Why’s The EU’s Infowar Outlet Implying A Conspiracy About US Policy Towards The Taliban?

14 SEPTEMBER 2021

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Why

American officials should investigate what’s really going on with this infowar outlet, even if they do so discretely considering how sensitive this provocation is.

The EU is generally regarded as subservient to America’s grand strategic interests, but one of its infowar outlets just surprisingly implied a conspiracy about US policy towards the Taliban by hinting that it might be influenced by a Russian “conspiracy narrative”, as incredulous as this innuendo sounds. “EU vs. Disinfo”, the self-described “flagship project of the European External Action Service’s East Stratcom Task Force” (the EEAS being the self-described “EU’s diplomatic service”) that functions as one of the bloc’s top infowar instruments against Russia, already had its claim about last summer’s Belarus-Wagner provocation debunked by CNN just last week.

It’s now further worsening its already fraught credibility through its recent article about “9/11 And Russia’s Descend From Dialogue To Feeding Conspiracy Narratives”. The unnamed writer began their piece by informing readers that “A closer look at how disinformation found its way into Russian state-owned and pro-Kremlin media illustrate the instrumentalisation of conspiracy theories.” The portion of pertinence to this analysis is that article’s final section titled “2021: The Next Phase – Down With US, Moderate Taliban” where the anonymous author pushes forth what can objectively be described as a genuine conspiracy theory.

They very strongly implied that the description of “the Taliban as moderate, sensible and pragmatic” is part of the earlier speculated “instrumentalisation of conspiracy theories” by the Kremlin, yet this innuendo directly contradicts the US’ policy towards that group. This very strongly suggests that one of Russia’s alleged “conspiracy narratives” is successfully influencing America’s stance towards the Taliban. After all, US officials including President Joe Biden, Chair of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Mark Milley, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have publicly articulated policies which imply that the group is “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”.

The American leader explained on 26 August after ISIS-K‘s Kabul Airport terrorist attack that his country was cooperating with the Taliban during the ongoing withdrawal from the country at that time not because they trust one another but due to the group’s “self-interest”. This is the very definition of pragmatism, especially since he acknowledged going as far as having his government give the names of fleeing Americans and others to Taliban members in order to help them pass through the group’s checkpoints en route to the airport. Quite obviously, the Commander in Chief regards the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”.

His top military leader is no different. General Milley said on 1 September that “It’s possible” that the Pentagon might cooperate with the Taliban against ISIS-K. It’s difficult to imagine that he’d ever publicly countenance doing this if he didn’t share President Biden’s implied assessment of the group as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”. Secretary of State Blinken, meanwhile, confirmed on 3 September that “We continue to maintain channels of communication with the Taliban, on issues that are important.” The only reason why he’d do such a thing is if he also regards the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic” enough to talk with the US.

There have been no credible claims that any of these three leading officials have been exposed to so-called Russian “conspiracy narratives” or “disinformation”, let alone are operating under their influence, yet that’s what “EU vs. Disinfo” wants those in its audience who are aware of the US’ policy towards the Taliban to think. There’s no other sensible reason why they’d describe any assessment of the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic” as allegedly being the result of Russian “conspiracy narratives” and “disinformation” unless their taxpayer-funded writers were simply unaware of US policy and thus just made a major narrative blunder.

The EEAS should be publicly challenged to account for this infowar product which arguably implies the genuinely false narrative that was exposed in this analysis. American officials should also investigate what’s really going on with this infowar outlet, even if they do so discretely considering how sensitive this provocation is. It’s either a clever attack against their country’s political, military, and diplomatic leaderships by a supposed ally or an example of gross professional incompetence which should result in the writer and their supervisor being held accountable for insinuating that US policy as supposedly being influenced by Russia.

Fake News on Invented US Enemies: Focus on Russia

The Stephen Lendman Blog

Virtually all nations free from US control prioritize world peace, stability, cooperative relations with other countries and compliance with international law.

At peace with their neighbors and other countries, their foreign policy is polar opposite how hegemon USA and its imperial co-conspirators operate.

Ahead of Russia’s lower house State Duma elections — to conclude on Sunday — the Washington Post recited its customary litany of bald-faced Big Lies about the country and Vladimir Putin.

It lied claiming “the deck (was) stack(ed) for Putin (sic).”

It lied accusing Russia of running “fake candidates and jailing opposition figures (sic).”

Last month, Putin expressed “hope that the United Russia (party) will maintain its position and have an opportunity at the legislative level to take relevant decisions in the interests of the country,” adding:

“The party’s program is an important, fundamental document.”

“It is a living document that must respond to what is happening…

View original post 523 more words

MORE THAN 20 RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKES HIT GREATER IDLIB AS MILITANTS CONTINUE TO LAUNCH ATTACKS (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

 18.09.2021 

South Front

More Than 20 Russian Airstrikes Hit Greater Idlib As Militants Continue To Launch Attacks (Videos, Photos)
An Su-24 taking off from Hmeimim air base in 2015. IMAGE: Russian Ministry of Defense

On September 18, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) carried out more than 23 airstrikes on militants’ positions in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes took place as follows:

  • Ten airstrikes targeted the outskirts of the towns of Baluon and Mashoun in the southern countryside of Idlib.
  • Four airstrikes targeted the town of al-Bara in the southern countryside of Idlib.
  • Four airstrikes targeted the town of al-Kindah in the western countryside of Idlib.
  • Five airstrikes targeted the towns of Kabani, al-Khudur and Barza in the northern countryside of Lattakia.

In the last few months, Greater Idlib militants stepped up their attacks in violation of the 5 March 2020 ceasefire agreement forcing the VKS to intensify its combat operations in the region.

One of the most recent attacks was carried out by Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group allied to al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The attack, which was carried out with mortars and recoilless rifles, targeted positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the northwestern countryside of Hama.

HTS and its allies appear to be unwilling to respect the ceasefire in Greater Idlib. This may force the SAA and its allies to launch a ground operation in the region very soon. Such an operation may lead to a confrontation with the Turkish military that maintains a large presence in the region.

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Iran – New Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Iran – New Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

September 18, 2021

Peter Koenig and PressTV

On 17 September 2021 Iran has become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It is an extraordinary achievement and new beginning for US and wester sanction-badgered Iran. On the occasion PressTV interviewed me on what this great move might bring for Iran. See the transcript below.

PressTV Question:

1.       Iran is finally a member of the SCO. It is said this solidifies a block to stand up to the West and US hegemony: will it be able to do that, and is the era of unilateralism over?

PK Reply:

First, my deepest and heartfelt congratulations for this extraordinary event – Iran the latest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – SCO.
Bravo!

Yes, this will definitely open new doors, prosperous doors with new relations in the East. SCO with the current membership covers close to 50% of the world population and accounts for about one third of the world’s GDP.

Being a member of this organization, will take a lot of pressure away in terms of western sanctions, western impositions, monetary manipulations via the US dollar as a remedy for payment.
No more.

Iran is now free to deal in her own currency and in Yuan as well as in any currency of the SCO members, because western-type trade currency restrictions do not exist in SCO member countries.

This will drastically reduce the potential for US / western sanctions and will increase on the other hand, Iran’s potential to deal with the East, i.e., especially China and Russia; entering partnership agreements with these and other SCO countries, benefitting from comparative advantages. It may open-up a new socio-economic era for Iran.

Also, in terms of defense strategy – although SCO is not a military defense organization per se, but it offers strategic defense assistance and advice – and as such is a solidifying force for member countries.
SCO also respects countries’ autonomy and sovereignty – and facilitates trade arrangements between member countries.

Having said this, Iran must not lose sight of potentially disrupting internal factors, like the so-called Fifth Columnists – those who will keep pulling towards the west, and they are particularly dangerous as infiltrates in the financial sector, Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, and so on. They are everywhere, also in Russia and China. But internal Iranian awareness and caution will help manage the risks and eventually overwhelm it. Russia has gone along way in doing so. And so has China. And so will Iran. I’m confident.

Again, excellent momentum to celebrate. – Congratulations!

——-

2.       Iran will also be part of the different regional bodies in neighborhood regions, including Eurasia, that could spontaneously break the “sanctions wall” and lead to diversified fruitful foreign relations. Does this mean the US sanctions will not be as effective?

PK Reply

Yes, absolutely. Regional bodies and trading arrangements within Eurasia – such as The Eurasian Economic Union – EAEU – has an integrated single market of 180 million people and a GDP of some 5 trillion dollars equivalent and growing. It covers eight countries of which 3 have observer status.

Other than trading with the members of the Eurasian Economic Union, the EAEU also has trading agreements as an entity with other countries, for example with Singapore.

Then there is maybe the most important trade deal in world history, the ten ASEAN countries, plus China, as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – but not the United States. Thus, no dealings in US dollars, no potential for US sanctions. This Trade Agreement is called The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It was signed in November 2020 on the occasion of the annual summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

RCEP countries have a combined GDP of US$ 26.2 trillion or about 30% of global GDP, and they account for nearly 28% of global trade (based on 2019 figures). Total population of RCEP countries is 2.3 billion, roughly 30% of the world’s inhabitants.

Negotiation of this trade deal took 8 years. The longest ever. And it will of course, take time to reach the full potential of integrating the sovereign countries economies. In contrast to the European Union, RCEP will to the utmost possible preserve each country’s sovereignty. This is important in the long-run, especially for conservation of national cultures, ideologies and national development strategies.

There maybe a good chance for Iran to negotiate early entry into the RCEP Agreement. It will definitely be a blow to US sanctions – and on the other hand a tremendous opportunity for diversification of markets, production and consumption.

Again, congratulations. Being a member of the SCO is an extraordinary achievement. As, I always say – the future is in the East.

Best of luck to Iran, with new partners and new friends.

—–
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also is a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

Russia Responded to an American Strategic Ruse With the S-500 (Sonar 2050)

September 18, 2021

Russia Responded to an American Strategic Ruse With the S-500 (Sonar 2050)

Translated and subtitled by Leo.

The government’s trials of the S-500 Promitey have entered its final stage and will be completed this year. The system became an answer to the old American trick of leaving the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. And it may be possible to open over Russia one more actual anti-air umbrella of an almost strategic level. Details are in this episode.

They Tricked Themselves

In May 1974, the leadership of the USA and USSR signed a treaty on limiting the number of anti-missile defense systems. By it, each base was to have not more than two areas of anti-missile defense with a radius not more than 150 km. In each of them, it was allowed to deploy a maximum of 100 fixed launchers capable of intercepting ICBMs. Soon after, the number of the allowed areas shrank to only one. The Soviet Union chose to defend the capital and the central industrial region. And the leadership of the US decided to close the silos with ICBMs located in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. But then later, the Americans decided to cheat. In December 2001, President George Bush stated the withdrawal of the US from the past treaty. He was confident that the American-made the multi-functional battle information system, Aegis, make the US invulnerable.

The system according to the design was supposed to shoot down everything. From enemy planes, to mid-range ballistic missiles. And due to the fact that its missiles were based mainly on ships, it could be brought closer to the Russian shores without extra coordination. Which afterwards started to happen systematically. And one time, an emboldened American anti-missile ship came into Sevastopol, which during the time was still Ukrainian. Military advisers to the American president convinced him that Russia is finished. And that it is so behind technologically where their counter-exit from the treaty wouldn’t become dangerous. But as the subsequent events have shown, the 43rd American president was cruelly mistaken.

New Level

Russian engineers not only brought out the strategic missile defense to the highest level, with the help of the A-253 Nudol rocket which we are talking about. There was a dash in development of tactical systems accomplished. Their job became the system S-500 Promitey. Which can be called “an answer to the American sneakiness.” The fact is that formally, the S-500 refers to the army system, which means it is not subject to any restrictions. On the factual possibility, it can be taken to the strategic level. The system has closed the gap between the strategic Nudol and the tactical S-400. Thanks to its mobility, it can quickly be focused to the most dangerous directions. And later, to change the position. With a few number of missile batteries, they could work at the same time, at suicide drones, strategic bombers, and the air command center which gives radio orders over the horizon, the same goes for the ballistic missiles, which the S-500 in one salvo can take down up to 10 of them at the same time.

In the near future, after the state-testing is complete, there will be a series production of the S-500, and its delivery to the troops will begin. It is possible that it will be not only be under the Air Defense Forces (PVO) of the army brigades, in the event of an aggravation of the international situation, a new brigade of a new actual strategic level will begin to form to cover the most important regions of the country, including Crimea. One way or another, the funeral guessing of Russia by American advisers turned out to be premature as always.

Zakharova: The US is No Longer A “World Leader”

September 16, 2021 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova divulges the US no longer holds the position of a “world leader.”

See the source image
Russian Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

The Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry divulged that the US is no longer close to the position of a world leader, especially when it comes to democracy.

In response to Washington’s criticism of Moscow’s democratic record, Zakharova stated on a talk show broadcast on Russian Channel One, that every country and its leader must solve their internal problems.

Zakharova expressed that any country that is ideal and practices such high standards would be in a position to educate others, shedding light on the many domestic issues in the US.

The Russian Spokeswoman has previously attacked the US and its policies, stressing that before the US speaks of “law” it should hold itself accountable for what it did in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

In response to the arrest of Alexey Navalny, Zakharova advised the US National Security Adviser, Jack Sullivan, to focus on the US’s internal conflicts and respect international law.

US KEEPS ACCUSING OTHER COUNTRIES OF BEING BEHIND ENIGMATIC MICROWAVE ATTACKS

15.09.2021 

South Front

US Keeps Accusing Other Countries Of Being Behind Enigmatic Microwave Attacks

In a recent report, researchers concluded that generic symptoms are being manipulated to create a narrative about the existence of a new disease.

Written by Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Washington continues to insist on the existence of a “syndrome” that affects its diplomats in Cuba and China. In addition to the complete lack of scientific evidence in the alleged cases of reported health problems, there is a strong conspiratorial content in the accusations against the Cuban and Chinese governments – which, according to US officials, are using microwave weapons to attack American and Canadian diplomats. In this debate, which confronts not only different geopolitical interests, but also science and conspiracy theories, new international tensions have arisen every day.

What has come to be commonly called the “Havana syndrome” is an alleged clinical phenomenon in which patients report symptoms such as tinnitus, nausea, and severe headaches, often resulting in critical hearing and cognitive damage. It would be almost irrelevant to public opinion if these symptoms were reported by ordinary patients, but they are mostly American and Canadian diplomats and officials based in Havana. The mysterious “disease” became worldly known in 2017, some months after the first alleged cases were reported, in the previous year. In 2018, some cases also began to be reported on Chinese soil. Last month, Kamala Harris delayed her scheduled trip to Vietnam after reports of the syndrome in the Asian country.

