ترامب يعلن هزيمة بلاده من هلسنكي و»إسرائيل» تتجرّع طعمها في الميدان!

يوليو 18, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

لقد أصاب وزير الخارجية الأسبق جون كيري كبد الحقيقة عندما أعلن في تغريدة له نشرت على تويتر عند الساعة 22,56 من مساء 16/7/2018، وأعلن فيها أنّ ترامب «قد استسلم بقدّه وقديده» للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، خلال القمة التي عُقدت بينهما يوم أول أمس الاثنين 16/7/2018.

حيث بدا الرئيس الأميركي في غاية الضعف والوهن، أمام الرئيس الروسي، المسلح بكمّ هائل من الانتصارات العسكرية في الميدان السوري، والتي ليس آخرها الانتصارات المتلاحقة التي يحققها الجيش السوري في ريفي درعا والقنيطرة، بمساعدة الجيش والقوات الجوفضائية الروسية، والتي ستتوّج قريباً، وقبل نهاية هذا الشهر، باستكمال الجيش السوري إعادة تحرير جميع المناطق التي يسيطر عليها المسلحون، بما في ذلك تلك الموجودة داخل ما يُسمّى المنطقة المنزوعة السلاح بين الجولان المحتلّ والمحرّر.

في هذه الأثناء فقد أصدرت وزارة الحرب الأميركية، عبر القيادة المركزية للمنطقة الوسطى والموجودة في الدوحة، أمر عمليات لغرفة العمليات الميدانية الأميركية في قاعدة التنف، نص على ما يلي:

1- يتمّ تسليم كافة أسلحة التنظيمات السورية المسلحة، أسود الشرقية، احمد العبدو، الموجودة في منطقة التنف، للسلطات العسكرية الأردنية فوراً ودونما إبطاء.

2- يتمّ نقل عناصر هذه التنظيمات الى مناطق الحسكة وشرق دير الزور فوراً ودمجها مع القوات الكردية التي تقاتل داعش.

علماً انّ مصدر استخبارات عسكرية أوروبية قد أكد انّ عمليات إخلاء القوات الأميركية ومعداتها العسكرية من شرق سورية قد كلّفت الخزينة الأميركية 300 مليون دولار حتى الآن!

وهذا يعني في ما يعني أنّ ما على «إسرائيل» الا أن تبلع لسانها وتقبل بالأمر الواقع والاعتراف بموازين القوى السائدة حالياً في الميدان السوري، خاصة أنها هي التي كانت قد سلمت هذه المنطقة للمسلحين، وبالتالي فهي التي تتحمّل المسؤولية الكاملة عن التغيّرات التي طرأت على الوضع في هذا الشريط!

ونحن نؤكد أنّ قادة «إسرائيل» العسكريين والسياسيين قد ذاقوا طعم كأس الهزيمة المرة، عندما أصدر رئيس الأركان المشتركة للجيوش الأميركية، الجنرال جوزيف دونفورد Joseph Dunford، أوامره لنظيره الإسرائيلي إيزنكوت، خلال زيارته الأخيرة الى واشنطن، بعدم القيام بأية استفزازات عسكرية قد تؤدي الى إلحاق الضرر بالتوجّهات الأميركية الخاصة بسورية، أيّ أنه أصدر له أمراً بالتزام ما يصدر له من أوامر أميركية فقط.

من هنا، فإنّ عملية التسلل الجوي، التي نفذها التشكيل الجوي الإسرائيلي عبر الأجواء الأردنية ليلة 16/7/2018، وقام بمحاولة قصف بعض المنشآت العسكرية السورية شمال مطار النيرب، لم تكن إلا محاولة إسرائيلية فاشلة لذرّ الرماد في عيون سكان «إسرائيل» أنفسهم، وذلك لأنّ من أصدر الأوامر بتنفيذ الغارة هو نفسه الذي تسلم أمر العمليات الأميركي بعدم التحرّك ضدّ الجيش السوري، خلال هجومه الحالي في أرياف درعا والقنيطرة والذي سيكون من بين أهدافه السيطرة على معبر القنيطرة بين الجولان المحتلّ والمحرّر، كما أبلغ دانفورد نظيره الإسرائيلي.

لذا، فإنّ الضعف الذي لاحظه المراقبون والمشرّعون الأميركيون، قبل أيّ جهة أخرى، على رئيسهم خلال المؤتمر الصحافي الذي أعقب القمة، لم يأتِ من فراغ وإنما كان نتيجة منطقية لفشل المشروع الأميركي، ليس فقط في سورية وإنما على الصعيد الإقليمي والدولي، والذي شرع الأميركي بالاعتراف به وترجمته إلى وقائع على الأرض حتى قبل انعقاد القمة.

وذلك بعد أن أكملت وزارة الحرب الأميركية سحب قواتها وتجهيزاتها العسكرية من قواعدهم في مناطق شمال شرق سورية، التي يُقال إنها تحت سيطرة الأكراد، والإبقاء على عدد قليل جداً من «المستشارين» الذين سيتمّ سحبهم تدريجياً وفِي تطابق زمني مع عودة سيطرة الدولة السورية على تلك المناطق. وما الاتصالات الدائرة حالياً بين الحكومة السورية وجهات كردية بعينها في شمال شرق البلاد لترتيب عملية إعادة سيطرة الدولة، تدريجياً، على هذه المناطق إلا خير دليل على ذلك.

أيّ أنّ على الطرف الأميركي أن يجد نفسه مرغماً على الاعتراف بهزيمة مشروعه واضطراره الى وقف عبث كافة أدواته المحلية والإقليمية في الشأن السوري، بما في ذلك الإسرائيلي والأردني والسعودي والخليجي وغيرهم.

فها هو محمد بن سلمان، الذي كان يهدّد بنقل الحرب الى العمق الإيراني، صامتاً صمت القبور على الرغم من أنّ إيران قد نقلت الحرب الى العمق «الإسرائيلي» فيما هي تواصل صمودها في وجه التهديدات والحصار الأميركيين.

وها هو ملك الأردن، الذي كان يتبجّح بأنّ جيشه قادر على الوصول الى دمشق خلال أربع وعشرين ساعة، يهرب الى واشنطن ويغيب عن السمع والنظر منذ أكثر من شهر، وهو يتفرّج عاجزاً على سيطرة الجيش العربي السوري على الحدود الأردنية السورية، بما فيها معبر نصيب بين البلدين، ويقبر أحلامه المريضة التي كانت تراوده حول إمكانية استعادة «مملكة فيصل الهاشمية» التي أقامها المحتلّ البريطاني الفرنسي في عشرينيات القرن الماضي في سورية.

وها هو أردوغان يرغم على تحويل التفاهمات التي تمّ التوصل إليها في أستانة، مع كلّ من سورية وإيران، الى اتفاقيات رسمية ودون الإعلان عن ذلك، كما الموافقة على دخول الجيش السوري الى محافظة إدلب وإعادة انتشاره فيها، بالتزامن مع إعادة سيطرة هذا الجيش المنتصر على المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الكرد في شمال شرق سورية، وذلك لضمان ضبط الحدود بين البلدين ومن أجل الحفاظ على مصالح كلّ منهما، طبقاً لاتفاق أضنه، الموقع بين الدولتين عام 1999. ومن نافل القول طبعاً إنّ انسحاب القوات التركية من مناطق شمال غرب سورية لم يعد إلا تحصيل حاصل. وهو الأمر الذي سيتمّ تثبيته وتأكيده في القمة الثلاثية التي ستنعقد في طهران أواخر الشهر الحالي بين رؤساء كلّ من إيران وروسيا وتركيا.

