I think that the end is very close to us as a state: Gideon Levy

Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy offers his analysis on the escalating  Israeli-Palestinian violence - France 24

Gideon Levy, an Israeli columnist and board member of the Israeli daily Haaretz, tells FRANCE 24 that the escalating violence is not surprising in light of Israel’s 53-year occupation of Palestinian territories and says only international action might eventually lead to a lasting solution to the conflict.


Israel is living in chaos, we have been living in economic chaos since the beginning of Corona … and now we are in the midst of chaos, and we do not know what will happen to it.

Our storming of their mosque was a big mistake that was not taken into account. The government did not listen to the opinion of Mr. Emin Ayam, the head of the settlements, and hit his opinion across the wall. The Iron Dome is not the solution. Everyone knows that the accuracy of the Iron Dome is only from 20 to 30 percent and not as Netanyahu claims to reassure the people.

A $ 50,000 missile launches to hit a $ 300 missile, and is often mistaken. Today the Knesset announces a bill worth 912 million dollars for war expenses and losses with a fierce terrorist enemy in a small area called Gaza $ 912 million in transportation expenses, oil, missiles, military preparations, and civilian losses in the state’s infrastructure and other things .. This is really very much within a time span of only two days. Our budget will never allow that, and we will not be patient for a long time …. The solution is not in fighting .. We have understood the lesson ..These savages are not collapsed Arab armies that do not find power today … nor are they with money-holders. We may be able to ideologize them like sheep … the problem is in their belief and their complete belief that the land is theirs and not ours … America will not benefit us in the end, and the Arab leaders will not support us because of their impotence in their homelands and the people hatred for them.

Personally, I think that the end is very close to us as a state … especially that the peoples of the region have begun to wake up from their slumber and we have dreamed of making friendship between our peoples.

Personally, I fear that the tables will soon turn in Egypt and Jordan, which means that we have become without protection from the peoples of the barbarian region … Our destination must be to Europe and they must receive us as refugees. I think that this is better than being eaten alive by the Arabs. I am not trying to intimidate you, but I am trying to put points on the letters only. This is a fact that the US government in Tel Aviv does not want you to see.

How much we will be able to withstand in these circumstances … Hell is above our heads while we are in shelters, our business, our lives, and everything is completely disrupted and the government is unable to do anything, so be patient together, but I fear that the time has passed and we are in inescapable patience


يورونيوز – جدعون ليفي – المحلل الاقتصادي والسياسي… يقول:

إسرائيل تعيش في فوضى, فقد كنا نعيش بفوضى اقتصادية منذ بدايات كورونا …والان اصبحنا في وسط فوضى لا نعلم ما ستؤول له الأمور.

اقتحامنا لمسجدهم كان غلطة كبيرة لم تكن بالحسبان, الحكومة لم تستمع لرأي السيد ايمين عاوام رئيس المستوطنات وضربت رأيه عرض الحائط, القبة الحديدية ليست الحل فالكل يعلم بأن دقة القبة الحديدية هي من 20 الى 30 بالمئة فقط وليس كما يدعي نتنياهو لتطمين الشعب.

صاروخ قيمته 50 الف دولار ينطلق لضرب صاروخ قيمته 300 دولار ويخطيء في معظم الاحيان.

اليوم يعلن الكنيست عن فاتورة قيمتها 912 مليون دولار مصاريف حرب وخسائر مع عدو ارهابي شرس في منطقة صغيرة تدعى غزة
912 مليون دولار من مصاريف نقل وبترول وصواريخ وتحضيرات عسكرية وخسائر مدنية في البنية التحتية للدولة وغيرها .. هذا كثير جدا فعلا في مسافة زمنية هي يومين فقط فميزانيتنا ابدا لن تسمح بذلك ولن نستطيع ان نصبر لفترة طويلة….الحل ليس في القتال .. فقد فهمنا الدرس .. هؤولاء المتوحشين ليسو جيوش عربية منهارة لا تجد قوة يومها … ولا هم باصحاب مال قد نستطيع ان نؤدلجهم كالخراف … المشكلة في عقيدتهم وايمانهم التام بان الارض لهم وليس لنا … امريكا لن تنفعنا في نهاية المطاف ورؤساء العرب لن يساندونا لعجزهم في اوطانهم ولكره الشعوب لهم.

شخصيا اعتقد ان النهاية قريبة جدا لنا كدولة .. بالذات ان شعوب المنطقة بدأت تفيق من سباتها وحلمنا في عمل مصادقة بين شعوبنا

اخشى شخصيا ان تقلب الطاولة قريبا في مصر والاردن مما يعني اننا اصبحنا بلا حماية من شعوب المنطقة البربرية …وجهتنا يجب ان تكون لاوروبا وعليهم ان يستقبلونا كلاجئين اعتقد ان هذا افضل من ان نؤكل احياء من قبل العرب
انا لا احاول ان اخيفكم ولكني احاول وضع النقاط على الحروف فقط فهذه الحقيقة التي لا تريدكم الحكومة الامريكية في تل ابيب ان ترونها.

كم سنستطيع ان نصمد في هذه الظروف …الجحيم من فوق رؤوسنا ونحن في الملاجئ وأعمالنا وحياتنا وكل شيء معطل تماما والحكومة عاجزة عن عمل اي شيء, لنصبر معا ولكني اخاف ان يكون الوقت قد مضى ونحنا في صبر لا مفر منه

“مترجم من جوجل”

Russia in the Middle East: From Arms to Mercenaries

BY ANTON MARDASOV

May 10, 2021

Russian military vehicles drive on the road as Russia makes a new military and logistic reinforcement of 30 vehicles to its military points in Kamisli, which is occupied by PKK terrorist organization on September 14, 2020. Photo by Samer Uveyd, Anadolu Images

The Kremlin’s successful “comeback” in the Middle East is explained by the fact that Moscow has become accustomed to appearing on the political scene only during crises, when conventional players seek a quick but often emotional resolution. Another obvious reason is the logic of the Russian authorities which have traditionally exploited different upheavals to gain greater political leverage inside the country.

In general, the Syrian war has enabled the Kremlin to make a quiet “comeback” in the Middle East. From the outset, Moscow managed to raise its contacts with key regional and extra-regional stakeholders to an unprecedented level, thus achieving a dialogue on an equal footing that had been sought by the Kremlin since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Yet, many observers wonder whether Russia will be able to use these gains efficiently in the long term. This crucial question is still open-ended as the answer depends on the capabilities and consistent steps of the power vertical.

No arms sale windfall following the weapons tests in Syria

Experts in Moscow enjoy discussing how the war in Syria became a promotion campaign for Russia’s weaponry. The real-world evidence for this hypothesis, however, is somewhat scant. Despite Moscow testing a wide spectrum of weaponry and military hardware in Syria, this has not translated into an uptick of its military exports to the Middle East and Northern Africa, a region which occupies a special place for Russia to expand its military-technical cooperation with countries around the globe.

Taking into account that arms negotiations usually take two years to conclude, it was rather amusing to read various hot takes on the upsurge in Russia’s weapons sales only six months after the start of Moscow’s intervention in Syria.

VIDEO: Mercenaries Reborn: How Private Armies Violate Human Rights

Russia’s military exports demonstrated steady growth prior to 2013 but have been plateauing ever since. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public statements, the volume of Russia’s military sales amounted to $15 billion in 2014, $14.5 billion in 2015, $15.3 billion in 2016, $15.3 billion in 2017, $16 billion in 2018, $13 billion in 2019 (the Defense Department puts the figure for this year at $15.2 billion), and around $13 billion in 2020.

In 2015-2020, Egypt, Algeria, and Iraq were the main importers of Russia’s weapons. All three countries began striking their bundle agreements (or negotiating over particular classes of weapons) with Russia before its intervention in the Syrian civil war.

The values of contracts might be subject to manipulation, so looking at the actual physical volume of deliveries could give us a more accurate picture. In 2015-2020, Egypt, Algeria, and Iraq were the main importers of Russia’s weapons. All three countries began striking their bundle agreements (or negotiating over particular classes of weapons) with Russia before its intervention in the Syrian civil war.

The exception to this rule includes some of the agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. Those deals became media highlights due to the specifics of those countries’ relations with the U.S. But neither the sums of the contracts nor their assortment points at any sort of arms sale windfall.

Read: Orthodoxy and Russian Foreign Policy: A Story of Rise and Fall

With the Qatar blockade lifted, the hype around Middle Eastern countries racing to purchase Russian-made S-400 is subsiding. The interest in the Russian systems was fuelled by the Saudi-Qatari conflict and, more pertinently, by the S-400 radar’s ability to enable Doha to look deep into the neighboring Saudi territory. Another factor constraining sales of Russia’s weaponry is the U.S. sanction provisions contained in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that was signed by Donald Trump in 2017.

The restrictions threw a wrench into Russia’s negotiations with Kuwait on the purchase of the T-90MS/MSK, which the Gulf country had already tested in 2014. As a result, Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems stands as Moscow’s only real breakthrough deal in the region since the start of the Syrian war.

Dialogue on equal footing

Russia’s policy towards the Middle East has a special characteristic which pro-Kremlin pundits like emphasizing. Moscow can simultaneously and to a large extent officially engage in talks with opposing parties, say, Israel and Iran, the U.S. and Hezbollah, Turkey and the PYD. Its neutral status that relies on multipolarity as a fairer way of dealing with other partners has helped Russia mount a “comeback” on the global stage and establish itself as an actor whose participation, as Putin stated back in 2003, was indispensable to tackling any global or regional problem.

Read: Biden-Putin Diplomacy: A Push-Me-Pull-You Game?

However, it would be a misconception to interpret such steps as Moscow’s desire to become a mediator or that it is interested in building a balanced architecture of regional security – it just seeks to present itself as a mentor.

Strategically speaking, Russia has pursued a “clinger” policy in recent years. Moscow has been trying importunately to interact with everyone in order to impose a “dialogue on an equal footing” on Washington, its principal rival.

The Kremlin seeks to bolster its position by playing the contradictions card and making the most of the lack of concordance among traditional allies; by gaining a firmer foothold in the countries at the apex of the crisis – Syria, Lebanon, Iraq; or by mediating the overdue policy to diversify political ties.

Read: Russia’s Changing Relationship with India: Arms Talk

Such tactics tend to be typical of non-state actors which do not have the means to secure themselves. The Kremlin has them in plentiful supply, both nuclear and non-nuclear ones. However, insufficient economic resources prevent Russians from winning unswerving loyalty – even that of their strategic allies, not to mention tactical ones.

Recipe for “success”

In the official propaganda, the emphasis is on exceptional strength which is devoid of significant economic power and which stems from the Soviet paradigm. The latter has defined the agenda promoted by the Kremlin and reinforced the familiar bugaboo of the external enemy against the image of upright state leadership.

Therefore, Putin, a politician who became a historic figure with the annexation of Crimea, could not simply put up with the sanctions imposed after 2014 or see Russia being compared to a besieged fortress. Although the image of the external enemy is indispensable to Russian officials’ speeches, it contradicts, first of all, the existing Western centrism of the Russian elite.

