Kim No-VAX does DARPA

Kim No-VAX does DARPA

December 20, 2020

A Back to the Future exercise: time-traveling to survey the sci-tech scene in the mid-1980s

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

HAL9000_I’m_Sorry_Dave, Motivational Poster. Wikimedia Commons

I have been going through my Asia Times archives selecting reports and columns for a new e-book on the Forever Wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. But then, out of the blue, I found this palimpsest, originally published by Asia Times in February 2014. It happened to be a Back to the Future exercise – traveling in time to survey the scene in the mid-1980s across Silicon Valley, MIT’s AI lab, DARPA and the NSA, weaving an intersection of themes, and a fabulous cast of characters, which prefigure the Brave New Techno World we’re now immersed in, especially concerning the role of artificial intelligence. So this might be read today as a sort of preamble, or a background companion piece, to No Escape from our Techno-Feudal World, published early this month. Incidentally, everything that takes place in this account was happening 18 years before the end of the Pentagon’s LifeLog project, run by DARPA, and the simultaneous launch of Facebook. Enjoy the time travel.

In the spring of 1986, Back to the Future, the Michael J Fox blockbuster featuring a time-traveling DeLorean car, was less than a year old. The Apple Macintosh, launched via a single, iconic ad directed by Ridley (Blade Runner) Scott, was less than two years old. Ronald Reagan, immortalized by Gore Vidal as “the acting president,” was hailing the mujahideen in Afghanistan as “freedom fighters.”

The world was mired in Cyber Cold War mode; the talk was all about electronic counter-measures, with American C3s (command, control, communications) programmed to destroy Soviet C3s, and both the US and the USSR under MAD (mutually assured destruction) nuclear policies being able to destroy the earth 100 times over. Edward Snowden was not yet a three-year-old.

It was in this context that I set out to do a special report for a now-defunct magazine about artificial intelligence (AI), roving from the Computer Museum in Boston to Apple in Cupertino and Pixar in San Rafael, and then to the campuses of Stanford, Berkeley and MIT.

AI had been “inaugurated” in 1956 by Stanford’s John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, a future MIT professor who at the time had been a student at Harvard. The basic idea, according to Minsky, was that any intelligence trait could be described so precisely that a machine could be created to simulate it.

My trip inevitably involved meeting a fabulous cast of characters. At MIT’s AI lab, there was Minsky and also an inveterate iconoclast, Joseph Weizenbaum, who had coined the term “artificial intelligentsia” and believed computers could never “think” just like a human being.

Joseph Weizenbaum. Source: Chatbots

At Stanford, there was Edward Feigenbaum, absolutely paranoid about Japanese scientific progress; he believed that if the Japanese developed a fifth-generation computer, based on artificial intelligence, that could think, reason and speak even such a difficult language as Japanese “the US will be able to bill itself as the first great post-industrial agrarian society.”

And at Berkeley, still under the flame of hippie utopian populism, I found Robert Wilensky – Brooklyn accent, Yale gloss, California overtones; and philosopher Hubert Dreyfus, a tireless enemy of AI who got his kicks delivering lectures such as “Conventional AI as a Paradigm of Degenerated Research.”

Meet Kim No-VAX

Soon I was deep into Minsky’s “frames” – a basic concept to organize every subsequent AI program – and the Chomsky paradigm: the notion that language is at the root of knowledge, and that formal syntax is at the root of language. That was the Bible of cognitive science at MIT.

Marvin Minsky at MIT Lab. Photo: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

At the MIT cafeteria, Minsky delivered a futurist rap without in the least resembling Dr Emmett Brown in Back to the Future:

I believe that in less than five centuries we will be producing machines very similar to us, representing our thoughts and point of view. If we can build a miniaturized human brain weighing, let’s say, one gram, we can lodge it in a spaceship and make it travel at the speed of light. It would be very hard to build a spaceship to carry an astronaut and all his food for 10,000 years of travel …

With Professor Feigenbaum, in Stanford’s philosophical garden, the only space available was for the coming yellow apocalypse. But then one day I crossed Berkeley’s post-hippie Rubicon and opened the door of the fourth floor of Evans Hall, where I met none other than Kim No-VAX.

No, that was not the Hitchcock blonde and Vertigo icon; it was an altered hardware computer (No-VAX because it had moved beyond Digital Equpment Corporation’s VAX line of supercomputers), financed by the mellifluously acronymed Pentagon military agency DARPA, decorated with a photo of Kim Novak and humming with the sexy vibration of – at the time immense – 2,900 megabytes of electronic data spread over its body.

The US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – or DARPA – was all about computer science. In the mid-1980s, DARPA was immersed in a very ambitious program linking microelectronics, computer architecture and AI way beyond a mere military program. That was comparable to the Japanese fifth generation computer program. At MIT, the overwhelming majority of scientists were huge DARPA cheerleaders, stressing how the agency was leading research. Yet Terry Winograd, a computer science professor at Stanford, warned that had DARPA been a civilian agency, “I believe we would have made much more progress”.

It was up to Professor Dreyfus to provide the voice of reason amidst so much cyber-euphoria: “Computers cannot think like human beings because there’s no way to represent all retrospective knowledge of an average human life – that is, ‘common sense’ – in a form that a computer may apprehend.” Dreyfus’s drift was that with the boom of computer science, philosophy was dead – and he was a philosopher: “Heidegger said that philosophy ended because it reached its apex in technology. Philosophy in fact reached its limit with AI. They, the scientists, inherited our questions. What is the mind? Now they have to answer for it. Philosophy is over.”

Hubert Dreyfus. Source: Berkeley Campus News

Yet Dreyfus was still teaching. Likewise at MIT, Weizenbaum was condemning AI as a racket for “lunatics and psychopaths” – but still continued to work at the AI lab.

NSA’s wet web dream

In no time, helped by these brilliant minds, I figured out that the AI “secret” would be a military affair, and that meant the National Security Agency – already in the mid-1980s vaguely known as “no such agency,” with double the CIA’s annual budget to pay for snooping on the whole planet. The mission back then was to penetrate and monitor the global electronic net – that was years before all the hype over the “information highway” – and at the same time reassure the Pentagon over the inviolability of its lines of communication. For those comrades – remember, the Cold War, even with Gorbachev in power in the USSR, was still on – AI was a gift from God (beating Pope Francis by almost three decades).

So what was the Pentagon/NSA up to, at the height of the star wars hype, and over a decade and a half before the revolution in military affairs and the full spectrum dominance doctrine?

They already wanted to control their ships and planes and heavy weapons with their voices, not their hands; voice command a la Hal, the star computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, that was a faraway dream. Minsky believed that “only in the next century” would we be able to talk to a computer. Others believed that would never happen. Anyway, IBM was already working on a system accepting dictation; and MIT on another system that identified words spoken by different people; while Intel was developing a special chip for all this.

Although, predictably, prevented from visiting the NSA, I soon learned that the Pentagon was expecting to possess “intelligent” computing systems by the 1990s; Hollywood, after all, already had unleashed the Terminator series. It was up to Professor Wilensky, in Berkeley, to sound the alarm bells:

Human beings don’t have the appropriate engineering for the society they developed. Over a million years of evolution, the instinct of getting together in small communities, belligerent and compact, turned out to be correct. But then, in the 20th century, man ceased to adapt. Technology overtook evolution. The brain of an ancestral creature, like a rat, which sees provocation in the face of every stranger, is the brain that now controls the earth’s destiny.

It was as if Wilensky was describing the NSA as it would be 28 years later. Some questions still remain unanswered; for instance, if our race does not fit anymore the society it built, who’d guarantee that its machines are properly engineered? Who’d guarantee that intelligent machines act in our interest?

What was already clear by then was that “intelligent” computers would not end a global arms race. And it would be a long time, up to the Snowden revelations in 2013, for most of the planet to have a clearer idea of how the NSA orchestrates the Orwellian-Panopticon complex. As for my back to the future trip, in the end I did not manage to uncover the “secret” of AI. But I’ll always remain very fond of Kim No-VAX.

فَخُّ التطبيع الإماراتي ينزلق بسرعة نحو الكارثة حتى على مَن صنعه من الإماراتيين!

السيد سامي خضرا

كما هو متوقع، فإنّ التجربة الإماراتية التطبيعية ستكون نموذجاً مختلفاً عما سبقه من خطوات مع مصر والأردن وغيرهما وذلك لأسبابٍ موضوعية:

فكُلُّنا يعلم أنّ دولة الإمارات ما قامت واستمرّت إلا من خلال الوافد من الإختصاصيّين من جميع أنحاء العالم بِمَن فيهم العالم العربي وخاصة المصريّين والفلسطينيّين والعراقيّين واللبنانيّين، فكان من الاستحالة قيام المُسمّون «السكان الأصليّين» بمفردهم بمهام قيام دولة.

لذا فإنّ أيّ زائر للإمارات سوف يرى الأجانب في كلّ مكان في الوزارات والمؤسسات والشركات والمطارات وعند المداخل والمخارج وسائر مراكز الدولة بحيث أنّ ما يُسمّى «بالسكان الأصليين» أصبحوا يُشكِّلون حوالى عشرة بالمئة من مجموع القاطنين والساكنين والموظفين والعاملين.

فالإمارات وعلى خلاف الدول الأخرى ليس لها تاريخٌ مستقلّ كما هي حالة المحيط القوي الضارب في أعماق التاريخ كعُمان واليمن والهند والسند وغيرها من البلدان العريقة من أواسط آسيا حتى الشرق الأفريقي.

وهؤلاء آثارهم ظاهرة ومستمرّة في زنجبار ومدغشقر ومومباسا إلى الأرخبيل الأندونيسي المترامي.

والإمارات ليس لها مواقف قومية ولا محطات تاريخية ولا معارك فاصلة أو دور عالمي أو صناعي أو اقتصادي إلا ما استُحْدث لها مؤخراً من تدخلات هوجاء تَنُمُّ عن طبيعةٍ مريضة تُترجمها بعدوانية وخُبث على شعوبٍ قريبةٍ وبعيدةٍ منها ولم تجلب إلا الكوارث والمصائب:

كتدخُّلِها في ليبيا والقرن الأفريقي وسورية والعراق ورغبتها في إقامة قواعد عسكرية في أريتريا وجيبوتي…

وكل هذا في كَفَّة، وتدخلها الظالم والإجرامي بكلّ تفاصيله اليومية في اليمن في كفةٍ أخرى.

فما نراه اليوم على مستوى التطبيع من تسرُّع «نكائي» في أن تُظهر الإمارات حماسها غير المُعْتَمِد على أيّ أُسس يمكن أن تحتمي بها، فهي ومنذ أن تمّ الإعلان عن الخطوة التطبيعية وتراها تحشد إعلامياً لِتُبيِّن فوائد التطبيع (وكلها موهومةٌ على صعيد الإقتصاد والتجارة والسياحة و«السلام» وشركات الطيران…

ولا نغفل عن آخر عروضاتهم في التعاون على صعيد الأبحاث العلمية والتكنولوجية وهو أمرٌ يُضحك الثكلى!

فمن غريب الأمور أن تطلب هذه الدولة التعاون العلمي مع دولٍ أخرى وقد وضعت نفسها في موقعٍ ليس لها مُطلقاً، وهذا يُذكِّرنا بالمناورات العسكرية في السنين الماضية بين بعض الدول الخليجية الصغيرة وجيوش الولايات المتحدة الأميركية!

وأين هؤلاء من هؤلاء؟!

كما يُذكِّرنا بالمؤسّسة التي أُنشئَت في الإمارات عبر مرسوم صاحب السمو الشيخ خليفة بن زايد آل نهيان بإنشاء «وكالة الإمارات للفضاء» وبميزانيات مهولة وطموحات خيالية لإقامة مدينة في المريخ بعد مئة عام!

والأمر ليس نكتةً أبداً إنما هو حقيقة بُثَّت عبر الفضائيات التابعة لهم ورآها الناس في كلّ مكان.

ففي ظلّ هذا التطبيع البائس بنسخته الإماراتية من الطبيعي أن نسأل:

ماذا لدى الإمارات لِتُقدّمه للطرف الآخر إلا العبث والكيد والتآمر والتجسُّس وتنفيذ الأجندات الأمنية لخدمة المحور الأميركي الإسرائيلي والتغطية المالية للقيام بعملياتٍ دوليةٍ قَذِرة… وها هي اليوم تفتح البلاد على مصراعيها للمؤسسات الأميركية الإسرائيلية؟!

