Strategic Stupidity… Biden Torpedoes French & NATO Relations With Aussie Sub Deal to Target China

September 21, 2021

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Finian Cunningham

It’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark, Finian Cunningham writes.

The Gallic gall erupting between France and the United States, Britain and Australia has overshadowed the new military alliance that U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week for the Indo-Pacific region.

That alliance was supposed to signal a U.S.-led initiative to challenge China. But the strategic move is turning out rather stupid and shortsighted as it has backfired to slam a hole in Washington’s alliance with France and wider NATO partnerships.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the recall of ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia in a sign of the intense anger in Paris over the newly unveiled alliance known as AUKUS – standing for Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The return of French envoys from these allied nations has never happened before.

What’s at stake is a €56 billion contract to build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia by France that was first signed in 2016. That deal has been scrapped and replaced by a contract with the U.S. and Britain to supply Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines. The French subs that were on order were diesel-electric powered.

That’s a huge loss in financial revenue for France as well as a hammer blow to French naval jobs and ancillary industries. But what’s more damaging is the stealth and a palpable sense of betrayal. The French were evidently hoodwinked by the Americans, British and Australians over the whole backroom deal.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian did not beat around the bush to express the rage being felt in Paris at the highest level. “I am outraged… this is a stab in the back,” he fumed to French media on news of the new Anglo-American military alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the consequent cancellation of the French sub contract.

“There has been duplicity, contempt and lies – you cannot play that way in an alliance,” he added referring to the NATO military organization of which France is a prominent member.

Apart from the recall of its ambassadors, France has also cancelled a scheduled summit in London this week between French and British defense ministers.

Sir Peter Ricketts, a former British national security advisor and past ambassador to France, said the growing row was “just the tip of the iceberg”. He said it was much worse than when France fell foul of the United States and Britain back in 2003 over the Iraq War.

Ricketts told the BBC as quoted by The Guardian: “This is far more than just a diplomatic spat… this puts a big rift down the middle of the NATO alliance.”

What is particularly galling for the French is that the new U.S. alliance with Britain and Australia was obviously under private discussion for several months to the exclusion of Paris and other NATO members. The French only found out about the pact when it was announced on September 15 in a joint virtual press conference between Biden and his British and Australian counterparts, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.

When Biden made his first overseas trip as president in June this year to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, and later to meet other NATO leaders in Belgium, there was no mention of the AUKUS plan. Biden even held a bilateral and apparently cordial meeting with Macron in Cornwall without any hint of the new alliance under formation nor the impending impact on the French submarine contract. More bitterly in hindsight, Biden also held a closed meeting with Johnson and Morrison during the G7 summit even though Australia is not a member of the forum. They must have discussed AUKUS in secret. No wonder the French are aggrieved by the contempt shown.

But it’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark.

Last week, European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented a new EU strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region the day after the AUKUS alliance was announced. Borrell had metaphorical egg dripping off his face when he answered media questions about the U.S., UK, Australia initiative. “We were not informed, we were not aware… we regret not having been informed.”

The brutal irony is that Biden came to the White House promising that he would repair transatlantic partnerships with Europe and NATO which had been ravaged by Donald Trump and his browbeating over alleged lack of military spending by allies. When Biden visited England and Belgium in June it was something of a love-in with European leaders who swooned over his vows of “America is back”.

After Biden’s unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan last month when European NATO partners were not consulted and their apprehensions were brushed aside, now we see Biden poking France in the eye and kicking it in the coffers with €56 billion pain.

“Political trust has been shattered,” said Frederic Grare of the European Council for Foreign Affairs as quoted by the Euronews outlet.

But the whole sordid betrayal and bickering have more than money and loss of trust involved – far-reaching though that those issues are.

Washington’s willingness to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia with British collaboration shows that the United States is moving ahead with a more reckless offensive policy towards China. Biden is explicitly declaring a strategic move to confront China more openly and provocatively, ramping up the hostility of previous administrations under Trump and Obama.

Beijing condemned the new AUKUS alliance as a harbinger of more “Cold War”, saying that it would bring insecurity to the region and lead to a new arms race. That may be an understatement as the Anglo-American alliance spells move to a war footing.

China warned that despite Australia’s insipid assurances to the contrary, the nuclear-powered submarines could be armed with nuclear missiles in the future. Beijing said Australia would be targeted for a nuclear strike in the event of any future war with the United States.

Biden’s strategic move to engage with Britain and Australia in order to threaten China is proving to be a loose cannon in relations with France and other European NATO allies. That speaks of Washington’s desperation to confront China. 

عالم ينهار عالم ينهض ومركز ثقل العالم ينتقل إلى الشرق

 محمد صادق الحسيني

«‏العالم ليس سوى غابة… هذه مقولة كنا قد نسيناها

‏لكن الخنجر الذي طعنتنا به أميركا في الظهر

‏يعيد تذكيرنا بها اليوم مجدداً».

‏هذا الكلام لسفير فرنسا السابق في واشنطن ‏(في إشارة إلى إلغاء صفقة الغواصات الأسترالية لفرنسا بضغط من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية).‏

لا يزال العالم يعيش تحت صدمة فسخ صفقة الغواصات التي تعمل بالوقود التقليدي بين أستراليا وفرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى مع أميركا تعمل بالوقود النووي.

وهو ما اعتبره القادة الفرنسيون خيانة أميركية للشراكة الأطلسية وتواطؤاً بريطانياً ذميماً وانقياداً أسترالياً بغيضاً، سيرمي بظلاله على كل العمل المشترك في حلف الناتو.

وهو ما أثار بالفعل تساؤلات عميقة لدى المتابعين والخبراء والمراقبين على حدّ سواء.

ويعتقد مطلعون أنّ العاصفة الهوجاء من النقد اللاذع التي انطلقت مع هذه الواقعة لدى الفرنسيين لها ما يبرّرها بسبب سوابق أميركية تعود لأيام حكم ترامب.

فقد سبق للأميركيين أن وجهوا انتقادات لاذعة للفرنسيين كما للألمان، متهمين إياهم بأنهم لم يقوموا بواجباتهم كما ينبغي تجاه حلف الأطلسي فيما يدفع الأميركيون من خزانتهم لحماية أوروبا والدفاع عنها، وهو خلاصة الكلام الذي أسمعه ترامب للأوروبيين في اجتماعه الشهير بقادتهم في الأشهر الأخيرة من عهده على هامش اجتماع عالي المستوى في فرنسا.

ومن يومها تحسّس قادة أوروبا رؤوسهم وبدأوا يتحدثون عن ضرورة تشكيل قوة دفاعية خاصة بهم.

واليوم مع القرار المفاجئ لأستراليا بإلغاء ما عُرف بصفقة القرن (ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار) مع فرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى أميركية مع إعلان مفاجئ لجو بايدن عن تحالف ثلاثي يضمّ بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تكون الرواية الفرنسية عن الخيانة الأميركية تجاه باريس والطعن في الظهر قد اكتملت.

لعلّ من المفيد هنا الإشارة إلى أنّ حلف شمال الأطلسي وهو الحلف القائم بين أميركا وأوروبا إنما تشكل بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية من أجل حماية أوروبا من الاتحاد السوفياتي سابقاً.

الأوروبيون يشعرون بقوة منذ زمن ليس بالقليل بأن واشنطن تعيش موسم الهجرة إلى الصين، وأنها لم تعد ترى في موسكو عدوها الأساس بقدر ما ترى ذلك في الصين، خصوصاً بعد أن انتقل الصراع برأيهم من الميدان والحروب العسكرية إلى الاقتصاد، وهو المجال الذي سبقتهم فيه الصين مسافات طويلة.

بالتالي فإنّ ما بات مطلوباً بالنسبة لواشنطن إنما هو تحالفات جديدة تقوم على ضرورة الانتقال من ضفتي الأطلسي إلى ضفتي الهادئ وبحر الصين.

في هذه الأثناء فإنّ تحوّلاً مهماً آخر أيضاً قد طرأ في موازين القوى العسكرية أيضاً في النطاق الأوروبي.

حيث يجمع المتخصصون والعالمون بتقنيات القوة العسكرية الروسية الراهنة، وهو ما يعرفه جنرالات الناتو وكذلك جنرالات البنتاغون جيداً بأنّ قدرات العسكر الروسي المتطورة جداً باتت قادرة على سحق القوة العسكرية الغربية والسيطرة على الميدان فيها من لينينغراد إلى النورماندي (أقصى غرب فرنسا) خلال 24 ساعة.

وهذا التحول المهم في الموازين هو الذي دفع ألمانيا مبكراً للتوجه شرقاً باتجاه موسكو والتفاهم معها لإنجاز مشروع السيل الشمالي 2 للغاز، لتأمين ألمانيا من الطاقة، والتزام الحذر الشديد تجاه أيّ مخطط مقترح من واشنطن قبل أن يتطابق مع المصلحة القومية الألمانية العليا.‏

واليوم يأتي الدور على فرنسا للتفكير ملياً في ما إذا كان المطلوب منها التفكير جدياً بالتوجه شرقاً في إطار حماية أمنها القومي واستجرار الطاقة مثلاً من الروس أيضاً عبر ألمانيا.

تجدر الإشارة بالطبع هنا إلى أنّ باريس هي الأخرى قامت مع ذلك بترتيب أمورها مبكراً مع الجزائر (المحسوبة حليفاً قوياً لروسيا) لاستجرار خط الغاز من نيجيريا عبر ربط خطوطه بخطوط نقل الغاز الجزائري وهو المشروع الذي تعمل عليه الجزائر منذ مدة والذي يكلف نحو 13 مليار دولار.

في هذه الأثناء جاءت واقعة فرار الأميركيين من أفغانستان وهروبهم المذلّ والمستعجل منها، وكذلك واقعة استكمال تشكل تجمع الشرق الجديد الرباعي في إطار منظمة شانغهاي للتعاون الدولي في العاصمة الطاجيكية قبل أيام (روسيا والصين وإيران وشبه القارة الهندية) بعد الإعلان عن انضمام إيران إليه كعضو كامل الصلاحية، بمثابة القشة التي قد تقصم ظهر البعير الأوروبي الآيل إلى الترهّل والتراجع في الوزن الدولي.

وهو يعني في ما قد يعني تلخيصاً وفي المجمل أنّ العالم بعد التضحية الأميركية بأفغانستان وإلغاء صفقة الغواصات الفرنسية مع أستراليا لصالح واشنطن وتغيير أميركا لعقيدتها العسكرية، يتحوّل عملياً في الموازين العامة نحو آسيا.

‏ وبهذا تكون أميركا قد جمّدت عملياً دور أوروبا في استراتيجيتها العامة ‏مستبدلة الدور الأوروبي الناتوي ضدّ روسيا لصالح ناتو جديد في مواجهة الصين.

‏في هذه الأثناء فإنّ ما سيتعزز في المقابل هو تحالف شانغهاي الآسيوي الجديد وإن لم يكتمل بعد كحلف عسكري رسمياً.

إنها موازين القوى الدولية الجديدة التي تشي بأنّ مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل من الغرب إلى الشرق.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

بعد التضحية بأفغانستان… أميركا تلفظ أوروبا تأهّباً لمقارعة التنين الصيني

سبتمبر 17, 2021 

 محمد صادق الحسيني

بينما كان الاتحاد الأوروبي يناقش استراتيجيته الجديدة، في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ، كما أعلن مسؤول السياسة الخارجية في الاتحاد جوزيب بوريل، قام الرئيس الأميركي بالإعلان المفاحئ عن إقامة حلف آوكوس AUKUS  بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا من دون إعلام الاتحاد الأوروبي بأي شيءٍ.

وأكد بوريل للصحافيين بأنهم علموا بذلك (من وسائل الإعلام) لكنهم لم يستشاروا أبداً. كما أعرب عن أسفه أن لا يكون الاتحاد الأوروبي جزءاً من هذا التحالف.

صحيح أن أزمات الدول الغربية، وعلى رأسها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، هي أزمات بنيوية تتعلق بالنظام الرأسمالي، المحكوم عليه بالزوال، لأسباب موضوعية ليس لها مكان في هذا المقام، ولكن الأزمة الحالية التي تعصف بالعلاقات الأوروبية الأميركية، بشكل عام وتلك الفرنسية الأميركية بشكل خاص، تأتي في هذا الظرف الدولي الحالي، في ظل موازين القوى الدولية، التي تختل بشكل واضح ومتسارع لصالح القوى المعادية للامبريالية والهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، على مقدرات شعوب العالم، بالتالي فهي تشكُل تعبيراً جلياً على أن الصراعات الحادة والتناقضات المتزايدة بين الدول الأوروبية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، سببها التناقض الموضوعي لمصالح الطرفين، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الصراع الدولي يزداد تصعيداً ويشي بتغيرات محتملة في التحالفات الدولية، لنقل الاصطفافات الدولية القائمة حالياً في العالم من جهة لجهة أخرى.

ونقول اصطفافات لأن الولايات المتحدة لا تتعامل مع أية دولة في العالم، بما في ذلك أعضاء حلف شمال الأطلسي وكبريات هذه الدول، مثل فرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا واليابان على أنها دول مستقلة، وإنما هي تتعامل معها كدول محتلة (منذ نهاية الحرب العالميه الثانية، كدول تابعة لواشنطن) وهي بالتالي لا ترقى إلى مستوى الحليف.

من هنا فإن واشنطن، وانطلاقاً من هذه القاعدة، تتعامل مع تلك الدول، إضافة إلى أذناب الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في “الشرق الأوسط”، بما فيها “إسرائيل”، على أنها أدوات لخدمة المصالح الأميركية، يجب أن تعمل طبقاً للأوامر التي يتلقونها من سيد البيت الأبيض لا أكثر.

أما مناسبة المقدمة هذه، فهي موجة الغضب الهستيري التي ظهرت على لسان وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، جان إيڤ لودريان، والهجوم الحاد الذي شنه، خلال مؤتمر صحافي عقده يوم 16/9/2021، على الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وقوله عنه إن تصرفاته المفاجئة لا تختلف عن تصرفات سلفه، دونالد ترامب. وذلك في تعقيبات له على قيام أستراليا (جزء من التاج البريطاني وليست دولة كاملة الاستقلال كما كندا ونيوزيلاندا) بإلغاء صفقة الغواصات مع بلاده.

فما هي هذه الصفقة وما هو سبب حالة الهستيريا، التي يعيشها رأس الديبلوماسية الفرنسية هذه الأيام، وماذا يمكن لها أن تفرز من تداعيات؟

بدأت القضية بقيام لودريان نفسه، عندما كان وزيراً للدفاع في فرنسا عام 2016، كسمسار لشركات الصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، حيث نجح، آنذاك، بإقناع رئيس وزراء أستراليا في حينه، مالكولم تيرنبول، بشراء 12 غواصة فرنسية، تعمل بالوقود التقليدي (الديزل) تقوم بصناعتها شركة  “دي سي أن أس” الفرنسية للتعاقدات البحرية.

وقد اختارت الحكومة الأسترالية، في شهر نيسان عام 1916، هذه الشركة الفرنسية ووقعت معها عقوداً رسمية، للبدء في تصنيع الغواصات، حيث قام رئيس الوزراء الأسترالي لاحقاً بزيارة لمقر هذه الشركة الفرنسية، في ميناء شيربورغ الفرنسي، وافتتح مشروع صناعة الغواصات الاثنتي عشر، التي كان يفترض أن تنتهي الشركة من تسليمها، لأسطول شبه الدولية في أستراليا، عام 2030.

علماً أن القيمة الإجمالية لهذه الصفقة كانت تساوي 90 مليار دولار أسترالي، أي ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار أميركي، وهي بذلك من الصفقات العملاقة التي تعقد بين الدول، والتي لها تأثيرات مباشرة في الاقتصاد الفرنسي، سواءً من جهة تشغيل اليد العاملة أو من جهة قيمة الضرائب التي تحصل عليها الدولة الفرنسية، في صورة ضرائب دخل للعاملين في شركة التصنيع وشركات الدعم التي تمدها بالمواد نصف المصنعة أو غيرها من شركات التصميم والتزويد والإمداد.

كما أن لمثل هكذا صفقة كبيرة تأثيراً جديداً في السمعة الدولية للصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، التي يعمل السياسيون الفرنسيون بشكل متواصل لتسويق منتجاتها. وعليه فإن ما حدث يعد ضربةً اقتصاديةً وماليةً وسياسيةً كبرى وجهتها. واشنطن لباريس.

يعزو المراقبون السبب وراء الهيجان، الذي يعاني منه وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، لودريان، والذي أدى به للإدلاء بهذه التصريحات النارية، ضد الرئيس الأميركي بايدن وضد الولايات المتحدة وأستراليا نفسها إلى قيام الرئيس الأميركي، يوم 15/9/2021، بعقد مؤتمر صحافي في البيت الأبيض، تناقلت وقائعه جميع وكالات الأنباء العالمية، ومن بينها وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

حيث أعلن الرئيس الأميركي، خلال المؤتمر الصحافي، عن قيام تحالف أمني واسع النطاق، بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تحصل أستراليا بموجبه على 12 غواصة حديثة تعمل بالوقود النووي (مقابل الغواصات الفرنسية التي كانت ستتسلمها من فرنسا تعمل بوقود الديزل التقليدي)، لمواجهة العداء المتزايد تجاه الصين، بحسب تعبير وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

وقد كانت النتيجة الأولى لهذا الإعلان هو فسخ أستراليا لعقد شراء الغواصات الفرنسية، الأمر الذي دفع وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ووزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية بإطلاق تلك التصريحات غير المعهودة تجاه واشنطن ورئيسها.

إذ قال وزير الخارجية الفرنسية إنّ هذا القرار، الذي أعلن عنه بايدن، يُعتبر طعنة في الظهر (لفرنسا) وأن بايدن اتخذ قراراً مفاجئاً كما كان يفعل ترامب (و. ص. ف.)، بينما قالت وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، فلورانس بارلي، أن فسخ العقد (من قبل أستراليا) أمر خطير من الناحية الجيوسياسية وعلى صعيد السياسة الدولية (إشارة الى إمكانية تغيّر التحالفات او الاصطفافات الدولية الحاليّة – توجه دول أوروبية باتجاه الصين وروسيا). يضاف إلى ذلك ما قالته وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، عن احتمال مطالبة فرنسا بتعويضات عن فسخ عقود رسمية، في الوقت الذي لم تفصح فيه ما إذا كانت المقصودة هي الحكومة الأسترالية فقط وإنما بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة أيضاً، وهما اللتان تسببتا في فسخ تلك العقود، بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركي، عن تشكيل التحالف الدولي الجديد، بين الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا و”شبه الدولة الأسترالية”، والذي أطلق عليه اسم “آوكوس / AUKUS /، وهو اختصار ودمج لأسماء أستراليا والمملكة المتحدة والولايات المتحدة الأميركية باللغة الإنكليزية …. Australia / United Kingdom / USA ….، والهادف إلى مواجهة الصين في آسيا والمحيط الهادئ، كما أعلن الرئيس بايدن نفسه، بحسب ما أوردته هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية.

وفي خطوة، من قبل الرئيس الأميركي، اعتبرها المحللون الاستراتيجيون محاولة من قبله لمراضاة فرنسا، قال الرئيس بايدن: “نتطلع للعمل بشكل وثيق مع فرنسا وشركاء رئيسيين آخرين في هذه المنطقه الاستراتيجية… وأضاف أن باريس شريك وحليف أساسي” (لواشنطن)، بحسب ما نقلت وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية.