In a report published by the US State Department in December 2020, American investigators concluded that the “real” cause of the assumed cases of the mysterious “syndrome” that has affected diplomats in Havana and Beijing since 2016 was the action of “microwave radiation weapons”, which are supposedly being used to direct attacks against American and Canadian citizens abroad. Since then, several criticisms have been made to the report, mainly regarding the uncertainties about the investigative method used. Now, Cuba is formally responding to the accusations.

Investigators from the Cuban Academy of Sciences have recently stated that there is no evidence to support the claims made in the Washington’s report. Unlike American research, whose methods remain dubious and obscure, Havana formed a team of scientists that included neurologists, physicists, psychologists and otorhinologists to carry out the investigation.

At the end of the research, a detailed and conclusive report was prepared, being published in the “Cubadebate” newspaper, where we can read: “Neither the Cuban police, nor the FBI, nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have discovered evidence of ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Havana despite intense investigations… We conclude that the narrative of the ‘mysterious syndrome’ is not scientifically acceptable in any of its components (…) No known form of energy can selectively cause brain damage (with laser-like precision) under the conditions described for the alleged incidents in Havana”.

One of the main conclusions of the Cuban report is that such “syndrome” pointed out by Washington, apparently, does not refer to a single phenomenon. Symptoms such as nosebleeds, nausea, headaches, and tinnitus can be associated with different diseases of completely distinct causes. What Washington is doing is simply pointing out common symptoms as a single disease and using this narrative to make accusations against some of its main geopolitical rivals. Furthermore, the Cubans pointed out that the alleged operations with microwave radiation suggested by the Americans violate some basic laws of physics, which is why such allegations could not be considered credible.

It is also necessary to say that Cuban researchers asked Washington for access to scientific data allegedly collected that led American scientist to reach the conclusions announced in December of last year. Acting undiplomatically, Washington denied. So, if there is in fact any data that points to something different from the conclusions reached by the Cubans, the investigators simply could not access it.

It is important to remember that recently CIA Director William Burns accused Russia of being behind the enigmatic microwave attacks. Moscow called the statements “totally absurd”. However, Washington seems to be interested in investing more and more in the narrative that there are indeed planned attacks against its agents abroad, resulting in a terrible and mysterious illness.

This seems quite in keeping with the recent rise in anti-scientific accusations made by Washington against its international rivals. The narrative that Beijing developed the new coronavirus in laboratory, for example, is another sign that scientific plausibility no longer puts an end to the war of narratives that the US has declared on its opponents. By pointing to the existence of a syndrome caused by microwave attacks, the US government has come to accuse its enemy countries of possessing advanced technology of which there is no evidence of existing. Officially, a conspiracy theory is guiding part of American foreign policy and causing changes in the country’s diplomacy – such as the reduction of diplomatic staff in countries where there are cases of the “disease”, for example.

Health cannot be politicized, and science cannot be diminished in favor of political interests. It is important that the international society intervenes in the case and that the alleged syndrome is investigated in an impartial way by experts from around the world, to conclude if it is in fact a new disease emerging or if isolated cases of symptoms common to pre-existing diseases are being manipulated to generate a new political narrative.

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بوتين والأسد يفتتحان المرحلة الجديدة

 ناصر قنديل
إدلب إلى الواجهة مجدّداً: هل يتكرّر سيناريو «M5»؟

يقدم الاجتماع الهام الذي جمع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين بالرئيس السوري بشار الأسد في موسكو، تأكيداً جديداً على ما أظهرته أحداث السنوات العشر الماضية من إشارات لموقع ومكانة سورية في معادلات المنطقة، بعدما أريد لهذه الأحداث ان تمحو تلك المكانة التي حجزتها سورية على مدى عقود ماضية، وتكمن أهمية لقاء الرئيسين بوتين والأسد أنه يأتي في لحظة تقاطع جملة أحداث دولية وإقليمية وسورية، ليشكل نقطة انطلاق لمسار جديد ترتسم معالمه بسرعة بعد جمود امتد لسنوات في ملفات المنطقة منذ إعلان الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم النووي مع إيران، ضمن سياق تصعيدي لكسر جبهة المواجهة التي تضم روسيا والصين وإيران وسورية ودول وقوى آسيوية أخرى، جمعها السعي لكسر مشروع الهيمنة الأميركية على أكبر قارات العالم مساحة وسكاناً، والتي تختزن أكثر من نصف ثروات العالم وأكثر من نصف قدرات العالم العسكرية، فصمدت جبهة المواجهة ونجحت باحتواء عاصفة التصعيد.

خلال هذا العام ومع تسلم الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، شهدت آسيا تكريساً لتفاهم القوى الصاعدة في آسيا على قطع الطريق أمام عروض الصفقات الثنائية التي توهمت إدارة الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جو بايدن أنها سياسة قادرة على استعادة زمام المبادرة، وبدأت ملامح التسليم الأميركي بالفشل مع الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، الذي تزامن مع انتقال دول وقوى محور المقاومة إلى الهجوم لكسر خطط الحصار الأميركية، فخرجت فلسطين منتصرة من معركة سيف القدس، وخرجت إيران بانتخاباتها الرئاسية تحمل راية القائد الجنرال قاسم سليماني بإخراج القوات الأميركية من المنطقة، وبلغ الملف النووي الإيراني مراتب علمية تضع واشنطن بين خيارات أحلاها مر، فإما تقبل بلوغ إيران اللحظة النووية الحرجة المتمثلة بامتلاك كمية من اليورانيوم المخصب على درجة عالية تكفي لتصنيع قنبلة نووية، أو الانكفاء عن الشروط وقبول العودة بلا شروط إلى الاتفاق النووي، وتوج هذا الهجوم المعاكس مشهد السفن الإيرانية التي استقدمها حزب الله تحت شعار السفن قطعة أرض لبنانية، لتنقلب واشنطن من خط الحصار إلى البدء بفك الحصار من باب التراجع عن بعض عقوبات قانون قيصر لتتيح نقل الغاز من مصر والكهرباء من الأردن عبر سورية إلى لبنان.

موسكو كانت على ضفة التلقي لكل هذه المتغيرات المتحركة، حتى جاءت زيارة المبعوث الأميركي الخاص بالملف الإيراني روبرت مالي إلى موسكو مدخلاً لإحداث النقلة في السياسات، فسورية هي حجر الرحى في معادلات المنطقة، وقد باءت كل محاولات تجاوزها بالفشل، بمثل ما فشلت خلال السنوات الماضية مشاريع إسقاطها وتفتيبها، فلا شام جديد فاعل بلا الشام، ولا قمة جوار العراق تنجح بلا الجار الأول، وواشنطن تعترف بفشل العقوبات في صناعة السياسة كما اعترفت بفشل القوة العسكرية بصناعتها وفقاً لتوصيف الرئيس بايدن لحاصل الحرب في أفغانستان، ويحضر العرض الروسي على طاولة المباحثات، تشجيع روسي لإيران للعودة إلى مفاوضات فيينا وإنجاز تفاهم تقني أولي مع الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية مقابل التزام أميركي بالتخلي عن الأوهام التي عطلت التوصل لتفاهم في جولات فيينا يضمن العودة إلى الاتفاق الأصلي من دون تعديلات وشروط وإضافات، ودعوة روسية لواشنطن لحسم أمر الانسحاب من سورية لقوات أميركية تتواجد بصورة غير شرعية، لحساب تولي موسكو مواصلة الحرب على “داعش” وإدارة الحوار بين الجماعات الكردية التي ترعاها واشنطن والدولة السورية وتنشيط العملية السياسية، بما يفتح الباب لسقوط الذريعة التركية للبقاء في شمال غربي سورية. وجاءت المعارك التي خاضها الجيش السوري في منطقة الجنوب، والتي انتهت بدخوله إلى درعا تحت نظر قاعدة التنف لتقول لجميع الجماعات الموهومة بالإسناد الأميركي أن مرحلة جديدة قد بدأت، وأن بسط سيطرة الدولة السورية على كامل أراضيها تنطلق.

يدرك الأميركيون معنى فقدان المشروعية الداخلية والخارجية للبقاء في سورية والعراق بعد انسحابهم من أفغانستان، بعدما فقدوا شرعية هذا البقاء في العراق بعد مطالبتهم من مجلس النواب العراقي بالانسحاب، بينما لم يملكوا شرعية وجودهم في سورية يوماً، كما يدرك الأميركيون أن فترة السماح المتاحة أمامهم لإعلان الانسحاب لن تطول قبل أن تبدأ عمليات المقاومة باستهدافهم، ويدركون أن المخرج المتاح بأقل الخسائر هو تظهير الانسحاب من سورية كحلقة من حلقات تقاسم مهام الحرب على الإرهاب مع روسيا، وإظهار نية التشارك مع موسكو في الدفع باتجاه تنشيط فرص الحل السياسي في سورية على قاعدة التراجع التدريجي عن العقوبات وفكفكتها لحساب توفيرالتمويل لإعادة النازحين وإعادة الإعمار، كما قالت دراسة الدبلوماسي الأميركي السابق الخبير بشؤون سورية جيفيري فيلتمان، ونصائح السفير الأميركي السابق لدى سورية روبرت فورد.

مرحلة جديدة في المنطقة ستبدأ من سورية، وفرص يمكن أن يلتقطها، ويفترض أن يلاقيها بعض العرب واللبنانيين كي لا يظهروا مجرد صدى للصوت الأميركي.

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Putin, Assad Meet in Moscow, Praise Mutual Anti-terrorism Achievements

Putin, Assad Meet in Moscow, Praise Mutual Anti-terrorism Achievements

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, congratulated him on the victory in the presidential election, praising mutual achievements in fighting against terrorism.

“I am very glad to welcome you to Moscow again,” Putin said at the beginning of the meeting.

“And, of course, in a personal format – with a very good result of the presidential elections. The results indicate that people trust you and, despite all the difficulties of previous years and the tragedies of previous years, they still associate the process of recovery and return to a normal life with you,” the Russian president said.

While receiving Assad in the Kremlin as part of an unannounced visit, the Russian leader said that Syria’s main problem is the illegitimate presence of foreign forces on its soil.

Assad said that the international terrorism knows no limits and spreads across the world like an epidemic.

He then highlighted that “Our two armies, the Russian and the Syrian have achieved significant results not only in the liberation of the occupied territories seized by militants and in the destruction of terrorism, but also facilitated the return of refugees who were forced to leave their homes, to leave their homeland.”

“Considering the fact that international terrorism knows no borders, and spreads like an infection throughout the world, our armies, I can state, have made a huge contribution to protecting all mankind from this evil,” he added.

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The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War

September 13, 2021

The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War

by Michael Hudson posted by permission

Mr. Soros has thrown a public sissy fit over the fact that he can’t make the kind of easy money off China that he was able to make when the Soviet Union was carved up and privatized. On September 7, 2021, in his second mainstream editorial in a week, George Soros expressed his horror at the recommendation by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, that financial managers should triple their investment in China. Claiming that such investment would imperil U.S. national security by helping China, Mr. Soros stepped up his advocacy of U.S. financial and trade sanctions.

China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity, instead of letting the economic surplus be concentrated in the hands of corporate and foreign investors, is an existential threat to America’s neoliberal priorities, he spells out. President Xi’s “Common Prosperity” program “seeks to reduce inequality by distributing the wealth of the rich to the general population. That does not augur well for foreign investors.”[1] To neoliberals, that is heresy.

Criticizing China’s “abrupt cancellation of a new issue by Alibaba’s Ant group in November 2020,” and “banishment of U.S.-financed tutoring companies from China,” Mr. Soros singles out Blackstone’s co-founder Stephen Schwarzman (Note that Blackstone under Schwartzman is not to be confused with BlackRock under Larry Fink) and former Goldman Sachs President John L. Thornton for seeking to make financial returns for their investors instead of treating China as an enemy state and looming Cold War adversary:

The BlackRock initiative imperils the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies because the money invested in China will help prop up President Xi’s regime … Congress should pass legislation empowering the Securities and Exchange Commission to limit the flow of funds to China. The effort ought to enjoy bipartisan support.

The New York Times published a prominent article defining the “Biden Doctrine” as seeing “China as America’s existential competitor; Russia as a disrupter; Iran and North Korea as nuclear proliferators, cyberthreats as ever-evolving and terrorism as spreading far beyond Afghanistan.” Against these threats, the article depicts U.S. strategy as representing “democracy,” the euphemism for countries with minimal governments leaving economic planning to Wall Street financial managers, and infrastructure in the hands of private investors, not provided at subsidized prices. Nations restrict monopolies and related rent-seeking are accused of being autocratic.

The problem, of course, is that just as the United States, Germany and other nations grew into industrial powers in the 19th and 20th century by government-sponsored infrastructure, progressive taxation, and anti-monopoly legislation, the post-1980 rejection of these policies has led them into economic stagnation for the 99 Percent burdened by debt deflation and rising rentier overhead paid to the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sectors. China is thriving by following precisely the policies by which the former leading industrial nations grew rich before suffering from the neoliberal financialization disease. This contrast prompts the article’s thrust, summarized in its summary of what it hopes will become a Congressionally supported Biden Doctrine of escalating a New Cold War against non-neoliberalized economies, juxtaposing U.S.-sponsored liberal-democratic imperialism against foreign socialism:

Last month, Mr. Blinken warned that China and Russia were ‘making the argument in public and in private that the United States is in decline – so it’s better to cast your lot with their authoritarian visions for the world than with our democratic one.[2]

Mr. Soros had seen the ending of the Cold War open the path for him and other foreign investors to use “shock therapy” to provide easy pickings in Russia, followed by the much broader Asian Crisis of 1997 as a grab-bag opportunity to buy up the most lucrative rent-yielding assets. He is upset that President Xi is not emulating Boris Yeltsin and letting a client kleptocracy emerge in China to carve up Russia’s economy – which made Russia’s stock market the world’s darling for a few years, 1995-97.

Right after the Asia Crisis, Bill Clinton’s administration admitted China to the World Trade Organization, giving U.S. investors and importers access to low-priced labor able to undersell U.S. industrial labor. That helped stop U.S. wage gains, while China used foreign investment as a means of upgrading its technology and labor to become economically self-reliant. It has not let its monetary system or social organization become financially dependent on “markets” functioning as vehicles for the U.S. control that Mr. Soros hoped would occur when he began investing in China.

China recognized from the beginning that its insistence on maintaining control of its economy – steering it to promote overall prosperity, not to enrich a client oligarchy fronting for a foreign investor class – would create political opposition from U.S. Cold War ideologues. China therefore sought allies from Wall Street, offering profit-making opportunities for Goldman Sachs and other investors whose self-interest has indeed led them to oppose anti-China policies.

But China’s success has creating so many billionaires that it is now moving to curtail exorbitant wealth. That policy has sharply cut prices for the leading Chinese stocks, prompting Mr. Soros to warn U.S. investors to bail out. His hope is that this will bring China to heel and reverse its policy of raising living standards at the expense of sending its economic gains to U.S. and other foreign investors.

