاً بعد ما تعرضوا له من تهجير أخير من سوريا والعراق، من دون أي مبالاة من بايدن وماكرون الذي غرد اليوم ليقول: “لن ننساكم!”.

What Just Happened in the Ukraine?

THE SAKER • APRIL 25, 2021 

Before we look into what just happened in the Ukraine, we need to first recall the sequence of events which lead to the current situation. I will try to make a short summary (skipping a lot of details) in the bullet-point style:

  1. Whether Ze initially intended to stop the war in the eastern Ukraine we don’t know, but what we do know is that he failed not only to stop it, in many ways his policies were even worse than Poroshenko’s. This might be the well-known phenomenon of a supposedly “pro-peace and happiness” politician being accused of being “weak” and thus not “presidential”; this politician has to show his “strength” is “patriotism”, that is acting recklessly on the external front. We see that from putatively “liberal” politicians such as the Dems in the USA and Labor in Israel. Historically, “liberals” are the most common war initiators. Ze showed his weakness almost from day 1, and the Ukronazis immediately seized this opportunity to engage in a massive multi-level campaign for war against Russia. This resulted in:
  2. A quasi-official repudiation of the Minsk Agreements and Steinmeier Formula by Kiev, followed by a sharp increase in bellicose statements and, most crucially a large scale move of forces (including tanks, heavy artillery, MLRS and even ballistic missiles!) towards the line of contact. At the same time Ukronazi politicians began making statements saying that a) the Ukrainian army was capable and willing to “liberate” all of the “Russian occupied” Ukrainian land thus, including both the Donbass and Crimea b) that Russia was going to attack the Ukraine anyway and c) that the consolidated West had to help the Ukraine because only the Ukrainian forces were keeping the asiatic drunken Russian hordes from over-running not only the Ukraine, but even the rest of Europe. Since the Ukraine simply has no agency, this begs the question of the US (and, to a lesser degree, the UK) rationale was for these moves. It is quite simple:
  3. Force Russia to openly intervene to protect the population of the Donbass from the inevitable genocide which the Ukronazis would have meeted out to the population of the LDNR.

How good was this plan? I would argue that it was a very solid plan which, for the USA, meant a win-win situation. Here is how it should have gone:

First, the Ukrainian forces would attack the LDNR, probably along three axes: one between the city of Gorlovka and Donetsk, one frontally attacking Donetsk proper, not to invade the city, but to tie down LDNR forces in protection of their capital, and one in the south with the aim of reaching the Russian border. This way, the LDNR defenders would have to defend their capital while, at the same time, risking envelopment on two axes. Remember that the LDNR has no strategic depth (Donetsk is practically on the frontline) and that the LDNR defenders could not trade space for time.

I have seen some “experts” saying that since the Ukrainians have laid down a very large number of mines they are clearly not going to attack since they would lose time – and possibly men – to cross these minefields. First, there is no way of knowing if these mines are real or fake (many mines also have a timer anyway) but, second, more crucially: an attacking force always wants to concentrate in one specific location of the line of contact, which means that the attacking forces has to not only attack, but also protect herself from enemy counter-attacks: minefields are very effective at providing this sort of protection. The “defensive” moves can, and do, in reality, form an integral part of any offensive plans.

Of course, The Big Question was this: could the LDNR forces stop the Ukronazis? There are those who say that yes, and those who say no. Rather than suggesting an answer, let’s look at both of these outcomes:

Option 1: the LDNR forces successfully stop the Ukrainian invasion:

That would be, by far, the best outcome for Russia, but for the LDNR this outcome, while better than a defeat, would probably result in a lot of deaths and destruction. We know that both the Ukrainian military and the LDNR forces have been profoundly reformed and restructured since 2014. Crucially, the LDNR forces went from being self-organized and disparate militias to a conventional military force capable of operational level combined arms operations. Would that be enough to stop a larger Ukrainian force? Possibly. But this is by no means certain, not only because war is an unpredictable thing to begin with, but also because we really have no way of knowing how well the Ukrainian military was reformed. If what they got was the same type of “training” as the Georgians in the years leading up to 08.08.08 then there is a good cause to doubt it. LDNR leaders, however, did not engage in bravado and silly flag-waving and they took the threat very seriously, which tells us that they were by no means certain of what might happen next. Now let’s look at option 2:

Option 2: the LDNR defenses eventually collapse in one or even several locations:

What if the LDNR forces failed to stop the Ukrainians? At this point, Russia would have absolutely no choice but to intervene to save the people of the Donbass (more than half a million of which already have Russian passports!). I won’t discuss here the options a LDNR+Russia counter-attack would have or how much Ukronazi-occupied land Russia could or should liberate (that is not the topic here). In this case, two things are absolutely certain:

  1. Russia would comprehensively defeat any combination of Ukrainian forces.
  2. The US/NATO would declare a state of quasi war with Russia and create something similar to the Berlin Wall along whatever line of contact would result from a Russian counter-attack.

In this scenario, the biggest loser would, of course, be the Ukraine. But the next loser would be Russia, because instead of “just” dealing with a nutcase Nazi regime next door, Russia would now face a hysterically paranoid and russophobic consolidated West. At the end of such a war, Russia would face something similar to what happened at the end of the Korean war: a ceasefire followed by decades of tensions.

The big winner would be the USA: its main instrument for the colonization of Europe (NATO) would finally find itself a purpose in life (stop the Russians, of course), NS2 and other cooperation between the EU and Russia would all but totally freeze, making the European economy non-competitive against the US, and the US MIC would have a great time selling very expensive, if not very effective, military hardware to all the the European countries. And that strategic US victory would not cost the US a single soldier! What’s there not to like about this?

Well, for Russia this would be a very bad outcome. Yes, Russia has the means to take on both the US and NATO militarily, but politically and economically, this would hurt Russian interests, not critically, but substantially.

Then, there is this: the Ukraine is a thoroughly deindustrialized failed state, worse than many African countries. While there was a lot of window-dressing going on both inside the Ukraine and in the West’s legacy media, the COVID pandemic and its horrible consequences inside the Ukraine became impossible to conceal or deny, especially to the Ukrainian people themselves. Right now, the entire Ukraine is like a vase in a store: if you break it, you own it and you must fix it. Even if we exclude an outcome where the Russian tanks stop at the western borders of the Ukraine and take a middle-of-the-road option where the Russians stop at the Dnieper river, this would have huge consequences for the Russians, including:

  1. The frontline between the Ukronazis and the LDNR+Russian forces would be massively stretched becoming much longer, yet every kilometer of that line of contact would have to be protected. This begs the question: protected by whom?
  2. The Russian side would suddenly inherit several large cities (Chernigov, Kharkov, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhia, Mariupol, Berdiansk, etc.). Not only would the Russians have to clear these cities from Ukrainian insurgents and stay-behind forces, but Russia would also have to rebuild them and feed a population much larger than the current population of the LDNR.
  3. The Russian economy simply cannot bear the burden of what is currently a Nazi run Ukraine which has turned into a massive black hole sucking in huge ressoures and never letting anything leave (except emigrating Ukrainians). At best, Russia is currently investing billions of rubles to rebuild Crimea (which the Nazis always hated and neglected – except to build themselves mansions on the Black Sea) while barely keeping the LDNR afloat.

It is the consolidated West (US+UK+EU) which destroyed the Ukraine, and the Russians will capitalize on this by making the West responsible for fixing what it broke, and that won’t happen since the EU does not have the means to do it right now while the USA is not directly threatened by this situation and thus has no reasons to intervene beyond making sure that the regime in Kiev remains a) rabidly anti-Russian and b) totally under the control of the USA.

Thus, neither option 1 nor option 2 were desirable for Russia. So Putin created option three.

Putin’s option 3:

In response to the seemingly unstoppable escalation towards war was something nobody in the West expected: Putin used the pretext of regularly scheduled military exercises to quickly and dramatically increase the Russian capabilities near the Ukraine: Russia moved two Armies (58th and 41st) and three Airborne Divisions (7th76th and 98th) towards Russia’s western regions (including Crimea). The Russians also moved almost their entire Caspian Flotilla into the Black Sea. More Russian warships entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. Next, all six advanced 636.3 type diesel-electric submarines (possibly the quietest on the planet, at normal cruising speed they produce less noise than the surrounding environment, turning them into acoustic black holes) went on patrol. Finally, Russia deployed her coastal defense missile systems Bal and Bastion, turning the entire Black Sea into a Russian shooting range). And, crucially, Russia did all that very publicly, in broad daylight, officially announcing her military moves and not even bothering with any type of camouflage or deception.

To those ignorant of military realities this looked like Russia was “threatening the Ukraine”. This is absolute nonsense. All Russia needs to do to threaten the Ukraine is to remind the Ukrainians that Russian long range weapons are enough to obliterate the Ukrainian military and that Russia can use these standoff weapons without moving any forces at all. No, the real object of these Russian moves was not the Ukraine, but the West itself, especially any western force crazy enough to decide to enter the war and militarily help the Ukraine. Why? Here again, I will offer my view of how this situation might have evolved:

  1. First, the Ukrainians attack the LDNR. LDNR forces take the initial blow and try to contain the Ukrainian advance.
  2. The Russians declare a no-fly zone over the area of operations and strikes the advancing Ukrainian forces with her formidable firepower. The outcome here is not in doubt.
  3. NATO+EU nations decide to intervene, say by sending several Polish battalions into the Ukraine. US+UK forces conduct reconnaissance operations by flying near (or even over) the line of contact and by sending special forces. After a few warnings (or not), the Russians decide to shoot down one of these intelligence aircraft or drones. The West decides to “show solidarity” by engaging in cyber-attacks against Russia, imposing even more sanctions and by airlifting even more forces into the Western Ukraine.

At this point, the US+NATO+EU and Russia would be at the brink of a major war. But here is the crucial thing: by moving two armies and three airborne divisions (a huge force, way bigger and more capable than any combo of NATO forces!) so quickly Russia, proved to NATO that she can quickly achieve a huge numerical advantage anywhere any NATO force might decide to attack. Conversely, no NATO nation has the ability to concentrate its conventional forces so quickly and on any point along the frontline.

Comparing force sizes is engaging in “bean counting” and is useless. It really does not matter very much how big a force is, what matters is the force ratios along key sectors of the FEBA or the front (assuming there is a “front”, which sometimes does not really exist) and at a specific moment in time.

Also, keep in mind that, unlike most western airborne forces, Russian airborne forces are fully mechanized, they even have some tanks, plenty of armored vehicles, their own artillery and an ability to move very very quickly (remember the Rusbat in Bosnia going to Pristina almost overnight?). Western airborne forces are attack forces designed to enforce the western imperial hegemony worldwide, so they have to be much lighter. The Russians have no need to send airborne forces across the border, they need them to defend Russia and to be deployed within less than about 1000km from the main Russian forces. Thus, Russia “sacrificed” their strategic mobility of her airborne forces to give them a tactical and operational mobility and firepower which western airborne forces can’t even dream about. So what could these three divisions do in the context of a Ukrainian attack?

Well, they could do what they are mostly designed to do, deploy behind enemy lines, destroy (or hold) strategic targets (like bridges, power stations, missile bases, etc.) hold some strategic location or present a threat from the rear to the Ukrainains. But that overlooks the major reform the Russian AB forces have undergone. They are also really high mobility and high readiness forces which, for example, could be deployed to protect the Russian peacekeeping force in Transnistria (such a move would also be protected by the long range fire capabilities of both the Black Sea Fleet and the Russian Aerospace Forces). Russian AB units could also be deployed in the Ukrainian rear to create chaos and disrupt the Ukrainian supply lines. Finally, any Polish force threatening to intervene could be quickly attacked and destroyed. Again, that would enrage the Western politicians, and it is at this moment that the Russians could move her armies across the border to show that any combo of western forces would be annihilated. This would leave the West only two options: fold or go nuclear. And going nuclear does not seem to be an option the West wants to exercise, hence folding would be the only viable option. So far (things might change in the future, who knows how crazy NATO can act?).

Finally, Putin spoke directly to the West in his speech before the Federal Assembly when he said:

The meaning and purpose of Russia’s policy in the international arena – I will just say a few words about this to conclude my address – is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens, for the stable development of our country. Russia certainly has its own interests we defend and will continue to defend within the framework of international law, as all other states do. And if someone refuses to understand this obvious thing or does not want to conduct a dialogue and chooses a selfish and arrogant tone with us, Russia will always find a way to defend its stance.

At the same time, unfortunately, everyone in the world seems to be used to the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions and to certain actors’ brutal attempts to impose their will on others by force. But today, this practice is degenerating into something even more dangerous – I am referring to the recently exposed direct interference in Belarus in an attempt to orchestrate a coup d’état and assassinate the President of that country. At the same time, it is typical that even such flagrant actions have not been condemned by the so-called collective West. Nobody seemed to notice. Everyone pretends nothing is happening.