فليس عند الإمارات وكما كانت في كلّ تاريخها شيءٌ تُقدّمه مُستقِلاً لا في المجال التقني ولا العلمي ولا القومي ولا الإنساني باستثناء البهرجات الإعلامية التي لا تُقدِّم ولا تؤخر، وما هي إلا بالونات تُسعد الناظرين ألوانُها لتعلو وتُبهِرهم ثم لا تلبث أن تنفجر من دون نتيجةٍ أو فائدة.

ومن ذلك مشاهد لأفرادٍ يَتصنَّعون ويتزلَّفون تطبيعاً يدَّعي السلام ويُشجِّع على الزيارات المتبادلة والإعجاب التافه.

والكلّ يعلم أنّ هؤلاء لا يمثلون إلا الشاذ من أمة العرب والمسلمين.

إنَّ فَخَّ التطبيع الإماراتي ينزلق بسرعة نحو المُتوقَّع الكارثي حتى على مَن صنعه من الإماراتيين.

وتطبيع الإمارات في حقيقته هو خدمةٌ مجانية بل ومدفوعة الثمن للأعداء ولن تجلب إلا مزيداً من المآسي الإنسانية والتي لن يسلم منها ومن كوارثها حكام الإمارات أنفسهم.

ويا ليتهم يتذكَّرون أنه لو دامت لغيرهم ما وصلت إليهم…

Hackers Target US Nuclear Weapons Security Agency-‘Israel’ Is Afraid, Fears More Advanced Cyberattacks

Hackers Target US Nuclear Weapons Security Agency

By Staff, Agencies

The US nuclear weapons agency is reportedly targeted by hackers as part of a massive cyber security breach against federal agencies and critical infrastructure.

Politico reported on Thursday that hackers targeted the Department of Energy [DOE] and its National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA], which secures the US nuclear weapons stockpile.

The attack was part of a massive cyber campaign that affected at least half a dozen federal agencies, including the Treasury, State, War and Commerce Departments, Bloomberg reported.

The US has a total of 3,800 nuclear weapons, many of which were produced during the early years of the Cold War and are overseen by the NNSA.

US President-elect Joe Biden described the cybersecurity breach as a matter of great concern, saying his team would impose “substantial costs” on parties responsible for such attacks.

Biden promised he “will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government, and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office.”

“But a good defense isn’t enough; we need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyber-attacks in the first place,” Newsweek reported, quoting from a statement sent Biden’s transition team. “We will do that by, among other things, imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners.”

Senator Deb Fischer, chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, said that she was “troubled” by reports of the security breach.

“Our nuclear deterrent is the bedrock of our national security. The NNSA’s infrastructure and computer systems play a vital role and must be protected,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the US Department of Homeland Security and thousands of businesses were targeted by a sweeping hacking campaign that officials suspect was directed by the Russian government.

Emails sent by officials at DHS, which oversees border security and defense against hacking, were monitored by the hackers as part of the sophisticated series of breaches, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters Monday.

Technology company SolarWinds, which was the key steppingstone used by the hackers, said up to 18,000 of its customers had downloaded a compromised software update that allowed hackers to spy unnoticed on businesses and agencies for almost nine months.

The United States issued an emergency warning on Sunday, ordering government users to disconnect SolarWinds software which it said had been compromised by “malicious actors.”

‘Israel’ Is Afraid, Fears More Advanced Cyberattacks

‘Israel’ Is Afraid, Fears More Advanced Cyberattacks

By Staff, Haaretz

‘Israel’ is under attack and it is growingly afraid after hackers have targeted at least 80 ‘Israeli’ firms, with more possible attacks are still expected.

The attack, led by a group called Pay2Key, is the latest in a string of cybercampaigns targeting the Zionist entity. However, the latest move is said to have financial motives – further blurring the lines between hacktivism and cybercrime.

Omri Segev Moyal, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Profero, claimed that “The Iranian attack has been in the works for months, and is only growing and continuing to inflict damage on the ‘Israeli’ market. Much like the tit-for-tat dynamic of war,” he told Haaretz.

“The ‘Israeli’ economy is the ‘home’ front in this war, and we need to defend it,” he added.

“Winter is coming,” Segev Moyal tweeted in an attempt to warn others in the Zionist entity.

“We cannot and should not underestimate them,” said Segev Moyal, adding that “most of the ‘Israeli’ market is not prepared to deal with such an attack.”

But what do cyber-experts mean when they talk about ideologically driven cybercrime? We spoke to the team that first managed to locate Pay2Key and linked it back to Iran to try to understand.

Pay2Key was discovered in November in a joint research project by two ‘Israeli’ cybersecurity firms, Check Point and Whitestream. Initially, the group was thought to be another band of cybercriminals active in the field of ransomware, albeit a very advanced one.

The hacker group was extremely careful to delete its tracks. The combination of the two is a new and impressive skill that has rarely been seen by run-of-the-mill cybercriminals.

‘In My Heart, I am a Palestinian‘: Palestine Mourns Legendary Footballer Diego Armando Maradona

November 25, 2020

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The 20th century’s greatest footballer, Diego Armando Maradona, died in San Andrés, Argentina, at the age of 60. The Argentine Football Association reported that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Maradona has been struggling with various health crises in recent years, the most recent of which was earlier this month when he reportedly suffered from a brain hemorrhage. 

Maradona’s fans around the world expressed their shock and deep sadness for his passing. Palestinians were not an exception. However, for Palestinian football fans, Maradona represented more than a mere player, arguably the best in the world. He was something else entirely. 

“In Palestine, you cannot hate Maradona. Your only option is to love him and you couldn’t have any negative opinion about him,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said. “Maradona inspired something in us as a collective – a man of small built, from a terribly poor background, brown like us, fiery like us and passionate like us, making his way to the top of the world. For us, it was not about football or sports. It was about hope. It felt as if anything was possible.”

“You can only imagine our excitement when we learned that Maradona cared for Palestine, and made many gestures in support of our struggle. Our joy was complete. Indeed, until the very end, he took moral stances for Palestine, affirming, once more, in July 2018 that ‘In my heart, I am a Palestinian,” Baroud added.

The statement of solidarity was communicated then to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However, this was not the only instance in which Maradona was vocal in his support of the Palestinian cause.

For example, in 2012, Maradona described himself as “the number one fan of the Palestinian people .. I respect them and sympathize with them.” 

During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Maradona expressed his outrage. “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful,” he said in a statement. 

Also, in that same year, media reports spoke of negotiations between the Palestinian Football Association and the Argentinian football legend, who was rumored to be the next coach of the Palestinian national team during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. 

“Growing up in Gaza, we loved Maradona. In fact, personally, I loved and played football because of him. Whenever he played, whether for Argentina, Napoli or other teams, we would drop everything and gather in front of our small black and white television set to watch him play,” Baroud said. 

In Palestine, we share the struggles of all oppressed, working-class people everywhere, and, in turn, we say ‘In our collective Palestinian heart, we are Argentinians; we Are South Americans,” Baroud added.  

“Thank you, Maradona. You will forever represent something beautiful in all of us.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

الردّ الإيرانيّ آتٍ فلينتظروا

ناصر قنديل

في مطلع العام 2015 قام رئيس حكومة كيان الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو بعملية استهداف نوعية في جنوب سورية سقط بنتيجتها الشهيد جهاد عماد مغنية وعدد من كوادر وضباط المقاومة والحرس الثوري الإيراني، وكان رهان نتنياهو أن اللحظة حرجة ولن تسمح للمقاومة وإيران بالردّ، فالعلاقة الإيرانية الأميركية تحت ضغط حساسيات التفاوض حول الملف النووي الذي يقترب من بلوغ نقطة التفاهم، وبالتالي فإن إيران ستمتنع عن الردّ وتمنع المقاومة من القيام به، ولذلك فالتوقيت مناسب للعملية التي تريد تغيير قواعد الاشتباك وتقول إن جيش الاحتلال لن يسمح بنشوء وضع على حدود الجولان المحتل في جنوب سورية تشبه معادلة جنوب لبنان، في تحد مباشر لما قاله يومها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن التزام المقاومة الردّ على كل استهداف لها في سورية.

قلنا يومها إن ردّ المقاومة آتٍ، وإن حسابات نتنياهو خائبة، وإن المفاوضات وحساباتها ستلزم الأميركي بمراعاة حساسياتها، وبالتالي الضغط على قيادة الكيان لعدم تفجير الموقف، بينما ستكون إيران والمقاومة معنيتين بتثبيت قواعد الاشتباك، وخلال أيام قليلة كان الردّ في مزارع شبعا بعملية نوعية اضطر نتنياهو بعدها للإعلان عن العضّ على الجرح منعاً لتصعيد الموقف بعدما وصلته رسالة علنية من الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما مضمونها، الضربة الموجعة لكنها لا تستحق إشعال حرب.

اليوم يقع نتنياهو بالفخ ذاته فيعتقد أن اللحظة مؤاتية لتوجيه ضربة موجعة أو ضربات موجعة لإيران، التي يظنّها مربوطة الأيدي، تجنباً لفتح الطريق لتصعيد يعقد مهمة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن الذي تتوقع منه العودة الى التفاهم النووي، وكما كتبنا في أكثر من مقال، تلك هي مشكلة العمليات التكتيكية تفادياً للوقوع في حرب التي يراهن بعض الأميركيين والإسرائيليين على ملء المرحلة الفاصلة عن نهاية ولاية الرئيس دونالد ترامب بها، فتلك العمليات بين خيارين، خيار أن تكون تحت سقف مضمون لعدم استدراج الرد، وهي في هذه الحالة غير موجعة ولا تغيّر معادلات، وبين السعي لعمليات توجع وتغير معادلات وفي هذه الحالة لا ضمان بعدم الردّ، وقد يكون الردّ أشد إيلاماً، ويفرض معادلة الحيرة التي كان يريد نتنياهو إيقاع إيران فيها، وبالتأكيد بات ممكناً بعد توصيف القيادات الإيرانية السياسية والعسكرية لعملية اغتيال العالم النووي الإيراني محسن فخري زادة، وإعلان الالتزام بالرد، والرد المؤلم، أن نقول إن الرد آت لا محالة وقريباً، وإن كيان الاحتلال بعد تقارير نيويورك تايمز وتصريحات المسؤولين الإيرانيين باتهام كيان الاحتلال بالعملية، يجب ان يكون على موعد مع تلقي الرد المقبل، وهو لا يعلم أي الردّين سيكون أولاً، ففي رقبته دين للمقاومة يتمثل بحقها بالردّ على عملية استهداف أدت لسقوط شهيد قرب دمشق، كما لا يعلم الجبهة التي سيكون الردّ عليها.

المأزق الذي سيحكم المرحلة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب، سترسم معالمه عمليّة الرد، وسيكون على ثلاثي ترامب ونتنياهو وحلفائهم في الخليج ان يتخذوا القرار عندها بالعض على الجرح، لأن الضربة موجعة، لكنها لا تستحق حرباً، أو أن يذهبوا للحرب ويتحمّلوا التبعات.

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التهويل بالحرب

ناصر قنديل

امتلأت خلال يوم أمس، الصحافة الأميركيّة والإسرائيليّة ووسائل الإعلام المموّلة خليجياً بالتقارير التي تصف الشهور الباقية من ولاية الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بالشديدة الحساسية متضمنة الإشارات لفرضية توجيه ضربة موجعة لإيران قبل نهاية ولاية ترامب وفي السياق استهداف قوى المقاومة، خصوصاً في سورية بضربات متلاحقة. والتقارير لا تُخفي أن المقصود هو قطع الطريق على إمكانية قيام تسويات بين ايران ومعها قوى محور المقاومة في المنطقة من جهة وادارة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن من جهة مقابلة، بخلق أمر واقع يفرض سياقاً مختلفاً للعلاقات يصعب تخطيه ويدفع المنطقة نحو استقطاب جديد بطابع عسكري تجد الإدارة الجديدة أنها محكومة بالبقاء ضمنه.