The reality is that China does not need U.S. or other foreign money to develop. The Peoples’ Bank of China can create all the money that the domestic economy needs, while its export trade already is flooding it with dollars and pushing up its exchange rate.

John McCain characterized Russia as a gas station with atom bombs (neglecting to acknowledge that it is now the world’s largest grain exporter, no longer dependent on the West for its food supply – thanks largely to U.S.-sponsored trade sanctions). The corollary image is the United States as a financialized and monopolized economy with atom bombs and cyber threats, in danger of becoming a failed state like the old Soviet Union but threatening to bring the entire world economy down with it if other countries do not subsidize its debt-ridden New Cold War economy.

Presenting itself as the world’s leading democracy despite its financial oligarchy at home and its support of client oligarchies abroad, the United States has consolidated financial power in the wake of the 2008 junk-mortgage and bank-fraud.

Policy making and resource allocation have passed out of the hands of meaningful electoral politics into those of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector, and what Ray McGovern has called MICIMATT the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academic-Think Tank complex, including the major foundations and NGOs. These institutions seek to concentrate income and wealth in the hands of a FIRE-sector oligarchy just as the Roman Senate blocked reform with veto power over popular legislation, and Europe’s upper houses of parliament such as Britain’s House of Lords used similar chokehold power to resist government control in the public interest.

The rise of U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism means that the 19th-century’s fight to free markets from predatory finance sponsoring rentier parasitism and has failed. This failure is celebrated as a victory for the rule of law, democracy, property rights and even free markets over the authority of public power to regulate private wealth-seeking. Integrating the global economy along unipolar lines enabling U.S. financial interests and those of allied NATO economies to appropriate the most profitable and highest rent-yielding assets of foreign countries is idealized as the natural evolution of civilization, not as the road to neoliberal serfdom and debt peonage embodied in what U.S. officials call the Rule of Law.

What is the Rule of Law?

The United States refuses to join the World Court, or any international organization in which it does not have veto power. And it simply withdraws from international treaties and agreements that it has signed if its vested interests believe that these no longer serve their interests. This always has been U.S. policy, from the many treaties with Native American tribes broken by Andrew Jackson and his successors down through the U.S.-Soviet agreements ending the Cold War in 1991 broken by Bill Clinton to the treaty removing sanctions on Iran broken by Donald Trump. This policy has introduced a new term into the world’s diplomatic vocabulary to describe U.S. diplomacy: non-agreement-capable.

The evangelistic neocon administration of George W. Bush , effectively run by his Vice President Dick Cheney, followed the principle that “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” [3] To impose this reality on other countries, U.S. “intelligence” is selected, invented or censored to give the appearance of whatever reality is deemed to serve U.S. interests at any given moment of time. Past and present reality is redefined at will to provide a guide for action. Whatever U.S. diplomacy dictates is claimed to reflect the rule of law, giving the United States the right to definite what is legal and what is not when it imposes economic and military sanctions against countries that do not follow pro-American policies. The resulting dictates laying down the law are always wrapped in the rhetoric of free markets and democracy.

What is a free market?

To the classical economists, the objective of 19th-century reform was to replace the rentier class’s political power with democratic power to create state policies to either tax away land rent and other economic rent, or to take (return) land, natural resources and natural monopolies such as transportation, communications and other basic infrastructure needs to the public domain. A free market was defined as one free from economic rent – the land rent imposed by heirs of the feudal warlord landlord class, whose economic role was purely extractive, not productive. Natural resource rent was said to belong to the public domain as national patrimony, and monopoly rent was to be prevented by keeping natural monopolies in the public domain, or firmly regulating them if privatized.

The 20th century’s anti-classical reaction has inverted the concept of a free market, Orwellian Doublethink style, to create one “free” for rent-seekers to carve out free-lunch rent income. The result is a rentier economy in which land, natural resources and natural monopolies are privatized and, in due course, financialized to turn rent into a flow of interest payments to the financial sector as the economy is driven into debt to afford the rentier overhead and debt-financed asset-price inflation for rent-yielding assets.

The “freedom” of such markets is freedom from governments to tax away economic rent and regulate prices to limit rent extraction. An exponential growth of unearned rentier income and wealth in the hands of a sector diverts income away from the “real” production-and-consumption economy.

As for free trade, the United States also retains the right to impose tariffs at will (euphemized as “fair trade”) and levy fines and sanctions to prevent companies from being free to sell technology to China. The aim is to concentrate technological monopolies in U.S. hands. Any “proliferation” of technology (which is treated much like nuclear weaponry as a national security issue) is deemed to be “unfair” and antithetical to U.S. freedom to control the world’s trade and investment patterns in its own interest.

This attempt to promote “free markets” and “fair trade” is defended by U.S. claims to protect democracy against autocracy, and to intervene throughout the world to promote Free World members defined ipso facto as being democratic simply by virtue of being U.S. allies. Today’s New Cold War is all about maintaining and extending such a captive U.S.-oriented “free market” by force, from Henry Kissinger’s coup in Chile to impose Chicago-style “free markets” to Hillary Clinton’s coups in Ukraine’s Maidan and Honduras and her NATO-backed destruction of Libya and assassination of Qadhafi.

What is democracy?

Aristotle wrote that many constitutions appear superficially to be democratic, but actually are oligarchic. Democracy always had been the deceptive euphemism for oligarchy making itself into a hereditary aristocracy. Democracies tend to evolve into oligarchies as creditors expropriate debtors (the “rule of law” guaranteeing a hierarchy of “property rights” with creditor claims at the top of the legal pyramid).

The move toward democratic political reform in the late 19th and early 20th century was supposed to create rent-free markets. But the dynamics of political democracy have been managed in a way that blocks economic democracy. The very meaning of “democracy” is degraded to mean opposition to the government’s power to act against the oligarchic rentier One Percent on behalf of the 99 Percent. The resulting travesty of a democratic free market serves to block political attempts to use public power to promote the interests of the wage-earning population at large, and indeed of the industrial economy itself to avid financial asset stripping and debt deflation of markets.

In the language of international diplomacy, “democratic” has become a label for any pro-U.S. regime, from the Baltic kleptocracies to Latin America’s military dictatorships. Countries using state power to regulate monopolies or to tax rentier income are denounced as “autocratic,” even if they have elected heads of state. In this new Orwellian rhetoric of international diplomacy, Boris Yeltsin’s kleptocratic Russian regime was democratic, and the natural move to stop the corruption and depopulation was called “autocracy.”

What is autocracy and “authoritarianism”?

Foreign moves to defend against U.S. financial takeovers and sponsorship of client oligarchies are denounced as authoritarian. In the U.S. diplomatic vocabulary, “autocracy” refers to a government protecting the interests of its own population by resisting U.S. financial takeover of its natural resources, basic infrastructure and most lucrative monopolies.

All successful economie throughout history have been mixed public/private economies. The proper role of government is to protect economies from a rentier oligarchy from emerging to polarize the economy at the expense of the population at large. This protection requires keeping control of money and credit, land and natural resources, basic infrastructure and natural monopolies in the hands of governments.

It is oligarchies that are autocratic in blocking reforms to overrule their rent-seeking by keeping basic needs and infrastructure in the public domain. To confuse understanding, Rome’s oligarchy accused social reformers of “seeking kingship,” much as Greek oligarchies accused reformers of seeking “tyranny” – as if their reforms were merely for personal gain, not to promote general prosperity. The resulting Orwellian Doublethink is woven into the rhetoric of neoliberalism.

What is neoliberalism?

Neoliberalism is an exponentially expanding financial dynamic seeking to concentrate the world’s most profitable and highest rent-yielding resources in the hands of financial managers, mainly in the United State and its client oligarchies that act as proconsuls over foreign economies.

The liberal mass media, academia, and “think tank” lobbying institutions, policy foundations and NGOs sponsor the above-described rhetoric of free markets to create vehicles for capital flight, money laundering, tax evasion, deregulation and privatization (and the corruption that goes with emerging kleptocracies). Neoliberal doctrine depicts all public moves to protect general prosperity from the burden of rentier overhead as being authoritarian autocracy “interfering” with property rights.

What are property rights?

In today’s financialized economies “property rights” means the priority of creditor rights to foreclose on the housing, land and other property of debtors. (In antiquity that included the personal freedom of debtors condemned to debt bondage to their creditors.)

The World Bank has promoted such creditor-oriented property rights from the former Soviet Union to Latin American indigenous communities in order to privatize hitherto communal or public property, including land occupied by squatters or local communities. The idea is that once communal or public property is privatized as individual rights, it can be pledged as collateral for loans, and duly forfeited or sold under economic duress.

The effect is to concentrate property in the hands of the financial sector. That in turn leads inevitably to a failed austerity-ridden economy.

What is a failed economy?

Economies fail because of the rising power of vested interests, primarily in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that control most of the economies assets and wealth. A failed economy is one that cannot expand, usually as a result of becoming burdened by rising rentier overhead in the form of land rent, natural-resource rent and monopoly rent as the financial sector replaces democratically elected governments as central planner and resource allocator.

The FIRE sector is a symbiosis between finance and real estate, along with insurance. Its business plan involved a highly political dimension seeking to centralize control of money and credit creation in hereditary private hands, and to turn this economic rent. “free” from taxation, public collection or regulation, into a flow of interest. The effect of lending primarily to buyers of assets, which are pledged as collateral for loans, is not to create new means of production but to inflate asset prices for property already in place.

The resulting finance-capital gains have become the easiest way to acquire fortunes, which take the form of rent-extracting claims on the economy, not new means of production to support “real” economic prosperity and rising living standards.

Financialized economies are doomed to become failed states because the exponentially growing expansion path of debt accumulating at compound interest plus new credit creation and “quantitative easing” far exceeds the economy’s underlying growth rate of producing goods and services to carry this burden. These financial dynamics threaten to doom the U.S. and its satellite economies to become failed states.

The underlying question is whether Western civilization itself has become a failed civilization, given the roots of its legal system and concepts of property rights in oligarchic Rome. Rome’s polarized economy led to a Dark Age, which recovered by looting Byzantium and subsequently the East and new conquest of the New World and East and South Asia. For the past twenty years it has been China’s socialist growth that has primarily sustained Western prosperity. But this dynamic is being rejected, denounced as an existential threat precisely because it is successful socialism, not neoliberal exploitation.

In times past there always was some part of the globe to survive and carry on. But Super Decadence occurs when the whole world is being dragged down together, with no region able to resist the polarizing and impoverishing rentier dynamics imposed by the militarized imperial core. Following the U.S. lead, the West is cutting itself off from survival. Rejection of neoliberalism by China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is met by U.S. trade and financial sanctions whose self-defeating effect is to drive them together to create a state regulatory system (“autocracy”) to resist dollarization, financialization and privatization. That is why they are being isolated as an existential threat to the dynamics of neoliberal rentier decadence.

The Alternative

It does not have to be this way, of course. China is defending itself not only by the productive industrial and agricultural economy its socialist government has sponsored, but by a guiding concept of how economies work. China’s economic managers have the classical concepts of value, price and economic rent, that distinguish earned from unearned income, and productive labor and wealth from unproductive and predatory financial and rentier fortunes.

These are the concepts needed to uplift all society, the 99 Percent rather than just the One Percent. But the post-1980 neoliberal reaction has stripped away from the Western economic vocabulary and academic curriculum. The present economic stagnation, debt burden and locked-in zero interest rates are a policy choice by the West, not a product of inevitable technological determinism.

  1. George Soros, “BlackRock’s China Blunder,” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2021. 
  2. Helene Cooper, Lara Jukes, Michael D. Shear and Michael Crowley, “In the Withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Biden Doctrine Surfaces,” The New York Times, September 5, 2021. 
  3. Ron Suskind, “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004, quoting Bush-Cheney strategist Karl Rove. 

بوتين مستقبلاً الأسد: بجهودنا المشتركة وجهنا ضربة للإرهابيين

الثلاثاء 14 أيلول 2021

الميادين نت المصدر

في زيارة غير معلنة مسبقاً، الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين يعقد اجتماعاً مع نظيره السوري بشار الأسد في العاصمة الروسية موسكو.

بوتين يلتقي الأسد في موسكو: القوات الأجنبية عائق أمام توحيد سوريا
بوتين يستقبل الأسد في الكرملين

أفاد الكرملين، صباح اليوم الثلاثاء، بأن الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين عقد اجتماعاً مع نظيره السوري بشار الأسد الذي وصل إلى العاصمة الروسية موسكو في زيارة غير معلنة مسبقاً.

وأشار بوتين خلال اللقاء إلى أن “الرئيس السوري يفعل الكثير لإقامة حوار مع المعارضين السياسيين”.

كما هنأ بوتين الأسد بـ”النتائج الجيدة للانتخابات الرئاسية”، قائلاً إن هذه النتائج “تؤكد أن السوريين يثقون بك، وعلى الرغم من كل الصعوبات والمآسي التي شهدتها السنوات السابقة، فإنهم يُعوّلون عليك في عملية العودة إلى الحياة الطبيعية”.

وأضاف الرئيس الروسي: “بجهودنا المشتركة وجهنا ضربة للإرهابيين”، لافتاً إلى أن “الجيش السوري يسيطر على أكثر من 90% من أراضي البلاد، رغم بقاء عدد من بؤر الإرهاب قائمة”.

وأشار إلى أن المشكلة الأساسية لسوريا هي الوجود غير الشرعي للقوات الأجنبية على أراضيها، معتبراً أن “هذا يعيق التقدم على طريق تعزيز وحدة البلاد”.

ولفت بوتين إلى أن التبادل التجاري بين روسيا وسوريا ازداد بمقدار 3.5 مرة في النصف الأول من العام الجاري، كما أنه تم تسليم أولى شحنات لقاحات “سبوتنيك V” و”سبوتنيك لايت” لسوريا.

وبحسب الكرملين، توجه الرئيس الأسد لبوتين بالقول إن “جيشي البلدين أسهما كثيراً في حماية البشرية من شرّ الإرهاب الدولي”، مضيفاً أن “بعض الدول لها تأثير مدمر على إمكانية إجراء العمليات السياسية بكل الطرق”.

وأضاف الأسد أن الجيشين السوري والروسي حققا نتائج مهمة في تحرير الأراضي وتدمير الإرهاب، وساهما بعودة اللاجئين الذين أجبروا على مغادرة منازلهم.

واعتبر أن “الإرهاب الدولي لا يعرف حدوداً وينتشر مثل العدوى في جميع أنحاء العالم”، مشدداً على أن “الجيشين أسهما إسهاماً كبيراً في قضية حماية البشرية جمعاء من الإرهاب”.

