ISIS TERRORISTS ATTACK SYRIAN ARMY NEAR AL-SUKHNA

South Front

Video here

About 2 dozen Turkish-backed militants have been killed or wounded in a recent series of clashes in northern Syria. 14 of them were reportedly killed in a failed attack on positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Kubrlik overnight on May 17 and up to 10 were killed or injured in clashes near Hazwan on May 15. Reacting to its own failures, Turkish-backed forces carried out a series of mortar and artillery strikes on SDF positions near Ayn Issa, Tall Tamr and Tall Unayb on May 16, May 17 and early on May 18.

Firefights and artillery duels between Turkish-backed forces and the SDF regularly erupt in this part of Syria. However, both sides do not conduct large-scale offensive operations against each other and despite the violations the ceasefire regime formally remains in force.

On May 17, seven former ISIS members fled the SDF-controlled camp of al-Hawl in the province of al-Hasakah, which holds a large number of the former ISIS fighters and their families. Following the incident, SDF security forces in the area were placed on a high alert. The search operation has been ongoing. Some pro-Kurdish sources claim that the fleeing terrorists have been already detained, but these calms remain unconfirmed. This is the second security incident in al-Hawl in less than 10 days. On May 13, SDF security forces foiled a plot of ISIS wives to set the camp on fire and flee to Turkey.

Early on May 18 reports appeared that a drone strike allegedly struck the area near a convoy of the Syrian Army in the district of Maadan in Raqqa province. Several Syrian Army soldiers were reportedly wounded. It remains unclear who was behind the attack, but the two main suspects are Turkey and the US-led coalition.

On May 17, US armoured vehicles chased in the province of al-Hasakah a Russian military convoy with 150 tones of humanitarian aid being sent to civilians in northeastern Syria, but were unable to stop it.

A firefight between the Syrian Army and ISIS members erupted near the town of al-Sukhna, on the Homs-Deir Ezzor highway. According to reports, ISIS cells tried to cut off the road, but were forced to retreat. Regular attacks by ISIS cells operating in the desert area remain a notable security threat for government forces.

At the same time, the situation in Greater Idlib once again de-escalated. After failing to capture Tanjarah in northwestern Hama last week, al-Qaeda-linked groups reduced their activity on the frontline. Despite this, it’s highly likely that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies will conduct more limited attempts to expand their zone of control in southern Idlib and western Hama in the coming weeks.

Related

On Israel’s Plans to Annex parts of the West Bank

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian Authority’s agreements with Israel and the United States will be “completely cancelled” if Israel annexes the occupied West Bank.

Video Here

نصرنا لن يهتزّ… وكلّ ما نحتاجه المزيد من الصمود

د. جمال شهاب المحسن

سورية رئيساً وقيادة وجيشاً وشعباً، ومع حلفائها حقّقت نصراً مؤزراً بمواجهة الحرب الكونية التي تُشنُّ عليها منذ أكثر من تسع سنوات، ومسار هذا النصر الكبير لن يهتزّ بالحملاتِ السياسية والنفسيةِ ولا بالعقوباتِ الاقتصاديةِ التي تُفرضُ على سورية وعلى حلفائها، وكل ما نحتاجه هو المزيد من الصمود. وهذا ما حرص أمين عام حزب الله سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله على تأكيده في ذكرى استشهاد القائد السيد مصطفى بدر الدين.

لقد قارب السيد نصرالله في كلمته المسألة السورية منذ بداياتها والمراحل التي مرّت بها، ناسفاً كلّ الأباطيل والأقاويل والترّهات، ومؤكداً وحدة محور المقاومة وتماسكه وتمسّكه بتعزيز انتصارات سورية القلعة الصامدة بوجه المشاريع الأميركية ـ الصهيونية، ومشدّداً على أن سورية استطاعت أن تنتصر في الحرب بفضل صمود قيادتها وجيشها وشعبها وثبات حلفائها إلى جانبها، ولافتاً إلى أن كل الكلام عن تخلّي الحلفاء عنها هو مجرد أحلام ولا أساس له من الصحة.

وقوف محور المقاومة إلى جانب سورية هدفه الحفاظ على استقلالها وسيادتها ودعم قراراتها وثباتها في وجه مخططات الهيمنة الأميركية «الإسرائيلية»، هذا ما شدّد عليه السيد، محذّراً قادة العدو «الإسرائيلي» من أي حماقةٍ أو خطأ في الحساباتِ، وموضحاً أنه في عام 2011 بدأ المخطط الأميركي ـ «الإسرائيلي» ـ السعودي التآمري لاستهداف سورية نظراً لموقعها في الصراع مع العدو «الإسرائيلي» وموقفها من القضية الفلسطينية، والهدف الأساسي كان إضعافها ودفعها للتخلي عن فلسطين والجولان السوري المحتلّ.

أما عن العلاقة السورية اللبنانية، فلا يجوز أن يستمر الوضع القائم مع سورية على ما هو عليه بسبب عداوات ورهانات سياسية خاسرة وخاطئة عند عدد من القوى السياسية اللبنانية، لذا أكد السيد أن ترتيب هذا الوضع يفتح باباً مهماً جداً للوضع الاقتصادي اللبناني، داعياً إلى المسارعة في ترتيب العلاقة مع سورية لفتح الحدود والمعابر وإحياء القطاعات الإنتاجية، خصوصاً أنّ هناك جهوزية سورية بدرجة عالية، في حين أنّ التعطيل والتأخير والمماطلة هي عند الجانب اللبناني، علماً أنّ مَن يفكر بمصلحة الشعب اللبناني يجب أن يتجاوز الاعتبارات الدولية والاقليمية لأنها لن تُطعم اللبنانيين خبزاً .

في كلّ إطلالة لسماحة السيد حسن نصرالله، يتجلّى بوضوح بأنّه صورة لكلامه الصادق المؤمن بالله وشعبه وقضايا أمّته، فهو يقاوم من أجل قضية عادلة ورسالة.. إنه قائد تاريخي بإمتياز.

*إعلامي وباحث في علم الإجتماع السياسي

“Truth in America R.I.P.”: In America there is only Official Truth, and It’s a Lie.

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Source

In “freedom and democracy” America there is only official truth, and it is a lie.  A person or website that speaks real truth is shunted aside as a “conspiracy theorist,” “Russian agent,” “racist,” “anti-semite,” or other such name with the purpose of discrediting the message and the messenger.  

For example, when I told the truth that Russiagate was a hoax, which it has proved to be, an anonymous website, possibly a CIA or NATO operation called “PropOrNot,” included this website among its fake list of 200 “Russian agents/dupes.”  The Washington Post, a believed long-time CIA asset, hyped the PropOrNot revelation as if it were the truth.  With “Russiagate” in full hype, the purpose was to scare readers away from those of us who were exposing the hoax.

When in a book review of one of David Irving’s World War II histories I reported his finding that many Jews were killed by Nazis, but that the holocaust that took place was different from the official story, Zionist agents at Wikipedia put into my biography that I am a “holocaust denier.”  Simply reporting a historian’s findings in a book review was all it took to be labeled with a name that in Europe can mean a prison sentence. Does this mean I cannot risk ever again traveling to Europe where Zionists on the basis of this spurious claim could have me arrested?

Because I investigated the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, interviewed many of the survivors, and reported the factual story, I was branded an “anti-semite.” 

Because I reported conclusions of scientists, architects, and engineers about 9/11, I became a “conspiracy theorist.”  In other words, in America today any dissent or merely the reporting of dissent, no matter how factual, is not tolerated.

The way those with agendas control the explanations is by shouting down those who provide objective accounts.  Social media is part of the censorship. Explanations out of step with official ones are labeled “abusive,” and in “violation of community standards.”  In other words, truth is unacceptble. Two weeks ago the Unz Review, a widely read website with dissenting views was kicked off of Facebook for being in violation of official opinion.  The same thing happened to Southfront.

Everyone who uses social media is by their use supporting censorship. Facebook imposes fascist censorship in order to protect official explanations.  The presstitutes and universities do the same.  In America truth has lost its value.

Even a public health threat like coronavirus is politicized.  One would think that there would be an interest in accurate information is order to know what steps to take and which treatments offer promise.  But that is not the case. If you are a Democrat you want the economy kept closed in hopes that a bad economy with people out of work and small businesses ruined will defeat Trump in the election.  If you are a Republican you want the economy reopened ready or not in order to boost Trump’s reelection chances.  Instead, attention should be focused on how to prepare for a successful reopening that can be sustained and not result in a flood of new cases and a second closedown as China has had to do.

If you are Big Pharma, NIH, CDC, or the research professionals dependent on grants from these sources, you want a vaccine, not a cure.  This means a long wait, assuming an effective and safe vaccine is possible.  If you are a doctor involved in treating Covid-19 patients, you want a cure or a treatment that prevents the progress of the disease.  The hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, and intravenous vitamin C treatments, which have proved to be effective, are  badmouthed by Big Pharma and its minions.  In other words, the profit agenda over-rides health care and the saving of lives.  There are reports that Facebook censures Covid-19 reporting that does not support the line that Dr. Fauci of NIH has taken. 

The FDA is clearing the way for Gilead’s Remdesivir on the back of claims that HCQ, in safe use for decades, causes heart attacks.  It is all about money.  There are no profits for Big Pharma or a chance for patents for Dr. Fauci unless inexpensive HCQ, zinc, and Vitamin C can be sidelined.  

The race for a vaccine is on as everyone wants the profits from the patent.  Instead, effort should go into testing and refining what appear to be cures or at least treatments that prevent the virus’ progression.  A vaccine might be iffy, and if the process is rushed people could be in danger from the vaccine as well as from the virus.  

Covid-19 is now a big business for the pharmaceutical corporations, for bankruptcy lawyers, for fat cats who can buy up bankrupted businesses, and for labor service providers who will hire laid-off workers and lease them back to the firms that laid them off for a fee less than the cost to the firms of full-time employees.  Many interests will be served but not that of the public.

Australia: The “Building 7” of the COVID 19 Pandemic

By David Macilwain

Source

This article was first published on American Herald Tribune on April 26, 2020. A must read!

coronavirus australia 50ae5

Seven hours after the Twin Towers came down, and before the transfixed and terrified New Yorkers had any idea who or why jet liners had flown into them, the answer to this question appeared on TV screens to those lucky enough to notice it. Despite this vital clue as to how it was that a bunch of jihadis with box cutters could demolish those monoliths of the American Empire, the mayhem loosed upon the world by the Bush and Cheney regime soon stifled any dissenting opinions.

Subsequently the grim task of sorting through thousands of tonnes of rubble looking for clues and body parts focussed local attention exclusively on the “Ground Zero” into which the two towers had miraculously collapsed. No-one noticed what was happening just a block away, as the remains of WTC7 were – presumably – removed, just as they didn’t seem to have really noticed the 50 storey building when it was standing, or ever found out what went on in it.

Work on a new WTC7 began in 2002 and the replacement was opened in 2006, so there are no more reminders of the astonishing collapse of Building 7. The official investigation didn’t even examine the collapse till 2008, when it rapidly concluded that WTC7 was the first such building in the world to collapse due to fire. Following a four year computer study by Architects and Engineers for Truth however, this was shown to be false, though the report released only in March this year, found that fire could not have been responsible, without stating their clear conclusion and the only one possible – that someone pulled the plug on Building 7.

Long before this of course, “conspiracy theorists” had latched onto the freefall collapse of WTC7, for the simple reason that it was never hit by a plane. The significance of this “anomaly” was not so much on why Building 7 collapsed anyway, but in what it suggested about the Twin Towers. If WTC 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition – as it so clearly was, then could this also be the explanation for the sudden and unexpected collapse of the North Tower at a time when the fire started by the jet fuel in the upper sections showed some sign of abating? This then followed in timely fashion by the remarkably similar collapse of the South Tower.

Once this unthinkable possibility is entertained, and the collapse of the towers closely observed, the tell-tale signs of a controlled demolition are immediately apparent along with the apparent close monitoring of the operation – such that an initial list in one tower is corrected and it falls perfectly into its own footprint. As an illustration of what a well organized controlled demolition looks like, this example from Frankfurt is instructive.

While no doubt now remains amongst the cognoscenti that the demolition of the Three Towers was the mother of all false flag operations, enabling two decades of the Empire’s “War on Terror”, the consequences of recognizing this crime against humanity as an “inside job” are almost beyond belief; everything claimed by the NATO powers as a pretext for offensive or pre-emptive action against other states must be questioned, with the default response being disbelief until proven otherwise.

And with each subsequent suspect event that is exposed as a false flag or act of cyber-warfare, the true nature of past events is confirmed; this is their modus-operandi, and has been for decades.

The corollary of this chain of crimes, and the compounding chain of disinformation that sustains it, is that those who believe the first great lie – in most cases the 9/11 lie – have their false belief reinforced by every subsequent operation, and to the point where they are prepared to believe almost anything. Given that these operations are well planned by their perpetrators, whose understanding of human psychology and manipulation guides their presentation to the target audience, the dumbfounding of the population now enables whatever they deem necessary.

As a prime example of such manipulative operations, it’s hard not to come back to the so-called “Salisbury Poisoning” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, where practically nothing the UK government claimed and that media broadcast was true or verifiable. All we know is that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice that weekend, and that Dawn Sturgess died several months later; everything else is hearsay based on the statements of categorically untrustworthy agencies, agents and authorities.