But listen, you can think whatever you like of, say, Ukrainian President [Viktor] Yanukovych or [Nicolas] Maduro in Venezuela. I repeat, you can like or dislike them, including Yanukovych who almost got killed, too, and removed from power via an armed coup. You can have your own opinion of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko’s policy. But the practice of staging coups d’état and planning political assassinations, including those of high-ranking officials – well, this goes too far. This is beyond any limits.

Suffice it to mention the admission made by the detained participants in the conspiracy about a planned siege of Minsk, including plans to block the city infrastructure and communications, and a complete shutdown of the entire power system in the capital of Belarus! This actually means they were preparing a massive cyberattack. What else could it be? You know, you cannot just do it all with one switch.

Clearly, there is a reason why our Western colleagues have been stubbornly rejecting Russia’s numerous proposals to establish an international dialogue on information and cyber security. We have come up with these proposals many times. They avoid even discussing this matter.

What if there had been a real attempt at a coup d’état in Belarus? After all, this was the ultimate goal. How many people would have been hurt? What would have become of Belarus? Nobody is thinking about this.

Just as no one was thinking about the future of Ukraine during the coup in that country.

All the while, unfriendly moves towards Russia have also continued unabated. Some countries have taken up an unseemly routine where they pick on Russia for any reason, most often, for no reason at all. It is some kind of new sport of who shouts the loudest.

In this regard, we behave in an extremely restrained manner, I would even say, modestly, and I am saying this without irony. Often, we prefer not to respond at all, not just to unfriendly moves, but even to outright rudeness. We want to maintain good relations with everyone who participates in the international dialogue. But we see what is happening in real life. As I said, every now and then they are picking on Russia, for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis are running around them like Tabaqui ran around Shere Khan – everything is like in Kipling’s book – howling along in order to make their sovereign happy. Kipling was a great writer.

We really want to maintain good relations with all those engaged in international communication, including, by the way, those with whom we have not been getting along lately, to put it mildly. We really do not want to burn bridges. But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn or even blow up these bridges, they must know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and tough.

Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.

Putin very very rarely threatens, but when he does, people listen because they understand that his warnings are never a bluff and that when he promises something he has the means to realize his threat (in this case, 2 Combined Arms Armies and 3 Airborne Divisions, all backed by Russian long range and hypersonic weapons and, if all else fails, by the most modern and robust nuclear triad on the planet). As for what would be a Russian “red line”, Putin decided to deliberately leave this point ambiguous only saying that “I just have to make it clear, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence and certainty in our cause, as well as common sense, when making a decision of any kind. But I hope that no one will think about crossing the “red line” with regard to Russia. We ourselves will determine in each specific case where it will be drawn.” The point of this strategic ambiguity is to leave the West guessing when it is safe to make a move and when not. This very simply maximizes the deterrent effect of the rest of his speech.

And, today, the Russians have “clarified” that the Kerch strait are not close to traffic, not even Ukrainian traffic. “All” that Russia did was to declare some exclusion zones for military exercises purposes, but traffic under the Crimean Bridge remains open. Right. And how long will it take Russia to (truly) re-close that strait? Minutes. This unspoken threat is primarily a threat to the Ukrainians, showing them how easy it would be for Russia to sever their lines of communications should they threaten Russia.

Yes, Putin did win this round quite elegantly, without a single Russian soldier dying. But the problem is that this undeniable Russian success really solves nothing. All the causes which led the Ukronazi regime to bring the entire region to the edge of the abyss are still present. Inside the Ukraine nothing has changed and, if anything, things are even worse: total censorships of opposition TV channels, political persecutions (including torture and kidnappings), the same warlike rhetoric. The economy in in shambles and Ukrainians are emigrating by the millions (both to Russia and to the EU), the Nazi deathsquads continue to enjoy total impunity, and, of course, the total COVID catastrophe (the West gives the Ukies lethal weapons to use against Russian, but no vaccine, and way more people are dying from COVID in the Ukraine than are dying at the frontlines! These are “European” and “Western” “values” at work…)

Sure, it does appear that a combination of European reservations and the risk of the members of the ruling elite in Kiev to be physically eliminated by Russian strikes, possibly combined with a realization by the “Biden” Administration that a total blow-up in the Ukraine would strain US-European relations (there will be plenty of blame to go around) resulted in the current perceived deescalation.

Sadly, and in spite of the current reprieve, some kind of war between Russia and the Ukraine is still probably inevitable. Right now, the bulk of the Russian forces are returning to their normal areas of deployment, with, probably, some staying. We can also be sure that the Russians will have a major after action review to find out what went wrong and what needs to be changed. As a result, next time around, the Russian will move their forces even faster.

But what about the US, it’s NATO proxies and the Ukronazi regime?

The US is still scrambling to try to retake control of an international situation which has clearly gone totally out of hand for the wannabe world Hegemon. Even more importantly, the internal situation of the USA is truly critical with many very serious crises occurring simultaneously. Yes, there is also a lot of window-dressing in the US media, but most people see and know what is really going on. Which means that the US is as weak as it is unstable. Finally, judging by the low intellectual abilities of US decision makers, we should always expect something silly or even dangerous, or both, from this Administration for and by Woke-freaks (especially since “diversity” has now completely replaced “competence”).

NATO and the EU are in a bind. While some countries go “totally insane” (the Czech Republic and the usual 3B+PU) others are desperately trying to keep things together (Germany). As for the regime in Kiev, it is barely holding on to power and has no other options left than doubling down over and over and over again. Crucially, the junta in Kiev will continue to blame Russia for absolutely everything and anything (about 99% of what the Ukie political class does nowadays is hate on Russia and threaten to defeat Russia militarily).

None of that qualifies as “peace” in any meaningful sense of the word (people die everyday, almost all of them civilians). Worst of all, the same causes can only lead to the same outcomes, and there is very little anybody can do to change this. Thus, at best, what we are seeing is only a reprieve. But as long as a gang of Neo-Nazi thugs continues to hold power in Kiev, war will be a quasi inevitability. True peace will only come when the Ukronazis are either dead, or jailed or back in Canada. Until then there shall be no peace, only degrees of war.

Huge Explosion in Al-Quds, Israel Bombs Syria, Syria Bombs Israel, Israel Stunned

ARABI SOURI 

Explosion in Al Quds, Israel Bombs Syria, Syria Bombs Israel

A huge explosion in the occupied Palestinian capital Al-Quds (Jerusalem) took place in the afternoon, half a day later Israel bombs targets near Damascus, Syria retaliates by bombing near Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor not from the borders with Egypt, Israel bombs again near Damascus wounding 4 Syrian Army soldiers and issues all conflicting reports, Israelis are stunned.

The massive explosion was in a company linked to the Israeli war ministry that Israeli officials claimed was a controlled explosion which neither the company nor the Israeli officials bothered to inform their public about who obviously panicked.

What could be more plausible is an Iranian retaliation avenging numerous Israel sabotaging and assassinations against the Iranian nuclear program hurting Israel where it’s trying to make some advances to catch up with the successful Iranian satellite launching project, especially that Israel is copying a ready satellite missile

The videos is also on YouTube and BitChute.

‘Mr. Security’, this is what the embattled Israeli PM Netanyahu calls himself, wants a cover-up for this incident, Israel’s own media not buying the story of a ‘controlled explosion’, imagine the other side.

At 1:38 am, Israel fired missiles from over the occupied Syrian Golan towards some targets near the Syrian capital Damascus. Syrian Army’s air defense units shot down most of the incoming missiles, 4 Syrian Army soldiers were wounded and the bombing caused material damage, a Syrian military spokesperson stated to SANA.

Syria fired a missile that crossed all Israel defenses from the north to the south and lands near the Israeli nuclear reactor in Dimona, and yes, Israel has a military nuclear program which it sentenced its own scientist who exposed it for a lengthy-term in prison but that didn’t cause the international nuclear watchdog or the UNSC to bother themselves to inspect, Israel is part of the NATO and stooges alliance dominating the UNSC.

The Syrian missile blew up in a target about 30 kilometers from the Dimona reactor, most observers see this as a message to Israel especially that Russia had already warned Israel that Syria may lose patience toward the Israeli attacks.

After that silence, Israel stunned, new rules of engagement are established.

Moscow Warns Israel on Repeated Bombing: Syria May Lose Patience

https://syrianews.cc/moscow-warns-israel-about-repeated-aggression-syria-may-lose-patience/embed/#?secret=NYPYL2KArs

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What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

April 23, 2021

The Saker

There is, amongst some, a strong sense of relief: Defense Minister Shoigu has declared that the formations deployed by Russia to western Russia will now return to their regular bases.  Of course, the Ukrainians claim that they “deterred a Russian attack” while the Russians say that “the West got the message”.  Is that so and, if yes, who is right?

Well, I think that we can dismiss the Ukie nonsense out of hand.  Nobody out there, except the Ukrainians themselves, seriously believe that Russia “blinked”, if only because destroying the entire Ukrainian military would take Russia less than a week.  In fact, the Ukrainians know that very well, they just won’t admit it.

Notice that while the Ukrainians claim that they deterred Russia, Russia does not claim to have deterred the Ukrainians, instead Russia declared that the Russian bear roared loud enough to deter the united West.  Right there we have an important clue as to what has really happened.

I, however, submit that the causes which triggered the initial Ukrainian move to bring a large armored force right to the line of contact are still here.  In other words, nothing has been resolved.

What happened is this: in response to the threat from both the Ukrainians and US/NATO, Russia simply demonstrated her ability to quickly concentrate a truly huge force (2 Armies and 2 Airborne Divisions) along her border.  She also redeployed the Caspian Flotilla into the Black Sea, brought in large landing ships and, generally, “flexed her military muscles” in order to convey a clear message to the Ukrainians, the Europeans and the US:

  • To the Ukrainians: attack the Donbass and you will die, as for the Ukraine, it will break apart into several new successor states.
  • To the EU: if a war starts, you will even lose the very little agency you have left and your economy will not be competitive against the USA.
  • To the USA: if a war starts, you will face a stark choice: lose face or start a full-scale war against Russia.

Yes, so far, this strategy has proved very effective.  The Ukrainians were clearly terrified and the EU showed no enthusiasm for that war (except the UK, which risks very little, and the Poles who specialize in stupid historical decisions).  As for “Biden”, he realized that a full scale war against Russia was suicidal.

So are we now out of the danger zone?

Absolutely not.  There is still one thing the West is determined to achieve: to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian.  For the US Neocons, to see the two Slavic brothers kill each other is old dream come true.  Furthermore, the US still needs to bring the EU down to its economic knees to force it to buy energy, services and goods from the USA.  Last, but not least, the Ukraine has lost any appeal it might have had for the USA: the only thing which the Ukraine can still offer is to be a thorn in Russia’s side.

And then, there is the “Ze” regime in Kiev: not viable, not reformable, the Ukraine is has been comprehensively deindustrialized and now the Ukrainians are dying in huge numbers from the COVID pandemic: Banderastan is the ultimate failed state, worse than many African ones, in fact.

Yes, “Ze” was told by his masters to “cool it” and, so far, he has obeyed, but that solves exactly none of his problems.  Worse, there are a lot of well-armed Ukronazi deathsquads who still have the means to create some kind of incident which would reignite the whole thing again.  Also, it is worth remembering that the Brits and the Ukies both have a proven record of successful covert operations, which by definition include false flags.

In other words, nothing has really changed.  Yes, right now, Uncle Shmuel is trying to find out what his options are, and he will come up with a corrected plan (remember, Neocons are stupid, yes, but they are also clever in a short term, “horizontal” way).  Right now “Biden” is licking his wounds from the embarrassing faceplant with the attempt to kill Lukashenko and the (frankly silly) nonsense coming out of the Czech Republic.  There are some signs that at least the Germans realize what is really going on and who is truly trying to screw them over (while most of the German political class is corrupt to the bone, some German politicians are sensitive to the mood of the German business community).

Simply put: all we are observing today is a short term reprieve, nothing more.

The Russians know that, and it is safe to say that while some of their forces will demonstratively retreat, others will stay.  More importantly, now that this operational redeployment of key formations has been rehearsed, very publicly, the Russians have shown the US/NATO that Russia can deal with any military threat (in contrast, it would take NATO months to bring a big enough force to eastern Europe to represent a credible threat).

Finally, Ze has made a rather ridiculous speech telling Putin that they should meet.  Putin’s response was perfect: you want to meet with me to discuss our bilateral relations (which, incidentally, you have destroyed) – sure.  No problem.  But if you want to discuss the Donbass, you have to engage in direct talks with the LDNR, as the Minsk Agreement and the Steinmeier formula, which you have signed, stipulate.  In other words, back to square one.

This is a situation of not one, but two “thorns”: the Ukronazi Banderastan is definitely a thorn in the side of Russia, while the LDNR is a thorn in the side of Banderastan.  Make a guess, which side can put up with its thorn longer than the other side?