Read: Russian Expansionism under Vladimir Putin

Moreover, pretending to see a threat and moralizing are not tantamount to rule-setting on the world stage. After the Russian “comeback” in the Middle East, where it had to deal with numerous non-state and quasi-state actors, Moscow was forced to resort to parallel diplomacy given the inability of official departments to solve the foreign policy tasks assigned to them in an effective manner.

Hence, we have seen the involvement of the Chechen think tank (Kadyrov’s Muslim team) in the negotiations, the deployment of Prigozhin’s mercenaries to fulfill military tasks, and the engagement of military intelligence to get rid of undesirables. Naturally, special forces should coordinate such activities rather than the Foreign Ministry.

Formally, the Russian Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries work very close and in tandem. Nevertheless, it has been clear since 2017 that security officials, and military and intelligence agencies, sidelined diplomats in the Syrian and later in the Libyan cases. Still, the key players were only too glad to let Moscow call the shots in Syria as Russia would have to shoulder the burden of the crisis settlement and the responsibility for the survival of Assad’s ossified regime.

من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

ابراهيم الأمين

الإثنين 10 أيار 2021

لن يكون بمقدور اللبنانيين تغيير عاداتهم بصورة جدية. لا في الكلام ولا في الأكل ولا في التصرف ولا حتى بالتفكير. إلى الآن، لا يزال كثيرون يكرّرون عبارات من نوع «لن يتركونا نغرق» أو «الجميع بحاجة إلى لبنان» أو «لبنان رسالة يحتاجها العالم» أو «كلفة انهيار لبنان على العالم أكبر من كلفة إنقاذه»، إلى آخره من النظريات التي تعكس فهماً بالمقلوب لما يجري في العالم من حولنا. ومن يتمسّك بهذا المنطق، يهدف عملياً إلى أمرين:

الأول، عدم رغبته بتعديل طريقة تفكيره أو التصرف وفق منطق حياة جديد.

الثاني، استمرار لعبة التعمية على الحقائق القوية التي قامت بفعل المعارك الكونية في منطقتنا طوال العقد الماضي.

يأتي وزير خارجية فرنسا إلى بيروت، ونشهد استنفاراً سياسياً وإعلامياً وخلافه، لكن أحداً من كلّ الذين تابعوا الزيارة أثناء التحضير لها وبعد حصولها، أو الذين شاركوا في الاجتماعات معه، لا يقدر على أن يعطينا عبارة وحيدة مفيدة. وبدل محاولة فهم خلفية الزيارة وواقع الرجل نفسه، وحجم نفوذ وقوة تأثير بلاده، ننشغل في التأويل والتحليل، الذي يُراد له أن ينتهي على شكل أن في لبنان كتلة تغيير قوية تمثل «الغالبية الصامتة» وهي جاهزة لتسلّم البلاد، بانتخابات أو من دونها…

هو نوع من الهزل. ولكن، من دون أن يبدو الكلام عن مشكلتنا استهتاراً بموقع اللبنانيين الحالي، من الضروري تكرار ما يجب أن يُقال حول حاجة البلاد إلى خارج يساعد على معالجة أزماتها السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية. وهذا بحدّ ذاته أمر يعيدنا إلى المربع الأول، حيث الجد مكان المزاح، وحيث حقيقة أن ما يجري في الإقليم، له أثره الأول على الصنف الحالي من أزماتنا. وبالتالي، ينبغي السؤال عن طبيعة القوى الإقليمية والدولية الأكثر تأثيراً في لبنان.

خلال العقد الأخير، ثمة دول لم تعدل بوصة في آلات قياسها للأزمة اللبنانية. لم تغير لا في استراتيجيتها ولا في أهدافها ولا في تحالفاتها ولا في برامج عملها، وأبرز هذه الدول، هي سوريا وإيران وإسرائيل وتركيا. لكن الدول الأخرى باشرت بإدخال تعديلات على استراتيجياتها. هي دول تقودها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وتساعدها بريطانيا، وأبرز عناصرها السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر. علماً أننا ما زلنا في مرحلة قياس الدور الجديد لدول انضمّت إلى ساحتنا ودورها الذي يزداد فعالية مع الوقت، مثل روسيا أولاً والصين ثانياً.

المحور الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة دخل مرحلة إعادة النظر في أمور كثيرة، نتيجة المقاصة المنطقية التي أجرتها دوله في ضوء ما حصل في العقد الأخير. هذا لا يعني أن العالم سيتغير، لكن الأكيد أن تغييرات كبيرة ستطرأ على قواعد اللعبة، وأن بلداناً مثل لبنان، ستتأثر كثيراً بهذه التغييرات. وهنا يصبح السؤال مشروعاً: كيف سيتعامل اللبنانيون مع هذه التغييرات، هل سيصبحون أكثر واقعية ويتخلّون عن البهورات والبهلوانيات والادعاءات والتبجح، وهل بينهم من يبادر إلى تحمل مسؤولية أفعاله في السنوات الماضية، فيبادر إلى الانسحاب أو إعادة التموضع، أو أننا – وهذا هو الأرجح – سنكون أمام فصل جديد من المكابرة والإنكار، الذي يترك أثره على المناخ العام للبلاد، ويقلّل فرص استفادة لبنان من المتغيرات الحاصلة من حولنا.

يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة


يقول دبلوماسي مخضرم يشارك في وساطات دولية، إن مشكلة قسم غير قليل من اللبنانيين، أنه لم يفهم طبيعة التغيير الذي حصل في العقد الأخير حول دور الدول المتوسطة والدول الكبرى. ويشرح كيف أن خطط الإدارات الأميركية الأخيرة، وخصوصاً مع دونالد ترامب، دفعت نحو تعزيز دور الدول ذات الحضور الإقليمي الكبير، وعدم رهن الأمور بحسابات الدول الكبرى. ويشرح من جهة ثانية، أن النفوذ يمكن ممارسته من قِبل دول لا تملك بالضرورة وضعية اقتصادية كبيرة مثل الدول الكبرى، ويعطي على ذلك مثال الدور السوري التاريخي في لبنان، والذي لطالما كان أكثر فعالية وأكثر قوة حتى من الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا. وإن هذا الأمر يتكرّر في السنوات الأخيرة مع دول مثل تركيا وإيران، وإن السعودية نفسها، عدّلت في سياستها وتركت موقع «الحياد النسبي» لتقترب من «موقع المبادر» كونها شعرت بالقدرة على لعب دور أكبر، وهو دور جرّبت دول أقل قوة ممارسته في ساحات المنطقة مثل الإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر، بينما ابتعدت عن المشهد دول ذات حجم كبير مثل مصر.

وإذا ما جرت مقاربة الوضع اللبناني الحالي، يمكن باختصار التثبت من عنصرَين، واحد يتعلّق بطبيعة المشكلة الاقتصادية القائمة، حيث يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة. وعنصر آخر يتصل بالتعقيدات السياسية والتوترات الأمنية والعسكرية، خصوصاً بعد الأزمة السورية وما يجري في العراق، وهذا يعني، أن القوى القادرة على ممارسة نفوذ، هي القوة المؤهلة لذلك بفعل حضورها ودورها. وكل ذلك، يقول لنا بأن اللبنانيين مجبرون على النظر من حولهم، والتدقيق في نوعية التغييرات القائمة، وأن يقوموا بالحسابات وفق معادلات رياضية سليمة، حتى ولو كانت النتائج غير مناسبة لبعضهم.

لا داعي لإهمال العناصر الداخلية للأزمة، لكن من الضروري محاولة معرفة ما يجري حولنا:

أين أصبحت المفاوضات الإيرانية – الأميركية؟ وما هي نتائج جولات الاتصالات الإيرانية – السعودية؟ وماذا جرى بين سوريا وكل من السعودية وقطر والإمارات ومصر؟ وماذا تخطّط تركيا بشأن سوريا أيضاً؟ وماذا عن التطورات داخل التيارات الإسلامية صاحبة الدور الأكبر خلال العقد الأخير في لبنان وسوريا والمنطقة؟

 آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس    [2]: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

على غرار عمل العصابات التي يدعو بعضها بعضاً الى «التهدئة» في حالة وصول ضباط جدد الى مواقع المسؤولية في القوى الأمنية، سارع الفريق الخاص بوليّ العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان الى استراتيجية «خفض الرأس» بمجرد إقرار الرئيس الاميركي السابق دونالد ترامب بنتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الاميركية. تصرّف «الدب الداشر» وفريقه على أن الجميع ملزم بمراقبة خطوات إدارة جو بايدن الجديدة تجاه المنطقة. وكل الكلام الذي سمعوه عن رغبة في تغيير طريقة التعامل مع السعودية، لم يجعله في موقع الخائف من تطورات كبيرة ونوعية. وبوشر الإعداد لفريق جديد يتولى إطلاق حملة علاقات عامة مع مفاصل الإدارة الجديدة، والتقصّي من الموظفين الدائمين في الإدارة عن المؤشرات المقلقة. وظل الجميع في حالة انتظار، الى أن تم إبلاغهم، مطلع شباط الماضي، نيّة ساكن البيت الأبيض الجديد، البعث برسالة عامة تصيب السعودية، لكنها تستهدف تقديم شعارات جديدة. وكما يبرع الديموقراطيون، قرروا إعلاء شأن صورة أميركا الحامية للقيم وحقوق الانسان. وهي حيلة لا تزال تنطلي على كثيرين في العالم. لكن محمد بن سلمان فهم أن الرسالة تتعلق بتصفية جمال خاشقجي. وكل ما قام به هو البعث برسالة «تنبيه» الى من يهمه الأمر في واشنطن، من أن الذهاب بعيداً في خطوات ضد حكمه، ينذر بانقلاب كبير في العلاقات السعودية – الاميركية، وأنه مستعد لهذه المغامرة.

كلّف وليّ العهد السعودي شقيقه خالد بمتابعة الملف، حتى تاريخ صدور التقرير الخاص بالاستخبارات الأميركية بشأن قتل خاشقجي، والذي فهمه آل سلمان على أنه «إدانة لولي العهد من دون إصدار حكم يوجب خطوات تنفيذية». لكن الملك دعا أولاده والمقربين من العائلة الى اجتماعات متفرقة، كان أبرزها بين محمد وخالد، حيث تم التفاهم على إعداد استراتيجية قصيرة المدى تستهدف «استرضاء الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة». هذه الوجهة كانت لها حساباتها الإضافية، وهو ما عاد خالد نفسه وأبلغه الى من يهمه الأمر داخل المملكة وخارجها، موجزاً الخطة السياسية الجديدة بعناصر محددة:

أولاً: إن العائلة الحاكمة ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي. واتخذت خطوات داخلية هدفت الى إفهام المعارضين أو الطامحين إلى أدوار جديدة أن الأمر لن يحصل ولو كانت كلفته كبيرة.