الأكيد أن فرضية القيام بحماقة أمر لا يمكن استبعاده مع وجود شخص كدونالد ترامب في البيت الأبيض، علماً أنه أظهر عقلانية عالية في تحمل الضربات الموجعة تفادياً للتصعيد، عندما أُسقطت الطائرة الأميركيّة التجسسيّة العملاقة في الأجواء الإيرانيّة، بحيث بدا تهوره دوراً تمثيلياً يؤديه لشعبويّة انتخابية، وبالتوازي عملياً لا يمكن لإيران ولمحور المقاومة إلا أخذ هذه الفرضيات بحذر شديد والبقاء على جهوزية لمواجهة كل تهديد، لكن السؤال هو من الزاوية التحليلية هل يمكن منح هذا الاحتمال فرصاً حقيقية؟ وهل يشكل سياقاً منطقياً وارداً للتطورات؟

العقبة الأولى التي تعترض هذا الطريق، طالما لا نتحدّث عن عمليات كبرى تغيّر سياق الأحداث في المنطقة، وليس عن عمليات إعلاميّة أو ضربات لأهداف تكتيكيّة تمّ استطلاعها، هي أن قبول ترامب دخول المرحلة الانتقاليّة مع فريق الرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن رغم التمسك بالطعن بالنتائج، له موجبات من أهمها أن تصل التقارير الاستخبارية والتحليلات الأمنية الصادرة عن وكالات المخابرات والبنتاغون للرئيس المنتخب وفريق عمله بالصورة ذاتها التي تصل فيها للرئيس الحالي طيلة الفترة الانتقالية حتى دخول الرئيس المنتخب الى البيت الأبيض، وتالياً فإن القرارات الكبرى التي يفكر بها الرئيس المنتهية ولايته موجبة التداول والتشاور مع الرئيس المنتخب، خصوصاً ما قد يرتب تبعات وتداعيات تحكم ولاية الرئيس المنتخب، فكيف إذا كان قصدها أن تفعل ذلك.

العقبة الثانية هي أن خلق هذا المناخ المطلوب من ترامب وفريقه وحلفائه الإقليميين، خصوصاً ثنائي بنيامين نتنياهو وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، يستدعي القيام بعمل كبير لا يمكن لإيران وحلفائها عدم الرد عليه بقوة، خصوصاً أن تفادي الرد على الاستفزازات يطبع أداء محور المقاومة خلال المرحلة الانتقاليّة، وهذا يعني الحاجة الأميركية للقيام بعمل عسكري أمني كبير يجبر محور المقاومة على ردّ يخلق سجالاً عسكرياً، ويفرض إيقاعاً مختلفاً يقطع طريق السياسة أمام إدارة بايدن، وهذا يعني استدراج رد يصيب القواعد العسكرية الأميركية والأساطيل الأميركية في المنطقة، بصورة تلزم واشنطن الدخول في حالة حرب، لكن بلوغ هذه المرحلة لن يكون من دون أن تسبقه مرحلة تكون فيها منشآت كيان الاحتلال الحيويّة ومستوطناته قد تلقت آلاف الصواريخ الثقيلة والدقيقة، وأن تكون منشآت النفط في الخليج، وخصوصاً القواعد العسكرية الخليجية في دول التطبيع قد تلقت نصيبها من الردّ. وهذا في حال حدوثه سيخلق تدحرجاً لتطورات يصعب تحمل نتائجها. فمدن الزجاج قد تتهاوى ومعها حكوماتها واقتصاداتها، وعمق الجليل قد يكون هدفاً لتوغل المقاومة، وكلها ارتدادات يصعب احتواؤها.

العقبة الثالثة أن مثل هذه المواجهة التي تفاداها ترامب طيلة ولايته يحتاج للقيام بها إلى سبب جوهري يتمثل بعمل عدائي قامت به إيران يمكن تسويقه وشرحه للرأي العام الأميركي والعالمي، وهذا لا يبدو وارد الحدوث، كما أن ترامب يعلم بأن المباحثات والتنسيق الاستباقي لمنع التلاعب بمستقبل التفاهم النووي خلال المرحلة الانتقالية من جانب إدارته هو موضوع تنسيق يجري في باريس بين مبعوثي إدارة بايدن برعاية جون كيري ومبعوثي الخارجية الإيرانية برعاية محمد جواد ظريف، حيث تدرس كل الفرضيات وتبحث كل الاحتمالات.

يقول أحد الخبراء، إذا وقعت الحرب فتشوا عن دبي وأبو ظبي على الخريطة، وعن ديمونا وناتانيا، ونيوم، قبل أن تسألوا عن تل أبيب والرياض.

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Amro Bilal

SALAM ALQUDS ALAYKUM – سلام القدس عليكم

Brother Amro Bilal joined

Welcome Brother

Alex

It is not about Trump or Biden

BY GILAD ATZMON

biden trump.jpg

By Gilad

It is about Urban vs. Rural

It is about Globalist vs. Nationalist

It is about Cosmopolitans vs. Patriots

It is about Tribal vs. Universal

It is not about Democrats or Republicans 

It is about Identitarians vs. Americans

It is about the ‘as a’ people vs. Authenticity 

It is about a ‘Great Reset’ vs. longing for greatness

It is about Jerusalem vs. Athens

It is really about the ‘last days of the Weimar Republic’ all over again. 

Throughout its history, capitalism has been using different tactics to suppress opposition. 

At one stage it was the fantasy of an inevitable revolution. It is indeed the threat of that rebellious spirit which contributed to the evolvement of the welfare state, yet the promised revolution never materialized. 

 It doesn’t take a genius to gather that in historical perspective, those senses of freedom, productivity and hope which became Western emblems during the post-World War II era, had very little to do with our humanist desires and whims. Our ‘freedom’ was manufactured to titillate the poor human fellows behind the Iron Wall. The Cold War which threatened to wipe out civilization was just the means towards capitalist growth. Accordingly, it would be right to argue that we owe our post-war sense of ‘freedom’ to the USSR and Stalin. The more oppressive communism was, the more liberal the West pretended to be. Once the Soviet bloc evaporated, there was no need to sustain our ‘freedom.’ There was no one to ‘titillate’ with Coca Cola and McDonalds. A new Battle Zone was required to divert the masses’ attention from their true eternal oppressors.

Once again it was the so-called ‘Left’ that provided the goods. Instead of the old Left mantra that called to unite us into a proletarian angry fist regardless of our race, skin color, gender or ethnicity, the ‘New Left’ introduced a completely new hymn. Against the most basic Left universal ethos, the New Left taught us to think and speak ‘as a’: ‘as women,’ ‘as a gay,’ ‘as trans,’ ‘as a Jew,’ ‘as a Latino,’ ‘as a Black.’ We practically learned to fight each other instead of uniting into one people. Instead of eliminating differences, we built new ghetto walls emphasizing and celebrating every possible dividing line (White/Black, male/female, heterosexual/LGBTQ etc.). Instead of identifying Wall Street, MSM propaganda and the technology giants as our fierce global enemy, these actually became the catalysts and cash suppliers in a war we, the people, foolishly declared upon ourselves.

In this new ‘Left’ Identitarian amalgam, every ‘as a’ voice is welcome except the White one. Is it because anyone really believes that ‘White people’ are categorically or collectively bad? I doubt it. It is simply because the so-called ‘White’ was picked to play the ‘role’ of the Soviet bloc. The ‘White’ has become the new imaginary ‘evil.’ 

As things stand no one in America can unite the nation: neither Biden nor the DNC can introduce a harmonious solution as the above are actually extensions of the problem. Biden and the DNC are inherently tied to Wall Street, Soros, the MSM and technology giants that formulated and sustain this tragic battle. Trump and the GOP of course, cannot do much either, because in the eyes of his many opponents Trump himself is the core of this entire disaster.  He is clearly ‘too white’ on top of being a ‘man’ and if this is not enough, he is also an abrasive narcissist. 

What we see in America is practically the Weimar Republic all over again.

The public is losing its trust in the democratic process and democratic institutions. Poverty and public unrest is spiking. The national press and media are becoming more and more detached from larger segments of the population. Amidst all of this, Wall Street is booming. The two sides of this divide cannot tolerate each other. They are removed demographically, spiritually, culturally and intellectually.  Democracy is becoming a nostalgic notion in the USA and this shouldn’t take us by a big surprise as democracy and freedom are not and never have been prime capitalist goals or values. Democracy and liberty were the means, not the goal. They were there to serve mammonism.* But not anymore; back in November 2016 Wall Street gathered that democracy is in the way. The City of London came to the same conclusion after the Brexit referendum.

If America wants to save itself, it may have to grasp its conditions first. It better transcend itself beyond the fake battle between Trump and Biden or between the Democrats and the GOP. America should figure out who is pushing it into the abyss of civil war.  America should figure out who works so hard and successfully, so far, to split it and every other Western country in the middle.

If Orwell’s 1984 carries any prophetic merit, it is easy to figure out who is taking care of the Big Brother’s role. What you may want to do next is figure out who is/what is the current Immanuel Goldstein? Who controls the opposition?    

* Mammonism the obsessive pursuit of material wealth and possessions.

Imam Khamenei’s Advisor: US Attack on Iran Could Trigger ‘Full-Fledged’ Regional War

Imam Khamenei’s Advisor: US Attack on Iran Could Trigger ‘Full-Fledged’ Regional War

By Staff, Agencies

A military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei warns that an act of military aggression by the US against Iran that could lead to an even limited conflict is likely to set off a full-scale war that would afflict other parts of the region too.

The remarks were made by Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, defense minister during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s previous tenure and former commander of the Air Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC]. He made the comments to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the news agency published a day later.

“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” Dehqan said.

He, however, not only clearly distanced Iran from any intention to trigger such a conflict, but also cautioned strongly about such confrontation’s repercussions for the region and, by extension, the world.

“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” he said.

“Definitely, the United States, the region, and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis,” the military expert noted.

He, accordingly, warned against any American military escalation in President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office.

Dehqan, meanwhile, addressed the likelihood of fresh negotiations with the US and the quality that such talks could partake of.

He reminded that the US’ atrocities under Trump had made it extremely difficult for Iran to accept its return to the negotiation table. Among the rest, he referred to the US’ assassination of Iran’s senior anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on Trump’s direct order near Baghdad airport in January.

He called the IRGC’s retaliatory missile strikes against US bases in Iraq that came almost immediately after the assassination a mere “initial slap,” and asserted that the Islamic Republic continued to seek the expulsion of all American forces from the region as revenge for the barbaric assassination.

“We do not seek a situation in which [the other party] buys time to weaken our nation,” he also said – apparently signaling that Tehran would not tolerate any American trickery in the event of any fresh talks – and said, “We are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Further, the advisor reiterated the country’s principled stance that its missile power is non-negotiable due to its forming part of Iran’s “deterrent” might.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not negotiate its defensive power … with anybody under any circumstances,” Dehqan said. “Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is possessed by our experts, young people, and industrial centers.”

The official also warned about the “Israeli” entity’s regional expansionist ambitions that saw the regime normalizing its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan earlier in the year. Dehqan warned that the ambitious march was a “strategic mistake” that could put Tel Aviv in a parlous state.

“It is opening an extensive front,” he said. “Just imagine every ‘Israeli’ in any military base can be a target for groups who are opposed to ‘Israel’”.

Separately, the official said the United Nations nuclear agency could keep monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities as long as no inspector is a “spy.” He was seemingly referring to a case of apparent attempted sabotage last year that came amid the US and the “Israeli” entity’s escalated attempts at demonizing Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Last November, Iran revealed that a detector for explosive nitrates had gone off at the country’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant when an inspector with the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, attempted to enter the facility on October 28.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, noted back then that the woman “sneaked out” to the bathroom while officials looked for a female employee to search her.

After her return, he added, the alarms did not go off again, but authorities found contamination in the bathroom and later on her empty handbag during a house search.

All that Juice

 BY GILAD ATZMON

OJ.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

 If you are upset by the undeniable fact that our greatest scientific minds are failing in their battle against Covid-19, you should be relieved to learn that the West’s greatest minds are momentarily occupied with a way more important battle: the war against antisemitism.

 The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported a few days ago that the Alfred Landecker Foundation (Berlin) launched a new international ‘Decoding Antisemitism’ project to stop hate online using ‘Artificial Intelligence. ’Apparently, the multi-national team comprised of ‘discourse analysts, computational linguists and historians,’ will develop a highly complex, AI-driven approach to identifying online antisemitism. 

 The Jewish news outlet reports that studies have shown that the majority of anti-Semitic defamation is expressed in implicit ways – for example through the use of creative codes such as ‘juice’ instead of ‘Jews. ’The highly sophisticated algorithm is, presumably, designed to scan the net continuously and attribute security alerts to every possible reference to ‘juice.’ However, if you see law enforcement agents surrounding your local grocery shop you should assume that its owner may have issued a complaint to the manufacturer about the integrity of his last orange juice delivery.

 The genius AI application will also spot certain conspiracy narratives or the reproduction of stereotypes, especially through unusual images. I guess that we are referring here to images of an un-named orange who kept his underwear on.  It may as well be that the AI application will be sophisticated enough to trace the exact favourite fruit extract that drives the Open Society Institute.  