الرئيس السوري أكد أن “أعمالنا السياسية سواء كانت في سوتشي أو في أستانة ساهمت أيضاً في تطبيع الحياة في سوريا”، مشيراً إلى أن “بعض الدول التي لها تأثير مدمر على إمكانية إجراء العمليات السياسية بكل طريقة”.

ووصف الأسد العقوبات المفروضة على سوريا بأنها “لا إنسانية ولا شرعية”، شاكراً “روسيا وشعبها على المساعدة الإنسانية التي يقدمها الاتحاد الروسي إلى سوريا”.

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President Assad Holds a Lengthy Summit with President Putin in Moscow

 ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow

Syrian President Bashar Assad held a lengthy summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, Monday, in Moscow, the summit lasted 90 minutes and the presidents were later joined by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Faysal Mekdad and the Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu for an additional 45 minutes.

The visit was unannounced earlier due to security reasons, though it was planned for, President Bashar Assad is accompanied by a large delegate of Syrian officials.

President Bashar Assad meets President Vladimir Putin in Moscow

At the reception, President Bashar Assad highlighted the joint cooperation between the Syrian and Russian states, peoples, and armed forces, in combating terrorism in Syria which also saves many innocent citizens around the world because ‘terrorism knows no political borders and does not stop at political borders,’ President Assad thanked Russia for its support and highlighted the negative work of countries that impose inhuman, immoral, and illegal siege against the Syrian people.

President Putin congratulated President Assad on the ‘well-deserved excellent results in the presidential elections,’ President Putin told President Assad that the Syrian people have high hopes in him, they ‘associate his name with restoring normal life in Syria,’ for the efforts President Assad is exerting in this regard.

‘We have delivered a blow to the terrorists and now the Syrian state controls more than 90% of the Syrian territories,’ President Putin added, he also highlighted the illegal presence of foreign forces in Syria who are uninvited and contradict the international law, hinting at both the US and Turkish forces without naming them.

The following is the video released by the Syrian Presidency with the full transcript in English:

The video is also on BitChute and YouTube.

The video transcript:

Thank you, Mr. President. I am glad that we meet today in Moscow. The joint anti-terrorist operation has been going on for nearly 6 years, during which the Syrian and Russian armies achieved great achievements, not only by liberating lands or by returning refugees to their villages and cities, but also by protecting many innocent citizens in this world because terrorism knows no political borders and does not stop at political borders.

Of course, in addition to the important results in the liberation of lands and the retreat of terrorists was the launch of the political process, whether in Sochi, Astana, or recently in Geneva. This process has been going on for about two years now, but as you know there are obstacles because there are countries that support terrorists and have no interest in continuing this process in the direction that achieves stability in Syria.

Some countries have imposed a siege on the Syrian people, which we describe as inhuman, immoral and illegal, nevertheless, we are determined in Syria, as a government, and as state institutions, to go in parallel in the process of liberating the territories and in the process of political dialogue.

Today’s visit is an important opportunity to discuss these two points in addition to the bilateral relations that a team of specialists in the two governments will follow up in parallel with our meeting.

I want to take advantage of this meeting in order to thank the Russian state and the Russian people for the humanitarian aid provided to the Syrian people, whether with regard to the Corona pandemic recently or with regard to securing all the basic necessities that the Syrian citizen requires in his daily life.

I would like to thank you and the Russian political establishment, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the efforts they made in international forums to defend international law, which at the outset states the sovereignty of states and the right of peoples to determine their future and destiny which managed effectively and strongly to prevent the exploitation of the process of combating terrorism in the world for political goals that serve the agendas of some countries.

Once again, thank you, Mr. President.

Honorable President, I am pleased to welcome you again to Moscow,

First, I would like to congratulate you on your birthday, and I also congratulate you personally on your well-deserved victory with an excellent result in the presidential elections, these results prove that people trust you, despite the difficulties and complications that Syria has gone through in the previous period, people associate your name with restoring normal life to Syria, which you are working hard to achieve including arranging the course of dialogue between you and your political opponents, and we hope that this process will continue.

Achieving this kind of synergy between all Syrian political forces will enable us to move forward in order to achieve a better future for the Syrians, many steps have been taken to achieve this, and thanks to our joint efforts, the largest part of the Syrian territory has been liberated despite all the difficulties and tragedies, and thanks to these efforts, the Syrian government today controls more than 90% of the territory.

The problem was the presence of some foreign armed forces on Syrian territory, in contradiction to all international references, and without permission from the Syrian government, which of course contradicts all international laws.

This gives you the possibility to make the maximum possible efforts to unite all the forces of the country to control the entire Syrian territory, as well as the possibility to reconstruct Syria as much as you can, in the absence of any armed forces in the Syrian territory.

But at the same time, unfortunately, we are still witnessing some actions by terrorists who not only control some lands, but also spread terror among the people.

The liberated areas are also witnessing the return of refugees, and I visited Syria with your kind invitation and witnessed with my own eyes how people return to their homes and rebuild their homes and work actively and energetically to return to normal life.

Our joint efforts are not limited to humanitarian assistance only, but also contribute to the development of economic and trade relations. During the past year, the volume of trade exchange increased by three and a half times.

At the same time, we are working together to get rid of the basic problem facing humanity, and I mean combating the Corona pandemic, we witnessed the supply of the first shipments of the Sputnik (7) and Sputnik Lite vaccines to Syria, we hope that, with our joint efforts, we will succeed in helping the Syrian people get back on their feet in the face of all these problems, including the reconstruction of the Syrian economy, social life and the health field.

Once again, I am pleased to welcome you, Mr. President. Welcome.

End of the transcript.

Russia Affirms its Support to Syria Economically, Politically, and Militarily

https://syrianews.cc/russia-affirms-its-support-to-syria-economically-politically-and-militarily/embed/#?secret=Ftd1XhBwWM

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عالم متحوّل… «إسرائيل» مجرد حاجز طيار وكيانات البترودولار ستختفي قريباً

 محمد صادق الحسيني

الخبر الآن هو سحب واشنطن لبطاريات پاتريوت من السعودية على رغم تزايد هجومات أنصار الله عليها.

‏ وأنّ الأميركيين يغادرون المنطقة نهائياً وإن بالتدريج على رغم خطورة التحولات.

ويقولون للعرب كما لليهود:

‏دبّروا حالكم بأنفسكم وكل واحد يقلع شوكه بأظافره…

البداية من أفغانستان والأمر سارٍ على سائر البلدان، وكذلك لبنان.

‏هذا هو لسان حال الدوائر الأميركية لمن يقرأ جيداً، الموازين في الميدان والتقارير في الكواليس.

والتي تقول :لن يطول الزمان الذي ستصبح فيه حتى القاعدة الأميركية المتقدمة المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية والتي اسمها «إسرائيل»، إلا وتكون على جدول الإغلاق مثلها مثل مئات القواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في العالم، وذلك في إطار تطبيق برنامج أو خطة أميركا أولاً..!

‏الكيان إلى زوال إذن ولو بعد لأي.

 وإمارات النفط والغاز والبنزين تختفي قريباً من خريطة الوطن العربي، بخاصة بعد تقرير اقتصادي للأمم المتحدة يتوقع إفلاسها في عام 2024.

وما سيسرع في ذلك انتهاء وظيفتها الكيانية التي استحدثت من أجلها.

باختصار مكثف: أميركا إذن تقرر تغيير عقيدتها العسكرية للمرة الأولى منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. وتأخذ قرارها النهائي بسحب عديدها وعتادها من مراكز الانتشار العالمي لإعادة الحياة إلى دورة الاقتصاد الأميركي الداخلية الكاسدة.

والصين في المقابل تتقدّم بخطى حثيثة بناء على رؤية استراتيجية ثاقبة لوصل شرق الصين بشرق المتوسط بطريق سريع يمرّ عبر أفغانستان وإيران من دون وجود عسكري غربي.

في هذه الأثناء نشرت وكالة «أسوشيتد برس»: صوراً فضائية قبل أيام تظهر سحب واشنطن منظومات «باتريوت» من السعودية على رغم تواصل الهجمات من اليمن كما أشرنا.

من جهة أخرى فقد علم من مصادر أوروبية استخبارية رفيعة، بأن واشنطن أبلغت الدوحة قبل أيام عبر وزير خارجيتها بلينكن، بأنّ ملف أفغانستان سيتمّ نقله بالكامل إلى ألمانيا، وأنّ دور الدوحة سيتحول إلى دور لوجيستي محض.

واشنطن هذه كانت قد أبلغت تل أبيب عبر وزير خارجيتها بينيت وغيره بأنها لم تعد مهتمة في أي خطط قد تفكر بها تل أبيب ضد طهران أو سورية أو حتى لبنان، فهي لديها ما يكفيها من مشاكل داخلية ودولية، وتتجه بقوة نحو مضيق «مالاقا» وبحر الصين.

إن أسباب ما ذكر أعلاه يمكن وضعه في تقدير الموقف الذي يستنتجه كل من يطالع بدقة التقارير التي يتم تداولها في الكواليس والأروقة الخلفية على المستوى الدولي والتي تؤكد ما يلي:

1 ـ كان قرار القوى الخفية، التي قررت أن ترشح ترامب إلى الرئاسه يتلخص في استخدامه لإنهاء الوجود العسكري الأميركي في أفغانستان و»الشرق الأوسط» أولاً ومن مناطق أخرى في العالم لاحقاً بعد هزيمتها في كل الحروب التي شنتها منذ ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية.

2 ـ فشل ترامب في ذلك بسبب ضغوط مجموعات الضغط اليهوديه في أميركا، ومنعه من ذلك بحجة الخوف على أمن «اسرائيل».

3 ـ لكنه بقي مصراً على تنفيذ الانسحابات وهو يسألهم عما تريده «إسرائيل» لضمان أمنها ؟ فجاء الجواب: تطبيع مع الدول العربية/ اعتراف أميركا بيهودية الدولة/ نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس/ الاعتراف بضم الجولان.

4 ـ تمّ ذلك ولكن القوى الخفية لم تتراجع عن قرار تصفية الوجود العسكري الأميركي تدريجياً في «الشرق الأوسط»/ غرب آسيا.

من هنا جاء تنفيذ قرار الانسحاب من أفغانستان على يد بايدن، الذي وصل إلى الحكم بموافقة نفس القوى الخفية التي جاءت بترامب.

5 ـ لا تراجع عن هذا القرار لأسباب استراتيجية تتعلق بالأمن القومي الأميركي على صعيد الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى.

6 ـ إذ إنّ الصراع لم يعد يقتصر على النواحي العسكرية وإنما اتخذ شكلاً اقتصادياً أكثر أهمية من الفترات السابقة.

فالصراع أصلاً اقتصادياً ينتج منه الصراع السياسي الذي يتحول، عند استحالة حسمه سياسياً إلى صراع عسكري…

هذا ما عرفه الجنرال الألماني كارل فون كلاوسيڤيتس بالقول «إنّ الحرب هي استمرار للسياسة بأدوات أخرى».

7 ـ إذن الصراع الاقتصادي الدائر بين روسيا والصين هو صراع وجودي بالنسبة لواشنطن. إذ لا يمكن لأميركا منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، على الصعيد الدولي بسبب شحّ الأموال الأميركية (النقدية) وتوفرها مع الذهب لدى الصين وروسيا والجزائر وإيران.

أي أن القوة العسكرية الأميركية لم تعد قادرة على تأمين المصالح الأميركيه من دون استثمارات أميركية ضخمة، كتلك التي قامت بها واشنطن بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أي خطة مارشال لإعادة إعمار أوروبا، والتي أدّت إلى استحواذ رأس المال الأميركي على ما يقارب 40 في المئة من الاقتصاد الأوروبي. وهذا هو سر سيطرة واشنطن على قرار أوروبا/ بواجهة حلف شمال الأطلسي.

8 ـ إذن لا بدّ لأميركا من إعادة بناء البنى التحتية الأميركية، بما في ذلك البنى التحتية العلمية والتكنولوجية، حتى تتمكن من الصمود، إلى حد ما، أمام التحدي الروسي الصيني الذي بات يفوقها بمراتب، والذي ستنضمّ إليه الهند، مضطرةً، في القريب من السنوات. وهذا يتطلب تقليص الوجود العسكري الأميركي في العالم.

 إنّ مجموع هذه التحولات الكبرى هي من سيسرّع في ضمور دور الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار، المقام على أرض فلسطين أولاً ومن ثم زواله في أقرب الآجال.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

الأسد الاستراتيجي.. هابوك.. فحاربوك..

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الاثنين 13 أيلول 2021

سماهر الخطيب

منذ أن تسلّم الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد مقاليد الحكم في تموز من عام 2000، بدأت معظم مراكز الدراسات العربية والغربية والأميركية عبر أبحاثها ودراساتها حول شخصية الرئيس الجديد لسورية وطريقة حكمه طرح العديد من السيناريوات التي حاول معدّوها في الغرف السوداء عرض أفكارهم وآرائهم حول شخصية الرئيس الأسد وكيفية السيطرة على سورية من خلال تفنيد سياساته وقراراته والبحث في تطلعاته.

شكل مجيء الرئيس بشار الأسد إلى سدة الحكم، مع ما يحمله من أفكار، استمرارية لمسار والده الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد وتطويراً لمدرسة الأب بما يحمله الإبن من أفكار استراتيجية عصرية، الأمر الذي شكل هاجساً لدى صناع السياسة وأصحاب القرار في المجتمع الدولي، خاصة أنه عبّر، مع أول خطاب له، عن رغبته في تحرير النظام السياسي والاقتصادي وتعزيز الديمقراطية في الداخل السوري، معلناً نيّته إطلاق عمليات لبرلة اجتماعية واقتصادية وقد أعطى الأولوية للإصلاحات الاقتصادية بهدف خلق الشروط الملائمة للدمقرطة السياسية اللاحقة، فعُرفت بداية عهده بـ(ربيع دمشق)، وباتت سياساته هدفاً للسياسة الأميركية التي لم تُرِد سورية قوية كعهدها.

لم يحدّد الرئيس الأسد فقط نهج سورية في المجالين الاقتصادي والتقني بل حدّد مسارها الديمقراطي؛  مسارٌ لم يكن مستنسخاً عن الغرب، بل هو خاص بسورية تستمده من تاريخها وتحترم عبره مجتمعها. وقال في موضوع الديمقراطية: «لايمكننا أن نطبّق ديمقراطية الآخرين على أنفسنا، فالديمقراطية الغربية على سبيل المثال، هي نتاج تاريخ طويل أثمر عادات وتقاليد تميّز الثقافة الحالية في المجتمعات الغربية. ولتطبيق ما لديهم علينا أن نعيش تاريخهم مع كل أهميته الاجتماعية، كما أنّ من الواضح أن هذا مستحيل، ينبغي أن نمتلك تجربتنا الديمقراطية التي هي خاصة لنا وهي استجابة لحاجات مجتمعنا ومتطلبات واقعنا».