اما «الإسرائيلي» فهو غارق في أزمته الاستراتيجية، الناجمة عن عجزه عن مواجهة قوات حلف المقاومة، على جبهتين في الشمال والجنوب، أيّ على جبهة قطاع غزة وعلى الجبهة السورية اللبنانية، وذلك في أية حرب قد ينزلق اليها اذا ارتكب أيّ حماقة على أيّ من هاتين الجبهتين. وهو العاجز تماماً عن مواجهة طائرات «ف 1» الفلسطينية الطائرات الورقية التي تنطلق من قطاع غزة والتي يطالب بتضمين وقفها في أيّ اتفاق تهدئة يتمّ التوصل اليه مع فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة.

الأمر لنا من جبل عامل والجولان الى النقب وتيران.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله.

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لم ولن تُكسَر معادلات 12 تموز 2006

 

يوليو 13, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا حاجة للقول إنّ معادلات حرب تموز 2006 أبعد من لبنان وقد تموضع على ضفتيها حلفان هما ذاتهما لبنانياً وعربياً يتقابلان اليوم في سورية. كما لا حاجة للقول إنّ الحرب على سورية كانت أبرز محاولة لكسر معادلات حرب تموز بكسر ظهر القلعة التي استند إليها حلف النصر في تموز. ولا حاجة للقول أيضاً إنّ أوّل القلق من نتائج معادلات تموز كان «إسرائيلياً» على ما سيحدثه النصر في فلسطين، تأسيساً على ما فعله نصر العام 2000 في الداخل الفلسطيني، فكانت الانتفاضة وتلاها الانسحاب «الإسرائيلي» من غزة، ولا مجال لقطع الطريق على المزيد إلا بكسر معادلات نصر تموز.

– حشد الفريقان للحرب التي تلت تموز، وأشعلها الذين خسروا الحرب، بعدما رصدوا خمس سنوات للتجهيز والتحضير والاستعداد والحشد. فكانت حرب سورية، وكان أوّل الجديد فيها أن أشهَر المال الخليجي تموضعه من مجرد العمل في الكواليس لتشجيع «الإسرائيليين» على سحق المقاومة في 2006 إلى تمويل الحرب على سورية وحشد التكفيريين من كلّ أصقاع الأرض لخوضها. وكان ثاني الجديد تموضعاً تركياً قطرياً في ضفة الحرب بإغراء مشروع تسلّم الأخوان المسلمين للحكم في تونس وليبيا ومصر واليمن وصولاً إلى سورية. وكان ثالث الجديد تجنيد الإعلام والفتاوى لتحويل الحرب فتنة مذهبية تنهش المنطقة ولحم شعوبها لمئة عام.

– نجح حلف المنتصرين في تموز 2006 بإدراك نوع وحجم الحرب خلال عامها الأوّل الذي كان الصمود فيه على عاتق القلعة السورية، خصوصاً شجاعة الرئيس السوري. وخلال العام الثاني بدأ حلف حرب تموز يتصرّف كحلف في حال حرب، لم تلبث المستجدات أن زوّدته بمصادر القوة التي لم تكن في حسابات قوى الحرب الآتية من حلف المهزومين في تموز، وكان التموضع الروسي السياسي والدبلوماسي، فالعسكري أبرز هذه المستجدّات، وكان الفشل في تفتيت وحدة السوريين على أساس خطوط الفتنة المذهبية رغم سخاء المال وسواد الفتاوى. وكان تماسك الجيش السوري الأسطوري وبطولات المقاومين معه مصدراً لتغيير في وجهة الحرب، باتت ثماره الأخيرة شبيهة بالأيام الأخيرة لحرب تموز 2006 بشارة نصر أكيد.

– كما في حرب تموز، في الحرب التي أردات محو آثارها وفشلت. زادت المقاومة قوة وزادت تحالفات سورية تأثيراً في المعادلات الدولية، فروسيا اليوم غير روسيا قبل الحرب على سورية. وفي المقابل أصاب أعداء المقاومة وسورية ضعف ووهن غيّرا صورة المشهد الإقليمي. فالسعودية الغارقة في حرب اليمن و«إسرائيل» المرتبكة أمام الانتصارات السورية هما غير السعودية و«إسرائيل» قبل حرب سورية وقبل حرب تموز، وما ينجزانه في مجال التطبيع والتحالف أعجز من أن يغيّر المعادلات الجديدة. ففلسطين تستعدّ لتلقي عائدات النصر الجديد بمثل ما تلقت عائدات الانتصارات التي سبقت، وتستعدّ المنطقة ويترقب العالم المواجهة الجديدة، التي يريدونها تحت عنوان «العدو هو إيران» وستفاجئهم فلسطين بفرض روزنامة حربها وشعارها «العدو هو إسرائيل».

– حقائق حرب تموز كمعادلاتها تترسّخ ولا تنكسر. وأولى هذه الحقائق أنّ الصراع في المنطقة سيبقى عنوانه تحرير فلسطين، وأنّ كلّ محاولة لتجاهل هذه الحقيقة تنتهي بتهميش صاحبها من صناعة المعادلات بدلاً من تهميش القضية الفلسطينية، وها هو حلف المقاومة بلسان السيد حسن نصرالله يبشّر بمئات آلاف المقاتلين في الحرب المقبلة، من لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن وممّا بعد ما بعد العراق واليمن إلى إيران وممّا بعد ما بعد إيران.

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نقاط على الحروف ماذا يعني تجاهل سورية عرض نتنياهو؟

يوليو 10, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– ما إن وضعت الحرب في الغوطة أوزارها ورسمت مشهد سورية الجديد حتى دخلت القيادات والإعلام في كيان الاحتلال في خطاب سياسي إعلامي جديد. واضح أنه مدروس ومنسّق، وواضح أنه يشكل خلاصة قراءة المسار الافتراضي المقبل لسورية. مسار لا مكان فيه لأوهام تغيير موازين القوى. مسار ستكون اليد العليا فيه للدولة السورية وجيشها ورئيسها. مسار لا تنفع معه المكابرة والإنكار لجهة مصير مشروع الحرب على سورية وإصابته بالفشل، والخطاب الجديد يقوم على ثلاثية، ركيزتها الأولى إشهار هذا الاعتراف بالحقيقة السورية، حقيقة تدحرج الانتصارات السورية واستحالة صدّها، وركيزتها الثانية إعلان الاستعداد للعودة إلى تفاهم فك الاشتباك الموقع عام 1974 والذي أسقطته «إسرائيل» علناً وعمداً لاستبداله بخطّتها الجاهزة لبناء حزام أمني، بالتعاون مع تنظيم القاعدة بفرعها السوري المسمّى جبهة النصرة، كقوة صلبة متماسكة عقائدية تراهن «إسرائيل» على صناعة استقرار حدودي لعقود بوجودها، وتشكل درعا قلبها بعد طول استثمار على التلاعب بأوراق الجنوب السوري بشراكة إسرائيلية سعودية قطرية أميركية بريطانية كتب عنها الكثير وسيكتب عنها أكثر. أما الركيزة الثالثة فكانت ربط مشروع تسوية تنتهي بانتشار الجيش السوري بالتراضي في الجنوب باشتراط يتراوح بين الانسحاب الكامل لإيران وحزب الله من سورية، والانسحاب من الجنوب بعمق يتراوح بين 25 و40 كلم. وحده الأدنى عدم مواكبة الجيش السوري في المناطق التي سيدخلها بموجب التسوية بوحدات من حزب الله أو من إيران.