 Issues to do with COVID-19 are particularly important as far as the new AI application is concerned due to “the rise in conspiracy myths accusing Jews of creating and spreading COVID-19.” This is no doubt a demanding task for the state of art application, as most Jewish outlets actually openly admit a unique and concerning level of intimacy between Jews/Israel and the virus. Back on 1st April, Zionist outlets were the first to admit that Jews were as much as 8 times over-represented amongst Covid 19 death in Britain, at least in the first days of the epidemic.  As early as the 3rd of March, an Israeli company named Migal was quick to announce that it has the vaccine for Covid-19. The new AI system will have to learn to turn a blind eye to the fact that Jewish outlets openly admit  that Orthodox Jews in New York and in Israel consciously and strategically let the virus spread in their communities as they truly believed (and for a good reason) in herd immunity.

 Dr. Andreas Eberhardt, CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation told the Jewish outlet that “Antisemitism and hatred directed against minorities are putting the future of our open society in jeopardy. And the problem is only getting worse in the digital sphere. It’s essential that we use innovative approaches – such as using AI – to tackle these issues head on.” I guess that Dr. Eberhardt is correct and the next obvious question is why are the German academic and his institute  fighting antisemitism in particular rather than fighting hatred in general and universally?

 On my part, I could save the Alfred Landecker Foundation a lot of energy and resources. Instead of adopting a Stasi doctrine, scanning the net, spying on our profiles for poetic expressions and ‘juicy images,’ just ask a few basic elementary questions: why is antisemitism back on the rise? What is it that Israel and its Lobby are doing that is so upsetting to a growing number of people? What is it that we cannot talk about and why?

 I actually believe that one old Zionist text from the late 19th century answers all those questions. Bernard Lazare’s Antisemitism: Its History and Causes attempted to figure out why Jewish history is an endless chain of tragedies and expulsions.

 Lazare believed that if Jews want to dominate their fate they must emancipate themselves from their choseness, that unique racially oriented sense of privilege and exceptionalism.  Zionism in its early version, was for Lazare the way forward. Zionism at the time was distinguished by its total rejection and negation of the Diaspora Jewish culture and identity (Shlilat Ha-galut). When Zionism was a spiritual metamorphic aspiration, the Jews were loved and admired, their Jewish state was even ‘forgiven’ for its colossal crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine (The Nakaba). But when Israel drifted away from its idealistic roots, when it gradually became the ‘Jewish State’, the tolerance towards Israel’s actions and its lobby also started to fade away.

 The Alfred Landecker Foundation may do better using their historians, linguists and computer scientists identifying this shift in the Jewish universe rather than treating the rest of us as suspected bigots. 

الفائز بِكُرة من لهب

أميركا 2020: الإمبراطورية كما لم تُرَ من قبل!

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الثلاثاء 3 تشرين الثاني 2020

الفائز بِكُرة من لهب

المرشّح الفائز في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، أكان جو بايدن أم دونالد ترامب، سيواجه تحدّيات وصعوبات داخلية وخارجية، نُدِر أن واجه مثلها رئيس أميركي منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية. فالذي سيتربّع على مقعد رئاسة الإمبراطورية الأميركية المنحدرة سيجد نفسه أمام شرخ داخلي لا سابق له بين «أميركتين» يخشى الكثيرون أن يفضي إلى نزاعات أهلية دامية ومديدة، وأمام مشهد دولي تتسارع فيه ديناميات صعود المنافسين، مع ما تحمله من تهديدات بالانزلاق الى صدامات مباشرة معهم يصعب التنبّؤ بنتائجها، بالتوازي مع مسار تفكّك التحالفات الموروثة من حقبات سابقة، وتصاعد الصراعات بين أفرقاء إقليميين ودوليين تتراجع قدرة الولايات المتحدة على التحكّم فيها. الفوز في الانتخابات الرئاسية، في مثل هذا السياق العام، قد لا يكون أكثر من «هدية مسمومة»، تمثّل مقدمة لسلسلة من الانتكاسات والإخفاقات سيتحمّل مسؤوليتها رئيسٌ سيجد نفسه مضطراً إلى الأخذ بخيارات أحلاها شديد المرارة.


نُذُر النزاعات الداخلية
معدّلات المشاركة المرتفعة والمفاجئة في الانتخابات الرئاسية مفاجأة غير سارّة بالنسبة إلى دونالد ترامب. سبق لهذا الأخير أن حذر، خلال مهرجان انتخابي يوم السبت الماضي، من وقوع «أحداث شديدة السوء» في حال إعلان هوية الفائز يوم 3 تشرين الثاني، متوقعاً أن تَعمّ الفوضى بلاده. لَمّح ترامب، في أكثر من مناسبة في الأسابيع الماضية، إلى احتمال وقوع عمليات تزوير بسبب التصويت عن بعد، وهو احتمالٌ نفاه مدير «أف.بي.آي» المُعيّن من قِبَله، كريس وراي. هو يعلم أن نقطة ضعفه الأبرز، التي استغلّها منافسه الديمقراطي بقوة، هي إدارته الكارثية لجائحة كورونا وتداعياتها المُروّعة إنسانياً واقتصادياً واجتماعياً في الولايات المتحدة، والتي أدت إلى تعبئة قطاع وازن من الرأي العام ضدّه. «مجموعة الأزمات الدولية»، التي تُعنى عادة بتحليل خلفيات النزاعات في البلدان «النامية» واقتراح آليات لحلّها سلمياً، أصدرت، في خطوة وُصفت بـ»الاستثنائية» من قِبَل رئيسها روبرت مالي، تقريراً يشير إلى احتمال وقوع «اضطرابات وأعمال عنف واسعة» في الولايات المتحدة على خلفية الانتخابات والتشكيك في نتائجها من قِبَل كتل وازنة من الأميركيين. التقرير، الذي نشرت «الأخبار» يوم الإثنين أهمّ ما ورد فيه، يُركّز على أن رفض ترامب لنتائج الانتخابات واحتمال إقدامه على الطعن في نتائجها أمام القضاء، إضافة إلى عوامل أخرى: «غرق الولايات المتحدة بالأسلحة وسجلها السوداوي السابق في الحروب الأهلية، والقتل العشوائي، إضافة إلى الصراع الطبقي الحادّ والعبودية وغيرها، وتنامي الحركات المنادية بتفوّق العرق الأبيض في عهد ترامب، وتزايد الظلم العنصري ضدّ السود ووحشية الشرطة، جميعها أسباب تُرجّح إمكانية حدوث أعمال عنف».

ستدخل الولايات المتحدة في فترة طويلة من غياب الاستقرار السياسي


وحتى إذا نجح الفريق المنتصر في الانتخابات في تجاوز مرحلة من الصراع الداخلي المحموم، فإنه سيجابَه خلال سنوات حكمه بمعارضة داخلية عنيدة من قِبَل قطاع وازن من المجتمع والنخبة السياسية الأميركيَّين. يصحّ هذا الكلام على ترامب وبايدن على حدّ سواء. المنتصر بينهما سيُتّهم بعدم تمثيل الإرادة الشعبية «الحقيقية»، وبـ»التضحية» بالمصالح الوطنية على مذبح مصالحه الخاصة ومصالح القوى السياسية والاجتماعية الداعمة له. ستترتّب على هذا الاستقطاب الداخلي العميق مساعٍ من الفريق المعارض لإفشال السياسات التي يعتمدها ذلك المنتصر بغية إضعافه وإلحاق الهزيمة به في المستقبل. بكلام آخر، ستدخل الولايات المتحدة في فترة طويلة من غياب الاستقرار السياسي، «الضروري لحسن سير النظام الديمقراطي» بحسب تعبير مُنظّريه، وتزايد للتناقضات الداخلية ستكون له انعكاسات سلبية على موقعها الدولي.

خطر الانزلاق إلى حرب مع الصين
العداء المستشري والمتزايد للصين في النخبة السياسية الأميركية، بجناحَيها الديمقراطي والجمهوري، وارتفاع مستوى التوتر معها في جوارها المباشر، في بحر الصين وحول تايوان، والإصرار على تشديد الضغوط والعقوبات التجارية والاقتصادية عليها بحجة انتهاكها لحقوق الإنسان في هونغ كونغ والسين كيانغ، جميعها عوامل تجعل من إمكانية الانزلاق نحو صدام مفتوح معها فرضية واقعية. قبل تناول المعطيات التي قد تدفع في هذا الاتجاه، لا بدّ من إدراك أبرز سمة في الوضع الدولي الراهن، وهي الانتقال من هيمنة أحادية إلى انتشار وتوزّع القوة على الصعيد الدولي، مع صعود دور أطراف جدد، وفي مقدّمتهم الصين، وتحوّلها إلى منافس من المستوى نفسه، ورفض القطب المهيمن سابقاً، وهذا هو الأهمّ، التسليم بالانتقال المذكور. مثل هذا السياق هو الذي يؤسِّس تقليدياً للنزاعات والحروب.
يرى كريستوفير لاين، أستاذ العلاقات الدولية في جامعة تكساس، في مقال لافت في العدد الأخير من «فورين أفيرز» بعنوان «العواصف القادمة»، أن فرضية استحالة الصدام المباشر بين القوى العظمى، والتي سادت بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أساساً بسبب خطر الإفناء المتبادل الناتج عن امتلاك كلّ منها للسلاح النووي، باتت غير مطابقة للوقائع الراهنة، وأوّلها التطور الهائل الذي تمّ في مجال الأسلحة النووية التكتيكية، والذي يتيح المجال لاستخدامها بشكل محدود، ومن دون الذهاب إلى درجة الإفناء المتبادل. الحُجّة الثانية التي تورَد أيضاً من أنصار استحالة الصدام المباشر هي تداخل المصالح الاقتصادية بين الأطراف الدوليين، وفي حالتنا هذه بين الولايات المتحدة والصين. يؤكد لاين ما سبق أن أشار اليه العديد من الباحثين، من أن مسار فسخ للشراكة بين البلدين قد بدأ في السنوات الماضية، وأن تفكيك شبكة المصالح الضخمة المشتركة يتسارع في الآونة الأخيرة، وبقرار من قيادتَيهما. علاوة على ذلك، فإن وجود مصالح مشتركة وروابط اقتصادية وثقافية عميقة لم يمنع الحرب بين بريطانيا وألمانيا في 1914، على رغم غياب أيّ أسباب مباشرة لها، كالنزاع الحدودي أو التنافس للسيطرة على بلد ما، بينهما. يردّ الأكاديمي الأميركي الدافع الرئيس للحرب إلى تعاظم القدرات العسكرية، خاصة البحرية، لألمانيا، وكذلك الاقتصادية والصناعية، وما مَثّله من تحدٍّ لقوة مهيمنة كبريطانيا، بدأت تشعر في تلك الحقبة بتراجع قدراتها. وهو يعتبر أن «هذه المسارات الانتقالية من النادر أن تتمّ بشكل سلمي. القوة المسيطرة عادة ما تكون متغطرسة، وتعطي دروساً لبقية دول العالم حول كيفية إدارة شؤونها، وتتجاهل مخاوفها وتطلّعاتها. مثل هذه القوة، بريطانيا في الماضي، أميركا اليوم، تقاوم بعناد انحدارها، والقوة الصاعدة متلهّفة للحصول على ما تعتبره حصتها العادلة من المغانم، أكانت في ميادين التجارة أم الموارد أم مناطق النفوذ». الرئيس الأميركي المقبل سيكون أمام تحدّي إدارة الصراع مع الصين، مع ضبط سقفه للحؤول دون الانزلاق نحو الحرب معها.

مسار تفكّك التحالفات
يُلام ترامب باعتباره مسؤولاً عن إضعاف تحالف الولايات المتحدة مع بقية الديمقراطيات الغربية بسبب تعريفه الضيّق للمصالح الأميركية ورؤيته «المركنتيلية». في الحقيقة، فإن الخلافات الاقتصادية والتجارية بين واشنطن وشركائها الأوروبيين، والتباينات المتزايدة في المصالح، ظهرت بوضوح للعيان منذ رئاسة أوباما، وتفاقمت بطبيعة الحال مع ترامب. في حال بقاء الأخير في السلطة، فإنها مرشّحة للمزيد من التفاقم، مع ما يستتبع ذلك من تداعيات على التحالف. في حال انتصار بايدن، وعلى رغم إعلانه نيّته «ترميم» العلاقات مع هؤلاء الشركاء، فإن طموحه إلى اتباع «سياسة خارجية لصالح الطبقة الوسطى» يعني التشدّد في مفاوضاته التجارية والاقتصادية معهم، والسعي إلى منع نموّ علاقاتهم مع منافسيه الدوليين كروسيا والصين. وتأتي النزاعات بين الدول الأعضاء في «الناتو»، كتلك الدائرة في ليبيا أو شرق المتوسط، لتُضاعف من صعوبة الحفاظ على تماسك الحلف في ظلّ التناقضات المتنامية في مصالح بعض أعضائه.
حقيقة الشرخ الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة، ومخاطر التدحرج نحو نزاع مدمّر مع الصين والاتجاه إلى تزايد الصراعات والنزاعات بين العديد من اللاعبين الدوليين، وحتى غير الدوليين، في أنحاء مختلفة من العالم، ستجعل من الفائز في الانتخابات الأميركية كَمَن فاز بِكُرة من لهب.