ثانياً: إن الرياض مستعدة لإعادة النظر في برامج سياساتها العامة في المنطقة، من دون تنازل يجعلها ضعيفة وينعكس على الحكم داخلياً. وفي حال كانت واشنطن قد اتخذت قراراها النهائي بالعودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وتهدئة الجبهات في الشرق الأوسط، فإن السعودية نفسها لا ترى مانعاً في القيام بالخطوات نفسها. وهي مستعدة للبدء فوراً بمحادثات مع إيران لتهدئة الأمور معها.

ثالثاً: إعداد استراتيجية لإنهاء الحرب في اليمن وفق تصور يمنح المملكة أثماناً كبيرة على صعيد تركيبة الوضع السياسي اللاحق، وإظهار الرغبة في التوصل الى اتفاق ولو كان على حساب بعض حلفائهم اليمنيين، وخصوصاً أتباع الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

رابعاً: عدم تنفيذ الخطوات التي كانت منتظرة في شأن التطبيع مع إسرائيل، والتفاهم مع تل أبيب على الأمر، من زاوية أن إقدام الرياض على خطوة من هذا النوع سيزيد من مستوى التوتر مع إيران ومع قوى أخرى، وسيعقّّد مهمة وقف حرب اليمن، عدا عن كون المناخ العام في العالم العربي لم يكن شديد الترحيب بالتطبيع، رغم كل الجهود التي مارستها الحكومات ووسائل إعلامها.

شرعت قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!


خامساً: الذهاب الى استراتيجية تعاون جديدة في العالم العربي تتطلب رفع مستوى التنسيق مع العراق، واستئناف التواصل مع سوريا، ودرس خيار التحالف الذي يجمع السعودية بمصر ودول عربية أخرى، وتطبيع العلاقات مع قطر وسلطنة عمان بما يخفف من التوتر داخل الجزيرة العربية.

استراتيجية فريق ابن سلمان راقت وسطاء كثراً في المنطقة، ولا سيما رئيس الحكومة العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي، الذي يحظى برعاية لدوره الإقليمي من قبل بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وهو يملك أصلاً الصلات المناسبة مع إيران وقوى بارزة في محور المقاومة. ودور الكاظمي سمح للسعودية بحركة تعفيها من منح أي أوراق لخصومها الخليجيين، ولا سيما الدوحة ومسقط، ثم أنها لم تقرر تبدلاً جوهرياً في اتجاه بناء علاقة من نوع مختلف مع تركيا، وإنْ كانت تحدثت عن أنها ساعدت مصر والإمارات العربية المتحدة في معركتهما ضد تيار «الإخوان المسلمين». وهو ما عاد خالد بن سلمان وعرضه في اجتماع عمل تفصيلي عقد في الرياض مع أحد مساعدي مصطفى الكاظمي، تحضيراً للخطوات اللاحقة.

قال السعوديون إنهم مستعدون للاجتماع فوراً بالإيرانيين، وهم يفضّلون بغداد مكاناً للاجتماع، وليس لديهم جدول أعمال محدد، لأن الاجتماع الأول هدفه كسر الجليد، وإعادة التواصل المباشر، والإعداد لجولات جديدة تستهدف عرض كل نقاط الخلاف والتوتر بين الجانبين. وطلب ابن سلمان من الكاظمي أن يكون الاجتماع الأول على مستوى القيادات الأمنية، وإن حضره موظفون كبار في وزارة الخارجية، وهو ما وافقت عليه طهران. وعندما توجّه الوفدان الى بغداد، كان الكاظمي في استقبالهما، مرحِّباً ومُبدياً الاستعداد لكل ما يسهّل التحاور والتوصل الى تفاهم، قبل أن ينسحب من القاعة تاركاً مندوبه الرفيع المستوى يشارك في الاجتماع الذي شابه بعض التوتر إزاء مداخلات متبادلة، حمّل فيه كل طرف الجانب الآخر مسؤولية التدهور في العلاقات الثنائية وفي أوضاع المنطقة، قبل أن يعود الجميع الى الاستماع الى جدول أعمال إيراني تراوح بين استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية بالتدرّج وصولاً الى كيفية إدارة موسم الحج. لكن الجميع كان يعرف أن الأمر لا يتعلق بهذه البنود الآن، بل بملفّين رئيسّين: الأول، هو مستقبل علاقات دول الخليج مع إسرائيل، والثاني هو ملف حرب اليمن.

للمرة الأولى، كان السعوديون يتحدثون بلغة لا تنسجم مع كل سياساتهم المعلنة أو المطبّقة، إذ أكدوا أن «خادم الحرمين الشريفين لن يقيم علاقات مع إسرائيل من دون حلّ يؤمّن دولة للفلسطينيين تكون عاصمتها القدس». وأضافوا «أن السعودية لا تستهدف أمن الآخرين في أيّ خطوة تقوم بها»، ليطلبوا مباشرة تدخلاً إيرانياً مباشراً لأجل «ردع الحوثيين وإقناعهم بقبول مبادرة الرياض لوقف الحرب في اليمن».

لم يخرج الجميع من الاجتماع برضى كامل، لكنّ الكاظمي كان يتوقع الأسوأ لو أن التوتر تحكم في المفاوضين، وهو يعرف أن اللقاء سيكون تمهيداً لجولات جديدة بمستويات رفيعة أكثر، وخصوصا أنه كان قد أطلق مسارات عديدة للتفاوض مع إيران، بينها مع مصر والأردن وكذلك مع الإمارات العربية المتحدة، التي حاولت إظهار التمايز في ملفات عديدة، من بينها ملف سوريا، لجهة أنها قادرة على لعب دور كبير بمساعدة مصر في إقناع السعودية بالعودة الى العلاقات مع دمشق، والدفع نحو معالجة موقع سوريا في الجامعة العربية، والبدء بمشروع تفاوض مع الأميركيين والأوروبيين لأجل تأمين قرار يرفع الغطاء عن عملية إعادة إعمار سوريا.

مضمون الاجتماعات نقله كل طرف الى حلفائه. صحيح أن السعودية ليست مضطرة الى إبلاغ مصر أو الإمارات بكامل التفاصيل، لكنها حرصت على إبلاغ الأميركيين، علماً بأن مسؤولاً كبيراً في الرياض قال إن واشنطن ستكون قد اطّلعت من الكاظمي على كل ما يحصل. لكنّ إيران بادرت الى إبلاغ حلفائها من دول وقوى بارزة، في سوريا ولبنان والعراق واليمن، بمضمون المحادثات. كذلك جرى إطلاع قوى فلسطينية على الأمر. وكان واضحاً للجميع أن السعودية ترحّب بقوة بتخفيض مستوى التوتر، لكنها كانت تعرف مسبّقاً أن الخطوة السعودية لا تعكس مبادرة حقيقية بقدر ما تعكس «رغبة» في مواكبة التغييرات الجارية بسبب استئناف المفاوضات حول الاتفاق النووي مع الولايات المتحدة والغرب. ومع ذلك، فإن الإيرانيين الذين أبدوا استعداداً للمساعدة في معالجة أزمة اليمن، كانوا أكثر صراحة في إشارتهم الى أن الأمر يتطلب مفاوضات مباشرة مع أنصار الله، وكل تقدير بأن طهران تقدر أن تفرض على صنعاء خيارات هو مجرد وهم.

ومع ذلك، فإن الجانب السعودي عاد وكرر في اتصالات إضافية، كما فعلت دول أوروبية، ضرورة أن تبادر طهران الى الضغط على أنصار الله. وفي زيارة وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف لمسقط ضمن جولته الخليجية، عقد اجتماع عمل مطوّل مع ممثل أنصار الله في المفاوضات الخارجية، محمد عبد السلام، وبدا أن ظريف معني بشرح وجهات النظر التي تتطلب «لجوء أنصار الله الى تدوير الزوايا» في المفاوضات التي بدأت ثم تعطّلت مع الموفد الأميركي. ومع أن ظريف لم يكن يطلب مباشرة أو يحاول فرض وجهة نظر معينة، إلا أن عبد السلام كان شديد الوضوح في التعبير عن موقف «أنصار الله» لناحية أن وقف الحرب يعني وقفاً شاملاً لكل الحرب وليس لبعض العمليات العسكرية، وأن العودة إلى المفاوضات رهن بتجاوب الطرف الأميركي – السعودي مع المطالب الإنسانية الخاصة برفع الحصار عن المطار والموانئ والمعابر الحدودية لليمن مع جواره. حتى إن عبد السلام كان شديد الصراحة في قوله إن قوات الجيش واللجان الشعبية قادرة على حسم معركة مأرب سريعاً والدخول الى المدينة، لكن الأمر لا يتعلق بحسابات عسكرية، بل بحسابات الواقع الأهلي، وإن تجميد الهجوم الكبير يرتبط بالجانب الإنساني، وهو أكثر ما يمكن أن تقدمه صنعاء بانتظار جواب واشنطن والرياض على مقترح العلاجات الإنسانية.

«العائلة الحاكمة السعودية ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي»


هناك أمور كثيرة تتعلق بالمفاوضات السعودية – الإيرانية وما يجري من اتصالات بشأن اليمن، لكن الخطوة السعودية التالية كانت في توسيع دائرة «خفض التوتر»، وهنا دارت من جديد محركات الوسطاء العرب من أكثر من جهة، ترتيباً لأول تواصل نوعي مع القيادة السورية. وفي دمشق، لم يكن الرئيس بشار الأسد في غفلة عمّا يجري في العالم، وعمّا يجري من حول سوريا على وجه التحديد. وهو أوصى العاملين في فريقه بأن سوريا لم تبدأ الحرب ضد أحد، وهي ليست مستعدة لمراعاة أحد في أمور استراتيجية، لكنها مستعدة للانفتاح الذي يفيد سوريا أولاً، ويفيد العرب ثانياً. ولذلك كان الفريق السوري المكلف باستقبال وفد سعودي في دمشق مجهّزاً بأجوبة مُعدّة حول الأسئلة المتوقعة من الجانب السعودي، الذي بادر الى محاولة تبرئة نفسه من أصل الحرب على سوريا، وأن الأمر يتعلق بالأوضاع التي سادت المنطقة والعالم، وأن الرياض مستعدة لاستئناف العلاقات مع دمشق، ولكن لديها أسئلة مباشرة تحتاج الى إجابات عنها، وهي تتركز على مستقبل الوضع السياسي الداخلي في سوريا، وإمكان التوصّل الى اتفاق يتيح تأليف حكومة جديدة بمشاركة قوى بارزة في المعارضة، والإشارة الى وجود آليات عمل لدى السعودية ودول أخرى تتيح المشاركة في إعادة إعمار سوريا من دون انتظار أيّ قرار دولي بما خصّ العقوبات. لكنّ وجه الموفد السعودي صار مختلفاً عندما سأل نظيره السوري: هل تفكرون في ترك التحالف مع إيران وحزب الله وإخراج قواتهما من سوريا والذهاب نحو تحالف عربي يواجه تركيا؟

لم يكن السعوديون يتوقعون جواباً مختلفا عمّا سمعوه سابقاً، إذ كرر المسؤول السوري الترحيب بالحوار، لكنه شدّد على أن دمشق لا تحتاج الى حوارات سرية وعلاقات من تحت الطاولة، بل الى خطوات مباشرة وواضحة في شأن استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية وغيره ذلك. أما بشأن العلاقة مع إيران وحزب الله، فكان الموقف السوري شديد البساطة والوضوح: «عندما جئتم جميعاً ودعمتم حرب تدمير سوريا وإسقاط الدولة والنظام، كانت إيران وحزب الله إلى جانبنا، وليس لهذين الطرفين أيّ تدخّل في ما نقرّره بشأن الوضع الداخلي أو استراتيجية علاقاتنا مع الخارج، لكنّهم ليسوا مجرّد أصدقاء أو حلفاء في معركة، بل هم أكثر من ذلك بكثير».
بالمناسبة، والى أن يقرّر أحد الطرفين الإعلان، فإن ما يحاول البعض التكتّم عليه هو شروع قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!