– تزامن وتكثف الحراك الإسرائيلي مع محاولات عسكرية واضحة لتصعيد الغارات، والتهديدات المعلنة والمحددة باستهداف الحضور الإيراني وتسليح حزب الله، وبلغة سقفها أعلى بكثير مما كشفته المواجهات المتراكمة عبر سنوات الحرب السورية، من حدود القدرة الإسرائيلية، بصورة أراد قادة الكيان فيها استعارة الأسلوب السوري في الذهاب إلى حافة الهاوية تفاوضياً، تحت شعار إما قبول العرض المفتوح أو المواجهة المفتوحة. ومع تجاهل الدولة السورية كلياً للعرض الإسرائيلي، رغم تبنيه أميركياً ودمج الانسحاب من القاعدة الأميركية في التنف كجزء من العرض، إدراكاً بأن الوظيفة الجوهرية للوجود الأميركي تندرج تحت عنوان تخديم مشروع الأمن الإسرائيلي، وارتضاء ضمني لمعادلة ستشكل نموذجاً قابلاً للتكرار في الشمال السوري، وسعياً للحصول على شراكة روسية في تفعيل الخيار التفاوضي تحت هذا العنوان. وبقيت الدولة السورية تتحدّث بلغتها الخاصة عن مفهوم التسويات التقليدي وهي تتقدّم نحو الجنوب بحشودها، من دون ذكر ما يتصل بجواب ترصد «إسرائيل» بين السطور لقراءة أي إشارة، حول مستقبل الوضع على الحدود بعد انتشار الجيش السوري وزوال أيّ دور للجماعات المسلّحة. وعندما مرّ من الوقت ما يكفي لمنح فرص القبول بشروط التسوية من الجماعات المسلحة، بدأ الهجوم العسكري السوري، غير آبه بتهديدات علنية أميركية صادرة عن وزارة الدفاع تحذّر من هزّ الوضع في الجنوب السوري.

– جاءت الانتصارات المبهرة بسرعتها ونوعيتها، لصالح الجيش السوري، واصل الإسرائيليون خطتهم المثلثة، الاعتراف بالنصر السوري، وربط تسهيل انتشار الجيش السوري بعدم مشاركة حزب الله والإيرانيين. وخرج رئيس حكومة الاحتلال هذه المرة يجدد العرض بالعودة لاتفاق فك الاشتباك، لكن سورية لم تعلّق ولم تقل كيف ستتصرّف عندما تصل حدود الجولان، وتقف وجهاً لوجه مع قوات الاحتلال، لكن الإشارة الوحيدة التي قدّمتها سورية، هي مشاركة حزب الله والقوات الرديفة التي يقودها مستشارون إيرانيون في معارك الجنوب إلى جانب الجيش السوري. وفي ظل دعم روسي ناري توقع الأميركيون والإسرائيليون غيابه في جبهة الجنوب. وخابت آمالهم كما في كل مرة يقرّر الجيش السوري روزنامة معركة تحرير جديدة. وجاءت الغارة الإسرائيلية على مطار التيفور وردّت سورية، وربما تتكرر الغارات ويتكرّر الرد ويكون أشدّ وأقوى. وقد بات واضحاً أن سورية تتقصّد الغموض تجاه مستقبل جبهة الجولان.

– سيبقى الإسرائيليون والأميركيون على أعصابهم وقتاً طويلاً لمعرفة ماذا تريد سورية. فربما يكون للتجاهل سبب مباشر يتصل بالبعد السيادي لمفهوم الدولة السورية، حيث لا يمكن القبول بإخضاع انتشار الجيش السوري في الجغرافيا السورية بمساومات وشروط تجعل «إسرائيل» شريكاً في أمن جزء من سورية، وشريكاً في بسط السيادة السورية. وتصرّ سورية على المضي بالعمل العسكري وصولاً لحدود الجولان لاسترداد السيادة بقرار سوري وقدرة سورية، وعلى الآخرين، وخصوصاً «إسرائيل» إما المواجهة أو الانكفاء، ولكن ماذا لو لم تقل سورية شيئاً حتى بعد بلوغ حدود الجولان؟ عندها على «إسرائيل» أن تنتظر أيضاً. فربما يكون للاستمرار في التجاهل سبب سيادي آخر لا يقل أهمية، وهو أن بعض الجغرافيا السورية لا يزال محتلاً في الشمال، ولن تلتفت سورية لبحث مستقبل التفاهمات الحدودية إلا بزوال كل العبث الحدودي أميركياً كان أم تركياً، وخصوصاً إسرائيلياً. لكن ماذا لو أنهت سورية بسط سيطرتها شمالاً وواصلت التجاهل، هنا على الإسرائيليين أن يبدأوا بالقلق، لأنه ربما تكون سورية قد قرّرت أن تضع مصير الجولان المحتل على الطاولة قبل الذهاب لخطة إعادة الإعمار، توفيراً لخسائر الحروب على العمران واستثماراً للحال المادية والمعنوية والتسليحية والميدانية للجيش والحلفاء، وطالما أن «إسرائيل» هي مَن أسقط فك الاشتباك، فالبحث عن بديل يقوم على المعطيات الجديدة يرتبط بحسم وضع الاحتلال في الجولان.

– يذهب دونالد ترامب إلى هلسنكي حاملاً هذه الأسئلة والهموم الإسرائيلية. فهل يصير انسحاب إيران وحزب الله من سورية مرتبطاً بانسحاب «إسرائيل» من الجولان، في زمن السعي الإسرائيلي للحصول على اعتراف أميركي بضمّه أسوة بالقدس؟ فلا تبقى معادلة ربط وجود إيران وحزب الله بالانسحاب الأميركي من سورية وإنهاء العبث بالجغرافيا السورية عبر بوابات الحدود فقط. فهذه فواتير ستستحق تباعاً مع التقدم السوري جنوباً وانتقاله إلى الشمال. فهل تقرّر أميركا و»إسرائيل» المواجهة التي تمّ تفاديها في ظروف أفضل أم تفضلان الانكفاء لصالح عملية سياسية ترعاها روسيا، بهزيمة تحفظ بعضاً قليلاً من ماء الوجه، وارتضاء بعض القلق بدلاً من كثير من الذعر؟

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BASIC LAW OF THE JUNGLE

South front

05.07.2018

Basic Law of the Jungle

Written by Evegny Satanovsky; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

This article was released by VPK on June 26, 2018

Work on the Syrian Constitution Should be Preceded by an agreement of Moscow and Tehran with Ankara and Washington

Government forces, having freed the Damascus suburbs from militants, begin cleaning the southern provinces of Syria, which is a zone of US interest. The latter continue to support the Islamists on the border with Jordan, trying to stop pro-Iranian Shi’ites on the border with Iraq, using the UN structures in Geneva to their advantage.

The US is concerned about reports of increased activity of the Syrian Armed Forces within the de-escalation zone in the south-west, the agreement on the establishment of which was reached between the US, Russia and Jordan in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. It came into force on July 9, 2017 in accordance with the truce in the provinces of Deraa, Quneitra and as-Suwayda. Above all, the US has no tools of influence on this situation. They are not in any condition to influence it by force; there are no American forces or allied formations in the area.

To act through the al-Tanf base with forces of trained militants, moving them to the south is futile. From a military point of view, such a raid and exit from the security zone of 55 kilometres from the aforementioned base is fraught with air strikes. Even more so, to go into such a campaign large formations are needed. From a political point of view, the lunge there of pro-American forces will make them allies of the jihadists, who form the backbone of the resistance in the southern de-escalation zone. The Americans cannot deliver air strikes on the advancing government forces on a permanent basis, and they cannot disrupt the offensive with their strikes. Plus it is fraught with direct clashes with Russian air defence forces.