Removing the Bench March 23 2018 03181

*(23 March 2018: army officers in protective suits remove the bench where Sergi and Yulia Skripal were found. Credit: Will Oliver/EPA)

It may take a while for this to sink in – because we were told so much about the Skripals and the GRU agents, and we saw the hundreds of PPE-wearing men “cleaning up” – and tearing up – Salisbury town center; they must have been doing something! And we all heard how the victims of the Russian Novichok nerve agent finally recovered thanks to the dedicated work of hospital staff, under instruction from advisors from nearby Porton Down.

Porton Down of course used to be the UK’s chemical and biological weapons development center, back in the ‘50s testing Sarin on human subjects who thought they were trialing a cure for the common – Coronavirus – cold. More recently Porton Down was closely involved in Britain’s operation to fight the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, coincidentally led by the now-renowned Colonel Alison McCourt. It is unwise to dismiss such coincidences.

As the Coronavirus 19 outbreak becomes increasingly politicized, with the US openly accusing China of allowing the virus to escape from the Wuhan facility, or even doing so intentionally, it’s worth remembering Porton Down’s history and questioning its current activities – if only because nobody does! Although as a class 4 lab it is now similarly involved in testing for the presence of COVID 19 in patient samples, its history suggests no information would ever be forthcoming, just as it wasn’t about Porton Down’s possession of Novichok samples in March 2018.

Besides, no-one is really questioning that there is a very serious outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the UK, even if death and case statistics are unreliable and dishonestly presented. Despite the overwhelming number of deaths being in the “old and sick” part of the population, the media constantly picks out the unrepresentative and unusual cases of younger and apparently healthy people who for some reason have succumbed to the virus.  The object of this disinformation initiative is to support the false idea that “we are all at risk” – and so must all follow the isolation guidelines.

But it is not on the UK’s trials that I want to focus. Rather it is on the “Building 7” of the COVID 19 Pandemic – Australia.

The actions taken by the Australian government on the pretext of preventing the spread and devastation of the novel Coronavirus mimic closely those taken by European countries fighting the outbreak – the unprecedented and massive public expenditure – $320 Billion, to support the beleaguered economy and some of those thrown out of work by the collapse of the “non-essential” hospitality and tourist related industries; the sudden and draconian measures to restrict social contacts and viral transmission involving a lockdown for an unspecified period of time, and the accompanying imposition of on-the-spot fines of thousands of dollars for “resisters”; and the suspension of normal Parliamentary process and any democratic oversight of these new laws.

What we have is tantamount to Martial law, with government by decree. All of which would arguably be justifiable in the face of escalating deaths and collapsing health systems, as has happened in Italy, France, Spain and the UK – and the US.

But just as there was no jet plane to blame for the sudden collapse of World Trade Center 7, there is no COVID 19 Pandemic to blame for the collapsing of the Australian economy, and all the excess deaths that will result from the millions of jobs lost, escalation of domestic violence and suicides, and deaths of people too afraid to go to the doctor or hospital for fear of catching the Virus.

In fact there isn’t even an epidemic of the Coronavirus in Australia, with a total death toll just one tenth of the daily deaths in New York or the UK or Italy. The daily addition to diagnosed cases of COVID 19 is now in single figures, with little if any evidence of community transmission unrelated to the initial surge in numbers that came with the debouchment to all states of Australia of infected passengers from the Ruby Princess, and the unregulated entry of Australians returning from the US and Italy before the borders were closed.

A fortnight ago it was announced that from a total of 6335 cases of infection in the whole of Australia, 238 were in hospital, of whom 81 were in ICUs, and just 35 on ventilators. The 61 fatalities then has now risen to 80, with a typical age structure dominated by the over 70s with co-morbidities. 20 of these fatalities came from the cruise ship. New cases are now in single figures, while over 5000 are said to have recovered, most evidently without any treatment; unlike in some countries, Hydroxychloroquine has not been approved until very recently and has been reported only adversely, as something Donald Trump – bless his heart – is promoting.

Adding to the feeling that the Australian government has another agenda is its dogged pursuit of a surveillance app to enable contact tracing of COVID 19 – or any other infectious agent – which Australians are being encouraged to install on their mobile phones. Their natural reluctance and residual distrust of the government will be overcome by the carrot and stick, as we are told that if everyone installs the App, life will be able to return to the new normal sooner. Those who refuse to do so will be restricted, and pilloried by the compliant and fearful masses, who have already shown a worrying willingness to dob in lock-down resisters. Dobbing in is a very un-Australian thing to do, so this tradition is another thing turned upside down by the Virus response.

While there is now much talk of when the lock-down may be eased or finally lifted, Government ministers are unyielding and suggest that just one new case of infection that results from such loosening could explode into a whole new epidemic, and so we must wait longer while a manhunt continues for the secretive killer, or a vaccine is proven. (that the population has been prevented from acquiring any resistance to a second outbreak does give this claim some credibility however) So the social lock down remains, despite moves to lift it in countries really affected by the Pandemic, and despite the collapsing of our economy and society around our ears.

It looks rather as if this New Normal was part of the 2020 Vision, and something that even George Orwell could not have imagined. The threat of a “second wave” is now the basis for a complete cessation of flights into and out of Australia for at least another year. Those seeking to escape from this pleasant but stultifying and insular existence will be increasingly ostracised, like the poor Chinese Australians attacked by strangers on the street and told to “go home”.

These despicable and racist attacks are the natural result of the Government’s unjustified and incendiary attacks on China, and attempts to hold it responsible for the crisis they themselves have created. You may draw your own conclusions as to what lies behind this physical and verbal assault on our most important and vital trading partner, as well as on the true origins of SARS-CoV-2.

I’ve already drawn mine from the rubble of Building 7, and another event in New York last October which involved Australia’s Pandemic preparedness overseer Jane Halton. But just like WTC 7, Event 201 has now been covered over, reborn as “COVID 19”.

 

 

ماذا يجري على الخطّ السوريّ الروسيّ الإيرانيّ التركيّ؟

د. حكم أمهز ـ طهران

إضافة إلى ما يُنشر في وسائل الإعلام، ومع التحفّظ على بعض ما يُنشر، فإنّ هناك حركة سياسية مترابطة تجري في المنطقة، منها ما هو معلن، ومنها ما هو غير معلن، تركّز بشكل أساس على إيجاد تسوية للأزمة في سورية، مستغلة تفشي فيروس كورونا وتداعياته الاقتصادية على الولايات المتحدة والدول الأخرى المعنية بالأزمة السورية.

اللاعب التركي على الساحة السورية أبلغ الروسي، حسب مصادر دبلوماسية، أنه مستعدّ للسير “في أيّ آلية” تحفظ حدوده الجنوبية، وسحب قسم كبير من قواته من الشمال السوري، مؤكداً على وحدة الأراضي السورية وأمنها واستقرارها. وقد أبلغ التركي الروسي أيضاً بأنّ فاتورة وجود قواته في سورية باتت مكلفة في ظلّ أزمة كورونا والتداعيات الاقتصادية التي خلّفتها.

يُضاف الى ذلك شحّ المساعدات الخليجية والدولية للاجئين السوريين على الأراضي التركية حيث بات العبء الأكبر من فاتورة وجودهم على أنقرة.

كذلك أعرب التركي عن الاستعداد لتنفيذ اتفاقية سوتشي المتعلقة بنزع الأسلحة الثقيلة من الجماعات المسلحة في إدلب.

الروسي بدوره يعاني من كلفة وجود قواته في سورية، ويرى أنه بات عليه أن يسحب الجزء الأكبر من قواته من سورية بسبب الكلفة الباهظة لهذا الأمر في ظلّ أزمة كورونا وتدهور الأوضاع الاقتصادية، إلا أنه يبحث مع الحكومة السورية، في آليات إعادة اللاجئين من تركيا؛ لتأمين سحب هذا الجزء دون أيّ إشكالات، لذا فهو يتحفّظ على بعض النقاط في مسار هذه الآليات، أبرزها تأخر دمشق في الردّ على اللوائح المرسلة للاجئين، ومصدر هذا التحفّظ؛ انزعاج المبعوث الأممي الى سورية “غير بدرسون” الذي يعتبر انّ مدة شهر للردّ على اللوائح، طويلة ولا بدّ من تقصيرها وهذا ما يؤيده بها الجانب الروسي، خاصة أنّ تركيا باتت تئنّ من ثقل اللاجئين بعد توقف المساعدات لها أو شحّها من الدول الخليجية أو الغربية.

الأميركي وهو اللاعب الأخر على الساحة السورية، ابلغ بدوره الجانب الروسي، بأنه لن يبقى في سورية، لانّ النفط لم يعد مصدر أهميّة له، وهو يعاني من أزمة تفشي الفيروس على كاهل الاقتصاد الأميركي، وبالتالي هو مستعدّ كما أبلغ الروسي، للخروج منها، إن وُجدت تسوية تحفظ مصالحه هناك.

موسكو التي تعتبر نفسها الراعي السياسي للعملية السياسية في سورية على المستوى العالمي، تعتبر أن الفرصة الآن مؤاتية، لإيجاد تسوية، وفقاً للمعطيات التالية والكلام للمصدر الدبلوماسي:

1- تركيا في أزمة كورونا وتدهور الوضع الاقتصادي، وترزح تحت عبء حِمل اللاجئين السوريين، وشح المساعدات..

2- إدارة ترامب تعاني مأزق الفشل في إدارة أزمة كورونا، وهو يبحث عن مخارج لها تحقق له الفوز بولاية ثانية، بعيداً عن مغامرات قد تكلفه أكثر. ويرى الروسي أنه بوجود ترامب الآن إمكانية إيجاد تسوية أمر ممكن بعد أن تبلّغ منه الاستعداد للانسحاب من سورية، لكن في حال أتى رئيس آخر في تشرين المقبل الى أميركا فإنه لا يعلم ماذا سيكون موقفه من هذه القضية.

3- الكيان الصهيوني أيضاً ووفقاً للرؤية الروسية، يعاني أزمة سياسية تتعلق بتشكيل الحكومة وإمكانية الوصول الى انتخابات رابعة للكنيست في ظل الانقسامات السياسية، فضلاً عن التهديدات القضائية التي تلاحق نتنياهو في قضايا الفساد وخيانة الأمانة وصولاً الى ازمة كورونا.

الجانب الإيراني الذي يعتبر نفسه أمّ الصبي في أمن واستقرار المنطقة، دخل على الخط لمعالجة أزمات الخلافات بين هذه القوى، وزار وزير الخارجية محمد جواد ظريف دمشق قبل فترة قصيرة واقترح عقد اجتماعات افتراضية على مستوى وزراء خارجية تركيا وإيران وروسيا، الا انّ الاتصالات الأولية لم تؤدّ إلى نتائج، لذا اقترح الإيراني توسيع قنوات الاتصال، لتتعدى التنسيق الأمني، بين أنقرة ودمشق في سياق مسار أستانة وهو ما سيحظى بدعم روسي مؤكد. مع الإشارة الى انّ الحكومة السورية كانت قد أعلنت قبل أشهر عن حصول لقاءات ثنائية برعاية روسية بين رئيس الاستخبارات التركية هاكان فيدان ورئيس مكتب الأمن الوطني السوري اللواء علي مملوك.

Diab Congratulates Lebanese on Road Map for Managing Public Finances

Source

Capture

Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday congratulated the Lebanese people on the first-time complete financial plan freshly approved by the government, and which includes ” a clear road map for managing public finances.”

Following is the Prime Minister’s address, announcing the government’s financial plan:

“Congratulations to Lebanon!

Yes … with full confidence, I can announce to the Lebanese that the State has in its possession, for the first time in history, a complete and integrated financial plan, which puts an end to floundering financial policies that brought the country to the current state of collapse.

Congratulations to Lebanon!

The country has a clear road map for managing public finances.

Today, I can say that we are on the right path to get Lebanon out of its deep financial crisis.

The road map for fiscal consolidation comes days after the State’s decision to recuperate the mobile phone sector, to demonstrate that the State can be a successful manager and not necessarily a failed administration.

Dear fellow Lebanese,

Lebanon is not going through ordinary or sporadic circumstances.

A whole bunch of accumulated and recent crises have combined in weeks, putting an additional strain on the country and on the Lebanese people.

The current government came out of the ordinary and is facing an unfamiliar situation in various fields and at all levels.

Dear fellow Lebanese,

Since October 17, when the Lebanese revolted against corruption, it became clear that the country’s problem lies in the fact that corruption has become a state within the State, and that it is rampant and deeply-rooted in the State institutions.

It also became clear that the State was on the brink of total collapse, that the financial reality is based on unrealistic figures, and that the stability of the Lebanese pound exchange rate is an illusion we live and believe in.

While the government was groping its way toward power, taking a historical decision to stop paying the debts and relevant interest rates, in preparation for addressing the country’s financial situation, Coronavirus pandemic took priority nationwide, and drained a lot of effort and capabilities.

Nevertheless, the government, which handled the epidemic very carefully and acknowledged its risks, did not stop working on the implementation of its ministerial program.

In our ministerial statement, we committed ourselves to a programme of action that includes the submission 26 reform projects within a hundred days of gaining confidence. To date, we have completed 14 bills, and 3 other bills will be finalized within days. The remaining eight projects should be completed within the set deadline.

The most prominent draft laws that we have submitted relate to banking secrecy and the suspension of legal and judicial deadlines. The government engages through the Ministry of Justice in examining proposals and draft laws related to fighting corruption and to the independence of the judiciary, which are currently under consideration by parliamentary committees.