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مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود البحرية بين الملاحظات والهواجس…

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط 

رافق انطلاق مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وفلسطين المحتلة التي يغتصبها العدو الإسرائيلي، رافقها الكثير من المواقف المتراوحة بين الملاحظة والاستفسار وصولا الى الهواجس حتى الانكار، وبالفعل انّ الحدث الذي انطلق بتاريخ14\10\2020 ليس حدثاً عادياً في تاريخ المواجهة بين لبنان والعدو “الاسرائيلي” منذ إقامة كيانه المحتل لفلسطين في العام 1949. فما هي الحقائق الموضوعية التي ترعى المسالة او تنبثق عنها من أجل تقديمها للرأي العام ليتخذ منها الموقف المؤيد والمحتضن المدافع عن المصالح الوطنية بعيداً عن مواقف مسبقة قد تتسم بالمواقف الشخصية او تعذر الانسجام أو الكيمياء بين الاشخاص وعلاقاتهم السابقة والحاضرة. وللوقوف على الحقيقة لا بد من البدء بمسالة التفاوض ذاتها ولزومه وصولا الى مسالة اللقاء او الاجتماع بـ “الإسرائيلي” او عدم اللقاء به.

في البدء نؤكد انّ القانون الدولي العام وبخاصة قانون النزاعات المسلحة تضمّن أحكاماً وقواعد التعامل في الميدان او بالشكل العام بين الأعداء وفي هذا الإطار ونظراً لطبيعة علاقة العداء القائمة بين لبنان و”إسرائيل” بصفتها عدواً له فإنّ هذه العلاقات من حيث اللقاء والتفاوض مرّت بمحطات 6 كان للبنان في كلّ منها سلوك ينسجم او يختلف عما سبقه كالتالي:

1

ـ المحطة الأولى كانت في العام 1949 مباشرة بعد الحرب وتوقيع اتفاق الهدنة مع العدو “الإسرائيلي” في رودس حيث شكلت لجنة مراقبة الهدنة من 3 أطراف يمثلهم حصراً عسكريون من لبنان و”إسرائيل” والأمم المتحدة (مراقبي الهدنة OGL) وكانت مهمة اللجنة بحث انتهاكات أحد الطرفين لاتفاقية الهدنة وتسويتها فضلاً عن صيانة خط الهدنة المطابق للحدود الدولية المرسّمة براً منذ العام 1923، أيّ قبل اغتصاب فلسطين. وقد ألغت “إسرائيل” اتفاقية الهدنة من طرف واحد في العام 1967، لكن لبنان تمسك بها واستمر مراقبو الهدنة في مراكزهم في جنوب لبنان.

2

ـ المحطة الثانية كانت في العام 1982 بعد الاحتلال “الإسرائيلي” للبنان وحيث ضغطت أميركا على لبنان لإجراء مفاوضات ذات شكل وطبيعية ملتبسة بعيدة أولاً عن الأمم المتحدة وغير مبنيّة عل اتفاق الهدنة وشاركت فيها وفود ثلاثة من لبنان و”إسرائيل” واميركا، وشكلت الوفود من عسكريين ومدنيّين فيهم سفراء ما قاد البعض إلى القول بأنّ هذه المفاوضات شكلت اعترافاً لبنانياً ضمنياً بـ “إسرائيل” رغم النفي الذي أعلنه لبنان، وقد أفضت المفاوضات الى اتفاق 17 أيار الذي تمّ إلغاؤه تحت الضغط الشعبي اللبناني.

3

ـ المحطة الثالثة كانت في مؤتمر مدريد 1991 الذي دُعي اليه على أساس القرارات 242 و338، ورغم انّ لبنان لم يكن معنياً بهذه القرارات كونه لم يدخل الحرب مع “إسرائيل” في العام 1967 والعام 1973، إلا أنه شارك بتفاوض غير مباشر مع “إسرائيل” وبوفد مدني ولم توصل المفاوضات الى شيء.

4

ـ المحطة الرابعة كانت في العام 1996 إثر تفاهم نيسان الذي تمّ التوصل اليه بمساع أميركية سورية لحماية المدنيين على جانبي الحدود بين لبنان وفلسطين المحتلة. وانبثق عن هذا التفاهم هيئة عسكرية خماسية شكلت من عسكريين فقط من لبنان و”إسرائيل” وسورية وفرنسا وأميركا كانت تجتمع في الناقورة برعاية “اليونيفيل” لبحث الانتهاكات للتفاهم.

5

ـ في العام 2000 وفي معرض الانسحاب “الإسرائيلي” من لبنان تحت ضغط المقاومة طلبت “إسرائيل” تشكيل لجنة ثلاثية مشتركة من عسكريين من الأمم المتحدة ولبنان و”إسرائيل” لمراقبة الانسحاب والتحقق من اكتماله وإرساء تدابير أمنية على جانبي الحدود، فرفض لبنان الطلب جملة وتفصيلاً وفرض إنشاء لجنتين منفصلتين تتشكل الأولى من عسكريين لبنانيين وأمميّين وتعمل في لبنان وكنتُ رئيساً للوفد اللبناني فيها، وتتشكل الثانية من عسكريين أمميين و”إسرائيليين” وتعمل في فلسطين المحتلة وتتحقق اللجنتان من الانسحاب حصراً دون التصدّي لأيّ موضوع آخر ودون ان يكون أيّ لقاء بينهما ودون ان تعبر أيّ منهما الحدود الى الجهة الأخرى. وقد أتمَمنا المهمة دون لقاء او تناظر مع أيّ “إسرائيلي”.

6

ـ في العام 2006 وبعد عدوان “إسرائيل” ومن غير مبرّر أو مستند قانوني دخل لبنان في لجنة عسكرية ثلاثية ضمّته الى الأمم المتحدة و”إسرائيل” ولم يكن للجنة هذه مهمة محدّدة من أيّ مرجعية سياسية او قانونية، واستمرّت هذه اللجنة باجتماعات تعقد في الناقورة في مقر قيادة اليونيفيل التي حدّدت لاحقاً مهامها بالنظر في الخروقات للقرار 1701.

اليوم يواجه لبنان مسألة ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع فلسطين المحتلة، وقد شكل لهذه الغاية وفداً برئاسة عسكري وعضوية 3 خبراء عسكري ومدنيان ما أثار التساؤل حول طبيعة الوفد وتداعيات تشكيله بهذا الشكل وانعكاسه على طبيعة العلاقة بين لبنان والعدو “الإسرائيلي”. وابدى أطراف لبنانيون هواجس من وجود المدنيين في الوفد لأنّ وجودهم يذكرهم بالمفاوضات التي أفضت الى اتفاق 17 أيار 1983 فأين الحقيقة في هذا الأمر؟

للبحث في الموضوع نرى مفيداً التذكير بأنّ تفسير أيّ سلوك بين أطراف متعددين يخضع لمعاني الشكل أولاً ويحسم بعناصر الموضوع والمهمة ثانياً. وعلى هذا الأساس، ورغم انّ المنطق يفرض القول بانّ طمأنة الخائف لا تتمّ بمجرد القول له “لا تخف” بل انّ الصواب يكون في اتخاذ التدابير العملية التي تجعله يطمئن، وتأسيساً على ذلك نرى:

أ ـ انّ تشكيل الوفد اللبناني بالصيغة والشكل الذي دخل فيه المفاوضات، ووجود عسكريّيْن مع خبير قانوني وخبير نفطي، يجعل من الوفد هيئة عسكرية تقنية ليس لها وجه سياسي او شبه سياسي، لأنّ الطابع السياسي يسبغ عليها في حال وجود شخص سياسي او دبلوماسي او ممثل شخصي لسياسي أو هيئة دستورية سياسية الأمر غير المتحقق في واقع الوفد اللبناني الآنـ والأصحّ تعريفه بأنه وفد عسكري – تقني ليس أكثر.

ب ـ انّ مهمة الوفد محدّدة حصراً بترسيم الحدود البحرية الجنوبية للبنان، دون ان يتعداها الى بحث أيّ شان من الشؤون السياسية والأمنية وسواها… وانّ ما أعطي من توجيهات وما التزم به هو أصلاً من سلوكيات يجعل الخوض بشأن خارج المهمة أمراً مستبعداً، ثم انّ عمله تحت رعاية مباشرة ولصيقة ودائمة يمارسها رئيس الجمهورية وقائد الجيش يخفف من ثقل الهواجس وتداعياتها.

ج ـ انّ رفض الوفد القيام بأيّ جزئية من جزئيات الاتصال المباشر بوفد العدو مهما صغر شأنها من شأنه أن يعزز الطمأنينة للتفسير والتأويل بأنّ المفاوضات ذات طبيعة غير مباشرة وتتمّ بين أعداء في حالة الهدنة وعبر وسيط دون أيّ اتصال مباشر بينهما.

د ـ انّ ما جرى في جلسة التفاوض الأولى وأداء الوفد اللبناني وسلوكياته فيها منذ الوصول الى الجلوس وتجنّب النظر وتوجيه الكلام للوفد “الإسرائيلي” الى مضمون الكلمة الى رفض الصورة المشتركة كلها أمور تؤكد انّ لبنان ملتزم قواعد التفاوض غير المباشر بحذافيرها.

بيد انه ورغم كلّ ما قلنا ورغم أننا كنا ولا زلنا نفضل ان تتمّ عملية الترسيم من غير تفاوض ولا لقاء مع العدو في مكان واحد خاصة على أرض لبنانية، فإنّ لبنان دخل اليوم في المفاوضات التي باتت أمراً واقعاً بمجرد انعقاد جلستها الأولى التي أسّست لجلسات تليها قد تنجح او تفشل في إنجاز المهمة، لكن يجب في كلّ الأحوال ان نتجنّب الوقوع في أيّ كمين او تكبّد أيّ خسارة مهما كان نوعها ومن هذا المنطلق ننظر الى بيان الاعتراض على وجود المدنيين في الوفد، ونرى فيه بأنه سلوك حذر وخوف من انزلاق خارج المهمة او منح فرصة للعدو لاقتناص مكاسب يرفض لبنان توفيرها له، ولهذا سيكون للبيان حتى ولو كانت دون الاستجابة الى مضمونه بتعديل الوفد عوائق، فسيكون للبيان دور يحصّن مهمة الوفد ويحميه من كمائن العدو وأفخاخه وفي كلّ حال تبقى العبرة بالنتائج رغم انّ للوسائل قدر وأهمية لا يمكن إغفالها.

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السفير الأمريكي فريدمان: ندرس استبدال عباس بمحمد دحلان

   الصفصاف

فريدمان يهاجم القيادة الفلسطينيّة.. و”يسرائيل هيوم” تعدّل حديثه عن دحلان

تاريخ النشر: 17/09/2020 

فريدمان يهاجم القيادة الفلسطينيّة.. و"يسرائيل هيوم" تعدّل حديثه عن دحلان
فريدمان خلف ترامب لحظة الإعلان عن الاتفاق الإماراتي “الإسرائيلي” (أ ب)

عرب 48

تحرير: محمود مجادلة

عاد السفير الأميركي في (إسرائيل)، ديفيد فريدمان، إلى مهاجمة القيادة الفلسطينية من جديد، معتبرا أن الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي وصل إلى بداية النهاية في ظل اتفاقيات التطبيع التي وقعتها (إسرائيل) مع الإمارات والبحرين، برعاية أميركية.

وقال فريدمان في حديث لصحيفة “يسرائيل هيوم”، نشر اليوم، الخميس، إن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، تدرس استبدال الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس، بالقيادي المفصول من حركة “فتح”، محمد دحلان.

وعدّلت الصحيفة التصريحات لاحقًا، لتضيف “لا” على جملة فريدمان التي قالها ردا على سؤال عمّا إذا كانت الولايات المتحدة تدرس إمكانية تعيين دحلان المقيم في الإمارات، كزعيم فلسطيني جديد، “نحن نفكر في ذلك، لكن ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية”.