The US can try to influence the situation through the Jordanian and Israeli facilities, which have influence among the rebels in southern Syria. But Tel Aviv has signed an agreement with Moscow on “non-interference”, and Amman has serious problems within the country due to unpopular economic reforms, so it does not want to actively intervene in the situation. So Washington has one lever – Ankara’s stimulation to block the implementation of the scheme “withdrawal of militants in exchange for security” in the south of Syria, which was previously used in East Ghouta and Aleppo.

Americans curtsey to the Turks in connection with the agreements on Manbij and the transfer of two F-35 fighters to them, contrary to the demands of Congress, have, among other things, this goal. They promise the Turks future incorporation as the main US ally in Syria in exchange for Ankara blocking any agreements between the part of the opposition in the south they controlled with Damascus, which will make the refusal of any agreements with Assad and other rebel groups automatic. But Ankara does not believe Washington fully; the manoeuvres on their rapprochement are just going on. The same applies to the Manbij theme and the disarmament of the Kurds.

Ankara demands their mandatory disarmament. They, no matter how they are tied to the support of the US, will not go for it, but the Americans do not have enough forces to the coercive disarmament of the Kurdish troops. In addition, for Washington, this will mean the designation of a break with the Kurds as potential allies at a time when the alliance with the Turks is not fully formed. The United States control of the Sunnis beyond the Euphrates is a big question as well.

Thus, relations between the US and Turkey, according to the analytical agency Startfor, will deteriorate. Erdogan used the anti-American attitude of the Turks to gain electoral advantages from the Nationalists. Sharp anti-Western and anti-American rhetoric has become commonplace in Turkey during the election period, complicating the already tense relations between Ankara, the US and the EU. Nevertheless, we can assume that in case of a hard mindset in Washington on Ankara’s conversion into a key partner in Syria, Erdogan will swing the US side after the elections.

There is an economic reason for this. The Turkish economy is experiencing difficulties and the unstable national currency makes Turkey vulnerable to pressure. Especially since the US remains its main supplier of weapons, because Ankara does not want to depend on Russia nor on China in the field of military-technical cooperation.

The Kurds will be Betrayed Again

In Abu Kamal and its environs, there are periodic battles between government forces and supporters of ISIS (banned in Russia) since June 8, which were squeezed out of Iraq by Shi’ite groups of al-Hashd al-Shaabi, trying to connect with the Syrian troops in the area of this strategic town and close a single arc of control. On June 18, the formation of the coalition “Forces of Democratic Syria” (SDS), the backbone of which are the Kurds, knocked out the terrorists from the Al-Dashisha area in the south-east in the province of al-Hasakah. The SDS reported in a communiqué that Al-Dashisha was a major outpost of ISIS terrorists.

The Iraqi Air forces played the main role in the preparation of the progress of the Kurds. They did this in coordination with the US forces, which served as goal spotters. The Americans are trying, on the one hand, to ensure the liberation of al-Hasakah by Kurdish forces up to the border with Iraq and, at the same time to restrain the movement of pro-Iranian groups in the area of Abu Kamal. Last Saturday, the town of Tel Shair was liberated from ISIS. In the neighbouring province of Deir ez-Zor, terrorists are holding three districts, Hajin, Ash Sha’fah and As Susah. In total, less than three percent of Syrian territory remains under their control in the provinces of Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah after the defeat of the main ISIS forces in the autumn of 2017.

The question of who will take control of the maximum area beyond the Euphrates, and especially in Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah. Iraqi government troops al-Hashd al-Shaabi accused the United States of shelling its positions on the border with Syria and the death of 22 soldiers. The Americans denied this, although in fact the incident took place. At the same time, the US is interested in further coordination efforts with Baghdad, and the strike was in the nature of a warning to the Shi’ites about the need to contain offensive fervour, which is unlikely to affect them. The Americans clearly do not have enough real forces “on the ground” to complete this operation. And if Baghdad reduces air support as a result of the current incident, the situation for the SDS could worsen even more. We will note that the Kurds from the “Democratic Union” (DS) party continue to fight on the side of the coalition, despite all the advances of the US with Turkey on Manbij. This means that the leadership of the DS either received guarantees of immunity from Washington, or is confident that beyond Manbij on the other side of the Euphrates, the Americans will not let the Turks in. And all the talk from the Kurds about their readiness for a dialogue with Damascus, which rang after the reports about the agreement between the US and Turkey on Manbij, ceased.

So far, apparently, there is no clarity in Ankara. Hence the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey on the inviolability of the deal with Moscow on the S-400. Such rhetoric always arises in response to the actions of the US Congress to block the supply of weapons to Turkey. The position of the Americans is currently risky – they will have to choose, and there is every reason to believe that the choice will not be in favour of the Kurds, they will once again be betrayed in favour of global American interests in Syria.

The Geneva Meeting of the Guarantors

High-ranking representatives of the guarantor countries of the truce in Syria (Russia, Iran, Turkey) held consultations on the formation of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva at the invitation of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. From Russia, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, the President’s Special Envoy of the Syrian Settlement, and the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Veshinin attended the round, from Iran and Turkey Deputy Foreign Ministers Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Sedat Onal respectively.

The successful meetings, including with the Syrian opposition, were devoted to drawing up a list of candidates for the Committee. They agreed to meet in Geneva in three weeks to continue discussions. The results of the meeting are still intermediate, the parties used it to fix the positions at the current stage. As for the Constitutional Committee, the legitimacy of the future basic law from the point of view of the international community will depend on the representation of various segments of the Syrian society in it.

The very agreement on the formation of the Committee was reached by the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi on January 30. This structure, together with Staffan de Mistura, will prepare proposals for the elaboration of the country’s constitution. There should be 150 people as candidates. One hundred of them should represent the government and internal (moderate) opposition and fifty should be candidates from the external opposition.

Official Damascus gave the special envoy its list. Representatives of a number of opposition groups participating in the Congress in Sochi sent their own version of the document to the guarantor countries on June 15 (the “Moscow” platform, the “Tomorrow of Syria” movement). The Syrian negotiating Committee has not done so. That is, there is no desire for internal and external opposition, if we are to understand this term as not “Moscow” or pro-Iranian groups, but real opponents of Damascus, to participate in the work of this body and create it. This demonstrated the position of the main sponsors of the opposition in the person of the KSA, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan, not to mention the US and its western allies.

While the opposition does not want to engage in a dialogue with Damascus, exposing a lot of impossible conditions like the departure of Bashar al-Assad and the withdrawal of Iranian forces. In this regard, there are two options for moving forward. The first, the definitive completion of elimination of the strongholds of the irreconcilable resistance in central and southern Syria at least to the Euphrates. As long as there are pockets of resistance on this territory, and ISIS troops operate from Palmyra to the Euphrates, it is pointless to talk about negotiations with the opposition. The second, the independent formation of a committee of representatives of the agreement-capable part of the opposition, reconciled tribes and the Kurds agreeable to Damascus. However, this option is bad due to the limited representation of all segments of the Syrian society and will quickly exhaust itself.

Obviously, the topic of the constitution is far ahead in time. Moscow is pedaling this process to demonstrate the final phase of its mission in Syria and set a precedent for resolving local conflicts as opposed to the American model in Iraq or the French model in Libya. However, the parties to the conflict and most of their sponsors do not want to deal with the constitution.

The constitution and the global Geneva negotiations format are not yet ready. Nine meetings were held in Astana, the tenth with be held in late July, early August in Sochi, and the 11th and 12th, perhaps, again in Kazakhstan. At the same time, it is too early to talk about holding a new Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, and this in itself indicates contradictions. In Geneva, the main point of divergence of positions between Moscow and Tehran, on the one hand and Ankara, on the other became obvious. Negotiations on Syria in Astana will not make sense in the event of the Syrian Army offensive in the province of Idlib, which is one of the de-escalation zones, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told NTV, because in this development of events “there will be no sense in Turkey’s cooperation with Iran and Russia”.

