Another sad incident of Islamophobia in Canada

Another sad incident of Islamophobia in Canada

June 09, 2021

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

A Pakistani-Canadian family recently fell victim to another hate crime against Muslims in Canada. Five members of a Muslim family became the latest target of anti-Islam attacks in Canada. The hate crime claimed the lives of four family members and critically wounded a child. Police said the victims were two women aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl. A nine-year-old boy was seriously injured and is in serious condition in hospital. The victims, all members of the same family, were hit on Sunday evening while waiting to cross a street in the city of London, 200km (124 miles) southwest of Toronto, Canadian news outlets reported on Monday. Canadian Police confirmed a 20-year-old Canadian attacker, Nathaniel Veltman, intentionally ran over the family with his pick-up truck in London, Ontario ‘because they were Muslim,’ killing four people, including a teenage girl.

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson said, “We strongly condemn the Islamophobic incident that resulted in the tragic death of four family members of Pakistani origin, in London, Ontario. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto are in close contact with the relevant Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts of the case and to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice. Our Consul General in Toronto also visited the family of the deceased to offer sympathies and condolences and all possible assistance.”

Canadian authorities defined the incident as a “horrific act of Islamophobia.” “This was an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims,” London Mayor Ed Holder said. “It was rooted in unspeakable hatred.”The Canadian Prime Minister has stated that Islamophobia has no place in any of their communities. Events like these further reinforce the imperative for the international community to work together for interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence. In fact, Canada is a relatively peaceful country and hosts people of all nationalities, religions, races, and ethnicities. While Canada presents itself as one of the most liberal states under its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, anti-Islam hate crimes continue to threaten both communal peace and Muslim lives in the North American country.

Like most Western countries, Canadian legal authorities do not define anti-Islam attacks as terrorist acts despite calling incidents by radical armed groups like Daesh and Al Qaeda terror acts.

The incident is widely condemned internationally, particularly in the Muslim world.

It is appealed to all Muslims to remain calm and cooperate with local authorities to fight against hate crimes, particularly against Muslims. But, unfortunately, Islamophobia is rising sharply in the Western World.

By design, few spoiler groups, nations, and individuals have launched a acompaing to distort the Muslim image. Islam is a religion of “Peace” and “Love,” but they have projected Muslims as Terrorists. In fact, they blamed Muslims for Terrorism and destroyed their countries, and captured natural resources and their wealth. The Worst genocide happened in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan under cover of the War on Terror and shifted their wealth and natural resources to Western World.

There are around two billion Muslims; almost every fourth person on this earth is Muslim; although there are 57 Muslim countries, in fact, Muslims are spread all over the globe. The Muslim world is rich in natural resources like Oil and Gas. But backward in education and divided politically so became easy target for Western World. However, Muslims are a significant contributor to modern Science and Technology and the global economy.

There might be few criminals in Islam, just like in any other religion or race, but the overhelming majority are good people. Unholy media has been used as a tool to distort the Muslim image. Many people are converting to Islam, even in the Western world. Most women in the West believe that Muslims are the best Husbands. Most of the Western World depends on natural resources and wealth from Muslim World. Muslims living in the Western World are highly qualified, hard-working, diligent, competent, and contribute to the host country’s socio-economic development.

Islamophobia is an emerging phenomenon, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan has been highlighting it frequently in all possible forms. Therefore, there is a need for the Western World must understand the consequences of Hate against Muslims.

Here is a shortlist of some past anti-Islam attacks in Canada only (in the rest of the Western World, there are much more):

Quebec City mosque attack

In late January 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student and a former Royal Canadian Army Cadet attacked the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, killing six worshippers and wounding five others.

Bissonnette held similar views to New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque shooter, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian citizen, having far-right and white supremacist political views. The Canadian attacker was also a fan of former President Trump and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The attacker was sentenced to life in prison. But, while Canadian leaders like Trudeau called the assault an act of terror, Bissonnette was not charged under the terrorism clause of the country’s Criminal Code.

The Quebec City attack has led to widespread public debate in Canada about why Islamophobic attacks motivated by right-wing political views have been rising across the country.

Abdullah Alzureiqi and his daughter Hala say a prayer at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pick-up truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 2021.

Abdullah Alzureiqi and his daughter Hala say a prayer at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pick-up truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 2021. (Carlos Osorio / Reuters)

In 2017, hate crimes climbed significantly in Canada to the previous year. But with a 207 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, anti-Islam attacks were much higher than attacks against other social groups.

Even after the Quebec City Mosque shooting, which the country’s leaders widely condemned, attacks against Muslims “peaked,” according to an Islamophobia report.

Attacks on other mosques

Canada’s Islamic worshipping centers have been the target of anti-Islam attacks during the last decade. In addition, hate groups have constantly threatened mosques since 2013.

In 2015, the only mosque in Ontario’s Peterborough was set on fire by a hate group. A year before that vandalization, another anti-Islam assault, which was prevented by the police, targeted a Montreal mosque. In 2014, the Montreal police found a suspicious package in front of another mosque. The police neutralized the package.

Attacks on hijabi women

In Canada, many Muslim women have long been targeted by hate groups. Some of those attacks have apparently increased after Quebec, the country’s French-speaking second largest province by population, considered a bill that proposed a ban on wearing religious symbols, including hijab, in public spaces in 2013. The bill failed to become law.

In 2013, several Muslim hijabi women were assaulted across Quebec as attackers forcibly removed their headscarves. Since then, hijabi women, including one pregnant woman, have been targeted by racist attackers.

Despite continuing attacks, in 2019, Quebec Premier François Legault claimed that there was “no Islamophobia in Quebec.” However, after a political backlash, he backtracked from his comment.

Canadian media

Canadian media has fuelled anti-Muslim sentiment, making the country’s Islamophobia-related issues worse, according to experts.

“Islamophobia is a direct result of the anti-Muslim rhetoric conveyed in the media,” said a 2019 statement by Canadian Muslim Alliance, referring to the country’s press organizations.

“We appeal to the Canadian, Quebec, and municipal governments to stand against this type of hate speech. Words matter,” the statement added.

There are many more similar cases, but not reported, not documented. The actual situation is grave and worrisome. Scholars, Intellectuals, Think Tanks may conduct research and case studies to evaluate the actual threat posed.

It is time to think wisely. Therefore, it is appealed to all sensible and peace-loving nations and individuals to promote understanding, coexistence, harmony and turn this world into a better place to live for us and our next generations.

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).

The Current Status of Economy in Pakistan

The Current Status of Economy in Pakistan

June 03, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Official data released by the Government of Pakistan is encouraging very much. It shows an increase in foreign remittances, an increase in agri-produce, especially wheat, which is a staple food in Pakistan, and the GDP growth is projected at 3.9 percent, etc. All economic indicators seem satisfactory. If the data is accurate, we must congratulate the government and rank high achiever under COVID-19 era, whereas the global economy is in severe crisis.

However, public opinion is much different, and one can witness it when going to markets. The consumer products have a sharp rise in most commodities, especially the food and eatables prices have gone up. The items of daily use are also getting higher prices. Whereas the salaries are stagnant, there was no increase in wages since the PTI government came into power. Even the regular routine increments are halted. In the private sector, due to lockdowns, economic activities are also facing restrictions. There might be very few exceptions, but most people in Pakistan face low income or no increase in revenue. With limited and stagnant pay, meeting the sharp increase in inflation is not an easy task. People are tense and nervous.

The job market is almost halted; there are no new jobs in the Government sector, and the private sector is also not hiring because of limited business activities under COVID-19. However, the PTI government has made promises to create enormous new jobs but failed to meet its commitments. The creation of employment is directly related to GDP growth. With a population growth of 2 percent approximately, Pakistan can not afford new jobs with the meager GDP. However, Pakistani Universities are producing almost one and half million graduates every year, looking for jobs. The situation is rather vulnerable.

Internal and external debt is increasing, putting the nation in a much awkward situation. However, the exchange rate is stable for quite some time, which is appreciated.

Whatsoever is the official version, but the economic challenges are enormous multi-dimensional, including slower economic growth, rising unemployment, and poverty, massive fiscal deficit, growing public and external debts. However, these problems were inherited from previous few Governments like PP-Government from 2008-2013 and MPL-N Government from 2013-2018. But the current Government of PTI has not only failed to rectify but has aggregated to some extent.

PTI Government failed to improve the economic problems faced by the nation due to the incompetency of the economic team. The Finance Minister has been kept on changing on and off, which has damaged the political goodwill of PTI and may have lost public popularity already.

IMF has also played its role in worsening the situation. As a matter of fact, despite high claims by IMF, but failed all over the world to revive the economy globally. Most of the nation has suffered a bitter experience with IMF. Pakistan is no exception and believes that IMF has aggregated the problems instead of solving them.

Pakistan is a country blessed with abundant natural resources, mining and minerals are rich, and agriculture is one of our strengths. The population is around 220 million, with 70% of the population young under the age of 40. The huge, dynamic, diligent workforce is considered one of our strengths. A nuclear state, yet, so miserable economy, is beyond understanding. I believe it is mismanagement only; the real potential of Pakistan has not been exploited yet.

Pakistan has economists of international repute, trained by Nobel Laurents, like Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan. He has given a few recommendations to the Government of Pakistan recently published in the Business recorder:-

The IMF program had got suspended in Pakistan after the onslaught of Coronavirus in late February 2020. With the suspension of the IMF program came the suspension of hara-kiri attached with the program in raising electricity and gas prices, interest rate, and devaluation of the rupee. The interest rate was brought down from 13.25 percent to 7.0 percent in a few months; the exchange rate exhibited a modicum of stability and appreciated after the suspension of the IMF program; gas and electricity tariffs remained unchanged during the suspension. Such a suspension of the IMF program on account of Covid-19 brought tremendous positivity to Pakistan’s economy. It boosted the private sector’s confidence as they knew that utilities’ prices would remain unchanged, interest rates started declining. The government came forward to support businesses/industries and the poor segments of the country lavishly.

All these measures restored the confidence of the market and the private sector; the air of uncertainty was removed. The private sector moved forward, the credit off-take started rising, industrial activity was on the move, exports began gaining momentum, and the overall economy gained traction. All these were happening because of the suspension of the IMF program.

At the back of these developments, Pakistan has witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases for the last two months. Business activities are being affected. The first thing that the government can do is to request the IMF for further suspension of the IMF program for a year and take this as an opportunity to revive the economy. Alternatively, Pakistan should renegotiate with the IMF and insist that there will be no more hike in the tariffs of electricity and gas, and the tax target for the FBR will be based on the ground realities of the economy. Pakistan should concentrate on wide-ranging reforms in the power sector (raising electricity prices is no reform; it is equivalent to maintain the status quo), tax system and tax administration reform, and reform in agriculture and industries. Reforms in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) law in the name of giving more autonomy as proposed by the IMF is like creating a state within the state, and therefore, must not be accepted. Unfortunately, IMF has been used to coerce other nations, and Pakistan is one such victim.

Secondly, the government must hold the hands of businesses at all levels—small, medium, and large. It is not the time to increase the cost of doing business by raising utility prices, interest rates and devaluing the currency. Furthermore, the SBP must consider reducing the policy rate to 5 percent from the current level of 7.0 percent in two/three monetary policy meetings, that is, by December 2021. It is abundantly clear that by raising the discount rate, we cannot reduce inflation in Pakistan.

Thirdly, agriculture has remained neglected by successive governments for nearly 13 years. Pakistan used to produce cotton in the range of 13-14 million bales until 2014-15. The production of cotton has nosedived to 6-7 million bales now. What went wrong in cotton production? The government must find the answer and take necessary corrective measures during the next fiscal year (2021-22).

Fourthly, wheat production in Pakistan had stagnated at 25 million tons from 2010-11 until this year (according to the government, the country has witnessed a record production of 27.3 million tons this year). Still, its population has been growing each year. Resultantly, the per capita availability of wheat per annum has declined from 145 kg to 120kg in 2019-20. The country’s wheat production has failed to maintain the pace of its population growth rate. Pakistan is fast heading towards acquiring a permanent wheat importing country and accordingly creating a food security issue for itself. Pakistan has entered into the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in which agriculture is a priority area. Pakistan must learn to enhance wheat and cotton production from China under the CPEC.

Fifthly, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), construction, tourism, and IT sectors have strong potential to revive the economy and create enormous job opportunities because all these sectors are highly labor-intensive with high employment elasticity. These sectors are severely credit-constrained. These sectors should be provided credit directly through banking channels or the well-reputed NGOs. The government, on its part, must improve its physical infrastructure, for which budgetary allocation must be ensured.

Sixthly, the livestock and dairy sector accounts for 60.5 percent of agriculture and contributes 11.7 percent to GDP. This sector is almost equal to the large-scale manufacturing sector. Pakistan produces nearly 62 million tons of milk in a year. More than 8 million rural population derive their livelihoods from this sector. It is a highly labor-intensive sector and has enormous potential for creating jobs. The road to poverty alleviation in the rural area passes through the livestock and dairy sector, but it has remained neglected in Pakistan. The government may involve the private sector in the development of this sector to produce milk and dairy products to meet growing domestic and foreign demand.

Seventhly, in the second phase of the CPEC, besides agriculture, industrialization through the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is yet another priority area where progress is much desired. The government must use CPEC as a vehicle for reviving economic activity to achieve 6 to 7 percent growth in the next four to five years. Let us resolve that during the fiscal year 2021-22, at least one SEZ will become functional.

Eighthly, Karachi being the growth and revenue engine of Pakistan, will play a pivotal role in reviving economic activity in the country and sustaining 5-7 percent growth on a sustained basis. “Give me peace and stability in Karachi, and I will give you the revenue,” this is a historic quote of a former Chairman of the FBR to a former Prime Minister of Pakistan in the mid-1990s. Peace and stability in Karachi and improved infrastructure and cleanliness of the city will go a long way in sustaining higher economic growth. The political situation in Karachi must be handled with political foresight inclusiveness, equal opportunities, and local government empowerment.

Summing UP: To revive economic activity and to achieve a growth rate of 5-6 or even 7 percent in the next four to five years on a sustained basis, Pakistan needs to do the following: i) either suspend the IMF program for a year or renegotiate the cruelest program ever given to Pakistan; ii) no more hike in utility prices (gas and electricity) there is a need to reduce the price of electricity as Pakistan has excess capacity; iii) use both fiscal and monetary policy to revive economic activity; iv) reduce the discount rate or policy rate to 5 percent in the next 2/3 monetary policy meetings; v) primary emphasis be given to agriculture and seeking Chinese assistance under the second phase of the CPEC; vii) SMEs, livestock and dairy sector, construction, tourism, and IT sectors should form the priority areas along with agriculture; viii) undertake wide-ranging reforms in agriculture, industry, energy, taxation, and governance; and ix) peace and stability and better infrastructure in Karachi are vital for economic recovery.

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).

Sitrep: Here Comes China: Space, Trade, Encirclement and Tibet

May 22, 2021

Selections from Godfree Roberts’ extensive weekly newsletter: Here Comes China. You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Further selections and editorial commentary by Amarynth.


Space News

The Zhurong rover touched down May 15 on Mars and signaled ground control 320 million kilometers away. After diagnostic tests, it will spend 90 days exploring and analyzing the area, climate, magnetic field and subsurface. The Tianwen-1 orbiter is changing its trajectory so Zhurong can transmit high-resolution photos.

 Read full article $→

“The mission is very ambitious. They plan to do, in one go, three steps NASA took several decades to achieve: getting into orbit, landing on the surface and then driving a rover around,” said Roberto Orosei, from the Institute for Radioastronomy in Bologna, Italy. Other space milestones this past year include the final BeiDou GPS satellite and the first of 11 launches to build a Space StationRead full article →

Update from RT this morning:  “China’s Mars rover rolls off landing platform, joining US robots patrolling Red Planet”

https://www.rt.com/news/524522-chinese-rover-rolls-platform/

The Tianhe core module cabin of China’s space station project has completed in-orbit performance checks, including rendezvous and docking, life support systems for astronauts and robotic arms, as well as a series of space application equipment examinations. 