غداً: فيينا، وحيرة أميركا إزاء إيران

Propaganda and the Media: Part 1 – Introduction

May 10, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for The Saker Blog, May 10, 2021

China Daily - Unmasking Hypocrisy and Propaganda -- Western Media Unlocked Episode 3 | Facebook

Note to Readers:

For a period of about ten years, I operated a website of political commentary that contained thousands of articles, many of which were content from various media, but many being my own work. That website experienced occasional but persistent DDOS and other attacks by forces unknown

Some years ago, I published on that website a three-page article on the Western media similar in content to the media series I am presenting here. Of all my written work, only this one article was under constant attack. Most often, the pages wouldn’t load properly, preventing readers from seeing the full contents and preventing them from clicking through to the following pages. It was clear I had attracted the attention of someone who preferred to not have this information in the public realm.

A short while ago, I wrote an article titled, A Search for Truth and Understanding. It provides an excellent lead-in to this series and I suggest you read it. It isn’t long. (1)

When I arrived in China the news reporting format was one of the first things to draw my attention. There was something different, unusual; the reporting seemed somehow stilted, a bit dry or reserved, perhaps cautious. Reserve and caution are of course Chinese tradition, but  I had difficulty assessing it. My first thought was that perhaps the government controlled not only content but method – the way news was reported.

But it slowly dawned on me that the unusual aspect was simply that I was seeing news without commentary – a simple chronology of events. I had become so inured to the rampant opinion-based journalism in North America that the absence of this in China made articles seem somehow barren and empty. But they weren’t empty of news; they were empty of the opinions, biases, propaganda, conjectures and moral judgments that in the West are always inextricably mixed with fact. Looking at most Western newspapers today, and certainly on topics related to politics, capitalism, religion or US imperialism, seemingly every article contains 3 facts, 4 conjectures, 2 false hypotheses, 6 moral judgments, 12 baseless opinions and at least 6 unfounded accusations, all following a coherent agenda. It is impossible to find honest reporting in America’s mainstream media today – and indeed in all the Western media, the reported “news” being little more than an ideology surge, journalism having openly become nothing more than perception management for imperialism or political power.

The US and Canada, and primarily all English-speaking countries, once had factual news reporting. But with competition for readers or viewers, the media began adding what they called ‘color’ to the news, additional information intended to make a news story more interesting, reporting for e.g., that someone in the news had a son who was an Olympic athlete; not related directly to the story, but adding human interest. The trouble with color is that there isn’t very much of it, and the media wasted no time replacing it with commentary, essentially editorialising news with ideological viewpoints.

Of course, the Western governments and the media were well-versed in Bernays’ clandestine propaganda theories, but by the 1980s ‘clandestine’ was no longer operative and even subtlety had been abandoned, ideology being not only ubiquitous but in the open. With the English media today, there is no longer any separation of fact and opinion. This is so true that many articles contain no news other than an oblique reference to some past event, and consist entirely of ideological editorialising, in fact heavily biased op-ed pieces providing primarily a political interpretation the elites want us to adopt, creating abuses of every description. Americans, Canadians, Brits and Aussies have now for two generations been exposed to this deceitful reporting and are no longer aware of the extensive propagandising even though it no longer remains hidden.

As someone wrote so accurately: “Traditional journalistic news room culture determines the basic nature of a story before the facts are assembled.”

“A young reporter writes an expose, but the editor says, “I don’t think we’re going to run that.” The second time the reporter goes to her editor, the editor says, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She doesn’t research and write the story. The third time the reporter has an idea. But she doesn’t go to her editor. The fourth time she doesn’t get the idea.” – Nicholas Johnson, former FCC commissioner (2)

It is true that we now have a daily stream of fabricated news. Some of it is completely fabricated in the sense that there was no newsworthy event that occurred, but where a few small facts from a topic of current interest are used to provide an excuse for political editorials. Most of it is driven by a political/capitalist ideology promulgated with a startling lack of regard for truth, using badly twisted interpretations of a few facts to spin an entirely false story. Journalistic integrity has all but disappeared from the Western countries. And indeed it is much worse than this, because a great deal of our “news” is in reality totally fabricated, with the requisite faked video and audio, misleading headlines, twisted information and bald outright lies. I am referring here to actual fabricated concoctions – invented ‘news’ – things that never happened, or that didn’t occur at all in the way they are presented. And we aren’t talking about ‘color’ or ‘bias’ here; we’re speaking of actually fabricating an event and making firm statements that are knowingly false. I will provide some typical – and outrageous – examples. You can begin with this story of Jessica Lynch and another of Osama bin Laden. (3) (4)

For most of us, it seems incredible that a news story could possibly be a fiction. We are apparently unable to accept that our government and media would actually lie. But lie, they do. Several years ago, CNN was sued by one of their news anchors for being ordered to lie in the newscasts. CNN won the case. They did not deny ordering the news anchor to lie. Their defense was based simply on the position that American news media have “no obligation to tell the truth”. In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. FOX asserted that there were no written rules against distorting news in the media, arguing that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute a news anchor’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story; they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. (5) In these cases, and in others, the position of the US courts implied that First Amendment rights belong to the few individuals who own and/or control the entire media landscape, a kind of shield protecting their vast propagandising campaign.

We have come to the point where Western media are practicing a kind of psychological warfare. “We all know that our State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House have brazenly proclaimed that they have the right and the power to manage the news, to tell us not the truth but what they want us to believe.” – Myron Fagan (6)

This is a large and complex topic, but let’s begin with something simple. Since we are indeed being propagandised by our own media on a daily basis, how do we recognise what is happening to us? How do we distinguish propaganda? How do we separate truth from lies? What are the main things to look for?

1.Atrocity tales.

The first is what some people today call “atrocity porn”, in fact violent pornographic tales of events that have never occurred. For this, you can recall my comments in an earlier Propaganda article on the recommendations of Bernays and Lippman that the best way to create hate and anger towards a people is to fabricate atrocity tales. The Germans having tubs full of Jewish eyeballs, of using Jewish fat to make soap and industrial lubricants, of skewering babies and raping nuns. (7) We progressed to Saddam Hussein having WMDs ready to launch, his using wood shredders to eliminate his political opponents, of gassing millions of Kurds and burying them in mass graves, of his soldiers tossing babies out of incubators.

We had Khadaffi issuing Viagra to his soldiers, enabling them to rape more women. And we had “proof” of this, in the woman who did a survey (during a war) of abused women. 1,300 questionnaires sent out, 1,200 returned and all 1,200 women claimed to have been raped. When the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch tracked down the woman and asked to interview some of the victims, well the woman had unfortunately “lost touch” with all of them. After all, there’s a war on.

We had Bashar al-Assad in Syria gassing his people with chlorine. In the end, no evidence – no evidence – was ever discovered to substantiate any of these claims, but it was too late; the countries had already been attacked and destroyed.

Today we have the ‘genocide’ in China’s Xinjiang, the ‘concentration camps’ imprisoning millions in forced labor, and with unlimited forced sterilisations, the forced extermination of the Uigur language, the destruction of Moslem temples and graveyards and much more. In fact, the only thing happening in Xinjiang is the Chinese government’s astonishing success in de-radicalising hundreds of thousands of (Western-trained) potential terrorists, replacing religious extremism with gainful employment. We have Pompeo’s “proof” that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab. Again, no evidence has ever been presented to substantiate any of these claims; as always, idle claims are equated to evidence.

2. Hate literature

Almost without exception, anything leading you to form a negative opinion of (usually) a country or its people, is propaganda, normally to build support for outrageous political action or in preparation for the next war. You need think only of the constant stream of negative news items about Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, formerly Iraq and Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba . . . To the extent possible, atrocity tales (1) are part of this media onslaught.

3.Framing

This is one of the more insidious tools of propaganda – instructing us ‘how to think’ about a particular event. The invasion and destruction of Iraq were termed by the military and in the media as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. People who are genuinely concerned about contamination and dangerous side-effects of vaccines are termed “Vaccination terrorists”. When Radio Free Europe started broadcasting its lies about the East in 1950, people were asked to donate “truth dollars” to fight communism, a bit like sending “freedom fighters” to Libya and Syria. As George Carlin said, “If fire fighters fight fires, what do America’s freedom fighters fight?” Hong Kong’s terrorists are defined in the media as “democracy protestors” – who, in one university lab alone, had created more than 10,000 petrol bombs which were used on government buildings and police stations (and on the police themselves), and who poured gasoline on a man and set him on fire. (8) In all these cases, the first step is to provide a useful propaganda definition which, if adopted by the public, eliminates independent thought in one swoop.

4.Flooding the Media

If you think back to recent world events, even very major items like the destruction of Japan’s Fukushima reactor and the leakage of vast amounts of radioactivity into the Pacific, grab the headlines for only a short time, then disappear. Most events are ‘news’ for only a day or two. But whenever we see an item recurring repeatedly in the media for weeks and months, and even sometimes for years, this is a 100% sign that we are being propagandised and that the media flow will not cease until polls tell our masters that a majority of the population has accepted the position being promoted or that the political pressure has achieved its desired result.

One such occurrence was the exchange value of China’s RMB. You may recall that when Japan was in a competitive position similar to China 40 years ago, the US forced the Plaza Accord onto Japan, revaluing the currency upward by nearly 300%, destroying the economy and eliminating Japan as a contender. The same was planned for China, led by Paul Krugman, the NYT’s Renminbi Rambo, screaming that China needed to revalue its currency by “at least 25% to 40%”. These stories of ‘China cheating’ on its currency and the necessary 40% revaluation occurring at least weekly in the Western media and the US Congress for perhaps ten years. But in fact, China’s currency had always traded in an appropriate range, as has been proven by subsequent events, and the Chinese government did not bow to the media and political pressure.