ومن نافل القول أيضاً إن العديد من المسؤولين الصينيين قد اعلنوا إدانتهم لهذا الحلف الأمني العسكري الجديد، الذي يعكس استمرار تحكم عقلية الحرب الباردة بسياسات الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا (التي لم تعد عظمى)، وتؤجج الصراع في بحار الصين والبحار والمحيطات القريبة من الصين وروسيا معاً وتزيد سباق التسلح بشكل كبير جداً، كما صرح الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية الصينية، شاو لي جيان، الذي قال: “إنّ هذا (الحلف) يقوّض بشكل جدي السلام والاستقرار الاقليميين (يعني في منطقة بحار الصين وآسيا) ويزيد من حدة سباق التسلح”.

إذن فها هي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتعامل مع الدولة النووية العظمى، فرنسا، والعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي منذ تأسيسه، تتعامل معها وكأنها أقلّ من جمهورية موز. لا بل على أنها ليست موجودة، إذ يقوم الرئيس الأميركي بإعلان تحالف أمني عسكري، بين بلاده ودولتين أطلسيتين أخريين، من دون أن يقوم حتى بإعلام الحكومة الفرنسية أو الرئيس الفرنسي بذلك…!

وهنا يجب أن يطرح السؤال الجدي على إمارات نفط الجزيرة العربية، من صغيرهم إلى كبيرهم، كيف سيتعامل معكم الرئيس الأميركي في كل شؤون المنطقة؟ وكيف سيتعامل مع آمر الحاجز الطيار “الإسرائيلي” في فلسطين المحتلة وغيره في المنطقة؟ هل تعتقدون أنه سيعاملكم معاملة أفضل من معاملته لفرنسا، الدولة النووية؟ وهل ما زلتم تعتقدون أن الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار في فلسطين المحتلة قادر على حمايتكم، بعد رفع الغطاء الأميركي عنكم جميعاً، بمن فيكم عناصر الحاجز الطيار؟

إن الجهة الوحيدة القادرة على حمايتكم، هي عودتكم إلى رشدكم والتخلي عن عباءات المحتلين الصهاينة والإميركان وغيرهم، وفتح آفاق التعاون الواسعة، مع دول ومنظمات حلف المقاومة المنتصر، الذي ها هو يرغم سادة البيت الأبيض على كسر الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على كل من إيران وسورية ولبنان، وجعل ما يطلق عليه قانون قيصر الأميركي لخنق سورية، فعلَ ماضٍ ناقص…!

استخلصوا العبر قبل أن تستخلص شعوبكم حقوقها منكم بطريقة مختلفة جداً هذه المرة وتخلصوا من هذا السيد المنافق إلى الأبد وافتحوا آفاق التعاون الإقليمي مع جيرانكم من الدول الشقيقة ومع بقية دول الجوار العربي ودول العالم المختلفة، سعياً وراء التطور والتنمية وتأمين الحياة الكريمة والمستقبل الزاهر لشعوب عربية عانت من التبعية للأجنبي منذ أكثر من مئة عام منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى وتقسيم العالم العربي إلى إمارات وكيانات ضعيفة ممزقة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

لماذا العراق؟….بقلم: أ. د. بثينة شعبان

2021-09-06

 أ. د. بثينة شعبان

منذ الاحتلال البريطاني للعراق خلال الحرب العالمية الأولى التي انتهت عام 1918 لم تتوقف المحاولات الغربية لاحتواء العراق وخاصة لفصله عن امتداده الطبيعي إلى بلاد الشام حيث التبادل التاريخي والمعرفي والاقتصادي كان معروفاً بين مملكة إيبلا وبلاد الرافدين. وتشهد الرقم التاريخية والتطور الزراعي على التفاعل والتكامل والانسجام الحضاري والحياتي بين سورية والعراق على مرّ التاريخ إلى أن بدأت بالسعي لإلحاق العراق بسياساتها وربطه بمعاهدات متعددة في عشرينيات وثلاثينيات القرن الماضي وصولاً إلى حلف بغداد عام 1955 والذي كان يضم بالإضافة إلى المملكة المتحدة كلاً من العراق وتركيا وإيران الشاه وباكستان.

لقد كان الهدف الأول لهذا الحلف هو محاولة وقف نفوذ الاتحاد السوفييتي الذي كان قد وطّد ووسّع علاقته في تلك الفترة مع سورية ومصر. ومع أن الولايات المتحدة هي صاحبة فكرة إنشاء هذا الحلف ووعدت بتقديم الدعم الاقتصادي والعسكري للأعضاء إلا أنها لم تشارك فيه بشكل مباشر وإنما وكّلت بريطانيا للقيام بذلك، ولكن العراق انسحب من الحلف بعد ثورة 14 تموز 1958 التي أطاحت بالنظام الملكي الهاشمي وأعلنت الجمهورية واستقلّ العراق لأول مرة من النفوذ البريطاني، وانتقل مركز الحلف بعد ذلك من بغداد إلى أنقرة، وأقام العراق علاقات دبلوماسية واقتصادية وعسكرية مع الاتحاد السوفييتي، وبذلك أخفق هذا الحلف في وقف توسع نفوذ الاتحاد السوفييتي الذي وطّد علاقاته مع الدول العربية في تلك الفترة. ومع اندلاع الثورة الإيرانية عام 1979 أطلقت رصاصة الرحمة على حلف بغداد الذي اعتُبر من أضعف الأحلاف التي نشأت خلال الحرب الباردة.

ولكن محاولات احتواء العراق لم تتوقف وأسوأ تجلياتها على مرّ العقود الماضية كان نشوب الحرب العراقية الإيرانية بعد انتصار الثورة الإيرانية وبذل الجهود المستمرّة والمستميتة لفصل العراق عن عمقه العربي السوري، ومنع حتى إقامة أي علاقة وتواصل بين هذين البلدين المنسجمين تاريخياً وديموغرافياً وجغرافياً وحضارياً لأن التكامل والتفاعل بين سورية والعراق سيؤسس من دون شك لبنة عربية متينة قد تشكل قاعدة ومنطلقاً للعلاقات العربية السليمة والمجزية لكلّ المنخرطين فيها، ولذلك فقد كانت الحدود العراقية السورية دوماً أحد الأهداف الغربية وقد حرصت الدول الاستعمارية الغربية على خلق كافة الحجج والذرائع والمؤامرات لإبقاء هذه الحدود مغلقة في فترات طويلة من تاريخ البلدين.

إذ رغم كل الدعم الذي قدمه الغرب للعصابات الإرهابية منذ 2011 في حربها على سورية ورغم انشغاله في حرب إرهابية تدميرية في الداخل السوري فإن نظر الغرب لم يحد عن هذه الحدود وسعى إلى ضمان بقاء الإرهاب قربها كي يمنع فتحها والتواصل الحقيقي بين الشعبين السوري والعراقي لأن هذا التواصل سيعود بالفائدة الجمّة على البلدين انتماءً وثقافة وعروبة وحضارة واقتصاداً وتكاملاً حقيقياً. ولا شك أن كل الذرائع للإبقاء على هذه الحدود مغلقة تتلخص بأهداف الإدارة الأميركية القديمة الجديدة والتي تريد أن يكون العراق قاعدة للدول المنضوية تحت لواء الغرب وسدّاً في وجه روسيا والصين وإيران وفي وجه دخول الصين خاصة إلى منطقة الشرق الأوسط ومنع قيام أي مسعى وحدوي بين البلدين.

الغرب يعتبر العراق بوابة لنفوذه في الشرق الأوسط، ولا شك أن العراق بعمقه الحضاري ومؤهلات شعبه وثرواته الظاهرة والباطنة يشكّل عمقاً وحدوياً عروبياً وأن فصله عن سورية وإلهاءه بتحالفات غير قابلة للحياة وأثبتت فشلها على مرّ التاريخ يظهران أهمية العراق الحقيقية وإدراك الغرب لهذه الأهمية ومحاولاته تجيير كل مقدرات العراق لصالحه ونهب ثرواته وإلهاء شعبه بالخلافات الطائفية. من هذا المنظور يمكن أن نفهم كل محاولات التدمير والتهميش والاحتلال والحصار والعقوبات للعراق وشعبه على مدى العقود الماضية، وأن كل ما أثير من تهم له من أسلحة دمار شامل إلى غيرها كانت غطاءً بائساً لتنفيذ تلك الأهداف.

ولكن وبعد قرن ونيّف من أساليب وطموحات وطروحات الغرب هذه أصبح من البدهي أن يدرك أصحاب الشأن حقيقة ما يقال ومجافاته للواقع والهدف المراد منه؛ إذ لم يعد مقبولاً اليوم أن يشعر البعض بسعادة غامرة لأن مسؤولاً غربياً قرر أن يحضر مؤتمراً في بغداد وكأنّ هذا الحضور يشكل منّة أو قيمة مضافة في حين يهدف إلى تحقيق ما عجزوا عن تحقيقه من قبل من التواطؤ ضد نسيج العراق العربي وتواصله مع أهله وجيرانه واختراع تحالفات له لا مستقبل لها ولا تسمن ولا تغني من جوع بل تتركه فريسة لمن يتشدّق بحضارة بغداد، في حين تحلّ قواه العسكرية الطاغية قوة غاشمة على أرض العراق الطاهرة؛ تحتل الأرض وتنهب الخيرات وتدعم الإرهاب وتغزو الأسواق بمنتجاتها العثمانية وتروّج للطائفية وترسل الإرهابيين من الإخوان المسلمين في بلد تاريخه العيش المشترك والغنى الحضاري والتمازج الثقافي.

السؤال الذي يشغل بالي دائماً: لماذا لا نثق نحن العرب بقيمة ما لدينا؟ ولماذا لا نعرف أحياناً أهمية ما لدينا حتى يتم تسليط الضوء عليه من قبل الخصوم والأعداء؛ فنسعى حينذاك جاهدين إلى الاحتفاظ به أو تحريره من عدوانهم دافعين أغلى الأثمان في سبيل ذلك؟
لماذا لا نقتنع أن التكالب الغربي على بلداننا ومؤامراتهم ضدنا والتحالفات التي خلقوها لتمزيق صفوفنا وبناء الحواجز بين شعوبنا تعني أن لدينا ما هو ثمين وما يريدون الحصول عليه أو تدميره إذا لم يتمكنوا من انتزاعه منا؟ لماذا نحتاج إلى اعتراف الآخرين بأن موقعنا الجغرافي وثرواتنا الطبيعية والبشرية وعمقنا الحضاري وعيشنا المشترك عبر التاريخ يشكلون قيمة استثنائية لا يمتلكها الآخرون ويتوجب علينا الحفاظ عليها والاعتزاز بها من دون الحاجة إلى من يعترف لنا بذلك ومن دون الحاجة إلى شهادة من الخصوم والأعداء التاريخيين الذين ما زالوا يحطون من قدر بلادنا إلى أن يستولوا على مقدراتنا ويدمروها.

فهل تحتاج بغداد التاريخ إلى محتل عثماني ومتواطئ غربي كي تعرف قيمتها ومكانتها؟ وهل كانوا ليأتوا إليها لولا إدراكهم العميق لهذه القيمة؟ وهل يجوز أن تمتثل لما يريدون علماً أنهم برهنوا للمرة الألف أنهم يريدون للعراق التبعية فقط والوقوف في وجه التنين القادم من الشرق وأن تكون بغداد والقاهرة وعمّان سنداً لهم في وجه هذا التنين؟ إلى متى ستبقى المرجعية الغربية تذرّ الرماد في العيون ويبقى المستعمر الغربي متمادياً في نشر أوهامه عبر الأجيال أنه الأذكى والأقوى والأعرف؟ متى سيشكل العرب مرجعيتهم الخاصة بهم والمنطلقة من تقديرهم لذاتهم وتاريخهم وإمكاناتهم الاستثنائية ويمضون في التحالفات التي يختارونها هم بإرادتهم الحرة ولصالح شعوبهم وبلدانهم من دون ضغوطات أو إملاءات أو تهديدات من أحد؟ متى يكون الرأي حراً لا يتحكم به سوى الشأن الوطني والمصلحة العربية العليا؟

UK Defense Secretary Says US Is No Longer a Superpower

 September 1, 2021

Source: The Guardian

By Al Mayadeen

British Defense Minister Ben Wallace says that a superpower that is not ready to commit to something may as well not be a superpower, referring to the United States, according to sources close to him.

UK Defense Secretary

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace considered that the United States could no longer be considered a superpower. 

He said, “A superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either. It is certainly not a global force, it’s just a big power.”

When asked if the exit from Afghanistan showed the limits of British power on the world stage, Wallace said: “Britain is clearly not a superpower… but a superpower that is also unwilling to commit to something may as well not be a superpower as well,” making a reference, according to those close to him, to the United States of America. 

Wallace also contrasted the Ministry of Defense’s handling of the evacuation crisis with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Over the weekend, it emerged that officials from Dominic Raab’s department had failed to read thousands of emails from MPs and charities tackling urgent cases of Afghans trying to flee from Kabul. 

“All of us have big email inboxes, we have already analyzed ours, we’ve sent defense intelligence analysts around Whitehall to help deal with that,” Wallace said.

The final withdrawal was authorized in April by Joe Biden; a decision that disappointed the UK. 

Analysis of Euro-Paralysis: Uncle Sam’s Last Afghan Stand

 August 30, 2021

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

The United States dragged Europe into the Graveyard of Empires and used it as a shield in the face of its own burial.

Europe, under the guise of providing the conditions for ‘long-term’ security and stability in Afghanistan, entered the country, and the rest is history. Havoc, destruction, death, and misery infested the Southern Asian country, placing it among the world’s poorest.

A New Age Crusade

Following the September 11 attacks, the United States developed an interest in “combatting terrorism,” prompting the country known for “exporting democracy” to the rest of the world to launch what was called the “War on Terror”—an international military campaign whose goal was to eradicate terrorism abroad,

not for the safety of the populace, but rather for that of US soil.

The US, a NATO ally and core member state, did what any benevolent ally would do and dragged NATO into a multi-generational war in Afghanistan—the organization’s first commitment outside European territories.

The whole debacle started a week after 9/11, when President George W. Bush signed a resolution authorizing the use of force against those behind the attacks, followed by an October 7 announcement that the US and the UK started launching airstrikes in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and Taliban sites when demands for the extradition of Osama bin Laden went unanswered.

After the US ‘retaliation’ act, the Taliban announced they are ready for “Jihad”; alas, it was a short-lived dream.

The “Jihad” lasted barely over two months, as the group was defeated and its rule in the country was declared over after heavy air bombardment from the US and UK, with ground support from its allies, which included the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban militias and groups.

Now, the US did not get the man they came after; bin Laden fled the country. However, they did accomplish what they are always after—influence and power. Afghanistan became ruled by the US-backed Hamid Karzai, whom the western power saw as best-fitting to rebuild the war-torn country.

So, the United States had everything laid out the way it wanted it to be:

  • The European hand was forced into Afghanistan
  • The burden was basically split in half with Europe reaping fewer benefits
  • The US was in control of a geopolitically significant country
  • The US intimidating its regional foes, namely Russia, China, and Iran

A Mandated European Venture

Now back to Europe; how and why did the old continent join the war in Afghanistan?

In 2001, the UNSC-mandated International Security Assistance Force, which had the mission of re-instating a central authority in the country that was ruled by militias and the Taliban at the time, in addition to working on enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, was deployed in Afghanistan. 

The mission was not led by a certain country, as its leadership was rotational between its nations—the most prominent of which were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, and France.

On August 11, 2003, NATO assumed the ISAF’s leadership. The mission’s goals were still the same; however, when seeing the current state of Afghanistan, it’s safe to say the mission failed miserably.

The ISAF’s European nations accounted for more than half the soldiers in Afghanistan. The countries that had little to nothing to do with the conflict led the invasion of a country that never did any harm to them; the US convinced them to partake in the conflict by raising national security concerns. If anything, failure in Afghanistan would have had way more political and financial repercussions for Europe than the United States, for refugees and terrorists could reach Europe a lot easier than they could North America.

Europe: The United States’ Hadrian’s Wall

Europe has been the main bearer of consequences whenever there had been a US-related flop anywhere in the Eastern hemisphere. Take the Syrian refugee crisis, for example. A US-sparked war on a Middle Eastern country resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees flocking toward Europe. And, of course, extremists were among those who got into the continent, leading to an increase in terror attacks and national security threats.

This, alongside many other crises, is a fine testament to the US strategy that uses Europe as a shield. In the ongoing crisis and anticipation of the incoming influx of Afghan refugees, Greece took to reinforcing the European borders by building a wall. What this means is that the Syrian scenario will be replayed, as hundreds of dead children will wash up on shore in a failed attempt to flee their country.

The Europeans had little to say regarding invading Afghanistan, for the continent’s nations lacked coordination and had many domestic political issues. Had they been united in the European Union, Europe would have been able to properly alter the coalition and advocate for a much better international approach to the situation in Afghanistan—that would’ve been the best-case scenario for Europe. Obviously, on the ground, it was completely different.

Even the majority of Europeans disagree with using military force to defend a NATO ally from a hypothetical attack by Russia, according to a Pew Research Center report

All that Europe gained from Afghanistan was more refugees, more dead soldiers, and wasted taxpayer money. Altogether, Europe lost nearly a thousand soldiers, gained hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, and spent tens of billions of dollars. The UK and Germany, the second-largest troop-contributors, spent an estimated $30 billion and $19 billion respectively, over the course of the two-decade-long war—a portion of what Europe in its entirety paid to keep the war’s flame ablaze.

At the peak of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2011, the year the US had finally achieved its dream of killing bin Laden, there were 90,000 US troops in the country and 41,300 troops from NATO and its allies. The US and its allies did not equally bear the responsibility, for, as we must not forget, this wasn’t a European issue per se. It only became one after the US forced its hand to invade Afghanistan, yet Europe was bearing nearly half the burden.

The situation was incredibly frustrating for Europe, it was stuck in a self (mostly US)-made pit. The choice was between pulling out from Afghanistan and putting the US-European relations at risk, as well as its security and economy following the influx of Afghan refugees from Afghanistan to Europe, (which was not an option altogether), or staying in Afghanistan and putting up with the financial losses and human casualties.

How Europe was the Stalin to the Munich Agreement

To add insult to injury, the United States decided to withdraw from Afghanistan in February of 2020. This was the then-President Donald Trump signed the 2020 Doha Agreement to “end the war in Afghanistan” without consulting European allies—it came as a shock to them. Europeans objected to the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in such a short period of time but to no avail; there was no reversing the decision.

Furthermore, when the Biden Administration took the decision to completely withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of the agreed-upon date—which had been previously postponed from May 1st as set by the Trump administration—his decision received criticism from all US allies. NATO officials, from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, slammed Biden over this decision that was taken without any consultation.

Leaders all across Europe were in disbelief following the decision, even those who long-supported Biden saw it as a mistake and a miscalculation. There wasn’t any direct criticism, for it is known that would harm diplomatic relations; instead, leaders voiced their criticism behind the scenes. However, the storm is yet to come, as no NATO summits have taken place following the failure, which will most definitely redefine the future of US-EU relations.

How will European leaders react to this whole ordeal? Will they be silent in the face of the US abuse? There could be a change in the way Europe manages its external affairs, moving away from the United States and aiming for autonomy; but nothing is certain. One thing that is though, is the fact that even the Israelis do not trust the Americans due to their abandonment of Afghanistan and their allies there, meaning the US is prone to abandoning Europe and other allies in such ‘dire’ circumstances, rendering it unreliable. After all, the US got its troops out of Kabul right around its fall while leaving Europe and the rest of its allies stuck in the mud.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, went as far as calling for an independent army for the European Union in light of the growing panic amongst the Europeans out of fear of not being able to complete their evacuations before the United States does.

Even prior to this whole fiasco, Europe was considering forming an autonomous army. In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron had warned that Europeans could not be protected without a “true, European army,” (before declaring that NATO was experiencing “brain death“) – an idea backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the person who could be Germany’s next Chancellor, Armin Laschet. The idea of a European army did not seem too appealing for the UK, for it could be something that equates to NATO. Instead, they prefer a joint force to defend Europe in a case relying on the US was out of the window.