كما انتقد الرئيس بشار الأسد منذ استلامه مقاليد الحكم «بيروقراطية الدولة» معتبراً أنها «عقدة رئيسية أمام التطور»، قائلاً: «لا تعتمدوا على الدولة ليس لديها عصا سحرية وعملية التغيير تتطلب عناصر لا يملكها شخص واحد.. السلطة بلا مسؤولية هي السبب في الفوضى» وتابع: «يجب أن نحرر أنفسنا من تلك الأفكار القديمة التي غدت عقبات، ولننجح نحتاج إلى تفكير حديث.. قد يعتقد بعضهم أنّ العقول المبدعة ترتبط بالعمر وأنها يمكن أن توجد مع العمر غير أنّ هذا ليس دقيقاً تماماً فلدى بعض الشباب عقول قوية حية وخلاقة».

خارجياً، بدأت القيادة السورية تعمل جدياً على وضع استراتيجية سياسية خارجية للبلاد، فأولت اهتماماً لروسيا والصين دولياً، ولإيران وتركيا إقليمياً، مع الحفاظ على مكانة سورية في التعاون العربي – العربي وتعزيزه، بهدف تشكيل ائتلاف لاحق يمنع الانتشار الأميركي وتمركزه في المنطقة ويحول دون إعادة توزيع القوى في الشرق الأوسط لصالح هذا التمركّز.

حينها، تخطّت سورية العديد من الصعوبات التي واجهتها منذ 2001، فعززت دعمها للمقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين واستقرّ وضعها الداخلي وحافظت على علاقاتها مع الداخل العراقي وتعاونت مع طهران وتركيا لبناء شبكة إقليميّة. وطيلة الفترة الممتدّة بين 2001-2006، واجهت سورية زلازل إقليمية عديدة كانت تنذر بالسوء والأخطار الكبيرة عند كل منعطف.

ثم بدأ الوضع بالتحسن منذ خريف 2006 وخرجت سورية من دوامة الأزمات والعقوبات التي فرضت عليها، وأخذت تتعافى تدريجياً وتستعيد حيويتها الإقليمية في الأعوام 2007 و2010 وتجدّدت علاقاتها العربية، خاصة مع لبنان والعراق، ومدّت جسوراً مع أوروبا والولايات المتحدة وتعمّقت تحالفاتها، وفي الوقت عينه، واصلت دعمها للمقاومة في العراق ولبنان وفلسطين. كما بدأت رؤية سورية الاستراتيجية لربط البحار الخمسة، المتوسط والأحمر والخليج والأسود وقزوين، بشبكة تعاون إقليمية، من خلال إقامة شبكات ربط للنقل البحري بين المرافئ السورية ونظيراتها في كل من رومانيا وأوكرانيا، أو من حيث ربط شبكات إمداد الطاقة الكهربائية أو الغاز العربية مع منظومة الطاقة الأوروبية عبر تركيا، كخطّ الغاز العربي الذي يتم العمل على ربطه بمنظومة الغاز التركية عبر سورية، وبالتالي بمنظومة الغاز الأوروبية، ليس هذا فحسب، بل إن هذه الرؤية تلقى دعماً من قادة الدول الإقليمية التي تشكل عناصر أساسية في هذا الفضاء الاقتصادي وينظر إلى توسيعه لربطه مع الدول المطلة على بحر البلطيق الأمر الذي يقع في صلب الرؤية الاستراتيجية لسوري، ومن ينظر إلى المشروع الصيني يدرك أنه استكمال لتلك الاستراتيجية.

تبيّن للرئيس بشار الأسد حال الفراغ الاستراتيجي الناجم عن الأزمات التي لحقت بالدور والوجود الأميركيين في المنطقة، قارئاً وجود تحوّل كبير في معادلات الجغرافيا السياسية وعلومها، مستنتجاً سقوط مفهوم الشرق الأوسط، مورداً البديل لمفهوم الأقاليم الجديدة، مقدّماً صياغته لمنطقة إقليمية تحلّ مكان مفهوم الشرق الأوسط هي منطقة البحار الخمسة، وفيها تصير روسيا وإيران وتركيا ودول أوروبا المتوسطية شركاء في إقليم جغرافي واحد، مخاطره واحدة ومصالحه متقاربة، داعياً إلى منظومة تعاون إقليمية بين القوى الكبرى لحفظ الأمن وقيام التعاون الاقتصادي.

في سبيل ذلك، أجرى الرئيس الأسد في 2 كانون الأول 2010 مباحثات في القصر الرئاسي في كييف مع الرئيس الأوكراني فيكتور يانوكوفيتش في سبيل تفعيل تلك الاستراتيجية عبر توقيع اتفاقية التجارة الحرة بين البلدين، ما أثار الغضب الغربي والأميركي الذي كانت له رؤيته الخاصة للشكل الذي ينبغي أن تتطور الأمور عليه. فكان هدف واشنطن فرض رقابة لصيقة على العمليات الجارية في الشرق الأوسط وكان أحد شروطها المركزية إضعاف إيران، إنما سارت الخطوات السورية الموجهة نحو توحيد قدرات الدول الإقليمية الكبرى بالتعارض مع المخططات الأميركية، فوقفت دمشق «عثرة» أمام تحقيق الاستراتيجية الأميركية في المنطقة.

تمّ التأكيد على التحالف الاستراتيجي بين إيران وسورية في نهاية شباط 2010، وقام الرئيس الإيراني حينها محمود أحمدي نجاد بزيارة هامة إلى دمشق التقى فيها الرئيس بشار الأسد والأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله، كما التقى رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس خالد مشعل والأمين العام لحركة الجهاد الإسلامي رمضان شلح، وأعلن الرئيسان الإيراني والسوري عن «التوحد أمام التحديات والتهديدات، وأنّ أيّ حركة يمكن أن ترفع التوقعات في الدراما الدولية في ما يتعلق بأيّ من الدولتين».

كما أعلن الرئيس الإيراني أنّ «على العالم أن يعرف أنّ إيران ستقف خلف الشعب السوري إلى النهاية، وأن الروابط  الإقليمية قوية للغاية». وأشارت أحداث اللقاء إلى أنّ حلفاً استراتيجياً يتكون ويتأكد، ويشكل جبهة جديدة في مواجهة التحالف الأميركي – «الإسرائيلي» ومن يسانده من العرب والقوى الأخرى.

أدرك الأميركيون حينها، أنهم إن لم يوقفوا عمليات توزع القوى الجديد في المنطقة فإنهم مضطرون للتعامل مع إقليم جديد تماماً وعلى درجة عالية من التضامن ومن المستبعد أن يكون مستعداً للخضوع لإدارتها بلا قيد أو شرط.

ويمكن لمتتبع السياسة الأميركية تجاه سورية أن يعلم مسبقاً أنها لطالما دأبت على محاولات «إخضاع» الدولة السورية والتغيير «القسري» للنظام، واهتم المحافظون الجدد بإمكانية السعي إلى فرض تغيير قسري للنظام في سورية. ففي عام 1996 نشرت مجموعة من المحافظين الجدد الأميركيين، بينهم دوغلاس فيث وريتشارد بيرل، تقريراً قدّمت فيه توصيات لرئيس الوزراء الصهيوني المقبل آنذاك بنيامين نتنياهو في ما يتعلق بسياسة الأمن القومي «الإسرائيلي» وهي تتضمن «استخدام القوة لتحقيق أهداف إضعاف واحتواء بل وحتى صدّ سورية».

كان على سورية أن تجري حسابات إقليمية استراتيجية لا تتخلى عن مواصلة السعي إلى توازن عسكري تكنولوجي مع «إسرائيل» ومواجهة حروب وأزمات أخرى اشتعلت في الوقت ذاته تقريباً. حيث استندت في مواجهة تلك التحديات الأقليمية إلى استراتيجية واضحة كرّسها وعدّلها الرئيس حافظ الأسد منذ 1975. بدأ الرئيس بشار الأسد استلهام دروس استراتيجية والده وفي أساس تلك الاستراتيجية كان بناء الجبهة المشرقية (جبهة لبنان وسورية والأردن والفلسطينيين تمتد من رأس الناقورة في جنوب لبنان إلى مدينة العقبة جنوب الأردن)، فعمّق علاقات سورية بلبنان والأردن والمقاومة الفلسطينية خلال السبعينات، وبات الدعم الذي تحصل عليه سورية من روسيا وإيران يوازي الدعم الأميركي لـ»إسرائيل»، معتمداً على ما قاله الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد في كلمته بمناسبة عيد الثورة في آذار 1992: «التحالفات الجديدة القادمة لن تكون كالتي كانت. التحالفات الجديدة ستبحث في مجالات حيوية.. إن العرب كمجموعة لم يفعلوا شيئاً لمواجهة المستقبل ولم يقدموا جديداً للتعامل مع العالم الجديد، وإلى أن يتكوّن وعي عربي أفضل يفهم أبعاد ما يحدث فإنّ سورية في سياستها وفي أفعالها تأخذ بالاعتبار هذه الأبعاد كما تراها واثقة أنها ستظل القلعة الوطنية القومية. فسورية لن تجامل ولن تساوم أحداً على المبادئ، خاصة عندما يتعلق الأمر بالأبعاد القومية هكذا نحن وهكذا سنبقى وهذا هو دور سورية القومي النقي ماضياً وحاضراً ومستقبلاً، مهما ضخمت مصاعبنا فالتسليم ليس خيارنا.. السلام الذي نقبله هو الذي يعيد الأرض ويعيد الحقوق وينشر الأمن في المنطقة وأقل من ذلك هو استسلام.. إذا كان أحد يظن أن المتغيرات الدولية ترضخ الشعوب فبئس هذا الأحد لأنه لم يستعد السيرة البشرية ولم يستوعب مدلولاتها وعبرها ولم يدرك أن النسيج النفسي والاجتماعي للشعوب يجعلها تنتزع من كل ظرف جديد خلاصة العناصر والإمكانات التي تجعلها قادرة على التكيف ومواجهة التحديات الجديدة».

بالتالي، فإنّ استراتيجية الرئيس بشار الأسد لم تكن جامدة، بل تعامل مع استراتيجيته كخياط ماهر يتعاطى مع رقعة قماش على طاولة يجري فيها تعديلاً وتفصيلاً لتتلاءم مع متطلبات المرحلة. فعكف على تثبيت استراتيجية سورية جديدة تأخذ بالاعتبار كافة المتغيرات. ومن جملة الدروس المستوحاة أنّ سورية لم تغيّر خطابها القومي، ورغم تواضع ثروات سورية الاقتصادية أصبحت دولة مركزية في المشرق العربي شديدة الاستقلال في قراراتها وخياراتها وهو استقلال أصبح نادراً بين الدول في العقد الأول من القرن الحادي والعشرين وأشار إليه كبار الباحثين الأوروبيين.

اليوم تواجه سورية تحدياً اقتصادياً يعود تفاقمه إلى أسباب عديدة أبرزها القانون الأميركي (قيصر)، وعُقوباته التي تريد عرقلة عملية التطوير، لكنّ من صمد وتصدّى لمختلف أساليب الحرب ببشاعتها فإنه سيدير هذه الأزمة بضراوتها.

هو الأسد الذي قاد سورية نحو العز والنصر…

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Taliban danger

SEPTEMBER 12, 2021

Taliban danger

by Batko Milacic for the Saker Blog

During the 20 years of Afghan occupation, which was initially quick and successful, the Americans and their allies failed to give Afghanistan anything. The impression is that successive US administrations initially had no strategy to pacify the country. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the country’s secular regime, abandoned by the Russians, held out for three years and collapsed only after being completely deprived of all assistance from Moscow. The allied international forces were still in the country when the government of President Ghani, which they controlled, left the capital at the mercy of the Taliban. Why?!

When Russians were in Afganistan, they not only fought, but taught the Afghans, sending one of them into space and building hospitals, roads and factories. Therefore, the Afghans, who fought on the side of the country’s last truly secular government, knew what they were fighting for.

What did the soldiers of the current Afghan army, let alone ordinary Afghans, have to die for? For the president who stole so much money that it didn’t fit into his plane? For kickbacks from US arms manufacturers who supplied Afghanistan with the equipment, all of which was inherited by the Taliban? Maybe for freedom and universal human values, which had allegedly been promoted for 20 years by numerous NGOs that squandered the money of American and European taxpayers?!

Ordinary Afghan people lives by the same rules as their distant ancestors; they don`t understand the advantages of Western culture. Two decades of US rule have cost Afghans nearly a million lives. They faced killings of civilians “by mistake,” cleansing of villages, forced prostitution and humiliation. And a small sliver of “Europeanized Afghans,” supporters of women’s rights, religious tolerance and freedom, are just as alien to ordinary Afghans as are the arrogant US military. Therefore, some Afghans greet the Taliban as liberators, while others have learned to tolerate them and believe that life will not get any worse than it is now!

However, there are still others, who have no other choice than to fight! These are representatives of ethnic minorities. Nine percent of the country’s population are ethnic Uzbeks, and 27 percent – Tajiks. Pashtuns make up 42 percent of the Afghan population and they are the main source of the support for the Taliban`s. The Pashtuns are backed by neighboring Pakistan, and provide most of the volunteers for the militants. As for the Tajiks and Uzbeks, they were the main pillars of the secular state. Their leaders, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Sr. and Marshal Dostum, fought the Taliban throughout the initial period of their rule. They are less religious and not all of them are willing to spend the rest of their lives living according to strict Sharia law. Fully aware of this, the Taliban were all set not to repeat the mistakes they made in 1996-2001. The ethnic minorities must not only submit; they must be deprived of any chance to rebel. Given the fact that the country’s new rulers are divided into several groups, this goal was even easier to achieve. For example, the Haqqani Network, which is even more radical than the Taliban themselves (impossible as it may seem), and has in its ranks a large number of Arabic-speaking immigrants from ISIS and al-Qaeda, has sent out its militants to Panjshir and other northern provinces, while the Taliban still pretended to negotiate with them.

Panjshir is a small mountain valley in the north of the country, which has never really submitted to any conqueror. The passes leading to it are easy to block, and the terrain of the province itself is very conducive to guerrilla warfare. At the same time, routes go through the province to China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, making it an important logistics hub. In addition, the sparsely populated valley (around 100,000 inhabitants) is rich in minerals, including emeralds, which actually allowed Massoud Sr. to hold out there for five years. This is why the Taliban are so eager to nip the local resistance in the bud. The only reason they needed negotiations was to improve their image in the world. In Washington, they have already been recognized as a “different” Taliban, not those who are responsible for the attacks on and killings of civilians. Well, you demonstrate to the outside world your flexibility and readiness for dialogue, and, who knows, maybe one day they will also give you diplomatic recognition! Naturally enough, Ahmad Massoud Jr. and Amrullah Saleh (also an ethnic Tajik), who had declared himself the legitimate head of Afghanistan, had no desire to leave the autonomy, give up their ability to maintain self-defense units and exercise real control over part of the government. Meanwhile, the “Haqqani Network” has already put the defense capability of the “lion cub of Panjshir” to the test.