Read full article →


At $23 billion, China is the world’s largest ice cream market. Competitors include Mengniu Dairy, Yili, Guanming, and Sanyuan, along with foreign giants like Nestlé and Unilever. US ice cream sales average $7 billion annually. Read full article →

A record 9.09 million university students will graduate this year and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan says,  “Go to central and western regions where the country needs you” (and where there are 1.4 available jobs per graduate). Read full article →

The EU’s goods trade surged in Q1 and China remained its top trade partner, with imports and exports both increasing 20% YoY. The US followed, with both imports and exports shrinking. Read full article $→

US importers paid 90% of tariff costs on Chinese goods, or 18.5% more for Chinese products subject to the 20% tariff. Chinese exporters receive 1.5% less for the same product. Read full article $→

US exports to China of wine, cotton, log timber and wood have increased over the past year after Beijing blocked those products from Australia. The US is prioritising its own economic interests over its ally’s, despite Antony Blinken’s promise that Washington would not leave Australia to face ‘economic coercion’ from Beijing. Read full article $→

Supplies of Russian agricultural products to China increased by 17.6% in Q1. Trade turnover reached $40.207 billion, 20% higher YoY. The two aim to double 2021 trade to $200 billion. Read full article $→


Presidents Xi and Putin launched construction on four nuclear reactors made with Russian technology: two reactors each in Jiangsu and Liaoning Provinces, set to begin 2026 – 2028. They will be powered by Rosatom’s 3G pressurized water reactor technology at a  cost of $1.7 billion per site. Read full article $→


US Encirclement of China: A Progress Report

We will post this long-read article by Brian Berletic in full as the New Eastern Outlook site has been down for a number of days.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing are not merely the recent results of former US President Donald Trump’s time in office – but rather just the latest chapter in US efforts to contain China that stretch back decades.

Indeed, US foreign policy has for decades admittedly aimed at encircling and containing China’s rise and maintaining primacy over the Indo-Pacific region.

The “Pentagon Papers” leaked in 1969 would admit in regards to the ongoing US war against Vietnam that:

…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.

The papers also admitted that China, “looms as a major power threatening to undercut [American] importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against [America].

The papers also made it clear that there were (and still are), “three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China: (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

Since then, it is clear that from the continued US military presence in both Japan and South Korea, the now two decades-long US occupation of Afghanistan on both Pakistan’s and China’s borders, and the emergence of the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” aimed at overthrowing Southeast Asian governments friendly with China and replacing them with US-backed client regimes – this policy to contain China endures up to today.

Assessing US activity along these three fronts reveals the progress and setbacks Washington faces – and various dangers to global peace and stability Washington’s continued belligerence pose.

The Japan-Korea Front 

Military.com in their article, “Here’s What It Costs to Keep US Troops in Japan and South Korea,” reports:

In all, more than 80,000 US troops are deployed to Japan and South Korea. In Japan alone, the US maintains more than 55,000 deployed troops — the largest forward-deployed US force anywhere in the world.

The article notes that according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the US spent “$34 billion to maintain military presences in Japan and South Korea between 2016 and 2019.”

The article cites the GAO providing an explanation as to why this massive US military presence is maintained in East Asia:

“…US forces help strengthen alliances, promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, provide quick response to emergencies and are essential for US national security.”

“Alliances” that are “strengthened” by the physical presence of what are essentially occupying US forces suggests the “alliance” is hardly voluntary and claims of promoting a “free and open Indo-Pacific region” is highly subjective – begging the question of to whom the Indo-Pacific is “free and open” to.

And as US power wanes both regionally in the Indo-Pacific as well as globally, Washington has placed increasing pressure on both Japan and South Korea to not only help shoulder this financial burden, but to also become more proactive within Washington’s containment strategy toward China.

Japan is one of three other nations (the US itself, Australia, and India) drafted into the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – also know as the “Quad.”

Rather than the US solely depending on its own military forces based within Japanese territory or supported by its Japan-based forces, Japan’s military along with India’s and Australia’s are also being recruited to take part in military exercises and operations in and around the South China Sea.

India’s inclusion in the Quad also fits well into the US 3-front strategy that made up Washington’s containment policy toward China as early as the 1960s.

The India-Pakistan Front 

In addition to recruiting India into the Quad alliance, the US helps encourage escalation through political support and media campaigning of India’s various territorial disputes with China.

The US also targets Pakistan’s close and ongoing relationship with China – including the support of armed insurgents in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

Recently, a bombing at a hotel in Quetta, Baluchistan appears to have targeted China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Nong Rong.

The BBC in its article, “Pakistan hotel bomb: Deadly blast hits luxury venue in Quetta,” would claim:

Initial reports had suggested the target was China’s ambassador.

Ambassador Nong Rong is understood to be in Quetta but was not present at the hotel at the time of the attack on Wednesday.

The article also noted:

Balochistan province, near the Afghan border, is home to several armed groups, including separatists.

Separatists in the region want independence from the rest of Pakistan and accuse the government and China of exploiting Balochistan, one of Pakistan’s poorest provinces, for its gas and mineral wealth.

Absent from the BBC’s reporting is the extensive and open support the US government has provided these separatists over the years and how – clearly – this is more than just a local uprising against perceived injustice, but yet another example of armed conflict-by-proxy waged by Washington against China.

As far back as 2011 publications like The National Interest in articles like, “Free Baluchistan” would openly advocate expanding US support for separatism in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

The article was written by the late Selig  Harrison – who was a senior fellow at the US-based corporate-financier funded Center for International Policy – and would claim:

Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baluch territory. So an independent Baluchistan would serve US strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering Islamist forces.

Of course, “Islamist forces” is a euphemism for US-Persian Gulf state sponsored militants used to both fight Western proxy wars as well as serve as a pretext for Western intervention. Citing “Islamist forces” in Baluchistan, Pakistan clearly serves as an example of the latter.

In addition to op-eds published by influential policy think tanks, US legislators like US Representative Dana Rohrabacher had proposed resolutions such as (emphasis added),

“US House of Representatives Concurrent Resolution 104 (112th): Expressing the sense of Congress that the people of Baluchistan, currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.”

There is also funding provided to adjacent, political groups supporting separatism in Baluchistan, Pakistan as listed by the US government’s own National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website under “Pakistan.” Organizations like the “Association for Integrated Development Balochistan” are funded by the US government and used to mobilize people politically, constituting clear interference by the US in Pakistan’s internal political affairs.

The Gwadar Port project is a key juncture within China’s growing global network of infrastructure projects as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative. The US clearly opposes China’s rise and has articulated robust strategies to counter it; everything up to and including open war as seen in the Pentagon Papers regarding the Vietnam War.

The recent bombing in Baluchistan, Pakistan demonstrates that this strategy continues in regards to utilizing local militants to target Chinese-Pakistani cooperation and is one part of the much wider, region-wide strategy of encircling and containing China.

The Southeast Asia Front

Of course the US war against Vietnam was part of a wider effort to reassert Western primacy over Southeast Asia and deny the region from fueling China’s inevitable rise.

The US having lost the war and almost completely retreating from the Southeast Asia region saw Southeast Asia itself repair relations amongst themselves and with China.

Today, the nations of Southeast Asia count China as their largest trade partner, investor, a key partner in infrastructure development, a key supplier for the region’s armed forces, as well as providing the majority of tourism arrivals throughout the region. For countries like Thailand, more tourists arrive from China than from all Western nations combined.

Because existing governments in Southeast Asia have nothing to benefit from by participating in American belligerence toward China, the US has found it necessary to cultivate and attempt to install into power various client regimes. This has been an ongoing process since the Vietnam War.

The US has targeted each nation individually for years. In 2009 and 2010, US-backed opposition leader-in-exile Thaksin Shinawatra deployed his “red shirt” protesters in back-to-back riots – the latter of which included some 300 armed militants and culminated in city-wide arson across Bangkok and the death of over 90 police, soldiers, protesters, and bystanders.

In 2018, US-backed opposition groups took power in Malaysia after the US poured millions of dollars for over a decade in building up the opposition.

Daniel Twining of the US National Endowment for Democracy subsidiary – the International Republican Institute – admitted during a talk (starting at 56 minutes) by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that same year that:

…for 15 years working with NED resources, we worked to strengthen Malaysian opposition parties and guess what happened two months ago after 61 years? They won.

He would elaborate on how the NED’s network played a direct role in placing US-backed opposition figures into power within the Malaysian government, stating:

I visited and I was sitting there with many of the leaders the new leaders of this government, many of whom were just our partners we had been working with for 15 years and one of the most senior of them who’s now one of the people running the government said to me, ‘gosh IRI you never gave up on us even when we were ready to give up on ourselves.’

Far from “promoting freedom” in Malaysia – Twining would make clear the ultimate objective of interfering in Malaysia’s internal political affairs was to serve US interests not only in regards to Malaysia, but in regards to the entire region and specifically toward encircling and containing China.

Twining would boast:

…guess what one of the first steps the new government took? It froze Chinese infrastructure investments.

And that:

[Malaysia] is not a hugely pro-American country. It’s probably never going to be an actual US ally, but this is going to redound to our benefit, and and that’s an example of the long game.

It is a pattern that has repeated itself in Myanmar over the decades with NED money building a parallel political system within the nation and eventually leading to Aung San Suu Kyi and her US-backed National League for Democracy (NLD) party taking power in 2016.

For Myanmar, so deep and extensive is US backing for opposition groups there that elections virtually guarantee US-backed candidates win every single time. The US National Endowment for Democracy’s own website alone lists over 80 programs and organizations receiving US government money for everything from election polling and building up political parties, to funding media networks and “environmental” groups used to block Chinese-initiated infrastructure projects.

The move by Myanmar’s military in February this year, ousting Aung Sang Suu Kyi and the NLD was meant to correct this.

However, in addition to backing political groups protesting in the streets, the US has – for many decades – backed and armed ethnic rebels across the country. These rebels have now linked up with the US-backed NLD and are repeating US-backed regime change tactics used against the Arab World in 2011 in nations like Libya, Yemen, and Syria – including explicit calls for “international intervention.”

A US-Engineered “Asia Spring”  

Just as the US did during the 2011 “Arab Spring” – the US State Department, in a bid to create synergies across various regime change campaigns in Asia, has introduced the “Milk Tea Alliance” to transform individual US-backed regime change efforts in Asia into a region-wide crisis.

The BBC itself admits in articles like, “Milk Tea Alliance: Twitter creates emoji for pro-democracy activists,” that:

The alliance has brought together anti-Beijing protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan with pro-democracy campaigners in Thailand and Myanmar.

Omitted from the BBC’s coverage of the “Milk Tea Alliance” (intentionally) is the actual common denominators that unite it – US funding through fronts like the National Endowment for Democracy and a unifying hatred of China based exclusively on talking points pushed by the US State Department itself.

Circling back to the Pentagon Papers and recalling the coordinated, regional campaign the US sought to encircle China with – we can then look at more recent US government policy papers like the “Indo-Pacific Framework” published in the White House archives from the Trump administration.

The policy paper’s first bullet point asks:

How to maintain US strategic primacy in the Indo-Pacific region and promote a liberal economic order while preventing China from establishing new, illiberal spheres of influence, and cultivating areas of cooperation to promote regional peace and prosperity?

The paper also discusses information campaigns designed to “educate” the world about “China’s coercive behaviour and influence operations around the globe.” These campaigns have materialized in a propaganda war fabricating accusations of “Chinese genocide” in Xinjiang, China, claims that Chinese telecom company Huawei is a global security threat, and that China – not the US – is the single largest threat to global peace and stability today.

In reality US policy aimed at encircling China is predicated upon Washington’s desire to continue its own decades-long impunity upon the global stage and the continuation of all the wars, humanitarian crises, and abuses that have stemmed from it.

Understanding the full scope of Washington’s “competition” with China helps unlock the confusion surrounding unfolding individual crises like the trade war, the ongoing violence and turmoil in Myanmar, bombings in southwest Pakistan, students mobs in Thailand, riots in Hong Kong, and attempts by the US to transform the South China Sea into an international conflict.

Understanding that these events are all connected – then assessing the success or failure of US efforts gives us a clearer picture of the overall success Washington in encircling China.  It also gives governments and regional blocs a clearer picture of how to manage policy in protecting against US subversion that threatens national, regional, and global peace and stability.

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.


BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) — China’s State Council Information Office on Friday issued a white paper on the peaceful liberation of Tibet and its development over the past seven decades.

The white paper, titled “Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity,” reviewed Tibet’s history and achievements, and presented a true and panoramic picture of the new socialist Tibet.

You may Download the Full Text or read this very interesting document here: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-05/21/c_139959978.htm

It consists of the following:

Foreword

I. Tibet Before the Peaceful Liberation

II. Peaceful Liberation

III. Historic Changes in Society

IV. Rapid Development of Various Undertakings

V. A Complete Victory over Poverty

VI. Protection and Development of Traditional Culture

VII. Remarkable Results in Ethnic and Religious Work

VIII. Solid Environmental Safety Barriers

IX. Resolutely Safeguarding National Unity and Social Stability

X. Embarking on a New Journey in the New Era

Conclusion


This is but a fraction of what I gleaned from the Here Comes China newsletter.  If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

MAY 06, 2021

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning with a hat tip to Tacitus and dancing to the Hindu Kush groove

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

One cannot but feel mildly amused at the theatrical spectacle of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, its completion day now postponed for maximum PR impact to 9/11, 2021.

Nearly two decades and a staggering US$2 trillion after this Forever War was launched by a now immensely indebted empire, the debacle can certainly be interpreted as a warped version of Mission Accomplished.

“They make a desert and call it peace,” said Tacitus – but in all of the vastness of the Pentagon there sits not a single flack who could imagine getting away with baldfacedly spinning the Afghan wasteland as peaceful.

Even the UN bureaucratic machinery has not been able to properly account for Afghan civilian deaths; at best they settled for 100,000 in only ten years. Add to that toll countless “collateral” deaths provoked by the massive social and economic consequences of the war.

Training and weaponizing the – largely inefficient – 300,000-plus Afghan Army cost $87 billion. “Economic aid and reconstruction” cost $54 billion: literally invisible hospitals and schools dot the Afghan landscape. A local chapter of the “war on drugs” cost $10 billion – at least with (inverted) tangible results: Afghanistan now generates 80% of the world’s opium.

All these embarrassing facts disappear under the shadow play of 2,500 “official” departing troops. What really matters is who’s staying: by no means just a few out of some 17,000 “contractors,” over 6,000 of whom are American citizens.

“Contractor” is a lovely euphemism for a bunch of mercenaries who, perfectly in tune with a shadow privatization drive, will now mingle with Special Forces teams and covert intel ops to conduct a still lethal variation of hybrid war.

Of course this development won’t replicate those David Bowie-style Golden Years in the immediate post-9/11 era. Ten years ago, following the Obama-Petraeus surge, no fewer than 90,000 contractors were dancing to the Hindu Kush groove, lavishly compensated by the Pentagon and dabbling in everything from construction, transportation and maintenance to “enhanced interrogation services.”

Collectively, this shadow army, a triumph of private enterprise many times cheaper than the state-sponsored model,  bagged at least $104 billion since 2002, and nearly $9 billion since 2016.

Now we’re supposed to trust CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie, who swears that “the U.S. contractors will come out as we come out.” Apparently the Pentagon press secretary was not briefed: “So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly.”

Some contractors are already in trouble, like Fluor Corporation, which is involved in maintenance and camp construction for no fewer than 70 Pentagon forward operating bases in northern Afghanistan. Incidentally, no Pentagon PR is explaining whether these FOBs will completely vanish.

Fluor was benefitting from something called LOGCAP – Logistics Civil Augmentation IV Program – a scheme set by the Pentagon at the start of Obama-Biden 1.0 to “outsource logistical military support.” Its initial five-year deal was worth a cool $7 billion. Now Fluor is being sued for fraud.

Enhancing stability forever

The current government in Kabul is led by a virtual nonentity, Ashraf Ghani. Like his sartorially glamorous predecessor Hamid Karzai, Ghani is a US creature, lording it over a rambling military force financed by Washington to the tune of $4 billion a year.

So of course Ghani is entitled to spin a rosy outlook for an Afghan peace process on the pages of Foreign Affairs.

It gets curioser and curioser when we add the incandescent issue that may have provoked the Forever War in the first place: al-Qaeda.