During the Trump administration, the rift between the US and Europe was at its vastest since the establishment of diplomatic ties and alliances between the two powers, but it seems that the Biden administration will be the straw that broke the camel’s back in the US-EU relations.

Afghanistan reminds us why it’s called the Graveyard of Empires, as the future of diplomacy between the two behemoths could crumble over its invasion.

The media’s addiction to Covid-19 ‘fear porn’ is perpetuating an ever-worsening cycle of societal damage across the world

 

Eva Bartlett

Aug 28, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

Over the past year and a half, hysterical media reporting on matters Covid-19 has reduced some people to a fearful state of unquestioning compliance – including a great number of otherwise critically-thinking journalists.

With screaming headlines in bold and large font such as, ‘Will this nightmare ever end?’ and ‘Mutant virus skyrockets…’ and ‘Fear grows across the country: VIRUS PANIC’, and ‘Coronavirus horror: Social media footage shows infected Wuhan residents ‘act like zombies’, it is no wonder many people are in a state of panic.

In times when many are suffering mentally and physically under unnecessary and prolonged lockdowns, the incessant fear porn is causing excessive anxiety, which in turn will affect the health & mental well-being of some, if not many. 

In government documents from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) dated from March 2020 advice was given saying: “The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging… This could potentially be done by trained community support volunteers, by targeted media campaigns, social media” 

I’d say the UK media campaigns certainly did the job, and other Western nations got similar directives. The UK government also became the nation’s biggest advertiser in 2020, make what you will of the potential ramifications that could have on cash-strapped newspapers and their supposed ‘independence’.

Having myself been deeply focused on exposing war propaganda and other media lies around Syria, Palestine, Venezuela, and elsewhere over the years, my default position has become one of deep cynicism on mass media reporting. Yes, you can find nuggets of truth, or even excellent journalists in mainstream publications, honestly challenging the narratives.

But those are few and far between, generally you find copy-paste propaganda emanating largely from the bowels of the USA and the UK.

A study by Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR) noted“most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.” 

Those agencies are AP, Reuters, and AFP. SPR notes:

“The key role played by these agencies means Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.”

Given all of this, I’ve come to believe that with regard to media reporting on Covid-19, my cynicism is well-deserved.

Covid-19 reporting has increasingly been utterly absurd, with stories of people dropping dead in the streets, ice rink morgues to cope with the mountains of bodies, footage of an overcrowded New York hospital (that just happened to be of an Italian hospital), claims of animals testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, and more recently reports of people dying post-jab but we are told ‘it could have been worse!’

This campaign of fear caused the public to massively overestimate the lethality of Covid-19, which as un-alarmist voices note has a survival rate of over 99%. 

When months into the outbreak it became apparent that SARS-CoV-2 was far less lethal than first predicted, the media and talking heads moved from talking about ‘Covid deaths’ to ‘positive cases’. 

Although relatively early on a goat and pawpaw tested positive for Covid-19, instead of then scrutinizing the accuracy of the PCR test as a means of ‘detecting Covid-19’, the media continued to hype the rise in Covid ‘cases’. 

In lockstep, ‘Covid testing’ was increased dramatically using the PCR test (recently revoked by the CDC). This inevitably pumped up the number of ‘cases’, which mass media have in turn promoted non-stop, this in turn gave ammunition to those enforcing lockdowns and vaccines.

By now hundreds of vocal doctors, nurses, virologists, immunologists, and other professionals actually worth listening to, whose data and experience counter the hype pumped out in media have very quickly disappeared from social media, or otherwise deemed quacks, and are thus largely silenced. This leaves the general public mainly getting their information via hyped-up media. 

Alongside this, there have been relentless ad hominem attacks on journalists who pose legitimate questions and uncomfortable truths about the official narratives around Covid-19. 

For offering perspectives which contradict the standard narratives around Covid-19, journalists have been deemed conspiracy theorists, pandemic-deniers, right-wingers, selfish… I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few slurs. 

When it comes to matters Covid-19, it is suddenly unacceptable to question ‘The Science’, question the authorities, or question the same media that sold us WMDs in Iraq and chemical attacks in Syria.

Media are the drivers of Covid hysteria, and it is the daily bombardment of fear porn that confuses average people and enables tyrannical powers to be brought in, largely unchallenged. 

As it is the responsibility of journalists to expose lies around wars of aggression, it is also the duty of journalists to do so around Covid-19. For some journalists who have stubbornly refused to hold power to account, instead toeing the line on all things Covid, it appears their fear is of losing an audience and not of a virus.

Whether or not you agree with dissenting voices’ questions and criticisms, we have the right to ask and make them. We do so, knowing that remaining silent in the face of the brutal Covid measures is a guaranteed path to tyranny.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Third Iranian Ship to Be Loaded with Fuel, Dispatched to Lebanon

August 27, 2021

Marwa Haidar

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced on Friday that a third Iranian ship will be loaded with fuel and dispatched to Lebanon.

In a televised speech via Al-Manar, Sayyed Nasrallah said that due to the fuel shortage in the country a deal was reached with Iran to send a third ship to Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking on the fourth anniversary of Second Liberation, when territories in eastern Lebanon were liberated by Hezbollah and Lebanese Army from ISIL and other Takfiri terrorist groups.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the victory during the Second Liberation was part of the universal war on Syria.

His eminence hailed sacrifices by the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese Army, pointing to the battles which the Syrian Army were taking part in from the Syrian side.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the latest developments in Afghanistan is a defeat to the United States, calling on the people of the region not to bet on the US occupation.

The Hezbollah S.G. also slammed the delay in government formation, calling on the Lebanese officials to meet the people’s demands.

Sayyed Nasrallah voiced rejection to a decision in which a subpoena was issued for caretaker PM Hassan Diab, describing it as politicized.

Second Liberation

Talking about the occasion, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the Second Liberation took place thanks to the Resistance weapons and to sacrifices by Hezbollah fighters, Lebanese Army and Syrian Army.

“We insist to mark this occasion in order to take lessons from the dangerous experience and challenges our country was passing through.”

“What happened in the barrens in Bekaa years ago was part of the universal war waged against Syria, and part of a great scheme in the region.”

Sayyed Nasrallah said Lebanon was targeted by the ISIL scheme, stressing that the battle against the Takfiri group was joint on two fronts: The Lebanese and the Syrian.

His eminence said that both ISIL and Nusr Front had the same ideology, pointing to the backing which such groups were offered by several international powers.

“ISIL was made by the US. Donald Trump repeatedly said that the group was created by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

“The Resistance had intervened in the battle in Bekaa barrens after the Lebanese state abandoned its responsibility to liberate its territory.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah lashed out at the US, noting that Washington was pressuring the Lebanese Government to prevent the Lebanese Army from taking part in the battle against Takfiri groups.

“The Second Liberation was part of the victory against ISIL and terror across the region.”

Sayyed Nasrallah underlined importance of the trilogy of Resistance, Army and People.

“As we say to the Israelis, we say to the Takfiris: ‘If you repeat (the crime) We shall repeat (the punishment)’.”

Afghanistan

Stressing that the US scheme in the region is being defeated, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the latest developments in Afghanistan prove that all pretexts used by the US are deceiving and aim at occupation and expanding influence.

“What we witness today in Afghanistan is a pure defeat. It’s also a moral failure when the US and UK troops leave the Afghans who help them while take their police dogs, cats and alcoholic drinks.”

“The US administration had transferred ISIL membered to Afghanistan in a bid to destabilize Asian neighbors and Russia.”

Blockade on Lebanon?

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, hit back at those who deny that the US has been imposing a blockade on Lebanon.

“Yes Lebanon has been blockaded by the US for years. The US has been preventing several states from investing in Lebanon or even offering aids to Lebanon.”

“When the US issued the so-called Caesar Act it was not targeting Syria only, but also Lebanon. When the US ambassador says that the US will allow the entry of the Egyptian gas via Syria, then she is acknowledging that her country has been blocking such projects in the last three years.”

“If Lebanon really concerns the US then it shall give it waiver to import the Iranian fuel.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah announced that the third Iranian ship will be loaded with fuel and dispatched to Lebanon.

“We have agreed with our brothers in Iran to load the third ship with fuel and dispatch it.”

Gov’t Formation, Subpoena for Diab

Sayyed Nasrallah slammed delay in government formation, citing the urgent need to deal with the sufferings of the Lebanese people.

“Neither the blood of Tleil explosion victims, nor Lebanese people’s sufferings had prompted the Lebanese officials to fasten the formation of the new government.”

Commenting on the decision in which a subpoena was issued for caretaker PM Hassan Diab, Sayyed Nasrallah described the move as politicized voicing rejection to the decision taken by the judge Tarek Bitar who is investigating the Beirut Port investigation.

Imam Moussa Al-Sadr Abduction Anniversary

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the abduction of Imam Sayyed Moussa Al-Sadr is a painful incident “as it posed an aggression on Lebanon, its people and Resistance.”

“The abduction of Imam Sayyed Moussa Sadr was a scheme against the Resistance and the project of liberating Palestine.”

“We vow that we will keep going on the path of Imam Sayyed Moussa Al-Sadr.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

August 23, 2021 

Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

By Staff, Agencies

As part of their nationwide campaign against an ‘Israeli’ arms manufacturer, pro-Palestine activists in the United Kingdom have staged a protest outside the company’s plant in the borough of Oldham.

Palestine Action, a London-based pro-Palestine advocacy group, shared a series of tweets showing masked activists standing on the roof of the Zionist arms factory on Monday, holding ‘Shut down Elbit’ banners.

They announced that they had taken to the roof of the Zionist arms factory in Oldham “once more,” spraying it with fire extinguishers, and “laying bare the profits of a military occupation and extinguishing Elbit through direct action.”

In another tweet, the group said they had “blockaded” the gates of the ‘Israeli’ arms factory in Oldham by vehicles, and halted its “deadly production line.”

“The roof’s ours,” it declared.

One of the pictures showed an activist sitting on the roof, with clenched fist. The caption read: “They may try to lock us up in chains but we’ll always keep coming back and taking the fight to Elbit to tear apart their links in ‘Israel’s’ killer supply chain.”

In a statement published on its website, Palestine Action said the move comes “as ‘Israel’ continues to raid Palestinian communities in Gaza and the West Bank while brutalizing civilians, using UK-manufactured weapons and technologies produced by firms such as Elbit Systems.”

It said the Oldham arms factory is used for the “production of a range of specialist weapons technologies, including components for ‘Israeli’ drones and battle tanks.”

“The activists currently occupying the Elbit Ferranti factory have once again shown the power of direct action against ‘Israeli’ oppression. While Western governments continue to side with the oppressors, and while media attention in Palestinian suffering has dwindled, Palestinians are still exposed to daily brutality, starvation, apartheid and death. These activists are bravely standing against this injustice – and we will continue to do so until Elbit is shut down,” the statement quoted the spokesman as saying.

It is the second time in three months that pro-Palestine activists in UK have scaled the roof of an ‘Israeli’ arms factory. In May, the week-long protest in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, had resulted in court action.

The group has been vigorously campaigning against Elbit, the Zionist regime’s largest arms producer, across the UK since last year, targeting a number of sites owned by the arms company.

Wither Germany?

Wither Germany?

August 21, 2021

Germany has been the keystone of the failing EU. Does it intend to remain so, or is it time to pursue its own interests?

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Germany has been and still is the most important economy in Europe, the export-driven colossus and if not yet the most important imperial power; that designation belongs to France with its Force de Frappe (Nuclear Strike Force), and additionally the UK which is also a member of the nuclear club but has since left the EU remains as a loyal – and oh so loyal! – member of NATO. (1) However, Germany is without question the most dominant country in Europe and still the main creditor and funder of euro states. Looking back to the rise of (West) Germany was a key presence in the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. These various states pooled the coal and steel resources of six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg which became known by the acronym – BENELUX. These states would be collectively known as “the Six”. It was argued that the pooling of coal and steel resources greatly reduced the threat of war between France and (West) Germany.

It was perhaps entirely predictable that Germany with its system of Bismarckian style guided capitalism would emerge to poll position in this imperial club. At the time France had other, imperial and pressing commitments in Algeria and Indo-China, the British had commitments more or less everywhere East of Suez, and even little Belgium had problems in the Congo (Zaire). Germany had no such incumbrances on its economic development and was thus free to power ahead with its version of guided, bank-funded capitalism, and avoid the pitfalls of Anglo-American financialised capitalism. Under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard Germany’s rebirth was dubbed the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle). A far-reaching contract between business and labour unions allowed the rapid rebuilding of industry and strong growth, creating the foundations of an economic powerhouse.

THE GERMAN MODEL

The centrality of Germany and German economic policy in this shifting economic montage requires attention to the gradual increasing dominance of what is the de facto European economic dynamo. It was perhaps inevitable that Germany would – in economic terms at least – become the regional hegemon in this continental configuration. After all,

‘’ … it had a globally competitive industrial base, pivoting on automobiles, chemicals and machine tools. Its exports enabled it to command vast surpluses on current account thus providing the wherewithal to lend globally.’’(2)

The peculiarities of the Anglo-American financialised system has not been replicated in Germany. To be sure Germany has a large and growing service sector similar to the financialised Atlanticist models this much is true; but Germany has also systematically defended its industrial sector, not least by manipulating the exchange rate to protect its exports of which many go to the other member states of the EU. The German manufacturing sector enjoys high levels of productivity, is export-based with relatively strong labour unions in wage negotiations compared to the rest of the private sector. But this did give rise to a two-tier labour market. The ‘good’ jobs were to be found in the export industries and the not so good jobs tended to be located in the internal domestic service sector.

‘’What happened from 2003 onwards to enable German capitalism to exploit its workers more intensely than before? In 2003-2005 the Social-Democratic Party (SPD) government implemented a number of wide-ranging labour-market reforms, the so-called Hartz Reforms, after one Herr Peter Hartz. The first three parts of the reform package, Hartz I-iii, were mainly concerned with, (i) mainly creating new types of employment opportunities (ii) introducing additional wage subsidies, (iii) instructing the Federal Employment Agency. The final parts of Hartz (iv) was implemented in 2005 and resulted in a significant cut in the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Between 2005 and 2008 the unemployment rate fell from almost 11% to 7.5%, barely increased during the Great Recession of 2008 and continued its downward trend reaching 5.5% at the end of 2012, although it is still higher than was the case during the global period of expansion in the 1960s.’’ (3)

GERMAN BANKING – FUNDS INDUSTRY AND DEVELOPMENT AT ALL LEVELS.

Perhaps what was more important has been the banking system in Germany and its relationship to German industry.

1.1 Savings banks (Sparkassen and Landesbanken)

German savings banks are usually owned by the cities and villages. Formerly, each city had its own savings bank. Over the past 20 years, many savings banks have merged due to the competitive situation. As opposed to the big private Banks – Deutsche Bank, Commerz Bank whose main interests are in housing and stock market investment – the small and medium banks operate with a local focus.

Although the savings banks have been losing customers for a number of years, they are still among the best-known. Often, the accounts are open, because the savings bank is “on the spot”. Later, when one has to deal with more finances, then there is often a change to another bank that is more cost-effective or offers better services. These banks provide funds to industry at good rates of interest, and this particularly applies to small start-up firms.

1.2 Volksbanken / Raiffeisen Banken (cooperative banks)

This is the next best-known bank organization in Germany. VR-banks – their abbreviation – are cooperative banks (Genossenschaftsbanken). They are organized similar to associations and are owned by their members. Members may only purchase very few shares of the bank so that no single person is enabled to have too much influence on the business of the bank.

Just like the savings banks, the Volksbanken have to deal with a loss of customers. Although they have many branch offices, they can often not keep up with the price and service of the modern direct banks. In Germany, there are several hundred different VR-banks. They belong to the cooperative banks. Another successful innovation and feature of German development was the technical education of the German labour force.

GERMAN TECHNICAL EDUCATION – SMEs AND THE MITTELSTAND

The success of the German economy is driven by its small and medium Enterprises ( SMEs), a group to which more than 99 per cent of all firms in Germany belong. These companies account for more than half of Germany’s economic output and almost 60 per cent of jobs. Approximately 82 per cent of apprentices in Germany do their vocational training in an SME.

These small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), also known as the ‘Mittelstand’, (4) are the country’s strongest driver of innovation and technology and are renowned across the world. Companies that want to keep their competitive edge must be at the forefront of new developments. A study on SMEs commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy shows that innovative SMEs will continue to drive the success behind the ‘Made in Germany’ trademark. Provided that they embrace new trends, particularly digitisation, and that they find ways of recruiting the skilled labour they need, even in times of a skills shortage, SMEs have every opportunity to remain successful in their chosen specialised niche markets.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants Germany’s SMEs to embrace new challenges and remain vibrant, strong, and innovative. This is why the ministry is working on many levels to strengthen the Mittelstand’s competitiveness, its capacity to innovate, and its ability to create jobs.

SMALL, DIVERSE, DYNAMIC, PIONEERING

Germany’s small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) play a defining role in the country’s economy. Germany’s economic model derives its strength not from a small number of dominant players, industries, or industrial regions, but from the fact that Germany has a wide range of companies – small, medium-sized and large – that are based in locations all across Germany, specialise in all sorts of different sectors, and often form close networks with one another.

Germany’s Mittelstand, is extremely diverse. Family-owned companies that were established generations ago, trendy start-ups, traditional crafts firms, self-employed people and service providers, retailers and freelancers, pioneering high-tech companies, regional suppliers and global players. The size of these  SMEs ranges from one person to several hundred employed across the globe. The Mittelstand has many well-established brands, but also newcomers and lesser-known brands that still deliver the same standard of quality, precision and innovation. It is this high level of diversity that makes it so strong.

The Mittelstand also acts as a strong partner for large corporations, across the entire value chain. Mittelstand companies are often highly specialised and produce the type of up and downstream products that enable large corporations to create innovative and complex products, services and systems solutions

Moreover, the Mittelstand is global in its reach. Some 44 per cent of German companies export their capital goods or intermediate goods to other markets, thereby contributing to the success of the German economy. At least one in two German firms that turn over 2 million euros or more per year are exporting companies. Even small companies benefit from venturing on foreign markets. This is attested by the fact that even very small firms generate an average of over 20 per cent of their turnover from exports.

THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY AND THE DOUBLE WHAMMY

The German Economic model which had performed so well compared to its competitors – during the period from the Wirtshaftwunder until the 21st century – outmatched both European and North American rivals. But of course this golden age was to stutter in the late 1990s – the dot com bubble – and collapse completely during the 2008 and the property price debacle. For all its efficiency the German economy was, like the rest of the world, engulfed in the double whammy of the EU/euro crisis and the 2008 blow-out. Figures for growth make interesting reading.

(These are World Bank figures for declining growth rates in both the developed and developing economies for the period of 1960s through 2009.

1960s = 4.9%

1970s = 3.93%

1980s = 2.95%

1990s =2.7%

2000/09 = 2.58%

It should be by now common knowledge that the global economy has been on a downward path for decades as can be seen from the above figures. Moreover, with the possible exception of China and some other East Asian dynamos, these figures did not improve in the post-2008 era, quite the contrary.

Suffice it to say that the 2007/2008 explosion of the speculative bubble was avoided with massive injections (hmmm, sounds familiar) of ‘liquidity’ basically the extension of credit to the banking sector. Starting in 2008 the European Central Bank (ECB) lent the European banks money at an interest rate of 1%. (As did the Fed on the other side of the pond.) Predictably these same banks used that liquidity for speculation rather than lending to the productive sectors. In passing, we may say the Anglo-American financialised model – at least for Europe – didn’t work and given the objective situation shows no signs of working. In addition, the euro was stillborn with different rates of growth and trade between sometimes diverse member states. The euro was extended to other euro states, and particularly those in the southern bloc, which were far from enjoying the levels of productivity of the northern bloc. Europe’s weaker and less productive countries and thus of international competitiveness could not live with Germany’s productivity levels and low costs. The southern bloc could not devalue the euro – the centre-piece of the euro economy – and they ran up trade deficits with the German-dominated northern bloc which consistently ran up trade surpluses. Most commentators knew this apart from the brain-dead euro-elites who seemed impervious to the situation.