The rest we know from news reports. After the Taliban and their allies suffered their first setbacks, drones suddenly appeared in the air, flown by Pakistani operators. According to numerous reports, Pakistani special OPs helped the Taliban break into the valley, resulting in videos from its center and from the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud being posted online on the morning of September 6. The “Lion” announced the continuation of the resistance and went into the mountains. Fearing for their life (and with good reason too) most of the local civilian population left with him. Well, the pro-Soviet forces in Afghanistan once also controlled the valley, while Massoud Sr. fought and eventually defeated them in the surrounding mountains. There is a big difference though. The best anti-guerrilla tactic is to deprive the militants of any support – in other words, “scorched earth” or genocide. With Panjshir completely cut off from the outside world, the Taliban simultaneously solve two problems – they will get rid of the disloyal population by killing them or squeezing them out to Tajikistan, and reward their supporters by handing them the houses and property left behind by the escaped local residents, thereby ensuring their loyalty and creating a formidable base against Massoud’s supporters. All of this comes as very good news for Pakistan, which has given the Taliban full control over the country and received access to the resources of the potentially very rich Panjshir.

Massoud Jr., who represents Afghanistan’s eight million Tajiks, will apparently be forced to fight to the bitter end. However, it looks like he will not be getting any outside help now that the White House has apparently decided to leave the region completely and has clinched some kind of secret deals with the Taliban or their patrons from the neighboring countries. How else to explain the position of Dushanbe? The Tajik authorities obviously ignore the situation, refusing to support their fellow country folk. Have the Americans allegedly guaranteed the Central Asian republic security against the Taliban if Dushanbe does not interfere in the process of Afghan unification? But how can one believe an old fox telling the sheep that the wolf will not touch them? All the more so, if the wolves have just bitten the red-haired deceiver?

A much similar situation has developed in Uzbekistan – the country that Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek and a graduate of Soviet military schools, who is considered a man of great courage, has fled to. However, this brave man with all his associates, including loyal fighters, has crossed the Uzbek border and disappeared. Unusual behavior for a combat-hardened general who fought for 35 years and never accepted Islamists. What was he promised? Security for the Uzbek minority? Or was he simply bought out? Or blackmailed? In any case, the last hero of all wars disappeared from the media radar without firing a single shot.

The information vacuum will allow the Taliban to quickly take control of the whole country. The world media will not write about the millions of victims of ethnic and religious cleansing simply because it will know nothing about that. If the “young lion of Panjshir” and Saleh do not receive real support in the coming days, they are doomed, along with their compatriots. Back in 1975, the world was blissfully unaware of the insane atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, who killed a third of their own population, simply because there was no one to write about this in a country shuttered from the outside world. In 2021, they will also try to hide the death of several million people, if only this is what Washington wants. And the White House does want a dialogue with the Taliban, forgetting about the victims of September 11, forgetting about the terrorist attacks across Europe and the hundreds of young men and women who died for “democracy” in Afghanistan. But what will the Taliban do after they crack down on Afghan minorities? Will it be peaceful construction? No, because radical Islam presupposes an eternal struggle against infidels in the name of a global caliphate and constant expansion. Its supporters have no need for music, literature, cinema – all these wonderful things created by mankind. They go to God through blood and violence, and they will go beyond their immediate neighbors. With a solid base and money from the sale of resources to China and Pakistan, the new Afghan authorities will become a unifying center for all like-minded Islamists – the holdovers from al-Qaeda and ISIS. As for the Taliban’s promise to get rid of the sprawling drug industry, which, during the 20 years of US occupation spiked from 120 tons a year to a whopping 10,000 tons, it is hardly credible. Indeed, why destroy what can be sold to infidels with profit and then be spent on a “holy war” bombing peaceful American and European cities. This is exactly what the Western world will get if it fails to figure out (and fast!) how to check the triumphant advance of terrorism from Afghanistan. True, judging by its escape from Kabul, the world policeman now urgently needs to talk this over with Moscow and Beijing. Otherwise, a new 9/11 may not be too far off.

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

September 12, 2021

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

by Andrei for the Saker blog

A.B. Abrams has just released a new book entitled World War in Syria – Global Conflict on the Middle Eastern Battlefields.  Here are two locations were you can order this most interesting volume:

For those who don’t remember who Abrams is, here are two of his previous contributions to the Saker blog:

The book got A LOT of praise already, so I posted a few endorsements at the end of this interview (see at the bottom)

Rather than offer my own endorsement or write a full review, I decided to interview Abrams about both his book and his views on the international aggression against Syria.  I hope you enjoy it and, yes, get the book!

Andrei


1)–Please introduce us to your new book!  Tell us what was your main purpose in writing it and whom, what audience, did you want to reach?

I wrote this book to provide one of the first comprehensive histories of the Syrian War published to mark ten years after it began in 2011. The book places the war in the context of both the history of Syria’s decades long conflict with Western interests which began in the late 1940s, as well as broader Western geopolitical goals in the region and beyond. The title ‘World War in Syria’ reflects an assessment of the conflict primarily not through the paradigm of a civil war, as is more common in the West, but rather as a global conflict which has pitted the Western Bloc and its regional partners against Damascus and its allies – namely Russia, Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. The war has seen special forces and other assets from all these parties deployed to Syrian soil, with the West, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel undertaking considerable military, economic and information warfare efforts to bring about the Syrian government’s overthrow.

The book shows the Syrian War as part of a broader trend towards countries outside the Western sphere of influence, namely the minority of countries without Western military presences on their soil, being targeted for destabilisation and overthrow. For targeting countries with significant Muslim populations, Western cooperation with radical Islamist elements to support such objectives has been common, as seen in Indonesia (1950s and early 60s), Chechnya, Afghanistan (1979-92), and Yugoslavia among others. These precedents are explored at the beginning of the book to provide context to Western efforts to employ similar means against Syria.

The book is not aimed at any specific audience, but at anyone with a general interest in the Syrian War, Western, Russian, Iranian or Turkish foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, contemporary military affairs, insurgency or terrorism. It follows a previous book published in 2020 on the history of North Korea’s 70 year war with the United States, which similarly sought to provide a comprehensive analysis of a major conflict between the U.S.-led Western Bloc and a targeted country including the Western way of war and the use of both economic and information warfare.

2)–Do you believe that Putin is “allowing” (or even helping!) Israel to bomb Syria? Or maybe the Russian and Syrian air defenses are totally ineffective?  How do you explain all the Israeli strikes?

Russia’s position on Israeli strikes has been interesting and caused a great deal of debate and in some cases controversy. I assess that Russian military intervention in Syria in 2015 had the limited goals of supporting counterinsurgency efforts and limiting Western and Turkish efforts to illegally occupy Syrian territory through the imposition of safe zones and no fly. The Russian presence has also served to deter Western and Turkish attacks, as evidenced by the vast discrepancy between the massive strikes planned under Obama to topple the government in 2013, and the very limited attacks carried out under Trump in 2017 and 2018. A longer term goal has more recently materialised with the entrenching of the Russian military presence in Latakia on Syria’s western coast, with Russia’s sole airbase in the region expanded and increasingly oriented away from counterinsurgency operations and towards providing a strategically located asset against NATO.

The expectation among many that Russia ought to prevent Israeli strikes on Syria may well be a result of the Soviet position in the 1980s, when the USSR threatened to intervene if Israel attacked Syria. This resulted in the confinement of Israeli-Syrian clashes that decade to within neighbouring Lebanon’s borders. A number of factors, however, mean that this is no longer feasible. Unlike in the 1980s, Israel is today far from the most pressing threat to Syrian security, while the discrepancy in military capabilities favours Israel much more strongly. Under the Netanyahu government, Russia also cultivated close ties with Israel as a valuable partner with a degree of policy independence from the Western world which could, for example, sell on sensitive Western technologies as it did with the Forpost drone to Russia or with American air defence technologies to China. Israel’s ability to act independently of Western hegemonic interests to some degree has been an asset to Moscow as well as Beijing to strengthen themselves against the West through cooperation. Thus the relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv is very different from what it was in the 1980s, as is Moscow’s relationship with Damascus, meaning that Russia will be less inclined to take a hard line against Israeli strikes.

Perhaps most importantly, the fact that Russia has not taken a harder line in protecting Syria from Israeli attacks reflects Russia’s much diminished power to influence events beyond its borders compared to the Soviet era. The Russian military intervention in Syria was its first major military action outside the former USSR since the 1980s, and was a major feat considering the poor state of the military just seven years prior in its war with Georgia. The Russian military is nevertheless already stretched protecting its own forces in Syria and deterring Western or Turkish escalation, which is far from easy considering how far these operations are from Russian soil. Unlike in the late Soviet era, Russia no longer has the world’s second largest economy, a large sphere of influence of developed allied economies for support, a blue water navy, 55,000 tanks or 7000 fighters/interceptors. Its military is capable, but if it took on Israel directly as well as Turkey, the West, and the jihadist insurgency at the same time for all attacking Syria, the risk of escalation would be significant and would force it to divert considerable resources away from its own defence – resources which are far more scarce than those the USSR had 40 years ago.

Russia has nevertheless deployed its top fighters the Su-35s, and on at least one occasion Su-34s, to intercept Israeli F-16s before they could attack Syria, which alongside the strengthening of Syrian air defences has made it more difficult for Israel to strike. Russia does not condone Israeli strikes, but they have not been an immediate priority. Although they are damaging particularly to Iranian interests, such strikes do not seriously threaten Syria’s stability and have generally pursued limited goals. While Israel has called for greater Western intervention against Syria in the past, Tel Aviv’s own limitations mean it is not looking to overthrow the Syrian government singlehandedly. This contrasts to Turkey, whose president has stated multiple times and recently in 2020 that the intention is to maintain an occupation and hostile relations until the Damascus government is overthrown. This also remains a long term objective for the West currently through economic warfare, theft of Syrian oil and targeting of crops.

Israeli aircraft have since February 2018 relied in the large majority of attacks on launching standoff weapons from a safe distance outside Syrian airspace, meaning for Syrian ground based air defences to engage them and they must instead intercept the missiles as they approach and cannot target the aircraft themselves. Syria is itself aware of its limitations, and against both Israeli and Turkish strikes it has refrained from escalating by deploying its own fighters/interceptors to attack the enemy aircraft. Syrian aircraft optimised for air to air combat have instead been held in reserve to respond to more serious full scale attacks like the kind the U.S. and is allies were planning in September 2013. As Syrian defences improve with the delivery of the first new fighters as aid from Russia in 2020, the refocusing of resources away from counterinsurgency, and the possible placing of new S-300 systems under Syrian control, the country’s airspace may again begin to be respected as it largely was before the war began. If Syria does begin to deploy fighter units for air defence duties it will reflect a renewed sense of faith in the country’s security, although Turkey rather than Israel is likely to be the first target due to the heated nature of conflict over the Turkish occupation of Idlib and the much weaker state of Turkey’s air force.

3)–I have always suspected that the former Syrian regime (of Assad Sr.) was full of Israeli agents.  My evidence?  The impossible to organize without top complicity murder of Imad Mughniyeh (his widows also believes that, by the way, she is in Iran now) or the huge list of defectors/traitors and other officials/officers who quickly took their money and joined the international war in Syria.  Has that now changed, do you feel that the government is stable and in control?

Based on my knowledge of Syria and Arab nationalist republics more generally, while strong fifth columns have almost certainly been prevalent they are unlikely to be predominantly pro-Israeli and much more likely pro-Western. Although Syria’s Ba’athist government aligned itself very closely with the USSR particularly from 1982, much of the elite and the population maintained strongly pro-Western sentiments. This included the current president in his initial years who, according to Western sources cited in the book, was looking to pivot the country towards closer alignment with the West while sidelining Russia, Iran and the Ba’ath Party. Many in the Arab world even in states which are formally aligned against Western interests aspire to integration and a degree of Westernisation, which has long been a leading weakness in Arab nationalist states’ efforts to establish themselves as independent powers.

The West’s colonial legacy provided a strong basis since the middle of the last century to cultivate considerable soft power in the Arab World. This was perhaps most clearly alluded to by Mohamed Heikal, a leading intellectual of the non-aligned movement and Minister of Information for the United Arab Republic, who noted regarding the political and military elites of Arab republics in the 1950s, 60s and 70s: “All the formative influences in the new leaders’ lives- the books they had read, the history they had learned, the films they had seen- had come from the West. The languages they knew in addition to their own were English or French – Russian was, and remained, a mystery to them. It was impossible for them to remain unaffected by all that they had heard about the communist world- the closed society, the suppression of thought, the ‘Stalinist terror’… they wanted to keep their distance.” Heikal stressed that many of these leaders would turn to the West for assistance “almost automatically,” as the psychology of colonialism persisted. Many of those who turned to a partnership with the Soviets did so only because they were given no other choice, having been refused by the West.

This remains largely true until today at many levels of Syrian society. Perhaps one of the most striking examples was documented by a journalist accompanying the Syrian Arab Army to the frontlines engaging Western-backed insurgents. While the West made war on Syria, it was clear that strongly Western supremacist sentiments persisted throughout the population as a result of Western soft power, with Syrian soldiers on the frontlines reported to exclaim regarding their country: “Look how beautiful this land is! It is almost as beautiful as Europe!” Such sentiments were common even in wartime. The idea of Western primacy and supremacy, long engrained across much of the world through colonial rule, remained a key weakness which made it far from difficult for the Western world to cultivate westphilian fifth columns. According to multiple sources, including British journalist Patrick Seale, this included the President Hafez Al Assad’s brother who had a love for all things American and for parties with Western belly dancers. In this way Syria and Arab nationalist states bear a strong contrast to Western adversaries such as North Korea, which placed a strong emphasis on political education and on ensuring new generations did not grow up seeing the world through paradigms that promote Western supremacy (see Chapters 18 and 19 of my prior book that cover that topic.)

Regarding Israel, while there are strongly pro-Western sentiments within Syria and the Arab world, there are also strong anti-Israeli sentiments which, combined with Israel’s lack of any comparable soft power, makes pro-Israeli fifth columns much more difficult to cultivate. It is highly possible, however, that pro-Western elements in Syria could be led to pursue actions which, while furthering Western interests, also benefit Israel as you mentioned.