In parallel, the government has been working extensively to prepare the general framework of the financial reform plan in the context of preparing Lebanon’s comprehensive economic plan.

However, unfortunately, the social crisis exacerbates, and pushes the Lebanese to express their anger due to difficult social and living conditions, especially in light of the steadily rising prices significantly linked to the increase in US dollar exchange rate. The Central Bank of Lebanon, which is responsible for the stability of the national currency, is supposed to take measures aiming at controlling the situation.

No sane person can blame people for their cry of social pain. But no sane person can also accept the destruction of property; no sane person can be convinced that riots are spontaneous and do not carry political goals. Some of this riot is organized, destroys people’s property, increases Lebanese losses, and tarnishes the image of Lebanese regions.

Democratic expression is one thing, but chaos, riots, attacks on military and security forces, and damage to public and private property are something else, having nothing to do with hunger or democracy.

I am also afraid that such practices will set back the measures by which we have succeeded in preventing the spread of Coronavirus epidemic; we are aware that a second wave of this epidemic may be more widespread.

In the beginning of this week, we had launched our plan to gradually reopen the country on methodological and scientific grounds. Next Monday, we will start the second phase, but I call on citizens to fully comply and adhere to the necessary preventive measures. The dangers of partly lifting the lockdown can take us back to the same boat we were on a few weeks ago because we are still in the eye of the storm. We have used a robust prediction model to estimate the number of infections in the coming months.

If we fully comply with the plan and follow preventive measures, the second wave, predicted in July, is expected to be less than the first wave that started last March.

However, if we partially comply, the second wave will be 35% higher than the first one and the total percentage of infected persons will be 56% higher than the first wave. I repeat: it will be much higher than the first wave. Covid-19 features make it reappear repeatedly and with renewed strength, causing further infections, exhausting our healthcare system and leading to more deaths. This has prompted many countries to re-impose lockdowns after reopening.

We do not want this epidemic to spread again and claim the lives of our loved ones. We were very effective in containing the first wave, which resulted in saving many lives. Thus, the mortality rate in Lebanon is much lower compared to many other countries.

The countries of the world are currently at different levels of the epidemic, which indicates that the global crisis will be long.

We are not in the final stages of the Covid-19 crisis and we will be living with it for a long time. I urge you all not to waste our sacrifices and accomplishments. Let us all stay on the right track of the plan in a conscious, vigilant and careful manner. If some act irresponsibly and indifferently, this will have catastrophic consequences for the whole society; therefore, everyone is responsible to abide by prevention and protection guidelines.

Dear fellow Lebanese,

Today, the Council of Ministers has voted unanimously on the adoption of the economic and financial plan that will put Lebanon on the right path towards financial and economic rescue. This plan is based on six main interrelated components: financial, economic, banking, fiscal, social and development protection.

We had submitted this plan for the first time before the Cabinet on April 6, 2020 and after 24 days, we came up with this formula.

We have discussed this plan in cabinet meetings, and with many economic and financial experts, trade unions, representatives of various economic and industrial sectors, academic institutions and civil society organizations. Those meetings and discussions resulted in a comprehensive and credible plan for all the Lebanese people to embrace and support.

I am very proud of the exceptional minds, talents and experiences of all Lebanese, who have devoted their time and efforts to contributing to their country’s recovery by producing this plan. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Now, based on this plan, we can build the Lebanon of tomorrow.

We will proceed with requesting a program from the International Monetary Fund, formalizing our negotiations with Eurobond creditors and moving forward, thereby reducing the debt burden on our citizens and presenting our vision for an economic recovery scheme to our international friends, partners and investors at home and abroad.

I call on all Lebanese to consider this day as a turning point for a better future for our country. The road ahead will not be easy, but our determination and optimism will help us overcome our difficulties as we look to better days ahead. If we all unite, we will definitely reach the desired success in the future.

The plan is based on the necessity of starting immediately with the implementation of the long-awaited reforms at the level of the State, administration, financial policy, financial sector, Central Bank, current account, and balance of payments. The plan has set goals over a period of five years, namely:

Current account deficit recedes to 5.6 percent; external financial support exceeding  $ 10 billion in addition to Cedre conference funds; positive growth restored as of 2022; direct and indirect support to needy categories; implementation of relevant social programs.

The program also aims to restore the initial public finance surplus by 2024, structuring the sovereign debt portfolio and reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to less than 100 percent; this will protect Lebanon against future shocks and fluctuations.

The plan also aims to restructure the banking and financial sectors to allow the relaunching of the economy, generate good and sustainable job opportunities and launch very promising economic sectors that are in line with the high capabilities of the Lebanese people.

The plan was built on foundations that allow Lebanon to obtain the required international support in terms of relaunching economy, recapitalizing banks and institutions as well as securing the long-awaited necessary safety nets and infrastructure to lift most of the Lebanese out of poverty and destitution.

In terms of public finance, we will undertake basic reforms, such as the electricity sector, the end-of-service scheme and indemnities as well as fair and progressive taxation that does not affect work and production. The issue of recovering stolen funds will receive a major portion of the government’s work to compensate the Lebanese for the crimes committed against them.

The plan includes structural reforms in all areas of the economy to create jobs and secure a workable environment, away from corruption and its consequences.

The plan also includes measures that allow for greater productivity and competitiveness of our economy.

As for the banking sector, the plan aims to protect depositors’ money, strengthen and restructure banks so that they can secure people’s money and basic services for the economy, with the Central Bank to refocus on its core business, that is, to preserve economic, financial and monetary stability.

There are huge losses in the system, and we must cooperate with the Central bank and commercial banks in affording them, in order for us to restart our economy quickly. We will seek to absorb losses fairly, that is, without any burdens on those who have not benefited from past policies.

We are seeking a contribution from extremely high interest rates that were given, from those who reaped profits from financial engineering, and also from those who broke the laws and have stolen public funds.

It is also possible to rely in part on banking institutions’ capitals and funds abroad, on the properties they own, on Central Bank’s assets and other assets.

We will continue to examine every possible venue to relieve the citizen and restore prosperity as soon as possible, in a society that rejects corruption, which duly holds accountable those responsible, and where the spirit of solidarity and patriotism grows.

Dear fellow Lebanese,

Today we are at an important and historical crossroads. Therefore, Lebanon, the country to which we belong voluntarily and lovingly, needs all of us.

This period has proven that the Lebanese people cannot give up their homeland; they are insisting on returning to Lebanon from all over the world because they are now convinced that Lebanon is their true refuge. Here is their big home, and here is their big family.

Believe me, we cannot turn our back on our homeland. We cannot give it up.

Lebanon needs every effort today, every support, every help.

I address my appeal to all Lebanese, residents and expatriates. To every Lebanese who is able to help his compatriots. I know very well your confidence in us and your bet on us.

Do not leave your family in this difficult ordeal.

I call on Lebanese residents to support each other. To cooperate, to stand together and to protect each other.

I address the expatriates, asking them to contribute to the support of their families and relatives, as they always do, and to stand by their country, as they have always done throughout history.

Yes, we are in a crisis. However, I am confident that we will overcome it, that we will succeed and that we will emerge from this trial more solid and with more national cohesion among all Lebanese, residents and expatriates.

Dear fellow Lebanese,

Today we can build together a new Lebanon, according to your dreams and expectations.

Dear Lebanese around the world,

Do not forget your country

Long live Lebanon ——-Grand Serail Press Office

Source: NNA

Related

BRI-LED REGIONALIZATION ROLLS ON AS GWADAR PORT OPENS AFGHAN TRADE TO THE WORLD

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

29 APRIL 2020

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated.

The speculative talk about the coronavirus supposedly signaling the impending end of globalization was thrown into doubt last week after Gwadar Port was opened to Afghanistan. That facility is the terminal point of the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be used to facilitate trade with the South Asian state’s landlocked neighbor, according to the announcement by Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser for commerce and investment to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He also said that “16,000 MT of diamonium phosphate and World Food Programme cargo of 500,000 MT of wheat for Afghanistan will arrive next month” and that “Ships from China will also offload at Gwadar.” This development is remarkable in more ways than one and thus deserves to be analyzed a bit more in depth in order for the reader to better understand its grand strategic significance in the context of contemporary geopolitics.

First off, it’s especially important that war-torn Afghanistan will receive much-needed aid through this port. Those supplies will help its people better survive the hardships that they’ve been experiencing for decades already, and they come at a crucial time when the country is struggling to counter COVID-19. Not only could Gwadar become a humanitarian lifeline for Afghanistan, but also an economic one too since it opens up its trade to the rest of the world and can therefore help it rebuild after the war finally ends.

The very fact that CPEC is expanding along the northern vector suggests that a branch corridor prospectively called N-CPEC+ could enter into fruition in the future if the project expands into the Central Asian Republics and even further afield to Russia, thus creating a new North-South connectivity corridor in the Eurasian Heartland. Even in the event that the aforementioned scenario doesn’t unfold right way, it’s still noteworthy that BRI’s flagship project is strengthening regionalization between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This objective observation powerfully refutes the rumors that globalization is destined to die due to the consequences of the world’s uncoordinated lockdowns in response to COVID-19. There will always be a need for countries to import whatever they can’t make at home and export the wares that they produce abroad, which in the Afghan context refers to agricultural imports and prospective mineral exports via CPEC. The present lockdowns will inevitably end, after which globalization will resume, bolstered by regionalization.

Regionalization and globalization are two sides of the same coin since they both involve international trade, albeit to differing geographic extents made obvious by their names. There’s some credence to the claims that regionalization will benefit more in the short term than globalization, though the success of regionalization would strengthen globalization through the creation of more consolidated economic spaces. In the present example, CPEC brings China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan closer together, thus boosting trade between all three.

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, as was earlier explained, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated. Both interconnected trends are pivotal to the world’s economic recovery, and seeing as how they’re being championed by China, it can be said that the People’s Republic is taking the leading role in helping humanity return back to normal.

With all of this in mind, while casual observers might have dismissed the opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan as an unimportant event compared to everything else going on in the world nowadays (if they were even aware of it in the first place, that is), it’s actually one of the most significant non-health-related developments of the year. China showed that its desire to create a Community of Common Destiny through BRI hasn’t slowed down as a result of the virus, which speaks to its commitment to carry through with this noble vision no matter what.

واشنطن تخسر آخر رهاناتها الاستراتيجيّة

ناصر قنديل

ربما يكون الكثيرون على اعتقاد بأن الاحتباس الذي شهده سوق النفط الآجل في أميركا حالة عابرة، وربما بنى عليه الكثيرون بالمقابل آمالاً بانهيار اقتصادي شامل في أميركا، وكل من الاستنتاجين على قدر عالٍ من التسرع، وبعيد عن فهم حقيقة ما جرى وأبعاده وخلفياته، فالمتفق عليه هو أن الاحتباس في السوق ناجم عن بلوغ موعد البيع الآجل لشهر أيار موعد نهاية عمليات البيع في 20 نيسان، بينما لا تزال كميات ضخمة منه غير مبيعة، بحساب طاقة الإنتاج، والسبب عدم وجود دورة اقتصادية قادرة على الاستيعاب، وإشباع مراكز التخزين بفعل الانخفاض المتواصل منذ شهرين في سوق النفط وبلوغ الأسعار أرقاماً قياسية متدنية، ما حمل بعض حاملي قسائم الشراء يضاربون على المنتجين في التخلي عن قسائمهم لمن يشتريها بسعر منخفض تفادياً لحلول موعد التسليم وهم عاجزون عن تسلّم مستحقاتهم، حيث لا سوق تستهلك ولا مخازن تستوعب، وتخطّي الأزمة تم بشراء الدولة لـ75 مليون برميل ضمّتها إلى مخزوناتها، وتدوير ما تبقى من عرض في السوق لمنتجات أيار إلى معروضات حزيران، التي تنتهي مهل بيعها في 20 أيار.

عند حدود هذا “المتفق عليه” ترد الوقائع التي لم يأخذها المتفائلون بقدرة الاقتصاد الأميركي على تخطيها في حسابهم، والتي بالغ الذين يتوقعون انهياراً اقتصادياً شاملاً بفعلها في اعتبارها مجرد مؤشرات على بلوغ الاقتصاد الأميركيّ الركود الشامل، الذي قد يأتي لاحقاً بفعل استمرار الإغلاق الناتج عن كورونا، لكن ليس بفعل تداعيات ما يجري في السوق النفطية وحدها. وقد سرعت أزمة كورونا تفاعلاتها من ضمن هذا الركود الذي جلبته، وأبرز هذه الوقائع يتصل بكون السوق التي يجري الحديث عنها وتدور الأزمة النفطية حولها، هي سوق النفط الصخري الذي يتركز في غرب تكساس، وهذه السوق ليست عادية لا استراتيجياً ولا اقتصادياً. فالتطلع الأميركي لزعامة العالم جرى ربطه منذ سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي بالسيطرة الأميركية على سوق الطاقة، بحسابات تشبه رهان الثمانينيات على سباق التسلح وحرب النجوم، الذي انتهى بانهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي.