Many have forgotten it, but in a moment of anger, Poroshenko did tell Putin “take the Donbass if you want it!”, and Putin declined.  Since then, the Russians have shown over and over again that they do NOT want the Donbass.  At most, they might have to take it to save it from genocide, but even in this case the Russians have no intentions of invading the rest of the Ukraine only to have to deal with 1) Ukronazi insurgencies and 2) rebuilding this failed state from its current zero all the way back.  And that is the worst Russian threat not only for the Ukraine, but for all of Europe: Russia does NOT want, or need, the Ukraine and Russia won’t take it over, even in case of a full-scale war.  At most, Russia will repeat what she did in the 08.08.08 war: defang the Nazi regime by obliterating the Ukrainian military, and then let the regime naturally collapse.

Anyway, I will write a more detailed analysis of this situation next week, but right now I submit that all that is happened is a limited and temporary deescalation, not any kind of return to even semi-normality (and the Ukies are still murdering LDNR civilians every day, including with heavy weapons).

So, what do you think?  Back to sanity, or only a reprieve?

The Saker

Putin rewrites the law of the geopolitical jungle

Putin rewrites the law of the geopolitical jungle

April 23, 2021

By Pepe Escobar and first posted at The Saker Blog

Putin’s address to the Russian Federal Assembly – a de facto State of the Nation – was a judo move that left Atlanticist sphere hawks particularly stunned.

The “West” was not even mentioned by name. Only indirectly, or via a delightful metaphor, Kipling’s Jungle Book. Foreign policy was addressed only at the end, almost as an afterthought.

For the best part of an hour and a half, Putin concentrated on domestic issues, detailing a series of policies that amount to the Russian state helping those in need – low income families, children, single mothers, young professionals, the underprivileged – with, for instance, free health checks all the way to the possibility of an universal income in the near future.

Of course he would also need to address the current, highly volatile state of international relations. The concise manner he chose to do it, counter-acting the prevailing Russophobia in the Atlanticist sphere, was quite striking.

First, the essentials. Russia’s policy “is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens and for the stable development of our country.”

Yet if “someone does not want to…engage in dialogue, but chooses an egoistic and arrogant tone, Russia will always find a way to stand up for its position.”

He singled out “the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions” to connect it to “something much more dangerous”, and actually rendered invisible in the Western narrative: “the recent attempt to organize a coup d’etat in Belarus and the assassination of that country’s president.” Putin made sure to stress, “all boundaries have been crossed”.

The plot to kill Lukashenko was unveiled by Russian and Belarusian intel – which detained several actors backed, who else, US intel. The US State Department predictably denied any involvement.

Putin: “It is worth pointing to the confessions of the detained participants in the conspiracy that a blockade of Minsk was being prepared, including its city infrastructure and communications, the complete shutdown of the entire power grid of the Belarusian capital. This, incidentally means preparations for a massive cyber-attack.”

And that leads to a very uncomfortable truth: “Apparently, it’s not for no reason that our Western colleagues have stubbornly rejected numerous proposals by the Russian side to establish an international dialogue in the field of information and cyber-security.”

“Asymmetric, swift and harsh”

Putin remarked how to “attack Russia” has become “a sport, a new sport, who makes the loudest statements.” And then he went full Kipling: “Russia is attacked here and there for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis [jackals] are running around like Tabaqui ran around Shere Khan [the tiger] – everything is like in Kipling’s book – howling along and ready to serve their sovereign. Kipling was a great writer”.

The – layered – metaphor is even more startling as it echoes the late 19th century geopolitical Great Game between the British and Russian empires, of which Kipling was a protagonist.

Once again Putin had to stress that “we really don’t want to burn any bridges. But if someone perceives our good intentions as indifference or weakness and intends to burn those bridges completely or even blow them up, he should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetric, swift and harsh”.

So here’s the new law of the geopolitical jungle – backed by Mr. Iskander, Mr. Kalibr, Mr. Avangard, Mr. Peresvet, Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Sarmat, Mr. Zircon and other well-respected gentlemen, hypersonic and otherwise, later complimented on the record. Those who poke the Bear to the point of threatening “the fundamental interests of our security will regret what has been done, as they have regretted nothing for a very long time.”

The stunning developments of the past few weeks – the China-US Alaska summit, the Lavrov-Wang Yi summit in Guilin, the NATO summit, the Iran-China strategic dealXi Jinping’s speech at the Boao forum – now coalesce into a stark new reality: the era of a unilateral Leviathan imposing its iron will is over.

For those Russophobes who still haven’t got the message, a cool, calm and collected Putin was compelled to add, “clearly, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence, self-assurance in the correctness of our position and common sense when it comes to making any decisions. But I hope that no one will think about crossing Russia’s so-called red lines. And where they run, we determine ourselves in each specific case.”

Back to realpolitik, Putin once again had to stress the “special responsibility” of the “five nuclear states” to seriously discuss “issues related to strategic armament”. It’s an open question whether the Biden-Harris administration – behind which stand a toxic cocktail of neo-cons and humanitarian imperialists – will agree.

Putin: “The goal of such negotiations could be to create an environment of conflict-free coexistence based on equal security, covering not only strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, heavy bombers and submarines, but also, I would like to emphasize, all offensive and defensive systems capable of solving strategic tasks, regardless of their equipment.”

As much as Xi’s address to the Boao forum was mostly directed to the Global South, Putin highlighted how “we are expanding contacts with our closest partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the allies of the Collective Security Treaty Organization”, and extolled “joint projects in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union”, billed as “practical tools for solving the problems of national development.”

In a nutshell: integration in effect, following the Russian concept of “Greater Eurasia”.

“Tensions skirting wartime levels”

Now compare all of the above with the White House Executive Order (EO) declaring a “national emergency” to “deal with the Russian threat”.

This is directly connected to President Biden – actually the combo telling him what to do, complete with earpiece and teleprompter – promising Ukraine’s President Zelensky that Washington would “take measures” to support Kiev’s wishful thinking of retaking Donbass and Crimea.

There are several eyebrow-raising issues with this EO. It denies, de facto, to any Russian national the full rights to their US property. Any US resident may be accused of being a Russian agent engaged in undermining US security. A sub-sub paragraph (C), detailing “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad”, is vague enough to be used to eliminate any journalism that supports Russia’s positions in international affairs.

Purchases of Russian OFZ bonds have been sanctioned, as well as one of the companies involved in the production of the Sputnik V vaccine. Yet the icing on this sanction cake may well be that from now on all Russian citizens, including dual citizens, may be barred from entering US territory except via a rare special authorization on top of the ordinary visa.

The Russian paper Vedomosti has noted that in such paranoid atmosphere the risks for large companies such as Yandex or Kaspersky Lab are significantly increasing. Still, these sanctions have not been met with surprise in Moscow. The worst is yet to come, according to Beltway insiders: two packages of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 already approved by the US Department of Justice.

The crucial point is that this EO de facto places anyone reporting on Russia’s political positions as potentially threatening “American democracy”. As top political analyst Alastair Crooke has remarked, this is a “procedure usually reserved for citizens of enemy states during times of war”. Crooke adds, “US hawks are upping the ante fiercely against Moscow. Tensions and rhetoric are skirting wartime levels.”

It’s an open question whether Putin’s State of the Nation will be seriously examined by the toxic lunatic combo of neocons and humanitarian imperialists bent on simultaneously harassing Russia and China.

But the fact is something extraordinary has already started to happen: a “de-escalation” of sorts.

Even before Putin’s address, Kiev, NATO and the Pentagon apparently got the message implicit in Russia moving two armies, massive artillery batteries and airborne divisions to the borders of Donbass and to Crimea – not to mention top naval assets moved from the Caspian to the Black Sea. NATO could not even dream of matching that.

Facts on different grounds speak volumes. Both Paris and Berlin were terrified of a possible Kiev clash directly against Russia, and lobbied furiously against it, bypassing the EU and NATO.

Then someone – it might have been Jake Sullivan – must have whispered on Crash Test Dummy’s earpiece that you don’t go around insulting the head of a nuclear state and expect to keep your global “credibility”. So after that by now famous “Biden” phone call to Putin came the invitation to the climate change summit, in which any lofty promises are largely rhetorical, as the Pentagon will continue to be the largest polluting entity on planet Earth.

So Washington may have found a way to keep at least one avenue of dialogue open with Moscow. At the same time Moscow has no illusions whatsoever that the Ukraine/Donbass/Crimea drama is over. Even if Putin did not mention it in the State of the Nation. And even if Defense Minister Shoigu has ordered a de-escalation.

The always inestimable Andrei Martyanov has gleefully noted the “cultural shock when Brussels and D.C. started to suspect that Russia doesn’t ‘want’ Ukraine. What Russia wants is for this country to rot and implode without excrement from this implosion hitting Russia. West’s paying for the clean up of this clusterf**k is also in Russian plans for Ukrainian Bantustan.”

The fact that Putin did not even mention Bantustan in his speech corroborates this analysis. As far as “red lines” are concerned, Putin’s implicit message remains the same: a NATO base on Russia’s western flank simply won’t be tolerated. Paris and Berlin know it. The EU is in denial. NATO will always refuse to admit it.

We always come back to the same crucial issue: whether Putin will be able, against all odds, to pull a combined Bismarck-Sun Tzu move and build a lasting German-Russian entente cordiale (and that’s quite far from an “alliance’). Nord Stream 2 is an essential cog in the wheel – and that’s what’s driving Washington hawks crazy.

Whatever happens next, for all practical purposes Iron Curtain 2.0 is now on, and it simply won’t go away. There will be more sanctions. Everything was thrown at the Bear short of a hot war. It will be immensely entertaining to watch how, and via which steps, Washington will engage on a “de-escalation and diplomatic process” with Russia.

The Hegemon may always find a way to deploy a massive P.R. campaign and ultimately claim a diplomatic success in “dissolving” the impasse. Well, that certainly beats a hot war. Otherwise, lowly Jungle Book adventurers have been advised: try anything funny and be ready to meet “asymmetric, swift and harsh”.

American plans something but ends up differently

American plans something but ends up differently

April 23, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

“I flew to Afghanistan, to the Kunar Valley — a rugged, mountainous region on the border with Pakistan. What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government.” President Joe Biden explained in his remarks in the White House on 14 April 2021, where he announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan starting from 1 May 2021 and completes on 11 September 2021.

The US invaded Afghanistan to fight against the tribal system of Afghanistan and create a modern democratic government based on American vision. The US, with the help of its allies, and full military might, after spending Trillion Dollars, killing millions of human beings (from either side), devastating the whole country completely, is concluded that the Afghan war is unwinnable and the American must leave Afghanistan. Today in war-torn Afghanistan, there is no electricity because all dams & powerhouses were bombed. No infrastructure, all damaged in the ruthless bombing, no education, no health care, scarcity of food, medicine, fuel, etc. Homes were damaged, crops were destroyed, businesses were damaged—– one of the heaviest bombing and explosive used in the history of humankind. The poor Afghans are living a miserable life, all due to prolonged imposed war.

The US used state of the art, latest, advanced, most lethal weapons, modern war tactics, well-trained troops, and all possible technologies to win this war but failed adversely. The Allies, who were very much proactive in the early days of the war but calmed down gradually and today are not so supportive of the US on the Afghan war.

The number of Nato forces peaked at about 140,000 in 2011 but decreased in subsequent years as Nato countries wound down combat operations, handing over control to local security forces. Countries with troops still in Afghanistan include the US, Georgia, Germany, Turkey, Romania, Italy, the UK, and Australia. The US and allies created an Afghan Army of around 300,000 on the most modern lines and trained & equipped with the Western latest weapons. Yet failed to gain control over Afghanistan. Yet more than 70% of Afghanistan is under Taliban control.

Although the Afghan war has destroyed Afghanistan severely, it at the same time has also cost heavily to the US itself too. Not only Trillion dollars cost of the war, but thousands of servicemen’s lives, and substantial mental disturbance to servicemen involved in the Afghan war. Yet, the most prominent impact has been visible that instead of fighting the tribal system in Afghanistan, America itself has turned into a tribal society. The recent number of shootings and killings are increased sharply, depicting the visible change in the American society – tribal society – where might is right – gun culture. The exponential growth of crimes is undesired at all. Although President Trump created hate in American society and supported white-supremacist, the roots of hatred have existed for a long time, he was just a catalyst. It might take decades to normalize the situation in America.

Afghanistan is an old civilization and one of the oldest countries, which foreign invaders in history never defeated. Afghans have their own tradition of bravery. They might fight internally but are united against any intruders. Their tribal society is strong enough to resolve their issue, and any interference from outside or imposed system may not succeed. It took two decades for to American understand the nature of Afghan society and the solution to their problems. It is never too late; even if the American troop’s exit from Afghan, there might be a vacuum for the time being, and danger of bloodshed moves around. Ultimately, it is the Afghans only who have to resolve their issues. An Afghan let, Afghan-owned solution can be sustainable only.