Today’s stories of China’s Xinjiang, yesterday’s stories of the ‘horrors’ of ZIKA, and more. One of the more noticeable of these is the new religion of “sexual preferences” which has been hyped in the media non-stop to the extent that few politicians would have the courage (or the death wish) to refuse participation in a Gay Pride parade. The power of propaganda. (9)

China’s Huawei is another such item, garnering far more media attention than an actual circumstance would require, and with good reason. Huawei has been in the US, Canada, and many other nations during G1, G2, G3 and G4, and never a hint of a suggestion of espionage or any threat to ‘national security’, so what happened suddenly with G5? You may care to read this, to understand the details. (10)

5.Changing Your Values

Anything suggesting you alter your moral values especially sexual, or on abortion, assisted death, pornography, immigration, family values, today’s Western white trash. In this category we have had an enormous volume on all of these topics. I would include here a recent NYT article freeing corporate executives from responsibility for all crimes including negligent manslaughter (11) (12), the movie Pretty Woman, and the flood referred to above on our new sexual perversions presented as “preferences”.

6.Hit Pieces

Whenever you see an author or a publication being trashed in the media, you know there is something they don’t want you to know. The best is to go there immediately and find out what that is. Almost invariably, whenever people are being demonised, you know that’s propaganda; you are being indoctrinated to avoid information they don’t want you to have.

When James Bacque (12) (13) published his historically-surprising works of the millions of Germans killed in American concentration camps in Europe in the years following the end of the war, (14) he was bitterly excoriated in the North American media, his research being derided as “worse than useless” even though he’d relied entirely on US military records and the introduction to his books was written by a senior US military officer. His work was denounced as “a deeply-flawed book” (15). Someone didn’t want Americans to know, while Bacque’s books have been translated into about 15 languages and in Europe he is widely admired as an historian of consequence.

When the President of Tanzania derided Western vaccines for COVID-19 and claimed Tanzania would refuse to participate in the global vaccine money-making machine, the UK Guardian published an astonishing article stating that “this man must be removed” from his office (16). A short while later, Magufuli mysteriously collapsed on a public stage and was pronounced dead, the Guardian writing a dozen or more articles celebrating the event. It was a surprise, to say the least, that the Guardian would have any interest in such a minor person and item. Magufuli was the same man who denounced the American virus tests, claiming a goat and a papaya tested positive. (17) (18)

The same is true of Henry Ford’s series of articles on The International Jew. (19) (20) This has for more than 100 years been denounced in vicious terms as ‘anti-Semitic rants’ but, on reading them, we are surprised to discover they are no such thing and that Ford in many instances praised the Jews for their talents. But the articles contain information that some people don’t want widespread in the public domain and, the best defense being a good offense, the attacks are intended to pre-empt examination.

7.Confusion of Information

Whenever a media propaganda topic arises and contrary opinions and conclusions are leaking into the public realm, we invariably see a multitude of articles creating floods of extraneous information that serve only to create confusion in the public mind and prevent rational thought and conclusions. Often, this flood of unwelcome information is used to direct public thought in wrong directions and avoid if possible any focus on the core of the issue. COVID-19 is one such example, with columnists, apparently medically-qualified, proving that lockdowns are either useful or a crime against humanity, that masks will either prevent infection or starve you of oxygen and leave your children brain-dead. Or that the virus originated in either bats or pangolins or bananas, or frozen salmon, or Fort Detrick or the Wuhan university, or caves in Sichuan, and that it was unleashed either deliberately, or by accident, or by lab Ph.D’s selling the diseased animals on the street for coffee money. And at least 100 “facts” to support each of these claims.

Whenever we are reading about a serious current event and find suddenly multiple opinions and conclusions by multiple persons all apparently qualified, we know we are suffering a propaganda attack. It will never occur otherwise.

8.Fake NGOs

One common strategy for propagandists when promulgating questionable theories about events or accusations against a nation, is to produce ‘off-the-shelf’ NGOs with legitimate-sounding names as the actual author of the accusation or theory in question. So we suddenly see the “Center for Democratic Transition (CDT)” promoting “honest and accountable government” somewhere, or vicious trade agreements promoted with the support of the “Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington”. And of course we have the ‘World Uigur Congress’ in Washington, created by the CIA with two people, masquerading as the only legitimate world voice of China’s millions of Xinjiang Uigurs, to say nothing of the “Tibet Government in Exile”, also created by the CIA with two people and also in Washington.

If you haven’t heard of the organisation before, it very likely did not exist before, and was created only yesterday to lend a bit of credibility to an otherwise-hapless tale.

9.Fact-Checking

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that fact-checking is a huge worldwide industry conceived and created years ago as a powerful censorship tool, and funded with seemingly unlimited millions of dollars primarily by George Soros, the Gates Foundation, various media companies, and similar. They were never created to fact-check George Bush’s claims about Iraq WMDs, but to ‘fact-check’ you and pronounce you false when you disputed Bush’s claims.

I recently wrote a heavily-documented article on the thesis (now widely-accepted, I believe) that the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was not influenza but was instead a bacterial infection (proven and accepted) the tragic result of a misguided experiment by the Rockefeller Medical Institute of a meningitis vaccine that began at Fort Riley in the US and spread around the world not by the soldiers but by Rockefeller itself. (21) Reuters immediately conducted a ‘fact-check’ of the thesis and pronounced it false. Reuter’s evidence? Non-existent, the claim sufficing as irrefutable proof. (22) Moreover, some of their claims were completely false.

You will be surprised to learn of the tricks these fact-checkers play in producing their results, and of the actual violations and crimes (civil, at least) they will commit in pursuing their ends. To my best knowledge, there are no fact-checkers that are not part of this worldwide network. Some like to rely on sites like Snopes, but these have also been co-opted and have now become part of the propaganda chain, filling in one of the last holes in the highway of lies. As one quick example of the latter, almost everyone has seen the video of Pompeo stating “We lied, we cheated, we stole.” Snopes’ fact-check experts tell us it is only “partially true” that Pompeo said this. In simple terms, whenever any major media outlet claims that something has been fact-checked, delete this information from your consciousness because it is almost certainly false.

10.Too much of the story known in advance

There are many such examples and all should raise an extreme cautionary awareness in readers. In the event of 9-11, the full story of who, how, and why was flooding the media the next morning, while in real life there wasn’t even sufficient time to fully realise what had happened. ZIKA was another such tale, (23) as were the reports of gassings in Syria, replete with all details which were later proven to have no substantiation.

11.Negative and Unpleasant Emotions

Anything creating a negative emotional response, other than perhaps the story of a tragic death or similar. Propaganda relies heavily on emotion, often primarily fear and usually of fears you might not care to discuss openly. It also relies heavily on hate and anger, arousing feelings of injustice or horrible crimes against populations. The rule is that whenever you find a news item creating a negative emotional response in yourself, you are almost certainly being deliberately stuffed with false propaganda. Think of all the tales of Iran, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Russia, China, so many nations and so many events, and yet none of those terrible things have ever been substantiated.

12.Opinion-based articles . . .

. . . with a few truths and many lies, articles that provide no detail or omit crucial details. These may be difficult for you to identify without some research of your own. I will provide some excellent examples.

13.Things that Just Don’t Make Sense

The two epidemics of UK foot and mouth disease (24) that resulted in the culling of millions of cattle and bankrupting most small farmers. “Animal Rights Activists” entered the Level-4 Military bio-weapons labs at Pirbright and Porton Down and stole thousands of liters of the deadly pathogen and spread it throughout the entire country. Alternatively, “a leaky drain” at Porton Down released a pathogen that killed cattle 500 Kms. distant – and nobody noticed. The fact that anyone attempting to penetrate a military bio-weapons lab would most likely be shot dead, was ignored, as were dozens of other facts.

“Pork Speculators” in turn obtained thousands of liters of deadly swine flu pathogen and used small drones to kill several hundred million pigs in China. No explanation as to why they would do that, nor whether they obtained the pathogen at the nearest 7-11 or at Wal-Mart, and all the rest. A Chinese scientist in the US announces he is on the verge of a great discovery (25a) as to the origin of COVID-19, but a day later this happily-married man has an argument with a gay lover who kills him and commits suicide. Discovery is lost. Two Chinese scientists working on COVID-19 fired from a government lab in Winnipeg, Canada, (25b) police involved, but no accusations, no crimes, merely a “procedural issue” which instantly disappears from the media, meaning they saw something they weren’t meant to see. Chinese medical students taking back to China samples of some “brown fluid” related to COVID-19, and arrested for ‘smuggling’ – which is usually a crime of bringing in, not of taking out.

14.Censorship

Propaganda, whether positive or negative, can be undermined if contrary views – or the truth – can be disseminated to the public at the same time, so media control  is vital to eliminate other views or prevent them from gaining traction. Death is the ultimate censorship. Ask Gary Webb, the only known example of a man committing suicide by shooting himself in the head twice. It isn’t difficult to determine if event coverage is being censored, and you can be very certain of it when even the social media de-platform you, cite you for ‘fake news’, and Google suddenly cannot remember who you are.

15.Pablum for the Masses

This is one sure way to know that you are being fed propaganda. An easy example is recurrent articles in a Canadian newspaper with titles like “What is in the COVID-19 vaccines?” (25c), articles that omit all the real concerns of real people and provide no information of value, and which specifically omit mention of aluminum and the female hormones and other contamination which have been widely-reported to be contained in these.

16.Polls

Interestingly, public polls can tell us much about the agenda underlying various propaganda campaigns. As one example, the Western media have been flooded for more than one year with anti-China hate propaganda, centered on the coronavirus but including much else.(26) We can almost sense the glee in Gallup or Pew in reporting that assaults against “Asians” have increased by 793% during the past year, since that was clearly the point of the propaganda. And this is far from the first time such has occurred; the practice began in England during the war years. You may care to read this (25).

17.You don’t know what you don’t know

Propaganda does not only involve telling you what to think and how to think, or what not to think. There is also a huge industry that ensures much news never comes to your attention so that you don’t think ‘the wrong things’ about the wrong people. One example: In 2011, a Saudi judge advertised for a doctor to perform spinal surgery on a man, for the purpose of destroying his spine and leaving him crippled for life. The man had apparently caused a traffic accident that left another man with a damaged spine and the judge determined the appropriate punishment was “an eye for an eye”. Did you read about this? No. It’s not on the agenda.

18.Propaganda Success

Lastly, here are two examples of how successful a propaganda campaign can be, with the power to have all the media onside and to crush dissenting voices. The first is the story of China’s great famine in 1959, the story propagated in Western minds attributing the blame to Mao and being rubbish in entirety. (27) The second is the real story of China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, certainly one of the greatest propaganda victories of all time. (28) The article referenced is considered the definitive work on this topic, at least in English, though the Internet gatekeepers will not permit many of the necessary photos to be reproduced on any website.

I will cover all these and more in a brief series of articles on Media Propaganda.


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 30 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’.