راهن الأميركيون في العشرية الأولى من القرن الحادي والعشرين على حربي العراق وأفغانستان لتحقيق هدف السيطرة على ما أسموه بحوض قزوين، وإمداد أوروبا من خط نبوكو الآتي من كازاخستان إلى تركيا لحساب السوق الأوروبية، بعد تطويع إيران وشطب موقع العراق، واحتواء سورية. وقد باء هذا الرهان بالفشل وسقط عند تعاظم حضور إيران وإمساكها بمضيق هرمز عنق التجارة النفطية في العالم. وانتقلت المواجهة في العشرية الثانية من القرن على رهان جديد هو السيطرة على سورية، والنجاح بتحقيق فرصة التخلص من مخاطر إغلاق مضيق هرمز، وتوفير إمداد أوروبا بالنفط والغاز عبر الخليج بأنابيب تخترق سورية. وسقط الرهان بثبات وصمود سورية، وتموضع روسيا فيها واستبسال إيران وقوى المقاومة بالدفاع عنها. فبدأ الاستعداد منذ 2017 لإطلاق حصان رهان جديد يفترض أن يبدأ بفرض حضوره في العشرية الثالثة من القرن، والحصان هو النفط والغاز الصخريان، والساحة هي غرب تكساس، حيث نهضت خلال ثلاثة أعوام عشرات آلاف الشركات العاملة في القطاع، واستثمرت الدولة الأميركية وشركات النفط وكبار المستثمرين تريليونات الدولارات في هذا القطاع، والهدف إنتاج كمية عشرة ملايين برميل يومياً، تضخ إلى أوروبا بديلاً من نفط وغاز كل من الخليج وروسيا، بصورة تكون آمنة من مخاطر إغلاق هرمز، وتحكم الطوق على الحضور الروسي، بعدما فشل خط نبوكو، وخط سورية الافتراضي.

الوقائع والأرقام تقول إن الإنتاج بلغ في كانون الثاني من هذا العام رقم 8،7 مليون برميل يومياً من النفط عبر الصخور البركانية، وإن كلفة إنتاج البرميل هي 47 دولاراً، وإن السعر التجاري المناسب لتطور هذا السوق هو 65 دولاراً للبرميل، وإن المخازن الأميركية تتسع لـ580 مليون برميل للنفط الخام، ومثلها للمشتقات النفطية، وإن هذه المخازن العائدة للدولة والقطاع الخاص قد امتلأت، بعدما ضخت إليها الدولة آخر 75 مليون برميل قبل أيام، وبالتالي فإن مواصلة حال الركود ومعها الانخفاض في أسعار النفط إلى دون الثلاثين دولاراً، ستعني فقط مواصلة ما بدأ من شهر ويستمرّ، وهو إفلاس آلاف الشركات وضياع مليارات الدولارات المستثمرة في هذا القطاع. وقد أفلست حتى الآن إحدى عشرة ألف شركة والحبل على الجرار. والقدرة على إنعاش القطاع في ظل أضرار روسية سعودية مشتركة من تضخّمه تبدو مستحيلة، وسعر البرميل لن يعود إلى الستين دولاراً قبل سنتين حسب التقديرات المتفائلة لصندوق النقد الدولي، إذا تعاونت روسيا والسعودية في تجفيف العرض الزائد من السوق، وما جرى مع تسليم استحقاقات أيار سيتكرر مع حزيران وغير حزيران، حتى يجف سوق النفط الصخري ويهوي، ويسقط معه آخر رهانات الاستراتيجية الأميركية للسيطرة على سوق الطاقة، في ظل عروض صينية لعقود طويلة الأجل مع المنتجين الخليجيين على أسعار متوسطة لا تتعدّى الأربعين دولاراً لسنوات مقبلة، فيما تعرض روسيا مبيعاتها الطويلة الأجل في السوق الأوروبية بأسعار موازية.

ما جرى وما سيجري في غرب تكساس، أكبر من مسألة نفطية، وأكبر من مسألة اقتصادية، فهو خسارة حصان رهان استراتيجي، يمكن له إذا تلاقى مع نتائج تفاقم الركود في زمن كورونا، وما يترتب من حال بطالة لأكثر من ثلاثين مليون أميركي، وتراجع للنشاط الاقتصادي لخمسة عشر مليون شركة أميركية مهددة بالإفلاس، أن يتحول إلى أزمة بنيوية، تفتح الطريق لتوقعات دراماتيكية اقتصادية وسياسية واجتماعية، ربما تكون وحدة أميركا على محك التجربة فيها، وربما يكون سباق النفط عكس سباق التسلح الذي انتهى بتفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، مرشحاً لأن ينتهي بتفكك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية.

Sanctioned Countries Are Now Leading the World in the Fight Against Coronavirus

By Alan Macleod

Source

Countries currently facing US sanctions, around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better than the United States and leading the global fight against COVID-19.

After weeks of dismissing it as a liberal “hoax” designed to unseat the president, brushing the virus off as no big deal and under control, the Trump administration is clearly floundering in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite weeks of warning where it could have taken precautionary steps, the United States currently has four times the confirmed cases and twice the deaths of any other country. At the same time, the countries it is currently placing under economic siege, totaling around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better and leading the global fight against the coronavirus.

China, for instance, the first epicenter of the outbreak, has managed to slow its new COVID-19 cases to a trickle, reopening for business after losing 4,632 people – a number that, in the context of a stark April reality, appears impressively low. Although much of the discourse in the West condemns the Chinese government’s supposedly incompetent or slow response to COVID-19, the reality is that Beijing alerted the World Health Organization on December 31, when just 27 cases (and no deaths) had been identified, with authorities not yet even aware that the condition was a coronavirus.

The country is at the forefront of the production and distribution of protective and medical equipment throughout the world and, along with Russia (another sanctioned state) is one of the few nations to fly medical personnel around the world to help other countries. Russia even sent a planeload of cargo to the United States, despite the American sanctions hurting its economy. While their actions have been presented in corporate media as cynically trying to “curry favor” abroad, the aid has been much appreciated in countries suffering under the pandemic. In contrast, the U.S. has led the world in stealing or requisitioning supplies destined for other nations.

Another sanctioned state exporting doctors across the world during the pandemic is Cuba, the island nation is sending medical staff to neighbors like Haiti, Venezuela, Suriname and Jamaica and also further afield to Italy. “This is a global battle and we have to fight it together,” said nurse Carlos Armando Garcia Hernandez, capturing the medical internationalist spirit of Cuban medicine pioneered by Che Guevara, who quipped that, “The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.” A Cuban antiviral drug, Interferon Alpha 2b, has also proved successful in boosting patients’ immune systems, helping them fight off the coronavirus, and is now being used worldwide.

Venezuela, meanwhile, struggling under crippling U.S. sanctions that have claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people according to an American UN Special Rapporteur, has mobilized to fight the virus head on. The country has conducted twice as many tests as any other South American nation, but only 288 COVID-19 cases have been found, leading to only 10 deaths. Even before any cases were confirmed, President Maduro declared a health emergency, quickly closing public buildings like theaters and restaurants. His administration rapidly organized a huge online database where citizens could inform authorities of their symptoms. Medical professionals visited tens of thousands of people in their own homes, distributing test kits and advice. Maduro decreed the suspension of all rent and utility bills during the crisis, also banning the firing of workers.

A testament to the country’s efforts is that thousands of Venezuelan expats in the U.S., at least 92 percent of whom voted against Maduro in the 2013 elections, came back to the country during the pandemic, suggesting they are far more confident in Venezuela’s handling of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, a country not currently sanctioned but having faced Washington’s wrath for decades, surely earns the top prize in handling the virus. Despite recording its first positive case just two days after the first American one, authorities have managed to limit the outbreak to just 268 cases and zero deaths. This is not because they are not testing, far from it. In fact, the country has designed, developed and mass produced multiple test kits all costing less than $20 each and giving dependable results in less than 90 minutes.

Those arriving from abroad are quarantined for two weeks while anyone coming to a major city or building has their temperature checked. Whole villages and towns have been fenced off due to one positive test. There is certainly an authoritarian element to their response; those lying about their past whereabouts or found to be spreading false information about the pandemic can face charges. However, the response has hinged upon the strong collective solidarity of the Vietnamese people, many of whom have likened the present events to the Tet Offensive, where millions united in secret to drive the American invaders back in a surprise attack.

In Iran, one of the first global hotspots and a country that planners in the U.S. were gleefully predicting would fall in on itself under the strain, has managed to get to grips with the pandemic. The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 has been falling day-on-day since March 30.

Ironically, Mohammad Morandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, claims the crippling sanctions that blocked Iranian oil exports have inadvertently better prepared them to deal with the total collapse in global oil prices than U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Qatar.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi@s_m_marandi

Trump blocked Iranian oil exports & inadvertently prepared Iran for the collapse of the oil market.

Are others prepared? Will the Saudi regime survive? UAE? Kuwait? Qatar? US shale? What will happen to the US banking sector & oil industry?

The balance of power is shifting.

While the sanctioned countries vary greatly in their level of human development and the democratic credentials of their governments, they all share one thing in common: they have refused to buy into a U.S.-led neoliberal economic order that appears totally unprepared and unable to come to terms with a globalized pandemic. Countries that have been the most enthusiastic adopters of neoliberalism have, not coincidentally, found their individualistic ideology that promotes greed and discourages collective solutions sorely lacking in tackling a public health crisis that threatens the entire world.

أسطورة الرئيس المقاوم الشهيد

شوقي عواضة

كثيرون هم مَن اعتلوا السلطة التي كانت تشكل للبعض منهم حلماً وطموحاً، لكن قليلين هم مَن كانت السلطة بالنسبة إليهم تكليفاً لا تشريفاً. رؤساء وزعماء توالوا على سدة الرئاسة، منهم من حفر في ذاكرة الشعوب اسمه وسكن قلوبهم ووجدانهم ومنهم من لم يذكره التاريخ إلا بقدر آلام شعبه. منهم مَن كان المقاتل الوفيّ في سبيل قضية وطنه وشعبه ومنهم من باع وساوم على أمته. وفي التاريخ شواهد كثيرة لم تزل حيّة حتى اليوم مثل عمر المختار والثائر الأممي أرنستو تشي غيفارا وهوغو تشافيز والزعيم الراحل جمال عبد الناصر وكثير من الشخصيات القيادات العربية والإسلامية التي لم تزل الحاضر الأكبر رغم رحيلها بقيت في ضمائر الأحرار والشرفاء…

من تلك الشخصيات القيادية الفذة الرئيس اليمني الشهيد صالح الصماد. تلك الشخصية التي تميّزت بنقائها وزهدها وعلمها وبصيرتها وتفانيها وإخلاصها… وبالكثير من الخصائص التي اكتسبها الرئيس بالتحاقه منذ طفولته بالمسيرة القرآنية لينهل من معين القائد السيد بدر الدين الحوثي، وبعده من السيد الشهيد حسين بدر الدين الحوثي، تجربة صقلت شخصية الشهيد الرئيس وعزّزت فيه روح القيادة بمسؤولية تجلّت من خلال دوره في ستة حروب ظالمة على محافظة صعدة أثبت فيها الرئيس الصماد شجاعة المقاتل وثباته وصموده أمام الصعاب في مسيرته الجهادية التي تشهد لها جبال صعدة.

ذلك الطالب الذي تخرّج من جامعة صنعاء وعمل مدرّساً في مدرسة عبد الله بن مسعود في صعدة، علم أجيالاً معنى العزة والمقاومة والصمود رغم صعوبة الظروف التي عاشها، لكنه استطاع ان يقهر تلك الظروف ويصنع من الضعف قوة بعزم وصلابة لا بل استطاع ان يقهر العدو بالانتصارات التي حققها رغم عدم تكافؤ القوى من حيث العدد والعتاد، كان فارس الميادين التي تشهد صولاته منذ العام 2007 وحتى استشهاده والديبلوماسي المحاور الذي يتقن لغة السلم والحوار التي فوّتت على اليمن الكثير من المؤامرات، فكان محلّ ثقة السيد عبد الملك الحوثي وقيادات أنصار الله.

بعد تعيينه رئيساً للمجلس السياسي حقق الرئيس الصماد العديد من الإنجازات العسكرية والأمنية والسياسية في ظلّ الحرب العدوانية على اليمن إضافة الى إنجازاته على المستوى الاقتصادي، ورغم ترؤسه للمجلس السياسي كان معروفاً بزهده ونزاهته وهو الذي لم يمتلك بيتاً بعدما دمّرت طائرات العدوان السعودي الأميركي منزله فعاش بقية حياته مستأجراً بيتاً لعائلته التي قلما كان يراها بسبب انشغاله الدائم حتى تاريخ استشهاده.

ذلك الرئيس الذي ينحدر من عائلة مقاومة تربّت على معاني العزة والإباء وقدّمت الغالي والنفيس وضحّت من أجل سيادة اليمن وكرامته فقدّمت شهيدين من اخوته وكان هو الشهيد الثالث. ذلك هو القائد النموذج الذي لم تكن تعني له المسؤولية والرئاسة سوى خدمة الناس ومواساتهم والسعي لهم لحياة أفضل. لم يسعَ لجاه ولم يجمع ثروة لم يبنِ قصوراً ويملأها بالجواري كبعض حكام العرب بل بنى قصوراً في قلوب اليمنيين الشرفاء. لم يملك أرصدة وحسابات في البنوك السويسرية والأجنبية ولا المحلية فرصيده الأكبر كان حب الشعب وخدمة الفقراء وعوائل الشهداء والجرحى والأسرى. ادّى دوره بأمانة فأكرمه الله باختياره شهيداً على يد التحالف الأميركي السعودي وهو في التاسعة والثلاثين من عمره الحافل بالجهاد والمقاومة فكان مقاوماً ورئيساً وشهيداً…

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The Elite’s COVID-19 Coup Against a Terrified Humanity: Resisting Powerfully

By Robert J. Burrowes

Source

 

I have previously explained how the COVID-19 infection is being used to frighten us into submitting powerlessly to the global elite’s latest move to take much greater control of our lives and how those who can perceive this, and wish to resist it, can do so effectively. See ‘Observing Elites Manipulate Our Fear: COVID-19, Propaganda and Knowledge’ and ‘Defending Humanity Against the Elite Coup’.