The Americans should focus on how to help Afghanistan in reconstruction after the troops’ withdrawal. It might require several trillion dollars to rebuild Afghanistan. The US and allies who destroyed Afghanistan have the moral obligations to help Afghanistan generously.

However, the UN may also proactively pursue the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the withdrawal. After the world wars, an agreement like German and Japanese (Potsdam Agreement) agreements needed to be reached between Afghanistan and America, including allies, for war compensation. China and Russia may become guarantors of such an agreement for implementation.

However, Afghans are not the sons of lessor God and deserve equal treatment and access to a quality life. After spending four decades in war, at least they deserve a peaceful and prosperous life. It needs enormous funding, and only those who are responsible for this destruction are supposed to help them appropriately.

It is not the first time which happened with America, where it plans some things and ends up in entirely opposite. I recalled my days in China in the early 1980s, when American and European entrepreneurs were entering China to occupy the vast niche market of China. That was the era of China opening to the outside world and introducing economic reforms. China facilitated market access, and American & European businessmen and investors flooded the Chinese market with foreign products. Those were the days when China was facing a shortage of everything like food, consumer products and etc. A quota system was introduced to buy items of daily life. They made huge profits in the early days, but gradually, they shifted their industry to China to avail themselves of China’s cheap raw material and cheap labor cost. It was in the best interest of foreign companies to manufacture in China to cut down the cost and maximize their profit. But sooner, they became the market of China.

Against their original plan to occupy the Chinese market, they became a market for Chinese products. The worst phenomenon was visible in the early days of the Pandemic when America was dependant on China on essential items like Masks, Sanitizers, Ventilators, Testing kits, and toilet papers, etc. China has become the manufacturing factory for the world, and no other country can compete with China in daily consumer products.

China has emerged as the second-largest economy in the world and the biggest trading partner with most of the nations. China shares one-third of the global economy and supplies almost 70% of consumer products to the whole world. China has become a global power already.

The American experience in Vietnam War, Somaliya War, Syrian War, and Middle-East wars is not much different. In Seven Decades, hardly any war Which Americans can claim a total victory. However, during the World wars, the US was a winner.

Trust, next couple of decades, the US must focus on its domestic issues and re-evaluate its mistakes in the perspective of changed geopolitics. Stop meddling in other nations and countries, stop thinking to change the world order as per the wishes of America. Let others live the life as they desire and live your own life according to your own wishes. Let peace, stability, and prosperity boom around the world, avoid imposing wars on other nations. Respect humanity and respect human lives.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines

As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines - Islam  Times
As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham April 22, 2021

The British are being told that they cannot just sail their warships into the Black Sea and rattle their sabers in Russia’s face. Putin is telling the Brits and anyone else not to even think about getting that close.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to countries trying to provoke military tensions, saying that his nation is drawing up red lines for defense.

Putin delivered the sharp remarks during his annual state-of-the-nation address to lawmakers from both chambers of the Russian parliament. The stark warning comes amid spiraling tensions over Ukraine between Western supporters of the Kiev regime and Russia.

Specifically, days before Putin’s set-piece speech, British media reported that Britain’s Royal Navy is planning to deploy two warships to the Black Sea: a Type-45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles; and a frigate for hunting submarines. A British ministry of defense spokesman is quoted as saying the move was a sign of “unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in the face of alleged Russian aggression.

The British deployment is planned to take place in the coming weeks. The two warships will transit Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait to enter the Black Sea. International shipping is permitted under the Montreux Convention. However, the British plan seems far from an innocent passage, and a rather more calculated provocation.

The two ships will be part of a bigger battle group, the newly launched HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier which will station in the East Mediterranean. The battle group will be able to supply F-35B Lightning fighter jets and Merlin helicopters with submarine-hunting missiles. All in all, it is a pretty audacious attempt by the British to raise tensions with Russia.

It is notable that the United States last week abruptly cancelled sending two of its guided-missile destroyers to the Black Sea after Russia mobilized its own fleet in the region and warned the Americans to “stay away”. Days later, the British seem to have stepped into the breach with their proposed Black Sea operation. Did the Biden administration ask London to step up to the plate and to show “solidarity”, or is the British maneuver a gambit to curry favor with Washington by flexing AngloSaxon muscles for Uncle Sam?

In any case, London’s move comes on the back of an already brazen buildup of British military forces in the Black Sea. Britain has previously sent naval personnel and equipment to train Ukrainian warships. The Royal Air Force has also dispatched a squadron of Typhoon fighter jets to patrol the Black Sea in support of the Kiev regime and its claim to take back control of the Crimean Peninsula. The Peninsula voted in a referendum in March 2014 to join the Russian Federation after a NATO-backed coup d’état in Kiev the previous month which ushered in an anti-Russian regime.

The Kiev regime has also been stepping up its violations of the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russian populations have declared breakaway republics in defiance of the 2014 NATO-backed coup. Civilian centers in Donetsk and Luhansk are being shelled on a daily basis. This is clearly a cynical attempt by the Kiev regime to escalate the civil war in such a way as to drag NATO further into the conflict. Russia has mobilized sizable army divisions on the border with Ukraine in what Moscow says is a matter of national self-defense. Yet, ironically, the United States, Britain, and other NATO powers are demanding Russia to “de-escalate” tensions.

NATO’s very public backing for the Kiev regime and the supply of American lethal weaponry is no doubt emboldening the regime to step up its offensive fire on Eastern Ukraine and making menacing moves towards Crimea.

The British are in particular giving the Kiev regime a dangerous sense of military license for its bravado towards Moscow.

The situation is an extremely dangerous powder-keg. One wrong move, even unintended, could spark off a wider war involving the NATO powers and Russia.

In this highly combustible context, Russia is right to close off areas in the Black Sea that encompass its territorial waters. Those areas include the coastal waters off the Crimean Peninsula.

NATO powers sending warships into the region is the height of criminal folly. If Britain and other members of the U.S.-led alliance contend that they are “defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity” then the logic of that position dictates that they will attempt to make an incursion into Crimean coastal water since they don’t recognize Russia’s sovereignty. In that event, a military confrontation is bound to happen.

President Putin’s declaration of red lines is not so much a rhetorical putting it up to the West. It is a responsible position to prevent a war from breaking out.

The British are being told that they cannot just sail their warships into the Black Sea and rattle their sabers in Russia’s face. Putin is telling the Brits and anyone else not to even think about getting that close.

Canada Ends Funding for Terror Linked ‘White Helmets’ -Tied to False Flag Gas Attacks in Syria

By VT Editors -April 22, 2021

From the Globe and Mail:

Canada has ended all funding to Syria’s famed White Helmets rescue group, with the final cut being the severance of $70 a month in stipends to 43 people who were left behind in a Jordanian refugee camp following a Canadian-led evacuation in the summer of 2018.

Canada has long been seen as one of the staunchest backers of the White Helmets, a group of civilians who earned global prominence by racing towards the front lines of Syria’s horrific civil war to try and rescue as many people as possible. The White Helmets have been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives, and the Canadian government has repeatedly boasted of the millions of dollars in annual aid it had provided to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group.

But Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, told The Globe and Mail that Canadian funding of the organization – including specific funding for clearing mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as money targeted at bringing more women into the organization – stopped at the end of 2019. Documents obtained by The Globe through an Access To Information request show Canadian support to the White Helmets was worth about $4-million per year, with final payments of just under $900,000 being made in March, 2020.

And now the real truth…

VT: We might also add that any NGO, and that means “non-governmental organization” that is paid by governments is 100% fake.  The White Helmets went past 100% as we will prove below.

FORGET OSCAR: GIVE THE WHITE HELMETS THE LENI RIEFENSTAHL AWARD FOR BEST WAR PROPAGANDA FILM

21st Century Wire

by Patrick HenningsonThis has to be historic low for Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In your average lifetime, everyone will get their share of war propaganda films. In America, it’s a kind of sacred tradition, where Hollywood does the job of revisionism, paving over an otherwise uncomfortable history with a new coat of stain. It’s necessary – not just to make us feel better about ourselves, but also to cover-up any inconvenient truths and high crimes of the state.

To be honest, when I first heard about this film being promoted by Netflix, I wasn’t surprised at all because ever since the Syria conflict began in 2011, the establishment media has gone out of its way to falsely promote it as a “civil war”, and have used the NGO known as the White Helmets which calls itself the ‘Syria Civil Defense’, as its primary media protagonist in furthering that narrative.

The fact that a documentary about The White Helmets received an Oscar Award simply confirms what a glorious bubble the entertainment industry resides in, and how easy it is these days for a documentary film to used for the purposes of propaganda and made to reinforce a mainly US-UK foreign policy project.

To Hollywood, it’s a feel good documentary, designed to make us feel good about a dirty war in Syria. But this is a level of distortion and spin that would make even Joseph Goebbels’ head spin.

In his essay published at Global Research, Dr. T.P. Wilkinson explains the liberal obsession with cosmetic revisionism:

“The “wrong war” thesis is elemental to what Carroll Quigley called “liberal imperialism” in his history of the Anglo-American establishment.[2] Liberal imperialists, to which the faux gauche (the descendants of Fabianism) also belong, do not oppose empire. They simply want it to be more aesthetically appealing, and lost wars are most un-aesthetic. So what is the liberal imperialist’s answer to unappetizing military defeats? It is cosmetic surgery.”

Expensive war propaganda in Hollywood is nothing new. High profile films like Zero Dark ThirtyAmerican Sniper and Argo were all released to much fanfare. Each of them fulfilled a role in forming a more perfect American narrative, and in some cases completely rewrote history altogether. But these were meant to be theatrical releases so naturally there’s a generous dose of artistic license taken by the director. Nothing unusual there. It’s what Hollywood does. These films also had some distance between the present day and wars which had already lapsed.

A veneer of integrity is always important. Hollywood still purports to put a lot of currency in the truth. During this year’s Oscars, The New York Times ran a TV ad (above) for the first time since 2010 entitled, “The truth is. . .”

This campaign is meant to decry fake news and its ugly cousin ‘alternative facts’ to show what high standards the mainstream media has – which demonstrates the delusional world the in which the establishment exists.  Earlier this month, I wrote an exposé showing exactly how the New York Times has been America’s perennial leader in running fake news for the purposes of advancing a war agenda. It’s ironic that this advertisement would run on a night when an Oscar would be given to one of the most egregious propaganda films of all time.Last Sunday night, The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, took home an Academy Award for best documentary short. Unlike Argo, or American Sniper, this was a film about a war which is happening now, but this was not a conventional documentary film. The footage was provided by a terrorist-affiliated NGO based in Turkey, operating in Syria, and who is primarily funded by the US State Dept, the British Foreign Office, the Netherlands, and other NATO member and Gulf states to the tune of over $150 million and whose chief remit is producing US-led Coalition propaganda images for mass media consumption. The film, funded and distributed by Netflix, seems to be an extension of that remit.

Watch the film’s trailer here.

Normally we think of documentaries as films that are supposed to speak truth to power, but this film does the opposite. It reinforces an Anglo-American establishment power structure responsible for one of the most violent, dirty wars in modern history. It reinforces a collection of lies placed on heavy rotation by the political and media establishments since the conflict began.

In every way, Syria is the wrong war. For the US and the UK, there’s much at stake – the legacies of two paradigmatic political figures, Barack Obama and David Cameron, along with the reputations of other architects of the west’s dirty war on Syria, like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and British Foreign Minister William Hague. Back when the war was getting started, both Clinton and Hague were busy front-running their “Friends of Syria” whistle stop tour around the Middle East and Europe, securing Gulf cash commitments while grooming their hand-picked ‘opposition’ government in exile, holding court in various 5 star hotels in Paris, London and Istanbul. The US had tried this only a year earlier with Libya, and at the time in 2011-2012, they had every reason to believe that the Libyan formula could be repeated in Syria. Those hopes were dashed by early 2013, when it became apparent that Libya was officially a failed state. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of extremist foreign fighters and jihadi soldiers of fortune began pouring into Syria. It was an invasion. This was the West’s proxy army, ready to decapitate the government, dismember the state and destabilize the region – with the full blessing of Washington DC and its partners.

The Troika of Washington-London-Paris then doubled down by pouring billions of dollars in lethal weapons to various fighting groups laying in waiting in Turkey and Jordan, as well as those already active in Syria. There were a number of well-documented arrangements, but one of the most successful working models was for the CIA and its European NATO partners illegally supplying the weapons funnelled through Jordan and Turkey – and all paid for by Saudi, Qatari cash. All the while, the public were told by the US-led Coalition all of this was for the “moderate rebels” in Syria. These were meant to be the “freedom fighters” that Ronald Reagan referred to back in the 1980’s. As it turned out, these freedom fighters in Syria were a chip of the old block from the violent, psychopathic US-backed and CIA-trained paramilitary death squads which would wreak havoc and terrorise El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. In Syria, they are much worse in fact, as they employed  a potent brand of warped, radical Salafi and Wahabist religious fervour as the central axis of their self-styled, Medieval nihilistic raison d’etre. Yes, these are the moderates, backed by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, every other NATO member state, and of course, Israel, who has skill fully stayed out of the media firing line. It’s a collective project. Their mission: ‘regime change’ in Syria – to overthrow by force – the government in Damascus.