Moscow’s position is obvious – it requires Ankara to separate the opposition in Idlib with the elimination of Jabhat al-Nusra supporters. Ankara plans to put these groups under the control both through reconciliation and through the absorption of their groups by pro-Turkish opposition groups. In this case, a non-agreement-capable opposition group remains in Idlib, making any attempts of creating a constitution impossible. Even more so, in Ankara’s plans for Syria there is no desire to conduct a dialogue with Damascus about the future political architecture of this country.

Moscow calls on groups of moderates to go not just to reconciliation with Damascus in the south of Syria, but also to take an active part in the destruction of the remaining ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra troops there. Turkey has its own point of view on this issue. Only if Moscow can guarantee that the SAS troops will remain legally in the south of Syria, and will not take any military action in Idlib, agreeing that this province is a zone of strategic interest and influence solely to Ankara, the latter are willing to somehow participate in operations against the “irreconcilables”. There is little doubt that after Erdogan’s victory in the presidential elections, he will not soften this position.

White Helmets Again in the Arsenal

The US State Department on May 4 announced the termination of the allocation of funds to the White Helmets, but on June 14 announced the continuation of the programme of financing this organisation. It is planned to allocate 6.6 million dollars to this end. The US has supported the White Helmets since 2013. During this time, the American authorities have provided them with more than 33 million dollars. The White Helmets have repeatedly made statements that the Syrian government forces’ aircraft strike civilians areas. The parties will ultimately remain with their own: Moscow will deny any data that are obtained with the use of White Helmets, and the West will take the opposite position. It is important that the US security forces persuaded the administration and personally President Donald Trump to leave the funding of this NGO in their charge. Earlier, the Americans tried to shift the financing of this structure to the British and the KSA intelligence services, this was as ordered by Trump himself. But something has changed, most likely the security forces realised that Riyadh will not be able to control the process in the right direction for the US. In addition, this fact made the Helmets’ activities more vulnerable from the point of view of their connection with Jabhat al-Nusra.

In this situation the CIA was able to convince Trump that the White Helmets should be kept under their control. Fortunately, a military operation is expected to eliminate the de-escalation zone in the south of the country, and among the few options for influencing the situation in the right direction for the US remains another staging of “the use of chemical weapons by Damascus.” The conditions for this were created last year, when in southern Syria Jordanian experts collect “biological materials”. Thus, provocations with accusations of Damascus of using chemical weapons and “respect for human rights” remaining in Washington’s arsenal on the Syrian track and will be used in the near future.

This article is based on material from the Middle East Institute expert Yu. Schelgovin.

BELLINGCAT & ATLANTIC COUNCIL JOIN TO AWARD EXPLOITED SYRIAN CHILD & AMERICAN MASS MURDERER

alabed_terror

-by Eva Bartlett

June 28, 2018, RT.com

Just when we thought the over-used Bana al-Abed story was in the war propaganda dustbin, the wonder-child theme has again been re-hashed, this time by the Atlantic Council.

The so-called “think tank” recently highlighted the nine-year old at a conference that also included former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Bana, the child presented to the world in late 2016 as tweeting from eastern Aleppo about wanting peace, Russia being bad, Assad being bad, etcetera, became colonial media’s darling, the perfect cover for war propaganda. We are told that Bana al-Abed has written a memoir. She has attended galas, met the Turkish president, and hobnobbed with movie stars and UN officials. Now, the girl has been trotted out on stage to receive an award from the Atlantic Council. 

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Damaged buildings in the Syrian city of Raqa. © Delil souleiman / AFP

Critical-thinkers aren’t fooled by the Bana story. As I wrote earlier:

Critiques on Amazon reveal that thinking people aren’t buying brand Bana, in spite of her UN appearance and rehearsed speech about children dying from bombs and hunger (which the United Nations retweeted, as all good neutral and credible institutions might).”

That her father was a member of a terrorist organization in Aleppo and worked in a Sharia Court has been documented, as has her family’s close proximity to numerous terrorist headquarters in their area of Aleppo alone.

But still, her official story is dragged on, endlessly.

Last April, after the world declared, with zero evidence, that Syria had used a toxic chemical on civilians in Douma, when Syrians testified to the contrary, Western leaders and corporate media labeled giving their testimony as a “masquerade,” “obscene.” They ignored the words of 11-year-old Hassan Diab from Douma. They ignored numerous reports of independent journalists whose reporting from Douma corroborate the testimonies. These people, corporate media tell us, are not to be believed.

Yet, as I wrote earlier“Corporate media and Western leaders had no issues with the credibility of Bana, who was living surrounded by 25 terrorist cells in her district alone.”

Screenshot from 2018-06-26 09-05-30

What is the Atlantic Council?

Is the Atlantic Council some benevolent organization handing out awards to do-gooding people?

No. It’s a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things. One of its Syria “experts” is none other than Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, who recently took to social media to tell people to suck his “big balls,” making him more of a laughing stock than this backgrounder on the man with no qualifications to his title.

Screenshot from 2018-06-29 10-39-28

 

Screenshot from 2018-06-29 10-39-37

Some of the Atlantic Council’s funders include: the US State Department, oil and weapons manufacturing companies, banks, NATO, various nations’ ministries of defence, and the US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy.

Even just based on funding alone, and ignoring their pro-NATO policy papers, the Atlantic Council clearly exists to further the interests of those involved in weapons manufacturing, wars, and oil.

‘Banging’: Bellingcat’s interview with Bana

In her interview with Bellingcat, Bana seems more natural than in her early 2017 “save, save the children of Syria”interview (her reply to what kind of food she liked). This time, she can answer basic ‘how are you’ questions. Her replies are met with“cool, cool, cool,” and “banging,” by Bellingcat’s Nick Waters.

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© Thaer Mohammed

After the chit-chat, Bana begins what is clearly a scripted soliloquy, staring forward, possibly concentrating on repeating what is likely being transmitted to her ear, speaking about children and war, destroyed schools, and of course not ever mentioning the terrorists who surrounded her home and occupied schools as headquarters, nor that her own father was a terrorist.

It is a transparently unauthentic recitation, with Bana continually pausing mid-sentence, presumably to hear the rest of what she is told to say. After two and a half minutes of this cringeworthy monologue, she breaks into song, singing “We shall overcome.”

When later receiving her Atlantic Council “Freedom Award,” she gives another rehearsed speech, again halting mid-sentence throughout her five minutes of talking.

These theatrical performances, hosted and encouraged by the Atlantic Council and Bellingcat, epitomize the depth that the NATO alliance is willing to stoop to, grasping desperately at legitimacy in their transparent war propaganda.

It was not only a shameful, but an embarrassing, fail for the Atlantic Council. As of two days later, there isn’t a single positive comment on the Youtube video of her interview. To the contrary, comments speak of child abuse, war propaganda, and that the girl is likely being fed her lines by an earpiece.

On the Atlantic Council’s Youtube channel, comments are disabled for Bana’s award speech.

Failed Sherlocks accuse a non-bot of being a troll

The DFRLab is a project of the Atlantic Council, ostensibly to identify those prolific (Russian) bots and trolls out there.

On June 22, Atlantic Council CEO and President Fred Kempe tweeted:

“Checking in at the 360 / OS #DigitalSherlocks! The @DFRLab team is working together with activists and journalists from all around the world to enhance our ability to identify trolls in the web spreading disinformation and fake news that pollute our open societies.”

Read more

The author with Douma residents © Eva Bartlett

The second photo in the tweet identifies three Twitter accounts as possible “trolls”: @Malinka1102, @ian56789, and @bowhunter_va.