In this article I want to document a sample of the rapidly increasing evidence of how this coup is taking shape and to reiterate a strategy for defeating it.

The coup was designed to take immediate measures to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms, only ‘won’ (in name at least) after many centuries of struggle, were stripped away from us and to do it in such a way that people would fearfully accept it.

This is why the idea of a virus ‘pandemic’ was quite clever.

Because the fear of contracting the virus (and its possibly deadly consequences) could be grotesquely magnified by inflating the figures, constant harping on it by the World Health Organization, the medical industry (in league with the pharmaceutical industry) and governments, and then magnified by the corporate media – with one outlet laughably suggesting COVID-19 could be worse than the flu outbreak in 1918 (falsely attributed to Spain): see ‘COVID-19 has the potential to become as severe as the Spanish flu’– it made virtually all people submissive to any measure taken, or order given, ostensibly to prevent the spread of the virus.

Fear manipulated by propaganda defeats knowledge and evidence every time, as history has endlessly demonstrated. Just ask Joseph Goebbels how they did it in Nazi Germany. Play on the fear, play on the fear….

But if you are not too scared to seek out the evidence, you get an utterly different picture of what is taking place.

So, for example, US physician Dr. Annie Bukacek observes that (image right)

‘The real number of COVID-19 deaths are not what most people are told and what they then think. How many people actually died from COVID-19 is anyone’s guess. … Based on inaccurate, incomplete data, people are being terrorized by fear-mongers into relinquishing freedoms.’

See ‘Montana physician Dr. Annie Bukacek discusses how COVID 19 death certificates are being manipulated’.


If you would like to read a wider sample of the literature and videos discussing how the infection and death rates from COVID-19 have been deliberately misinterpreted, inflated and presented in a way that induces fear, and hence willing submission to elite control, see the daily updates on

‘A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19’and the articles/videos

‘Corona: creating the illusion of a pandemic through diagnostic tests’,

‘12 Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic’,

‘Can We Trust the WHO?’,

‘How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear’,

‘Perspectives on the Pandemic II: A Conversation with Dr. Knut Wittkowski’,

‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many:

The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’,

‘Covid19 Death Figures “A Substantial Over-Estimate”’  and

‘Dr Scott Jensen Reveals “Ridiculous” Covid19 Guidance’.


As a result of this pandemic of fear, the human rights to privacy (Article 12), freedom of movement (Article 13.1) and freedom of assembly (Article 20.1), for example, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (but not necessarily legislated into law by individual countries and routinely violated by governments in any case) have now been publicly and completely eviscerated in one fell swoop with bans on gatherings, legal requirements for ‘social distancing’ and even greater surveillance of our private activities with barely a murmur of protest.

For a comprehensive global summary, which monitors individual government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights focusing on emergency laws, see the ‘COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker’.

Denied these fundamental rights, others – including those preventing arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9), entitlement to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in response to any criminal charge (Article 10), to make a living in the manner of our choosing (Article 23), to adequate healthcare irrespective of personal circumstances (Article 25.1) and to have some say in how we are governed (Article 21) – have, if they previously existed in practice, largely disappeared as many governments around the world have used a variety of illegal and sometimes unconstitutional measures – ranging from ‘lockdowns’ and curfews to martial law and suspensions of parliaments in favour of dictatorships – to usurp more complete control of national societies.


For just a brief taste of what is taking place in some countries, see

‘Denmark rushes through emergency coronavirus law’,

‘DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic’,

For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’,

‘Suspending the Constitution: Police State Uses Crises to Expand Its Lockdown Powers’,

‘Hungary’s Leader Grabbed Powers to Fight the Virus. Some Fear Other Motives’,

‘Americans Beware: Trump Could Emulate Netanyahu’s Coronavirus Coup’

‘The Coronavirus State: New Zealand and Authoritarian Rumblings’.


In addition, by deliberately crashing national economies it was easy to conceal the fact that they were on the brink of crashing anyway. In the words of Scott C. Tips:

‘As the American and other economies falter from major structural problems, out-of-control debt, reckless spending, and government stupidity in shuttering businesses, the blame for markets crashing and economies tanking is borne by the conveniently available COVID-19 disease.’ See ‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many: The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’.

In this way, the elite has rapidly and vastly expanded the number of people who live a precarious economic existence, due to the exploitative functioning of the global economy – see ‘Who Profits From the Pandemic?’– while also giving vast sums of money to wealthy corporations via government bailouts. See ‘Trump Signs Corporate Bailout Bill: A Measure That Will Live in Infamy’.

Moreover, adverse outcomes from the use of COVID-19 to wreak this economic destruction will multiply rapidly but the underlying corporate dysfunctionality will now escape the blame from most observers just as COVID-19 will help to obscure the elite’s true purpose in precipitating this crisis.


See, for example, ‘Coronavirus pandemic will inevitably cause food crisis’,‘10 Signs the U.S. Is Heading for a Depression’,

‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,

‘COVID-19. The Unspoken Truth. The Most Serious Global Crisis in Modern History’,

‘The worst economic collapse ever?’and

‘Coronavirus – The Aftermath. A Coming Mega-Depression…’.


But apart from these more obvious encroachments on our rights, freedoms and economic well-being, there is a vast range of encroachments happening either outside or on the periphery of public view, given the phenomenal corporate media attention focused on COVID-19 to distract us.

Talking about US government surveillance in 2014, former Technical Director of the NSA, William ‘Bill’ Binney, explained that the NSA sought ‘total population control’. See ‘Whistleblower: NSA Goal Is “Total Population Control”’.

Six years later it is clear that the global elite is now making another push in its ongoing and longstanding effort to achieve total control. Will this be the final push?

As you consider this question, here is another small sample of those encroachments and devastating impacts that are happening while our attention is elsewhere:

  1. The public acceptance of surveillance technology to spy on us in the interests of our ‘health’ is facilitating elite efforts to rapidly expand its monitoring capacities in this regard. See, for example, ‘To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data’ and ‘For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’.
  2. The deluge of propaganda is convincing us that compulsory vaccination will be necessary to ensure our ‘health and well-being’. However, apart from the conclusively and extensively documented harm from vaccinations – for one brief article just touching on this, see ‘Vaccines and the Liberal Mind’– there is extensive evidence that any such vaccination program will be the trojan horse for implementing an electronic identification program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for launching a scheme to give everyone ‘a portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity’. See ‘The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is “Agenda ID2020”’‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,‘Coronavirus: Biometric IDs could be “gamechanger” for tests, vaccines’ and ‘COVID-19: Perfect Cover for Mandatory Biometric ID’.

If you think this is fairyland stuff, check out the website of the elite agents advocating it: ‘The need for good digital ID is universal: The ability to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right. Because we live in a digital era, we need a trusted and reliable way to do that both in the physical world and online.’ See ‘The Need for Good Digital ID is Universal’.

Without thinking too hard, I can list a few ‘fundamental and universal human rights’ that I would nominate before I got too excited about my digital identity. I wonder if these people are concerned about whether I have enough to eat, whether I am clothed and housed…. Of course, I know they have no interest in my privacy given that digital ID and the surveillance that goes with it will make that non-existent.

  1. The deployment of the highly dangerous 5G which, under the guise of improving internet speed and capacity, will vastly expand everyone’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation with its long list of seriously adverse health impacts. For a taste of the extensive documentation on this point, see the ‘International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space’.
  2. A dramatic increase in the violence inflicted within the family home, especially by men and women against children – see ‘Why Violence?’– and by the more usually acknowledged men against women, during the lockdown. See ‘UN chief calls for domestic violence “ceasefire” amid “horrifying global surge”’.
  3. Intensified efforts to overthrow governments in Iran and Venezuela. See ‘COVID-19: Cover for Military Attack on Iran and Iraq? Trump ignores Iraqi demand US occupation forces leave the country’‘Not letting Covid-19 crisis go to waste? US ramps up war on drugs… focusing on Venezuela’s Maduro’‘Trump sends gun boats to Venezuela while the world partners to fight a deadly pandemic’ and ‘NATO in Arms to “Fight Coronavirus”’.

The background framework to what is happening regarding Venezuela has been exposed by its President Nicolás Maduro. See ‘Letter from President Nicolás Maduro to the People of the United States’.

  1. No end to the many ongoing wars involving the United States – see, for example, ‘U.S. Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Straight Of Hormuz’ and ‘US Empire Exploits COVID-19 For More War’– although a pause in some wars in which the US is not a party – for an overview, see ‘UN Ceasefire Defines War As a Non-Essential Activity’– as a result of an appeal by the UN Secretary-General for warring nations to desist until the effort to contain COVID-19 is won. See ‘The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war’.

Unfortunately, this appeal, unlike the Secretary-General’s appeal for a ceasefire on domestic violence which attracted no significant public endorsement, quickly drew in many others equally devoid of any analysis of what is actually taking place and thus happy to help distract people from the core issue. See, for example, ‘COVID-19: Sign the Call for Global Ceasefire!’‘Global Ceasefire: Running List of Countries Committed’ and ‘Global Ceasefire Now!’

Obviously, I am heartily in favour of ending war. But this is only going to happen when we campaign strategically to do so and provided we have sufficient political freedom to do it. See ‘Strategic Aims’ (for ending war).

As an aside and displaying its usual projected fear of threats, when some US military personnel became infected with COVID-19 – see ‘Request for Assistance in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic’– the Pentagon issued a suppression order on further reporting of COVID-19 in the US military. See ‘Pentagon orders all installations to stop reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths’.

  1. Ongoing economic sanctions by the United States directed against a variety of countries, notably including Iran and Venezuela, are complicating efforts to address COVID-19 effectively. In contrast, countries such as Cuba, China and Russia are leading the international effort to support other countries dealing with a higher level of infection. See ‘US Continues Sanctions Against Venezuela And Cuba During COVID-19 Pandemic – Analysis’ and ‘Expert: US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela during pandemic could be genocidal’.
  2. A variety of actions, including legal manoeuvres and false flag attacks, undertaken to inflict greater repression in some contexts, particularly against indigenous peoples and those engaged in national liberation struggles. See ‘Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Threatened with Land Disestablishment, Tribal Leaders Step in to Address Ongoing Land Issues and Threats to Sovereignty’‘Media advisory notice on alleged shooting near Freeport mine in Timika’ and ‘During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank’.
  3. Dramatic increases in absolute impoverishment among marginalized individuals and communities throughout the Global South who barely survive day-to-day under their usual, difficult economic circumstances. As one Asian NGO network, engaged in attempting to secure emergency relief to assist those most adversely impacted, has just reported: ‘We are receiving alarming reports that ADB and AIIB project-affected communities across Asia, especially South Asia and South East Asia are in an absolute state of crisis. Due to the enforced lockdown, they have no work or access to sanitizers and food supplies. Leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state responses are slow and in some cases non-existent.’ See ‘COVID-19 Community Emergency Fund’.

And Arundhati Roy wrote an evocative account of how the Indian government’s lockdown exposed the ‘brutal, structural, social and economic inequality’ in that country and the government’s ‘callous indifference to suffering’ as the lockdown caused employers and landlords in cities and towns to drive out millions of impoverished, homeless and hungry workers to walk the hundreds of kilometres to their villages. Many have died along the way, but not of COVID-19. See ‘Social Devastation and Despair. How Coronavirus Threatens India’.

  1. No pause in the economic exploitation of countries in the Global South with, for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quick to offer ‘emergency finance’ to some 80 of these countries that have requested it. See ‘IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s Statement Following a G20 Ministerial Call on the Coronavirus Emergency’.

What Ms. Georgieva didn’t mention is that these loans will no doubt be done on the usual highly conditional and exploitative basis for which the IMF has built its reputation for destroying the lives of ordinary local people by opening the door for corrupt or naive governments to accept corporate exploitation of their people and natural resources while building unsustainable levels of national debt trying to pay back the loans and interest to the IMF. For more detail on how this exploitation works, see the many Global Justice Now reports on the IMF and the book The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

In contrast, World Bank President David Malpass was not so coy, clearly declaring that COVID-19 would be used to further exploit poorer countries by making any funding conditional on a willingness to make such exploitation easier in future: ‘Countries will need to implement structural reforms to help shorten the time to recovery and create confidence that the recovery can be strong. For those countries that have excessive regulations, subsidies, licensing regimes, trade protection or litigiousness as obstacles, we will work with them to foster markets, choice and faster growth prospects during the recovery.’ See ‘Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass on G20 Finance Ministers Conference Call on COVID-19’.

To reiterate: The World Bank will help existing heavily exploited countries with some funding for short-term health measures directed at containing COVID-19 provided the country removes laws that would make it difficult to exploit it indefinitely thereafter.