As dirty wars go, none is more filthy than this one. As the US and the UK are running point on public relations for this criminal enterprise, their big challenge has been selling it to their electorates. In order to justify the dirty war, a narrative has to be constructed and maintained. This requires a relentless negative public relations campaign demonizating the Syrian government and all of its agencies. The following talking points are therefore reinforced:

  1. Syria’s peaceful ‘Arab Spring’ uprising happened in 2011, and was violently squashed by the government.
  2. Assad is a brutal dictator, and is illegitimate.
  3. The Syrian government and its armed forces are deliberately killing their own people.
  4. The US-NATO and Gulf-backed armed ‘rebel’ opposition is legitimate.
  5. Syrian and Russian Airforce are only killing civilians, and not militant and terrorists.
  6. Terrorists do not exist in Syria, only “moderate rebels” and Syrians ‘fighting for freedom’.
  7. Therefore, Assad must be removed from power and replaced with a US-approved government.

Add to this, the entrance of Russia in the fall of 2015 at the lawful invitation of Damascus, and Russia can now be added to the demonization campaign.

These talking points are then repeated and recycled, over and over, and held up as justification for US-led, crippling economic and diplomatic sanction against the Syrian state, and the destructive policy of flooding the region with arms. In the summer of 2014, an added bonus for the US was inserted into the mix – the emergence of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham). The appearance of ISIS allowed the US to fly air sorties over Syria, allegedly to fight ISIS, although after 3 years the US has produced little if any verifiable progress in ‘defeating’ ISIS. In truth, the US had hoped that ISIS, along with the other al Qaeda affiliates, would somehow do the job of destabilizing Syria and overthrowing the government of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, on-script western media operatives and politicians alike still referred to them as “rebels” and “armed opposition” – violent radical terrorist groups like Jabbat al Nusra (Nusra Front), Arar al Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Jaish al-Fatah (The Army of Conquest), along with some radical remnants of John McCain’s ‘Free Syrian Army’. This was all part of the public relations con.

But that wasn’t enough. Washington and London needed a face for the evening news. They needed to personalize the conflict in order to help maintain the illusion of a “civil war” in Syria. This is where the White Helmets come in. A merry band of men, comprised of “ordinary citizens, from bakers to teachers to painters,” all donning the White Helmets to save humanity in this moment of turmoil. Raed Saleh, the group’s spokesman says his organization is guided by a verse in the Qu’ran: “To save one life is to save all of humanity.” No doubt a beautiful line, but like so many aspects of the White Helmets – it’s been applied cosmetically. Who would dare be so insensitive as to challenge such a perfect story? For war planners in Washington and London, the White Helmets provided the PR cushion they needed to help sell a filthy proxy war to western audiences. By creating and managing their own ‘first responder’ NGO, the US, UK and its stakeholder partners have been able to leverage public sympathies – enough to keep the project going, until the war was either won or lost, or until someone caught on to the scam.


In his article in Counterpunch back in April 2015, Rick Sterling summarized the White Helmet roll-out and basic agenda:

“In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project which has received glowing publicity from HuffPo to Nicholas Kristof at the NYT. White Helmets have been heavily promoted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (U.S.IP) whose leader began the press conference by declaring “U.S.IP has been working for the Syrian Revolution from the beginning.”

For the last 3 years, the White Helmets have existed for the singular purpose of producing thousands of propaganda segments – videos and images which reinforce the US-led foreign policy narrative for Syria. The brutal dictator Assad using his airforce against his own people, along with his evil Russian partners. Both are callously snuffing-out the fledging and therefore, the White Helmets’ primary financiers – the US State Dept (via USAID), the British Foreign Office, The Netherlands, along with other EU member states and Qatar. Since at least 2011, each of these nation stakeholders has had a vested interest in overthrowing the Syrian government and destabilizing Syria. In 2014, a number of independent researchers in the west began to catch the White Helmets’ unmistakable stench of dupery. Cory Morningstar’s article, “SYRIA: AVAAZ, PURPOSE & THE ART OF SELLING HATE FOR EMPIRE” (April 2014), and Rick Sterling’s piece for Counterpunch, “About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria,” and also the work of researcher Petri Krohn’s notable wiki site ‘A Closer Look at Syria‘ – first cracked the facade. They were followed by extensive investigations by Vanessa Beeley who has since produced a formidable volume of research and analysis on the White Helmets and other similar NGO projects, all of which are readily available on 21st Century Wire.

Any researcher working on a White Helmets documentary would have had access to all of this information, through a simple key word search.

Interestingly, mainstream media defenders of the White Helmets such as Michael Weiss, a senior fellow at NATO’s own propaganda think tank the Atlantic Council, as well as editor at the dubious Daily Beast, claim that criticism of the White Helmets is a Russian plot organized by Putin himself. Weiss’ conspiracy theory is expected considering his employer’s affiliation, but such typical hyperbolic accusations belie the fact that the first individuals to expose this pseudo NGO are not Russian, but rather independent writers and researchers from the US, Canada and Great Britain and why not – because it’s their tax dollars that is funding the White Helmets. It’s also worth noting that in December 2016 when the Nusra terrorist hold over East Aleppo was collapsing, it was Michael Weiss who is responsible for circulating bogus reports, including that women in East Aleppo were committing ‘mass suicide’ to avoid ‘mass rape’ by Assad’s soldiers. “Seventy-nine of them were executed at the barricades. The rest — everyone under 40 — were taken to warehouses that look more like internment camps. They face an unknown fate,” he said. “This morning 20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.”

Weiss’ source for these sensational reports: terrorists in East Aleppo. This was just one of many fake news stories disseminated in the mainstream media. Weiss then went on to repeat the fabricated story to a global mainstream audience on CNN’s Don Lemon Show.

In reality, and according to countless first-hand on the ground eye witness testimonies collected by 21WIRE and other media outlets, as the Syrian Army began liberating East Aleppo, the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ promoted by Weiss and other western media operatives were using residents as human shields, and in some cases shooting residents who attempted to flee terrorist enclaves prior to government forces liberating the eastern half of the city.

With direct funding to the White Helmets from US-led Coalition countries already well in excess $150 million – international stakeholders expect a return on their investment. That return comes in the form of dramatic ‘search and rescue’ videos, some of which may have even been produced in Turkey, and which were then sent in  a highly coordinated fashion to the editorial desks of CNN, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and others. At no time have any of these western or GCC-based ‘journalists’ ever queried the authenticity of the staged video and photographic productions supplied by the White Helmets. Mainly, their videos have been produced to promote a No Fly Zone, or ‘Safe Zones’ in Syria by creating the false impression that somehow Syrian and Russian air forces are targeting civilians in a Blitzkrieg fashion, using crude “barrel bombs”. Outside of the White Helmets propaganda, there is scant evidence of these ‘barrel bombs’ supposedly dropped by the ‘Assad Regime’ every day according to the White Helmets.

In the run-up to the White Helmets’ failed Nobel Peace Prize bid in October, CNN even went so far as to plant a fake story about a barrel bomb hitting a “White Helmets Center” in Damascus. Increasing attention has also meant that some people are beginning to question the group’s incredible claim at the time that it had somehow saved 60,000 lives since it started in late 2013. In one letter first published at Canadian Dimension, retired academic John Ryan, PhD, a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg, challenged this narrative, saying:

“It is the White Helmets themselves who have claimed that they have rescued 60,000 civilians; this has not been verified by any other source. Despite such a classic conflict of interest, searching for independent evidence and disqualifying self-serving claims from belligerent parties in Syria has been ignored in much of the western media. As such, this claim by the White Helmets without any verification is next to meaningless.”

Despite the questions, the group continued to raise this figure by about 10,000 every two months. They now claim to have “Saved over 82,000 lives” since they were formed in 2013. Where are the list of names, dates, times, locations and medical reports – so as to corroborate and cross-reference the casualties with the alleged Syrian and Russian airstrikes? What’s the problem – can’t $150 million buy a little bit of administration for the White Helmets? At no point have they ever been able to produce any data to back up there outlandish numbers claims – so we can only conclude that this claim, like so many other claims by the group, are fraudulent. But when has Hollywood ever let facts and data get in the way of a good war propaganda story?

In addition, the White Helmets claim that they have trained some 3,000 ‘volunteers’ throughout Syria, and yet their training facility is actually located in neighboring NATO member state Turkey, on the outskirts of the city of Gaziantep. This is the same Gaziantep that’s been described in reports as “the home to ISIS killers, sex traders…”

‘CIVIL DEFENSE’ FRAUD

Vanessa Beeley’s investigation eventually took her to Syria, where she was able to track down the REAL Syria Civil Defense organization. The US and UK creation of the “White Helmets” required that they steal the name “Syria Civil Defense” from a real existing civil defense group based in Syria. Unlike the fraudulent western construct, the REAL Syria Civil Defense was founded 63 years ago and is a registered member of the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) based in Geneva. For the REAL Syria Civil Defence you dial “113” inside Syria. The White Helmets have no such number because they are not a real ‘search and rescue’ organization. Their whole existence is a fraudulent construct. Beeley spoke at length to the REAL Syria Civil Defense and what the crew told her was shocking. During the ‘rebel’ (terrorist) invasion in 2012 of East Aleppo, future members of the White Helmets arrived accompanied by armed terrorists to attack the real Syria Civil Defense headquarters. They stole equipment, killed and kidnapped real civil defense volunteers as part of their operation to loot and destroy the existing institution.

Real civil defense workers also detailed how terrorist ‘Hell Cannon‘ attacks had besieged the Old City of Aleppo, which lies right on the border with the Al Nusra front lines and was a regular target for the ‘rebels’ continuous indiscriminate attacks against residents. Resident testimonies have echoed the same story: while Hell Cannons terrorized the civilians of Aleppo, the White Helmets did nothing – probably because they were with the terrorists who were launching these attacks. Terrorist Hell Cannons use an assortment of containers – gas canisters, water heater tanks packed full of explosives, glass, metal and any other limb-shredding materials – these were fired indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods throughout Aleppo. These crude artillery guns also just happen to have the exact destructive footprint as the alleged “barrel bombs” which the White Helmets and western media are repeatedly saying are being fired by the “The Regime” (Assad) against civilians.  If the White Helmets are to be believed, Assad’s Barrel Bombs have an impact the equivalent of 7.6 on the Richter scale. This outrageous claim was actually made by White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier on CNN. In fact, 7.6 on the Richter scale is the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb, we begin to get a picture of the scale of the lies which the western narrative has spinning and which they have come to reply on in order to prosecute this dirty war. Preserving this and other key pieces of fiction is central to the US, UK and George Soros funded public relations management of the White Helmets – and essential to their entire Syria narrative which has been described by American writer Rick Sterling as something akin to a “Feel Good Hoax.”

Forget about actual ‘search and rescue’. That’s not the primary function of this ‘NGO’. If you need to know one thing about the White Helmets it’s this: marketing. A central part of the marketing campaign is images of men with beards looking up at the sky – presumably waiting for the next barrel bomb, or the media’s favorite term – the “double tap” (apparently, this is when a sinister Assad or Putin pilot returns immediately after an airstrike just to have another crack at the White Helmets).

ALWAYS LOOKING UP: ‘Waiting for the next barrel bomb.’

In most of their videos, you will also see a large number of bearded men in jeans and T-shirts just standing around on the sidelines, always watching the camera, or looking busy – as if they are cognisant that filming is taking place. When we showed some of these videos to real first responders we were normally met with shoulder shrugs and cynical laughs. People who actually work in this trade will tell you that filming on a first responder call is a luxury no worker really has – aside from maybe a GoPro helmet cam. It’s just not something anyone in their right mind would think about very much if there were really people in need of assistance – and yet, this is all the White Helmets do, all day, every day. They film and produce well-edited emotive videos. Another aspect real first responders will point out to us is that most of the time, the White Helmets often look like they don’t know what they are doing – indicating either a lack of training or experience – which seems to at least contradict their lofty claims of rescuing 82,000 people  in three and half years – certainly that would provide more experience for 2,900 ‘volunteers’ than any other search and rescue worker on the planet. In other words, the White Helmets mythology and pantomime is not very credible to any serious observer. But it seems to be good enough for a Netflix audience, and sadly, good enough for the Academy, too.


AWARD-WINNER: “We got the shot! No need for any first aid spinal procedure here.”


STAGED: Many of the White Helmets’ child ‘rescue’ images are simply ridiculous. 