Given these fundamental geopolitical and economic changes Germany would be wise to now examine its options.

At the present time, another deeper and all-encompassing economic and financial crisis has occurred. The EU has, for better or worse, already had to swallow the departure of the UK from the EU; and it is not too difficult to imagine that this is only the beginning of a process of dissolution, particularly in light of the present and future possible political/economic developments. Moreover, the whole brouhaha which has already been instanced by the Nordstream-2 episode represented a win for one particular German faction – in this instance the business class – which now appears to be reorientating to a longer-term strategy of a pivot to Eurasia. It would appear to have won against the political class – including those lovely Greens who seem hot for a war against Russia. The German political and ideological class would appear to inhabit a different time-warp, circa 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall and moreover being hopelessly fixated with NATO, liberalism, globalism and everything American, including woke ideology.

The same German business elite, however, seeks parallel factions together with other similar groupings in other financially strong and reliable countries, who wish to seek the expansion of Germany toward China and Russia. There are obvious reasons for this move. Both these countries have immense reserves of raw materials. Secondly, the level of Chinese economic growth and the size of its market is way above those of the EU. Thirdly, Germany’s relative technological superiority is an ideal for the inter-trade appropriation of Chinese surplus value. Fourthly, if bilateral trading relations continue at the current pace, Beijing will become Germany’s main trading partner by early 2023 at the earliest. Fifthly, for China, Germany, is the optimal country for the best investment opportunities.

So this is the current situation with the Nordstream-2 instalment concentrating the minds of those who have read the runes of Germany’s future development with newer and dynamic trading partners east of the Oder-Neisse line. We shall wait and we shall see for such developments.

NOTES

(1) In this respect the French and British nuclear deterrents should be seen as little more than geo-political phallic symbols by two second-rate declining powers.

(2) Costas Lapavitsas – The Left’s case against the EU – pp, 33, 35)

(3) The Long Depression – Michael Roberts – The Hartz Reforms – The Failing Euro Project – pp.153-155.

(4) Mittelstand – commonly refers to small and medium-sized enterprises in the German-speaking world, particularly in Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland,

Taliban; a Fait Accompli and Prevailing Common Interests

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Abbass Al Zein

The analysis of the social structure of the Taliban Movement and linking that structure to its military expansion during the past months indicate that the Movement has, in fact, exited the cities it captured, rather than entering them.

Taliban has always been at the core of Afghan events

The truth is that the Taliban Movement has not returned to the forefront of the Afghan events recently; it has always been at the core, ever since the United States attacked this Asian country at the turn of the current millennium. So, it continued to be an influential factor in the country and in the ongoing events therein, over the past two decades.

That is why analyzing the Afghan scene from the perspective that the Taliban is an impromptu case that has emerged during the past months is primarily in the interest of the United States, by suggesting that the ongoing hectic situation in Afghanistan is the result of the US withdrawal from the country, and not of it being there to start with.

Taliban… A national-Islamic movement

The rapid expansion of the Taliban Movement in the Afghan provinces reflects the extent of the Movement’s penetration into the Afghan society, otherwise, it would have faced many difficulties in preserving its gains and maintaining its very existence for 20 years, despite its lack of influence in power in terms of sponsorship or relations.

Here, it is necessary to differentiate between the Taliban and other movements that have emerged in recent years regardless of their political and ideological stances, given that these movements did not emerge from a social status, which subjected them to rapid political and security setbacks, in a few years, and perhaps even in a few months in some cases. And perhaps the “al-Qaeda” organization in Afghanistan is the best example of this, not to mention other similar organizations at the international level.

Upon looking into its ideological and national backgrounds, the Taliban is defined as a “national-Islamic” movement. The Islamic dimension is understandable and clear, but it is necessary to understand the national dimension herein in order to understand the Movement’s positioning in the Afghan fabric, how rapidly its expansion is, and how stable it is at the social level, in spite of all the wars, battles, and strikes it has gone through.

The Movement’s militants, in their majority, belong to the Pashtun ethnicity, which represents about half of the Afghan population and is concentrated over a large area in the east and south. In this context, it is worth noting that Kandahar, south Afghanistan, which was controlled by the Taliban during the past two days, is the second-largest city in Afghanistan. Kandahar’s significance is derived from that time phase during which the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the 90s of the last century, being the Movement’s stronghold. It is also considered the homeland of the “Pashtuns” since it was the capital of the “Pashtun” Kingdom during some time in the eighteenth century before the capital was moved to Kabul later.

The analysis of the social structure of the Taliban Movement and linking it to the military expansion during the past months indicates that the Movement has, in fact, exited the cities it has captured, rather than entering them. This means that it was there waiting for an opportunity and the right moment to take action, otherwise, there is not any other military and political explanation for its control of 17 provinces (out of 34) during that period until August 13, especially that it moved from the bordering provinces and cities towards the center; the location that ensures a logistical and security weight for the Movement’s militants.

Relations with neighboring countries

The Taliban is regarded, at different levels, internally and externally, politically and militarily, as a movement that is facing a government backed by the United States and the West in general. As for why the Movement is not facing the US forces directly, it is due to the fact that those forces are withdrawing from the country, otherwise, they would have undergone attacks, based on the statements of the Movement’s leaders and on the stage that preceded the February 2020 “Doha Agreement”, when the roadmap related to the withdrawal of foreign forces was announced.

Therefore, there are two routes that govern how the international powers deal with the Taliban and its course of action in Afghanistan. The first route has to do with how close the Movement is to their borders and the impact of its presence there. The second route has to do with the Movement’s political project in Afghanistan, in terms of its relations with the West and the East, amid heated international political “arm wrestling”.

The geographical location of Afghanistan grants the country a very important geopolitical role in this “arm wrestling”, as it is a country that has direct borders with China and Iran and with most of the Central Asian countries, which are within Russia’s orbit, in addition to the American-western interests in it. Based on this, the Russian-Chinese stances regarding the progress of the Taliban in the recent months are approached based on the Taliban’s confrontation with the US influence in the country and the Movement’s unwillingness (and rejection) to establish any political project that is against Moscow and Beijing. To this end, several Taliban delegations have arrived in China in recent months to meet with Chinese officials in order to reassure them about the future of the relations and to ensure that Afghanistan will not turn into a military or security base against China, contrary to what the United States had in mind. Most importantly, the two sides have drawn up a roadmap for Chinese projects and investments in the country.

As for Russia, which hastened military exercises with its allies in Central Asia, its Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, stated last July that the most active clashes are happening in the northern provinces bordering Central Asian states that are allies and partners of Russia. At the same time, he saw that Moscow’s steps are meant to prevent combat from spreading from Afghanistan to neighboring countries. Kabulov discussed this issue directly with the Taliban during their visit to Moscow, during which he confirmed that the Movement will not allow the presence of ISIS on Afghan territory, amid Russia’s continuous warnings that ISIS elements are moving from Syria and Libya to Afghanistan. In the meantime, the maneuvers it has conducted and is still conducting with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as other countries bordering Afghanistan, simulate the elimination of “terrorist groups that infiltrated the territory of one of these countries.”

These Russian statements and the accompanying practical steps indicate that Moscow’s concerns have nothing to do with the Taliban’s military expansion against the Kabul government, but are rather related to the resulting combat that other organizations and countries might exploit to expand towards the Central Asian regions, which have for so long been a US target in particular. The Russian Special Envoy to Afghanistan expressed this by saying that “the process of withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan should not turn into the relocation of US military infrastructure to neighboring countries,” while describing the Taliban’s control of areas in northern Afghanistan as “a positive factor that provides security for Russia’s partners in Central Asia.

The Taliban has been keen on reassuring Moscow and Beijing in recent months regarding its political project and military expansion, based on its desire to open new relations with them, which will mostly be focused on confronting the US project in Afghanistan and the region in general. Russia and China received these assurances and responded similarly by demonstrating their acceptance of an influential role for the Taliban in Afghanistan’s politics and even offering support to this end. This came in parallel with caution related to fears of chaos that Washington could exploit against them, through terrorist organizations that can infiltrate into Chinese territory or Central Asia.

As for Iran, which has always been accused of having “hidden” ties with the Taliban, its stance is close to that of the Russians and Chinese, in terms of preventing chaos from spreading in the region, particularly near its borders. Iran has expressed, on more than one occasion, that Afghanistan’s security is part of its security while stressing that “the Taliban Movement is part of the Afghan fabric.” On its part, the Taliban expressed its “deep sadness”, in January 2020, over the martyrdom of the “Quds Force” Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, emphasizing at the time the necessity of “fighting American brutality”. At the same time, it sent similar assurances to Iran during its repeated visits to Tehran, the most prominent of which took place last January, when a Taliban delegation met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. However, the process of ensuring the safety of Iran’s mission in the Afghan city of Herat, which was recently captured by the Taliban, 150 km away from the Iranian border, put these guarantees to test, at a time when the majority of the Afghan border area with Iran is under the Taliban’s control.

In addition to Tehran hosting several rounds of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, there are multiple indicators that a change has occurred in the relations between Iran and the “Taliban,” after the two had reached the brink of war in 1998 upon the killing of Iranian diplomats at the time. The change in the course of the relations is related to the changes in the Taliban’s structure, framework, and project, as well as the guarantees it can provide inside and outside Afghanistan, given that they are of equal importance to Iran.

It is worth noting that Western reports spoke of security cooperation that came into existence in the last few years between Taliban leaders and Iran, in the face of the United States. In 2016, Foreign Policy reported cooperation between Iran and the Taliban in order to establish a buffer zone on the border with Afghanistan to ward off the ISIS threat and to secure the 572-mile border. This area extends from Helmand Province in the south all the way to Kunduz along the border.

European tension

The United Kingdom was against the US withdrawal, and the European Union threatened the Taliban with “international isolation.” Those are the latest European statements regarding the Afghan developments. In contrast to the Russian-Chinese-Iranian calm in dealing with the situation, the Europeans appear tense and unable to deal with events in a manner that guarantees their interests and influence, as the pressure related to the Afghan refugees in European countries mounts. Therefore, the European stance remains vague, but without doubt, it does not welcome the ongoing contact between the Taliban, Beijing, and Moscow. Similarly, it is not in favor of the rapid collapse of the government forces it backs. While waiting for the last moments related to the political scene after the battles, it is evident that the European countries, being part of the NATO, were unable to impose their full agenda in Afghanistan. The issue is not whether or not they were defeated, but rather, it is related to the future of its presence in that part of Asia, starting with Afghanistan. It goes without saying, however, that the Taliban assuming power after more than 20 years of the invasion, is not what the European countries concerned with this file had in mind.

What does Washington want?

At home, the Taliban is a fait accompli that cannot be disregarded and whose spread cannot go unheeded socially, politically, and even culturally. Abroad, the Movement has been able to impose itself as a regional player, and it has paved the way for those who seek to establish an understanding with it in a way that guarantees its interests and the others’. In this particular instance, it is difficult to say that the US withdrawal came after the task was completed and that it was intended. The questions related to the future of Afghanistan’s political project in several aspects do not concern US opponents, but rather US allies. This is proven through the Afghan facts, statements, and ongoing events themselves. However, assuming that Washington is looking for loopholes to use the Afghan developments for its own advantage and that it has left the Afghan arena to the Taliban, its opponents are sparing no efforts ahead to fill those loopholes, from the northern borders of Russia’s allies to the eastern borders with China, all the way to the western border with Iran.

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Lebanese Bank Governor’s Reckless Step: A Move towards the Total Collapse

August 14 2021

Lebanese Bank Governor’s Reckless Step: A Move towards the Total Collapse

By Mohammad Yousef

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh’s decision to lift subsidies off fuel imports pushed the whole country further into a very dangerous position.

The decision represents an illegal, reckless and irresponsible step as the people suffers from host of shortages in basics with skyrocketing prices and devaluation of the Lebanese currency.

The fuel is probably the most important vital commodity. It affects people’s life greatly as it covers many vital areas of every day’s life like hospitals, bakeries, universities, schools, water and electricity supplies and many others.

This brought the whole country into a total paralysis and will bring it closer to the verge of collapse unless the concerned parties take the necessary measures to stop this or alleviate its impact on people’s life.

Lay people and officials know that subsidies will not continue forever especially under the deteriorating situation in all levels, but such a decision cannot be taken the way Salameh did. He removed the government support onetime and without considering that the necessary precautionary measures have been put into implementation. Many parties have suggested that every poor family receives a certain limited amount of supported fuel, for example, 80 liters per month. Moreover, the long awaited for financial support card has not been yet put into effect.

Such necessary measures would have eased the exacerbating crisis and rendered the step possible to swallow by people. However, the governor has chosen to lift the fuel subsidies abruptly and without any prior notice. This has all happened at a time when vice Prime Minister Zeina Akar announced that this was not going to take place.

The governor’s decision says a lot and gives very alarming indications about the way the country is run at this stage.

First, the step reflects the total detachment of the ruling class from the people and their sufferings.

Second, it gives an alarm that the ruling oligarchy decided that the correction of the current crisis is being put on the burden of the doomed and most impoverished people.

Third, it assures that the governor acts at his utmost liberty without waiting for any legal or political coverage.

What does all this tell?

It simply announces that we are hastily heading towards the great crash or the collapse of the state. Many scenes of the Venezuelan scenario are already here.

People are endlessly queuing for many vital daily needs like gasoline, cooking gas, medications, and recently children milk and bread. The whole country is in total chaos and the people are disoriented about what happened and about what to do, or where to go to find a solution or at least an alleviation of their suffering.

The international community and the powerful countries like the US , France, Britain and their allies in the Arab world are watching but not taking concrete tangible steps to help though they know it is within their reach, why?  Because they are investing in our misery, and this is not a conspiracy theory that aims at directing the blame on Washington and its allies. We know that country’s corruption is the number one culprit, but they knew it and accepted it and continued to deal normally with it and now they want to strip Lebanon from its last point of strength represented by its triumphant resistance to dictate their conditions in politics and economy and to gain with their mounting blockade and economic pressure what they failed to do with their military campaigns. They need to know they are pining hopes over illusion. This cannot and will not be.

Now, as the endeavors and efforts to form a government have reached a very advanced stage, probably in the near coming days, hopes are rising that this mandatory step would usher in a significant effort to start a robust and wise rescue planned effort and represents the first step in the one thousand mile trip to put things back on track.

A Day in the Death of British Justice

August 13th, 2021

By John Pilger

Source

(Originally Published on Mintpressnews on August 12, 2021)

“What has not been discussed today is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life.” — Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange

Isat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority.

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the US against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the US. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the US campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries like Haiti, India’s campaign of torture in Kashmir, the British government’s secret agreement to shield “US interests” in its official Iraq inquiry and the British Foreign Office’s plan to create a fake “marine protection zone” in the Indian Ocean to cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of return.

In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he is a gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is transparent, and accountable.

Yesterday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition.  Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the US’s infamous prison system.

Professor Michael Kopelman, a world authority on neuro-psychiatry, had said Assange would find a way to take his own life — the direct result of what Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, described as the craven “mobbing” of Assange by governments – and their media echoes.

Those of us who were in the Old Bailey last September to hear Kopelman’s evidence were shocked and moved. I sat with Julian’s father, John Shipton, whose head was in his hands. The court was also told about the discovery of a razor blade in Julian’s Belmarsh cell and that he had made desperate calls to the Samaritans and written notes and much else that filled us with more than sadness.

Watching the lead barrister acting for Washington, James Lewis — a man from a military background who deploys a cringingly theatrical “aha!” formula with defence witnesses — reduce these facts to “malingering” and smearing witnesses, especially Kopelman, we were heartened by Kopelman’s revealing response that Lewis’s abuse was “a bit rich” as Lewis himself had sought to hire Kopelman’s  expertise in another case.

Lewis’s sidekick is Clair Dobbin, and yesterday was her day. Completing the smearing of Professor Kopelman was down to her. An American with some authority sat behind her in court.

Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Britain Assange
Stella Moris after attending the first hearing in the Assange extradition appeal in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

The implication was that this somehow lessened Kopelman’s medical diagnosis: that Julian, locked up in solitary in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US on bogus “espionage” charges, had suffered severe psychotic depression and had planned, if he had not already attempted, to take his own life.

For her part, Judge Baraitser saw no contradiction. The full nature of the relationship between Stella and Julian had been explained to her in March 2020, and Professor Kopelman had made full reference to it in his report in August 2020. So the judge and the court knew all about it before the main extradition hearing last September. In her judgement in January, Baraitser said this:

[Professor Kopelman] assessed Mr. Assange during the period May to December 2019 and was best placed to consider at first-hand his symptoms. He has taken great care to provide an informed account of Mr. Assange background and psychiatric history. He has given close attention to the prison medical notes and provided a detailed summary annexed to his December report. He is an experienced clinician and he was well aware of the possibility of exaggeration and malingering. I had no reason to doubt his clinical opinion.

She added that she had “not been misled” by the exclusion in Kopelman’s first report of the Stella-Julian relationship and that she understood that Kopelman was protecting the privacy of Stella and her two young children.

In fact, as I know well, the family’s safety was under constant threat to the point when an embassy security guard confessed he had been told to steal one of the baby’s nappies so that a CIA-contracted company could analyse its DNA. There has been a stream of unpublicised threats against Stella and her children.

For the US and its legal hirelings in London, damaging the credibility of a renowned expert by suggesting he withheld this information was a way, they no doubt reckoned, to rescue their crumbling case against Assange. In June, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin reported that a key prosecution witness against Assange has admitted fabricating his evidence. The one “hacking” charge the Americans hoped to bring against Assange if they could get their hands on him depended on this source and witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant.

Thordarson had worked as a volunteer for WikiLeaks in Iceland between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, as several criminal charges were brought against him, he contacted the FBI and offered to become an informant in return for immunity from all prosecution. It emerged that he was a convicted fraudster who embezzled $55,000 from WikiLeaks, and served two years in prison. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years for sex offenses against teenage boys. The Washington Post described Thordarson’s credibility as the “core” of the case against Assange.

Yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Holroyde made no mention of this witness. His concern was that it was “arguable” that Judge Baraitser had attached too much weight to the evidence of Professor Kopelman, a man revered in his field. He said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children.

If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you have a better grasp than I who have sat through this case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled nobody. Judge Baraitser – whose hostility to Assange personally was a presence in her court – said that she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not matter. So why had Lord Chief Chief Justice Holroyde spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There, he now waits for the High Court’s final decision in October – for Julian Assange, a life or death decision.And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court trembling with anguish? Why is this case “unusual”? Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the Department of Justice in Washington – — who got their big chance under Trump, having been rejected by Obama – a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case against a principled journalist sunk as surely as Titantic?

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

I sat with Stella in the court’s colonnade while she drafted words to say to the crowd of media and well-wishers outside in the sunshine. Clip-clopping along came Clair Dobbin, spruced, ponytail swinging, bearing her carton of files: a figure of certainty: she who said Julian Assange was “not so ill” that he would consider suicide. How does she know?

Has Ms. Dobbin worked her way through the medieval maze at Belmarsh to sit with Julian in his yellow arm band, as Professors Koppelman and Melzer have done, and Stella has done, and I have done? Never mind. The Americans have now “promised” not to put him in a hellhole, just as they “promised” not to torture Chelsea Manning, just as they promised ……

Britain Assange
A WikiLeaks supporter gives leaflets to passing drivers, during the first Assange extradition appeal hearing in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

nd has she read the WikiLeaks’ leak of a Pentagon document dated 15 March, 2009? This foretold the current war on journalism. US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s “centre of gravity” with threats and “criminal prosecution”. Read all 32 pages and you are left in no doubt that silencing and criminalising independent journalism was the aim, smear the method.