4)— How did the war in Syria really start?  Can you give us a summary of the true story (the full story is in your book) of how what began with some local protests (almost) ended with the Takfiris in control of Damascus?

It is difficult to do this question justice with a summary answer as there are so many factors at play. One could trace the origin back to 2007, when following Hezbollah’s unexpected military successes against Israel the previous year the Bush administration began to perceive Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, rather than Al Qaeda, as its primary adversaries. This also led to the first mentions of the possibility of manipulating Al Qaeda-type jihadist groups with the help of regional allies (Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular) to focus on attacking Syria and other Iranian partners. By 2009 militants were receiving Western training for operations in Syria. Pro-Western activists in Syria and other Arab countries were also receiving training in the U.S. supported by the State Department, Google, Facebook and others on how to stir unrest using tools such as social media. Media networks and most notably Al Jazeera, which had a long history of being heavily influenced by Western intelligence, began in 2011 to be put to use to vilify the Syrian government, and the Qatari monarchy soon after would lead calls for a Libya-style Western assault.

On the ground in the war’s initial weeks the Syrian government faced large scale incursions by well armed and trained militants from across the Turkish and Jordanian borders, and simultaneously a number of largely peaceful protests against living conditions in some cities. Confusion was sown and the situation quickly escalated out of control. Mass privatisation of public property, years of crop failures, and disparity between the conservative Muslim rural population and the much more liberal lifestyle in major cities, were among a multitude of factors detailed which fuelled unrest and provided foreign powers with an opening to destabilise the country. These details are all fully referenced in the book itself as well as a much more elaborate explanation of the multitude of preparations and incidents which paved the way to war.

5)–Could you please compare and contrast, HOW the Russian and Iranian interventions happened, WHAT these forces did to turn the tide and then tell us WHAT the Russian and Iranian PLANS were and are for Syria – do these two actors more or less agree, or do they have different visions for the future of Syria?

The Russian and Iranian stances towards Syria have contrasted from the war’s outset, with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev administration in particular being openly resigned to seeing the Syrian state toppled and offering Damascus little in the way of support in the conflict’s critical early stages. Although Russian support increased from 2012 almost as soon as a new administration came to power, namely with arms sales and a blocking of Western efforts to target Syria through the United Nations, it would be three more years before Russia felt the need to deploy its forces. Iranian efforts to make a case for Russian intervention to Moscow, namely through Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani who met with President Putin in 2015, was an important factor.

Iran by contrast, alongside Hezbollah and North Korea, had boots on the ground from 2012-13 and were all committed to supporting counterinsurgency efforts and preserving the Syrian state. For Iran the fall of Syria to Western-backed jihadists as Afghanistan had fallen in 1992 was seen as unacceptable. As senior Iranian cleric Mehdi Taeb famously said: “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the outlying Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria… If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.” Iran has thus been much more heavily invested in supporting Damascus throughout the war than Russia has.

There have been similarities between Russian and Iranian support for Syria. Both have sought to support the Syrian economy with Iran emerging as the country’s largest trading partner shortly after the war began, although it has since been displaced by China, while Russia has shown a strong interest in post war investment. Both sought to avoid relying too heavily on deployment of their own manpower on the frontlines as the Soviets had in Afghanistan, and instead focused on arming and training auxiliary forces. Russia, for example, oversaw the creation and arming of the Syrian 5th Corps and provided T-62M and T-72B3 tanks from its own reserves, while Iran facilitated the deployment of allied paramilitaries such as the Afghan Hazara Fatemiyoun. Russia’s military intervention was aimed largely at demonstrating new capabilities to NATO, with many of its strikes meant more than anything as shows of force. An example was in November 2015 when its air force flew Tu-160 supersonic bombers from the Arctic around Ireland and through the Straits of Gibraltar to fire cruise missiles over the Mediterranean at insurgents in Syria before returning to Russia – which was initially widely dismissed by Western officials as phantastic before being confirmed several hours later. Iran’s intervention was significantly quieter and received less fanfare in local media, but was more persistent and tenacious due to the much higher stakes the conflict represented for Tehran. The Iranian and Hezbollah campaigns have also involved much more significant clashes with Israel, as well as with Turkey in Hezbollah’s case, while Russian units have seldom fired on or been fired on by forces from state actors. A significant number of other major contrasts between Iranian and Russian interventions exist, but for the sake of brevity I will restrict the examples to those above.

Although both share the goal of restoring Syrian territorial integrity and bolstering Damascus, Russia and Iran certainly have different visions in accordance with their very different ideological positions, which themselves contrast with Syria’s Ba’athist socialist party-state that is much closer to the USSR, China or North Korea than to either of them. Iran’s influence has led to the growth of Shiite paramilitary groups in Syria which have been major supporters of the Syrian Arab Army on the ground, but their presence contrasts with Syria’s long history of secularism and separation of religion from the state and the security apparatus. This influence may well have an impact on Syrian political culture and policies as it did in neighbouring Iraq. Russia under the current liberal democratic capitalist system, or ‘Western liberalism with Russian characteristics’ as some have referred to it, also has a much greater ideological gap with Damascus than it did in the Soviet era. Russia has been known to try to influence states to move in this direction with reform, most notably Belarus, and could well seek to have a similar influence in Syria. Syria’s ruling party, for its part, is likely to resist both influences but accommodate Russian and Iranian interests on its soil in exchange for their continued economic and military support.

6)–How do you see the future of Syria, Israel and the future of the Middle East?  What has that war changed?

The Syrian War, and the NATO assault on Libya which began almost simultaneously in March 2011, have reshaped the Arab world and Middle East profoundly by in one case removing, and in the other seriously weakening the two Arab states which had longest and most persistently opposed Western hegemony. From the late 1970s and early 1980s, as Iraq and Egypt pivoted to align themselves with the West, Syria and Libya alongside South Yemen and Algeria remained the only countries which had not been absorbed into the Western sphere of influence.

The Syrian conflict marked a turning point in several trends in regional affairs. The U.S.’ refusal to invest heavily in the conflict, particularly in 2013 when a full scale assault had been expected, marked an important step in the Obama administration’s Pivot to Asia initiative. This has since been carried forward by Trump and Biden to focus resources on countering China and North Korea specifically and reduce commitments in the Middle East. The Syrian War set an important precedent for how the Western Bloc could seriously erode an adversary at a very low cost. The campaign avoided the need for tens of thousands of Western boots on the ground as in Iraq and instead relied on jihadist militant groups, with much of the funding to support them coming from the Gulf States and Turkey. While the CIA was responsible for organisation and logistics and for coordinating between the insurgency’s Western-aligned sponsors, the Pentagon budget was not seriously affected by the war. A similar mode of attack was seen in Libya, although jihadists there were less effective and had a much smaller support base and Western air power was applied much more to compensate. Attempts to replicate this low cost means of neutralising Western adversaries are likely.

Other major turning points were seen in Turkey, where its attempt to play a leading role in forcing the overthrow of the Syrian government marked the beginning of a more assertive and interventionist foreign policy stance which recently materialised in its intervention against Armenia in 2020. In Egypt Western support for jihadists in Libya and Syria, and ties between these jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood domestically, contributed to alienating the Egyptian Military from the West after it took power in 2013. The region also saw Russia remerge as a major player with its first significant combat operations since the early 1970s. Moscow sought to use the strong impression its intervention had made to capitalise on discontent among traditional Western clients such as the Gulf States and Egypt and form new partnerships of its own.

For Syria itself, as the war largely comes to an end, the world in the 2020s is one very different from when the war begun with China having since emerged as the world’s leading economy and Russia having seemingly abandoned its hopes for integration into the West to pursue a more independent foreign policy. This shift has seriously dampened the impacts of Western sanctions on Damascus, with Huawei rebuilding its telecoms networks and China providing everything from busses to power generators as aid which make it far easier Syria and other Western targets in similar positions to survive. Nevertheless, the continued occupation in the north by Western powers led by the U.S., and in Idlib by Turkey, will continue to pose a serious threat until restored to Syrian government control. Occupied areas reportedly hold 90% of Syria’s oil output, which will continue to be illegally expropriated to undermine Damascus’ reconstruction efforts. Idlib meanwhile, as the largest Al Qaeda safe haven the world has seen since September 2001, continues to be a launching pad for jihadist attacks into Syria. Both Idlib and the northern regions could form the bases for Kosovo-style partitioning of Syria enforced by NATO, and for Damascus it will thus be a leading priority to prevent this and impose continued costs on Western and Turkish forces. An example of how this could be done was the Syrian government ballistic missile strike on an oil facility run by militants under Turkish protection in March 2021.

7)– Last, but not least, what is, in your opinion, the US end goal for Syria (and Lebanon)?

The primary goal is the removal of the Ba’ath Party and Syrian military establishment as organisations which can arrange their domestic and foreign policies and their security with a great deal of independence from the West, and are thus able to oppose Western hegemony in the region. Their continued existence has for decades been a thorn in the side of Western efforts to shape the Middle East in line with its interests. In Lebanon the same applies for Hezbollah. This is hardly a U.S. goal exclusively, but is shared by the major NATO members such as Britain, Germany, France and Turkey and is in the common interests of furthering Western global hegemony.

Should the West achieve its objective, what follows could be a civil war as seen in Libya after Gaddafi’s death, in which NATO powers support both sides to ensure any outcome is favourable to Western interests, or the establishment of a client government as the West recently achieved in Sudan with a coup April 2019. While five major motivations for making war on Syria are explored in detail in the book, at the heart of all of them is that the Syrian government was not part of the Western-led order, did not align itself with Western policy objectives against Iran, China and others, and did not house Western soldiers on its soil. This made the state’s existence unacceptable to the West, as did its close security cooperation with Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. Whether the outcome of Western intervention is a partitioning, a unified Syria remade as a client state, or an indefinite civil war, the primary goal of neutralising Syria as an independent actor would be achieved. Once the goal of destroying the party, state and military was thwarted, and it became clear from 2016 that the Syrian government would retain power, the Western and Turkish goal changed to prolonging the conflict, creating Kosovo-type enclaves under NATO control, and placing downward pressure on Syrian living standards and the economy. They could thereby impede post-war recovery and a return to normality and ensure that Syria would remain weakened and a burden to its allies.

–Thank you!!

PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“Impressive in its scholarship, pondered in its judgements, above all
searing in its dissection of Western powers’ war on Syria waged over

many decades, the book is a must-have on the bookshelves of any seri-
ous fair-minded student of Syria.”

– Peter Ford, British Ambassador to Syria from 2003–2006.
“The most detailed history of the war in Syria so far, providing a richness

of highly interesting details, as well as a critical analysis of its com-
plex international and domestic dimensions, rarely encountered in other

Western publications.”
– Nikolaos van Dam, former Special Envoy for Syria, 2015–16.
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Germany and
Indonesia, 1988–2010. Author of Destroying a Nation: The Civil War
in Syria.
“A. B. Abrams explores the widening scope of the Syrian conflict in his
important book. Solving Syria’s civil war will require a regional approach
engaging stakeholders whose interests are fundamentally opposed.”
– David L. Phillips, Senior Adviser in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama State
Departments. Former Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Director of
the Program on Peace-Building and Human Rights, Columbia University
ISHR.

“Abrams is a meticulous guide to the labyrinth of Syria’s modern polit-
ical history.”

– Richard W. Murphy. U.S. Ambassador to Syria, 1974 to 1978. Consul in
Aleppo, Syria, 1960–63.
“A. B. Abrams has written an extremely informative and illuminating

account on the international dimension of the origins, outbreak and evo-
lution of the Syrian conflict. His empirically rich analysis in this nuanced

and comprehensive study make it one of the best books, if not the best
book, written about the Syrian crisis. This book is a MUST read for
anyone who wants to understand the Syrian conflict, the Middle East,
and the role of the great powers in the region.”
– Jubin Goodarzi, Professor and Deputy Head of International Relations,
Webster University, Geneva. Former consultant and political adviser
on Middle Eastern affairs for the UNHCR. He formerly held posts at
Chatham House, CSIS and the Ford Foundation.
PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“An insightful and dispassionate record of the Syrian Maelstrom and the
West’s role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
– John Holmes, Major General and Director Special Forces (ret.), British
Army.
“This is a sad tale of betrayal and conspiracy. Not just theory but facts
meticulously uncovered by Abrams. The conspiracy was part of broader
trends in the United States and Europe towards the non-Western World.

Since its fight for independence from French rule in 1946, Syria’s strug-
gles to remain free of Western hegemonic ambitions have continued to

play out for decades culminating in the crisis which emerged in 2011 and
became a proxy war of international proportions.”
– Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration
at the University of Oxford. Fellow at the British Academy. Author of
Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State.
“Abrams’ book provides essential historical and geopolitical context to
Syria’s ten-year war, reflecting a particularly deep and comprehensive
understanding of the conflict and of the country’s strategic importance.”
– Military Watch Magazine.
“Supported by a weight of evidence, this book sets out the context and
details of the Syrian conflict and effectively helps the reader to chart a
course between the overwhelming complexity of the crisis and Western
efforts to tell a simplified story of events on the ground. It will be of
interest to researchers, students and those interested in the messy reality
of one of the past decade’s foremost crises.”
– Jack Holland, Associate Professor in International Security at the
University of Leeds. Author of Selling War and Peace: Syria and the
Anglosphere.

“A well-researched and well-written book. Abrams provides the his-
torical context of post-independence Syria within which one can find

the reasons why the war became such a nodal point for regional and
international intrigue. While doing so, he also hones in as no one else
previously has – on some critical turning points during the civil war that
determined the direction of the conflict.”
– David Lesch, Leader of the Harvard-NUPI-Trinity Syria Research
Project. Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of Middle East History
at Trinity University. Author of Syria: A Modern History and Syria: The
Fall of the House of Assad.

“The countries intervening in Syria without approval of the Security
Council under Chapter VII were consciously violating international
law. Abrams’ intensive, highly-documented work provides an excellent
resource for understanding the historical and present dimensions of the
conflict.”
– Alfred De Zayas, Professor, Geneva School of Diplomacy. Former UN
Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable
International Order.
“A. B. Abrams has written a timely, balanced and insightful account
of the Syrian war. The book is well-researched and provides both the

necessary historic context but reveals also present-day drivers that re-
sulted in Syria becoming a theater for regional and global competition

for influence.”
– Alex Vatanka, senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the U.S. Air Force

Special Operations School. Senior fellow and director of the Iran pro-
gram at the Middle East Institute, Washington D.C. Adjunct professor at

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“An impressive and comprehensive feat of in-depth research, most
notably concerning developments in political and military strategy of
international actors in the Syrian war. The author provides a unique and
sophisticated chronological overview of pre-war socio-political and
economic realities in Syria, a detailed description of the conflict over its

entire duration, and an outline of possible post-war scenarios. An excep-
tional feature of the book lies in the author’s profound understanding of

how supplies of specific armaments on both sides influenced the course
of the war. World War in Syria is an excellent work, highly beneficial for

war and security studies professionals and students, as well as for histo-
rians, international relations scholars and the general public wishing to

better understand the effects of external involvement on the development
and outcome of the Syrian conflict.”
– Daria Vorobyeva, Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St. Andrews.
Co-Author of The War for Syria: Regional and International Dimensions
of the Syrian Uprising.