وأصبحت الجملة “نحن لا نفكر في ذلك، لكن ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية”.

تابعوا تطبيق “عرب ٤٨”… سرعة الخبر | دقة المعلومات | عمق التحليلات

وعن الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي)، قال فريدمان: “لقد وصلنا إلى بداية نهاية الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي) ولسنا بعيدين عن نهاية الصراع لأن العديد من الدول ستنضم قريبا” إلى مسار التطبيع الذي تقوده إدارة الرئيس الأميركي، دونالد ترامب.

وأضاف “لقد كسرنا الجليد وتوصلنا إلى سلام مع دولتين مهمتين في المنطقة. وكما قال الرئيس (ترامب)، وأنا أعلم أن هذا صحيح، سيكون هناك المزيد من الاختراقات (انضمام دول إلى اتفاقيات التطبيع). عندما يهدأ الوضع، في غضون أشهر أو عام، سنصل إلى نهاية الصراع العربي (الإسرائيلي)”.

وعن انعكاسات زخم التطبيع والتطورات الأخيرة على القضية الفلسطينية، قال إن “الشعب (الفلسطيني) لا يحصل على الخدمة الصحيحة من قيادته”، واستطرد “أعتقد أن الناس الذين يعيشون في يهودا والسامرة (الضفة الغربية المحتلة) يريدون حياة أفضل. يجب أن يكون واضحا لهم أن هذا ممكن”.

وتابع “تتمسك القيادة الفلسطينية بنفس الشكاوى القديمة، والتي لا أعتقد أنها ذات صلة. إنهم بحاجة للانضمام إلى القرن الحادي والعشرين. إنهم في على الطرف الخطأ من التاريخ في الوقت الحالي”.

وعن إمكانية تنفيذ مخطط الضم (الإسرائيلي) في الضفة المحتلة، قال فريدمان: “أعتقد أن هذا سيحدث، كانت لدينا عقبات بسبب كورونا وصعوبات دبلوماسية لتحريك ملف فرض ‘السيادة‘ (“الإسرائيلية” على مناطق في الضفة) ثم سنحت الفرصة مع الإمارات”.

وأضاف “كان الاستنتاج أنه حتى لو اعتقدنا أن السيادة هي الخطوة الصحيحة، إلا أن السلام فوق كل شيء، فالأعلام (الإسرائيلية) ترفرف حاليًا في ‘غوش عتصيون‘ و‘بيت إيل‘ و‘معاليه أدوميم‘ و‘شيلو‘ والخليل، ووفقًا لرؤيتنا للسلام (“صفقة القرن”) فإن الأعلام الإسرائيلية ستستمر في الرفرفة هناك”.

وتابع “السلام فرصة لا تتكرر إلا مرة واحدة في كل جيل. سنحت الفرصة وظننا أنه يجب أن نغتنمها، وأن نغتنم الفرصة التي تأتي بعدها، وتلك التي ستأتي لاحقًا”. وقال “بعد دفع عملية السلام إلى الأمام وتغيير مسارها (في إشارة إلى مخطط تجاوز الفلسطينيين وعقد اتفاقيات تطبيع مع دول عربية)، أعتقد أنه يمكننا العودة إلى مسألة السيادة بطريقة تكون أقل إثارة للجدل”.

اقرأ/ أيضًا | مخطط الضم طرحه كوشنر لتهديد الفلسطينيين

وشدد على أن تأجيل تنفيذ مخطط الضم بموجب اتفاق التطبيع مع الإمارات، ما هو إلا “تعليق مؤقت. أود أن أذكر أيضًا أننا أول إدارة أميركية تعترف بشرعية الاستيطان ونعتبر أنه لا ينتهك القانون الدولي، ونحن الإدارة الوحيدة التي نشرت خطة سلام تستبعد إخلاء المستوطنين من منازلهم في جميع أنحاء يهودا والسامرة”.

وكان فريدمان قد قال في الماضي مرارا، إن أراضي الضفة الغربية هي جزء من (إسرائيل)، وإن من حق اليهود الاستيطان فيها، كما دافع بقوة عن اعتراف الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بالقدس عاصمة ل(إسرائيل)، وبات أول دبلوماسي يتولى مسؤولية السفارة الأميركية، بعد نقلها من تل أبيب إلى القدس.

يذكر أن دحلان ملاحق من قبل تركيا وفلسطين لاتهامه بعدة تهم أبرزها، القتل والفساد والتجسس الدولي والضلوع بمحاولة الانقلاب العسكري الفاشلة التي شهدتها أنقرة، منتصف تموز/ يوليو 2016.

ويتهمه القضاء التركي، بالضلوع في محاولة الانقلاب الفاشلة، ومحاولة تغيير النظام الدستوري بالقوة، و”الكشف عن معلومات سرية حول أمن الدولة لغرض التجسس”، و”قيامه بالتجسس الدولي”.

وكانت صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت”، قد كشفت يوم الجمعة الماضي، زيارة دحلان (إسرائيل) ومدينة القدس المحتلة، برفقة مسؤول الأمن القومي الإماراتي، طحنون بن زايد.

وذكرت الصحيفة أن الطائرة الإماراتية التي هبطت في مطار اللد في حزيران/ يونيو الماضي وتحمل مساعدات طبية إلى الضفة الغربية، كان على متنها كل من دحلان وبن زايد حيث أجريا محادثات مطوله مع مسؤولين (إسرائيليين) في القدس.

وذكرت محللة الشؤون العربية في صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت”، سمدار بيري، أن تلك الطائرة أحدثت توترًا كبيرًا بين السلطة وبين الإمارات حيث رفضت السلطة استلام الطائرة، احتجاجا على وصولها بالتنسيق مع جميع الأطراف باستثناء السلطة. وأشارت بيري إلى دور دحلان في هندسة الاتفاق الإماراتي (الإسرائيلي).

Navalny Poisoning – The Real Target is Russian-German Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

US-NATO continue building “momentum” behind Navalny incident – hope to end Nord Stream 2 pipeline before facts emerge, the pipeline is completed, and as all other options have so-far failed.  
September 6, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Alexei Navalny is the ideal opposition figure for any incumbent government – he is ineffective, unpopular, and transparently compromised by malign foreign interests.

According to a poll carried out by the Lavada Center – a polling organization funded by the US government itself  via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a mere 9% of all Russians look favorably on him and his work, with most Russians unaware of who he even is.

Germany was the one place the US and NATO needed Navalny to be the most – and in a condition of poor health the US and NATO needed him to be in. 

His continued existence and his monopoly over Russia’s equally unpopular opposition ensures that an effective opposition never takes root in grounds choked by his presence.

For Moscow – Navalny’s continued existence is not only not a threat, he occupies space where a real threat might otherwise emerge.

For the United States and its NATO partners who have dumped millions of dollars and political capital into Navalny’s dead-end opposition in Russia – Navalny’s continued existence is an underperforming investment at best.

“Coincidentally” just as the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline nears completion – a pipeline project that will expand Russia’s hydrocarbon exports, increase revenue, and provide cheap energy to Europe in a business deal that would also help draw Europe and Russia closer diplomatically – Navalny was “poisoned.”

He wasn’t just “poisoned.” He was allegedly poisoned with nerve agents called “Novichoks” alleged to be available only in Russia. Navalny was rushed by a shadowy NGO with opaque funding called “Cinema for Peace” to Germany – of all places.

Delivered right to the heart of what is surely one of Russia’s most important economic and diplomatic projects at the moment – it is the perfect excuse for the US and NATO to pressure Germany to abandon Nord Stream 2 – an objective Washington has struggled and failed to achieve for years.

The US and NATO wasted no time accusing Russia even with no evidence presented that Russia was responsible – not to mention lacking any conceivable motive for the alleged “assassination” attempt of such an unpopular opposition figure at such a crucial time for Russia, its economy, and its ties with Western Europe and Germany in particular.

German state media, Deutsche Welle (DW), in an article titled, “Navalny, Novichok and Nord Stream 2 — Germany stuck between a rock and a pipeline,” indirectly lays out not only the real motive behind Navalny’s alleged poisoning, but the most likely culprit as well.

The article admits just how close to completion Nord Stream 2 is, noting (emphasis added):

Many are looking to Germany, whose Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a prominent example of selective cooperation with Russia despite concerns about the country’s approach to human rights both domestically and internationally.

The Nord Stream 2 project, which is more than 90% complete, aims to double Russia’s supply of direct natural gas to Germany. Running under the Baltic Sea, the pipeline bypasses Eastern European states, sending gas from Russia’s Narva Bay to Lubmin, a coastal town adjacent to Merkel’s constituency in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

It’s noted that the pipeline bypasses Eastern Europe where the US has repeatedly toppled governments and installed client regimes hostile to Russia – complicating Russia’s delivery of hydrocarbons to Western Europe – Ukraine being a recent example.

The DW article then admits:

Critics do not view Nord Stream 2 as purely a business affair, instead calling it a major win for Russia’s image and standing at the international level. The Navalny poisoning, which draws strong parallels to the 2018 Novichok attack on a former Russian double agent that the United Kingdom has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating, further complicates Germany’s efforts to keep politics out of Nord Stream 2.“After the poisoning of Navalny we need a strong European answer, which Putin understands: The EU should jointly decide to stop Nord Stream 2,” tweeted Norbert Röttgen, an outspoken Russia critic in Merkel’s conservative party. 

His voice carries particular weight, as Röttgen chairs the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and he is currently running for the party’s leadership.

It doesn’t take an expert in geopolitics to have understood that an attempt on Navalny’s life would have provided a mountain of political ammunition for the US and NATO in its ongoing attempts to sabotage Nord Stream 2 and prevent “a win for Russia’s image and standing at the international level.”

This is the most compelling reason why the Kremlin would not have ordered it – especially so close to completing Nord Stream 2.

It must also be remembered that Navalny was flown directly to Germany after the alleged attack.

Germany was the one place the US and NATO needed Navalny to be the most – and in a condition of poor health the US and NATO needed him to be in. With Nord Stream 2 over 90% complete – there is little time left to threaten, coerce, and pressure Germany to otherwise abandon the project.

The alleged presence of “Novichok” nerve agents – had the attack been the work of the Kremlin – would have been a smoking gun and a virtual calling card left – all but guaranteeing immense pressure from across the West and in particular – pressure placed on Germany to cancel the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The DW article covers what the US has already done to pressure Germany, noting (emphasis added):

 The Trump administration wants to sell Germany its own gas, which critics say is more expensive than gas from Russia. Sanctions have bipartisan support in Washington, and the US has already imposed them against companies laying pipe in the Baltic Sea, prompting the Swiss-Dutch company Allseas to pull out of the project in 2019. More sanctions are awaiting the US president’s signature.

Then DW quoted Sarah Pagung – a specialist on German-Russian relations for the German Council on Foreign Relations. The article would note her saying (emphasis added):

“We can’t rule [the canceling of Nord Stream 2] out as an option, but it’s unlikely,” Pagung told DW, although she said Germany could use the Navalny poisoning as an “opportunity” to shift its position on the pipeline without appearing to be caving to US pressure. 

DW all but spells out the true motive of Navalny’s alleged poisoning and his “serendipitous” delivery to Germany for treatment – to serve as a catalyst for the cancellation of Nord Stream 2.

Since Moscow has absolutely nothing to gain from this – it is the least likely suspect.

Since it not only fits into the US and NATO’s openly declared agenda of coercing Germany into cancelling the Nord Stream 2 project, it also fits a pattern of staged attacks and fabricated claims used by the US and NATO to advance their collective foreign policy – they are the most likely suspects.

Consider the much worse and absolutely verified crimes against humanity the US and NATO are guilty of – with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 2011-onward military interventions in Libya and Syria as just two examples. Poisoning Navalny – a failed investment as a living, breathing opposition figure and turning him into a martyr – is a relatively small act of false-flag violence to create a difficult impasse for the German government regarding Nord Stream 2.

The fact that the US and NATO are rushing to conclusions without evidence – as they’ve done many times before when pushing now verified lies – only further incriminates both as the most likey suspects in Navalny’s poisoning.

For Navalny himself – his fate – if he was actually poisoned – is tragic. The very people he worked for and whose agenda he served seem to find him more useful dying than healthy in terms of advancing Western foreign policy against Russia.