“former security coordinator for Osama bin Laden” is now peddling the idea that al-Qaeda may be back in the Hindu Kush. Yet, according to Afghan diplomats, there is no evidence that the Taliban will allow old-school al-Qaeda – the Osama/al-Zawahiri incarnation – to thrive again.

That’s despite the fact that Washington, for all practical purposes, has ditched the Doha Agreement signed in February 2020, which stipulated that the troop pullout should have happened this past Saturday, May 1.

Of course, we can always count on the Pentagon to “enhance security and stability”  in Afghanistan. In this Pentagon report we learn that “AQIS [al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] routinely supports and works with low-level Taliban members in its efforts to undermine the Afghan government, and maintains an enduring interest in attacking US forces and Western targets.”

Well, what the Pentagon does not tell us is how old-school al-Qaeda, pre-AQIS, metastasized into a galaxy of “moderate rebels” now ensconced in Idlib, Syria. And how contingents of Salafi-jihadis were able to access mysterious transportation corridors to bolster the ranks of ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan.

The CIA heroin ratline

All you need to know, reported on the ground, about the crucial first years of the imperial adventure in Afghanistan is to be found in the Asia Times e-book Forever Wars, part 1.

Two decades later, the politico-intel combo behind Biden is now spinning that the end of this particular Forever War is an imperative, integrated to the latest US National Security Strategy.

Shadow play once again reigns. Withdrawal conditionals include the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan military and security forces; that notorious Taliban-al-Qaeda re-engagement; the fight for women’s rights; and acknowledging the supreme taboo: this ain’t no withdrawal because a substantial Special Forces contingent will stay in place.

In a nutshell: for the US deep state, leaving Afghanistan is anathema.

The real heart of the matter in Afghanistan concerns drugs and geopolitics – and their toxic intersection.

Everyone with transit in the Dubai-Kandahar axis and its ramifications knows that the global-spanned opium and heroin business is a matter very close to the CIA’s heart. Secure air transport is offered by bases in Afghanistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

William Engdahl has offered a concise breakdown  of how it works. In the immediate post-9/11 days, in Afghanistan, the main player in the opium trade was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, presidential brother and a CIA asset. I interviewed him in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, in October 2001 (the interview can be found in Forever Wars). He obviously did not talk about opium.

Ahmed Karzai was snuffed out in a Mafia-style hit at home, in Helmand, in 2011. Helmand happens to be Afghanistan’s Opium Central. In 2017, following on previous investigations by Seymour Hersh and Alfred McCoy, among others, I detailed the workings of the CIA heroin ratline in Afghanistan.

New Great Game 3.0 is on

Whatever happens next will involve layers and layers of shadow play. CENTCOM’s McKenzie, at a closed-door hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee, basically said they are still “figuring out” what to do next.

That will certainly involve, in McKenzie’s own assessment, “counter-terrorism operations within the region”; “expeditionary basing” (linguistic diversion to imply there won’t be any permanent bases, at least in thesis); and “assistance” to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (no details on what this “assistance” will consist of).

Now compare it with the view by major Eurasian powers: Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, three of them members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with Iran as an observer and soon full member.

Their number one priority is to prevent any mutating Afghan jihadi virus to contaminate Central Asia. A massive 50,000 troop-strong Russia-Tajikistan military exercise in late April had exactly that in mind.

Ministers of defense of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) met in Dushanbe with the objective of further fortifying the porous Tajik-Afghan border.

And then there’s the Turkmen-Afghan border, from which the opium/heroin trail reaches the Caspian Sea and diversifies via Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Moscow, even more than the CSTO, is particularly worried by this stretch of the trail.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is poppyfield-300x168.jpg

The Russians are very much aware that even more than different opium/heroin routes springing up, the top danger is a new influx of Salafi-jihadis into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Even if analyzing it from completely different perspectives, Americans and Russians seem to be equally focused on what Salafi-jihadists – and their handlers – may come up with in post-9/11, 2021 Afghanistan.

So let’s go back to Doha, where something really intriguing is afoot.

On April 30, a so-called extended troika – Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan – issued a joint statement in Doha on their discussions regarding a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

The extended troika met with the Kabul government, the Taliban and host Qatar. At least they agreed there should be “no military solution.”

It gets curioser and curioser again: Turkey, backed by Qatar and the UN, is getting ready to host a conference to further bridge the gap between the Kabul government and the Taliban. Realpolitik cynics will have a ball wondering what Erdogan is scheming at.

The extended troika, at least rhetorically, is in favor of an “independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan.” Talk about a lofty undertaking. It remains to be seen how Afghanistan’s “neutrality” can be guaranteed in such a nest of New Great Game serpents.

Beijing and Moscow will be under no illusions that the newly privatized, Special Forces Afghan-American experiment will eschew using Salafi-jihadis, radicalized Uighurs or other instant assets to destabilize what in effect should be the incorporation of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where it’s already an observer) and the larger Eurasia integration project.

An extra-intriguing piece of the puzzle is that a very pragmatic Russia – unlike its historical ally India – is not against including the Taliban in an overall Afghan settlement. New Delhi will have to go along. As for Islamabad, the only thing that matters, as always, is to have a friendly government in Kabul. That good old “strategic depth” obsession.

What the major players – Russia and China – see in the framework of a minimally stabilized Afghanistan is yet one more step to consolidate the evolution of the New Silk Roads in parallel with the Greater Eurasia partnership. That’s exactly the message Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Now compare it with the – never explicit – strategic deep state aim: to keep some sort of military-intel “forward operating base” in the absolutely crucial node between Central and South Asia and close, oh so close, to national security “threats” Russia and China.

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning at the graveyard of empires.

NEO – The Nasty Secrets behind Pentagon Treason and America’s Rogue Nuclear Threat

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit, but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler

April 28, 2021

by  Gordon Duff, Senior Editor … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscsow, 

We will begin with a short and painless history lesson. Just before the US entered World War II, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff for the US Army, was tasked with getting America ready for war.

To do so, he removed 30,000 incompetent officers, most of them West Point Graduates, from their positions with the Army and Reserve/National Guard Commands. Eventually, he ended up putting an obscure Lt. Colonel named Dwight Eisenhower in charge of all European operations.

From the 1972 hit song by the Scottish music group Steelers Wheels:

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…Stuck in the Middle Again”

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler.

Vietnam

Vietnam was worse but the problem was sloth and cowardice. Here the Pentagon set up luxury resorts as military bases for brass and visiting “dignitaries” while those fighting the war starved and died in numbers unseen since the darkest days of World War II.

In the North/I Corps we had 3MAF Headquarters, the “Puzzle Palace,” with top rated chefs and high-end brothels while in the South we had MACV Forward, the infamous Westmoreland Compound, originally set up by MSUG’s Wesley Fischel, architects of the corrupt Diem regime.

This author enjoyed a firsthand view of Vietnam as a Marine infantryman serving in units commanded by privates and lance corporals while commanders were never seen.

A true story, from 1970. This author was being released from active duty as a corporal in the Marine Corps, stationed at that time at LZ Rockcrusher at Dai La Pass outside Da Nang. I was called into Da Nang to meet with General Nickerson, then III MAF Commander and an officer selection board.

I was offered an immediate commission if I chose to remain in the Corps and a slot, at a later date, at Annapolis. I was told the Marine Corps was getting rid of the “dead wood,” and I was asked to stay on.

My response, you mean “combat vets?” General Nickerson’s response: “That’s exactly what we mean.” My attempt at irony either zoomed past him or he did not care.

I was a combat vet, but I must have been the “right kind” of combat vet, tall, blond, white and educated and, seemingly “compliant.” They might have been wrong about that. Today’s “Dancing boy village” at Kabul with its million-dollar condominiums puts both to shame and we do not want to discuss the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Today

Our point is this, the military gravitates toward proving the Peter Principle and is, in fact, the best possible example of the worst principles of management. From Wikipedia:

“The Peter Principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”: employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent.”

The military now takes it to a whole new level with promotion based on servile gullibility and adherence to a blend of approved conspiracy theories, where Dispensationalism and Dominionism, both stressing the Pentagon’s role in bringing about nuclear Armageddon or the newest versions under Trump, Qanon, COVID denialism and a blend of Fascism and Hucksterism.

The Viper Academies and the January 6 Coup Attempt

This week, the director of the Air Force Academy, Lt. General Richard Clarke, director of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs decided to comply with presidential orders to investigate right wing extremism and white supremacism, which has virtually drowned the American military, by blaming “both sides.”

Several of the leaders of the January 6, 2021 coup attempt were Air Force Academy graduates with high security clearances. Secretary of Defense Austin ordered all military commands, and especially the Air Force Academy, to investigate extremism in the ranks.

It is supposed to be a highest priority that as few paranoid schizophrenics as possible enter the highest levels of America’s nuclear command structure. If you feel this statement reflects sarcasm, it is obvious that you have been asleep for the last couple of decades or more.

Asleep or Complicit?

This is the same military that has overseen the export of hundreds of tons of processed heroin from its bases in Afghanistan, that watched ISIS steal millions of tons of oil from Iraq and Syria and is now directly involved in that process itself, at presidential order.

At one point in 2015, ISIS (banned in Russia) had 12,000 oil trucks lined up 4 abreast headed into Turkey, a convoy visible from the surface of the moon with the naked eye. Yet, America’s drones, satellites and surveillance aircraft saw nothing, not until Russian Aerospace Forces decided to intervene.

These are facts that prove that every American military commander was and is fully complicit in protecting the operational activities of named terror groups.

We can make the exact same statement about the world heroin trade as well. At one point, the US Air Force asserted that the Taliban (banned in Russia) was flying heroin out of Afghanistan secretly from American bases.

As American humorist Jim W. Dean so often says, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Bin Laden Again

There are issues that should never be forgotten or allowed to be pushed aside. One is Osama bin Laden, longtime CIA asset chosen as “patsy” for the fake War on Terror and the other 9/11, one of the world’s greatest false flag events.

Note that Trump appointee, Clarke, was the architect of the Bin Laden raid. This “made” Clarke as an American hero and moved him into a position where he could, potentially, be very useful to extremist elements.

In 2009, this author traveled to Pakistan and met with Imran Khan, currently Pakistan’s Prime Minister, then ISI Chief General Pasha and discussed bin Laden’s death. The group also included former Head of the Army General Aslem Beg, former ISI Head and VT Editor General Hamid Gul and Chairman of Pakistan’s JCOS, Admiral Sirohey, also a member of VT’s Advisory Board.

This author also reviewed classified files on bin Laden and interviewed one of the men who buried bin Laden in Afghanistan. According to records, including reports from Fox News and other sources, bin Laden died in December 2001. From Fox News:

“Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

‘The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation, but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,’ the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.”

It gets much worse. In a further interview with White House intelligence coordinator Lee Wanta, I was told that bin Laden had been in the US on 9/11 receiving medical care at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center under the name Colonel Timothy Osman.

Wanta described his meetings in the US with bin Laden/Osman, which included Oliver North and other Bush officials, and of an earlier meeting with bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, which included top CIA officials.

Wanta reported that Oxford educated bin Laden spoke better English than he did.

Yet, for years, SITE Intelligence, an Israeli run organization, provided videos of strange looking versions of bin Laden, followed by years of audio tapes as the world had apparently lost the ability to record or upload video in the interim, or we would supposedly be brought to believe.

Americans are still in Afghanistan hunting for the “dozens of vast underground fortresses” Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld spoke of when he ordered the hunt for long dead bin Laden, part of an American war that cost the lives of millions of innocents.

Every minute of it was fake and the Pentagon at it up like a dog at vomit.

Minot Barksdale and an Earlier Coup Attempt

The issue at the Air Force Academy began many years ago. This author was contacted by cadets (158) there back in 2008 who complained of religious persecution and a curriculum that promoted treason and extremism.

The root of the command meltdown within the US military is generally traced to the US Army Psychological Warfare Command at the Presidio, a base in San Francisco that is today a city park. At the time a strange Satanic child abuse scandal within the military had attempted to implicate commanders there including Colonel Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, a Satanic cult powerful within the Pentagon and the service academies.

Aquino was cleared but an investigation led to broad allegations of abuse through 15 major military commands including and especially the US Air Force Academy and the US Air Force nuclear command at Minot Air Force Base. From New Eastern Outlook (2014):

“During the Bush (43) administration, something far more serious happened. America’s nuclear command structure was compromised at every level, culminating in the theft of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base in 2007, an undisclosed number of thermonuclear weapons loaded onto a B 52 which later landed — or more appropriately, was forced to land at Barksdale Air Force Base some hours later.

Immediately thereafter, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates ordered the Department of Defense to remove all oversight of nuclear weapons from the United States Air Force, placing an Army general in overall command of what had previously been Air Force weapons inventories.

Soon thereafter, 84 personnel in America’s largest nuclear command were removed, 12 permanently due to accidents and suicide. Since that time, over 200 members of that command have been forced out, and America’s entire nuclear command has been put under direct oversight.

Greater Israel

The real problem is twofold and involves a breakdown of command authority and discipline, as well as treason. Not long after Bush (43) took office, his backers in the extremist Christian evangelical community approached Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

They wanted to assure that all military command personnel would follow the tenets of the obscure religious sect Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Ashcroft belonged to.

This sect seeks to bring about a nuclear apocalypse tied to the expansion of “Greater Israel” in order to bring about what they call the “rapture” and “end times.” Their religious beliefs are a mix of “Ufology,” belief in alien influence, satanic worship and that a select group will be called to rule the world at the side of an alien master race, while those “left behind” will die in misery.

Their religion is a mix of misinterpreted biblical prophecy, science fiction and the occult. In fact, many of those at the highest levels of US government retain no actual Christian beliefs at all, not by any conventional standard.”

Given Enough Rope…

Blindly cheerleading for the military is called “patriotism” but, often as not it is treason in its purest form. There is now and there has been in the past, time and time again, no bigger threat against freedom than the military and America’s military is among the worst.

There are no simple truths, but we will distill it down as much as possible. The Pentagon is a feeding ground for extremists, bottom-feeders and “mama’s boys” in uniform. It is all haircuts and fancy uniforms, of saluting, strutting and conspiracy.

The Pentagon lives on conspiracy and treason that is held in check only by a few decent and honorable leaders.

The problem, initially, was the revolving door that placed potentially traitorous military leaders, after retirement, at Fox News as commentators or moved them into White House advisory positions.

Some gravitated to think tanks like the infamous Atlantic Council or Heritage Foundation and almost all have, predictably, embraced Fascism in his many forms.

Conclusion

The current political climate in the US is extremely dangerous. The Supreme Court, stacked with extremists, is openly tossing the constitution aside as recently cited by Justice Sotomayor.

Extremists in Arizona have seized the ballots from the recent presidential election and are doctoring them, in an attempt to justify a military takeover of the government. Their stated goal is to set up a “whites only” ruling party that will oversee elections where only the “righteous” will be allowed to vote.

A recent investigation of the military’s role in the January 6 coup attempt by General Honore’ found widespread complicity between military commands in and around Washington DC and coup plotters.

Simply put, were the US to be evaluating another nation, a nuclear power, judging whether its nuclear arsenal was at risk or its command structure capable of overruling elected officials and unleashing a nuclear war, based on the “situation on the ground” in the US today, America would be considered a “highest threat.”

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHY

Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

Senior Editor , VTGordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

’Every Year We Dig Mass Graves’: The Slaughter of Pakistan’s Hazara

5/4/2021

’Every Year We Dig Mass Graves’: The Slaughter of Pakistan’s Hazara

By Shah Meer Baloch – The Guardian

Ahmed Shah had always dreamed of bigger things. Though just 17, the high school pupil had taken a job in the coalmines of Balochistan, Pakistan’s south-western province, one of the harshest, most dangerous working environments in the world. Shah was determined to earn enough to educate himself, so he could escape the tough life of the Hazara Shia community, the most persecuted minority in Pakistan.

But Shah never saw a brighter future. He was among 10 miners who were resting in their mud hut near the mines in the small Balochistan town of Mach when armed militants burst in. A gruesome video from the scene shows the young men blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs. A security official said their throats had been slit. Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] claimed responsibility for the massacre.