I tried to catch Ms. Dobbin’s gaze, but she was on her way: job done.

Outside, Stella struggled to contain her emotion. This is one brave woman, as indeed her man is an exemplar of courage. “What has not been discussed today,” said Stella, “is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life. The constant threats and intimidation we endured for years, which has been terrorising us and has been terrorising Julian for 10 years. We have a right to live, we have a right to exist and we have a right for this nightmare to come to an end once and for all.”

Outrage in Iran over Controversial Photo Taken by UK, Russian Envoys

August 12, 2021

Russian, British envoys photo
Photo published by Russian Ambassador in Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan and UK ambassador to Iran Simon Shercliff in a place where the 1943 Tehran Conference took place.

Iran reacted to a controversial photo taken by the ambassadors of Russia and UK.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described as ‘inappropriate’ the photo of Russian Ambassador in Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan with UK ambassador to Iran Simon Shercliff in a place where the 1943 Tehran Conference took place.

For its part, the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the Russian Ambassador in Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan for a discussion over the recent photo that caused a public outcry in Iran, the Russian embassy said.

Today … Dzhagaryan was invited to the Iranian Foreign Ministry regarding the controversial reaction of the Iranian public to the photo published jointly with the UK Ambassador in Tehran Simon Shercliff,” the embassy said in a statement, obtained by Sputnik.

The Russian diplomatic mission added that the discussion was “held in a friendly manner” and the Iranian side received “all necessary explanations” regarding the photo.

“The ambassador expressed regret for the misunderstanding,” the embassy added.

Iranian media reported that Iranian found the photo offensive, accusing the envoys of UK and Russia of trying to make it similar to the famous photo of the meeting of the leaders of the three Allied leaders in World War II in Tehran.

The Tehran Conference was a meeting between US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in Tehran between November 28 and December 1, 1943.

SourceAgencies

Sitrep : Here comes China : Military Drills, Extortion, the ‘Religious Freedom Balkanization’ Plan for China

August 07, 2021

Sitrep : Here comes China : Military Drills, Extortion, the ‘Religious Freedom Balkanization’ Plan for China

The main news of the day is the Biden administration’s effort to sell 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems, 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, spares, training, ground stations and upgrades for previous generation of howitzers, to the island of Taiwan in a deal worth up to $750 million. China is, to say the least, livid.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230698.shtml


Military Drills: US ‘large-scale’ military exercises cannot scare China, Russia

The US has begun two “large-scale” military exercises. The first is a joint Indo-Pacific military exercise led by the US Indo-Pacific Command with the participation of Japan, Australia and the UK. The other is the “Large-Scale Exercise 2021” held by US Navy around the world and is reportedly the largest naval exercise since 1981. A US military scholar told media that it is intended to demonstrate to China and Russia that US naval forces can simultaneously meet challenges in the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, South China Sea and East China Sea.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230616.shtml


More Military Drills:  Chinese, Russian militaries to hold joint drill in NW China

YINCHUAN — A joint military exercise by the Chinese and Russian armies will be held from Aug. 9 to 13 at a training base of the People’s Liberation Army in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

The exercise, named ZAPAD/INTERACTION-2021, is the first joint military exercise held inside China since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the exercise’s leading group.

http://www.chinadailyglobal.com/a/202108/06/WS610c8415a310efa1bd667010.html


And more, an ongoing military drill from Friday to Tuesday

A large section of waters from Hainan to the Paracels has been cordoned off by China’s maritime authorities from Friday

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3144111/south-china-sea-are-carrier-killer-missiles-being-primed-pla


While we are right at the end of the Tokyo Olympics, the force is strong for canceling or otherwise interfering with the upcoming Beijing 2022 Games.

This is what Radio Free Asia (and people should recognize that for what it is), reports, and this is clearly within the human rights wars.

2021-07-27 — The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday said it had to “remain neutral” on global political issues in response to a request from the U.S. Congressional commission that asked it to postpone and relocate the 2022 Beijing Winter Games if China does not end its human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The reply came in response to a letter that the bipartisan U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) sent to IOC president Thomas Bach. The commission made the letter public on July 23.”

Despite these efforts to do something to China, anything, before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese are keeping cool:  “Off the field, observers noted that the success of the Tokyo Olympics under huge pressure is a desperately needed inspiration for the world. Tokyo’s experience in carrying out a major international event under such circumstances sets an example for next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics, experts said. ”


Let’s look at the latest Xinjiang information:

And then during the time of writing, the news broke.  Part of the Xinjiang story, is pure hard blackmail:  the US-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) blackmailed, bribed, and extorted a Chinese company and its US cooperative partner for $300,000 by threatening to hype up fabricated “forced labor” issues related to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230759.shtml

The complete Xinjian story of forced labor, a genocide (with no dead people), prison camps et al is falling apart like an overripe watermelon that just smashed itself falling off the watermelon buggy and is not fit for eating any longer.


While we are on the topic of extortion, Alex Rubinstein did some undercover work.

He says:  “Using a friend’s company on my application and adopting a fake persona, I attended a three-day summit on religious freedom where leading figures in the Democratic Party including Nancy Pelosi, USAID Director Samantha Power and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken joined up with anti-gay Evangelicals, a slew of shady NGOs and multiple bonafide cults to ratchet up pressure against China.”:

From this ‘Davos of Religious Freedom’, we see top democrats, top republicans, the Christian far right, some clear cults, NGO’s with no history, and just about every anti-China organization in the world right across the spectrum.  The objective?  Balkanization under the guise of religious freedom as the new front in the new China cold war.  This report is incredibly detailed and would need some time to read through.  It is however recommended to understand the vast array of forces aligned in the new cold war against China.

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/top-democrats-unite-with-christian

And the 2nd part is out, titled: A Cult, a Fake Gov’t & US-funded NGOs Hold Panels Panning China

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/cult-fake-govt-ngos


And this is how medical philanthropy US to China actually operates:

https://saker.community/2021/08/02/tarnished-american-philanthropy-in-china/


So, what is happening in China?  Simply said, strong strong words. 

The recent visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, despite the usual initial nice and welcoming words apparently did not go down well.  “A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the talks were in-depth, frank, and beneficial to the relationship between the two countries.”

Days later the story changed materially.   “We will no longer make unilateral efforts to maintain the public opinion atmosphere in China-US relations. Using illegal sanctions as a pretext, the US, aided by Canada, has effectively kidnapped a high-ranking Chinese corporate official, Meng Wanzhou, and is still threatening her with possible imprisonment. No other nation behaves so brazenly in defiance of international norms.

“The basis for such changes is that Chinese society has become fed up with the bossy US and we hold no more illusion that China and the US would substantially improve ties in the foreseeable future. The Chinese public strongly supports the government to safeguard national dignity in its ties with the US and firmly push back the various provocations from the US. In the face of the malicious China containment and confrontational policy adopted by the two recent US administrations, the Chinese people are willing to form a united front, together bear the consequences of not yielding to the US, and win for the country’s future through struggles.

In other words, Chinese society would unconditionally support whatever tough counterattacks the Chinese government would launch in the face of US-initiated conflicts in all directions toward China. The US should abandon forever the idea of changing China’s system and policies through sanctions, containment, and intimidation. We hope US allies in the Asia-Pacific, especially Japan and Australia, can weigh the situation. They should not act as accomplices of the US’ China containment policy and place themselves at the forefront of confronting China, or they are betting their own future.”

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1229704.shtml

And this is the message that is still prevailing in China and internal to her people.

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was in the dock in a Canadian court this last week but at the time of writing, I have not seen any reports.


Further detail:

Far more world leaders visit China than America: “If leadership diplomacy was an Olympic sport, Beijing beats Washington to the gold medal.” In 2019, 79 foreign leaders visited China, while only 27 called on the United States. More world leaders have visited China than the United States in every year since 2013. Many US allies visited China more often than the United States, including those of South Korea, Germany, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and New Zealand. Read full article →

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said ties with Southeast Asia are a priority for China and called for “multilateralism with Asian characteristics”, as the country seeks to counter US moves in the region.“China has always made Asean its priority for diplomacy in the region … and firmly supports Asean’s central role in regional cooperation,” Wang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry readout on Thursday. “Both sides should conduct frequent communication on all levels, and continue with mutual understanding and support for each other’s core interests.” Read full article $→ 

US drops visa fraud charge against Chinese researcher accused of hiding ties to Chinese military. Days before trial was expected to start, US prosecutors ask judge to dismiss charge against cancer researcher Tang Juan. Federal agents said Tang allegedly sought refuge at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco after they interviewed her at her home. Read full article $→ 

The US dropped cases against five Chinese researchers accused of hiding ties to the Chinese military. The China Initiative has raised concern about racial profiling of Asians, however, and led to calls for investigation into the DOJ’s conduct. Judges had already dismissed parts of two cases after it was revealed FBI agents hadn’t properly informed them of their rights against self-incrimination. Read full article $→

U.S.-listed Chinese firms must disclose Chinese government interference risks. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that Chinese companies listed on U.S. markets must disclose the risks of the Chinese government interfering in their business as part of their reporting obligations. Read full article $→

For the first time since 2013, China funded no overseas coal projects in H1. Last month, ICBC announced that it would begin to phase out coal project financing, and pulled out of a major $3 billion coal power plant project in Zimbabwe. Then Beijing  published fresh guidelines encouraging overseas enterprises to invest in greener projects and dump environmentally risky ones. Read full article →


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

There are some delicious long reads in this week’s newsletter from Martin Jacques, Martin Chorzempa, Chris Lau, Rick Sterling, Yiwen Lu and Hubert Horan

Further selections and editorial and geopolitical commentary by Amarynth.

WWW . IslamicRepublicOfIran . COV

WWW . IslamicRepublicOfIran . COV

August 07, 2021

Note by the Saker: considering the fact that the anti-COVID-Crusaders desperately want to peddle their theories on this blog (Ron Unz just got hit with over 1200 comments!!) I am not allowing comments under this (excellent) report by Mansoureh Tadjik.  I apologize to Mansoureh and to all the sane readers: I am swamped with work, I am about to interview a very famous personality (in 2 weeks) and I have not time to deal with this paranoid Kindergarten.  Kind regards, The Saker

By Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

A worldwide war against humanity has been waged with the help of lab-constructed silver biollets camouflaged as CoV and its progenies and biolistic missiles camouflaged as medicines and vaccines. To aid and abet in protecting the global public against health and life, the public itself was weaponized. The public was pitted against the public using fear as an affective device, ambiguity as non-random noise, intimidation of dissenting scientific voices to suppress signals, corrupt scientists as catalysts-synergists, and media as high-speed centrifuges. What an enriched world in which we live when we master the spin to deceive.

“Sometimes they would take us to wars; war against the people we did not know. And pulling our swords against those with whom we had no animosity, even against those who were our companions, our colleagues, and our fellow humans in faith and fate. These wars, as that sage once said, consisted of wars between two groups of people who were fighting without knowing one another for the benefit of those who were not fighting and knew each other very well.”[1]

-Ali Shariati in “Yah, Brother! This is How it Was.

If I state the entire globe is now fully immersed in a grand anthropogenic fitna, I am not overstating. But there is silver lining and glad tidings: “They plot clever plots and God plots clever plots. Indeed, God is the Best Plotter.[2]

More than a year ago, I submitted an article titled Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies to the Saker. In that article, I explained why initially assuming SARS-CoV-2 (CoV for short) as a bioweapon by decision-making bodies in the Islamic Republic of Iran was a prudent and necessary assumption. I also argued that a bioweapon need not be very lethal. It only needs to have enough destructive power to “scientifically shatter” public health, economic, and social infrastructures of the targeted nations. The Saker kindly posted that article with a note seasoned with clear warnings (see here).

Now, I would like to discuss how the Islamic Republic of Iran has solidly maintained the bioweapon assumption about CoV and broadened the scope to include additional components. Specifically, I would like to demonstrate: 1) How the view of bioweapon in Iran has evolved and expanded to include not only the CoV itself as a bioweapon but also medicines and vaccines that are linked to it. 2) How socio-political, economic, and public health complexities have necessitated the Iranians at various levels and organizations to adopt and implement a nuanced, multi-pronged, and complex approach in choosing the battles in which they engage within a rather complex global hybrid bio-media war.

1) Islamic Republic of Iran’s View on CoV, Drugs, and Vaccines as Bioweapons

Allow me to begin this section with a quote from Ayatullah Khamenei. It is extracted from a speech delivered last year on the occasion of 19th of Dey, to commemorate the Qom uprising against the Shah. The quote provides an overall framework for our discussion. He stated:

“Import of vaccines from [the US] America and Britain is forbidden. I have said this to the officials as well. Now, I am saying it in public. If [the US] Americans were able to produce vaccines, this disgraceful corona scandal would not have happened in their own country. A few days ago, in a span of 24 hours, they had 4,000 deaths. These people, if they knew how to make vaccines, if their Pfizer could have produced vaccines, why would they want to give it to us? Let them use it themselves so that they do not get so many excess deaths. The same goes for Britain.

There is absolutely no trusting them because they might send medicines to make the virus more widespread or more lasting. Or, they may even send some people under the cover of physicians/healers to find out the effects of this virus that it is said to have been partly engineered especially for Iran. This is how they compile and complete their information. Therefore, the [US] Americans’ words are unacceptable.”[3]

These words ring true to most Iranians. They are the words of a leader whose people have been the victims of nerve gas, mustard gas, cyanide, HIV-contaminated bloods, and an assortment of other nonconventional weapons courtesy of human-rights-loving countries such as the US, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, and Italy, and others like India, Egypt, Brazil, Luxembourg, Singapore, and China, the countries which provided these weapons and means of delivering them to Saddam. These statements are also the words of a nation that is surrounded by more than 25 level 4 and level 3 US biological weapons labs in its neighboring countries.

These concerns are legitimate and deep worries are appropriate for sure. However, do they go beyond reasonable assumptions based on patterns of behavior by a sworn enemy to show something more is going on? I would like to explore just that and show how most Iranians have come to believe they have been specifically targeted by CoV and its prophylactics. Regardless of whatever spillover effects or independent attacks may have occurred elsewhere, there are unusual events that require great attention and rigorous investigation.

On multiple occasions during the past couple of years, Ayatullah Khamenei has publicly conveyed similar pointed concerns which are often meant to serve as warnings, reminders, and emphasis to the public without causing too much panic. On another occasion, for example, he said:

“These [the US & Britain] are not trustworthy. I truly do not trust them. I have doubts. Sometimes they want to test these vaccines on other nations to see if it is effective or not. Therefore, no vaccines should be obtained from [the US] America and England. Of course, I do not trust France either because of what they did with those [HIV] contaminated bloods. Surely, if they want to obtain vaccines from other places that could be trusted, it should not be a problem.”[4]

Those who closely follow Ayatullah Khamenei’s speeches know he never speaks based on hunches, random guesses, and empty rhetoric. On issues the general public must be made aware and warned without creating public panic and chaos but evidence and details cannot be publicized, that is exactly how he, the Leader, speaks. Those inside and outside of Iran who are in tune with his guidance know his style and would know what to do.

I would like to insert a side note and say that I am well aware a lot of information escapes the Western media due to their excellent policies on freedom of press, people, and parleys, but I find it rather curious that on the global scene and after a period of relative hush in the Western media, articles are now appearing in some mainstream circles in the West again that bring the bioweapon question to the fore and nudge it to gain more traction. It would be interesting to question and analyze the pattern and timing of these questions and the motives behind them.

Back to Iran. There is an agency in Iran called Sazmane Padafande Ghairs Amel, the Agency for Passive Defense. It was initially set up as a center within the armed forces in 1980s during Iraq-Iran war to deal with nonconventional attacks using biological and chemical agents after Saddam had used them on the Iranians. The center was later expanded to include other bio weapons (against crops and livestock), radioactive, environmental, cyber, economic, and more. It is now a full-blown agency. One of the responsibilities of the agency is to conduct non-armed operations to strengthen deterrence capabilities and reduce the nation’s vulnerabilities in case of above-mentioned unconventional threats and attacks, and to mitigate the outcomes should such attacks occur. Naturally, surveillance is a non-stop and ongoing responsibility of this agency.

The agency greatly intensified its activities several months prior to the first observed and verified corona cases and deaths in Qom on Bahman 30th 1398 [Feb. 19, 2020]. In fact, the agency had intensified its activities even before China officially announced their outbreak. About two weeks after the first hospitalizations and deaths in Qom, Sardar Jalali, the head of the Padafande Ghair Amel Agency explained, in an interview conducted by Fars News Agency, how they had been operating under an “alert” status since they had received reports of initial outbreaks in China and had sent written warnings to various organs including the Ministry of Interior. He further stated in the interview specific lab studies were required to determine if the virus was a biological weapon or not. Below is an excerpt of some key points he raised in his interview:

“Based on analytic, strategic, and intelligence indications and evidence, the source of spread of corona links back to the enemy. Technical proof of that, however, requires lab reviews and comparisons between the initial genome recorded for the virus and the results from studies of the new genomes in terms of the types of deliberate changes made on the virus.”

“But we must also pay strict attention that the foreign-supported media are trying to induce public panic and portray a non-functional public health system in order to make people feel helpless and beleaguered. Playing political games, playing with statistics, and false additions and subtractions, falsely placing religion in opposition to people’s health, and more are a few examples of operations in psychological war front in the enemy’s media that must be attended to by the people and media activists.”[5]

Gradually, additional findings were made public. They added to suspicions: The virus strain in Qom was different from the one in Wuhan, China.[6] So, the spread could not have occurred by travelers, Chinese scholars in Qom seminaries, or pilgrims. Besides, had that been the case, we should have also seen cases in Mashhad the city which similarly has travelers, scholars, and pilgrims from China. In addition, all airports and official border crossings were on high alert and were applying quarantine rules to anyone whom they suspected to be a carrier.

There was another interesting finding as well. In one of their early reports to the parliament, the Ministry of Health informed the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Majlis that several confirmed corona cases had been identified in Gilan, one of Iran’s northern provinces but that the strain of virus there was different from that of Qom and even different from that of Wuhan.[7] The probability the virus (regardless of it being natural or engineered) could evolve into three different strains at such rapid rate in normal populations is nil. In Hollywood perhaps. But not in the real world. So, the null hypothesis of no relationship between each two of these three virus strains would stand with high confidence.

On the political front, other events were occurring. On Esfand 12, 1398 [March 2, 2020], Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent two letters, one to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and another to World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In parts of the letter to Secretary General Guterres, he stated:

“Today it has become evident to everyone that the likes of mutated and smart corona virus 2019 that are engineered products of laboratories, or more appropriately they should be labeled arsenals for biological wars belonging to some global domineering powers, are far more inhumane, destructive, and terrorizing than other inhumane weapons like nuclear, chemical, and HARP.”

“It is expected from Your Excellency in the position of secretary general of the United Nations:

1) To vigorously condemn this anti-human action of the global criminals who have imposed a biologic war on nations with the aim of domination and you must not allow the agents of these crimes to realize their political and economic goals through cover ups and gain immunity from criminal justice investigation by the United Nations.

2) With special sensitivity, to identify and deal decisively with those who globally produce and use biological weapons. Indifference and lack of serious counter measures against them will lead to a destruction of relations among countries and nations and will critically threaten all nations’ existence.