There are too many “coincidences” surrounding this incident:

  • The attack itself at such a sensitive time for Russia, its economy, and its ties with Germany in particular;
  • The fact that Navalny was flown by a shadowy NGO to Germany itself;
  • The fact that the US has been openly trying to sabotage the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline all along and;
  • The fact that the “attack” was allegedly carried out in such a clumsy, ineffective, and incriminating way specifically to implicate Russia.

For a US and NATO who have sold the world entire wars based on “evidence” and “accusations” of everything from nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq to lies about viagra-fuelled rape squads in Libya – one more lie about an unpopular Russian opposition figure poisoned in Russia, picked up by a dubious NGO, and placed down right in the middle of German-Russian relations and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline the US and NATO are desperate to stop – fits a disturbing but all-too-predictable pattern.  
The question is why are people still falling for it? Will Germany fall for it, or at the very least, cave – costing itself economic opportunities in exchange for a deeper and more costly role in US-NATO aggression against Russia? Only time will tell. 
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Enforced disappearances in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir: A challenge to world conscience

By Altaf Hussain Wani

Source

Enforced disappearances are a serious problem in almost all regions of the world; however, in the conflict-affected regions like Kashmir the forced disappearance is being used as a political weapon to subjugate and silence the dissenting voices and instill a sense of fear in the society. The region that has undergone intermittent periods of sporadic violence since 1989 continues to be in the whirlwind of state oppression that has led to killings and forced disappearances of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian forces on an enormous scale. Decades’ long conflict had left tens of thousands of Kashmiris dead; more than 7000 bodies of missing persons still lay buried in unmarked and unknown mass graves unearthed in and around the Kashmir valley.
It was almost a decade back, that the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir released an eye-opening report on mass graves in the IoK. The report titled ‘Buried Evidence: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves made a shocking revelation about the existence of 2,700, unnamed mass graves, containing 2,943 bodies, across 55 villages in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir. “Of these, 87.9 percent were unnamed, 154 contained two bodies each and 23 contained between three to 17 bodies”, the report said adding that the government of India should allow an independent inquiry to ascertain the facts.

Years have passed but family members of enforced disappeared persons still continue to wander from pillar to post trying to exercise their rights to know the whereabouts of their loved ones. Social, psychological, legal, and financial effects of this tragedy of immense proportions have made their lives a living hell. The painful saga of half-widows is yet another off-shoot of this illegal and ignominious practice of enforced disappearance in Kashmir. As per reports the number of ‘half-widows’ in Kashmir are around 2,500. It is feared that the bodies buried in these unmarked graves are of the missing husbands of the half-widows who have been picked up from their homes and disappeared after getting killed in the custody of the Indian army. On July 10, 2008, the EU Parliament passed a resolution lending support for the investigations into the discovery of mass graves and enforced disappearances.

Unfortunately, the Indian authorities are reluctant to acknowledge the very existence of mass graves and to hold an inquiry despite the fact that the State Human Rights Commission in 2009 took a suo moto notice of the report. A special investigation team that was tasked to conduct an inquiry confirmed the presence of 2,730 unidentified bodies buried across 37 sites in the three districts of north Kashmir. Citing lack of technology, expertise, and human resources the Indian government refused to conduct the investigations, even though the European Parliament had offered financial assistance to take it forward. In November 2017, SHRC unearthed 2080 unmarked and unknown mass graves in Poonch and Rajouri district in IoK. Till now there has neither been a probe nor an Action Taken Report from the government.

In Kashmir, more than 8000 – 10, 000 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances have been reported since 1989. The government of India (GoI), however, had grossly underreported the number of forcibly disappeared persons – something that many victims and rights groups have contested publicly. The GoI puts the number of enforced disappearances at 4,000. This discrepancy in the number has been highlighted by the OHCHR in it’s first-ever report released in June 2018.
Since the early 1990s, rights groups have time and again regretted the rising trend of enforced disappearances in the region urging New Delhi to stop the vicious cycle of violence. But Indian state has miserably failed in bringing to justice the military, paramilitary and police personnel who have been found guilty of abducting civilians, murdering them in fake encounters just to get promotion or cash reward.

Kashmir happens to be the only place in the world where men in uniform are being awarded cash money and gallantry awards for killing innocent civilians. Using civilians as human shields and terrorize and torture people have become a norm; rape has been leveraged as a ‘weapon of war’ by the so-called Indian security forces. During the years of turmoil, many Indian soldiers and even the top-rank officers have been found involved in these heinous crimes but no soldier was ever punished or held accountable.

As per the international law Enforced disappearance is considered a crime against humanity. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2010) compels States to fight enforced disappearance in their respective territories. In particular, it affirms the right of individuals to know the fate of their disappeared relatives, and to obtain justice and reparation.
The Indian authorities’ perpetual denial to respect the international law and the fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people is gravely threatening peace and stability in the restive region. It is time that the world should come forward in a big way and compel the Indian state to halt gross and systematic human rights violations in the region.

Tale piece: The world’s inaction would only further embolden the occupying power (India) to escalate its actions with impunity in Kashmir.

Battleground South China Sea?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US hostility toward China’s growing political, economic, technological, and military prominence risks possible direct confrontation between both nations.

China seeks peace and cooperative relations with other countries in stark contrast to Washington’s aim for unchallenged dominance by whatever it takes to achieve its aims. 

Last week, Trump regime envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea said (nuclear-capable) intermediate-range missiles may be deployed in the Indo-Pacific close to China’s territory.

Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denounced what’s likely coming, saying the following:

“China decisively condemns the US’s plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific Region, and expresses its sharp displeasure with constant pressure on China and the neighboring countries, as well as with constant provocations at China’s borders.”

Noting that deployment of these missiles will affect Russia’s security, its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed concern, saying:

“We must also take into account that such armaments will also create additional risks for our territory as well, including objects of strategic importance, which would naturally require taking necessary response measures – which I would call compensatory.”

On August 2, 2019, Trump formally abandoned the landmark 1987 INF Treaty — based on phony accusations of Russian violations, invented ones because no real ones exist.

Responding to the unacceptable Trump regime action, Sergey Lavrov said the US began violating the INF Treaty “in 1999 when it began trials of combat unmanned flying vehicles with specifications similar to those of ground-launched cruise missiles banned by the treaty,” adding:

“Later it started using target missiles, ballistic target missiles, for testing its missile defense system, whereas starting in 2014 it began deploying in Europe launching pads for its positioning areas of missile defense – Mk 41 launching pads, which may absolutely be used without any changes and to launch Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles.”

“That is a direct violation of the treaty. Such systems have already been deployed in Romania, are being prepared for deployment in Poland, as well as in Japan.”

The US under Republicans and Dems is a serial violator of treaties, conventions, bilateral and multilateral agreements, as well as the rule of law overall domestically and geopolitically.

Its provocative actions threaten world peace and stability.

In response to the likely deployment of US intermediate-range missiles close to the borders of China and Russia in the Indo-Pacific, Vladimir Putin said this action will result in a symmetrical response and create new threats.

On Friday in response to repeated US anti-China provocations, PLA spokesman Senior Col. Li Huamin said the following:

“Ignoring the rules of international law, the US side has repeatedly provoked troubles in the South China Sea, exercising navigational hegemony under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,” adding:  

“We urge the US to stop such provocative behavior and restrict its maritime actions to avoid possible military accidents.”

What the Pentagon calls “routine freedom of navigation” is highly provocative in the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, and other international waters close to the territory of nations it wants transformed into US vassal states.

On August 26, the PLA launched two missiles into the South China Sea, including an “aircraft carrier killer,” in response to unacceptable Pentagon aerial spying in no-fly-zone airspace during live-fire Chinese military exercises.

China’s Foreign Ministry called the US action a “naked provocation” that risked a possible “accident,” adding:

The PLA “will not dance to the US’ tune,” stressing that it should “pull itself out of the swamp of anxiety and paranoia.”

Time and again, provocative US intrusions occur in parts of the world not its own that heighten tensions and risk direct confrontation with nations it doesn’t control.

On Friday, the PLA said it expelled the USS Mustin guided missile destroyer from Chinese territorial waters near its Xisha Islands.

The PLA accused the Pentagon of breaching international law by its South China Sea provocations on the phony pretext of freedom of navigation — adding that its actions threaten China’s sovereignty and security.

According to China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet on Friday, the Pentagon unacceptably “sent military aircraft to the region more than 2,000 times  in the first half of this year alone,” adding:

“The US tries to drive wedges between China and related Southeast Asian nations, push those countries to the front, and enlist them as pawns in its anti-China agenda.”

“Washington’s malign scheme to make the South China Sea another anti-China battleground will certainly fail.”

The US is a warmaker, not a peacekeeper in the Indo-Pacific or anywhere else.

The South China Sea and Persian Gulf are the world’s top hot spots.

If global war occurs by accident or design, it’ll likely be launched by the US in one or both of these areas.

What’s unthinkable is possible because of US rage for global dominance — pursued by endless wars by hot and other means that risk destruction of planet earth and all its life forms if things are pushed too far.

“Poisoned” Kremlin Critic Flown to Germany as German-Russian Nord Stream 2 Nears Completion

Source

The perfectly timed poisoning of unpopular, ineffective Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny and the involvement of Germany comes as Washington sought to place maximum pressure on Berlin to cancel the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

August 25, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny – according to German doctors – was allegedly poisoned but is expected to survive. If Navalny was poisoned and the goal was to assassinate him, it was a poorly conceived, poorly executed, and most of all – poorly timed plan. 

Navalny’s sudden reappearance across the Western media comes just at the height of US attempts to place maximum pressure on Germany to cancel a pipeline – Nord Stream 2 – it is jointly constructing with Russia. The pipeline would move Russian hydrocarbons into Western Europe directly, bypassing Ukraine now fully destabilized by US and NATO intervention. 

Just last week German state media DW in an article titled, “US senators threaten Germany’s port town of Sassnitz over Nord Stream 2 gas project,” would highlight the nature of US pressure, reporting that: 

Three US senators are threatening the ferry port on the island of Rügen with “crushing” sanctions to prevent the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Fearing financial ruin, the people of Sassnitz are defiant.

This latest threat from the US against their own German “allies” comes after a long, concerted campaign to pressure Germany into cancelling the joint pipeline with Russia. 

Earlier this year, the New York Times in an article titled, “A Russian Gas Pipeline Increases Tension Between the U.S. and Europe,” would report: 

…the State Department moved to potentially impose economic penalties on investors and other business participants in the project, an expansion of existing sanctions.The new measures were “a clear warning to companies” that “aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters. “Get out now, or risk the consequences.”

The New York Times would note that growing US pressure faced condemnation from European leaders who accused Washington of interference in their sovereign affairs and specifically in regards to European energy policy. 

The pipeline is already well over 90% completed. 

Perfectly Timed Political Stunt 

The New York Times in a more recent article titled, “Aleksei Navalny, Putin Critic in a Coma, Was Poisoned, German Doctors Say,” deliberately trumps up the incident. 

Indeed Navalny is in a coma, but according to the German hospital currently treating him in an official statement, it was a medically induced coma. The statement read: 

Since his admission at the weekend, Alexei Navalny has been receiving treatment at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The patient is being treated in intensive care and remains in medically induced coma. While his condition is serious, it is not currently life-threatening.

The New York Times in its article notes how unpopular and ineffective Navalny has been as an opposition figure in Russia over the years, admitting that: 

Mr. Navalny’s needling criticism of Mr. Putin has never posed a serious electoral threat to the Russian leader, and Mr. Putin remains popular with many Russians.

It should be noted that Navalny himself and the anemic opposition he leads is a product of the US State Department with virtually ever organization and individual in it the recipient of US government money channeled through Washington’s notorious regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  

Navalny’s US Backing 

Alexey Navalny was a Yale World Fellow – with the Fellowship recently releasing statement in solidarity with Navalny after this latest incident – and in his profile it states (emphasis added):

Navalny spearheads legal challenges on behalf of minority shareholders in large Russian companies, including Gazprom, Bank VTB, Sberbank, Rosneft, Transneft, and Surgutneftegaz, through the Union of Minority Shareholders. He has successfully forced companies to disclose more information to their shareholders and has sued individual managers at several major corporations for allegedly corrupt practices. Navalny is also co-founder of the Democratic Alternative movement and was vice-chairman of the Moscow branch of the political party YABLOKO. In 2010, he launched RosPil, a public project funded by unprecedented fundraising in Russia. In 2011, Navalny started RosYama, which combats fraud in the road construction sector.