The prime minister, Imran Khan, called it an “inhumane act of terrorism”, but for the Hazara, minority Shia Muslims who have been targeted for three decades in Pakistan by extremists among the majority Sunni Muslims who view them as heretics, this was not enough.

Shah’s mother, Amina, was on her rounds as a healthcare worker in the nearby provincial capital of Quetta when she heard about the massacre.

“I wanted to see my son one last time, but I was told that I would not be able to bear that,” says Amina. “The killers were not humans. They killed them so brutally.”

The Hazara community, after decades of injustice and neglect by the state, were driven to act, and in a protest unlike anything seen before in Pakistan, the families of the 10 men brought the dead bodies out on to the streets, and sat beside them, in the freezing cold, to demand protection and justice.

For a full week, they did not move, stating they would not bury the bodies until the prime minister listened to their demands.

In response, Khan accused them of trying to “blackmail” him, and said he would not visit until the bodies were buried.

Ahmed Shah was one of four from his family to die in the Mach massacre. So too did his cousin Sadiq, the sole breadwinner for his wife, children and six sisters.

Sadiq, a father of two daughters, had had breakfast with his wife before dawn at his home in Quetta before leaving for Mach. One sister, Masooma Yaqoob Ali, saw the news of the Hazara miners on Facebook and stumbled upon the picture of her brother’s blindfolded body.

“These monsters have not only killed 10 people, they have killed 10 families,” she says. “It has been two decades that we are being mercilessly killed but no one has been arrested yet.”

The Hazara Shia have been targeted over many years by Sunni extremists, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and now Daesh. According to a 2019 report by Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights, an independent watchdog, at least 509 Hazara have been murdered for their faith since 2013. The non-profit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that from 2009 to 2014, nearly 1,000 Hazaras died in sectarian violence. Thousands have been injured.

To curb attacks on the 600,000 Hazaras living in the towns of Mariabad and Hazara Town in Quetta, authorities have built military checkpoints, roadblocks and walls around the areas.

In 2014, the international organization Human Rights Watch published a 62-page report on the persecution of Hazara Shia in Balochistan entitled “We are the walking dead.”

“We are living in two prisons. Our men and young can’t go outside. If they go, they will be killed. Our graveyards are full of young men with barely any space left,” says Ali. “We are tired of carrying their coffins. Every year we dig mass graves. Yet Prime Minister Imran Khan says we are blackmailers. Khan is heartless.”

The majority of Hazara in Quetta originally came from Afghanistan and Iran to seek work in Pakistan, with many ending up in the mines of Balochistan.

For 15 years, Chaman Ali, another of the Mach victims, would travel from Afghanistan to Quetta every winter to work in the coalmines.

“I would be worried for his life when he was here and when he went to Afghanistan. I would think ‘what if he gets into the hands of the Taliban?’ I thought he was safe here, but this is where he got killed,” his sister Zara says.

Chaman Ali is survived by his wife and eight children, the youngest just three months old. Aziz and Nasim, from the Daykundi province of Afghanistan, came with Chaman Ali to work in the mines for the first time. They were also murdered.

Nasim, 22, started work to fund his education and had arrived in Pakistan just a week before he was killed. “Afghanistan is in a very bad situation and we think that something is better than nothing, which is why we come to Pakistan just to make a living,” says Abdul Rahim, Nasim’s father. Along with other members of his family, he could not get to his son’s funeral from Afghanistan, when the security forces closed routes out of the villages across Pakistan’s porous border.

Victims of the Mach massacre were all eventually buried in a mass grave at Hazara Town, on the outskirts of Quetta. The Hazara community is running out of space to bury their dead. The graveyard is full of photographs of Hazara Shia men, women and children, many of them murdered.

Having Mongolian ancestors, many Hazara are identifiable by their distinctive appearance, and it is along the single road that leads to Mari Abad and Hazara Town that thousands have been attacked by extremist groups.

“Our generation has grown up in a cage. We make houses on the mountain and are afraid of going out to see other parts of Quetta,” says Arif Hussain Nasry, 21, founder of the Future is Young campaign. “We are even afraid to gather with Hazara from other nations and communities. We have to live to survive in these two ghettoes.”

But for Naseem Javed, an author and political activist, the attacks on the Hazara are not just about sectarianism. “I don’t think Hazara are being targeted just because of their faith,” he says. “They also are being targeted to divert the attention from the Baloch separatist movement.”

Balochistan, the most impoverished province of Pakistan and wedged between Iran and Afghanistan, has a separatist movement that has been active in the province for the past 20 years. “The region also has become a hub for international proxies, including the Taliban,” Javed adds.

Javed shows the pistol he keeps close to him in his shop, where he sells prayer mats and prayer beads. “We live under shadows of weapons and fear. None of us has a normal life. We are being slaughtered. If the security establishment has no role in this genocide, why have they not arrested any attacker?”

For many Hazara people the solution is simply to leave. Amjad Ali, 21, has made three attempts to leave Balochistan for a new life in Europe. He was first deported from Turkey and handed over to Iran, from where he was sent back to Pakistan. The second time he was deported from Iran.

During his third attempt to reach Europe, with 25 other Hazara Shia, Ali was caught a few miles from the border by Jaish ul-Adl, another Sunni militant group that operates mainly in south-eastern Iran. Pretending to be Iranian security forces, the jihadist group took Ali and others to a mountain camp in Pakistan, close to the Iranian border.

“They were very well updated and informed. As soon as we reached their camp they shot four Hazaras with Kalashnikovs. Two of them used to work in the Pakistan army. Two, as Jaish ul-Adl claimed, were going to be part of the Zainebiyoun brigade, an Iranian-backed militant force [fighting in Syria],” Ali told the Guardian.

The rest were held and their families sent random demands. Ali spent 55 days in the camp before his family members managed to raise thousands of dollars in ransom money for his release.

“If I get a chance now to go to Europe, I will try again,” says Ali. “There is no life for Hazara Shia in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

How Eurasia will be interconnected

How Eurasia will be interconnected

April 04, 2021

by Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The extraordinary confluence between the signing of the Iran-China strategic partnership deal and the Ever Given saga in the Suez Canal is bound to spawn a renewed drive to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and all interconnected corridors of Eurasia integration.

This is the most important geo-economic development in Southwest Asia in ages – even more crucial than the geopolitical and military support to Damascus by Russia since 2015.

Multiple overland railway corridors across Eurasia featuring cargo trains crammed with freight – the most iconic of which is arguably Chongqin-Duisburg – are a key plank of BRI. In a few years, this will all be conducted on high-speed rail.

The key overland corridor is Xinjiang-Kazakhstan – and then onwards to Russia and beyond; the other one traverses Central Asia and Iran, all the way to Turkey, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. It may take time – in terms of volume – to compete with maritime routes, but the substantial reduction in shipping time is already propelling a massive cargo surge.

The Iran-China strategic connection is bound to accelerate all interconnected corridors leading to and crisscrossing Southwest Asia.

Crucially, multiple BRI trade connectivity corridors are directly linked to establishing alternative routes to oil and gas transit, controlled or “supervised” by the Hegemon since 1945: Suez, Malacca, Hormuz, Bab al Mandeb.

Informal conversations with Persian Gulf traders have revealed huge skepticism about the foremost reason for the Ever Given saga. Merchant marine pilots agree that winds in a desert storm were not enough to harass a state of the art mega-container ship equipped with very complex navigation systems. The pilot error scenario – induced or not – is being seriously considered.

Then there’s the predominant shoptalk: stalled Ever Given was Japanese owned, leased from Taiwan, UK-insured, with an all-Indian crew, transporting Chinese merchandise to Europe. No wonder cynics, addressing the whole episode, are asking, Cui Bono?

Persian Gulf traders, in hush hush mode, also drop hints about the project for Haifa to eventually become the main port in the region, in close cooperation with the Emirates via a railway to be built between Jabal Ali in Dubai to Haifa, bypassing Suez.

Back to facts on the ground, the most interesting short-term development is how Iran’s oil and gas may be shipped to Xinjiang via the Caspian Sea and Kazakhstan – using a to-be-built Trans-Caspian pipeline.

That falls right into classic BRI territory. Actually more than that, because Kazakhstan is a partner not only of BRI but also the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

From Beijing’s point of view, Iran is also absolutely essential for the development of a land corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and further to Europe via the Danube.

It’s obviously no accident that the Hegemon is on high alert in all points of this trade corridor. “Maximum pressure” sanctions and hybrid war against Iran; an attempt to manipulate the Armenia-Azerbaijan war; the post-color revolution environment in both Georgia and Ukraine – which border the Black Sea; NATO’s overarching shadow over the Balkans; it’s all part of the plot.

Now get me some Lapis Lazuli

Another fascinating chapter of Iran-China concerns Afghanistan. According to Tehran sources, part of the strategic agreement deals with Iran’s area of influence in Afghanistan and the evolution of still another connectivity corridor all the way to Xinjiang.

And here we go back to the always intriguing

Lapis Lazuli corridor – which was conceptualized in 2012, initially for increased connectivity between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Lapis Lazuli, wonderfully evocative, harks back to the export of an array of semiprecious stones via the Ancient Silk Roads to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans and North Africa.

Now the Afghan government sees the ambitious 21st century remix as departing from Herat (a key area of Persian influence), continuing to the Caspian Sea port of Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan, via a Trans-Caspian pipeline to Baku, onwards to Tblisi and the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi in the Black Sea, and finally connected to Kars and Istanbul.

This is really serious business; a drive that may potentially link the

Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.

Since Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, in the Kazakh port of Aktau, what’s interesting is that their major issues are now discussed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where Russia and Kazakhstan are full members; Iran will soon be; Azerbaijan is a dialogue partner; and Turkmenistan is a permanent guest.

One of the key connectivity problems to be addressed is the viability of building a canal from the Caspian Sea to Iran’s shores in the Persian Gulf. That would cost at least US$7 billion. Another issue is the imperative transition towards container cargo transport in the Caspian. In SCO terms, that will increase Russian trade with India via Iran as well as offering an extra corridor for China trade with Europe.

With Azerbaijan prevailing over Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh flare up, while finally sealing a deal with Turkmenistan over their respective status in the Caspian Sea, impetus for the western part of Lapis Lazuli is now in the cards.

The eastern part is a much more complicated affair, involving an absolutely crucial issue now on the table not only for Beijing but for the SCO: the integration of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In late 2020, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan agreed to build what analyst Andrew Korybko delightfully described as the PAKAFUZ railwayPAKAFUZ will be a key step to expand CPEC to Central Asia, via Afghanistan. Russia is more than interested.

This can become a classic case of the evolving BRI-EAEU melting pot. Crunch time – serious decisions included – will happen this summer, when Uzbekistan plans to host a conference called “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities”.

So everything will be proceeding interconnected: a Trans-Caspian link; the expansion of CPEC; Af-Pak connected to Central Asia; an extra Pakistan-Iran corridor (via Balochistan, including the finally possible conclusion of the IP gas pipeline) all the way to Azerbaijan and Turkey; China deeply involved in all these projects.

Beijing will be building roads and pipelines in Iran, including one to ship Iranian natural gas to Turkey. Iran-China, in terms of projected investment, is nearly ten times more ambitious than CPEC. Call it CIEC (China-Iran Economic Corridor).

In a nutshell: the Chinese and Persian civilization-states are on the road to emulate the very close relationship they enjoyed during the Silk Road-era Yuan dynasty in the 13th century.

INSTC or bust

An extra piece of the puzzle concerns how the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) will mix with BRI and the EAEU. Crucially, INSTC also happens to be an alternative to Suez.

Iran, Russia and India have been discussing the intricacies of this 7,200 km-long ship/rail/road trade corridor since 2002. INSTC technically starts in Mumbai and goes all the way via the Indian Ocean to Iran, the Caspian Sea, and then to Moscow. As a measure of its appeal, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Oman, and Syria are all INSTC members.

Much to the delight of Indian analysts, INSTC reduces transit time from West India to Western Russia from 40 to 20 days, while cutting costs by as much as 60%. It’s already operational – but not as a continuous, free flow sea and rail link.

New Delhi already spent $500 million on a crucial project: the expansion of Chabahar port in Iran, which was supposed to become its entry point for a made in India Silk Road to Afghanistan and onward to Central Asia. But then it all got derailed by New Delhi’s flirting with the losing Quad proposition.

India also invested $1.6 billion in a railway between Zahedan, the key city in southeast Iran, and the Hajigak iron/steel mining in central Afghanistan. This all falls into a possible Iran-India free trade agreement which is being negotiated since 2019 (for the moment, on stand-by). Iran and Russia already clinched a similar agreement. And India wants the same with the EAEU as a whole.

Following the Iran-China strategic partnership, chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Mojtaba Zonnour, has already hinted that the next step should be an

Iran-Russia strategic cooperation deal, privileging “rail services, roads, refineries, petrochemicals, automobiles, oil, gas, environment and knowledge-based companies”.

What Moscow is already seriously considering is to build a canal between the Caspian and the Sea of Azov, north of the Black Sea. Meanwhile, the already built Caspian port of Lagan is a certified game-changer.

Lagan directly connects with multiple BRI nodes. There’s rail connectivity to the Trans-Siberian all the way to China. Across the Caspian, connectivity includes Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan and Baku in Azerbaijan, which is the starting point of the BTK railway through to the Black Sea and then all the way from Turkey to Europe.

On the Iranian stretch of the Caspian, Amirabad port links to the INSTC, Chabahar port and further on to India. It’s not an accident that several Iranian companies, as well China’s Poly Group and China Energy Engineering Group International want to invest in Lagan.

What we see in play here is Iran at the center of a maze progressively interconnected with Russia, China and Central Asia. When the Caspian Sea is finally linked to international waters, we will see a de facto alternative trade/transport corridor to Suez.

Post-Iran-China, it’s not far-fetched anymore to even consider the possible emergence in a not too distant future of a Himalaya Silk Road uniting BRICS members China and India (think, for instance, of the power of Himalayan ice converging into a shared Hydropower Tunnel).

As it stands, Russia is very much focused on limitless possibilities in Southwest Asia, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear in the 10th Middle East conference at the Valdai club. The Hegemon’s treats on multiple fronts – Ukraine, Belarus, Syria, Nord Stream 2 – pale in comparison.

The new architecture of 21st century geopolitics is already taking shape, with China providing multiple trade corridors for non-stop economic development while Russia is the reliable provider of energy and security goods, as well as the conceptualizer of a Greater Eurasia home, with “strategic partnership” Sino/Russian diplomacy playing the very long game.

Southwest Asia and Greater Eurasia have already seen which way the (desert) winds are blowing. And soon will the masters of international capital. Russia, China, Iran, India, Central Asia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Korean Peninsula, everyone will experience a capital surge – financial vultures included. Following the Greed is Good gospel, Eurasia is about to become the ultimate Greed frontier.

Critics of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech

Critics of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech

February 15, 2021

from Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

The only optimistic part of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech is, “We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to finish the war in Yemen — a war which has produced a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East squad to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to enforce a truce, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks. This morning, Secretary Blinken appointed Tim Lenderking, a career foreign policy officer, as our special representative to the Yemen war. And I appreciate his doing this. Tim is a life — has a lifetime of experience in the region, and he’ll work with the U.N. representative and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution. And Tim’s diplomacy will be reinforced by USI- — USAID, working to guarantee that humanitarian aid reaches the Yemeni people suffering un- — an unendurable [sic] — unendurable destruction. This war has to finish. And to underline our commitment, we are terminating all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales. Mr. Secretary, it’s great to be here with you. And I’ve been seeing forward a long time to be able to call you “Mr. Secretary.”

It is yearned that there will be an end to bloodshed and loss of human lives.

The most important is he believed, “As I said in my opening address, we will heal our alliances and involve with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. American leadership must encounter this new era of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disorder our democracy.”

He pointed out to strengthen alliances to counter China and Russia. It means a new cold-war he is going to launch. The world has hurt a lot during the cold war from the 1850s to the 1980s. Although the former USSR was disintegrated as a result of cold-war, the rest of the world has suffered a lot. There is a fear that if a new cold war is initiated against Russian and China, it will divide the world again, hate will be promoted. The lessons learned from the previous cold-war promoted understanding, tolerance, cooperation, and harmony, to develop the world into a better place for our next-generations.