One of the accused, @Malinka1102, tweeted about her preference for privacy and not being subjected to witch-hunts and harassment.

Having myself been a target of endless harassment and smear campaigns, I can appreciate her concerns, some of which are also included in a book by Phil Butler.

In fact, a new article by Ben Nimmo—who previously targeted @ian56789 as a “Russian bot” (an accusation revealed to be baseless when Ian gave a live Sky News interview, revealing himself to be concerned British man)—now targets a number of twitter profiles as “trolls”, including yours truly.

So basically, people who challenge the State Department, sorry, Atlantic Council, Human Rights Watch, and all the other arms of the US and UK governments on their war propaganda are not thinking people with consciences, they are just “trolls”. That’s what DFRLab wants you to believe.

Atlantic Council awards its own war propaganda

On awarding Bana al-Abed, the Atlantic Council tweeted about her humanizing the “Syrian civil war.”

Screenshot from 2018-06-29 10-43-34

Oh, the irony. The exploited child’s Twitter account has called for World War Three, has whitewashed Al-Qaeda and indeed Bana’s own father Ghassan, a terrorist with the Safwa Brigade.

bana_alabed_holocaust_aleppo

The irony of also awarding Madeleine Albright — known for her lack of remorse over the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a result of sanctions — was not lost on people.

Screenshot from 2018-06-29 10-46-43

Every new Bana production mocks the children in Syria who are actually starving — like those in Ghouta when under terrorist rule, those when under terrorist rule in eastern Aleppo, in Madaya, in al-Waer — and who are being maimed or murdered by terrorist bombings.

The Atlantic Council and Bellingcat are guilty of war propaganda. As @ian56789 wrote to me in a message:

“The members of the Atlantic Council and DFRLab should be indicted as accomplices to War Crimes, for providing actual material support to al-Qaeda terrorists, and for Treason (actively supporting official enemies of the US & UK). They should be spending the rest of their lives in jail and fined every penny they’ve got.”

And those abusing and exploiting Bana al-Abed in their ongoing war propaganda should join them.

Foreign Minister S.Lavrov’s interview with Channel 4, Moscow, June 29, 2018

The Saker

June 29, 2018

Foreign Minister S.Lavrov’s interview with Channel 4, Moscow, June 29, 2018

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3285972

 

Question: Foreign Minister, the summit is happening in Helsinki. Russian President V.Putin and US President D.Trump together. Is this the post-West world order that you have talked of in the past? Has it now arrived?

S.Lavrov: Well, I think that we are in the post-West world order, but this order is being shaped and it will take a long time. It is a historical epoch, if you want. Certainly, after five or so centuries of domination of the collective West, as it were, it is not very easy to adjust to new realities that there are other powerhouses economically, financially and politically, China, India, Brazil. African countries are going to be very much on the rise, as soon as they resolve at least some of the conflicts, which are there on the continent. Well, Russia certainly would like to be an independent world player. Independent in the sense that we do not want to violate and international law and norms, but the decisions, which we would be taking on the basis of international law, would not be influenced by pressure, money, sanctions, threats or anything else.

Question: Russia is shaping this world order that is clear.

S.Lavrov: It is not Russia is shaping this world order, its history. It’s the development itself. You cannot really hope to contain this new powerful, economically and financially, countries. You cannot really ignore their role in world trade and world economy. Attempts are being made to slow down this process by new tariffs, new sanctions for good or bad reasons in violation of the WTO principles and so on. But I think it is a logical reaction: trying to slow down something, which is objective and does not depend on any single administration in any country.

Question: But Europe has something to fear from that world order that you have just mapped out there.

S.Lavrov: What was that?

Question: Well the world order that you have mapped out involved all sorts of countries. You did not mention whether the EU fits into that. Do they need to worry about that new world order?

S.Lavrov: Well, the EU is of course part of the collective West with the addition of new members from Eastern Europe. But the European Union is certainly a very important pillar of any world order. As for the Russian Federation, it is our biggest trade partner in spite of the fact that after the unfortunate developments and the wrongly understood interpretation of what the coup d’état is. The volume of trade since 2014 between Russia and the European Union went down 50%, but it is still more than $250bn and it is our number one trading partner, as a collective, as a Union. But the European Union certainly is now fighting to make sure that it is not lost in this new world order that is being shaped. It is not easy, because the reliance on the United States is something, which quite a number of the EU members want to keep. There are some other EU members, who believe that they should be a bit more self-sufficient in military matters for example. The initiative of President F.Macron and Germany to consider some kind of European defence capabilities being beefed up is a manifestation of this case.

I am watching the EU summit, which is going on right now, and the discussion on migration brought an interesting thought to my head, namely it is about the relations between NATO and EU. NATO bombed Libya, turned Libya into a black hole through which waves of migrants, illegal migrants, rushed to Europe. Now EU is cleaning the broken china for NATO.

Question: You talk about NATO’s involvement in Libya, but then there is Russia’s involvement in Syria and that has also created millions of refugees.

S.Lavrov: Yes, but I would challenge you that the Russian involvement in Syria on the basis of legitimate request from the legitimate government, recognized by all as the representative of Syria in the United Nations, took place in September 2015, four years and a half into the Arab spring embracing Syria. The bulk of the refugees already was outside Syria by the time that we came to the rescue of the legitimate government.

Question: Well you talk of the legitimate government that is also the government responsible for killing of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens, making millions homeless. “A gas killing animal”, as President D.Trump, your ally, puts it. Do you rest easy being allied with that kind of government?

S.Lavrov: Well, I would not go into the names, which President D.Trump used to describe some of the world leaders. It is not something done in concrete, it might change. What I want to say is: it is a war. It is the war, which was started by mistakes made on the part of everyone, including the Syrian government. I believe these disturbances could have been handled politically at an earlier stage. But we have now on our hands what is the result of outside forces having tried to use the situation in order to reshape the map of the Middle East and Northern Africa by trying to get into Syria without any invitation and trying to promote their own agenda there. So, the efforts, which we are now undertaking together with Turkey and Iran, and both of them are present on the ground, Turkey without invitation, Iran with the invitation from the government, but we managed pragmatically to create what we call Astana Process, Astana Format. The Syrian government, given the fact that Russia, Iran cooperate with Turkey on the basis of decisions, which lead to de-escalation, accepted Astana Process as such. It is part of the process together with the armed opposition, they regularly meet, and try to create conditions for the resolution of UN Security Council 2254 to be implemented.

Question: Let me ask again about Syrian President B.Assad. A lot of people would like to know what is there to like about President B.Assad?

S.Lavrov: We do not like anybody. The diplomacy and politics are not about liking or disliking, it is for human beings as individuals to use this terminology. President Assad is protecting the sovereignty of his country. He is protecting his country and in a broader sense the region from terrorism, which was really about a couple of weeks from taking over Damascus in September 2015.

We did not want the repetition of tragedies, which happened during last couple of decades through the “adventures”. Maybe even more than a couple of decades. It started closer to the end last century in Afghanistan, when the US decided to support militarily, financially and otherwise mujahedeen, who were fighting the Soviet troops. I would not dwell upon why the Soviet troops were there. By the way USSR was also invited legally by the government, which was recognized legitimate. The US decided to use the mujahedeen to fight the Soviet troops, hoping that after the job is done, they could handle those mujahedeen. That is how Al Qaeda appeared and the US lost total control of this beast, whom they had created basically. Then there was an adventure in Iraq on the very false pretence. Now everybody knows this, even Tony Blair admitted that this was a mistake. But the fact of the matter is just like Al Qaeda was born in Afghanistan, ISIL/Daesh was born after the intervention in Iraq. After Libya was invaded in gross violation of the Security Council Resolution, and Syria is now, there is another beast that was born – Jabhat al Nusra, which changes names, but is another terrorist organization. Whatever the civilized West is trying to bring to the Middle East and North Africa turns out to be in favour of terrorists.