His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

Notes

(1) http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1282/

(2) http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/writing/masmedia/

(3) Fake News and “The Naked Government”: Jessica Lynch

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/618/

(4) The Death of Osama bin Laden

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1409/

(5) https://www.projectcensored.org/11-the-media-can-legally-lie/

(6) http://usa-the-republic.com/illuminati/fagan_index.html

(7) Bernays and Propaganda – Part 2 of 5 — The Marketing of War

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1582/

(8) https://www.rt.com/news/473115-hong-kong-man-set-on-fire/

(9) Social Change: If Greed is Good, Maybe Smoking is Gooder

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1187/

(10) Huawei, Tik-Tok and WeChat

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/08/huawei-tik-tok-and-wechat-august-8-2020.html

(11) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/business/in-corporate-crimes-individual-accountability-is-elusive.html

(12) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/business/dealbook/theprospects-for-pursuing-corporate-executives.html

(13) https://www.jamesbacque.com/

(14) https://archive.org/details/CrimesAndMerciesByJamesBacque1997

(15) https://www.positionpapers.ie/2019/06/james-bacques-other-losses-a-deeply-flawed-book/

(16) https://amp.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/feb/08/its-time-for-africa-to-rein-in-tanzanias-anti-vaxxer-president

(17) https://newspunch.com/tanzanian-president-who-questioned-covid-vaccine-found-dead/

(18) https://www.africanews.com/2021/03/26/tanzania-s-magufuli-laid-to-rest-after-mysterious-death//

(19) https://archive.org/details/TheInternationalJew_655

(20) https://educate-yourself.org/cn/The-International-Jew-Vols1-4-Henry-Ford-645pages.pdf

(21) The 1918 Rockefeller-US Army Worldwide Pandemic

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1319/

(22) https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-vaccines-caused-1918-influe-idUSKBN21J6X2

(23) ZIKA: https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/06/larry-romanoff-zika-june-12-2020.html

(24) UK Foot and Mouth Disease

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/06/larry-romanoff-uk-foot-and-mouth.html

(25a) https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-chinese-american-researcher-studying-virus-murdered/1831236

(25b) https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/virologists-escorted-out-of-lab-in-canada-66164

(25c) https://globalnews.ca/news/7525406/covid-vaccine-ingredients-pfizer/

(26) The Anger Campaign Against China

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/08/blog-post_49.html

(27) China’s 1959 Famine

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/1369/

(28) Tiananmen Square: The Failure of an American-instigated 1989 Color Revolution

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/tiananmen-square-the-failure-of-an-american-instigated-1989-color-revolution/

The original source of this article is The Saker Blog

Copyright © Larry RomanoffMoon of ShanghaiBlue Moon of Shanghai, 2021

US support for Israel | We the People

The US has been giving the Israeli regime unwavering support from the get-go. Thus Israel has no greater friend than the United States today. The US has given Tel Aviv billions of dollars in foreign military aid for Israel to remain a most strategic ally to the Zionist regime.

US, UK, EU barbaric sanctions are killing Syrians — The Wall Will Fall

Syria has been the stage upon which a world war is being fought and our global power balance is being re-calibrated as a result – a balance which does not comply with US allied unipolarity. Russia, Iran, China and the non-aligned axis would see a multi-polar world emerge from the ashes of this conflict. Washington clings to the supremacist exceptionalism with which it has dominated the world and any threat to that supremacy must be crushed and destroyed – diplomacy is dead in the West. Politicians, diplomats in the US-aligned sphere have become talking heads for central power policy diktats, there is no anti-war party, there is no “democracy” there is only dictatorship and military aggression either direct or proxy when their demands are not met.

US, UK, EU barbaric sanctions are killing Syrians — The Wall Will Fall

The American Cyber Stasi Will Suppress All Digital Dissent In Biden’s Dystopia

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The American Cyber Stasi Will Suppress All Digital Dissent In Biden

CNN’s recent report that the US’ security services are considering contracting the services of so-called “researchers” as a legal workaround for spying on average Americans confirms that Biden’s dystopian hellhole is rapidly moving in the direction of establishing a “Cyber Stasi” for suppressing all digital dissent against the Democrats as they continuing consolidating their de facto one-party rule of the country.

The dystopian hellhole that I predicted would become a fait accompli following Biden’s confirmation as President by the Electoral College is quickly becoming a reality after CNN’s recent report that the US’ security services are considering contracting the services of so-called “researchers” as a legal workaround for spying on average Americans. According to the outlet, these ostensibly independent contractors would be charged with infiltrating the social media circles of white supremacists and other supposedly terrorist-inclined domestic forces within the country. The report claims that the intent is to “help provide a broad picture of who was perpetuating the ‘narratives’ of concern”, after which “the FBI could theoretically use that pool of information to focus on specific individuals if there is enough evidence of a potential crime to legally do so”.

In other words, the US’ security services essentially want to establish a “Cyber Stasi” of “fellow” citizens who spy on one another and produce purported “evidence” of “potential crimes” for “justifying” the FBI’s “legal” investigations. CNN quoted an unnamed senior intelligence official who asked, “What do you do about ideology that’s leading to violence? Do you have to wait until it leads to violence?”, thereby hinting that this initiative might likely be exploited to stop so-called “pre-crime”, or crimes before they occur. Put another way, even those average Americans who practice their constitutionally enshrined right to the freedom of speech to peacefully dissent against the Democrats’ consolidation of their de facto one-party rule of the country might find themselves targeted by the security services depending on how the contracted “researchers” spin their words.

It should be remembered that even Americans’ constitutionally enshrined right to the freedom of assembly is nowadays under scrutiny depending on the stated reason behind their planned peaceful protests if they dare to propose gathering in opposition to last year’s alleged voter fraud for example. The events of 6 January were exploited as a game-changer by the security services in order to restrict Americans’ freedoms. It’s neither here nor there whether one sincerely believes that the election was stolen since the purpose in pointing these double standards out is to prove that average Americans are being politically discriminated against with the implied threat of legal intimidation when it comes to exercising their constitutional rights about “politically incorrect” issues of concern to them.

Although the reported purpose of the “Cyber Stasi” is to preemptively thwart emerging domestic terrorist plots, it can’t be discounted that the combination of political Russophobia and “mission creep” will combine to create additional objectives such as stopping the spread of so-called “Russian disinformation” throughout society. That phrase is actually just a euphemism for “politically incorrect” facts and interpretations thereof that contradict the Democrats’ official narrative of events, being intentionally vague enough to function as an umbrella under which to cover practically every alternative understanding possible. With this in mind, those average Americans who dare to share something “politically incorrect” – even in private chats amidst the presence of “deep state” infiltrators (“researchers” employed as “Cyber Stasi”) – might be targeted by the FBI.

The end effect is that the US’ security services might succeed in suppressing most expressions of digital dissent in the coming future. They’re inspired to do so by the ruling administration which wants to impose a syncretic system of economic leftism and social fascism onto the country. It’s not “communist” in the sense that the economic vision is more akin to state capitalism than traditional Marxism, but the social impact will certainly mirror that of East Germany during its darkest days of Stasi rule, though that’s precisely why many critics casually describe it as “communist” despite that not being economically correct (at least not yet). The US’ “researcher”-contracted “Cyber Stasi” will have a chilling effect how Americans interact with one another from here on out, all in order for Biden’s dystopian hellhole to avoid the fate of its predecessor, East Germany.

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

May 07, 2021

Source

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Remarks at the meeting of the UN Security Council, “Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the United Nations-centred international system,” held via videoconference, Moscow, May 7, 2021

First of all, let me thank Mr Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, for organising today’s debates. Maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred international system is as topical as ever and demands the UN Security Council’s constant attention.

Today the world finds itself in a critical stage of development. The coronavirus pandemic has posed a grave challenge to everyone without exception. Normal life has been completely upended. It is difficult to predict the long-term or deferred consequences of the crisis, although we can see some positive trends thanks to the massive deployment of coronavirus vaccines.

The pandemic broke out in a world that was already far from perfect. In recent years, we have seen growing international tensions, as well as escalating regional conflicts and cross-border challenges and threats. The entire architecture of global governance created after the Second World War is being tested.

It is clear that the prospects of the international community’s sustainable and predictable development are directly connected with our ability to find effective solutions to common problems and our readiness to exercise collective leadership in order for true multilateralism to prevail.

Russia, like the majority of countries, is convinced that such work must be carried out solely on the basis of universally recognised norms of international law. The United Nations must serve as the key platform for coordinating efforts: it is the backbone of the modern global order, where all independent states are represented. Today, its unique legitimacy and unique capabilities are especially needed.

The core tenets of international law enshrined in the UN Charter have withstood the test of time. Russia calls on all states to unconditionally follow the purposes and principles of the Charter as they chart their foreign policies, respecting the sovereign equality of states, not interfering in their internal affairs, settling disputes by political and diplomatic means, and renouncing the threat or use of force. This is especially important at the current stage in the difficult process of forming an international multipolar system. At a time when new centres of economic growth, financial and political influence are gaining strength, it is necessary to preserve the internationally recognised legal basis for building a stable balance of interests that meets the new realities.

Unfortunately, not all of our partners are driven by the imperative to work in good faith to promote comprehensive multilateral cooperation. Realising that it is impossible to impose their unilateral or bloc priorities on other states within the framework of the UN, the leading Western countries have tried to reverse the process of forming a polycentric world and slow down the course of history.

Toward this end, the concept of the rules-based order is advanced as a substitute for international law. It should be noted that international law already is a body of rules, but rules agreed at universal platforms and reflecting consensus or broad agreement. The West’s goal is to oppose the collective efforts of all members of the world community with other rules developed in closed, non-inclusive formats, and then imposed on everyone else. We only see harm in such actions that bypass the UN and seek to usurp the only decision-making process that can claim global relevance.

The well-known idea to convene a Summit for Democracy proposed by the US Administration is in the same vein. The establishment of a new club based on interests, with a clearly ideological nature, has the potential to further inflame international tensions and deepen dividing lines in a world that needs a unifying agenda more than ever. Of course, the list of democracies to be invited to the summit will be determined by the United States.

Another initiative with the goal of global leadership that bypasses the UN is the French and German idea to create an Alliance for Multilateralism. What could be more natural then discussing the tasks of strengthening multilateralism at the UN? However, Berlin and Paris think differently and issue joint documents declaring that “the European Union is the cornerstone of the multilateral international system” and promote the conclusions of the Council of the European Union under the title “The central role of the European Union and European institutions in promoting multilateralism.” Presumptuous, you might say. The EU does not think so and declares its own exceptionalism despite all its invocations of equality and brotherhood.

By the way, as soon as we suggest discussing the current state of democracy not just within states but on the international stage with our Western colleagues, they lose interest in the conversation.

New ambitious initiatives to create narrow partnerships are emerging all the time within the Alliance for Multilateralism, on issues that are already being discussed at the UN or its specialised agencies, for example, on cyber security (with 65 member countries), respect for the international humanitarian law (43 member countries), the Information and Democracy Partnership (over 30 countries), etc.