“A superb narrative dealing with tactical, operational and strategic mat-
ters of that war, in as fine military history writing as any by the first rate

military historian, and also shows a horrendous toll this war exerted on
the people of Syria. It is a superb book which makes a great contribution
to the field of study of the Middle East and of global politics and balance
of forces.”
– Andrei Martyanov, former naval officer. Frequent contributor to the U.S.
Naval Institute Blog. Author of The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs.

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

September 11, 2021

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

An 8 part tweet stream by Pepe Escobar and posted with his permission

Pepe has two requests as follows:

  • Please retweet as much as possible
  • Please alert the Saker community – because at least parts of this thread may be “disappeared”, post-Allende-style, in no time. These are the parts that totally destroy the official narrative.

9/11: A U.S. DEEP STATE INSIDER SPEAKS Old school. Top clearance. Extremely discreet. Attended secret Deep State meetings on 9-11. Tired of all the lies. The following is what’s fit to print without being redacted.

Part 1 THE PHONE CALL. Up next.

“An emergency phone conference was held in the early afternoon of 9/11 based on the fact that WTC Building Number Seven was still standing. Demolitions were engineered to cause the building, as well as the others, to fall into its own footprint. I attended this call.”

Part 2 On WTC7: “No plane hit Building Number Seven.” “The CIA was brought to cover it up. The CIA set up failed asset bin Laden to blame as misdirection, then pulled the plug on Building Number Seven.” “The CIA doctored boarding tapes to show Arabs entering the planes.”

Part 3 On Mullah Omar: “Our CIA Arabists knew that if we blamed Osama, who was innocent of 9-11, Mullah Omar would not give him up in violation of the laws of Islamic hospitality. Mullah Omar requested evidence: then he would turn Osama over. Of course, we did not want that.”

Part 4 On heroin: “The Afghanistan heroin war was justified by 9-11. No one in Afghanistan was involved in 9/11. No member of Islam was involved. We invaded Afghanistan for only one purpose, which was to restart heroin production shut down by a righteous act of Mullah Omar.”

Part 5 On CIA and heroin: “CIA heroin plantations in Afghanistan funded external, clandestine operations and lined some important people’s pockets. That was common practice when the CIA ran the heroin operation in the Golden Triangle.”

Part 6 On MOTIVE: “It was never in the U.S. strategic interest to lay a curse on Islam in the West.” “9-11 was a kind of Gulf of Tonkin false flag operation justifying a war on Islam and the invasion of Iraq, followed by other invasions of Islamic nations.”

Part 7 Afghanistan-Iraq: “The Taliban loved us as they did not know that we lured Russia into Afghanistan. It was idiotic to think that they wanted to hurt their ally on 9-11.” “With Iraq invaded over a new falsity, the neocons created a war of hatred against Islam.”

Part 8 Who’s in charge: “The apex of the U.S. command structure is not the presidency. It’s the Deep State. I use that term even though we did not as it is commonly used.”

FM Sergey Lavrov answers media questions following a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, Minsk

September 11, 2021

FM Sergey Lavrov answers media questions following a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, Minsk

September 11, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, Minsk, September 10, 2021

Question: We pursue a common foreign policy. We seem to be already looking in the same direction. How much further do we need to go in this regard?

Sergey Lavrov: I think our prospects for further coordination of our foreign policies are good. Yesterday’s presidential meeting in Moscow and their principled agreement on union programmes and key spheres of activity was formalised today at a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers. The prime ministers signed the corresponding document. It will get finally approved at a meeting of the Supreme State Council, which the presidents plan to hold soon, most likely in October. This is critical for our joint actions if we want to pursue a coordinated foreign policy. We cooperate closely on almost all, without exception, items of the international agenda, be it at the UN, the OSCE or other organisations, including the CSTO, the EAEU and the CIS. We will thus have an additional foundation going forward.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the economy drives effective policy on the international arena. The stronger the economies of Belarus, Russia and the Union State, the more confident our actions on the international arena will be.

We have agreed with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei to hold a joint collegium, which is a regular annual event, in November. In 2021, it will take place in Moscow. The first item on the agenda will include the goals arising from our foreign policy coordination stemming from the agreements on forming union programmes as part of the main guidelines for the implementation of the Union Treaty over the next three years.

Very shortly, we will come up with additional items for the agenda to be discussed during a meeting of our Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s collegium in the context of our actions at the UN and in promoting common approaches to disarmament and arms control.

We have ambitious plans, and we will put even more confidence in implementing them and will build on today’s developments and what will take place at the Supreme State Council as well.

Question: Both Russia and Belarus often say that sanctions are not an option for us. Is there a common counter-sanction policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Everything that has been done today on behalf of the presidents is the best response to the sanctions policy. Assuming that someone will just give up and give us a break is an exercise in futility. We are well aware of unreliability of our Western partners and their ability to grab the sanctions bludgeon at any given moment and for any reason. We should rely on ourselves, which is exactly what we will do following today’s meeting. However, we will leave the door open to anyone who is willing to cooperate based on equality and a balance of interests and is not striving to obtain unilateral advantages.

9/11 twenty years later and cheap & ubiquitous cellphones

September 11, 2021

9/11 twenty years later and cheap & ubiquitous cellphones

by Andrei for the Saker blog

Twenty years have passed since 9/11, so where do we stand today?  I will give my short answers as bullet points and then let you post your own conclusions.  Here are mine:

  1. Numerous engineers, architects, chemists, researchers and others have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.
  2. There is very strong, albeit indirect, preponderance of evidence that the Israelis were deeply involved and that they had accomplices inside the USA.
  3. From the two above I think that it is reasonable to assume that the Israelis were working with the US Neocons on a common project.
  4. Al-Qaeda (which is a CIA creation in the first place!) had some parts of it activated by the US/Israeli deep states (which are trying run the Takfiris everywhere), but only to play the role of a patsy (there were a few Saudis and there were real aircraft, but they did not bring down any buildings in NY).
  5. It remains unclear to me what really happened at the Pentagon, but I think that we can take the notion that the aircraft over DC and NY were remotely piloted as a pretty good working hypothesis (which still needs to be proven).
  6. Directed energy weapons, Russian naval nuclear cruise missiles, mini-nukes and the like are crude disinformation responses to the 9/11 Truth movement by the US deep state.  These were only moderately effective and only convinced a, shall we say, specific type of “truthers” which are all rejected as idiots (at best) by the mainstream 9/11 movement.
  7. The truth about 9/11 is now slowly getting “JFK status” which is “everybody either suspects/knows, but nobody really cares anymore”.  It’s old news, especially in a society with an attention span somewhere between 2 mins and 2 days.
  8. The real goal of 9/11 was to create a “patriotic pretext” to launch the GWOT and change the entire Middle-East into a compliant entity à la Jordan.
  9. The GWOT was a total failure and one of the worst military campaign in military history.
  10. The plan to create a “new” Middle-East have totally failed and, if anything, created a stronger anti-Israeli environment than before 9/11.  The fact that GWOT medals are handed out by the ton means nothing: after the Grenada faceplant Uncle Shmuel gave out more medals than participants took place in the entire operation.
  11. The AngloZionost Empire died on January 8th, 2020 and the USA, as we knew it, died on January 6th 2021 (see here for a detailed discussion of these dates and context), almost exactly one year later.
  12. By being murdered by the USA, General Soleimani won the biggest victory in his life.
  13. The US will have to leave both Iraq and Syria sooner rather than later.
  14. The Zionist entity calling itself “Israel” is now in a major political and even existential crisis and is now on the ropes and desperate.  But they hide it a lot better than the US propagandists.  But the Palestinians “feel” that, as do quite a few Israelis too.
  15. Both Biden and “Biden” are now fighting for their political lives not only due to “Kabul” but also due to the way Biden has just declared war on those who refuse vaccines.
  16. Anti-vaxxers might be many things, but nobody can deny them the following qualities: they are very strongly driven, for them the entire issue is not medical, but one of self-image, of identity and resistance to tyranny.  Okay, some will quietly cave in, but many will not.  That is why I strongly believe that Biden’s “declaration of war” against the unvaccinated “deplorables” (he did not use the word, but his contempt and hate was obvious) is a huge mistake.  At least in the USA, I believe that there are plenty of anti-vaxxers who will rather die in a firefight than being vaxxed (which they sincerely believe will either chip them, or kill them in a couple of years).  In other words, I do not believe that “Biden” has the means to force 80M+ anti-vaxxers to get the jab, in fact, if anything, his entire speech was a highly divisive slap in the face of millions of US Americans.  Violence is almost inevitable by now.  First isolated incidents, but possibly something bigger too.
  17. The US economy is not growing or recovery.  That is just playing with numbers or, “statistics” in Churchill’s sense of the word.  The truth is that the country is breaking apart and slowly going “3rd world” (okay, there are already plenty of “3rd world” areas of the USA, but these are now expanding).  The real Chinese economy is about 1.5 times larger than the real US one.  Point, set, game and match China.  By the way, the real Russian economy is comparable or bigger to the real German one, and the Russian economy has pretty much recovered from the COVID crisis (but it is not over, cases are still rising in some areas of Russia).
  18. The US military has totally lost its ability to function as a real military.  Ditto for NATO.  They were publicly humiliated pretty much everywhere they set foot.  This process is now irreversible. Point, set, game and match Russia, China and Iran.
  19. Internally, the USA losing its cohesion and that centrifugal process is being accelerated by the truly insane internal policies of “Biden” (just Woke and Covid are a declaration of war against millions of US Americans).  I am not at all confident that “Biden” can bring states like Florida or Texas to heel.  I won’t comment any further on the internal US situation, but that needed to be mentioned.

Conclusions:

  1. As with all Neocon type policies, they initially look “brilliant” only to end up in an abject clusterbleep and the Neocons hated by pretty much everybody else.
  2. The Taliban won the GWOT (even at its best, Uncle Shmuel “controlled” about 40% of the country, max!).
  3. The entire Zone B and a big part of Zone A now realize that (whether they openly admit it or not).
  4. There is a good chance that the very public disaster in Afghanistan will now force the Europeans to distance themselves from a clearly senile, demented and weak Big Brother.
  5. The core Anglosphere (UK/CA/NZ/AUS) seems to be consolidating around the “Biden USA” which might put them on a collision course with the EU.  We are not quite there yet, but that’s were we are heading.
  6. The COVID pandemic effectively “exploded” all the societies in Zone A which are now all in a low-level “brewing” pre-civil war condition.  I do not see what anybody could do to change that.
  7. The COVID pandemic will only get worse, which will only trigger more attempts by Zone A government to try force their population to “obey” and that, in turn, will only further destabilize all, repeat, ALL the regimes in power in Zone A.

The bottom line is this: 9/11 and the GWOT were initial, very short lived, tactical successes which resulted in a strategic disaster or, better, in a strategic collapse of both the AngloZionist Empire and the USA.

And, finally, this.  I cannot prove it, but my reading of modern history and regime collapses brings me to believe the following:

I have always said that US policies, internal and external, are not really the result of careful planning as they are the result of various interests/entities using their influence and power to “pull” US policies in the way they want.  And since there are A LOT of various interests/entities, especially in important cases, what we see is not a “policy outcome” but only a “sum vector”, an “outcome” which is the sum of all the different pulling and the relative strength of the folks doing that pulling.

I believe that this process has only been magnified but by an order of magnitude.  What we see today in the US ruling elites is a huge “cover your ass”, “run for your life”, “protect yourself and your future” and even “grab it while you still can” and NOT, repeat, NOT “real” policies.  Those who believe in a grand conspiracy fail to realize that what happened in Kabul is not the exception, it is the rule!  Kabul was a giant spotlight which finally showed the true face of the US military to the entire planet: not the Tom Clancy kind of patriotic delusional hallucinations or Hollywood, but the “real reality” filmed “on the ground” on cheap but ubiquitous cellphones, by both Afghani and even US/NATO servicemen’s!

The problem for the delusional patriots is this: far from being “Putin agents” or anything like that, the million of folks out there who have cellphones with cameras (no matter how old or cheap) produce such a raw volume of data which makes it impossible to suppress.  The exact same goes for the Israelis, by the way, who have paid a huge price in terms of “losing the propaganda war” since the Palestinians (and quite a few Israelis too!!) now use their cellphones more effectively than any Palestinian rocket or suicide-bomber ever would.  That is also what really screwed up the recent US elections: ubiquitous cellphones (well, and CCTV cameras).

If we imagine the US/Israeli propaganda machine as a huge powerful animal (BILLIONS are invested into this) you can think of poor, oppressed people with cheapo cellphones as fire ants.  Let’s just conclude by saying that time is not on the side of the big powerful heavy animal, but on the fire ants’ side.

Andrei

PS: yes, I mentioned the POLITICAL aspects of the COVID pandemic.  I get to set the rules, since this is my blog.  The COVID topic remains banned on the entire Saker blog (Cafe included), EVEN if I get to mention it if/when it is part of my political analyses (I won’t touch the medicals aspects of COVID anymore, I have said all I have to say on this topic already anyway).  Do do NOT, repeat, NOT try to “sneak in” some COVID comments or you will be banned.  For the alternatively gifted: the article above is NOT about vaccines or the dangers of mRNA, it is about the political evaluation of 9/11 and the GWOT.  Stay on topic or else…

Pakistan will face consequences of its actions in Afghanistan, warns ex-Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

September 11, 2021

Pakistan will face consequences of its actions in Afghanistan, warns ex-Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

https://www.wionews.com/world/exclusive-pakistan-will-face-consequences-of-its-actions-in-afghanistan-warns-ex-iran-president-mahmoud-ahmadinejad-411375

Story highlights

Speaking to WION’s Executive Editor Palki Sharma, Ahmadinejad stressed that the handing over of power to Taliban is part of a ‘satanic plot’ by the western powers led by the US. India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China and regional countries will face the consequences of the re-emergence of Taliban, he said on WION’s Afghanistan Dialogues programme. He urged Pakistan to join efforts by Iran and India to resolve the crisis.

Amid reports that Pakistan had helped the Taliban quell the resistance in Panjshir, Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Islamabad that it will be haunted by its actions in near future in which he foresaw the militant group threatening Pakistani government and sovereignty.

Speaking to WION’s Executive Editor Palki Sharma, Ahmadinejad also stressed that the handing over of power to Taliban is part of a ‘satanic plot’ by the western powers led by the US.

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