3) To formulate and submit to the United Nations’ general assembly a reform plan to strengthen the convention in manufacturing and use of biological weapons with the aim of forbidding any research, development, and establishment of laboratories to manufacture, store, and use biological weapons at any level.”[8]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds an official position in the Expediency Council (Shoraye Tashkhis Maslahat Nezam). However, he signed the letters to UN and WHO officials not as the member of that council but as ex-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At any rate, in his letter to the Director General of WHO he wrote (I quote):

“It is possible that weaknesses and shortcomings by officials in various countries in performing their duties to protect the health of their public greatly impact the spread of the disease and exact irreparable damages but that is up to the nations to judge. However, we must not allow the owners of labs that produce and spread this virus and t those who impose biologic wars on nations to be absolved of their culpabilities.”

“Today, the Iranian nation, despite selfless, diligent, and tireless work by the medial establishments and personnel who are fighting this aggressive and wild phenomenon, are suffering grave damages and incurring heavy costs. But we must anticipate and predict greater number of mortalities and heavy economic costs related to other nations in the near future. Therefore, it is of utmost importance and it is expected of Your Excellency and your organization to put the protection of human society at the forefront of your critical tasks. You must: 1) Provide immediate equipment, medical, and treatment assistance to the affected countries, especially the weaker nations, to prevent the spread; 2) Immediately identify the source, the production labs, and the spreading agents of this virus and other entities that support biological ward and expose them to the global society.”

“It is evident that public, transparent, and impartial information about the agents of these crimes against humanity play critically important role in control and use of this weapon against humanity. I have no doubt that with a mobilization of all nations and governments, the human society would isolate the perpetrators of these crimes and would cleanse the humanity of thoughts of aggression and oppression.”[8]

While I commend Mr. Ahamadinejad for his efforts, I think he must study the role the UN and WHO have historically played and are currently playing as vectors and catalysts for the very powers and interests he is asking them to hold accountable. They are the water-carriers for the Empire and its corrupt investors.

In a follow-up interview during a special news report conducted with Sardar Jalali, the head of Padafande Ghair Amel Agency (introduced above) on Esfand 20, 1398 [March 10, 2020], he provided an update and made additional information public:

“From the beginning to the end of Bahman [My note: about one month before the 1st case in Qom], we gave four commands to every single one of the provinces so that they conduct the operations commensurate with specific existing conditions. A mandate was issued by the head of armed forces every governor in every province was appointed as the commander of the bio base and the head of the revolutionary guard for each province as his vice commander.”

“At that time, around 5th to 10th of the month of Bahman, we sent special teams to the airports to monitor passengers to and from foreign destinations to verify and control the situation. We prepared and sent the reports to the Defense Ministry and put an order to produce thermometers.”

“In this area, 60 percent of the atmosphere is created by the media. Using the media, they influence and affect people and various industries. For example, a new network like BBC produces 120 programs altogether but 80 of those programs are related to Iran. Internally, too, a negative atmosphere has formed. Of course, to become certain this is a biological war, we must gain certainty through the studies conducted on the virus in the labs.”[9]

On Esfand 21, 1998 [March 11, 2020], a report published by the Center for Research in National Defense and Strategic Studies stated that “major parts of corona virus demonstrate unique characteristics of a biological war.”[10] On Esfand 28, 1398 [March 18, 2020], a letter was written to six heads of neighbor states of Iran signed by one hundred and two (102) Iranian physicians working in the fields of infectious diseases, asthma, allergies, upper and lower respiratory infections, and virology. The six heads of states addressed in the letter were those of Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. In that letter, after providing background information on the United States bioweapon research, development, manufacturing, and use, these physicians asked these heads of states to take every action to destroy the United States Military’s Level 4 labs in their respective countries and to evict the United States from their soil before they have exacted more damage to the people of the entire region.[11]

A television interview was conducted by Sardar Pour Jamshidian, the vice commander in charge of coordinating military forces of the Revolutionary Guard on Farvardin 12, 1399 [March 31, 2020]. He had been asked if this disease was indeed due to a biological war why the Europeans and the [US] Americans themselves had been so badly affected by it. He provided a simple and straightforward answer:

“For questions of this nature, I have to say only this: the [US] American officials clearly and unambiguously state they are the creators of Daesh [ISIS]. Now, they themselves and the Europeans are pestered by these terrorists.”[12]

In other words, the cowboys have this propensity to shoot from the hip and in the process, they get others and themselves into trouble. On Farvardin 17, 1399 [April 5, 2020], Sardar Jalali participated in another extensive interview and brought of call for action on four areas:

“1) Establishment of a fact-finding committee consisting of independent nations and free of influence by the US and others to independently investigate the origin and spread of the virus.

2) Inspection and investigation into the suspected labs and preparing accurate and detailed reports.

3) Establishing protocols and international review and oversight committees to monitor the United States’ 25 level 3 and level 4 labs.

4) Formation of an international campaign to close down all biological weapons research labs that are currently operating without oversight and accountability in various countries. A sense of international threat regarding these labs should become a serious global demand.”[13]

Announcements, dynamic analytic discussions, and specific activities regarding high likelihood of CoV, related drugs and vaccines to be bioweapons abundant. Equally abundant are the closure of social media accounts and censorship of any claims in that regard. Persian-language Independent, bred, fed, and raised by Britain, had the following in its report on January 9, 2021:

“Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, yesterday, Friday the 19th of Dey, in a speech by name Pfizer vaccines produced by [US] America said that he does not trust the [US] America and Britain in the area of vaccine production. Not long after Ali Khamenei’s speech, the spokesperson for Iran’s Red Crescent announced that importing of 150 thousands doses of corona vaccine manufactured by Pfizer has been cancelled.”

“After the announcement by the leader of the regime ruling Iran regarding vaccines produced by the [US] America and Britain, Twitter removed his claim from all of his twitter accounts in English, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, and French. Ali Khamenei had claimed in that tweet that “if [US] America was able to produce vaccines, this corona disgrace would not have happened to it.”[14]

Okay. The English-, Arabic-, Spanish-, Russian-, and French-speaking Twitter account holders should now sleep peacefully. Twitter is awake and protecting their rights not to know. Discussions in Iran are diverse, vibrant, and in abundance. The sample I have presented should give you an overall sense about the themes on CoV, drugs, and vaccines.

2) Iran’s Choice of Battles in a Complex Bio-Media War

It is reasonable to assume that various independent socio-political nations and systems formulate (or at least should be able to formulate) their customized approaches to the question of CoV, drugs, vaccines, treatments, and various protocols based on factors that are best suitable for the health and wellbeing of their respective nations and institutions. Before I discuss the Islamic Republic of Iran as a case example in this regard, I must be transparent with my own assumptions since those assumptions greatly affect what and how I choose and discuss the evidences I present.

Personally and as a matter of professional practice, I remain open and critical of all information and evidence (old and new) about matters related to health and diseases – including CoV, vaccines, types of treatments, etc. Firstly, that is my job. Secondly, it is because science, like all other human endeavors and products, is incomplete, ever-changing (both evolving and devolving), ever-informing as well as “ever-dis-informing”, and extremely vulnerable to corruption. When there are solid evidence of corruption and unethical behavior, as it is with CoV and its vaccines, it becomes critically important to become more critical.

If the information presented about CoV, drugs, and vaccines were all true or all false, things would have been so much simpler and easier to discuss. What makes this matter extremely complicated, and a real global fitna, is the fact that true information and false information have been so skillfully and craftily interwoven and entangled that by the time one has demonstrated this mixing, one has lost the attention of a majority in the general public.

There is a sort of worrisome pattern here that could not have emerged randomly and haphazardly. The public for its part, regardless of the side any segment of the population has taken, was hurriedly ushered into isolated and controlled conditions. Under such conditions, having an affective visceral response instead of a patiently-examined-and-measured response was a foregone conclusion. So, this is another type of unconventional war that must be fought in a manner that the public is not fractured, divided, and pitted against one another for the benefit of a few corrupt entities. Doing this requires excellent leadership skills and padafande gheyre Amel.

In this section, I would like to highlight Iran’s experience with two specific areas of concern, a) Vaccines; and b) Risk Communication, as examples.

a) Vaccines.

Currently, there is valid, reliable, and disturbing evidence regarding several of the CoV et al vaccines as well as various drugs used as treatment on masses of people around the world at an alarming rate and quantity. To all these, we must add a legacy in Iran of the Western and West-supported atrocities of rather deadly kinds. Therefore, for the Iranians, you could triple and quadruple those worries.

The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatullah Khamenei, and the health experts around him are very well aware of those data and findings. The data and the information that most people (including a lot of people who follow this blog) access that ring alarm bells are accessible to his health experts and advisors, too. Furthermore, the health experts that surround the leader are quite capable and astute in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data and they very well see the worrying signs that others see and more.

So, I would like to press this point that as a nation, we must consider three things simultaneously:

1) What we know to be true or about lies and deceptions are skillfully and systematically fed to the global public about CoV and vaccines.

2) What possible covert bio-attacks we, the Iranians especially the notable personalities, might be served on the side but billed as a “global thing”.

3) The realities on the ground, an assessment of what we can realistically and safely achieve with the least amount of social and political disruptions, chaos, costs, and insecurity in the public and among the populations.

The quantity and quality of global disinformation, of powerful and well-resourced army of dis-informers who are, as we say, shamelessly “darideh,” –that is, those have no reservation in tearing apart any and all moral and ethical codes of conduct and boundaries—are beyond any single country or leader to taken on single handedly.

I have said this before (elsewhere): under current circumstances, no world leader could socially and politically keep his population intact and prevent fracturing of his nation in face of a barrage of well-coordinated and well-crafted media attacks they would suffer from within and from without should he take concrete stance to question the CoV and vaccines at this climate. It does not matter who it is: Ayatullah Khamenei or some other leader. Why? Because majority of the populations around the world live on a diet of 24/7 fear that is scheduled to mutate at regular intervals in a non-desensitizing ‘waves’ and manners through media outlets. As I said at the beginning, the public has been weaponized.

I do not know about other countries media and propaganda capacities. But I do know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has difficulty keeping a single English-language TV news channel running seamlessly on the internet. The reason is quite obvious: a lack of independent cyber infrastructure. As I said in the previous section, even simple statements in that regard get purged from the Leader’s Twitter account. In return, 199 Persian language channels and multiple social media networks work around clock to bombard the Iranian public with disinformation.

The statement of Ayatullah Khamenei made (quoted in the previous section) that was removed by Twitter was not even about questioning CoV or vaccines. It was about untrustworthiness of specific manufacturers and countries who have really nasty track records and we have concrete proof of their criminal behavior.

It might be interesting for you to know that after that speech, nearly one hundred ninety nine 24-hour Persian language TV channels, a whirlwind of poisonous social media channels spewed lies non-stop. The Iranian public’s peace of mind went on a rollercoaster ride for weeks with false dichotomies such as “health” versus “politics”, “vaccination” versus “no vaccinations”, “science” versus “ignorance”, and you name it. Thanks to Nofoozies, the infiltrators and internal mouthpieces synchronized their messages with hostile foreign media.

So, what would be the wisest, most logical, and prudent steps be for countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran and leaders like Ayatullah Khamenei to take? Should they dedicate enormous amounts of resources to counter the flood of propaganda to ward off fear and insecurity? Or, should they use the circumstances to further develop their public health and Padafande Ghayre Amel infrastructure while maintaining unity among the people and gradually de-weaponizing the public? The whole truth (not bits and pieces of it) will eventually come out. Meanwhile, however, as I said, it is about choosing one’s battle while, of course, remaining alert and vigilant.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, by Grace of God, has chosen the latter track for now. Simplistic interpretation of things could be misleading. Less than a couple of months ago, the Iranian Leader received an Iranian vaccine, “CovIran Barakat,” which uses the inactivated virus (of the varieties that has circulated in the Iran) and is completely manufactured by the Iranian scientists inside Iran.

After receiving the 1st dose, Ayatullah Khamenei said,

“From long ago, they were insisting I get vaccinated. I was not interested in using non-Iranian vaccines and told so to friends and others who were insisting. I told them I would wait until Inshallah the country’s own vaccine is produced and I would use our own vaccine. We must appreciate this national honor in the truest sense of the word. It is very important when we have the possibility to prevent or heal an illness inside the country, to do so. why not?”

“That was one reason I did not agree to get vaccinated. Besides, I told them, I would like to get vaccinated in the allotted time; that is when the vaccine is being distributed in the country and is the turn for my age group. Well, Alhamdullilah, the old folks around my age – eighty years and above—most of them now have received the vaccine. Some may have still not received it but we are receiving it around the same time. That’s why it was delayed until today.”[15]

From within those few lines, one could extract a thousand lessons. But that would be beyond the scope of this article. As far as vaccines are concerned, nudge the public in the direction they are leaning (or are being directed). Give them a choice of vaccines that has the least amount of harm and unknown or worrying long-term effects.

b) Risk Communication

Risk communication is not as straightforward and easy task anywhere in the world. But in the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is particularly complex. To illustrate this, I would like to revisit a couple of segments from two separate interviews by Sardar Jalali’s statements of which I quoted earlier:

“In this area, 60 percent of the atmosphere is created by the media. Using the media, they influence and affect people and various industries. For example, a new network like BBC produces 120 programs altogether but 80 of those programs are related to Iran. Internally, too, a negative atmosphere has formed. Of course, to become certain this is a biological war, we must gain certainty through the studies conducted on the virus in the labs.”[9]

“But we must also pay strict attention that the foreign-supported media are trying to induce public panic and portray a non-functional public health system in order to make people feel helpless and beleaguered. Playing political games, playing with statistics, and false additions and subtractions, falsely placing religion in opposition to people’s health, and more are a few examples of operations in psychological war front in the enemy’s media that must be attended to by the people and media activists.”[5]

So, how do you, for instance, communicate to a nation that it may have been the target of a biological weapon that is transmitted like a flu but they should not panic? How would you advise them to take care of their ill family members but keep their distance? What do you suggest to them when their religious and cultural beliefs obligate them to provide care to parents, grandparents, close kin, neighbors, and more but you are following protocols that are devised by entities that have no sense of religious and cultural obligations, family and kinship, and duty to one’s neighbor? How do you tell them to hold together a severely-sanctioned economy and prevent it from shattering yet they should not leave their homes?

Well, for countries and nations that have strict hierarchies and rules in place, and their populations have been mostly conditioned to follow those strict rules, you impose coercive public health measures and you order everyone to follow. For those nations, it would not be viewed as coercive but as “how things are.”

However, for a country like the Islamic Republic of Iran which has a completely different worldview, values, and belief system, such approach is neither desirable nor acceptable. For us, a participatory public health and mass mobilization approach are appropriate and effective. So, you get the Basijies involved and you help people find a balance between competing obligations in the best way that is appropriate for them despite what poison the enemies spew from their loudspeakers.

Of course, watching how the whole CoV thing turned into a global phenomenon had a calming effect on many. Whatever this was/is, at least it caused the world systems to make a public spectacle of themselves.

Final Food for Thought

In the past few months, with the exception of around presidential election time, the topic most repeatedly requested of me to discuss has been CoV and vaccines. Each audience has been different from the other in terms of socio-economic background, profession, and education. Teachers, university students and professors, religious scholars in seminaries, and the general public.

Interestingly, regardless of the diverse audiences’ backgrounds, I have observed three different view clusters: Those who have positive views about vaccines (including CoV’s), those who have negative views, and those who are unsure. To keep peace and manage to finish my talk, I have had to adapt. I start with the basics and gradually build layer upon layers. Most in all three groups end up gaining a nuanced view which leads to a less divided crowd. If the public is to be pitted against the public, then passive defense dictates that we try to bridge the gap and patiently disentangle the truths from untruths.

This is where I have had to start: The first question to consider is this: are vaccines safe? The correct answer is “no.” No vaccine is ever safe. If anyone says otherwise, that means s/he does not know the science of vaccines. In fact, vaccines are used because they induce particular diseases. So, the real concern is never about the non-existing safety of vaccines but about a comparison between the harms caused by given infectious diseases should individuals be exposed to that actual disease versus short-, medium-, and long-term harms caused by their respective vaccines.

Is this in itself a bad thing? Not necessarily. Various human societies have known for millennia that weaker and “weathered” versions of some very frightening diseases could induce milder forms of that disease and they have used this experiential knowledge in traditional medicine. In the simplest form, for example, when someone had chicken pox, ordinary people would wait about a few weeks or so, get some of the dried-up blisters and rub it into the nose of their children who had not gotten small pox before. They knew this somehow would immunize their kids.

Iranians, especially those well-versed in traditional medicine, know and understand this well.

But, here is how things go astray: profitability and industrial production of vaccines have become the driving force behind both the quality and the quantity of vaccines as well as the number of diseases for which people are forcefully “educated” and “encouraged” to get vaccinated. At the global level, these industries have used apparently “international” organizations as tools and means to their own ends.

Regarding CoV vaccines, I provide the audience with information about different types of vaccines and evidence on which ones might cause the least harm, which might cause the most harm, and which ones are scientifically considered worldwide experiments. I add the trustworthiness and untrustworthiness of indigenous versus imported vaccines for the Iranians. Then, tease apart vaccines imported from hostile versus non-hostile nations. Then, I go into vaccines from non-hostile nations that sub-contract and manufacture vaccines for hostile nations and sell it to us as third parties. I then discuss the process of quality assurance and random tests (or lack thereof) for imported medicinal products.

At any rate, “…and pulling our swords against those with whom we had no animosity, even against those who were our companions, our colleagues, and our fellow humans in faith and fate,” is not constructive and it is, in fact, counterproductive. Sardar Mohammad Zahrai, the Head of the Construction Basij recently said,

“The soft dimension of passive defense is the biologic and bio-terrorism wars. Spreading of infectious diseases that the Global Domination system has leveled against the countries is of this type. Once it was HIV, anthrax, etc. They were saying, ‘we must maintain our economic edge. The Global Domination, to preserve that edge, must have a balance in human power in the form of cheap labor.’ So, they have no reservation. With these sorts of attacks with infectious diseases, they are after either killing the population of a nation or deactivate and inactivate its active people. So, from this perspective, too, in the types of diseases and attacks, in contaminating waters, in genetically manipulating agricultural crops, or in any other area, they can do this. For instance, they say, ‘We have created the vaccine.’ Then, when it is used not only does it not cure the disease, it creates additional problems.”

“The fabric of Padafand Ghire Amel [the passive defense] in the Islamic Republic system is of the resistance by people in all arenas and domains. We have specific capitals that belong and are unique to this holy system of Islamic Republic of Iran.”

I conclude this essay by a saying a few words about those whom I consider colleagues in this field of public health and health research. There is currently a worldwide war with parallel and inter-connected battles in many countries around the world especially in the West between 3 types of health experts and health research scientists: a) those experts and scientists who are observing some very disturbing data and speaking up about them and urging others to be very cautious at the cost of losing their jobs and being harassed; b) those exports and scientists who are part of and beneficiaries of the propagated view; and c) those experts and scientists who just want to mind their own business and do the best they can under the circumstances. Some among this last group state a lot of concerns in private but remain silent in public.

I personally do not believe this battle is between science and knowledge versus “un-science” and ignorance. Rather, it is about good and rigorous science versus corrupt and co-opted science, and the general public is forced to divide and fight a battle that is, by all accounts, the responsibility and obligation of the scientists to do.

References

[1] Shariati, Ali. “Yah, Brother! This is How it Was.” Speech in Husseinieh Ershad on 1350/8/18, in Electronic version (in Farsi), Page 5. ChapPakhsh Publishing, Available online at: http://Shariati.Nimeharf.Com

[2] وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ — Quran, Chapter 3 (Al-Imran), Verse 54

[3] Ayatullah Khamenei, “Televised Speech on the Occasion of 19th of Dey Uprising.” Dey 19th, 1399 [Jan. 8, 2021]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=47066

[4] Ayatullah Khamenei, “New Year Speech to the People of Iran.” Farvardin 3, 1399 [March 22, 2020]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=45227

[5] Fars News Agency, “Sardar Jalali: Proof of corona being a biological weapon requires lab reviews.” Esfand 13th, 1398 [March 3, 2020]. Accessed online at: http://fna.ir/dfirqk

[6] Khabar Online: Analytical News Agency of Iran. “Corona Virus in Gilan and Qom Different from Wuhan’s/The Possibility of a US Biological Attack Gained Strength.” Esfand 19, 1398 [March 9, 2020] @14:32. News Code: 1362522.