  1. No pause in environmentally destructive activities, ranging from the ongoing use of health-destroying poisons, such as glyphosate, used to contaminate our food – see ‘Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order’– which cause vastly more deaths than COVID-19 will cause, to the ongoing destruction of pristine rainforests to create, among other possibilities, more palm oil plantations. See ‘New player starts clearing rainforest in world’s biggest oil palm project’.

And while there has been a short-term reduced negative impact on the climate as a result of the slowdown in industrial activity and the use of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the ongoing COVID-19 coup has been used to destroy whatever momentum has been achieved by the climate and environment movements in recent years.

  1. While COVID-19 is causing problems for the 100,000 skilled technicians responsible for controlling, maintaining and fuel loading/unloading of the 96 remaining nuclear power plants in the USA, given the confined space in which the technicians work which make ‘social distancing’ virtually impossible, ‘The industry is now using the Coronavirus Pandemic to rush through a wide range of deregulation demands. Among them is a move to allow radioactive waste to be dumped into municipal landfills.’ See ‘Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster’.
  2. Long intent on dominating Space both militarily and industrially – see the US Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’– in violation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which declared ‘The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries… and shall be the province of all mankind’ – see ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’– US president Trump has just signed an executive order to allow corporations and ‘citizens’ (that is, billionaires) to begin mining the moon. The elite also wants to use nuclear reactors to fuel spacecraft so they can mine Mars in the future. See ‘Trump Signs Executive Order to Mine the Moon’.

If you are a US citizen and wondering how the ‘largest industrial project in the history of the planet’ will be financed, look in your own purse or wallet and wonder how much more will be taken from you so that, as usual, you pay the upfront costs associated with the vast profits they plan to make. Of course, you will also pay with budget cuts to health, education and social security funding.

The 13-point list above is actually very short – and confined to readily observable ‘moves’ – but, hopefully, it gives you some idea of what is taking place behind the elite’s barrage of COVID-19 fear-mongering. Needless to say, it is the ‘moves’ that we do not know about that are, no doubt, even more troubling.

So what can we do in response to this fear-mongering and the coup it is being used to disguise?

Resisting the Elite Coup Powerfully

I have previously outlined this nonviolent strategy, identifying its political purpose – obviously ‘To defend humanity against a political/military coup conducted by the global elite’– and I have set out a basic list of 26 strategic goals, of which eleven are as follows:

(1) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by wearing a global symbol of human solidarity, such as an image of several people of different genders/races/religions/abilities/classes holding hands.

(2) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting all corporate media outlets (television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter…) and by seeking news from progressive news outlets committed to telling the truth.

(3) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by withdrawing all funds from the corporate banks that are supporting the coup and to deposit their money in local community banks or credit unions.

(4) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting the medical and pharmaceutical industries – including by conscientiously refusing to submit to vaccination – and by seeking health advice and treatment from natural therapists. (If you are unfamiliar with the different philosophies underpinning these approaches, and hence why many natural therapies are so much more effective, there is a straightforward explanation here: ‘Pasteur vs. Bechamp: An Alternative View of Infectious Disease’.)

(5) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting corporate supermarkets and by supporting small and family businesses, and local markets.

(6) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in other locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For this item and many subsequent, see the list of possible nonviolent actions in the document ‘198 Tactics of Nonviolent Action’.

(7) To cause the workers [in trade unions or labor organizations T1, T2, T…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include withdrawing labor from an elite-controlled bank, media, pharmaceutical or other corporation operating in your country.

(8) To cause the small farmers and farmworkers [in organizations F1, F2, F…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include distributing farm produce through (existing or created) grassroots networks to small and family businesses as well as local markets rather than through corporate supply chains.

(9) To cause the indigenous peoples [in organizations IP1,IP2, IP…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include utilizing indigenous knowledge to improve local self-reliance in food production and in other ways.

(10) To cause the soldiers and military police [in army units AU1, AU2, AU… and MP1, MP2, MP…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

(11) To cause the police [in police units P1, P2, P…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

Rather than detail all 26 strategic goals here, you can read the ‘Strategic goals for defeating a political/military coup conducted by the global elite against humanity’ by scrolling down the page at ‘Strategic Aims’.

Remaining pages on the website fully explain the twelve components of the strategy, as illustrated by the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel. These include the need to provide leadership and mutual aid at local levels, which are already happening in many places, as part of the overall effort.

The website also has articles and videos explaining all of the vital points of strategy and tactics, including articles to help you understand ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’, the difference between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’ and how to prepare, frame and conduct any nonviolent action to minimize the risk of violent repression. See ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

It is worth emphasizing that, in some contexts, there is a place for large public nonviolent actions for those who are inclined to plan and conduct them. And the article just referenced will assist you to conduct them with minimal risk of violent repression. However, because the bans on public gatherings are being implemented widely, I have concentrated on providing tactical options in the examples above that do not depend on gathering in one place.

Nevertheless, as more people become aware of the coup and the energy to resist it gathers pace, it will be worthwhile to choose a locally significant date on which as many people who are willing to do so act to ‘End the Lockdown’ in that country. Using a locally relevant focus, or perhaps several, for which many people would traditionally be together – a cultural or sporting event, a community activity such as working to establish a community garden to increase local self-reliance, a birthday celebration and/or a return to work – we can mobilize people to collectively resist the coup that is taking place. Because the actions taken will be dispersed with large numbers of people responding in a vast number of locations, it will be impossible for police and military forces to inflict violent repression against everyone, particularly if local organizers have implemented the points in ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

Equally importantly to any of the points above, particularly given the pressing threat of human extinction – see ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’– but also because becoming more self-reliant is vital to our ongoing capacity to resist elite encroachments on our rights, freedom and economic security, consider joining those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. This project also explains how to take full advantage of non-monetary forms of community where goods and services are exchanged directly, without money as a medium of exchange. Money only has value in certain types of economy and these types of economy must be superseded if humans are to survive.

And given the enormous pressure on children at the moment, as their lives are upended, it would be useful to spend time listening to them. Of course, if you know an adult who is having trouble coping, it will help them enormously as well if you listen while giving them the opportunity to talk about, and focus on feeling, their own emotional reactions to what is taking place. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’. If you do not have anyone who can listen to you, try ‘Putting Feelings First’.

Moreover, because the foundation of this entire elite-controlled world, and the coup it is now implementing, is the submissively obedient individual, the world can only be rebuilt as we might like it if we stop terrorizing children into being submissive. So I would start by parenting and educating children so that they become powerful. See ‘My Promise to Children’ and ‘Do We Want School or Education?’

In addition, if you would like to better understand the origin, identity and behaviour of the global elite and why it is insane, see the section headed ‘How the World Works’ in ‘Why Activists Fail’ and the articles ‘Exposing the Giants: The Global Power Elite’ and ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ and the many references cited in these documents. For a deeper understanding of why elite and other human violence is so pervasive, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

Finally, as touched on above, apart from the ongoing elite coup the Earth is under siege from our assaults on a vast range of fronts. See ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’. So if we are serious about tackling this crisis too, we must be willing to consider committing to:

Conclusion

Given that the statistics clearly show that the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’ is already fading in most places where it previously had serious impact, it is possible that the global elite will not complete its execution of this coup against humanity in the near future. It will be content with the demonstration of its phenomenal power to manipulate populations into passively submitting to its bidding and defer its final putsch for a short time.

If that is the case, the damage wrought by this socalled pandemic – on our rights, freedoms, economic security, opportunities, democratic governance, the global economy and the environment – will be irreparable and it would take many years to even restore a partial version of what we thought we had while knowing that they can be taken away, again, at any time just as they were on this occasion.

But, quite frankly, if I was a member of the global elite and had witnessed the remarkably submissive manner in which even activists were deceived by the COVID-19 coup, I would advocate for completing the coup now and lock us down, force-vaccinate us with our own unique digital ID and surveillance chip, and promptly implement all of the measures necessary to take final control of the prison planet previously known as Earth.

However, because I am not a member of the global elite, I will continue to draw attention to what is taking place and encourage people to resist in the strategic ways I have outlined above.

And then do what I can to ensure that as many people as possible, who are powerful enough to do so, respond before it is too late.

I would rather act sooner, while we still have some room to move, rather than later, when we might have much less.

Palestinian archbishop calls for lifting of sanctions against Syria

By News Desk -2020-04-13

Hanna, in a solidarity message with Syria said: “From the city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), I send this appeal and this message, perhaps it reaches people who still have conscience in the world. Lift the sanctions imposed on Syria in light of the spread of coronavirus,”

In a statement to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), he emphasized that the continuation of these sanctions is a crime against humanity.

“From al-Quds city, we send the message of solidarity, fraternity, love and loyalty to Syria as president, army and people, and we say that Syria, which triumphed over its enemies who conspired against it, will also triumph over the Coronavirus epidemic.” Hanna concluded.

In addition to the archbishop, Pope Francis called on the countries imposing sanctions against developing and war-torn nations to halt this blockade, as they attempt to combat the coronavirus’ outbreak.

ALSO READ  UAE’s influence is key to Syria’s return to the Arab League: analyst

هل تستغلّ كورونا لشنّ عدوان على محور المقاومة؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

تتزايد موجات التهويل بشنّ حرب على مكوّنات محور المقاومة بشكل متوازٍ مع انشغال العالم بالمواجهة القاسية مع الوباء الذي يجتاحه ويصيب مئات الآلاف ويقتل عشرات الآلاف من البشر في معظم أنحاء المعمورة عامة، وفي العالم المصنّف بأنه العالم الأوّل من حيث التقدّم والحضارة خاصة أميركا وأوروبا الغربية.

فمن مسرّب لقول بأنّ أميركا تتحضّر لشنّ حرب صاعقة مدمّرة في العراق تحقق لها العودة لاحتلاله بصيغة مطوّرة تختلف عن صيغة الاحتلال الأولى، إلى قول بأنّ الحرب الفعلية ستكون أميركية «إسرائيلية» ضدّ إيران المنشغلة بمواجهة الحرب على كورونا في ظلّ تشديد التدابير الوحشية التي تتخذها أميركا ضدّها تحت مسمّى العقوبات، إلى رأي يروّج لفرضية أقدام «إسرائيل» على استغلال فرصة انشغال حزب الله ولبنان بمواجهة كورونا وللقيام بحرب خاطفة ضدّه تحقق لها ما فشلت في تحقيقه من أهداف منذ 20 عاماً، إلى رأي أخير يتضمّن القول إنّ «إسرائيل» ستجد في غزة الحلقة الضعيفة التي تغريها بالعدوان عليها وتسجيل نقاط قوّة وردع تحتاج اليها في ظلّ أزمتها الداخلية. فهل هذه الفرضيات قابلة للتنفيذ؟ وهل الحرب بذاتها فرضية محتملة في ظلّ هذه الظروف؟

قبل مناقشة تلك الفرضيات لا بدّ من التذكير بشروط يفترض تحققها للقيام بأيّ هجوم من طرف ضدّ آخر وفي طليعة هذه الشروط وجوب امتلاك المهاجم القدرة على تحقيق الإنجاز العسكري المحدّد هدفاً لهجومه (نقول القدرة وليس القوّة، لأن المعوّل عليه هنا هو القدرة أيّ تناسب القوة المتوفرة مع الهدف المحدّد ما يعني أخذ قوة العدو الدفاعية بعين الاعتبار عندما نقيّم القدرة)؛ أما الشرط الثاني فيتمثل بقدرة المهاجم على حسم الحرب ووقفها في التوقيت الذي يريد، ما يعني وجوب امتلاكه القدرة على اقتياد الخصم إلى الانهيار الإدراكي او الميداني الذي يجبره على أن يتوقف عن القتال بمجرد ان يعلن المهاجم انتهاء عملياته العسكرية، أما الثالث فهو امتلاك المهاجم المناعة الدفاعية الكافية التي يحتاجها لاحتواء ردة فعل العدو ومنع الأخير من إنزال أضرار به لا يقوى على تحمّلها، أما الأخير فيتصل بالبيئة الدولية الإقليمية والعامة التي تتيح للمهاجم أن يستثمر نتائج انتصاره وان يصرف إنجازه الميداني (إذا تحقق) في السياسة. فهل هذه الشروط متحققة في الواقع القائم؟

بداية لا ننكر أبداً بأنّ الجهات الأربع (إيران العراق لبنان غزة) المحتمل استهدافها بعدوان تقوم به أميركا و»إسرائيل» مجتمعتين او منفردتين، أنّ هذه الجهات مشغولة وبمستويات متفاوتة بمواجهة جائحة كورونا، ولكن يجب ان نذكّر أيضاً بأنّ أميركا و»إسرائيل» تترنحان تحت ضربات هذا الفيروس، وبالتالي انّ القول بالانشغال يشمل الجميع فعلياً، وتتقدّم أميركا و»إسرائيل» الجمع المحتمل استهدافه بدرجة الانشغال، حيث انّ في أميركا وحدها ربع الإصابات التي حلّت بكلّ العالم (330 ألف من أصل مليون و300 ألف في العالم). وانّ كورونا اقتحم جيوش أميركا و»إسرائيل» وأثر في الجهوزية القتالية والمستوى المعنوي فيهما بشكل بالغ السلبيّة.