On the other hand, ex-President Trump has annoyed and humiliated the allies so much that some are unwilling to be part of any alliance created to spread hate and coerce any other nation.

The most important ally, Germany, is annoyed, and Chancellor Angela Merkel alleged that the “cold war of alliance” is a new diplomacy devising type since the United States’ Biden administration came to power. It is “the starkest manifestation that one country resists the growth of another country.” Germany believes that China has the right to the upswing. The United States has no right to force other European countries into compliance with the “selfishness” practice of serving the United States. She has condemned the US Biden administration for “forming gangs” against China. The “cold war alliance” act open-minded European countries and the World why Germany asserted this position. She made it clear that Germany will not participate in any US-led activities aimed at “encirclement and suppression” China. She also endorses other countries not to join in this “hegemonic” behavior! Because it will procure no other benefits besides damaging European unity and world economic recovery! She said that the new U.S. Secretary of State Blincoln unabashedly dispensed new threats and sanctions against China in Washington. At the same time, he harshly condemned Europe and should not sign an investment treaty with China behind its back. Great disgust, anxiety, and restlessness in Europe.

Spain, France, and Switzerland shared similar views. Youth in Europe are quite mature and are opposing any initiative for the cold-war.

Regarding the U.S. as custodian of democracy is a false narrative. The U.S. was involved in killing democracy in some of the countries and supporting dictatorship in many countries. The toplinig of democratically elected Adil Morsey, the President of Egypt, is a typical example. Supporting General Sesi is openly supporting dictatorship. U.S. history is full of hypocrisy where they have openly endorsed dictators in their own interests. In the Middle-east, Africa, and many other parts of the world, the U.S. is standing with certified dictators. Even today, the U.S. is supporting many dictators around the globe. The U.S. has double standards and stands with dictators when their interests coincide.

Regarding human rights, the U.S. was using human rights as a political tool to coerce some countries while engaged in human rights violations in the middle-East, Latin America, South America, Africa, and other parts of the world, etc. President Joe Biden was part of policymaking under various presidents in the past to launch a crusade against Muslims, war-crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. He may be in the habit of dictating American terms and conditions during the unipolar world. He may need to change this type of mindset.

Recently, the U.S. uses this tool to coerce China and make propaganda of Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues and keep criminals silent on Human rights violations in Kashmir and Palestine. India and the State of Israel are the two countries that have surpassed the record of human rights violations, but the U.S. is being a close ally with them, kept eyes closed.

Although President Joe and Trump’s rivalry is their internal issue, it seems that President Joe is determined to undo all initiatives and policies launched by President Trump. From Pandemic to foreign policies, he has indicated to reverse Trump’s policies. He has hinted out undo troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, as announced by President Trump earlier. It might have severe consequences on the regional peace and stability. However, President Joe Biden’s approach to re-engage Iran for Nuclear Deal is positive thinking.

President Joe has been served under various Administrations during the last few decades. He is well-matured, well-mannered, and familiar with diplomatic etiquettes, and may not embarrass others. But President Joe is still in the mindset of a unipolar world, where the U.S. was the only superpower. He needs to re-evaluate the geopolitics and understand the revival of Russia and the rise of China. With this changed geopolitics, he needs to assert in an acceptable manner. His team, especially the scholars, intellectuals, and think tanks , may advise him appropriately.

The world needs peace and stability much more than ever. Understanding, tolerance, and harmony is the only option to cooperate with each other to turn the world into a safer place to live with dignity and honor. Any initiative to serve humanity is welcomed, and any policy disgracing humankind is rejected by all equally.

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).

China newsbrief and sitrep

Source

February 09, 2021

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

You can get it here:  https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe


Power of Siberia gas pipeline from Gazprom. com

Russia ramps up natural gas supplies to China via Power of Siberia mega-pipeline

“The export of gas to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline continues to grow. Supplies regularly exceed Gazprom’s daily contractual obligations,” the company said in a statement, adding that the volume of gas delivery last month “was 2.9 times higher than in January 2020.”


Next up, What the People say.

Says subscriber Frans Vandenbosch, “If I have to describe China in one word, then I would say ‘intense’. Western companies are sheltered workshops, they do not know what real competition is. They should benchmark China to know what real harsh competition looks like.”  Adds Josh Gardner, “Online retail in China is cut-throat. Comparing Taobao with Amazon is like comparing ballet to rugby.”

——————————-

This blog fairly reflects the stance of Chinese people on the long running trade war.  Although it contains some hubris, there is no question that the person in the street is convinced that China will be victorious.

China is establishing an invincible position in its trade war. It will switch many of its exports from the US to BRI countries and move the industries that produce goods for export to the US to the industrial parks in BRI countries to avoid US tariffs and reduce labor costs.

“In the long run, China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) will bring economic growth to developing countries and expand China’s market there. It will enable China to switch lots of its exports from the US to those countries. Moreover, BRI will enable China to move the industries that produce goods for export to the US to the industrial parks built by BRI in those countries to avoid US tariff hikes and reduce labor costs. China will thus establish its invincible position in its trade war with the US.”  Read more about the Plan for Long-term Victory


And where is Jack Ma? 

“Ant Group Co. is planning to turn itself into a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank, responding to pressure to fall fully in line with financial regulations, according to people familiar with the matter.

Chinese regulators recently told Ant, which is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, to become a financial holding company in its entirety, subjecting it to more stringent capital requirements, the people said. Ant, in response, has submitted to authorities an outline of a restructuring plan, they said.”

The video is worthwhile watching for background, even though it is from the Wall Street Journal.

Jack Ma made the unforgivable error of criticizing in public.  Rule one in China – don’t make the other guy lose face while there are methods to bring problems to the attention of the authorities.   In reality, he seemed to have been absolutely right, and Ant Group was immediately used as a case in point, where the financial regulators fixed their own errors.  This of course led to Ant Group having to disclose their real business as one of the biggest lenders in China, besides their vast technology footprint.  Given what happened in the US with behemoths such as Google and Twitter and large de-platforming, I do not blame the Chinese authorities one bit for having decided that no-one should have this much power.


Now that we’ve found Jack Ma who was busy restructuring his Ant Group, more on China’s credit market. 

China’s credit market got big fast because credit services fit traditional practices. Despite its reputation as a “nation of savers,” Chinese society has traditionally been heavily reliant on debt, facilitated through a long tradition of private and informal borrowing and lending. In this system, instead of concepts like “credit,” access to loans depended on renqing, “human sentiments.” Read full article $→


So, you want to join the CCP?  It is not that easy.

“Next year the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turns 100. Since its founding in 1921, the CCP has grown from a small cabal of Marxist intellectuals into the world’s second-largest political party, behind only the Bharatiya Janata Party in India. One of the reasons for the CCP’s success has been its cultivation of human capital—any organization is only as good as its people.

Ahead of the Party’s centenary, understanding its longevity requires an understanding of its members. While the Party is frustratingly opaque about internal operations, its human resources division, known as the Organization Department, does publish annual data on membership. After the 2019 numbers were released in June 2020, MacroPolo scoured open source databases to compile the most complete public dataset on CCP membership.”    Read more …


Belt and Road

The Sinocentric bloc of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan could leave America’s ally India isolated and weak. The only three Muslim states with significant military capacity and economic potential participating in the $2 trillion BRI will promote Chinese influence from the Indian Ocean to the Black Sea.  Read full article $→

$10 billion for MENA (Middle-East & North Africa)’s Five BRI Projects): Egypt–Cairo’s New Administrative Capital & CBD; Turkey–The Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant; Jordan–Attarat Oil Shale Power Plant; UAE–Hassyan Clean Coal Power Plant; Lebanon–National Music Conservatory. MENA has 578 million people and 60% of world’s oil, 45% of its gas.Read full article $→


We end this week with some debunkery:

BUNK: Curbs on Mongolian Language Teaching Prompt Large Protests in China

DEBUNK: As a minority Chinese (Manchurian) with his mother side hailing from Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia, I can say from my own experience that this is FAKE NEWS at its best. The truth is, in the Mongolian language primary education system, Mandarin has been taught and used since my mother can remember. The only change this time is to replace some locally created Mandarin language textbooks with national, official Mandarin language textbooks.

Yes, both of them are Mandarin textbooks. Yet New York Times and its FAKE journalists can’t wait to cook up new FAKE news completely distorting the truth. Shame on the New York Times and its FAKE news journalists! A bit of background for your information:

In Inner Mongolia, where half of my relatives are from, two primary education systems operate in parallel: one in Mandarin, one in Mongolian. Chinese Mongolians can opt for either one and most Chinese Mongolians so far opted for the one in Mandarin – the Mandarin system is of much better education quality due to better human recourse on teachers, and the kids won’t need another ‘prep-year’ before formal university when they attend a university program being taught in Mandarin. In contract, the ones who chose the Mongolian system, despite continuous government fundings to ensure it’s operational, still have to endure the less quality of education.

And this leads to life-long differences in career development and social mobility between two groups of students. There are law-required quota for these Mongolian-taught students in top Chinese universities, including THU and PKU. However, the truth is that these students often find their university coursework beyond their capability, and the fail rate is much higher than the Mongolian students taught in the Mandarin system.

So should the regulators allow those Mongolian-taught Chinese Mongolian students to rot and remain disadvantaged for life? Or should the regulators find ways to improve the education quality they receive? I know the US of A has chosen the former one for its Black, Latino, and Native American’ citizens’.

But this is the PEOPLE’S Republic of China. We agreed we shall advance together. Let’s never forget: Fabricating fake news to create hatred and conflicts between the native populations has always been a standard colonial conquest tactic and has been practiced by the western imperialists for centuries. Chang Wanyan

BUNK: British broadcasting regulator Ofcom has revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence  because it is “controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and therefore disqualified from holding a broadcast licence under UK.” Ofcom criticized CGTN’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests as in “serious breach of fairness and privacy rules”. (Ofcom also banned Iran’s PressTV). Read full article →

All Posts

DEBUNK: CGTN says, “In early 2020, manipulated by extreme right-wing organizations and anti-China forces, Ofcom launched an investigation into CGTN’s broadcasting license in the UK. We provided detailed explanations to Ofcom in a proactive and cooperative manner, proposed transferring CGTN’s broadcasting license and sought a constructive solution. However, Ofcom disregarded CGTN’s reputation as a professional international media organization and its 18-year good record of broadcasting in the UK, and made a final ruling, based on the so-called political nature of CGTN and related Chinese media organizations, to refuse the transfer and to revoke CGTN’s broadcasting license.We believe that the continued broadcasting of CGTN’s television news service to a British audience is in the public interest of the UK. We comply with the laws and regulations of every country and provide news and information to an international audience with diverse and balanced perspectives, and will continue to promote understanding, communication, trust and cooperation”.  Read full article →


This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter. If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Pakistan’s Hazaras Wait for Imran Khan Amidst Coffins of Their Loved Ones

Pakistan’s Hazaras Wait for Imran Khan Amidst Coffins of Their Loved Ones

By Saad Hasan – TRT WORLD

The murder spree has gone on for years. People belonging to Pakistan’s ethnic Hazara minority have been attacked in their homes, in shops, in mosques, at the doctor’s clinic, inside a snooker club and picked out from among other passengers on busses, forced to line up and summarily executed.

A similar episode played out again on January 3 when 11 Hazara miners were killed in the troubled Balochistan province. Daesh [ISIS/ISIL] claimed responsibility for the grisly incident in which the hands of the victims were bound and then their throats slit. A video of the killing was later uploaded on the internet.

Hazaras, most of whom ascribe to the Shia Muslim faith, have been relentlessly targeted in the past two decades. More than 2,000 people have been killed in suicide bombings and drive-by shootings between 2004 and 2018.

“We want these killings to end. That’s all we want. We are tired of burying our loved ones. All we want now is Prime Minister Imran Khan to come and give us surety that this won’t happen again,” Syed Abbas Ali, a member of the Hazara community, told TRT World from Quetta, Balochistan’s capital.

Hundreds of people have joined a sit-in protest on a highway near Quetta. They have placed the coffins there and refused to bury the dead until Khan comes to meet the families.

“Several government officials have met us. But that doesn’t mean anything. Whenever something like this happens, they come and give us the same assurances. It has done little to stop the cycle of violence,” says Ali.

Khan has refused to go personally and meet the mourners at the time of writing, promising that he will do so later. His decision along with the statement of one of his advisors, which was widely seen as being insensitive, has angered many.

Protests against the killings have also erupted in other cities including Karachi.

Most of the Hazara population, generally recognizable for their distinctly Central Asian facial features, is centered around Quetta. The size of the community is estimated to be around 800,000.

For years, Pakistan’s security forces have battled separatist insurgents in Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan. Sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which openly call the Shia heretics is also behind a spate of terrorist attacks.

The miners were living in makeshift quarters near a coalfield, located some 60km from Quetta, leaving them particularly vulnerable to such an attack, Zafar Baloch, a local journalist, told TRT World over the phone.

“A number of terrorist attacks against the Hazara community have come down in the last few years. The situation was really bad up till 2013 when someone was being targeted every 4-5 days.”

The year 2013 was particularly devastating for Hazara community. More than 175 people were killed in back-to-back bombings in January and February. In one incident, a suicide bomber killed scores of young men at a snooker club. When rescue services began evacuating the injured, an ambulance laden with explosives exploded, killing more.

Islamabad has deployed around a thousand paramilitary troops and police for security. But that has limited the movement of many Hazara people who are confined to a few areas such as Hazara Town or Alamdar Road in Quetta city.

Security escorts are needed whenever pilgrims travel by road to Iran where several Shia shrines are located. Even vegetable vendors need armed protection when they travel to the wholesale market.

The fear of being shot dead has forced thousands of young men to make their way towards Southeast Asia and then take the dangerous sea journey on rickety boats to seek refuge in Australia. Many have sold their businesses and moved to other cities in Pakistan.

A sizable Hazara population also lives in neighboring Afghanistan where thousands of them have been killed by the Taliban.

According to some reports, there were some Afghans among the dead miners. Abbas Ali says making an issue of the nationality of the victims undermines the severity of the situation.

“Does it matter where they came from? The fact is they were brutally murdered and we should all be condemning it.”

How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

January 02, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

It’s one of those quintessential journeys that make people dream: Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad by train. Let’s call it ITI.

Soon, in early 2021, ITI will become a reality. But, initially, just as a freight train. The deal was recently sealed at the 10th meeting of the transport and communication ministers of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) in Istanbul.

ITI’s official name is actually the ECO Container Train. Trial runs started in 2019. The 6,500 km overland journey should now take 11 days – compared to the roughly 45 days across sealanes for trade between Western Europe and Pakistan.

ECO is a very interesting – and strategic – organization, virtually unknown outside of Asia, uniting Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, the five Central Asian “stans”, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.

Some of these players are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); some are part of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); and almost all of them are partners to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

They have come up with a ECO Vision 2025 that emphasizes connectivity as a springboard to “social and economic development”, privileging trade, transportation, energy and tourism. ECO seeks to de facto integrate West, Central and South Asia plus the Caucasus. For all practical purposes, ECO straddles most of the New Silk Roads developing across a large part of Eurasia.

That pesky Sultan, again

The ITI/ECO Container Train will be yet another layer of connectivity running in parallel to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, centered on the Caucasus, and as we have seen in a previous Turkey/New Great Game column, a key plank of Ankara’s trade strategy.

Soon, ITI/ECO will also link with the European rail networks via that 76-km long engineering marvel – the undersea Marmaray railway tunnel in Istanbul. Of course opportunities abound for branching out to parts of the Middle East. By the end of the decade, ITI/ECO may well go high-speed rail – think Chinese investment.

The fascinating counterpoint to the Marmaray undersea tunnel is the Trans-Caspian: the actual connection between the BTK in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

As you can see here , the strategically designed layout of the ports allows instant roll on-roll off from the cargo trains to huge freight ferries.

Iran, for instance, is building a roll on-roll off shipping port in Bandar-e Anzalī on the Caspian Sea – which will be used to export merchandise but also oil and gas transiting via Russia or Kazakhstan, both Caspian nations, and thus bypassing any further blockade imposed by the US.