This also reveals the West’s true attitude toward multilateralism and the UN, which they do not regard as a universal format for developing solutions acceptable to everyone, but in the context of their claims to superiority over everyone else, who must accept what is required of them.

Another example of the dictatorial methods introduced by the West is the practice of imposing unilateral sanctions without any international and legal grounds, with the sole purpose of punishing “undesirable regimes” or sidelining competitors. During the pandemic, such restrictions have limited the capacity of a whole range of developing countries to counter the spread of the infection. Despite UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call to suspend such unilateral sanctions during the pandemic, we mostly see them becoming harsher.

We believe such efforts to impose totalitarianism in global affairs to be unacceptable, yet we see it more and more from our Western colleagues, above all the United States, the European Union and other allies, who reject all principles of democracy and multilateralism on the global stage. As if to say, either it’s our way, or there will be repercussions.

It is striking that Western leaders, while openly undermining international law, do not hesitate to argue that the main task of world politics should be to counter the attempts of Russia and China to “change the rules-based order.” Such statements were made the other day following the G7 ministerial meeting in London. In other words, there has already been a substitution of concepts: the West is no longer concerned with the norms of international law and now requires everyone to follow its rules and observe its order. What’s more, US representatives freely admit that the USA and Great Britain have had the biggest hand in shaping these rules.

I am not saying all of this to ratchet up the confrontational rhetoric or advance an accusatory agenda. I am simply stating facts. But if we all support multilateralism in word, let us honestly search for ways to ensure that there is fairness in deed, without attempts to prove one’s superiority or infringe on another’s rights. I hope that this approach to maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred system will guide the activities of the UN Secretary-General and his team.

I am convinced that the time has come to do away with medieval and colonial habits and recognise the reality of today’s interconnected and interdependent world. Honest and mutually respectful cooperation based on equal partnership between all states, guided by pragmatism and devoid of any ideology or politicisation, is what is needed now. It is the only way to improve the atmosphere in the world and ensure predictability in the advancement of the human race. That is especially true of such global challenges as the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs, climate change, new infectious diseases, and protecting human rights, starting with the most important one – the right to life.

I agree with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who stressed recently that no country can overcome such global threats to the lives of our citizens alone, not even the United States.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council are called on to play a key role in fostering open and direct dialogue about the most pressing problems of our time. According to the UN Charter, they bear special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed convening a summit with the leaders of the five permanent members. We hope to make this idea a reality once the epidemiological situation in the world stabilises.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise that the UN, as the main multilateral platform, must keep pace with changes on the global stage. The organisation must constantly adapt to ever-changing conditions, while continuing to fully respect the division of labour between the main UN Charter bodies and maintaining the support of all the member states. At every stage of change, our actions must be measured by the improvements made to the United Nations’ real-world effectiveness.

Russia stands ready to continue working constructively with all partners who share these approaches in order to bolster the authority and fully unlock the potential of the UN as the true centre of multilateralism.

Thank you for your attention.

وثائق تأسيس التحالف الاستراتيجي… ومحاضر مفاوضات الخليج واميركا

ابراهيم الأمين، دعاء سويدان، ملاك حمود

السبت 8 أيار 12021

وثائق تأسيس التحالف الاستراتيجي...  ومحاضر مفاوضات الخليج واميركا

لم يوفّر الرئيس الأميركي السابق، دونالد ترامب، أيّ وسيلة لتحقيق ما يرى أنه مفيد لاستراتيجيته «أميركا أوّلاً». منذ زيارته الأولى للرياض، كانت تَعِنّ له فكرة إغراء «الحلفاء» بتشكيل جبهة تحاكي مخاوفهم من «العدو الإيراني»، وتَصلح في الوقت نفسه للتخفّف من أعباء تحدّيات بات على هؤلاء التعامل معها بدرجة أكبر من الاعتماد على النفس، توازياً مع استمرار «حلبهم». رؤية لم يتأخّر ترامب في بدء ترجمتها؛ إذ لم تكد تمرّ أشهر على زيارته، حتى انطلق فصل جديد من «الاستعراض» الأميركي تحت شعار «تحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي» أو «الناتو العربي».

حصل ذلك في خضمّ حملة «الضغوط القصوى» على إيران، والتي جاء إعلان نيّة تشكيل التحالف المذكور ليضيف عامل تهويل متعدّد الأبعاد إليها. بدت السعودية، آنذاك، الأكثر حماسة لمشروع من هذا النوع، هي التي «آمنت» باستراتيجية ترامب، ووضعت كلّ بيضها في سلّته. لكن وقائع من الاجتماعات المكّوكية التي رافقت خروج الحديث عن «الناتو العربي» إلى العلن، والتي تنشر «الأخبار» تفاصيلها في ما يلي، تُظهر كم أن الرياض «كبّرت» آمالها بما يخالف الواقع، فيما يتبيّن عمق الخلافات بين الأطراف الذين أريد تكوين جبهة موحّدة للدفاع عنهم. في التفاصيل، يتأكّد أن أحد الأهداف الرئيسيّة لـ«ميسا» كان تعديل منظومة «الحماية» لأمن الخليج على قاعدة ترامب الشهيرة: «يجب أن يدفعوا»، فضلاً عن تحصيل المزيد من صفقات الأسلحة من تلك الدول، وهو ما تتمّ الإشارة إليه بصراحة في المقترح الآتي من البيت الأبيض، والمُفصّل في وثيقة سعودية سرّية بتاريخ 4 تموز 2019، حيث يرد أن على الأطراف كافة «تعجيل صفقات التسليح مع الولايات المتحدة، والالتزام بإبرام صفقة عسكرية لنظام إقليمي مشترك للإنذار المبكر ضدّ الصواريخ الباليستية». كما يرد أن الاتفاقية المتوقّعة «لا تُلزمنا (أي الولايات المتحدة) باتّخاذ أيّ إجراء عسكري في حال حصول اعتداءات». من هنا، رأى الجانب السعودي أن «هذا التصوّر يحقّق فوائد مهمّة للولايات المتحدة دون أن يفرض عليها أيّ أعباء تُذكر، في الوقت الذي يحقّق فيه فوائد محدودة للغاية للدول الأخرى، ومنها المملكة». اللافت، أيضاً، إلحاح السعوديين، ومعهم الإماراتيون والبحرينيون، غير مرّة، على ضرورة جعل مواجهة إيران و«أذرعها» المحور الرئيسيّ لعمل التحالف المنشود، وكأنهم كانوا متشكّكين في نيّات الأميركيين من وراء «الناتو العربي». تشكّكٌ تنبئ به أيضاً مطالبتهم بـ«ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على تنويع مصادر منظومات الدفاع أو على الاتفاقيات الثنائية القائمة العالية السرية مع الدول الأخرى»، وذلك في إطار سياسة «التحوّط الاستراتيجي» التي يتّبعونها منذ زمن.
أمّا على ضفة دول الخليج الأخرى، فقد ظهر موقف كلّ من عُمان والكويت أقرب إلى المسايرة منه إلى الانخراط الجدّي، مثلما يوحي قول رئيس وفد عمان: «نعم نحن مع الشق الاقتصادي وليس العسكري»، أو طلبه «تغيير كلمة التحالف إلى تجمّع أو منتدى أو اتحاد أو مبادرة»، وكذلك حديث الجانب الكويتي عن أن «لدينا إجراءات دستورية ملزمة». وبالنسبة إلى الجانب القطري، يَظهر، كما العادة، حريصاً على مناكفة السعوديين، ولا سيما بتأكيده أن استمرار الأزمة الخليجية يُعدّ واحداً من التهديدات التي تعترض تشكيل المشروع. الأكثر بروزاً هو موقف مصر، التي لم تَدم مشاركتها في الاجتماعات التأسيسية طويلاً، إذ سرعان ما انسحبت منها بعدما دعت إلى «التركيز على الجانب السياسي أكثر»، مشدّدة على ضرورة أن «نفرّق بين الجماعات المسلّحة والجماعات الإرهابية». وفي ما يتّصل بالموقف الأردني، يمكن القول إنه جاء متّسقاً مع وضع المملكة المسكونة دائماً بهاجس انقطاع «المساعدات» عنها؛ إذ ظلّ التشديد على أهمية الركيزة الاقتصادية ــــ خلافاً للموقف السعودي ــــ محوراً رئيسيّاً لرسائل عمّان طوال فترة الاجتماعات.
كلّ تلك التباينات كانت كفيلة بتطيير المشروع الذي لم يُعمّر طويلاً، شأنه شأن عرّابه ترامب، الذي سرعان ما غادر البيت الأبيض، ليَخلُفه جو بايدن، وتنفتح صفحة جديدة في المنطقة، لم تجد السعودية بدّاً، أخيراً، من التعامل معها، وفق ما تنبئ به التحوّلات المستمرّة في سياسات المملكة.
التحولات الظاهرة الآن في سياسات الرياض لا تعني تخلياً عن «الأهداف الوجودية» التي ظهرت في أوراق المقترحات السعودية ومواقف ممثليها الى جانب الإمارات والبحرين. هذا البناء الذي بدأ العمل به فعلياً قبل وصول ترامب الى الحكم في أميركا، لن يكون خارج اهتمامات أي إدارة أميركية جديدة، لكن قد لا يحتل مكانة متقدمة في أولويات أميركا، وهو ما ينزله حكماً درجات في سلّم أولويات دول المنطقة، وعلى رأسها السعودية التي دخلت الآن في مرحلة «تصفير التوتر»!

1 – المقترح الأمريكي

هنا الخطوط العريضة للمقترح الأمريكي المتعلق بتأسيس التحالف، كما ظهر في وثيقة سعودية سرية بتاريخ الخميس 1 ذو القعدة 1440 هـ/ 4 يوليو 2019م.

الهدف الرئيس:
«بناء المؤسسات لخلق قوة ضد العدوان الإيراني، والإرهاب والتطرف، وتعزيز النمو والتنوع الاقتصادي»

الأهداف الفرعية للتحالف:
• أن يصبح الشرق الأوسط حصناً منيعاً أمام أي قوى معادية.
• أن يصبح الشرق الأوسط بيئة لا تمكن الإرهابيين الجهاديين من العيش فيها.
• أن تسيطر الاقتصادات القوية المترابطة والحكومات المستقرة على المنطقة.
• إنشاء سوق قوية للقطاع الخاص في دول التحالف.
• تعزيز استقرار أسواق الطاقة العالمية.
• رفع القدرات العسكرية والتكامل العسكري بين القوى الإقليمية، وقوى الأمن الداخلي،
وأجهزة الاستخبارات.
• الدفع نحو تكامل اقتصادي أقوى.
• تزويد الدول الأعضاء في التحالف بأحدث المنظومات الدفاعية الأمريكية.
• توفير التدريب والتسليح للدول الأعضاء بطرق فريدة.