The other mandatory feature in the White Helmets marketing imagery where men with beards are running to or from a scene, they’re always carrying children over their shoulder. Again, when we showed many of these images to actual rescue workers, we were met with puzzled looks. Firstly, why does 99% of the White Helmets marketing imagery only feature small children? Are there not any adults out of the “82,000 saved” to be rescued from the rubble? The White Helmets claim they were only operational in early 2014, so that’s an average of 75 persons per day, everyday. Considering the amount of people they claim to have trained, spread out over Syria, and where actual air sorties have been flown – it seems like a near mathematical impossibility. As the White Helmets provide no incident data for the alleged 82,00 persons saved, there is no way to validate there sensational narrative. Also, you will rarely, if ever see the $150 million British-trained rescue crew ever use a spinal injury backboard – opting instead to just yank the children by the arm and throw them over the shoulder. When we showed these images to real first-responder workers, they were deemed not credible. So it’s safe to conclude that the White Helmets only care about one thing: pictures and videos – wired via satellite to CNN, the New York Times, or the BBC’s news desk.

SMART POWER & THE NGO COMPLEX

Still, despite the group’s obvious links to the US and UK governments, and to known extremists and terrorists – the western media continues to entertain this NGO as if it were a legitimate ‘Civil Defense’ organization. The pseudo NGO strategy is part of an over-arching western strategy which is related to the term Smart Power (following on from Soft Power) where western governments create shadow state organizations designed to co-opt and ultimately usurp actual state agencies – in effect weakening the real civil body by replacing it with a fake version of the original.


DECEPTION: Early on, the White Helmets used images of women in order to market crowdfunding campaigns to gullible western audiences. 

In the calculus of war planners in the US, UK and France, even if they were unsuccessful in toppling the Assad government in Damascus, these fake NGOs would still be operation in “rebel” areas in the hopes that they might be viewed as legitimate civil organizations and would then replace the real ones.

After 5 years, the US or European authorities could then cite these organizations as legitimate deliverers of public service, thus giving western governments a much-needed foothold in governerates inside the target nation, in this case, Syria. Similar projects have been undertaken to replace municipal police forces with the “Free Syrian Police“, as well as western and GCC-sponsored projects in terrorist-held Idlib to create uniformed civil cleaning staff, and so on. Why doesn’t Netflix make a documentary exposing that? If they did, that would be real filmmaking; instead what we get is more public relations promotion for a failed Western foreign policy.


LA LA LAND: White Helmet filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel basking in the glory of a job well done. 

By now, it should be obvious how this propaganda cycle has been functioning, although apparently, not obvious enough for Netflix’s award-winning filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. The fact that their beloved White Helmets stole their name from an existing, legitimate and internationally recognized first-responder agency show be cause for alarm. For any journalist researching the White Helmets, you would think the first port of call would be to speak to the official certified civil defense body. This is what 21WIRE and Beeley did. Why didn’t Natasegara and Von Einsiedel bother to check this obvious line of inquiry? The fact they didn’t might be proof that the intention on their film was not to make a legitimate documentary, but rather to glorify to US-led narrative of the ‘moderate opposition’. By definition, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s work cannot rightly be called journalistic but propagandist. By promoting a pseudo ‘NGO’ funded by western government, and by giving succor to extremists, their film is directed against the Syrian people – which exactly characterizes the US and UK foreign policy in Syria since 2011.

If Natasegara and Von Einsiedel deserve any reward today it should really be the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best Propaganda Film.

But even Nazi war propaganda filmmaker Riefenstahl could hardly image propaganda on this scale – a third sector NGO and integrated media arm,  attached to dozens of governments, paramilitary military units, intelligence agencies, hundreds of corporate media outlets, and with a multi-million dollar crowd-funding facility. If nothing else, the White Helmets operation is impressive in its scope. It’s the west’s template for building a Shadow State in target nations. If it’s successful in Syria, this formula will be recreated in other marginal hot zones around the globe. That’s why the White Helmets are being guarded so closely by the western establishment.

DOUBTS OVER AUTHENTICITY

Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kizner was one of many journalists who expressed disappointment over the Academy’s selection:

There is also the problem of obvious staging in many of the White Helmets’ supposed video rescues. The following is perhaps one of the most ridiculous. As with so many of their videos, the editing is highly misleading. In the following “Rag Doll” clip, we first see two separate views of the three men working on the rescue site – and then the edit suddenly cuts to the miraculous rescue of charming little 4 year old girl – supposedly emerging from under tons of concrete and rubble from a collapsed building. Miraculously, she is not crying and looks immaculate, while holding an equally clean rag doll. Then the edit cut jumps, and a little 3 year old boy suddenly appears from the exact same spot. Both children appear to have sustained no injuries, nor any visible cuts or bruises, and no dust. Not bad for being buried under tons of concrete, gravel and dust. Incredible, but par for the course in the completely improbable “first-responder” reality show that is the White Helmets.Watch:

After reviewing this video, it’s difficult to deny that it has all the hallmarks of a staged production piece, designed to tug at the hearts of a western public – conditioned to accept this ‘first responder’ narrative as sacrosanct, for fear of appearing callous in the face of this media-driven, multi-million dollar No Fly Zone’ public relations campaign. This is not the only fraudulent video released by the White Helmets, but even the existence of one fraudulent rescue video should be grounds to question all the group’s material.

Again, the whole purpose of these video and photos is to influence public opinion against the Syrian and Russian governments. Therefore the core mission of the White Helmets media campaign is influence western and Gulf audiences. Its objectives are as follows:

  1. To create public disfavour against the Syrian government.
  2. Maintain crippling western sanctions against Syria.
  3. Gain sympathy for jihad, recruit new fighters from Europe, GCC, Asia and other regions.
  4. Fabricate ‘evidence’ used to implicate the Syrian government and its allies in war crimes.
  5. Reinforce the narrative that Syrian and Russian Forces are deliberately targeting civilians,hospital and schools – and not terrorists.
  6. Blame Syria and Russia for war crimes (when in actuality, these crimes are committed by rebel-terrorists, White Helmets). 

SYRIAN CURVE BALLS

Back in 2003, one man was responsible for delivering the WMD lies that helped to fabricate the US and UK case for invading Iraq. His name was “Curveball”. His motives weren’t exactly straight forward: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

In Syria, the west have been constantly farming a series of curve balls – on call and ready to deliver whatever the US State Dept or the British Foreign Office need in order to grandstand in front of the UN Security Council or on the floor of Parliament.

The New York Times reported that during March and April on 2015, the White Helmets claimed that at least 20 ‘barrel bombs’ containing chlorine were dropped in six towns in northwestern Syria. It almost sounded as if the the US and UK were so desperate to establish Assad as crossing the Red Line, that they would go so far as to fabricate a case that chlorine bombs were used by “the regime”:

“Frustrated with the Security Council’s impasse over the issue, rescue workers and doctors are now working to bring evidence of chlorine gas attacks directly to the French, British and American governments for testing. The aim is to give states a solid basis for action against the attacks, in the Security Council or through quieter diplomatic pressure, said James Le Mesurier, the British director of a nonprofit group, Mayday Rescue, that trains and equips the White Helmets, Syrian volunteers supported by the British, Danish and Dutch governments.”

At the time, White Helmet founder Le Messerier was heavily involved in trying to fashion together a chemical weapons case against the Syrian government. In 2015. The NYT stated:

“Going directly to governments that have pushed for Mr. Assad’s ouster creates its own challenges. His allies may dismiss their evidence as politically tainted and can point to recent chlorine attacks in Iraq for which the government there blamed insurgents, not to mention the discredited American claims of an Iraqi chemical weapons program that were used to justify invading Iraq. To deter allegations of tampering or falsification, Mr. Le Mesurier and three Syrian doctors involved said they systematically documented the chain of custody from collection to handover. They have plenty of cases to work with. Since March 16, in Idlib alone, the White Helmets have documented 14 attacks with 26 suspected chlorine barrels that sickened scores of people.”

In the end, none of  this stuck, most likely because the White Helmets’ ‘evidence’ was either fabricated, or the ‘rebels’ (terrorists) themselves were the actual perpetrators of chlorinemustard or sarin attacks – a fact which was born out through multiple investigations already. Once again – more fraud perpetrated by the White Helmets on behalf of the US and UK governments.

In September 2016, the White Helmets were also instrumental in trying to assign blame for an incident where a UN Aid Convoy was attacked outside of the town of Urm al-Kubra, west of Aleppo. The west were quick to blame it on the Russian and Syria militaries – despite the fact there was no evidence to implicate them.

As if by magic, the White Helmets were the first on the scene videoing among the flames. A Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse was also said to have been hit. 21WIRE later reported that indeed, the White Helmets had helped to stage the said ‘Russian Bombing’ scene outside of Aleppo – which was automatically accepted by the western mainstream media, John Kerry, Samantha Power and others, as ‘proof’ of Russian and Syrian guilt.

HOLLYWOOD ‘CHANGE AGENTS’

One of the White Helmets documentary’s biggest advocates is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney (image, left). In the run-up to the Oscars, Clooney, along with his wife – celebrity human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, personally campaigned on behalf of the film. It turns out, Clooney’s interest is more than just that of an liberal activist. AP reported that Clooney is in the process of producing a feature-film version of the “White Helmets.” He stated:

“The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that’s a good use of celebrity, I think.”

As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Clooney seems to relish in his role of celebrity humanitarian. Unfortunately, fellow members of the Council include an impressive line-up of war criminals and other dignitaries, like Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, as well as a chief architect of the collapse of Libya and the dirty war in Syria, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, judging by Clooney’s devotion to the White Helmets, it’s pretty clear that he is either ignorant of what he is supporting, or worse – he is using his public profile to push a Deep State agenda. In September 2016, Clooney managed to get an audience with John Kerry and the US State Department in order to promote his new “anti-corruption” NGO called, The Sentry. Not surprisingly, the establishment’s globalist information outlet the Daily Beast was on hand (along with a prime segment which aired on CNN) to get the word out. Editor John Avlon writes:

“Getting Americans to care about human-rights atrocities half-a-world away is hard. Getting them fired up about confronting the corruption that fuels those slaughters is an order of magnitude harder. But that’s what actor George Clooney and human-rights activist John Prendergast are aiming to do with their new project,The Sentry.”

The Sentry, is supposed to help the poor people of South Sudan by ‘taking aim at government corruption.’ Clooney goes on to demonize the South Sudan government as utterly corrupt and redeemable only by way of the international community’ – presumably through the International Criminal Court in the Hague. What Clooney will not tell his fawning public is the CIA’s role in fomenting unrest in Sudan prior to its rather convenient partition in 2010. We say convenient because splitting the country effectively cut-off port access and therefore oil pipeline access for South Sudan of which China has been a major partner on the exploration of energy. This was followed by a dirty war in South Sudan with much of the evidence pointing to the CIA. TeleSur English reports:

“The CIA is using a mercenary warlord named Riek Machar, who has a long history of ethnic massacres and mass murder to his credit, to try and overthrow the internationally recognized government of President Salva Kiir for the crime of doing business with rivals of Pax Americana, the Chinese.”

Again, we hear the familiar tropes about ‘child soldiers’ and ‘mass rape’, and how, “we must act now” – all part and parcel of the neocolonial “helpless Africa” narrative. Clooney’s partner John Prendergast delivers emotive plea:

“The war erupted, it was a fire that just raged across the land…They’ll use attack helicopters. They’ll use rape as a tool of war. They’ll recruit child soldiers and go in and send them as cannon fodder into villages to kill people. The worst human-rights abuses being committed in the world. And this is what South Sudan has dealt with because of this fallout between these thieves over the last 2½ years.”

Watch global policeman Clooney, flanked by his celebrity friend Don Cheadle, unveiling his “forensic investigation” implicating the government of South Sudan:

Interestingly, Clooney’s Sentry Project is nested under the globalist think tank, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies and bankrolled by John Podesta’s Center for American Progress – a Washington DC-based think tank with ties to the military industrial complex. Peace activist and author David Swanson outlined Sentry’s precarious connections to America’s defense industry here.Here, we can point out that the policy of ‘evicting Chinese influence’ from Africa was included in the military directives outlined in US AFRICOM immediately after its official launch in 2007-2008. Similarly, billions in direct Chinese investment in Libya was thwarted by NATO’s illegal abuse of UN Resolution 1973 which led to the complete collapse of the Libyan state. Very quickly, we can see that Clooney’s celebrated “crusade against corruption” is very likely part of a public relations smoke screen to conceal US clandestine efforts to isolate Chinese interests in the Sudans, while nudging forward US and transnational corporate policy in South Sudan, with the ultimate goal of regime change in that country. 