The interlink of ITI/ECO with BTK will solidify yet another important East-West trade corridor. Apart from the northern corridors linking with the Trans-Siberian, every East-West trade corridor across Eurasia goes through Turkey. That gives President Erdogan a wealth of options – as Beijing knows too well. The Xian-Istanbul corridor is as important as the Xian-Kazakhstan-Russia corridor.

Our previous Turkey/New Great Game column provoked serious debate in Istanbul. Political analyst Ceyda Karan remarked Erdogan “has only one card: Turkish geopolitics. He doesn’t care how many soldiers will die in Libya or Syria. He doesn’t care about the Turkish people”.

Esteemed Professor Korkut Boratav, now a nonagenarian eminence in macroeconomics, wondered how I could “ascribe those important roles to our chief”, referencing Erdogan.

Well, it’s all about playing geoeconomics. Erdogan certainly has leveraged his Rolodex across Eurasia, in terms of foreign policy, going no holds barred in the manipulation of all sorts of proxy gangs practicing all manner of extremisms. But ultimately what The Sultan really needs is trade and foreign investment in his battered economy.

So trade connectivity is essential. But the problem always remains his own strategy. Supporting, feeding and weaponizing an army of ISIS/Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Uighur/Caucasian jihadi proxies is not exactly a sound business strategy.

Erdogan seems to be everywhere – Libya, Azerbaijan, the Turkish-northwest Syrian border. Strategists in Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Islamabad of course are asking questions: what for, exactly?

There’s no realistic geoeconomic scenario for him to bypass Russia. He may use Azerbaijan as a sort of de luxe messenger between Turkey and Israel – and perhaps, subsequently, profit from Israel’s courtship of Persian Gulf monarchies. After all, as far as allies in the Arab world are concerned, the only player he can really count on is Qatar. Follow the money: Doha by itself won’t finance an economic boom in Turkey.

Let a million trade corridors bloom

Silly rumors about the demise of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are greatly exaggerated – considering they are a sub-section of American propaganda. CPEC is a complex, very long-term project whose implementation, according to the Chinese timetable, has not even started.

What Islamabad must be aware of is how much sexier, in comparison, is Tehran, when seen with Beijing’s eyes. Pakistan counts mostly on Imran Khan’s efforts. Iran has a wealth of oil, gas, gold and an array of crucial minerals. As India famously shot itself in the back – once again – by de facto abdicating from investing in Chabahar port in Iran, China stepped in. The $400 billion China-Iran deal is way more comprehensive than CPEC, at roughly $64 billion.

Back on the road, the good news is Iran-Pakistan seem to be focused on increasing connectivity. It boggles the mind that until recently there was only one crossing along their 900 km border. Finally they decided to open two more border gateways.

This is hugely important, because the first gateway is in ultra-sensitive Sistan-Balochistan province – constantly susceptible to Salafi-jihadi infiltrators – and only 70 km away from strategic Gwadar port.

As far as tourism goes – what the Chinese describe as “people to people exchange” – that’s an extra dimension, because Pakistanis can now easily cross the border, reach Chabahar, and then go by train to Iran’s holy sites Najaf and Karbala.

Finally, there’s the all-important Russian factor – which always commands Erdogan’s undivided attention.

Arguably Moscow’s top strategic priority is to decouple the EU from any US/NATO-imposed Dr. Strangelove impulses. So a EU trade alliance with Beijing – now in progress, via their investment treaty – cannot but be a win-win, as it spells out closer European integration with the Eurasian century, driven by China but with Russia, crucially, positioned as the premier security provider.

And as President Putin once again made it clear in his year end’s vows, BRI and the EAEU are increasingly merging.

Quite a few readers have noted that Russia has now achieved the tripartite capacity that Kissinger once declared essential for US strategic leadership: mastery of weapons exports; control of energy flows; and agriculture exports. Not to mention diplomatic finesse – widely respected all across Eurasia and the Global South.

Meanwhile, Eurasia goes with the flow: let a million trade corridors – Trans-Siberian, BTK, ITI/ECO – bloom.

Pakistan is steadfast… So far. باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

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

باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

الاخبار

الخميس 24 كانون الأول 2020

تتعرّض باكستان لضغوط شتّى يراد من ورائها جرّها بالقوّة إلى التطبيع مع إسرائيل والتموضع ضمن محور لا يزال في طور التشكُّل. محورٌ تشتغل السعودية، ومن ورائها الولايات المتحدة، على تعزيزه ورفده بدولٍ ترى في مهادنة إسرائيل مصلحةً لكفّ يد إيران عن المنطقة. لكن حسابات إسلام آباد لا تبدو متطابقة، على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور، مع رغبة حليفتها الحَرِدة في دفعها إلى حضن تل أبيب. وهو حردٌ نما وتمدّد في أعقاب انتقاد البلد الآسيوي نأيَ المملكة بنفسها عن قضية كشمير، وتلويحه بجمع قادة دول إسلامية خارج عباءة “منظمة التعاون الإسلامي” التي تهيمن عليها الرياض، لنصرة تلك القضية. وعلى رغم مساعي باكستان إلى تدارك الموقف، عن طريق إيفاد رئيس أركانها، قمر جاويد باجوا، منتصف آب/ أغسطس الماضي، إلى السعودية لاحتواء التوتّر، لم يفلح التودُّد في رأب الصدع.

وهكذا، كلّما اغتاظت الرياض وارتفع منسوب التوتّر بينها وبين إسلام آباد المكبّلة بالدين، عاجلتها بالدعوة إلى سداد القرض الميسّر. وكما حصل في أعقاب واقعة “التمرُّد” الباكستاني، حين اضطرّت إلى دفع مليار دولار قبل حلول موعد استحقاقها (هي جزء مِن حزمة إنقاذ أعلنت عنها السعودية في تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر عام 2018، بقيمة 6.2 مليارات دولار: 3 مليارات على شكل قروض، فضلاً عن تسهيلات ائتمانية نفطية بـ 3.2 مليارات دولار)، يبدو أن المملكة أرغمت باكستان، مرّة جديدة، على سداد المبلغ المتبقّي، بعدما أعلن رئيس وزرائها، عمران خان، الشهر الماضي، أن بلاده تتعرّض لضغوط مِن قبل الولايات المتحدة و”دول صديقة” لم يسمّها للاعتراف بإسرائيل، مؤكداً أنه لن يُقدِم على خطوة كتلك “ما لم تكن هناك تسوية تُرضي الفلسطينيين”. وإذ سارع وزير الخارجية الباكستاني، شاه محمود قرشي، إلى نفي صحّة التقارير التي تحدّثت عن سداد بلاده قرضاً بقيمة ملياري دولار للسعودية، والتشديد على “العلاقات المثالية” بين البلدين، أكّد مسؤولون باكستانيون لـ”رويترز” أن إسلام آباد أرجعت بالفعل مليار دولار ضمن الدفعة الثانية من القرض الميسّر، واتّجهت إلى طلب قرض تجاري من بكين، لمساعدتها على تخفيف ضغوط دفع مليار دولار أخرى إلى الرياض الشهر المقبل. وفي هذا الإطار، أكّد مسؤول في وزارة المالية أن المصرف المركزي الباكستاني يجري محادثات مع مصارف تجارية صينية، في حين أبلغ مسؤول في وزارة الخارجية، “رويترز”، أن الصين “هبّت لنجدتنا”. وعلى رغم فائض يبلغ 1.2 مليار دولار في ميزان المعاملات الجارية وتحويلات غير مسبوقة من الخارج بلغت 11.7 مليار دولار في الأشهر الخمسة الأخيرة ساعدت في دعم الاقتصاد الباكستاني، فإن مراقبين يرون أن ردّ الأموال السعودية ينطوي على انتكاسة يحتمل أن تواجه باكستان على إثرها أزمة في ميزان المدفوعات بعد الانتهاء من الدفعة السعودية التالية، ولا سيما وأن احتياطياتها الأجنبية لا تزال عند 13.3 مليار دولار.

لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع

بالعودة إلى التطبيع، لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع. وهو ما لفتت إليه مصادر دبلوماسية وعسكرية باكستانية تحدّثت، أخيراً، إلى صحيفة “هآرتس” العبرية، مؤكّدةً أن السعودية كثّفت ضغوطها، في الأشهر الأخيرة، على باكستان من أجل دفعها في هذا الاتجاه، ولكنها توقّعت أن يتوّلى الجيش الباكستاني هذه المهمّة طمعاً في صفقات دفاعية تسهّلها إسرائيل. ويريد وليّ العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، بحسب الصحيفة، أن تمضي حليفته في هذا الطريق، قبل أن يتخّذ أيّ خطوة رسمية تجاه تل أبيب. ولفتت “هآرتس” إلى أن “باكستان ثاني أكبر دولة ذات غالبية مسلمة من حيث عدد السكان، وهي الدولة الإسلامية الوحيدة المسلّحة نووياً، وتطبيعها سيوفّر سبقاً جيّداً للسعودية”، معتبرةً أن الرياض تمتلك “بطاقة قوية لإسلام آباد، تتمثّل في توفير قرض بقيمة ملياري دولار لإنقاذ البلاد”. كذلك، أشارت إلى أن الجيش الباكستاني، وليس رئيس الوزراء، هو الذي يدير فعلياً الدبلوماسية الباكستانية، مُتوقّعةً أن يلجأ الأوّل إلى إضفاء طابع رسمي على العلاقات مع تل أبيب، على افتراض أن ذلك سيساعده في موازنة الصفقات الدفاعية الواسعة بين الهند وإسرائيل.

مقالات ذات صلة

Pakistan is steadfast… So far.

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

Al-Akhbar

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Pakistan is under various pressures to force it to normalize with Israel and to be positioned within an axis that is still in the process of being formed. Saudi Arabia, and the United States, is working to strengthen it and provide it with countries that see Israel’s truce as an interest in iron’s hand in the region. But Islamabad’s calculations do not seem to be identical, at least in the foreseeable future, with its fiery ally’s desire to push it into into Tel Aviv’s lap. He) Imran Khan) is a hard-working man who has grown and expanded in the wake of the Asian country’s criticism of the Saudi kingdom’s distancing itself from the Kashmir issue, and Imran waving of the gathering of leaders of Islamic countries outside Riyadh-dominated Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to support Kashmir cause. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to remedy the situation by sending its chief of staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa, in mid-August, to Saudi Arabia to contain the tension, and bridge the rift.

Thus, the more Riyadh is upset and the level of tension rises between Islamabad and Riyadh, which urgently calls for the repayment of the concessional loan, and forced Islamabad to pay $1 billion before its due date (part of a $6.2 billion bailout announced by Saudi Arabia in October 2018: $3 billion in loans, as well as $3.2 billion in oil credit facilities the kingdom have forced Pakistan, once again, to pay the remaining amount, after its Prime Minister, Imran Khan, announced last month that his country was under pressure from the United States and “friendly countries” he did not name to recognize In Israel, stressing that he would not take such a step “unless there is a settlement that satisfies the Palestinians.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi was quick to deny reports that his country had repaid a $2 billion loan to Saudi Arabia and the emphasis on “ideal relations” between the two countries, Pakistani officials confirmed to Reuters that Islamabad had already returned $1 billion in the second installment of the concessional loan and turned to requesting a commercial loan from Beijing, to help it ease the pressure of paying another billion dollars to Riyadh next month. A finance ministry official confirmed that the Central Bank of Pakistan was in talks with Chinese commercial banks, told Reuters that China had “come to our aid.” Despite a $1.2 billion surplus in the current balance of transactions and unprecedented remittances from abroad of $11.7 billion in the last five months that have helped support Pakistan’s economy, observers see the Saudi money back as a setback, with Pakistan likely to face a balance of payments crisis after the next Saudi push, especially as its foreign reserves remain at $13.3billion.

Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the locomotive of normalization

Back to normalization, Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the normalization. This was pointed out by Pakistani diplomatic and military sources who spoke to the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz, stressing that Saudi Arabia had intensified its pressure, in recent months, on Pakistan to push it in this direction, but it expected that the Pakistani army would take over this task in the hope of defensive deals. Facilitated by Israel. Between India and Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the newspaper, wants his ally to go down this path, before taking any official step toward Tel Aviv. “Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim country, the only nuclear-armed Islamic state, and its normalisation will provide a good precedent for Saudi Arabia,” Haaretz said, adding that Riyadh has “a strong card for Islamabad, which is to provide a $2 billion loan to save the country.” Haaretz also noted that it was the Pakistani army, not the Prime Minister, that effectively administered Pakistani diplomacy, expecting the former to formalise relations with Tel Aviv, assuming that it would help him balance the broad defence deals between India and Israel.

Pakistani PM firmly rejects Israeli ties as ‘baseless’, publicity campaign

Source

Saturday, 19 December 2020 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 19 December 2020 11:45 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan removes his facemask during a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on November 19, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected as “baseless” reports of his government officials visiting Israel, insisting why would any of the ministers visit Tel Aviv when Islamabad does not recognize the occupying regime.

Khan made the remarks during an interview on Friday with the local Samaa TV emphasizing that the Israeli-based news story was part of “an entire campaign” targeting his administration.

The development came following a publicity campaign by Israeli regime’s news outlets alleging on Wednesday that a senior advisor to Khan had visited the occupied territories last month.

Israel stirs media hype as Pakistan comes under pressure to normalize ties
Israel stirs media hype as Pakistan comes under pressure to normalize ties
Israeli news outlets are spreading a rumor that a senior advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Israeli-occupied territories last month, despite Islamabad’s repeated rejections of speculation about ties with Tel Aviv.

Citing a source close to the Tel Aviv regime, Israel Hayom and other Israeli dailies published a report claiming that the Pakistani aide had met with Israeli officials during an alleged trip to Tel Aviv.

The apparent propaganda story also said the Pakistani official was carrying a message from Khan that reflected his “strategic decision” to open political and diplomatic talks with the regime. The Jerusalem Post also covered publicity item but later removed it from its website.

Pointing to recent efforts by a coalition of 11 opposition groups — led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the now London-based former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted after being convicted and later jailed on official corruption charges – Khan said he was prepared to face everything the opposition alliance aims to throw at him.

“The PDM can do anything that it wants. I am ready,” said the premier, adding that PDM’s recent protest rally in Lahore had damaged the opposition’s alliance.

“I am a jalsa specialist and I am telling you that this was a flop show,” he said.

Khan’s administration had dismissed the Lahore rally as “more [of] a ploy” to distract from the corruption charges against Sharif.

Huge opposition rally in Lahore urges resignation of PM Khan
Huge opposition rally in Lahore urges resignation of PM Khan
Thousands of Pakistani opposition supporters stage a protest rally in Lahore to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan also touched upon the threat of mass resignations by opposition legislators, saying, “If they resign, it would be better for Pakistan.”

He went on to say he would even assist the opposition if they came to Islamabad, but noted, “They cannot even last a week [in Islamabad] even if I support them.”

The Pakistani leader defended the country’s top military commander General Qamar Javed Bajwa against the opposition’s persisting allegations against him and the army, saying that “anger” and “disappointment” prevailed among the ranks after Bajwawas was targeted by opposition leaders during public gatherings.

“Gen Bajwa believes in democracy. Had it been another general, he would have given a quick rebuttal,” Khan said, adding that the army chief was “angry” but he was “controlling it.”

He also emphasized that all institutions — including the army — stood beside him, saying, “There are excellent civil-military ties in the country.”

He said the army serves under him as he is the prime minister, and as the army is a government institution.

India’s scheme to discredit Pakistan

Referring to a recent report by the EU DisinfoLab, Khan said the NGO’s research had exposed India’s network that kept spreading misinformation about Pakistan.

The Brussels-based NGO, which works to combat disinformation against the European Union, unveiled earlier this month that a 15-year-old operation run by an Indian entity had used hundreds of fake media outlets and the identity of a dead professor to defame Pakistan.

The report – Indian Chronicles: deep dive into a 15-year operation targeting the EU and United Nations to serve Indian interests – described the effort as the “largest network” of disinformation they have exposed so far.

The report – released on December 9 – said the disinformation network run by the Srivastava Group, a New Delhi-based entity, was designed primarily to “discredit Pakistan internationally” and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament, Al-Jazeera reported.