The Democratic Alternative, also written DA!, is a US NED-fund recipient, implicating Navalny as an agent of US-funded sedition. The US State Department itself reveals this as they list DA! among many of the “youth movements” they support operating in Russia:

DA!: Mariya Gaydar, daughter of former Prime Minister Yegor Gaydar, leads DA! (Democratic Alternative). She is ardent in her promotion of democracy, but realistic about the obstacles she faces. Gaydar said that DA! is focused on non-partisan activities designed to raise political awareness. She has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a fact she does not publicize for fear of appearing compromised by an American connection.

That this funding is nowhere on NED’s official website and is admittedly withheld from public knowledge by the funding’s recipients indicates that full disclosures are intentionally not being made and that clandestine US funding is most likely much more widespread across Russia’s “opposition” as well as for individuals like Navalny himself.  
Navalny was involved directly in founding a movement funded by the US government and to this day has the very people who funded DA! defending him throughout the Western media. 
The mention of co-founder Mariya Gaydar is also revealing, as she has long collaborated, and occasionally has been arrested with, Ilya Yashin, yet another leader of a NED-funded Russian “activist” opposition group.
Ilya Yashin leads the Moscow branch of the People’s Freedom Party and is a leading member of the “Strategy 31” campaign whose ranks are filled with activists trained and coordinated by US NED-funded NGOs. Deleted from the official NED.org website was Strategy 31’s US funding which read:

Moscow Group of Assistance in the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords $50,000 

To draw greater attention to the issue of freedom of assembly in Russia and to the “Strategy 31” movement, which seeks to protect this fundamental right. The organization will train a network of regional activists and coordinate their activities through mini-seminars and field visits, and conduct an information cam­paign through press conferences, posters, and educational handouts pertaining to freedom of assembly, to be distributed to the general public by regional partners.

Also deleted was a NED “Democracy Digest” article titled “Strategy 31: A sign of civil society’s resilience.” In it, the “Moscow Helsinki Group” is explicitly stated as leading Strategy 31 marches and that the group is a “long-time grantee of the National Endowment of Democracy.”
Martyrdom to Boost a Fading Brand
It is documented fact that Navalny was funded by and specifically to serve US interests through the NED and a variety of other US-based programs and fellowships and clearly promoted throughout the entirety of the Western corporate media. 

His inability to catalyze the sort of disruptive opposition the West seeks to create within Russia to undermine and eventually overthrow the nation’s current political order represents a poor return on investment. 
Navalny’s fading brand is admitted openly even by his most eager supporters in the Western media – most recently in the above mentioned New York Times article describing his alleged poisoning.

German-Russian relations are particularly important for both nations at the moment – and perhaps more so for Moscow which seeks ways to circumvent full spectrum economic warfare waged against it by the United States. 
The completion and use of Nord Stream 2 with its German partners would do much to cement Russian-European ties, perhaps even irreversibly short-circuiting US efforts to sabotage them. 
The notion that the Kremlin would order Navalny’s assassination at this time defies common sense and logic. 
The fact that a Western NGO with opaque funding called “Cinema for Peace” organized Navalny’s transportation out of Russia and to Germany specifically at this critical time for German-Russian relations – according to an article published by the US State Department’s Voice of America – the one European nation whose ties with Russia are under greatest scrutiny at the moment by the Western media – appears more than coincidental.  
An investigation and forthcoming facts may help better shape the full truth around this most recent incident – but at the moment – especially for “activists” backed by a palpably desperate US – they must consider who would benefit most from their harm or demise – the nations they are ineffectively opposing, or the nations who have invested millions into their cause and have not gotten the results they desire.

Then these “activists” must determine whether they are worth more to their disappointed foreign sponsors as living, ineffective, and unpopular opposition figures, or worth more by being potentially impactful – if even for a moment – as martyrs. 

Yemeni Court Issues Death Sentences For MBS, MBZ

Yemeni Court Issues Death Sentences For MBS, MBZ

By Staff, Agencies

A Yemeni court sentenced Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman [MBS] and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed [MBZ] to death in connection with the assassination of the former head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council.

A special criminal court in al-Hudaydah on Monday sentenced 16 men, including Bin Zayed and Bin Salman, to death for espionage that led to the assassination of Saleh al-Sammad, the head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council in 2018, Yemen’s Saba news agency reported.

The list of the convicts also includes Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and Yemen’s former prime minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr.

Al-Sammad was martyred in Saudi Arabia’s airstrike in the western province of al-Hudaydah on April 23, 2018. He had been elected President in the capital city Sanaa by the Supreme Political Council in late 2016.

According to a report by al-Arabiya back then, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television news channel, the Saudi-led military coalition, which has constantly bombarded Yemen since 2015, had offered a 20-million-dollar prize for any information that could help uncover the location of Sammad’s domicile.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the Ansarullah revolutionary movement.

According to reports, the war has claimed close to 100,000 lives over the past five years.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million who are suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

Iran and China terrify the Empire, but why?

Iran and China terrify the Empire, but why?

August 11, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

The proposed 25-year deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, titled “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between I.R. Iran and P.R. China” has been heavily discussed recently. While not all details in the deal are clear, it has been described by Iranian and Chinese officials as specifying the roadmap of developing and deepening Tehran-Beijing ties in “Political”, “Executive Cooperation”, “Human and Cultural”, “Judiciary, Security and Defence”, and “Regional and International” domains.

It remains unclear when such a deal will be formally clinched. But Iran’s government says the two sides have so far finalized at least 75 percent of the draft version of the pact. Once concluded, the text of the deal will be discussed for final approval in Iran’s Parliament. However, many lawmakers are already critical of the government for not consulting the deal before entering into negotiations with China.
What has so far been made public is that the 25-year cooperation roadmap will cover economy, security and military areas. Iran will reportedly supply the PRC (People’s Republic of China) with oil for 25 years. In return, China will invest heavily in Iran’s infrastructure as well as banking and telecommunications sectors, amounting to some 400 billion dollars. Reactions, both inside and outside Iran have been mixed. Some inside Iran have criticized the deal since they believe that the Islamic Republic has negotiated it from a position of weakness, in order to escape the failing JCPOA deal and its aftermath – Washington’s maximum pressure campaign. Supporters of the deal argue that the deal is a political victory against what Beijing and Tehran have identified as a common opponent.

Naturally, the US State Department and anti-Iran Farsi media outlets based outside Iran have denounced the possible deal without even knowing all the details. The US State Department went on to issue tweets in Farsi, comparing the potential Iran-China accord to the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay which was a peace treaty between Qajar Iran and the Russian Empire. By the treaty, Iran had to cede to Russia control of most of its areas in the South Caucasus.

As per usual, social media is the main tool they use for their propaganda. Certain think tanks led by Western governments, particularly the United States spread rumours and lies. For instance, they have created various hashtags like “No to Iran Sellout!” This has been picked up by Iranian analysts too:

“Based on our monitoring of social media, we spotted the first analyses on the Iran-China cooperation plan in US media. What the mainly US media claim is reproduced in social media, particularly Twitter. Those who are active in cyberspace and social media include users affiliated with the Zionist regime, users affiliated with the Mujahideen Khalq Organization as they are supposed to insinuate wrong interpretations into public minds in Persian language. MKO agents based in Albania and benefiting from Western funding are involved. The Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia are also cooperating by spending money and offering human resources. From as early on as 1995, Iran has been aware of the importance of the Beijing- Tehran axis as a counterweight to the U.S.-led global order. Iran and China share a desire to engage in revisionist regional moves without wanting to start a large-scale war; to put an end to US imperialism and military supremacy in the Persian Gulf region. It is a valid question however, whether this will not lead to a Chinese show of military might in the region.

Our ties with some nations may be focused on a single aspect like agriculture, culture and energy. But with China, we have reached the conclusion that we can cooperate in academic, cultural and IT and economic sectors. And regarding the strategic aspects, our ties with some countries may be periodic. But the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China eye long-term cooperation. “ Hamed Vafai, China Affairs Analyst

The Iranians outside of Iran who oppose the deal are often pro-Western and echo the same lies spewed by Washington – for example when they claim that Iran has sold its soil to China, offering Beijing Iran’s Kish Island as a military base and so on. The sheer hypocrisy by Pro-US Iranians is mind-boggling. The things they accuse the Islamic Republic of doing for China are the same things their beloved “King” did for the US, if not even more. I don’t need to go into detail over how subservient the Iranian monarchy was to Washington.

Tehran has made it clear that this deal is to protect the Iranian economy from US sanctions, and that it will not cede any part of its soil to China. Tehran rejected the criticism saying is it aimed at appeasing the enemies of the Islamic Republic. “Unfortunately, a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia,” Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said last week.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Seyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed unfounded claims of Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf being leased out to China, oil sold at exclusively low prices, or the deployment of Chinese armed forces in the Gulf, an invading force in Iranian waters that is. He said such claims were too ridiculous to even merit a denial. Apparently the Chinese response to the allegations was not so different.

So what’s in it for the parties involved?

There is no doubt that Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the subsequent sanctions imposed by Washington has left the Iranian economy in a very difficult position, especially since the EU has betrayed the deal as well. Part of the blame has been placed on the Rouhani government, which I believe to be wrong. It is counterproductive to assume that the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the JCPOA triggered the crisis since the pressure on Iran’s economy was no less severe before the JCPOA.

The trade deal itself is one of necessity as the West has failed to live up to their promises and proven once and for all that they can never be trusted. Not only have they reneged on their commitments, but they also continue to wage psychological warfare on Iran through propaganda and lies. Bearing in mind that Washington has forbidden many countries from doing deals with Tehran, I see no reason to be critical of this potential deal with the PRC as of yet. This is about the Islamic Republic’s very survival, something that the IRGC and the top leadership in Tehran have also recognized – which explains why they have remained so silent about it.

The potential partnership offers Iran a way out of the harsh US sanctions. For Iran this would translate into an injection of approximately 280 billion dollars for its energy sector and 120 billion dollars for manufacturing and transport infrastructure. In return for a discounted oil-flow to China and preferential Chinese access to various sectors of the Iranian economy, Iran would have its infrastructure given a much needed boost. The deal includes 100 projects which defy US unilateral sanctions against Iran.

China is the only remaining official buyer of Iranian oil and has strongly opposed Washington’s sanctions. It defies the US also economically together with Russia and Iran, as the three have attempted to replace the US dollar in their dealings, an act that inspired Pakistan and may have other regional states follow. Why wouldn’t the Islamic Republic with its free-falling rial want China as a potential shield against US sanctions and even motions at the UN Security Council? What other options does Iran have? To negotiate a new JCPOA with Washington, one which the US would at any time once more renege on? Besides, it should be known to all by now that the nuclear issue is not really why Washington is sanctioning the Islamic Republic.

The PRC is viewed in the West as a threat both because of its rising economic power, and more recently because of its potential political power, poised to challenge Washington’s hegemony. Crude accusations of Chinese imperialism and false expressions of “worry” for poor Asian and African countries aside, the West is worried because China’s entry into the Middle East would enhance Beijing’s position not only in West Asia, but in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well. For China, Iran could very well be a gateway into the Middle East, as it has historically also been. Iran has connections in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where China has up until recently been absent, and their partnership could flourish as Iraq and Syria will rebuild their countries after decades of US imposed wars. The Islamic Republic can introduce lucrative projects to the Chinese who may not know the region quite well.

All this gives Washington clear reason to be annoyed since it would make the US sanctions rather useless. But Washington also knows that the implications of this potential deal are far greater than just helping Iran.

Washington knows that its position in the Middle East as the sole dominant power alongside Israel is being challenged by Russia, Iran and now China as well. The Zionist axis has lost the struggle for Syria and is desperately clinging onto the oil fields in the eastern parts of the country, they have lost in Iraq as Baghdad wants them out, and they will lose elsewhere too. Even Turkey – a NATO ally – is a loose cannon that Washington cannot trust, especially since Ankara has repeatedly refused to follow Washington’s orders. This leaves Washington with the vassal reactionary monarchies in the Persian Gulf and Israel as the only reliable “friends” of Washington’s. The birth of an alliance/united front with a common cause against the Zionist empire could potentially lead to an East-West divide situation not so different from the Cold War in Europe.

Personally, I welcome it. A bipolar balance in the region would deter Washington further from regime change attempts. The only reason for Washington’s audacity to start the Syrian and Iraqi wars were because of the power vacuum left after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – without a counter-weight against it, Washington has been free to do as it pleases in the region for the past 3 decades.

Necessity will drive China and Iran to deepen relations. Both share grievances against the US and its vassals, both are being threatened in their own regions by Washington and together with the Russian Federation, they can finally bring back a balance of power in the world. When it is all said and done, let’s see what these two ancient Asian cultures can achieve together.

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