You can’t help but be reminded here of another similar Deep State public relations ploy centered around the exact same location back in 2012. There’s no better example of how Hollywood’s do-gooder war is waged than Kony 2012, described in Atlantic Magazine as a viral video campaign which “reinforces a dangerous, centuries-old idea that Africans are helpless and that idealistic Westerners must save them.” Like with Clooney’s Sentry Project, KONY 2012 leveraged the power of media and celebrity to manufacture public consent through an emotive public appeal, and collected millions in public donations in the process. In this case, the antagonist was the illusive warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army. The only problem was, at the time in 2012 no one had actually seen Kony in 6 years. Still, the campaign lobbied president Obama to deploy US forces to Uganda “find Kony” in order to “saving the children”. Despite the collapse of the project following a very public meltdown by the charity’s founder, Jason Russell, the US still went and deployed US military assets to Uganda under an expansion of US AFRICOM operations in Africa. Mission accomplished. The genius of this was that it concealed the genocide and crimes against humanity carried out by President Obama’s good friend and Uganda’s ‘President for Life’ Yoweri Museveni, whose crimes have since been well-documented in powerful independent non-CIA film production called a Brilliant Genocide. It turns out that Museveni is guilty of all the things and more – which the west had laid on the ghost of Kony. A brilliant deception. Of course, the irony of this is mostly lost on Hollywood’s humanitarian jet-set, all of whom thought KONY 2012 was such a great idea when it was first launched.

What Kony 2012 achieved on a ‘activist’ and public relations level is exactly what The White Helmets documentary is doing – an expensive smokescreen to hide the real horrors of a conflict, namely, the destructive policies of western governments and their local ‘partners’ which foment trouble and strife. In the case of Syria, it’s the US, UK, Turkey, France, and GCC support of violent, armed extremists – who the White Helmets are exclusively embedded with. The cynical use of the classic American gospel hymn, “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the documentary’s theme song by filmmakers Natasegara and Von Einsiedel speaks to level of manipulation of the narrative (see the bottom of this article, with numerous photographs of White Helmet ‘saints’).

Regarding the White Helmets project, Clooney revealed something else in his rhetoric when he remarked:

Clooney said that as a celebrity, “I can’t change policy … but I can make things louder.”

This is an example of the power-activist political set in Hollywood.

We find similar language in an interview with White Helmets director Joanna Natasegara in 2016, at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Malaysia while promoting her Oscar nominated film Virunga and its new foundation. Natasegara refers to herself as an “Impact Producer” (aka Change Agent) using documentaries to make a big impact by reinforcing or pushing a narrative. In many ways, this is antithetical to the whole process of filmmaking, especially in the research and discovery stages, and in the investigative aspects of historical documentary filmmaking – which is about documenting events but also about looking below popular political narratives to gain deeper insights, and not pushing political or policy outcomes. Power-activism is personified by numerous online marketing campaigns calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria. At the Oscar ceremony, both Natasegara and Von Einsiedel called for ‘an end to the war in Syria’ which everyone can agree on, but it rings hollow next to the words of persons like US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard and Tima Kurdi, the aunt of 3 yr old Alan Kurdi who washed-up on a beach to become the face of the tragic face of the migrant crisis. Both Gabbard and Kurdi appeared on global media this week calling for the US and its Coalition allies to STOP sending arms, cash and support to extremists and terrorist ‘rebels’ in Syria. Only this can bring an end to the war and allow refugees to to return to Syria said both Gabbard and Kurdi. This plea is real and reflects the facts on the ground, as opposed to the fake narrative constructed by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel, which carefully whitewashes all clandestine involvement by US, UK and its partners (who created and are funding the White Helmets) which has aided in the systematic destruction of Syria over the last 6 years, not to mention the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands. It is no coincidence that many members  of the White Helmets have extremist ties, and the fact that this is being covered-up by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel who are literally portraying the group as “saints” – speaks to the level of deception involved in this story. Now we can see Natasegara’s modus operandi with making the White Helmets film; it’s not so much about documenting history in the conventional sense, so much as it is about ‘making an impact’ politically – on behalf of the governments who created the White Helmets, which veers into the area of propaganda again.

Watch Joanna Natasegara in an interview here from the 2016 IACC Conference:

On the surface, Natasegara appears to be waging the classic international liberal crusade by fighting against mining, oil, and poaching, in the poor, permanently ‘developing’ countries like the Congo. No one will argue that the level of corruption in African countries can be extreme in some cases, but what are the real causes of institutional corruption in those lands? Indeed, “Stopping” them (corrupt officials) in Africa, but doing little to stop them at the actual corporate level in London, Belgium, New York or Washington DC. In fact, many of the biggest corporate donors to these ‘good causes’ projects are connected to the very same corporate behemoth that activists purport to be fighting against. This cycle of power activism feeds into the cycle of neocolonialism – in what researcher Cory Morningstar so rightly refers to as “the wrong kind of green.” As it turns out, the IACC is funded by none other than Transparency International (T.I.), one of the main players in the globalist “anti-corruption” syndicate, which is very much linked to the work of Hollywood activists like Clooney. In the past, T.I. has been accused of cooking its own books in its anti-corruption investigations, including an incident in 2008 where the organization used falsified data to try and frame the Chavez government in Venezuela during one of its anti-corruption investigations. This is a good example of NGO smart power being used to undermine a target nation. Clooney and Natasegara are just two of the many public faces who represent this network.Back in 2016, when the Panama Papers story broke, seemingly out of nowhere, the mainstream media utterly failed in analysing what they were really looking at. Yes, there’s plenty of corruption and shady shell companies in Panama (but no word of the giant offshore corporate maze located in Delaware), but was the endgame of that supposedly independent ‘investigation’? Amid all the mainstream media hype and ‘anti-corruption’ grandstanding, researcher James Corbett was one of the only people who asked the right question: “So why does this new mega-leak seemingly only expose those in the State Department crosshairs or expendable others and not a single prominent American politician or businessman? And what does this have to do with the OECD’s plan for a global taxation grid?” (LISTEN to my full interview last year with James Corbett here)

Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl.

Natasegara also goes on about using “activists” and “citizen journalists” to achieve the desired ‘impact.’ Here she is alluding to the scores of Syrian “activists” and the White Helmets, who have supplied western media outlets with the images our governments want in order to reinforce the official narrative. Natasegara is promoting the exact tool she utilized in the deceptive Netflix project where all of the alleged stock ‘rescue’ footage was supplied to producers by the White Helmets themselves. Natasegara claims to have trained 21 year old White Helmet ‘activist’ Khaled Khatib in Turkey before sending him into Syria to shoot much of the footage. NPR claims that he ‘risked his life’ to shoot the film for Netflix. Khatib was later blocked from entering the US to attend the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles. So the Netflix producers had no way of independently verifying what they’ve been given – effectively relying on al Qaeda affiliated individuals to supply them with made-to-order ‘rescue’ footage.

How can they call this a documentary?

In this case, it didn’t seem to matter to Joanna Natasegara and her co-producer Orlando Von Einsiedel whether its real or staged, so long as the White Helmets narrative was achieved.

Despite the claims by Netflix producers, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel – purpose was to reinforce the US-led Coalition fake narrative on Syria which has never resembled the facts on the ground. The US-UK establishment could not have hand-picked better tools for this job than Natasegara and Von Einsiedel. If they were real filmmakers interested in the truth, they would have paused to question why this group was founded by a senior British Military intelligence officer, James Le Mesurier, why it is based in Turkey and not Syria, and why the group only operated exclusively in Al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria), Arar al Sham (al Qaeda affiliate) and ISIS-held areas in Syria, why are White Helmets members routinely pictured with weapons, and with terrorists. The answer is simple to anyone with half a brain and who is being honest: the White Helmets are composed of mainly partisan extremists. That’s a fact.

Still, all of this is noticeably missing from Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s storybook version of the White Helmets, which is inexcusable considering how there’s no shortage of readily available evidence pointing directly to White Helmets’ ties to terrorists. One has to assume that the filmmakers knew about the extremist links and the US-NATO funding of the group but chose to ignore this in favor of producing their expensive piece of propaganda, and as we saw this week, both were all too happy to lap up the awards – even though the fiction they created has aided in giving political cover to illegal weapons transfers by the west and GCC states and has also been instrumental in wrongly demonizing the Syrian government while further legitimizing US-led Coalition-backed terrorism in Syria.

Concealing the White Helmet fraud under the seemingly innocuous guise of “Free Speech”, “Free Press” or “Citizen Journalism” is the absolute dereliction of any journalistic inquiry or responsibility in vetting the footage supplied by the White Helmets.

“Freedom for journalists has to be absolute. There is no such thing as restrictions on media that work,” said Natasegara.

Apparently, Oscar winner Natasegara was not too keen on free speech after Youtube artist Tyranny Unmasked posted a video critical of the Netflix White Helmets trailer. It appears that Natasegara used YouTube’s communitarian censorship system to take down the video critical of her film. Watch:

Being British, one might hope that Natasegara could apply these lofty polemics to the UK – and ask why the government still controls journalists and press through the archaic practice of issuing D-Notices, or the government’s aggressive stance towards whistleblowers with UK authorities threatening imprisonment for simply handling leaked material, or perhaps even the Leveson Inquiry’s attempt at allowing state control over what’s left of the UK’s free press. Similarly, the anti-corruption crowd might consider challenging Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowing which saw freedoms roll back at a record clip over the last 8 years. Certainly, that’s no shining city on the hill, or a role model for the seemingly lowly, poor and hopelessly “corrupt” developing world nations that the globe-trotting Natasegara is after. Only last year, we learned how the Pentagon hired elite UK public relations firm Bell Pottingerpaying them $540 million to produce, among other items, fake al Qaeda propaganda videos – to further prop-up a failed US and UK foreign policy facade. Perhaps Natasegara, or Clooney could do an “anti-corruption” film explaining how many starving children could be fed for a month or how many schools could be built, or how many water wells could be drilled – with $540 million dollars of US taxpayer money.

That’s only one example to demonstrate how the NGO operatives ignore the mountains of institutional corruption in the US and Europe, and the destructive murderous military industrial juggernaut – in favor of trying to yank the rug out from under a government located in some poor African, Asian, or Middle Eastern country which the US and its partners have their eye on for regime change.

CROWD-FUNDING TERROR

One of the saddest parts of this whole story is also that the power of marketing and propaganda means that tens of thousands of unwitting members of the public have been duped into donating their hard-earned money for this dubious NGO. If the wider public knew what Aleppo residents already know – that the White Helmets function as a support group alongside known terrorists groups like Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki & ISIS and others (all known extremist groups operating inside of Syria),  the White Helmets would not be celebrated as humanitarian, but rather, they’d be condemned as a multimillion fraud, customized by the West in order to give cover to the illicit practice of arming and supporting ‘rebel’ terrorists by the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.

By all accounts, White Helmets video and photo propaganda has been instrumental in aiding in the recruitment of new terrorists – new fighters from the West, Middle East and Asia – who see the contrived news reports in their countries of origin and believe the false narrative being portrayed by mainstream media news agencies. In this way, you could say that because the media are not vetting any of this material and are defaulting into a Western foreign policy bias by spinning all of their stories into emotive productions that reinforce a NATO and GCC-led ‘regime change’ and completely contrived “moderate rebel” narrative – the media are complicit in helping to drive the recruitment of terrorists internationally. By anyone’s definition, they are providing material support and comfort to known violent, religious extremists terrorists. When you break it right down, that’s exactly what is happening here. Undoubtedly, Hollywood is guilty of this.

Lastly, to see the White Helmets fundamental terrorist connection, one need look no further than to its ‘President’ Raed Saleh.

TERRORIST CENTRAL: Raed Saleh photographed with his close associate Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of White Helmet Centre in terrorist-held Idlib province (Photo: al-Haj Yussef Facebook page)

Last month, 21WIRE investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley reported on White Helmet leader Raed Saleh’s close partner, Mustafa al-Haj Yussefleader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders. On the 1st June 2014, White Helmet deputy Yussef called for the shelling of civilians during elections in Damascus.  He declares that this murderous act would be the “greatest declaration of revolution” .  

Is this the words of a “neutral, impartial, humanitarian”? Here we can see the White Helmets calling for direct violence against civilians who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to vote – in their own country. See the full story here.

So to even suggest that the White Helmets are “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” is tantamount to fraud. The fact that filmmakers Natasegara, Von Einsiedel and Netflix are using this false statement in their film and public relations material demonstrates outright deception on their part. 

It crucial to reiterate that the White Helmets are not a Syrian creation, but rather a product of US, British and NATO intelligence special project to use western conceived and western-funded NGO organizations to assist in the stated US-led Coalition foreign policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by producing western and GCC-oriented propaganda designed to undermine the Syrian government and state. Founded by British military intelligence officer James Le Mesurier, a graduate of Sandhurst Military Academy. It is believed that all totalled including undisclosed funding and solicited donations, that the group has received well in excess of over $250 million dollars since coming online in late 2013. 

The following is list of known funding sources for the White Helmets as of October 2016:

To anyone who bothers to look, the White Helmets extremist links are undeniable. Watch as Al Nusra and jihadi spokesman acknowledges the White Helmets as “Mujahadeen”:

Based on the evidence presented, and the images inserted below, one can safely conclude that at the very least, filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel and Netflix did zero due diligence when researching this multimillion dollar film production. Of course, that’s being generous. It seems more likely that they were fully aware that the White Helmets are attached to the multitude of extremist and terrorist groups – and conveniently ignored this fact in favour of constructing their propaganda narrative. Hence, a case could be made that these filmmakers and their distributor have knowingly provided promotion and political support to known terrorists – which is in direct violation of numerous US, European and International laws.