[7] Tabnak Professional News Site. “Member of Parliament: Existence of two corona viruses with two different origins in the country.” Esfand 19th, 1398 [March 9, 2020] @ 15:05. News Code: 964666.

[8] Iranian Environments News Base. “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s letter to UN Secretary General about Corona. Second Letter Destined to WHO was written.” Esfand 12, 1398 [March 2, 2020] @ 5:15. News Code: 346262.

[9] Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). “We do not know definitively the bioweapon status of corona.” Esfand 21, 1398 [March 11, 2020] @12:05. News Code: 98122116188.

[10] News Division for University and Leading Center for Research in National Defense and Strategic Studies, “Major parts of corona virus demonstrate unique characteristics of a biological war.” Esfand 21, 1998 [March 11, 2020], at 12:27pm. News Code: 315.

[11] Khabar Online News Site. “Letter by more than 100 physicians for the destruction of all [US] American biological weapons labs in the region.” Esfand 28, 1398 [March 18, 2020] @ 12:06. News Code: 1366487

[12] Paydari Melli, Center for Information on Padafand Ghayre Amel. “Using Modern War Tools to Combat Corona.” Farvardin 13, 1399 [April 1, 2020] @ 12:14. News Code 58031.

[13] Paydari Melli, Center for Information on Padafand Ghayre Amel. “The United States of America is the main accused in Biological Threats to the World/the Need for Establishment of a Fact-Finding Committee.” Farvardin 17, 1399 [April 5, 2020] @15:16. News Code: 58084.

[14] Independent-Persian. “Claim about possible “biologic attack” by use of foreign vaccines.” Saturday, Dey 20, 1399 or January 9, 2021 @22:15. Accessed online at: https://www.independentpersian.com/

[15] Khamenei.ir. “The Leader of the Revolution received the 1st dose of the vaccine.” Tir 4, 1400 [June 26, 2021]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=48155

[16] Paydari Melli, Center for Information on Padafand Ghayre Amel. “Passive Defense: the Strategy to Save Infrastructures at the Time of Crisis.” Aban 9, 1399 [October 30, 2020] @16:46. News Code: 61350.

Has the US begun its “great retreat”?

AUGUST 06, 2021

THE SAKER • AUGUST 5, 2021

I have to begin this column by admitting that “Biden” (note: when in quotation marks, I refer to the “collective Biden”, not the clearly senile man) surprised me: it appears that my personal rule-of-thumb about US Presidents (each one is even worse than his predecessor) might not necessarily apply in “Biden’s” case. That is not to say that “Biden” won’t end up proving my rule of thumb as still applicable, just that what I am seeing right now is not what I feared or expected.

Initially, I felt my the rule still held. The total US faceplant in Alaska when Blinken apparently mistook the Chinese for woke-neutered serfs and quickly found out how mistaken he was.

But then there was the meeting with Putin which surprised many, including myself. Initially, most Russian observers joined one of two groups about the prospects for this summit:

  1. This summit will never happen, there is nothing to discuss, Biden is senile, his Admin is filled wall to wall with harcore russophobes and, besides, the (US) Americans are “not agreement capable” (недоговороспособные) anyway, so what is the point?
  2. If the summit takes place, it will be a comprehensive failure. At best a shouting match or exchange of insults.

Neither of these happened. Truth be told, we still do not really know what happened. All we have are some vague declarations of intent and worded pious intentions. And even those were minimalistic! In fact, after the summit most Russian observers, again, broke into two main camps:

  1. “Biden” threw in the towel and gave up. Russian won this round. Hurray!
  2. “Biden” only changed tactics, and now the new US posture might well become even more aggressive and hostile. Russia is about to see a major surge in anti-Russian provocations. Alarm!

I think that both of these grossly oversimplify a probably much more complex and nuanced reality. In other words, “Biden” surprised many, if not most, Russians. That is very interesting by itself (neither Bush, nor Obama nor Trump ever surprised the Russians – who knew the score about all of them – in any meaningful way).

My strictly personal guess is that there is some very serious infighting currently taking place inside the US ruling class. Furthermore, that serious infighting is not about core principles or even strategy – it is a dispute over tactics only.

We have to keep in mind an old truism about outcomes: John F. Kennedy once said that “victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan” and he was right. When any group seizes power and effectively controls its interests, all is well, and everybody is busy consuming the proverbial milk and honey. But when this group suffers a series of humiliating defeats, a typical cascade of events begins:

  • Finger pointing: everybody blames everybody else (but never himself/herself)
  • Hindsight wisdom: “if I had been in charge, this would not have happened!
  • Infighting over quickly shrinking spoils of war
  • A collapse of the centralized center of authority/decision-making centers
  • Generation of subgroups, fighting each other over their sub-interests

In other words, following many years of extremely weak presidential administrations (since Clinton, imho), it is hardly a surprise that infighting would take place (in both parties, by the way). In fact, an apparently chaotic set of uncoordinated, or even contradictory, policies is what one should expect. And that is exactly what we have been observing since 1993 and this dynamic has been getting worse and worse with each passing year).

Needless to say, the main outcome of such defeat-induced infighting is to weaken all the groups involved, regardless of their objectives and policies. Some might believe that this is a positive development, but I am not so sure at all (see below).

That being said, there are some observations which might be helpful when trying to at least (indirectly) identify who are the main groups fighting each other.

The hardcore, really nutty, russophobes are still here, especially in the US media which seems to be serving not so much “Biden” as much as some “crazies in the basement” kind of cabal. Next to the legacy ziomedia, there is an increasing number of US/NATO/UK military officials who are foaming at the mouth with threats, warnings, complaints and insults, all against Putin and Russia. This is important because:

  • The “Zone A” media has comprehensively and very effectively concealed the very real risks of war with Russia, China and Iran. And if this was mentioned, the presstitutes always stressed that the US has the “best military in the history of the galaxy” and that Uncle Sam will “kickass” anybody he chooses to. If the people of the USA were informed of the truth of the matter, they would freak out and demand that this path to war be immediately abandoned and replaced with a meaningful dialog.
  • US/NATO/UK authorities have talked themselves into a corner where they have only two outcomes left: they can do what the US always does, that is to “declare victory and leave”, or they can force Russia to protect her borders on land, air and sea and, thereby, face a major military humiliation delivered by Russia.

Truth be told, during the recent naval exercises UK and US officials made a lot of threats and promises to ignore Russian warnings, but in the end, they quietly packed and left. Smart choice, but it must have been painfully humiliating for them, which is very dangerous by itself.

How much of these statements/threats actually were done with “Biden’s” approval? I don’t know. But I am unaware of any reprimands, demotions or any other action taken against the crazies who are calling for a war against Russia, China or Iran. That does not mean that it did not happen, only that it was not publicized. My feeling is, however, that even if “Biden” did object to this kind of dangerous sabre rattling, “he” is too weak to do anything about it. It is quite possible that “Biden” is gradually losing control of his own administration.

I recently had a good laugh hearing NATO naval personnel saying that Russians made “imitation attacks” on NATO ships by overflying them several times. Apparently, these folks sincerely think that gravity bombs are the main/only threat from the Russian Aerospace Forces and coastal defenses which, in reality, can sink US/UK/NATO ships without ever approaching them or even getting in their radar range. Not to mention 6-7 extremely quiet and heavily armed advanced diesel-electric subs of the Black Sea Fleet. While I don’t doubt the “diversity” of these NATO naval crews, I am now having major doubts about even their basic competence.

There will be many more NATO exercises in the Black Sea in the future. Ditto for USN operations off the Chinese, Iranian or DPRK coasts. This (always explosive) combo of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence could result in a major war.

Another option is the terminally delusional UK government (supported by those Brits who still have phantom pains about their lost empire and, of course, by the largely irrelevant 3B+PU gang) might do something really stupid (say, like this) and trigger a war with the DPRK, Russia, China or Iran and then the US would have to move to defend/save a British Navy which is mostly a joke (at least by Russian or Chinese standards). The main problem here being that the USN is also in a terrible shape and cannot compete against Russian and Chinese standoff weapons (I mean that literally, there are currently no defenses against maneuvering hypersonic missiles! The only exception would be the Russian S-500). The latter two nations, by the way, have joined into an informal and unofficial military alliance for many years already; check out this article and video or this one for a recent update).

But opposite, de-escalatory developments are also taking place. First and foremost, “Biden” seemed to have “farmed out” the “Ukrainian dossier” to the Germans and washed Uncle Shmuel’s hands from it. If so, that was a very slick and smart move (which is something we have not witnessed from any administration in decades!). I highly recommend this translation of a most interesting article by arguably the best Ukraine specialist out there, Rostislav Ishchenko.

Ishchenko goes into a lot of interesting details and explains what “Biden” apparently just did. Frankly, the Germans richly deserve this full-spectrum mess and they will be dealing with the consequences of this disaster for a long time, possibly decades. In fact, the Germans are stuck: they want to be the Big European Leader? Let them. After all, the EU politicians, led by Germany, did all they could to create what is now often called “country 404” – a black hole in the heart of the European continent. Germany is the biggest economic power of the EU? Good, then let the Germans (and the rest of the EU) pay for the eventual reconstruction of the Ukraine (or of the successor-states resulting from the breakup of the country)! Russia simply cannot foot that bill, China most definitely won’t (especially after being cheated several times by the Ukies) and the USA has absolutely no reasons whatsoever to do so. I would even argue that chaos (social, economic, political, cultural. etc.) in Europe is probably seen by the US ruling class as highly desirable since it 1) weakens the EU as a competitor 2) justifies, however hypocritically and mistakenly, a “strong US presence” in Europe and 3) gives NATO a reason (however mistaken, misguided and even immoral) to exist

The US is protected from the fallout (immigrants, violence, extremism, etc.) of the Ukrainian disaster by distance, the Atlantic, a much stronger military (at least compared to anybody else in NATO). The US can print money in any way it wants and has no interests whatsoever in the (dying) Ukraine. If Ishchenko is right, and I agree with him, then there is somebody (possibly a group of somebodies) who is a lot smarter than anybody in the Trump Admin and who figured out that the Nazi-occuppied Ukraine should be an German/EU problem, not one for the US.

There is, of course, also the pessimistic analysis: the US is on the retreat everywhere, but only for the following reasons:

  • Regroup, reorganize, buy time to develop some kind of coherent strategy
  • Focus on each adversary separately and prioritize (divide et impera at least!)
  • Re-analyze, re-plan, re-design, re-develop, re-train, re-equip and re-test pretty much everything in the US armed forces (which have not been shaped by any rational force planning in decades)

Those who believe the strategic retreat theory (I am not personally discounting this version, but I do not see enough evidence – yet – to endorse it either) typically add that “the US only left Afghanistan to hand it over to the Taliban/al-Qaeda and unleash them against “soft underbelly of Russia”. Now, that is utter nonsense, if only because Russia does not have a common border with Afghanistan.

Yes, sure, what is currently taking place in Afghanistan greatly worries all the leaders of the region, including the leaders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. But it just so happens that the Russians have been in intense consultations with all these regional powers. Not only that, but Russia already has forces deployed in the region (including the 201st base in Tajikistan) and she has been substantially reinforcing them with no protests from the Empire (at least so far). Finally, all of Central Asia, the Caucasus and even the Middle-East is well within reach of numerous types of Russian long-range standoff weapons. Apparently, the Taliban know that, because they went to great lengths to promise all their neighbors that the (now inevitable) regime-change in Kabul will not represent a threat for anybody. Can we trust them? Nope, of course not. But can we trust them to be smart enough to realize that while they are currently the biggest force in Afghanistan, they don’t even come close to having what it takes to fight a war against any of Afghanistan’s neighbors? Yes, I think we can. After many years of fighting, and the Taliban already in control of part of Kabul, the Taliban will finally achieve their goals and become the true, official, leaders of Afghanistan. Should they try to attack or destabilize any of their neighbors, the very first thing they would lose would be Kabul and any chance to be accepted as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Remember that, like the US, neither Russia nor Iran need to invade Afghanistan to strike at the Taliban, they can use proxies and they have the kind of weapon systems and launch platforms from which the Taliban cannot protect themselves. Last, but certainly not least, the Taliban know how the Russians and the Iranians fought in Syria, and they will not want to trigger anything similar in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, Russia’s “soft underbelly” is a 19th century concept. In the 21st century only the least informed and least competent people would ever use such a concept. Furthermore, only somebody with zero knowledge of actual military capabilities of the Southern and Central Military Districts of Russia could mention such a silly and outdated notion with a straight face. Besides, while the Afghans can be superb guerillas (but not always, contrary to the popular myth!), they cannot conduct combined arms offensive operations, while Russia and Iran can. Again, I will never say never, especially with Takfiris in the loop, but I don’t see the Taliban attacking anybody, least of all Russian or Iranian allies in the region

Coming back to “Biden’s” great retreat: if “Biden” is smart enough to hang the Ukraine on Germany, “he” is probably too smart to predicate the US foreign policy towards Russia predicated around the “soft underbelly” thingie. As for all the “fire and brimstone” threats of war against Russia, they are not impressing anybody as the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians know that a confident and powerful country does not need to threaten anybody, if only because the actual capabilities of these country are a very telling “threat” by themselves. But when a former superpower is weak, confused and frightened, it will make many roaring statements about how it can defeat the entire planet if needed (after all, the US military is “the best military in the history of the galaxy”! If you doubt that, just listen to Toby Keith!). In other words, while in the West threats are an instrument of foreign policy, in Russia, and in the rest of Asia, they are inevitably seen as a sign of weakness, doubts and even fear.

Then there seems to be a long list of weapons systems, procurement plans and “defense” monies which have been pulled back, including the (truly awful) LCS and F-35. While it is true that the US is gradually phasing out fantastically expensive weapons systems and platforms which were also more or less useless, this show the ability to at least admit that all that talk about super-dooper US superweapons was just that, talk, and that in reality the US MIC is incapable of producing the kind of superb high quality systems which it used to produce in large quantities in the past (Arleigh Burke, F-15, Jumbo 747, the Willys Jeep, F-16, A-10, Los Angeles SSN, KH satellites, etc.). This is why the F-15X is designed to “augment” the F-35 feet (by itself a very smart move!).

Such an admission, even if indirect and only logically implied, might show a level of maturity, or courage, by “Biden” which his predecessors did not have.

Could it be that the folks at the Pentagon, who do know the reality of the situation (see here for a very good Moon of Alabama article about this), figured out that Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump vastly over extended the Empire and now they need to regroup and “re-everything” to achieve a more sustainable “defense” posture?

Could it be that “Biden” will deliver what Trump promised, i.e. to end the useless (and unwinnable!) wars, stop caring too much about the agonizing EU, silently accept that Russia has no intentions (and no need!) whatsoever to attack anyone and focus on the biggest non-military threat out there: China. Maybe.

As far as I know, many (all?) simulations – by RAND and the US military – and command staff exercises have shown that the US would lose badly to both Russia or China. Could it be that “Biden” wants to put Russia and China on the backburner and “deal” with Iran first? The latest news on the US/Israel vs Iran front is not good, to say the least.

I still believe that following the murder of General Suleimani and the retaliatory Iranian missile strikes the US seems to have given up on the idea of a direct attack on Iran. After all, not only did Trump let the “most powerful military in the history of the galaxy” be humiliated and seriously scared – for good reason – by the extremely accurate Iranian missile strikes, but the entire world witnessed this humiliation. After that disaster, why would “Biden” decide to attack?

Could “Biden” be even dumber than Trump? I very much doubt it. Besides, both Trump and Biden were equally subservient to the Israel Lobby anyway, so I would never say never, especially since all Israel has to do to force the US to attack Iran, is to attack first, then present any Iranian response as a planned “genocide of 6 million Jews” (what else?), but this time in Israel and by the Iranians (who might even use gas, who knows?). At these words, both the GOP and the Dems will snap to attention and immediately rush to save America’s most precious and beloved “ally” (in reality, its colonial master and overlord, of course). About Israel, we can only sadly conclude that it really makes no difference whatsoever whether the Demolicans or the Republicrats (mostly RINOs anyway) happens to be in the White House.

So what are we left with?

Frankly, I am not sure.

I think that there is very strong, even if only indirect, evidence which there is some very serious in-fighting taking place in the “Biden” administration and there is also strong, but also indirect, evidence that the military posture of the United States is undergoing what might end up being a major overhaul of the US armed forces.

If true, and that is a big “if”, this is neither good news nor bad news.

But this might be big news.

Why?

Because, objectively, the current US retreat on most fronts might be the “soft landing” (transition from Empire to “normal” country) many Trump voters were hoping for. Or it might not. If it is not, this might be a chaos-induced retreat, indicating that the US state is crumbling and has to urgently “simplify” things to try to survive, thereby generating a lot of factional infighting (at least one Russian observer specialized in “US studies”, Dmitrii Drobnitskii, believes to be the case: see the original article here, and its machine translation here). Finally, the state of decay of the US state might already be so advanced that we can consider it as profoundly dysfunctional and basically collapsing/collapsed. The first option (soft landing) is unlikely, yet highly desirable. The second option (chaos-induced retreat) is more likely, but much less desirable as it is only a single step back to then make several steps forward again. The last option (profoundly dysfunctional and basically collapsing/collapsed) is, alas, the most likely, and it is also, by far, the most perilous one.

For one thing, options #2 and #3 will make US actions very unpredictable and, therefore, potentially extremely dangerous. Unpredictable chaos can also quickly morph into a major war, or even several major ones, so the potential danger here is very real (even if totally unreported in Zone A). This, in turn, means that Russia, China, Iran, the DPRK, Venezuela or Cuba all have to keep their guard up and be ready for anything, even the unthinkable (which is often what total chaos generates).

Right now, the fact that the US has initiated a “great retreat” is undeniable. But the true reasons behind it, and its implications, remain quite obscure, at least to me.

I will conclude by asking you, the readers, for your opinion: do you think that the US is currently in a “contraction phase”? If yes, do you believe that this is a short-term only phenomenon, or will this retreat continue and, if yes, how far?

Iran Vows Crushing Response to Any Measure against Its Interests, National Security – Official

AUGUST 3, 2021

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By Staff, Agencies

An informed Iranian source said the Islamic Republic will give a strong and crushing response to any measure taken against its national interests and security, blaming Britain and the US for the consequences of such moves against Tehran.

“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran considers threats posed by the officials of Western countries and the Zionist regime to be mostly of propaganda value, any measure against Iran’s interests and national security will be met with strong and crushing response, with Washington and London being directly responsible for consequences of such moves,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity with an Iranian news outlet close to the Supreme National Security Council, said on Monday.

The Iranian source’s remarks came after the United States and the United Kingdom joined the ‘Israeli’ entity in accusing Iran of orchestrating Thursday’s attack on an ‘Israeli’ tanker off the coast of Oman, despite Tehran’s firm denial.

“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Sunday.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also reflected on the matter, saying that the “unlawful and callous” attack had highly likely been carried out by Iran using one or more drones.

Later on, ‘Israeli’ newspaper Kan reported on Sunday that Tel Aviv has received a “green light” from Washington and London to carry out a “response” to the attack.

According to Iran’s Nournews news agency, the accusations against Iran come despite the fact that no evidence or a single proof has so far been provided to prove Iran’s role in this incident.

“Although the statements made by Blinken and Raab are in line with their Iranophobia project to impose their excessive demands in negotiations on [the revival of Iran’s] nuclear deal, they are also indicative of West’s extreme weakness in the area of intelligence and are aimed at creating a new crisis to help them meet their political goals,” it added.