ومن جهة أخرى، فإنّ هذه الجائحة فضحت أميركا وأظهرت هشاشة الوضع الداخلي فيها وهشاشة التماسك الوطني بين ولاياتها وهشاشة الروابط التحالفية خاصة مع أوروبا فضلاً عن كشفها المستوى اللاأخلاقي في التعامل مع الإنسان عامة ومع حلفائها خاصة، حيث إنّ كورونا أظهر انّ هذه التي تسمّى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية او التي تريد أن تحكم العالم وتسيطر على مقدّراته هي كيان واهن في الوضع الداخلي وعلى المستوى التحالفي والوطني والصحي والأخلاقي وانّ الهيبة التي أرادت أميركا ان تحكم العالم بها هي هيبة مصطنعة كاذبة وقد سقطت فعلياً، ولم يكن سقوطها في قاعدة عين الأسد في العراق إلا البداية التي جاءت كورونا لتعززها. وبالتالي نقول إنّ كياناً واهناً أمام وباء نجح الآخرون في مواجهته حيث عجزت أميركا وتسرّب إلى جيشها وأنهك شعبها، انّ كياناً هذه حاله ليس هو الكيان الممتلك قدرة الذهاب إلى حرب. وما نقوله عن أميركا ينسحب على «إسرائيل» وإنْ كان من أبواب أخرى ومستويات مختلفة.

وعلى جبهة الأطراف المستهدفين بالعدوان المبحوث فيه، نجد انّ كورونا لم تشغلهم إلى حدّ يصرفهم عن إدارة حرب دفاعية ناجحة خاصة انّ القوى المخصّصة لمواجهة العدوان ليست هي نفسها المنوط بها الاتقاء من الفيروس، وان كانت القيادة قد تخصّص جزءاً من وقتها لهذه المهمة الطارئة، لكن ذلك لا يعيق عملها الرئيسي في المهمة الدفاعية، ما يعني انّ المراهنة على الانشغال بمواجهة كورونا وعلى أهميته هو رهان في غير محله.

ونعود إلى الشروط المتقدّم ذكرها ولنتوقف فيها خاصة عند أمرين الأول ردة فعل المعتدى عليه، والثاني قدراته على الاستمرار في الميدان. وهنا لن نصرف كثير وقت في النقاش حول الموضوع بعد أن بات من المسلم به انّ «إسرائيل» عجزت عن تأمين الدفاع المتين على الجبهة الداخلية وفشلت في الوصول إلى حالة «شعب يعمل تحت النار»، ما يعني انّ الحرب إذا وقعت فستضعها بين حصارين حصار نار المقاومة التي ستطال كلّ هدف في فلسطين المحتلة صغيراً كان أم كبيراً، وحصار فيروس كورونا الذي اقتحم أيضاً الجيش الإسرائيلي ويبدو أنه طال القيادة في المستويين العسكري والسياسي.

أما أميركا التي لها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط ما يناهز السبعين ألف عسكري منتشرين في 54 قاعدة عسكرية برية أساسية (يُضاف اليها القواعد الظرفية الصغيرة وهي كثيرة وعددها متحرّك) وأكثر من 60 قطعة بحرية موزعة على 3 أساطيل، فإنها باتت تعلم بعد صفعة عين الأسد أنها لا تستطيع أن تطمئن إلى الدفاع عن وجودها هذا بشكل محكم وآمن يحقق الطمأنينة، وأنّ 4 منصات باتريوت نشرت حديثاً في العراق لن تقدّم ولن تؤخّر. ويبقى ان نشير إلى الأمر الثاني لنؤكد قطعاً بانّ أيّاً من أميركا و»إسرائيل» لن تستطيعا حسم الحرب ووقفها في التوقيت الملائم لهما، وهنا تكون الكارثة التي يكفي فيها أن ينظر إلى حالة أفغانستان او اليمن ليُعرَف نموذج مصغر لها.

يقودنا هذا إلى القول إلى أنّ التهويل بالحرب من قبل أميركا و»إسرائيل» هو عمل إعلامي نفسي يدخل في إطار الحرب النفسية غير القابلة للتحوّل إلى حرب في الميدان العسكري، وانّ كلاً من «إسرائيل» وأميركا بحاجة لهذا التهويل بالحرب للضغط في السياسة او لحجب عيوب الأشغال عن أزمات وإخفاقات او لتغطية انسحاب وانزياح او لصيانة قدرات ردعية تآكلت او استعادة لهيبة تهشمت في الآونة الأخيرة، ثم جاء فيروس كورونا ليكشف مقدار الوهن لدى أميركا التي انقلب رئيسها إلى ممثل يثير السخرية في معرض إدارته للحرب على هذا الوباء.

وعليه نقول في زمن سقطت فيه الأقنعة وكشفت فيه الحقائق وتآكلت فيه الهيبة التي تبيّن أنها ليست واقعية، في زمن يستعدّ فيه العالم للدخول في نظام ما بعد كورونا، زمن تعاد فيه صياغة التحالفات ورسم الخرائط الاستراتيجية الجديدة تسقط فيه أحلاف وتقوم أخرى، يكون انتحارياً من يقدم على حرب لا يضمن حسمها لصالحه وفوزه فيها بدون أيّ شك، وانّ أيّاً من أميركا او «إسرائيل» ليستا في هذا الوضع وليستا على هذه القدرة، ما يجعلنا نستبعد بشكل شبه قاطع الحرب التي تهوّل بها أميركا و»إسرائيل» لإنزال ضربة قاصمة بمحور المقاومة، أما إنْ حصلت المجازفة وارتكب الخطأ الاستراتيجي وكانت الحماقة هي المسيّرة لذوي الشأن واتخذ القرار الانتحاري فإنها ستكون حرب تحرير «الشرق الأوسط» من الوجود الأجنبي الاستعماري، وهذا ما يجب أن لا يثنسى من مواقف قادة المقاومة ومحورها تلك المواقف التي أطلقت على ألسنة أولئك القادة من إيران الى العراق ولبنان وغزة واليمن…

*أستاذ جامعي وخبير استراتيجي.

US Knew of a Novel Coronavirus Threat, Failed to Prepare

By Stephen Lendman

Source

According to a Nation magazine report, Trump deceived the public by falsely claiming the emergence and spread of COVID-19 was “unforeseen,” that it “came out of nowhere.”

The Nation obtained a 2017 Pentagon draft report that refutes his Big Lie.

Saying “(t)he most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease” should have alerted Trump regime policymakers to prepare for outbreaks to be ready to respond as needed when they occurred.

They slept instead, leaving the nation and its people unprepared to deal with what’s happening and worsening daily. More on this below.

There are six known coronavirus strains that can infect humans. Most people contract one or more strains in their lifetimes.

They cause mild to moderate to more serious upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a novel/highly contagious strain.

According to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s.

They’re “closely monitored by public health officials” because strains can exist anywhere.

Novel COVID-19 isn’t new. It infected animals for some time. The virus is able to spread to humans or the other way around.

Viruses can mutate into new forms. According to Science Magazine, the US leads in COVID-19 cases but trails many other nations in its response.

“America is first, and not in a good way,” it reported, adding:

The Trump regime’s response is “fragmented, chaotic, and plagued by con­tradictory messaging from political lead­ers.” 

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm lamented that “(w)e don’t have a national plan. We are going from press conference to press conference and crisis to crisis…trying to understand our response.”

Citing 12 mathematical models produced by infectious diseases scientists, Science Magazine said they concluded that the US could have “millions of (COVID-19) infected people” without a large-scale national program to contain outbreaks.

Instead of conflicting messages from Trump and others around him, political scientist Scott Greer stressed that “(r)ule one of communication (at a time like now is to) have a message and stick to it.”

Instead Trump, state, and local officials are sending mixed messages, ranging from “indifference to alarm.”

Biologist Carl Bergstrom gave an example, saying: “Yesterday, I was supposed to be in church on Easter, and now all of a sudden New York’s under quarantine.”

Lack of clarity, focus, and maximum effort on the problem is “hemorrhaging” public trust.

Lack of national leadership and coordination has states and communities going their own way.

The Trump regime “signaled it will let governors make their own decisions” instead of directing a national effort to combat the virus, said Science Magazine.

According to epidemiologist William Hanage, “(t)he closest comparison here, in terms of national mobilization, is a war. And there is no way the United States would fight a war as 50 separate states.”

Nation magazine explained that the Pentagon plan about foreknowledge of a serious coronavirus outbreak was dated January 6, 2017, days before Trump took office. It’s titled: 

“USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response”

The Nation got the plan from a Pentagon official who remains anonymous to avoid possible punitive action for releasing it.

Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Infectious Diseases and Countermeasures Division Denis Kaufman said the following:

“The Intelligence Community has warned about the threat from highly pathogenic influenza viruses for two decades at least. They have warned about coronaviruses for at least five years,” adding:

“There have been recent pronouncements that the coronavirus pandemic represents an intelligence failure…It’s letting people who ignored intelligence warnings off the hook.”

The Pentagon predicted large-scale outbreaks and shortages of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff and the public.

The Pentagon report states the following:

“Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM (Medical Countermeasures) (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

It explains how outbreaks of infectious disease can rapidly spread.

It warned that supplies of ventilators, face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment are nearly depleted.

It explained that US medical facilities will be unable to handle the volume of coronavirus patients needing treatment.

They lack enough hospital beds, equipment, drugs, and related supplies if outbreaks reach epidemic levels.

Scarcity worldwide will cause competition among nations to get as much of what they need as possible.

The Nation said the “Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Its report includes the full draft Pentagon report, labelled “Unclassified/For Official Use Only.”

 

‘STRANGE TIMES’: RUSSIA IS SENDING MEDICAL AID TO U.S. TO HELP IT WITH COVID-19 CRSISIS

South Front

'Strange Times': Russia Is Sending Medical Aid To U.S. To Help It With COVID-19 Crsisis
Click to see full-size image
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to some curious changes in relations between the countries. For example, Russia is now sending medical aid to the United States.
Russia sent a plane with medical equipment to the United States amid the pandemic of COVID-19, US President Donald Trump told reporters on March 30th.
“I have to say, we’ve had great relationships with a lot of countries. China sent us some stuff,” he told reporters during a briefing at the White House. “Russia sent us a very, very large plane load of things. Medical equipment. Very nice.”
He did not go into further details about Russia’s aid.
“Other countries sent us things that I was very surprised at, very happy surprised,” the US leader continued.
🇷🇺🇺🇸 Following phone talk between Presidents & @realDonaldTrump sends largest cargo aircraft An-124 Ruslan ✈️ with 😷 medical supplies (masks + equipment) to to help fight pandemic, save lives of American citizens. 🤝 The plane is en route

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The fact that Moscow helps Washington in the situation with the coronavirus became known the day before.
The leaders of the two countries talked on the phone and noted the importance of international cooperation in a pandemic.
“The two presidents expressed serious concern over the scale of the spread of the coronavirus in the world and informed each other about measures taken in Russia and the United States to counter this threat. Opportunities for closer cooperation between the two countries on this problem were discussed.
They also exchanged views on the current state of the global oil market and agreed that Russian and American energy ministers should hold consultations on this topic.
Certain bilateral issues were also addressed.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump agreed to keep in contact.
On March 31, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, announced that a Russian plane with medical aid will soon depart to the United States (indicating that there could be 2 planes: 1st – delivered before March 30, 2nd – delivered after March 31). He hoped the United States might also be able to provide medical help to Russia if necessary when the time came.
“It is important to note that when offering assistance to US colleagues, the president (Putin) assumes that when US manufacturers of medical equipment and materials gain momentum, they will also be able to reciprocate if necessary,” Peskov was cited as saying.
Peskov, who noted difficulties expediting the aid to the United States thrown up by some US officials, was quoted as saying that Russia and China cooperated in a similar way because “at a time when the current situation affects everyone without exception … there is no alternative to working together in a spirit of partnership and mutual assistance”.
The Russian Aerospace Forces’ An-124-100 Ruslan set off for the United States included medical masks and medical equipment.
To add to the global anxiety regarding COVID-19, the World Health Organization has ceased to publish information on the number of people who have recovered from the infection around the world, because not all countries provide it, WHO official spokesman Tarik Yazarevich explained.
“With regard to cases of recovery outside of China, we do not have single data from various sources about how many officially confirmed cases of recovery from COVID-19, because not all countries systematically report these data to us. In many countries, people have not yet a chance to get better, so as the situation develops, we may have new data,” he said.
Yazarevich reminded that COVID-19 is a new disease, therefore it is necessary to obtain more epidemiological information on how the immunity to the virus is generated and how it can be determined that the patient has fully recovered.
According to WHO recommendations, a patient can be discharged from the hospital after conducting two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
'Strange Times': Russia Is Sending Medical Aid To U.S. To Help It With COVID-19 Crsisis
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The current situation, as of April 1st is this: currently, the US has the most cases worldwide, sitting at 188,530, after recording 24,742 on March 31st.
Italy is 2nd, and the numbers of recorded cases appear to be gradually going down, with fatalities remaining relatively high, meaning that the peak might be drawing much closer, as initially expected.
Spain is likely to overtake Italy in the total number of cases in just a matter of days, while also recording high numbers of fatalities, but also high numbers of recoveries.
Notably, the US currently has more total cases than Italy and China combined, which until several days ago had more total cases separately.
Russia sits at 2,337 cases, and 17 fatalities, having recorded 501 new cases on March 31st, and it might appear that the measures undertaken may be justified, but time will tell.
Regardless, Moscow is providing assistance to Italy, the US, and Serbia asked for help, as well. Potentially after the COVID-19 hysteria passes, a large-scale media campaign will be required to switch the narrative to the US, or the collective “West” having dealt with the pandemic, and find out ways to accuse Russia and China of stoking it further.
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As the World Turns Its Attention to the Pandemic, Israel Is Moving Forward with Military Raids

By Lucas Leiroz

Source

Jenin West Bank 15839

The West Bank situation is becoming increasingly complicated amid the coronavirus pandemic and territorial disputes between Palestinians and Israelis. At first, the Palestinian Authority and Israel showed signs of cooperation in combating the pandemic. A few weeks ago, joint measures were announced between both sides to contain the epidemic of the new coronavirus in the region. The measures include distribution of cleaning and personal hygiene materials, in addition to virus testing kits and medical equipment.