White Helmet operative, seen here at a “moderate” extremist, Free Sryian Army, meeting in Idlib, clearly demonstrating political affiliation to a widely proclaimed non “moderate” militant group, unable to function without support from better armed & funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front.  (Photo: Screenshot from video

Not only are the White Helmets embedded exclusively with extremists – they ARE extremists. Certainly, it is the choice of White Helmets members to also join extremist terrorist fighting groups, but by doing so, the White Helmets cannot rightly claim that their members are either neutral, nonpartisan, or ‘unarmed’. To claim otherwise constitutes cunning and deception on the part of the White Helmets and their promotional agents, including Netflix corporate marketing, and the film’s producers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. If Netflix were to take this issue seriously, after reviewing readily available evidence they would remove this film from their distribution chain, and Natasegara and Von Einsiedel should return their award to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

The following are a series of over 50 visual exhibits which clearly indicate that the White Helmets are not neutral, and whose ranks are in fact filled with extremists, including those with memberships in US-Coalition-backed internationally recognized terrorist fighting groups operating throughout Syria… 

White Helmet members are clearly pictured together with violent terrorists, and also taking part in heinous terrorists acts, as well as war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

Photos below were censored by Google

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

As shown previously, a White Helmet speaking on behalf of the Western-backed ‘Opposition” pseudo state, in front of the “moderate” militant, Free Syrian Army, French colonial, “Syrian” flag:

White Helmets with armed opposition acting in the role of ‘victim’ in the notorious staged “Mannequin Challenge” video:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet are armed:

White Helmet with Terrorist disposing of mutilated bodies of Syrian National Army soldiers:

White Helmet are armed and embedded with “rebel” (terrorist) fighters:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet with TerroristAl Nusra Front flying the terrorist flag:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

US-UK funded White Helmets operatives gloating while taking part in kidnapping, torture and execution of Syrian National Army soldiers, a violation of Geneva Convention on war crimes:

White Helmets pictured here working alongside with Nusra-ISIS terrorists:

“Hand in Hand with Al Nusra” (al Qaeda in Syria):

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Possible White Helmets involvement of the Terrorist (by Nour al-Din al-Zinki) execution and beheading of 12 year-old Abdulla Issa:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets embedded exclusively in ISIS and Terrorist-held areas:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets ARE militants:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Rebel media operative demonstrates support for ISIS in Syria:

By Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

It’s late July, 2018. In the Middle East, 800 men and their families are heading for Western Europe, Canada and the US, to be resettled as refugees. The true story behind their evacuation by Israel and their proposed “resettlement” as heroes is one of the most devious and frightening tales of our time.

Sources also tell us that among the 800 are top ISIS commanders who will soon be living in Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States, doing what terrorist commanders do, organizing cells and murdering innocent civilians, just like they did in Syria and Iraq and just like the White Helmets had done all along.

The White Helmets are an enigmatic group, lauded as volunteers and life savers, servant of mankind, they were organized by Britain’s MI6 as a black propaganda and anti-Assad organization funded by the governments of Britain, the US, Germany and others. They are not an NGO. There is nothing “non-governmental” about them.

Essentially, they are terrorist mercenaries.

With up to 30,000 opposition fighters inside Syria giving up arms and either rejoining Syrian society under the Damascus government in the last 12 months, or for some being resettled and perhaps continuing the fight, the 800-man force known as the White Helmets is unique.

Perhaps this is why they had to be “disemboweled” from Syria though an illegal military incursion that to the trained observer also demonstrates the curious close relationships between ISIS, al Qaeda and the Israeli Defense Forces, almost as if they were one in the same and the White Helmets were simply just another ISIS or al Qaeda organization.

It was the White Helmet’s fabricated stories of gas attacks and “barrel bombings” that drove Donald Trump to calling the elected Syrian leader “animal Assad” and launching multiple strikes on Syrian territory without UN authorization or NATO consensus.

It was the same Trump advisors and the same Donald Trump who now says he believes President Putin that, not so long ago, took the word of perhaps the sleaziest of all CIA terror operations, the White Helmets, a CIA he now says has always misled him, has always been useless, as justification for attacking Syria.

Why then did Trump attack Syria when the information he based his decision on was, by his own admission, “fake news” from his political enemies. Taking it one step further, not just fake but crazy as well, with Syria triumphant on the battle field. Syria had warned the world that the White Helmets were preparing a provocation in order to justify an American defense of ISIS against a Syria more united than ever under President Assad.

That news was everywhere, certainly across the international and alternative media that Trump is known to monitor nearly 20 hours a day on his smart phone. How did he miss it?

Trump and Putin

One thing the world now knows beyond a doubt is that Donald Trump believes Vladimir Putin. But if this is true, which we know it to be, then Trump’s actions regarding the White Helmets are bizarre and even criminal. Let us take a closer look.

On July 18, 2018, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They asked that Israel send IDF units well into ISIS and al Qaeda held territory, into Syria, in violation of the 1974 cease fire agreement.

There, the IDF was to, in less than 4 hours, screen 800 adult males claiming to be “White Helmets,” along with their families, load same onto busses and drive them to CIA controlled training camps in Jordan about 50 miles south of the recently liberated Syria city of Daraa.

The planning and execution of this effort, in less than 24 hours, was both incredible and heroic. Israeli forces met absolutely no resistance from ISIS or al Qaeda but were, rather, greeted with full cooperation and open arms.

Let us remember that, only a week ago, American President Donald Trump met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Trump was effusive in his praise of Vladimir Putin, particularly in his trust of Putin and Trump’s belief that Vladimir Putin is an honest man.

This being the case, one can’t help but wonder why President Trump would ask Israel to rescue the White Helmets from the Syrian Arab Army. Moscow has stated for many months that the White Helmets are, in fact, a terrorist organization and has offered proof at both the United Nations and at The Hague backing its assertions.

In fact, the White Helmets, supposedly a civil defense NGO made up of Syrian volunteers, has long been exposed by journalists like Vanessa Beeley, Nahed al Husaini and Carla Ortiz as guilty of the murder of thousands of Syrian civilians through staged gas attacks and bombings.

The White Helmets, lauded by American leftist and Hollywood actor, George Clooney, have been cited in the media, particularly in Russia, Iran and Syria, but other nations as well, as among the most dangerous terrorists in the world.

Why then, as Trump has stated he values Putin’s opinion so much, and this is a case where Putin’s opinion is backed up by significant and irrefutable evidence, has Trump done something so stupid?

You see, it isn’t just that Trump and Trudeau asked Israel to send troops into Syria in violation of UN agreements and Syria’s sovereignty, a war crime in itself, but Trump and to a lesser extent for Trudeau, knowingly asked Israel to aid terrorists who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

It gets worse.

According to the German newspaper, Bild, the White Helmets, 800 so far, will be sent to Germany, Britain, Canada and the US. There is considerable evidence that this is an army of “800 little bin Ladens,” with many trained bomb makers, nearly all jihadists and most minimally need to be adjudicated as to their crimes against the Syrian people.

Additionally, one might well note that no screening process was employed whatsoever. We are certain that Israel simply loaded anyone who showed up onto a bus.

Let’s take a second and picture this. We have 800 families who traveled to an embarkation point deep inside the ISIS enclave in Southern Syria, an enclave shrinking by the minute.

ISIS fighters are all around, flags and guns, many carrying their head chopping swords, others with cameras and phones, recording and uploading events to their YouTube channels and Facebook accounts that are never cancelled no matter what kind of material they post.

Along side them are IDF units, in uniform, armed, standing side by side with ISIS fighters while dozens of busses are driven in from Jordan.

Does anyone find anything wrong about this picture? Do I have something wrong here?

How was this going to be sold to the public when these ISIS terrorists show up at the Toronto or Indianapolis airports and are rushed through customs and into their new lives, paid housing, free medical care for life, government checks in the mail, their children not seized, no danger of deportation and detention.

Does anyone find anything wrong with this picture as well?

Refugees are beginning to return to Syria as the Damascus government clears out the last of the terrorists from all but Idlib Province. There, al Qaeda and the White Helmets are still active, holding a civilian population in terror, rounding up political prisoners, executing hundreds and planning more chemical attacks so that President Trump will protect their reign of terror.

This is the simple truth of it.

Why America Uses Terror

Few are aware to what extent the American military, the highest paid in the world, was decimated during the contrived War on Terror. Hundreds of thousands were maimed, more wasted away in endless “deployments” while tens of thousands killed themselves.

Pentagon funds are better spent on missiles, aircraft carriers, and mercenaries while Washington political insiders rake off billions in graft.

War had to change, false flag terror, fake aid and refugee groups, fake news and standoff missile attacks while sanctions, blockades and assassinations took their toll. Key to America’s war, or perhaps more appropriately, the war America is fighting on behalf of globalist interests, is a group known as the “White Helmets.”

A Syrian child, living under ISIS terror, is dragged off the street. Bleach is poured on his head by, of all things, a fake first responder wearing a strange white bicycle helmet. His parents are terrified, other children kidnapped in a similar war are found dead, mutilated after being hacked and bashed, then dragged around repeatedly before video teams from Reuters and Aljazeera, fake atrocity victims to justify American military action against Syria.

The child is then dragged into a local hospital where a doctor, held at gunpoint, pretends to examine the terrified child while filming goes on.

Sometimes the filmed victims are paid, even filmed coming back to life, other times real Sarin gas is used, smuggled into Syria from Georgia and Ukraine, according to Serena Shim of Press TV, by mercenaries working for Google Idea Groups, a US State Department contractor.

Serena Shim was murdered on October 19, 2014.

Ensuing chemical weapons investigators find themselves followed, their families threatened and risk financial ruin and smears of any imaginable kind, in particular, being arrested with child pornography placed on their computers.

Protecting the White Helmets, a terror organization now spreading around the world, the story we will be telling here, is what President Trump calls the “fake media.” Behind it all, of course, is Donald Trump himself and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Background

For weeks now, counter-terrorism organizations around the world have been engaged in efforts to identify members of an organization celebrated by Hollywood as among the most honored and revered of our time. We are, of course, speaking of the White Helmets, accused by Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, and independent investigators and journalists as a terrorist organization, the “Propaganda Ministry” for both ISIS and al Qaeda.

The White Helmets, a fake NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), totally funded by spy agencies from the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, has, for years, staged chemical attacks killing thousands, staged fake bombing attacks and produced propaganda videos promoted by the mainstream media.

Time and time again, slam dunk proof has been submitted to the UN, the ICC at The Hague and to world media that this organization has committed unspeakable atrocities and its membership is a revolving door of terrorist leaders, crisis actors and Western paid propagandists.

Evacuated by Israel for Reassignment as “Terror Cells”

On July 22, 2018, the Associated Press published the following story about the alleged rescue of a very controversial organization known as the White Helmets. The story itself is beyond understanding, a travesty of falsehood, fakery and fabrication, a narrative that defies imagination.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation.

The evacuees, who were hemmed in from one side by advancing hostile Syrian troops and from another by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, were transported to Jordan, from where they are expected to be resettled in Europe and Canada in the coming weeks.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israel’s military said the overnight operation was “an exceptional humanitarian gesture” at the request of the United States and European allies due to an “immediate threat to the (Syrians) lives.” It posted a video online showing its soldiers handing out water bottles to the evacuees.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“These are people who saved lives and whose lives are now in danger. I authorized bringing them through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian gesture,” Netanyahu said.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the rescue of “these brave volunteers” and cited the United Nations, Israel, and Jordan for helping with the operation.

The statement from spokeswoman Heather Nauert also called on Syria’s government and its ally Russia “to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria.”

The “evacuation” of the White Helmets is part of a larger program of building and organizing a blend of terror groups like the Gulanites that threaten Turkey, the newly deployed ISIS sent to Afghanistan by the CIA or the MEK, a bizarre terror cult the US has deployed against the people of Iran.

Decades ago it was the “contras” and the death squads that killed tens of thousands in El Salvador and up to 300,000 in Guatemala.

Coming to Your Neighborhood

Not all terrorists will continue their Saudi paid and American supported wars in the Middle East and South Asia. In order to foster compliance on the part of NATO and other governments, domestic false-flag terror attacks, even in the United States such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, must continue.

The targets, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy will be foremost on the list with Iran blamed, of course. Such attacks are under planning right now, and the perpetrators who used to be smuggled through Kosovo into Italy and north, are now being flown into Europe and North America as “heroes.”

Normally heroes receive medals, awards, and parades but these heroes, the White Helmets, arrive by the dark of night with fake identities and fat checks from spy agencies. Their “heroic” efforts aren’t over, there are more children to kill, more chemical attacks to stage, more death, more deceit, more false flag terror and a war on Iran to bring to fruition.

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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