Question: That is a very impressive whistle-stop tour of history, but I want to ask about the present though and about President Assad. You said that it is not about liking President Assad. Does that mean that Russia would be prepared to see him go? Do the job, finish the war and then he goes?

S.Lavrov: It is the position, which is not Russian position, it is the position of the Security Council, endorsed by each and every country on Earth, that the future of Syria must be decided by the Syrian people themselves. That there must be a new constitution.  On the basis of the new constitution there must be elections. Elections should be free, fair, monitored by the UN and all Syrian citizens, wherever they are, should be eligible to vote.

Question: So, it is irrelevant to you whether he stays or goes, that is for the Syrian people?

S.Lavrov: Yes, that is for them to decide. I believe that this view, which was rejected for quite some time after the Syrian crisis began, is now shared by more and more countries.

Question: When Russia withdraws from Syria? President V.Putin first raised the prospect in March 2016, he said that Russia had largely achieved her objectives there. Again, December 2017. By the end of this year can we expect Russia to be out of Syria?

S.Lavrov: No. I do not think that this is something, which we can intelligently discuss. We do not like artificial deadlines, but we have been consistently reducing our military presence in Syria. The last reduction took place a few of days ago. More than 1,000 troops have come back to Russia, some aircraft and other equipment as well. It depends on what is the actual situation on the ground. Yes, we managed together with our colleagues, with Syrian Army, with the help of opposition, which I would call “patriotic opposition” not to allow plans to create a caliphate by ISIL happen. But some remnants of ISIL are very much there. Jabhat al Nusra is still there. They are now preventing the deal on the southern Syrian de-escalation area to be implemented fully. So there are some leftovers. Besides, we do have, not actually full-fledged bases, but two places where our naval ships and our aircraft are located in Syria and they might be usefully kept for quite some time.

Question: Clearly, Syria will be on the agenda at the summit. Just want to talk about some other things that might be. For example, you have mentioned sanctions. Do you think that sanctions will be lifted, given that the EU has just talked about extending them? Do you think you can get President D.Trump to commit to that?

S.Lavrov: Actually, I have mentioned sanctions only in the context of the deterioration of relations. We are not pleading to remove them. It is not our business, it is for those, who introduced sanction, to decide whether they want to continue or whether common sense would prevail.

Question: Well, your President has very recently said that he would like them lifted.

S.Lavrov: Yes, absolutely. We would not mind them lifted, but we would not mind also using the spirit to build up our own capacity in key sectors of economy, security and other areas on which an independent state depends. In the recent years, we have learned a lot, including the fact that in these issues you cannot rely on the West. You cannot rely on Western technologies, because they can be abruptly stopped at any moment. You cannot rely on the items, which are essential for the day-to-day living of the population, coming from the West, because this could also be stopped. So we are certainly drawing lessons. But we certainly would not be against sanctions being lifted and we would reciprocate, because we do have some countermeasures in place.

Question: What are you prepared to give in this Summit? For example, if D.Trump says he wants NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden back in the US, is that something that you would consider? Is this something that you can put on the table?

S.Lavrov: I have never discussed Edward Snowden with this Administration.  President V.Putin addressed the issue some years ago. When he was asked the question, he said this is for Edward Snowden do decide. We respect his rights, as an individual. That is why we were not in the position to expel him against his will, because he found himself in Russia even without the US passport, which was discontinued as he was flying from Hong Kong.

Question: So that is not going to be up for discussion?

S.Lavrov: I do not know why people would start asking this particular question in relation to the Summit. Edward Snowden is the master of his own destiny.

Question: Given that the US intelligence believes that the presidential elections were meddled with, can Russian President V.Putin give D.Trump any assurances that the upcoming mid-term elections in a few months’ time would not be meddled with by Russia?

S.Lavrov: We would prefer some facts. We cannot intelligently discuss something, which is based on “highly likely”.

Question: Well, it is more than highly likely, is not it?

S.Lavrov: No. The investigation in the US has been going on for how long? A year and a half now?

Question: Well, Robert Mueller indicted the Internet Research Agency, the Russian “troll factory”.

S.Lavrov: Indictment is something, which requires a trial and I understand that they have submitted their own case and they have challenged quite a number of things, which were used for the indictment. So let’s not jump the gun. I love Lewis Carrol, but I do not think that the logic of the queen, who said “sentence first, verdict later”, is going to prevail. So far, you take the presidential election in the US, take Brexit, take the Salisbury case, take the tragedy with the Malaysian Boeing MH17 flight, it is all based on “investigation continues, but you are guilty already”. It cannot work this way.

Question: But is Russia frightened of the truth? Because it just seems whenever the authority whether it is the UN or the chemical weapons watch dog OPCW, whenever they try to get to the facts, Russia objects.

S.Lavrov: No, I believe that the public and respected journalists like you have been misinformed. The OPCW must operate on the basis of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which says bluntly that there is only one procedure when you want to establish facts. First, experts of the OPCW must themselves without delegating this authority to anyone go to the place of the alleged incident. They must themselves with their own hands and with their own equipment take samples. They must continue holding the substances in their hands until they have reached a certified laboratory. In the recent cases, especially in the infamous case of Khan Shaykhun April last year, when the Syrian government was accused of using aerial bombs to deliver chemical weapons to Khan Shaykhun, the OPCW never visited the place, they never took samples themselves. When we asked where did they get samples they said: “the Brits and the French gave it to us”. We asked why do not you go there?

Question: Have you lost faith in the OPCW?

S.Lavrov: Wait a second, that is important information. Let’s not speak slogans, let’s speak facts. So they did not go there. But they said that “we got the samples”. We asked “where from?”. They said “well the British and the French got it for us”. “Why do not you go?”, we asked. “Why it is not very safe.” We told them if the Brits and the French made it there or rather they know people who can get there safely, why do not you ask Paris and London to ensure safety for your own inspectors to get there. We told the same to the French and to the British, they said: “no, it is something, which we cannot share with you, how we got hold of this”. So, no procedures, regarding the taking of the samples, and the chain of custody, meaning that the inspectors themselves cannot delegate to anyone the delivery of samples to laboratory. These procedures, embodied and enshrined in the Convention, were violated. The Report on this Khan Shaykhun case, submitted by this Joint Investigating Mechanism last fall was full of “highly likely”, “by all probability”, “we have good reasons to believe” and so on and so forth. We invited the authors of the Report to the Security Council, trying to get some credible information from them. Impossible, they were stonewalled, they refused to talk. We said: “guys, if you want to work on the basis of violation of the Convention’s procedures, this cannot continue”. We did not extend their mandate, but we suggested a new mechanism, insisting that this new mechanism must not violate the procedures embodied in the Convention.

Question: Do you still have faith in the OPCW?

S.Lavrov: Until recently we did. But the organization was grossly manipulated a couple of days ago, when the Brits and others convened the special sessions of the state parties to the Convention. They passed a decision by vote, which basically violates the Convention in all its provisions, giving the Technical Secretariat the right to establish guilt. I think that this is a step, which was not thought through very thoroughly, because it is very dangerous.

Question: Well, it is dangerous potentially for Russia, because now the chemical weapons watchdog can apportion blame to the likes of Russia. Are you fearful of the truth?

S.Lavrov: No, I am fearful of the future of the OPCW and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Question: Will you withdraw from the OPCW?