The report also revealed that in order to “undermine Pakistan internationally,” the network “resurrected dead NGOs” at the UN, impersonated the EU and laundered content produced by fake media to real media, and reached millions in South Asia and across the world.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv


Russia and Pakistan: the Fifth Year of “Friendship”

Source

Author: Dmitry Bokarev

10.12.2020

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The changing political situation in the world, and the growing threat of terrorism, require that the world’s powers periodically expand the areas in which they cooperate at an international level, and this includes defense. As far as Russia goes, what is interesting is how it is gradually developing the scope of its interaction with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (IRP).

For many years, the IRP was more inclined to be an ally of the United States, including on defense-related matters. The Pakistani military was trained by American instructors, inside Pakistan, during the 1979-1989 Afghan war, and with support provided by the United States camps for mujahideen fighters were set up; back then, not even a word could be uttered about cooperation between the IRP and the USSR/Russia.

But times change, and now a gradual rapprochement can be observed between Pakistan and the Russian Federation – and against the backdrop of that, it is slowly moving away from the US. One thing that is of no small importance is that both Russia and the IRP feel the pressure from the growing threat of international terrorism, and that particularly concerns Afghanistan. Both countries are at the forefront in combating this phenomenon, but Washington seems to have begun to withdraw from Afghan affairs in recent years, shifting more of its attention to China.

Since 2016, Russia and Pakistan have begun to conduct their annual joint military exercise, which is dubbed “Friendship”. The Russian side is represented by military service personnel from its Southern Military District. The exercise has taken on anti-terrorism overtones, and they take turns holding it in both countries: “Friendship” was first held in the IRP; in 2017 it took place in the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, and Friendship-2018 was held in Pakistan again. The Friendship-2019 exercise took place in October 2019 in the Russian area of Kuban, and will be remembered for how the new Russian Mi-8AMTSh transport and assault helicopter, known as the Terminator, was used during it.

The venue for the fifth Russian-Pakistani exercise Friendship-2020 was the training base for IRP special operation forces in the village of Tarbela (Pakistan), and the IRP’s national counterterrorism center in Pabbi. Special forces soldiers from the 49th Combined Arms Army in Russia’s Southern Military District arrived in the IRP to take part in the event. The opening ceremony for the exercise took place on November 9, 2020, and besides Russian and Pakistani military the Russian Ambassador to the IRP, Danila Ganich, took part in it; this underscored the event’s political component. For almost two weeks, the Russian and Pakistani military practiced counterterrorism activities in the Pakistani mountains and forests, after which they ended the exercises with a spectacular assault on a simulated adversary’s base.

It is worth noting that while military cooperation between the two countries usually speaks to the fact that they interact politically at a very high level, in Pakistan’s case this is twice as true since in Pakistan the army is not just an armed force, but also a state-forming institution that unites the country – and has great influence on the foreign and domestic policies taken by the IRP. At the opening of the Friendship-2020 exercises, Russian Ambassador Danila Ganich spoke about this, calling the Pakistani army “the core of Pakistani statehood and society”.

It is believed that fostering military and political cooperation between Russia and Pakistan may elicit discontent from Russia’s principal military partner in South Asia, India, since relations between Pakistan and India are extremely complex, and have often spilled over into bloodshed. The last time an armed clash between Indian and Pakistani military forces occurred in February-March 2019, was accompanied by participation on the part of Pakistani illegal armed groups, and resulted in dozens of casualties on both sides. In this regard, according to some experts, the Russian-Pakistani “Friendship” exercises could either cause – or be a sign of – cooling relations between New Delhi and Moscow. However, other experts believe that conclusions like this are premature. First, both Russia and India are aware that each country has its own interests and its own policies – therefore, for example, the Russian Federation cannot lodge any complaints against India owing to its strategic partnership with the United States. Incidentally, from November 3-20, 2020, at about the same time that the Friendship exercises were taking place, India held its scheduled Malabar exercise – its 24th one already – jointly with the United States (the opinion also exists that, to a certain extent, “Friendship” is Russia’s response to that), and this did not cause any issues on the Russian side.

Finally, it is worth reiterating that both countries – India and Pakistan – share a border with Afghanistan, where large swaths of territory are controlled by terrorist groups, and constitute a source of the terrorist threat for the entire world, especially for adjacent countries. And right now the terrorist threat from Afghanistan may intensify to an extreme degree by virtue of the decision made by the US to withdraw its troops from the country. Despite their various differences, New Delhi and Islamabad must be aware that this situation is dangerous for everyone. It is also clear that a huge role in combating Afghani terrorism belongs to the leadership in Pakistan. The border between the IRP and Afghanistan is very porous, and militants from terrorist organizations like the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation) move across it freely, and control areas of territory on both sides. It is common knowledge that Pakistan’s leadership has led a relatively peaceful coexistence with the Taliban for a long time now. However, in recent years the IRP Armed Forces have been waging an increasingly active struggle against it.

After the Americans withdraw, terrorists in Afghanistan could reinforce their positions to such an extent that they could launch an offensive in areas that they control, including in those located in Pakistan. In this instance, both India and the rest of the region’s countries will be forced to provide all the necessary assistance to Pakistan’s lawful government to keep these Afghani-Pakistani terrorists in the bounds of certain pockets and not allow them to turn Pakistan into a springboard to perform their activities throughout all of Asia. And the fact that even now, without waiting for American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, or for there to be an upward swing in the terrorist threat, Russia and Pakistan are practicing joint counterterrorism activities, holds tremendous importance for the entire region, including India – and New Delhi should have an understanding of this.

Dmitry Bokarev, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

UAE stops issuing new visas to citizens of 13 Arab and Muslim-majority countries

By MEE and agencies

Published date: 25 November 2020

There has been no official explanation as to why the countries, which include Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, were targeted by the ban

The flags of US, Israel, UAE and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City on 15 September 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and Algeria.

According to Reuters, the decision was seen in a document issued by a state-owned business park, which was sent to companies operating in the park.

The document cited an immigration circular that came into effect on 18 November.

It said applications for new employment and visit visas had been suspended for nationals who are outside the UAE of the 13 countries – which also include Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Kenya, and Iraq – until further notice.

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The move comes in contrast to the UAE’s decision to waive visas for Israeli citizens following a controversial normalisation agreement signed in September. The agreement was perceived by Palestinian and Arab public opinion as an act of betrayal of the struggle against Israeli occupation. 

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

A source briefed on the matter told Reuters the UAE had temporarily stopped issuing new visas to Afghans, Pakistanis and citizens of several other countries over security concerns.

The source did not say what those concerns were, but said the visa ban was expected to last for a short period.

Last week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the UAE had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those of some other countries.

It said it was seeking information from the UAE on the reason for the suspension, but that it thought it was related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistani ministry and the source said those holding valid visas were not affected by the new restrictions and could enter the UAE.

Perils of Unannounced War on the LoC

By Altaf Wani

Source

Over the past several years the Line of Control (LoC) has been on the boil. An unannounced war imposed by India is going on unabated. Bombing and shelling on the civilian population by the Indian troops have been a regular feature of the life near 740-kilometer long bloody ceasefire line, chosen by India’s fascist regime as a new battle-field to achieve its sinister designs in the region.

Unfortunately, the consequences of this silent war and its devastating impact on the lives of native people have gone largely unnoticed. Along with the potential of triggering a nuclear confrontation, this reckless violence is making life hell for the civilians settled in villages and towns along the LoC who have witnessed long spells of dreadful violence due to the ceasefire violations committed by the Indian forces. During the recent spate of Indian shelling in the Neelum Valley six civilians and a soldier of the Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom while two soldiers and at least nine civilians were wounded in AJK after Indian troops resorted to indiscriminate and ruthless shelling from across the (LoC) past midnight without any provocation.

Nearly 30% of total population of Azad Jammu and Kashmir lives in these highly volatile areas. Being at the edge of conflict, the long spells of violence have hit hard the lives of the common people in these highly vulnerable areas especially the Neelum, Leepa, and Jhelum valley, Farward Khota, Tatrinote, Nikyal and other areas that has witnessed a series of dreadful attacks by the Indian Army this year. As a result, hundreds of residential houses, vehicles, cattle-sheds, even schools, hospitals and places of worship (mosques) were destroyed and demolished due to the targeted shelling by the Indian troops from across the LoC. A perpetual and pervasive threat of aggression from India has caused displacement of the economically disadvantaged and downtrodden segment of the society on both sides of the line of control.

The most depressing aspect of this dirty war is that Indian troops have been using civilian population as a human shield to protect themselves from any possible reaction and response from the Pakistani side. Knowing that Pakistani side won’t target their installations in populated areas, the Indian Army is reported to have relocated its heavy artillery near densely populated areas and at some places in the middle of local population on other side of the LoC. The main aim and objective was to blame Pakistan for any civilian casualty and loss of property but India’s sinister plan was shortly exposed when people at Manzgam, Chokibal and Dardpora and Thandipora villages staged a protest against this anomaly. The incident was widely reported in local and international media wherein people revealed to the pressmen that the Indian Army was using them as human shields, which constitutes a serious crime under international law. But the fact remains that the restraint and responsibility showed by the Pakistan Army has emboldened the Indians to undertake attacks to spill the blood of innocent civilians.

While the realpolitik is steering the dynamics of the Kashmir conflict no one even bothers to talk about these war crimes being committed with impunity by the Indian forces. The absence of proper on-ground monitoring system has further aggravated the situation in the region since the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) that was mandated to supervise ceasefire violations on the LoC has been rendered virtually dysfunctional by the Indian government due to its noncooperation with the UN observers stationed in Srinagar, the capital city of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). On the contrary, the Pakistan Army on its part has continued to lodge complaints with UNMOGIP about ceasefire violations. The military authorities of India have not lodged any complaint since January 1972 and have restricted the activities of the UN observers near the LoC in IIOJK. Not allowing the observer mission to supervise the ceasefire violations, India, instead, choose to stick to its traditional policy of blaming Pakistan by paddling lies and trumpeting its so-called ‘counter-insurgency narrative’.

The historic 2003 ceasefire agreement that survived for over a decade has been instrumental in curbing cross-LoC violence in the region but this agreement too was thrown to the winds soon after the Modi government took over reins of power in New Delhi. Since then, there has been an upsurge in the incidents of ceasefire violations. According to statistics provided by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, and the State Disaster Management Authority Government of Azad Kashmir, the ceasefire has been violated by India at least 2,730 times this year, resulting in 21 civilian deaths and serious injuries to 206 others. Apart from fomenting trouble and creating instability on this side of the LoC, the Indian Army is raising tensions on the ceasefire line to deflect world attention away from the aggravating humanitarian situation in IIOJK.

The antagonistic approach and senseless targeting of innocent civilians would further, vitiate the tense atmosphere along the LoC and threaten regional peace and security. It is high time that the world must take effective notice of this reckless war imposed by India and force the government of India to resolve the lingering Kashmir dispute that happens to be the mother of all disputes pending between India and Pakistan.

Expansion of trade ties with Pakistan a priority

November 20, 2020 – 17:22

By Mahnaz Abdi

TEHRAN- Pakistan has a relatively large consumer market with a population of over 200 million.

According to the World Trade Organization, imports constitute over 66 percent of Pakistan’s trade.

Expansion of trade with Pakistan, and boosting exports to this neighbor is one of Iran’s priorities.

In a recent visit to Pakistan, Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Hamid Zadboum met with Pakistan’s deputy economic affairs minister to discuss the expansion of trade ties with the neighboring country.

In the meeting, the officials reviewed important axes of trade, investment, and transportation between the two countries, and decided that the next meeting of the Joint Economic Committee of the two countries will be held in Tehran next month.

To be hosted by the Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry, the fifth meeting of the two countries’ Free Trade Committee was also decided to be held on the sidelines of the joint economic committee meeting.

Further in the meeting, representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Urban Development, and the Energy Ministry held talks with their Pakistani counterparts to discuss a variety of issues including electricity exports, and maritime, road, and rail transportation cooperation.

The TPO head had visited Pakistan along with a high-ranking delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iran’s exports to Pakistan in the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19) was $1.18 billion, but in the meantime, financial and banking problems have still created obstacles in the way of trade relations with this country.

And although due to the banking and financial problems, barter trade with Pakistan is still emphasized by Iran; experts and those active in the economic fields believe that Iran should seriously pursue the idea of a bilateral joint bank with Pakistan, while taking trade facilitation measures in line with signing agreements.

Last month, in a meeting with the Pakistani ambassador to Tehran, the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization stressed his country’s desire to have a free trade agreement with Pakistan.

Referring to the existence of a preferential trade agreement between the two sides, Hamid Zadboum stressed Iran’s willingness for a free trade agreement with this country.

Emphasizing the need for Iranian and Pakistani officials to pay serious attention to removing obstacles to expanding trade relations between the two countries, the official said: “According to the studies, Pakistan has the highest potential among Iran’s 15 neighbors and is the first country with which Iran is willing to develop trade.”

Expansion of border trade between the two countries is another issue that Iran is seriously pursued.

The value of Iran’s exports to Pakistan through the border in the southeast of the country has risen 26 percent during the first quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-June 20), compared to the same period of time in the previous year.

More activities of Iran-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce especially in the border areas is the other important approach to be adopted in line with the expansion of bilateral ties.

Syria’s International Conference On Refugees Is A Masterclass In Balancing

12 NOVEMBER 2020

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Syria

The kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria has mostly drawn to a close, as evidenced by the milestone event of the country hosting an international conference on the return of refugees, which resulted in several significant outcomes that speak to the masterful execution of its “balancing” strategy and raise hope that the Arab Republic will eventually transform into the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of China’s visionary W-CPEC+ corridor across Eurasia.

Strategically Disarming “Weapons Of Mass Migration”

Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees is a milestone event for the country’s war which shows that the kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror against it has mostly drawn to a close. President Assad’s keynote speech saw the Syrian leader thanking his Russian and Iranian wartime allies for their help getting to this point and encouraging his compatriots abroad to finally return home. He claimed that some of their host countries are exploiting them for financial and other reasons, strongly hinting that they’re being used against their will as “Weapons of Mass Migration” like Ivy League scholar Kelly M. Greenhill earlier described such a phenomenon. In connection with that, President Assad condemned those states which continue to impose illegal sanctions against the Arab Republic, which has disincentivized some refugees from returning home and thus results in artificially perpetuating this historic humanitarian crisis that was initially sparked by their external war of regime change aggression against his people through terrorist means.

Syria’s “Balancing” Act

Thankfully, Syria can count on its Russian and Iranian wartime allies to help reconstruct the ruined country and thus facilitate the return of millions of refugees to their homeland. To this end, Russia promised to allocate $1 billion as well as open up a trade mission in Damascus while Iran suggested setting up an international fund for this purpose. Both countries seem poised to enter into a “friendly competition” with one another for reconstruction contracts and market space which can only work out to Syria’s ultimate benefit. The Arab Republic is therefore expected to retain its carefully calibrated “balancing” act between them, wisely doing its utmost to prevent the emergence of any complete dependence on either of them in the future. This strategy is consistent with what it’s always pursued over the decades and represents its masterful execution which too many other small- and medium-sized states previously attempted but to no avail. Even worse, many of Syria’s peers saw this strategy backfire on them, thus leading to either their ruin or full dependence on one partner.

Full credit goes to Syria’s world-class diplomats for being able to manage such a difficult policy with such success. Not only are they “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but they also managed to attract the important participation of other countries in their international refugee conference, most curious of which for some observers is Pakistan. Those who only casually follow Syrian affairs might have missed it, but Islamabad recently dispatched massive medical aid to the Arab Republic. This and its participation in the international conference show that the “global pivot state” (which the author previously referred to it as) is capable of bold foreign policy moves independent of its close American, Saudi, and Turkish partners. Pakistan, just like Syria, is also practicing its own “balancing” act between its aforementioned three traditional partners and its three newest ones of Russia, China, and Iran. In fact, it can be argued that Pakistan and Syria are in the process of synergizing their respective “balancing” strategies for the betterment of Eurasia.

Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria”

To explain, not only is Syria “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but also between India and Pakistan too. Although Damascus and Delhi have a long history of close relations, Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shabaan told the Hindustan Times in August 2017 that her country is becoming hesitant about India’s role in its reconstruction after Prime Minister Modi’s highly publicized trip to “Israel” where he did everything from sign intergovernmental deals solidifying their de-facto alliance to even walking barefoot with Netanyahu along the beach. The author realized at the time that this is “Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria” whereby Islamabad could flex its anti-Zionist credentials to present itself as a much more credible partner than pro-Zionist Delhi in pursuit of strengthening the two state’s historic relations that reached their high point in 1974 after a Pakistani pilot flying a Syrian jet shot down an “Israeli” fighter flying over the occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s diplomats were evidently receptive to Pakistan’s outreaches, hence the steady improvement of ties.

The Winding Road To W-CPEC+

It’s not just nostalgia for their Old Cold War-era ties nor their shared hatred of “Israel” that’s bringing them closer together nowadays, but pro-Chinese Silk Road pragmatism. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), and its western branch corridor (W-CPEC+) through Iran has the chance of not only reaching Russia by running parallel with the stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) across Azerbaijan but can also extend as far as Syria via Iraq. China is the little-discussed third economic force apart from Russia and Iran which is engaged in a “friendly competition” with its partners to develop Syria, and the improvement of Syrian-Pakistani relations as is presently happening could result in W-CPEC+ extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean through Iran, Iraq, and Syria, all of which are allied with one another. It’ll of course take a lot of political will from all sides — not least of all Pakistan — to see this ambitious vision through, but if successful, then it could revolutionize Mideast geopolitics.

All five countries — China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and Syria — would benefit from this outcome. The People’s Republic is the world’s second-largest economy and actively eyeing more positions in the Eastern Mediterranean to complement its prospective ones in “Israel”, albeit via more geopolitically reliable mainland routes than the maritime ones connecting it to the self-professed “Jewish State”. Pakistan has an interest in bolstering its credential as the “global pivot state” by having CPEC serve as the platform for integrating Eurasia more closely together. Iran, which is desperately seeking all manner of sanctions relief, is reportedly negotiating a gargantuan economic agreement with China and would certainly benefit by facilitating more East-West trade through its territory. As for Russia, its recent control over Tartus means that it could profit from any Syrian export of Chinese products through that port. As for the Arab Republic itself, its expected benefit is that this vision would accelerate its reconstruction and allow it to finally actualize its pre-war “Five Seas Strategy”.

Concluding Thoughts

All told, Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees was about much more than just its titular topic. Reading between the lines of the details that have since been revealed about this milestone event, it was actually a masterclass in Syria’s “balancing” strategy. The Arab Republic proved that its diplomats are among the most highly skilled in the world after successfully “balancing” between Russia and Iran, as well as India and Pakistan, all with the aim of fulfilling its visionary “Five Seas Strategy” which some argue was partially responsible for provoking the Hybrid War of Terror that’s been viciously waged against it for almost an entire decade already. In the best-case scenario, Syria will eventually serve as the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of the W-CPEC+ corridor connecting that strategic body of water with the Pacific Ocean via a several-country-long mainland commercial corridor. The successful fulfillment of this vision would revolutionize not only Mideast geopolitics, but also Eurasian geopolitics as a whole, which thus makes it an urgent priority for all.

التطبيع مأزوم لاهتزاز تغطياته فإلى أين المفرّ؟

د.وفيق إبراهيم

كان متوقعاً ان يرتفع عديد الدول العربية والإسلامية الذاهبة الى التطبيع الكامل مع الكيان الإسرائيلي ليسجل ارقاماً كبيرة بعد مرحلة الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية مباشرة.

انتهت هذه الانتخابات الى غير المرتجى منها، لان القائد الأميركي للتطبيع الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب خسرها، محاولاً تفجير الداخل الاجتماعي الأميركي باستثارة العصبيات العرقية والدينية والجهوية والطبقيّة آملاً الدفع نحو فوضى شعبية داخلية، قد تبقيه حسب ما يعتقد رئيساً لمدة اضافية طويلة.

لم يكتف هذا السعار الترامبي بهذا القدر من التوتير، فكلَّف فريقاً من المحامين والقضاة والمتخصصين بدهاليز الانتخابات بتقديم اعتراضات للمحاكم متهماً فيها منافسه الفائز جو بايدن بتزويرها، بمشاركة حزبه الديموقراطية.

إلا أن حظوظ ترامب في هذا المسار باتت في قلب الإفلاس ولن يتأخر طويلاً عن هزيمته لا سيما أن هناك شبه اعتراف سياسي داخلي أميركي بفوز بايدن وإقرار عالمي بذلك.

المسألة إذاً لن تطول أكثر من كانون الثاني المقبل حيث يشهد العالم التسلم والتسليم بين رئيسين أحدهما مهزوم والآخر منتصر، لكنهما لا يختلفان على المشروع المنحصر بتأمين أكبر قدر ممكن من النفوذ الأميركي العالمي، بل يتباينان في الأساليب المعتمدة.

إن تداعيات هذه الأساليب ترمي عادة برذاذها على العالم بأسره، لما للأميركيين من نفوذ عميق، اقتصادي وعسكري وسياسي وثقافي يشمل كافة الدول، لكنه يُمسك بشكل أكثر فاعلية الدول الضعيفة سياسياً والقوية بإمكاناتها الاقتصادية.

واحدة من هذه المناطق هي الدول العربية التي تشكل منذ تأسيسها المصطنع في النصف الاول من القرن العشرين، مجرّد آليات، صنعها الاستعمار البريطاني والفرنسي، لإدارة مناطق تختزن نفطاً وغازاً ومواقع استراتيجية وقدرة على الاستهلاك لأنها لا تصنع شيئاً.

كانت الاستراتيجية الأميركية بالتعامل مع هذه المنطقة تقدم على دعم الأنظمة العربية في وجه شعوبها على اساس الإمساك بالتاريخ ضمن القرون الوسطى، اما على مستوى الخطر الخارجي، فهو غير موجود لأن هذه الأنظمة تشكل حتى اليوم جزءاً من الجيوبولتيك الأميركي الذي لم يتجرأ أحد على مهاجمته في أي من مناطق نفوذه. باستثناء إيران التي تدافع عن نفسها وتحالفاتها في الإقليم لمنع الأميركيين من إلحاقهم بالقرون الوسطى.

هذا الرئيس المهزوم ترامب ذهب بعيداً في أساليبه في المنطقة العربية، مرغماً الإمارات والبحرين والسودان على التطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في إطار خطبة تدريجيّة كانت تضم السعودية وباكستان والمغرب وجزر القمر وقطر وعمان.

هناك سببان يضعان خطة ترامب في حجر زمنيّ قابل للتدمير، الأول هو باكستان التي فاجأ رئيسها عمران خان الأميركيين والسعوديين معاً برفض أي تطبيع لبلاده مع الكيان الإسرائيلي، مؤكداً أن هذا الأمر لا يتحقق إلا بعد إنشاء دولة فلسطينية، وقبول الفلسطينيين بها.

ألا يشكل هذا الموقف صفعة لترامب شخصياً وسياسته المطبقة في الشرق الأوسط، موجّهاً في الوقت نفسه ركلة لكل عرب التطبيع في الإمارات والبحرين والسودان، ومسدداً في العمق ضرباً مبرحاً لأداة الضغط الأساسية في العالم الإسلامي وهي السعودية، التي توزع الرشى والتحشيد من اجل دفع العرب والدول الإسلامية نحو التطبيع.

عمران خان اذاً بطل في زمن محنة، ولأنه استثنائي فلم يُعِرْه الاعلام الغربي أي أهمية مكتفياً بعرض موقفه بشكل موجز وهذا يشمل أيضاً الاعلام العربي، وإعلام المقاومة!!

لجهة السبب الثاني فهو فشل ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية، وهذا يعني ظهور أساليب أميركيّة جديدة خاصة بالرئيس بايدن الفائز وحزبه الديموقراطي.

لماذا هذا التغيير في الأساليب الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط العربي أكثر من ضرورة؟

عندما بدأ ترامب رئاسته في 2016، كانت المنطقة العربية، ملتهبة بمئات آلاف الإرهابيين تضرب الدول في المدن والقرى وتحاصر الانظمة السياسية في عواصمها.

لقد ورث ترامب هذه المميزات عن السياسة الأميركية التي دعمت هذا الإرهاب منذ 1990، ووضعت في ذلك التاريخ مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير، لذلك استعمل هذه المميزات في خطة فرض التطبيع العربي مع «إسرائيل». لكن ما يجري اليوم أصبح مختلفاً لأن هذا المشروع الأميركي متراجع بشكل كبير، ويتسلم بايدن الحكم في ظل موازنات جديدة في إطار الصراع على القطبية العالمية. فالصين لا تنفك تصعد فيما تُمسك روسيا بمنزلة أقوى قوة عسكرية تقليدية ونووية، هذا بالاضافة إلى أن الاقتصاد الأميركي لا ينفكّ يسجل الخسائر المتصاعدة، بسبب المنافسات الدولية من جهة والكورونا من جهة ثانية، والتي تسببت بضمور كبير في التفاعلات الاقتصاديّة.

هذا يعني أن بايدن متّجه الى تبني أساليب بعيدة عن نهج ترامب القتالي غير المحترف والغوغائي.

فبايدن بحاجة الى التخفيف من الصراعات العسكرية والسياسية لمصلحة جذب عناصر اقتصادية من الخارج بوسعها ترميم اقتصاده الأميركي المتعثر وكبح الصعود الصيني ـ الروسي. بنظام تحالفات جديد يضيف على ما يسيطر عليه الأميركيون حالياً.

هذا يؤشر الى إمكانية أميركية لتعامل جديد مع ايران التي برهنت أنها قوة أساسية في الشرق الأوسط، وذلك لأنها تمسك بالموقع الاستراتيجي ومعظم موارد الثروة والنفوذ السياسي في الإقليم.

فهل هذا ممكن؟

هذا ممكن، إذا توقف الأميركيون عن مسلسل الضغط من أجل التطبيع مع الانسحاب من العراق وسورية وفك الحصار عن إيران.

انها العناوين المقبلة للحوار المفترض الأميركي ـ الإيراني الذي قد يؤدي الى أساليب أميركية جديدة تعمل ايضاً من اجل المصالح الأميركية، الأحادية انما من خلال اساليب مختلفة جذرياً من أساليب البائد ترامب التزاماً فقط بموازنات القوى الجديدة.

Syria’s International Conference On Refugees Is A Masterclass In Balancing

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria has mostly drawn to a close, as evidenced by the milestone event of the country hosting an international conference on the return of refugees, which resulted in several significant outcomes that speak to the masterful execution of its “balancing” strategy and raise hope that the Arab Republic will eventually transform into the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of China’s visionary W-CPEC+ corridor across Eurasia.

Strategically Disarming “Weapons Of Mass Migration”

Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees is a milestone event for the country’s war which shows that the kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror against it has mostly drawn to a close. President Assad’s keynote speech saw the Syrian leader thanking his Russian and Iranian wartime allies for their help getting to this point and encouraging his compatriots abroad to finally return home. He claimed that some of their host countries are exploiting them for financial and other reasons, strongly hinting that they’re being used against their will as “Weapons of Mass Migration” like Ivy League scholar Kelly M. Greenhill earlier described such a phenomenon. In connection with that, President Assad condemned those states which continue to impose illegal sanctions against the Arab Republic, which has disincentivized some refugees from returning home and thus results in artificially perpetuating this historic humanitarian crisis that was initially sparked by their external war of regime change aggression against his people through terrorist means.

Syria’s “Balancing” Act

Thankfully, Syria can count on its Russian and Iranian wartime allies to help reconstruct the ruined country and thus facilitate the return of millions of refugees to their homeland. To this end, Russia promised to allocate $1 billion as well as open up a trade mission in Damascus while Iran suggested setting up an international fund for this purpose. Both countries seem poised to enter into a “friendly competition” with one another for reconstruction contracts and market space which can only work out to Syria’s ultimate benefit. The Arab Republic is therefore expected to retain its carefully calibrated “balancing” act between them, wisely doing its utmost to prevent the emergence of any complete dependence on either of them in the future. This strategy is consistent with what it’s always pursued over the decades and represents its masterful execution which too many other small- and medium-sized states previously attempted but to no avail. Even worse, many of Syria’s peers saw this strategy backfire on them, thus leading to either their ruin or full dependence on one partner.

Full credit goes to Syria’s world-class diplomats for being able to manage such a difficult policy with such success. Not only are they “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but they also managed to attract the important participation of other countries in their international refugee conference, most curious of which for some observers is Pakistan. Those who only casually follow Syrian affairs might have missed it, but Islamabad recently dispatched massive medical aid to the Arab Republic. This and its participation in the international conference show that the “global pivot state” (which the author previously referred to it as) is capable of bold foreign policy moves independent of its close American, Saudi, and Turkish partners. Pakistan, just like Syria, is also practicing its own “balancing” act between its aforementioned three traditional partners and its three newest ones of Russia, China, and Iran. In fact, it can be argued that Pakistan and Syria are in the process of synergizing their respective “balancing” strategies for the betterment of Eurasia.

Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria”

To explain, not only is Syria “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but also between India and Pakistan too. Although Damascus and Delhi have a long history of close relations, Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shabaan told the Hindustan Times in August 2017 that her country is becoming hesitant about India’s role in its reconstruction after Prime Minister Modi’s highly publicized trip to “Israel” where he did everything from sign intergovernmental deals solidifying their de-facto alliance to even walking barefoot with Netanyahu along the beach. The author realized at the time that this is “Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria” whereby Islamabad could flex its anti-Zionist credentials to present itself as a much more credible partner than pro-Zionist Delhi in pursuit of strengthening the two state’s historic relations that reached their high point in 1974 after a Pakistani pilot flying a Syrian jet shot down an “Israeli” fighter flying over the occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s diplomats were evidently receptive to Pakistan’s outreaches, hence the steady improvement of ties.

The Winding Road To W-CPEC+

It’s not just nostalgia for their Old Cold War-era ties nor their shared hatred of “Israel” that’s bringing them closer together nowadays, but pro-Chinese Silk Road pragmatism. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), and its western branch corridor (W-CPEC+) through Iran has the chance of not only reaching Russia by running parallel with the stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) across Azerbaijan but can also extend as far as Syria via Iraq. China is the little-discussed third economic force apart from Russia and Iran which is engaged in a “friendly competition” with its partners to develop Syria, and the improvement of Syrian-Pakistani relations as is presently happening could result in W-CPEC+ extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean through Iran, Iraq, and Syria, all of which are allied with one another. It’ll of course take a lot of political will from all sides — not least of all Pakistan — to see this ambitious vision through, but if successful, then it could revolutionize Mideast geopolitics.

All five countries — China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and Syria — would benefit from this outcome. The People’s Republic is the world’s second-largest economy and actively eyeing more positions in the Eastern Mediterranean to complement its prospective ones in “Israel”, albeit via more geopolitically reliable mainland routes than the maritime ones connecting it to the self-professed “Jewish State”. Pakistan has an interest in bolstering its credential as the “global pivot state” by having CPEC serve as the platform for integrating Eurasia more closely together. Iran, which is desperately seeking all manner of sanctions relief, is reportedly negotiating a gargantuan economic agreement with China and would certainly benefit by facilitating more East-West trade through its territory. As for Russia, its recent control over Tartus means that it could profit from any Syrian export of Chinese products through that port. As for the Arab Republic itself, its expected benefit is that this vision would accelerate its reconstruction and allow it to finally actualize its pre-war “Five Seas Strategy”.

Concluding Thoughts

All told, Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees was about much more than just its titular topic. Reading between the lines of the details that have since been revealed about this milestone event, it was actually a masterclass in Syria’s “balancing” strategy. The Arab Republic proved that its diplomats are among the most highly skilled in the world after successfully “balancing” between Russia and Iran, as well as India and Pakistan, all with the aim of fulfilling its visionary “Five Seas Strategy” which some argue was partially responsible for provoking the Hybrid War of Terror that’s been viciously waged against it for almost an entire decade already. In the best-case scenario, Syria will eventually serve as the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of the W-CPEC+ corridor connecting that strategic body of water with the Pacific Ocean via a several-country-long mainland commercial corridor. The successful fulfillment of this vision would revolutionize not only Mideast geopolitics, but also Eurasian geopolitics as a whole, which thus makes it an urgent priority for all.

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