On the part of Tel Aviv, the total closure of the West Bank was promoted, allowing, however, access for Palestinian workers involved in the construction and agriculture sectors to the Jewish state, which is why the proposal was well accepted by Ramallah. On the part of the Palestinians, the West Bank has also been blocked, but only partially and for two weeks, since last Sunday (March 22), in addition to the implementation of a series of control and quarantine measures.

However, efforts to contain the pandemic have not prevented Israeli incursions into the region, which have increased recently. Ibrahim Melhim, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, acknowledged Israeli efforts to contain the coronavirus in the country and in Palestine, but criticized the unstoppable incursions against the Palestinians. “We have very strong round-the-clock coordination with the Israeli side to prevent the coronavirus from spreading (…) At the same time, Israel continues to operate in the Palestinian Territories as if there is no coronavirus crisis (…) They [Israeli forces] continue their raids across the West Bank, arresting people and confiscating lands, and that harms the existing coordination between the PA and Israel putting an additional burden on the Palestinian Authority,” said the spokesman.

Apparently, Israel pretends to collaborate with Palestine to stop the pandemic, when, in fact, it freely promotes its military maneuvers in the region, which go unnoticed by the mainstream media, strongly focused on covering the viral tragedy. In addition, Tel Aviv’s own collaboration to control COVID-19 in the region seems extremely limited. The blocking measures made it impossible, for example, for doctors from the “Physicians for Human Rights” (an Israeli NGO that serves Palestinians free of charge) to move alongside the West Bank, clearly hampering medical care in the region.

Mention should also be made of the fact that Israel, not Palestine, is the major focus of infections by the new coronavirus in the region. Israel has already more than 1.000 officially reported cases of the disease, in addition to one death, and several suspicions. In contrast, Palestine has around 60 infected people. It is clear from these data that the most stringent containment measures should come exclusively from Ramallah, since the Israeli military presence in the region itself poses a serious risk to Palestinian public health.

According to a survey by the Truman Institute for Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 63% of Israelis say Israel must help Palestinians during the coronavirus crisis. Vered Vinitsky-Serousse, president of the Institute, said that “the majority of Israelis believe that, when necessary, the government should devise preventive measures to help Palestinians during the Covid-19 epidemic.” The big problem, however, is how these joint maneuvers are conducted. Perhaps the first step to be taken in establishing joint measures is the definitive and immediate end to military incursions in the region, which constantly bring insecurity and terror to the Palestinian people.

The situation of tensions in the region must still be read in the context of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, the “peace” proposal for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians announced by American President Donald Trump. The “agreement” was celebrated unilaterally by the Washigton-Tel Aviv axis, with no participation of Palestinians, which is why it was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. The document foresaw the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, leaving around 70% of the region under Palestinian rule – a figure much lower than that proposed by all previous attempts to resolve the conflict. Everything indicates that Israel will not stop its attempts to occupy that territory as much as possible.

It is in this context that the “joint” actions between Israelis and Palestinians must be analyzed with skepticism and suspicion. Are these pandemic containment measures really good, even when behind them the Israeli army expands its occupation in the region with increasingly aggressive incursions? Also, to what extent does Palestine benefit from the help of these joint actions when Israel has an absurdly greater number of infected people? Would Israel be able to help the Palestinians? Or would that aid be a mask for such military incursions? All of these are valid questions.

It is also worth remembering that a few weeks ago, at the end of February, Israel announced the construction of more than 2.000 new settlements in Palestinian territories – and on the same occasion, Netanyahu authorized the construction of other 7.000 units in the East Jerusalem region. These data mean that Israel’s aggressiveness against the Palestinians was increasing recently. Did this aggression really disappear from Tel Aviv’s plans in the face of a “commotion” with public health in Palestine (which is much better than the situation in Israel)? Perhaps, the mainstream media and Human Rights observers should divide their attention between the coronavirus and the conflict in Palestine, before more serious clashes erupt.

In a Europe Closed Down by the Coronavirus the EU Opens its Doors to the US Army. Could the Defender become the Invader of Europe?

By Manlio Dinucci

Source

The Ministers for Defence of the 27 countries of the EU, 22 of which are also members of NATO, met on 4 and 5 March in Zagreb, Croatia. The central theme of the meeting (in which Lorenzo Guerini of the Democratic Party represented Italy) was not to seek a response to the Coronavirus crisis which is jamming up civil mobility, but how best to develop « military mobility ». The decisive test is the Defender Europe 20 exercise, scheduled for April and May. The General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, who took part in the EU meeting, défines it as « the largest deployment of US forces in Europe since the end of the Cold War ».

The 20,000 soldiers who, with 10,000 others already on site, and 7,000 NATO allies, are presently arriving in Europe from the USA, informs the US Army Europe. They are to deploy « throughout the European region ». The US forces are bringing with them 33,000 pieces of military equipment, from personal weapons to Abrams assault tanks. It is obvious that they will therefore need adequate infrastructures for their transport. But there is a problem, as revealed by a report by the European Parliament (February 2020): « Since the 1990’s, European infrastructures have been developed only for civil usage. However, military mobility has become a key question for NATO. As the Alliance lacks the tools to improve military mobility in Europe, the European Union, which does possess the legislative and financial tools to do so, plays an indispensable role ».

The Action Plan on Military Mobility, presented by the European Commission in 2018, plans to modify «those infrastructures which are not adapted to the weight and dimensions of military vehicles ». For example, if a bridge is unable to support the weight of a column of tanks, it must be reinforced or rebuilt. On the basis of this criterion, the test for the strength of the new bridge, which in Gênes will replace the collapsed Morandi bridge, will have to be carried out with Abrams tanks weighing 70 tonnes each. These modifications, which are useless for civil purposes, will require massive expenditure to be assumed by the member countries, with a « possible financial contribution by the EU ».

The European Commission has provided for a primary allocation of 30 billion Euros – this is public money taken from our pockets. The Plan also intends to « simplify the Customs formalities for military operations and for the transport of dangerous military-style merchandise ».

The US Army Europe has demanded the institution of a « Military Schengen Zone », with the difference that it will not be people who will be allowed to travel unhindered, but tanks.

The Defender Europe 20 exercise – as was explained during the meeting in Zagreb – « will enable the identification of all obstacles to military mobility, which the EU will have to remove ».

The transport network of the EU will therefore be tested by 30,000 US soldiers, who will « deploy throughout the European region », exempted of the Coronavirus standards. This is confirmed by a video showing the first 200 soldiers of the US Army Europe arriving in Bavaria on 6 March. While in Lombardy, only a few hundred kilometres away, more severe standards are in place, in Bavaria, where the first European outbreak of Coronavirus was noted, US soldiers just off the plane shook hands with German authorities and kissed the comrades without any masks. Spontaneous question – could they already be vaccinated against the Coronavirus?

Besides, we might ask ourselves what could be the purpose of « the largest deployment of US forces in Europe since the end of the Cold War », officially to « protect Europe from any potential threats » (with  a clear reference to the « Russian menace »), at the moment when Europe is in crisis  because of the threat of the Coronavirus (there is even one case at NATO headquarters in Brussels). And since the US Army Europe informs us that « movements of troops and equipement in Europe will last until July », we can only wonder if all of the 20,000 US soldiers will go back to their Homeland, or will some of them stay behind with their weapons.

Could the Defender become the Invader of Europe?

MbS condition will get worse after Salman death: Paul Pillar

March 13, 2020 – 12:42

TEHRAN – Professor Paul Pillar, who was CIA intelligence analyst for 28 years, tells that the death of Salman and the need to select a new king will bring to a head the competition between MBS and those members of the royal family who oppose his acquisition of absolute power.

Pillar says “But he has been able to do what he has done because his father, King Salman, has permitted him to grab power.”  

He also adds that “Once Salman is gone, other family members may feel better able to challenge MBS.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What were the reasons for the arrest of the Saudi princes, including the brother of King Salman, by the Saudi government?

A: The arrests were another step in Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) consolidation of power.  The announced charges against the arrested individuals probably are contrived.  Two of those arrested–Prince Ahmed and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef–are along those who would have the greatest claim to power themselves, and evidently MBS considered it necessary to eliminate them as competitors.     

Q: The physical condition of King Salman seems to be inadequate and this has led to a power struggle in Saudi Arabia. How do you foresee the power equations after King Salman’s eventual death?

A: The death of Salman and the need to select a new king will bring to a head the competition between MBS and those members of the royal family who oppose his acquisition of absolute power.  MBS clearly has the insight track for becoming king.  But he has been able to do what he has done because his father, King Salman, has permitted him to grab power.  Once Salman is gone, other family members may feel better able to challenge MBS.

Q: Is Muhammad bin Salman also an American and Western option for the kingdom in Saudi Arabia?

A: The Trump administration seems to be satisfied with having a close relationship with MBS, even though this has meant largely looking the other way regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. This policy risks associating the United States with controversial policies of MBS, and antagonizing elements in Saudi Arabia that may yet successfully oppose him. 

Q: Given Mohammed bin Salman’s actions in domestic politics, including music concerts and sidelines on social and cultural reforms, will the clergy and traditionalists tolerate his actions?

A: Whoever is the ruler in Saudi Arabia will face competing demands from the conservative religious establishment and from other Saudis, especially younger ones, who favor a more liberal society.  There is no reason to believe that MBS will be any better at striking this balance than another ruler would be.  Probably MBS will follow he example of earlier Saudi rulers and grant concessions to the religious establishment over matters most important to them, such as education, in exchange for MBS getting some more flexibility in making changes in other areas.    

Q: In your opinion, what economic and social impacts of a fall in oil prices will have on a country such as Saudi Arabia, whose economy is dependent on oil?

A: The negative impact is substantial, and it is likely to get worse for Saudi Arabia before it gets better. Russia has indicated it does not intend to cut oil production to boost prices, and that it would be happy to see low prices for a while to try to hurt U.S. oil producers using fracking technology. 

IRANIAN-BACKED FORCES RAISE STAKES. ROCKET ATTACK KILLS SEVERAL U.S. COALITION TROOPS IN IRAQ

South Front

A volley of rockets struck the Camp Taji military base in Iraq on the evening of March 11, killing three US-led coalition service members, two of them Americans and one British, and injuring 12 others. The targeted military base is a large facility located in a rural region approximately 27km north of Baghdad.

After the shelling, Iraqi security forces found the improvised rocket launcher used in the attack in the nearby area of Rashidiya. It was forty 107mm barrels installed on the back of a Kia Bongo truck. Three rockets were still remaining inside the barrel.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack. However, over the past months US-linked targets have witnessed a number of similar rocket attacks. Most of them led to no casualties. In general, US sources blame Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-linked groups for these incidents.

The situation became especially tense after the US strike on a convoy of Iraqi and Iranian officers moving near Baghdad International Airport on January 3. The prominent Iranian general, commander of the Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in this strike. The attack caused a large-scale crisis in the region, and prompted an Iranian retaliatiory missile strike on US military bases in Iraq. Washington swallowed a public attack on its forces by a state claiming that there were no casualties. In the following weeks, these ‘no casualties’ steadily turned into at least 110. All of them, according to the official version, received traumatic brain injury.

Additionally, the Iraqi Parliament accepted a bill demanding US troop withdrawal from the country, which Washington ignored, even threatening Baghdad with devastating sanctions, should Iraq continue to act like it is a sovereign, rather than occupied, country.

Following the attack on Camp Taji, ‘unknown aircraft’, most likely belonging to the US-led coalition, struck positions belonging to Iranian-backed groups near the Syrian-Iraqi border. The surroundings of the Syrian town of al-Bukamal, located on the highway linking Deir Ezzor and Baghdad, became the main target of the attack. Pro-Iranian sources claimed that the strikes caused material damage only.

Meanwhile, US forces in northeastern Syria strengthened their military positions by deploying additional howitzers. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces declared in an official statement that the military buildup was needed to provide US bases with additional protection. Another troop withdrawal announced by the administration of President Donald Trump is apparently successfully ongoing.

Syria’s northwest is also a source of tensions. On March 11, intense fighting erupted among Turkish-backed armed groups in the town of Azaz. As always, the incident was caused by internal contradictions between Turkish proxies who are involved in a wide range of various criminal activities and regularly clash for spheres of influence.

In the region of Greater Idlib, Turkish-backed groups, including those linked with al-Qaeda, are preparing to sabotage another ceasefire deal. They reinforced their positions north of the M4 highway and east of Jisr al-Shughur and declared that they are not planning to withdraw from any areas south of the highway. These statements go contrary to Turkish claims that preparations for the creation of a security zone in the area and the start of joint Turkish-Russian patrols are successfully in progress. Despite these, Ankara continues blaming the Syrian government for supposed violations of the Moscow deal and threatening it with military action should the ceasefire be violated. It seems that Turkey once again seeks to sweep agreements regarding the withdrawal and neutralization of radicals under the carpet, thus pushing the region into a new round of military escalation.

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