S.Lavrov: Well, if people prefer to violate the Convention, if they say that this is the “will of the majority”. When they convened this conference, all kinds of tricks were used, including mobilizing small countries, who do not have any representation in the Hague, paying for their travel expenses, paying for their hotel bills. We know all this and they know all this. So, when the Convention is grossly violated, I do not think that you can really avoid raising concern. We will try to repair the situation, because this decision will go to the regular conference of the state parties. But if this is not repaired, I believe that the days of the OPCW will be counted, at least it would not remain as a universal organization.

Question: The OPCW has also investigated the case of the Skripals. I wanted to ask you, do you think that using a nerve agent to poison a former spy and his child, a policeman on the streets of a cathedral city in Britain is an act of a rational state?

S.Lavrov: Rational state? Not at all. It is an act of crime. We from the very beginning suggested that we investigate this together, because it is our citizen. At least the daughter is our citizen. The father, I think, has a dual citizenship, he is a Russian citizen and a British subject. From the very beginning we suggested a joint investigation. We asked so many questions, including the questions related to the Chemical Weapons Convention’s procedures. In response, we were told that the British side does not want to listen, because we have to tell them only one thing. “Did V.Putin order this or did V.Putin lose control over the people who did?”. That’s all that the Brits wanted to discuss. The inconsistences in the situation with the Skripals are very troubling. We never managed to get consular access to our citizen in violation of all international conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. We never got any credible explanation why the cousin of Yulia Skripal has not been given visa, she wants to visit the UK and see her cousin. And many other things related to the act itself.

Question: But why would Britain give consular access to the country suspected of being behind this attack?

S.Lavrov: You know that the investigation continues. The Scotland Yard said that it would take a few more months. UK Foreign Secretary B.Johnson recently mentioned that the place is being disinfected four months after the incident. The policeman became miraculously fine. The Skripals became miraculously fine. People now talk about levelling the house, where they lived, levelling the house of the policeman. It all looks like a consistent physical extermination of the evidence, like the benches of the park were removed immediately and, of course, the video images, when the policemen or special forces in special attire go to take a look at this bench, while people without any protection are moving around. It looks very weird.

S.Lavrov: Mr. Lavrov are accusing the British state of a cover-up of this whole incident?

S.Lavrov: I do not exclude this, as long as they do not give us information. You know that about 10 Russian citizens have died in London during the past years. All 10 cases have been investigated in the secret format. We do not understand why. One of the wise guys said: “who is to benefit?” Certainly, the UK benefited politically from what is going. Come to think of it, it is an interesting situation, thereby the country, which is leaving the European Union, is determining the EU policy on Russia. When they were running through all capitals of the European Union, saying “you must expel the Russian diplomats, you must expel them”. So they did. Most of them, some did not. Then we privately asked those, who decided to join Britain in this action whether any proof was given in addition to what was said publicly. They said no. But they said that “we were promised that later, as investigation proceeds, we would be given more facts”. Do you think it is ok?

Question: But you ask who benefits and there are many in the West, who say that the chaos whether it is Brexit, whether it is the Skripals, whether it is D.Trump in the White House…

S.Lavrov: You forgot Catalonia and you forgot the forthcoming elections in Sweden, as the Prime Minister said. Macedonia, Montenegro…

Question: Ok, we will include that later. But answer me this: does the chaos benefit Russia, as some in the West say?

S.Lavrov: You have to be within the historical and chronological framework. You mean the chaos benefits Russia couple of weeks before the presidential elections and months before the World Cup. What do you think?

Question: I am asking you. Does chaos benefit Russia?

S.Lavrov: I want to clarify the issue. Does chaos benefit Russia couple of days before the presidential elections and couple of days before the World Cup? Is it the question?

Question: Well you talked about the new world order that you are hoping that Russia will help shape. Much easier to shape that world order if the EU is in chaos, you are holding the ring in the Middle East, if you are calling the shots in Syria. Russia potentially benefits.

S.Lavrov: No, this is absolutely wrong. It is misreading what I have said. I did not say that Russia wants to shape the new order. I said that Russia must be one of the players on the equal basis, discussing how the objective reality of multipolarity, being developed in front of our eyes, could be managed the way, which would be acceptable to all. That is what I have said. The interests of those, who determine the Russophobic policy in the West, are absolutely diametrically different. Their interest is to punish Russia, to downgrade Russia.

Question: Why, do you think?

S.Lavrov: Because it is very painful to lose half millennium of domination in the world affairs. In a nutshell this is the answer. This is not the criticism, this is a statement of fact. I understand when people used to call the shots in India, Africa, Asia, elsewhere and now they understand that this time has passed.

Question: Is Brexit good for Britain? Is it good for Russia?

S.Lavrov: This is for the UK subjects to discuss.

Question: Good for Russia, though?

S.Lavrov: I do not understand why we should be thinking in this way. It is something that the Brits decided. It is something, which they still discuss with the EU: the divorce, the problems inside the country. We also know, of course we follow the news, that the Parliament has one position, some public activists want rethinking.

Question: Does it look like chaos to you in Theresa May’s Britain?

S.Lavrov: Look, it is something, which happened by developments inside the UK. We only want clarity. What will be the basis on which we continue to work with the European Union. What will be the basis on which we might someday restore the relations with the UK, when they take some reasonable course and not overly ideologised, “highly likely” attitude. I believe that this must be must be very much understood by those in the West, especially by the liberals, who keep saying that the “rule of law must prevail”. In my view, rule of law means that unless proven guilty you cannot sentence people. That is what is happening with Skripal, MH17, with the OPCW being an instrument of those, who would like to make this “highly likely” the order of the day in Syria.

Question: Just returning to the Summit for a couple of final questions. Does it help Russia in her dealings with D.Trump that so many people think that you have compromising materials,  so-called “kompromat”, on him?

S.Lavrov: Look, I hear this for the first time that we have the compromising material on D.Trump. That’s what the Special Counsel R.Mueller is trying to dig. Actually, I stopped reading the news from this investigation. You know that when R. Tillerson was Secretary of State, he once stated publicly that they have an “undeniable proof”. Then, during our contact, I said: “Rex, can you give this undeniable proof to us? Because we want to understand what is going on. Maybe this is something that we can explain”. He said: “well, we cannot give it to you, we cannot compromise our sources and besides, your special services, your security people know everything – ask them”. Is it the way to handle serious things? It is a matter, which is used to ruin the Russian-American relations. To answer the way, in which he did, I believe that it is not mature. It is very childish, I think. I think that the people, who are trying to dig something to prove that we have decided the future of the greatest country on Earth through some Internet agency, are ridiculous. I understand that the Democrats in the US are really quite nervous. I understand that the UK is nervous. There were leaks in the Times, saying that the Cabinet members are nervous that D.Trump and V.Putin might get along.

Question: So you do read the papers?

S.Lavrov: I read the extracts, which my people give me. I love reading papers with a cup of coffee, but do not always have time.

Question: Finally, on that point of kompromat. The ex-FBI Director J.Comey has said and I quote “it is possible that the current President of the United States was with prostitutes, peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013”. Do you think that this is possible?

S.Lavrov: Well, he said that this is possible, ask him.

Question: Do you think that this is possible? It has happened in Moscow allegedly.

S.Lavrov: I do not know what people can invent again. I think that I have read this story a couple of years ago, when all this started. Again, if people base the real policies vis-à-vis a country, state-to-state policies on the basis of “it is “possible”, on the basis of “highly likely”, this is shameful. I believe that what is being done in the context of the Russiagate in the US, as President V.Putin has repeatedly said, is the manifestation of deep domestic controversy, because the losers do not have the guts to accept that they have lost the elections.

Question: Foreign Minister, thank you very much.

S.Lavrov: Thank you.

 

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