The media report noted that Western countries’ false expression of concern about undermining of maritime security comes despite the fact that both the United States and the UK have many cases of piracy on their records.

“They have also turned a blind eye to the Zionist regime’s acts of terror against other countries and its frequent acts of mischief aimed at making shipping lines unsafe,” the report noted.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Sunday said recent accusations leveled against Tehran by the Zionist entity and the United States about attacking an ‘Israeli’-owned merchant ship in the Sea of Oman are “childish” and influenced by the Zionist lobby in the United States.

“The illegitimate Zionist entity must stop leveling baseless charges against Iran. This is not the first time that this regime brings up such accusations [against Tehran],” he added.

Green Light: US, UK Join “Israel” in Accusing Iran of Tanker Attack

August 2, 2021

By Staff, Agencies 

The United States and the United Kingdom have joined the apartheid “Israeli entity in accusing Iran of orchestrating Thursday’s attack on an “Israeli” tanker off the coast of Oman, despite Tehran’s firm denial.

“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Sunday. 

Blinken further stated they are “working with partners” on what he termed an “appropriate response” to the attack. 

Earlier British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the “unlawful and callous” attack had highly likely been carried out by Iran using one or more drones. 

“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran,” he said, adding that London was working with partners on a “concrete response.”

Iran on Sunday vehemently denied any involvement in the attack, dismissing allegations leveled by Zionist regime officials. 

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the accusations “childish”, which he said were influenced by the Zionist lobby in the United States.

“The illegitimate Zionist entity must stop leveling baseless charges against Iran. This is not the first time that this regime brings up such accusations [against Tehran],” he noted.

“We must be very cautious not to fall into traps set by the Zionists and the Quds occupying regime in such cases,” the spokesperson said, adding that the ‘Israeli’ regime is at “the lowest point of legitimacy” and experiencing the “most difficult days of its life.”

The incident involved the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned vessel managed by ‘Israeli’-owned Zodiac Maritime, which according to reports was on its way from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when it was targeted.

“I declare unequivocally: Iran is the one that carried out the attack on the ship,” he said during a weekly meeting of his cabinet on Sunday.

In a statement on Friday, Zodiac Maritime, the “Israeli”-owned firm managing the oil tanker, said that two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian, had been killed in the assault.

The West, Eurasia, and the Global South: The Development of Underdevelopment

The West, Eurasia, and the Global South: The Development of Underdevelopment

August 01, 2021

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

‘The dependency thesis, like all good (and great) theories can be summed up in a single phrase: Modern ‘’underdevelopment’’ is not ‘’historical backwardness’’ the result of late and insufficient development; it is the product of capitalist development, which is polarizing by nature’. (Andre Gunder Frank -1996.)

The leader of the UK Conservative Party, Mrs Thatcher, first came to power in the UK in 1979 with a brief to end the post-war consensus which had prevailed from the Labour party victory in 1945. Although Labour lost the ensuing elections from 1951-1963, the Conservative Party nonetheless adopted many of Labour’s social-democratic policies, particularly the economic policies, which characterised the post-war years. The same process was to take place when Ronald Reagan established a similar ascendency in the United States. The Thatcher-Reagan duo was born and was to terminate the post-war settlement in both the UK and the US.

Theories were put forward by economic luminaries on both sides of the Atlantic, but particularly by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. The notion that there existed a magic panacea that would banish all the problems associated with the failing British and American economic policies of 1945-1979, formed the basis of the Thatcher-Reagan economic radicalism, which was to be followed by the Blair-Clinton consolidation of the 1990s. The so-called ‘supply-side’ revolution consisted of removing all the controls which undergirded capitalism, and which had been painstakingly put in place during the course of the 20th century, and simply letting the system find its own level. Privatisation, deregulation, and liberalisation were the components in this policy paradigm.

Of course none of this is news; it had been the staple of the West’s chattering classes in the late 20th century. But its effects were more than restricted to the North Atlantic bloc and was to have a global impact changing the political and economic policies and structures of the whole world.

NEO-LIBERALISM & GLOBALIZATION

­In international terms ‘free’-trade as it was known was at the heart of the system – a system, which was later to become known as globalization, packaged and sold as an irresistible force of nature. Globalization was considered to be neo-liberalism writ large. But on the contrary, a more nuanced interpretation was to be put forward by one of the more astute commentators on the issue.

‘’The standard and most popular narrative is of globalization as the twin of neo-liberalism, expressing the market-fundamentalist view that state-intervention is bad for the economy. It is argued that the state interferes too much with the self-regulating power of the markets, thereby undermining prosperity. This perspective would explain why Alan Greenspan regarded it as fortunate that globalization was rendering the government as being redundant. We call this the anti-state narrative. An alternative narrative is actually considerably more germane: an anti-politics, specifically an anti-mass politics narrative. Greenspan’s statement incorporated the conventional presumption that the West has reached the frontiers of traditional politics: politics has lost its efficacy in the face of global forces. As a result, especially economic policy, is now pretty irrelevant if not actually detrimental, because everything is driven by – determined by – the impersonal force of globalisation. (1) So it is argued.

It was of course taken as axiomatic that free-trade – a vital component in the new economic paradigm – was always and everywhere the best policy. This conventional wisdom was to become known as the ‘Washington Consensus’ and was given a legitimating cachet by political, business, and academic elites around the world. However many of the elements – if not all – of the Washington Consensus where hardly new, many date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and perhaps beyond. It could be said that the newly emergent mainstream orthodoxy represented a caricature of an outdated and somewhat dubious political economy.

The free-trade canon is, of course, spoken of in almost reverential terms. It is as jealously guarded by the economics priesthood in Wall Street and the City of London and of course academia. In short, the theory is based upon a type of formal logic expounded by the early pioneers of political economy, viz., Adam Smith and David Ricardo; and in particular in Ricardo’s magnum opus, The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation first published in 1817. Briefly he argued that nations should specialise in what they do best and in that way world output would be maximised. The hypothetical example he used was England and Portugal and the production of wine and cloth, where he calculated that England should produce cloth and Portugal should produce wine. It was asserted, although no evidence was ever presented, that all would gain from this international division of labour.

However, even a cursory glance at economic history, and particularly the transition from agrarian to industrial societies, demonstrates the weaknesses, and indeed serves to falsify the whole Ricardian model – taken as a model of development. The brute historical fact is that every nation which has successfully embarked upon this transition, including most importantly the US and Germany, has done so adopting catch-up policies which were the exact opposite of those advocated by the free-trade school. (2)

In the world of actually existing capitalism free-trade is the exception rather than the rule. Contemporary free-trade is mainly a matter of intra-firm trading, that is to say, global companies trading with their own subsidiaries and affiliates mainly for tax avoidance purposes, transfer pricing for example. Next come the regional trading blocs – the EU, NAFTA, (which was superseded by the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement USMCA) and Mercosur (in Latin America). With regard to Mercosur there is no common currency as is the case in most of the EU. Thirdly there is barter trade where goods and services are exchanged for other goods and services rather than money. Finally only about 20% of world trade can at most be considered free trade, and even here there are exceptions involving bilateral specifications and agreements.

INTERVENTIONISM

Modernisation and industrialisation, wherever it took place, involved tariffs, non-tariff barriers (3) infant industry protection, export subsidies, import quotas, grants for Research and Development (R&D), patents, currency manipulation, mass education and so forth – a smorgasboard of interventionist policies whereby the economy was directed from above by the state. For example, during its period of industrialisation, the United States erected tariff walls to keep out foreign (mainly British) goods with the intention of nurturing nascent US industries. US tariffs (in percentages of value) ranged from 35% to almost 50% during the period 1820-1931, and the US itself only became in any sense a free trading nation after WW2, that is once its financial and industrial hegemony had been established.

In Europe laissez-faire policies were also eschewed. In Germany in particular tariffs were lower than those in the US, but the involvement of the German state in the development of the economy was decidedly hands on. Again there was the by now standard policy of infant industry protection, and this was supplemented by an array of grants from the central government including scholarships to promising innovators, subsidies to competent entrepreneurs, and the organisation of exhibitions of new machinery and industrial processes. In addition ‘’during this period Germany pioneered modern policy, which was important in maintaining social peace – and thus promoting and encouraging social investment – in a newly unified country.’’ (4)

This path from under-development to modern industrial development, a feature of historical and dynamic economic growth and expansion which has taken place in the US, Europe, and East Asia is not a ‘natural’ progression, it was a matter of state policy. It has been the same everywhere that it has been applied. That being said the Ricardian legacy still prevails. But this legacy takes on the form of a free-floating ideology with little connexion to either practical policy prescriptions or the real world.

Turning to the real world it can be seen, by all of those who have eyes to see, that, ‘’ … history shows that symmetric free-trade between nations of approximately the same level of development, benefits both parties.’’ However, ‘’ … asymmetric trade will lead to the poor nation specialising in being poor, whilst the rich nation will specialise in being rich. To benefit from free-trade, the poor nation must rid itself of its international specialisation of being poor. For 500 years this has not happened anywhere without any market intervention.’’ (5)

GLOBAL ECONOMIC ASYMMETRY

This asymmetry in the global system is both cause and consequence of globalization. It should be borne in mind that the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are the providers of cheap raw material inputs to the industrial countries of North America, Western Europe and East Asia. In technological terms the LDC’s find themselves locked into low value-added, dead-end production where no discernible technology transfer takes place. Thus under-development is a structural characteristic of globalization, not some unfortunate accident. Put another way,

‘’ … If rich nations (the North) as the result of historical tendencies (i.e., colonialism – FL) are relatively well-endowed with vital resources of capital, entrepreneurial ability, and skilled labour, their continued specialisation in products and processes that use these resources intensively can create the necessary conditions for their further growth. By contrast LDCs (the global South) endowed with abundant supplies of cheap unskilled labour, by intentionally specialising in products which use cheap, unskilled labour … often find themselves locked into a stagnant situation which perpetuates their comparative advantage in unskilled unproductive activities. This in turn inhibits the domestic growth of needed capital, and technical skills. Static efficiency becomes dynamic inefficiency, and a cumulative process is set in motion in which trade exacerbates already unequal trading relationships, distributes benefits largely to the people who are already well off, and perpetuates the physical and human resource under-development that characterises most poor nations. (6)

Examples of these unequal economic relationships are not difficult to find. US global trade policy was openly based upon a ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ set up. America’s trade ‘partners’ were somewhat less endowed with both political and economic capital compared with their senior trading associate – this fact provides a number of typical case studies in this connexion.

Agriculture was always a particular example of the double standard inherent in the trade liberalization agenda. The United States always insisted that other countries reduce their barriers to American products and eliminate subsidies for those products which competed against theirs. However, the US kept up barriers for the goods produced by the developing countries whilst it continued to underwrite massive subsidies for their own producers.

Agricultural subsidies encouraged American farmers to produce more output, forcing down global prices for the crops that poor developing countries produce and depend upon. For example, subsidies for one crop alone, cotton, went to 25,000 mostly very well-off US farmers, exceeded in value the cotton that was produced, lowering the global price of cotton enormously. American farmers, who account for a third of global output, despite the fact that US production costs twice the international price of 42 cents per pound, gained at the expense of the 10 million African farmers in Mali, West Africa, who depended on cotton for their meagre living. Several African countries lost between 1 and 2 percent of their entire income, an amount greater than what these particular countries received in foreign aid from the US. The state of Mali received US$37 million in aid but lost US$43 million from depressed cotton prices.

In other grubby little deals the US tried to keep out Mexican tomatoes, and Mexican trucks, Chinese honey, and Ukrainian women’s coats. Whenever an American industry is threatened, the US authorities swing into action, using so-called fair-trade laws, which had been largely blessed by the Uruguay Round.

Such Treaties were little more than a con game between two grossly unequal partners where one of the partners holds all the cards. Nor does it end there. Transnational Companies can and do avoid much local taxation by shifting profits to subsidiaries in low-tax venues by artificially inflating the price which they pay for their intermediate products purchased from these same subsidiaries so as to lower their stated profits. This phenomenon is usually called ‘transfer pricing’ and is a common practice of Transnational Companies (TNCs), one over which host governments can exert little control as long as corporate tax rates differ from one country to the next.

It should also be borne in mind that although the IMF and World Bank enjoin LDCs to adopt market liberalisation policies they apparently see – or conveniently ignore – the past and current mercantilist practices of developed nations. Agriculture, as has been noted, is massively subsidised in both NAFTA and the EU. But it really is a question of don’t do what I do – do as I say.

The hypocrisy at the heart of the problem represents the elephant in the room. We know that countries which attempt to open their markets when they are not ready to do so usually pay a heavy price (Russia during the Yeltsin period and the shock therapy for example). The countries which protect their growing industries until they are ready to trade on world markets – e.g. South Korea –have been the successes, even in capitalist terms. The wave of development during the 19th century and the development of East Asia in the 20th bears witness to this.

NOT IN THE DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS

But the object of the free-trade rhetoric and finger-wagging posture of the developed world is precisely to maintain the status quo. We should be aware that … ‘’Transnational Corporations are not in the development business; their objective is to maximise their return on capital. TNCs seek out the best profit opportunities and are largely unconcerned with issues such as poverty, inequality, employment conditions, and environmental problems.’’ (7)

Given the regulatory capture of the political structures in the developed world by powerful business interests, it seems that this situation is likely to endure for the foreseeable future. Development will only come about when the LDCs take their fate into their own hands and emulate the national building strategies of East Asia.

‘’…markets have a strong tendency to reinforce the status quo. The free market dictates that countries should stick to what they are good at. Stated bluntly, this means that poor countries are supposed to continue with the current practices in low-productivity, low-value added, and low research-intensive activities. But engagement in these activities is exactly what makes them poor in the first place. If they want to leave poverty behind, they have to defy the market and do the more difficult things that bring them higher income and development – there are no two ways about it.’’ (8)

APPENDIX

THE RUSSIAN ROAD.

The legacy of the Yeltsin years had left Russia badly exposed to a triumphalist Western US/EU/NATO bloc. The NATO expansion up to Russia’s western frontiers posed a serious threat to Russia’s security. Internationally Russia was relatively isolated. The socialist political and economic alliances (Warsaw Pact and Comecon) were disbanded, and their previous commercial and economic networks were dismantled. The Russian Federation was excluded from membership of the European Union and was not (yet) a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This was the background for the widespread popular support for the assertive policy of President Putin.

But the geopolitical situation was to say the least – challenging. For his part Putin objected to NATO’s deployment of missiles in Poland and Romania pointed directly at Russia. In 1999 the Visegrad countries, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, joined NATO and in 2004 they were joined by Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. All these states joined in 2009. Albania and Croatia joined in the same year. Economically, politically and militarily, the ‘’West’’ had arrived at Russia’s borders.

In addition to its external enemies Russia had an abundance of internal foes. This latter group was a product of the Yeltsin model and prior to this a tottering bureaucratic system which barely worked and ultimately collapsed. It was possible to distinguish two main groups which, for better or worse, undermined the Soviet system, which were identified as 1. The Administrative Class, and 2. The Acquiring Class, to which should be added the black-market entrepreneurs who were keen to emulate their western business icons in addition to the American mafia. Powerful reactionary and criminal elements in Russia were keen to bring about deep-rooted changes at the expense of the Russian people.

‘’Ostensibly the reforms in Russia were overseen by a group of senior state officials headed by one Yegor Gaidar and advised, supported and encouraged by senior figures from the US administration, as well as by various American ‘experts.’ But according to an American scholar, Janine Wedel, the Russian reforms were worked out in painstaking detail by a handful of specialists from Harvard University, with close ties to the American government, and were implemented in Russia through the politically dominant ‘Chubais Clan’. (Wedel – 2001). Chubais was officially reported as having engaged foreign consultants including officers of the CIA, to fill leading roles in the State Property Committee. Jonathan Hay, citizen of the USA and Officer in the CIA, was appointed director of the Foreign Technical Aid and Expertise Section and Deputy to the chairperson of the committee (Anatoliy Chubais) within the Expert Commission. The Expert Commission was empowered to review draft decrees of the president of Russia to review for the decisions by the government and instructions by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the State Property Committee of the Russian Federation of the details of privatisation in various sectors of the economy … The memoirs of Strove Talbott, Assistant to the US President William Jefferson Clinton on Russian affairs, left no doubt that the US administration viewed (the then) Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, as a reliable conduit for its interests in Russia.

The US neo-liberal economists Jeffrey Sachs and Andrei Shleifer, and Jonathan Hay, had an unprecedented degree of influence over Russia’s economic policy which was unparalleled for a sovereign state. Together with Gaidar and Chabais they formulated decisions that were inserted directly into Presidential decrees … Analysis shows that the implementation of Russian reforms organically combined an aspiration by Soviet bureaucrats to transform themselves from State functionaries into private property owners, and a desire on the part of the ruling elites in the West to impose their own system of values on their historical rival. It was thus inappropriate to speak of Russia and its neighbours in the CIS as having been independent in their conduct of radical economic reforms, and this very lack of independence was crucial for determining the strategy applied in these transformations.’’ (9)

Be that as it may, the damage to Russia carried out and orchestrated by both internal and external enemies was to push back Russian development at least two decades, if not more. Russia has been described by various informed opinion as being a ‘semi-peripheral economy’ and there is some truth in this, its main exports being raw materials and military and defence hardware. But this was a choice forced upon Russia by the US-western alliance. At the turn of the 19/20 century Russia needed to defend itself from western aggression. There were two absolute priorities. Agricultural security and military security. This was the sine qua non for Russia’s continued survival and development. The mixed economy – a characteristic of the western economic models, was for the moment, out of reach. But then the west started to run into its own problems, so things began to balance, particularly with the emergence of the Russian-Chinese alliance. However, the Yeltsin period which had produced a crop of cronies, co-conspirators, criminal and mafia elements, are still hidden in the shadows, often in very high places. The struggle goes on. La Lotta Continua.

NOTES

(1) Phillip Mullan – Beyond Confrontation – p.36

(2) These economic policies as advocated by Alexander Hamilton in the US. In the month of January of 1791, the Secretary of Treasury to the then President George Washington’s administration, Mr. Alexander Hamilton, proposed a seemingly innocuous excise tax on spirits distilled within the United States of America. The move was part of Hamilton’s initiative to encourage industrialization and higher degree of national sufficiency. In his December 1791 report to manufacturers, Hamilton called for protective tariffs to spur domestic production. Also, Hamilton called for the reduction of duties on goods that were carried by American ships.

This was also the case of Freidrich List in Germany in his short work – The National System of Political Economy.

(3) A non-tariff barrier (NTB) is a policy implemented by a government that acts as a cost or impediment to trade. It is not tariffs on products but rather different rules and regulations that are often the biggest practical barrier to trade between countries. Examples of non-tariff barriers include rules on labelling and safety standards on products. Other types of non-tariff barriers to trade can also be the result of policies that differentiate between national and international companies and firms. For example, domestic subsidies by governments to a carmaker may help keep that manufacturer in their country. However, that acts as essentially an indirect non-tariff barrier to other car companies looking to compete. Governments are also often likely to give preferential treatment to companies in their own country when it comes to government procurement contracts. Governments also buy products from their own industries in preference to foreign companies, these are called procurement policies another NTB. This can be seen as an impediment to free and fair international trade.

(4) Ha-Joon Chang – Kicking Away the Ladder – p.32/33.

(5) How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor. – Erik Reinert. It could be argued that political intervention would be the prerequisite for an industrial policy.

(6) Development Economics – Todaro and Smith – 2009

(7) Todaro and Smith – Development Economics – Ibid.

(8) Ha-Joon Chang – Bad Samaritans – p.210

(9) Ruslan Dzarasov – Russia, Ukraine and Contemporary Imperialism – Semi-Peripheral Russia and the Ukraine Crisis – pp.82-97

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