مسار تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (ميسا MESA) لمكافحة الإرهاب:
يسعى تحالف ميسا الدولي لتحقيق النتائج النهائية التالية:
• ردع أو منع الدول الراعية للإرهاب والداعمة لجماعات إرهابية من استخدام العنف وتقويض قدرتها ورغبتها في إستعمال الإرهاب لزعزعة استقرار الشرق الأوسط.
• القضاء على التهديد الناتج من الجماعات الإرهابية غير الدولية.
• تقليص وصول الإرهابيين للمواد والموارد المالية ومنع قدرتهم على عبور حدود دول تحالف (میسا).
• منع التأثير الناتج عن الإرهاب والنشاطات العنيفة الأخرى المدعومة من الأيديولوجيات المتطرفة في المجالات الواقعية والمعلوماتية والسيبرانية.
• تعزيز جهود التواصل الإستراتيجي الموحد لدول تحالف (ميسا) لفضح التكتيكات الإرهابية علنياً وتكذيب الرواية الإرهابية ودعم العناصر التابعة لدول التحالف في تطوير ونشر المنظور الخاص بهم في مكافحة الإرهاب
وقد أنشأت لجنة (ميسا) الأمنية آلية دورية لمراجعة وتحديث الإستراتيجية المعتمدة.

میسا مفهوم شامل للأمن الإقليمي:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية أنه يجب النظر الى تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بنظرة شاملة ومن منظور أمني وسياسي وطاقة وتعاون اقتصادي، وأن وجود كل هذه العناصر سيوفر فرصة لتحسين أمن واستقرار وازدهار المنطقة.
– تدعم بعض الدول الأعضاء بالتحالف التصور المطروح من الجانب الأمريكي بشأن دعامتي الاقتصاد والطاقة لتحالف ميسا، ونحن نحث حكوماتكم على التفكير في الفوائد المترتبة على تحالف ذي منظور أوسع عوضاً عن تحالف ذي منظور ضيق يركز فقط على الجانب الأمني.
– لا تمانع الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بأن يكون هناك تركيز أكبر على جانب معين من الجوانب الأربعة المنشودة من التحالف (الأمنية، والسياسية، والاقتصادية، والطاقة)، وترى أنه يمكن التركيز في مرحلة ما على جانب معين. ولكن نظرتنا أن ميسا ينبغي أن يقوي الجوانب الأربعة كلها، وعدد من الدول يتفقون معنا في ذلك.

الإطار التنفيذي للتحالف
1 – الجانب العسكري:
– منح كافة الأعضاء تصنيف (حليف رئيسي خارج الناتو). في هذه المرحلة، لا ترغب الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بأن يكون هذا التحالف شبيها بتحالف (الناتو) العسكري أو أن يشتمل على التزام المادة الخامسة منه التي تنص على قيادة عسكرية متكاملة أو تواجد قوات عسكرية. كما ترى الولايات المتحدة أن التحالف ينبغي أن ينشأ من خلال وثيقة موقعة من جميع الدول تتضمن التزامات كل دولة تجاه الركائز الأربع المنشودة للتحالف (أمني، سياسي، اقتصادي، طاقة).
– تعجيل صفقات التسليح مع الولايات المتحدة، والتزام كافة الأطراف بإبرام صفقة عسكرية لنظام إقليمي مشترك للإنذار المبكر ضد الصواريخ الباليستية.
– توفير التدريب والتسليح للدول الأعضاء بطرق فريدة (برامج تدريب – التفضيل في الأنظمة العسكرية الجديدة – إنشاء مؤسسات تعليمية إقليمية).
– توفير إطار ملزم للأمن المشترك.
– تأسيس إطار للتعاون في مجال أمن الملاحة البحرية.

السعودية: لدينا تصور لمواجهة استراتيجية مع ايران ونريـد تحالفاً عسكرياً – أمنياً فقط، وشراكات استراتيجية مع دول أخرى


2 – الجانب السياسي:
– حل الخلافات بين الدول الأعضاء.

3 – الجانب التجاري:
– التمهيد لإبرام اتفاقية تجارة حرة.
– بناء إطار اقتصادي مدمج.

4 – جانب الطاقة:
– اتخاذ خطوات إضافية لرفع مستوى التكامل في قطاع الطاقة.

أعضاء التحالف:
– يبدأ الحلف بدول مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية، والأردن، مع فرصة انضمام
مصر وغيرها لاحقاً.
– ستمنح الفرصة لدول أوروبية وآسيوية محددة للمشاركة في هذا التحالف، تشتمل (ولا
تقتصر) على المملكة المتحدة وفرنسا واليابان.

مقر میسا:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أن من السابق لأوانه تحديد مقر دائم للتحالف، خاصة وأنه لم يتم بعد التوافق حول دور وأنشطة الركائز الأربع ودور كل دولة فيها.
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أنه على المدى البعيد يجب النظر في مأسسة تعاوننا، بما في ذلك تأسيس مقر دائم للتحالف بتمثيل دائم للدول الأعضاء.

آلية التصويت:
– ترى الولايات المتحدة أن نظام التصويت المبني على الإجماع هو الآلية الأنسب، خاصة في مرحلة التأسيس.

مراكز الجودة:
– ننظر الى هذه المراكز على أنها عنصر أساسي في الدعامة الأمنية لميسا.
– ستعزز المراكز الإمكانات والقدرات والعمل المشترك للقوات الأمنية للدول المشاركة، الخطوة الأولى الطبيعية لتعزيز التماسك والإندماج بين دول ميسا.
– وظائف كل مركز ستشمل التدريب، التعليم، التمارين، تطوير العقائد العسكرية، تحديد العتاد الضروري لتأسيس إمكانات جديدة وجعل قواتكم قادرة على العمل المشترك مع الولايات المتحدة ومع بعضكم البعض.
– نقطة التركيز لكل مركز ستكون متوائمة مع العناصر الرئيسة في البيئة الأمنية، ومن شأنها تطوير قدرات جماعية في مجالات الدفاع الجوي الصاروخي، العمليات البحرية، الدفاع السيبراني، الحروب غير المتكافئة، القيادة والسيطرة، التعبئة والدعم على المستوى الاستراتيجي، وأمن الحدود.

2 – التصور السعودي

حدد السعوديون ملاحظات وتوصيات بشأن أهداف واستراتيجية التحالف، أهمها:
– فصل المسار الأمني والعسكري عن المسار الاقتصادي والتجاري، واذا لم يتسن ذلك يكونان تحت مظلة واحدة بمسارين منفصلين.
– ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على قرار المملكة في مجال النفط.
– التأكيد على أن يشمل الحلف مواجهة أذرع ايران في المنطقة.
– أهمية انضمام مصر الى الحلف في مرحلته الاولى، خاصة في المجال العسكري.
– أن تتضمن آلية حل الخلافات بنداً يؤكد على تعليق عضوية الدولة التي تسهم في تهديد الأمن والاستقرار للدول الأعضاء.
– ضمان عدم تأثير هذا الحلف على تنويع مصادر منظومات الدفاع أو على الاتفاقيات الثنائية القائمة عالية السرية مع الدول الأخرى والتي بموجبها تم الحصول على منظومات تسليح استراتيجية، بالإضافة الى تأثيره على اتفاقیات تبادل المعلومات السرية وغيرها التي لا يمكن الافصاح عنها لأطراف اخرى.
– ضمان أن يسهم الحلف في رفع تصنيف دوله بما يحقق تعزيز التعاون مع الجانب الامريكي في المجالات كافة، خاصة في تسريع صفقات الأسلحة ونظام الإنذار المبكر ضد الصواريخ الباليستية وأنظمة المراقبة والإستطلاع والإستخبارات.

رأي اللجنة السعودية
وبعد دراسة أولية للتصور الأمريكي لتحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي، رأت «اللجنة التوجيهية» السعودية أن هذا التصور يحقق فوائد مهمة للولايات المتحدة دون أن يفرض عليها أي أعباء تُذكر، في الوقت الذي يحقق فيه هذا التصور فوائد محدودة للغاية للدول
الأخرى، ومنها المملكة. وأوصت اللجنة بما يلي:
أ – الإبقاء على التصور الذي قدمته المملكة لتشكيل التحالف قيد النقاش مع الولايات المتحدة والدول الأخرى المدعوة لتشكيل التحالف، ومحاولة العمل على تبنيه.
ب – العمل على تحقيق مكاسب إضافية تشمل ولا تقتصر على ما يلي:
– التزام الجانب الأمريكي الواضح بدول التحالف.
– أن تعامل الولايات المتحدة الدول الأعضاء في التحالف بعد تأسيسه فيما يتعلق بآلية مبيعات الأسلحة الأمريكية والتصريح بالأسلحة بشكل مماثل لصيغة الناتو + 6.
ج – في ما يتعلق بشقي الاقتصاد والطاقة الواردين في التصور الأمريكي، رأت اللجنة أن تتم هذه الدراسة في مركز الأمن الوطني بحضور أعضاء الفريق المشكل بموجب الأمر الملكي رقم 40005 في 1440/7/18هـ، وبمشاركة مستشاري اللجنة، مع الإستئناس برأي جهات استشارية دولية مختصة.

مواقف الدول المعنية من التصور السعودي:
المملكة العربية السعودية ودولة الامارات العربية ومملكة البحرين: مؤيد
سلطنة عمان: تصور مختلف
دولة الكويت ودولة قطر: غير واضح التوجه
الولايات المتحدة والمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية: تأييد التصور الأمريكي

الإجتماعات التأسيسية:
• اجتماع جانب الطاقة في مسقط يناير 2019.
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في واشنطن- فبراير 2019.
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في الرياض – أبريل 2019 (تشكيل 4 لجان فرعية).
• اجتماع الجانب السياسي والدفاعي في واشنطن- أبريل 2019 (لدمج المقترحين السعودي والأمريكي، معالجة التضارب بين تصريحات الدول الأعضاء للجانب الأمريكي وما تتم مناقشته خلال الاجتماعات، والتريث في الأهداف الفرعية والتمويل والحوكمة).
• اجتماع استراتيجية محاربة الإرهاب في واشنطن- يونيو 2019: (ملاءمة الاستراتيجية من ناحية المبدأ مع طلب بعض الايضاحات؛ اقتراح الشراكة مع مركز التحالف الاسلامي العسكري لمحاربة الإرهاب، ومركز اعتدال، ومركز الحرب الفكرية، ومركز الامير محمد بن نايف للرعاية والمناصحة؛ – إرسال مسودة الاستراتيجية للدول الأعضاء قبل 12 يوليو ومن ثم عقد اجتماع لمناقشتها).
ضم الوفد الأمريكي الزائر للمملكة العربية السعودية (3 – 9 أبريل 2019) للمشاركة في محادثات تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (MESA): تيموثي ليندر كينج نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية، تشارلز کامبارو مدير مجلس الأمن القومي لشؤون الخليج، بن امبري مسؤول في مكتب شؤون الشرق الأدنى، جوشوا فولز مسؤول في مكتب موارد الطاقة، الفريق سكوت بنيديكت، نائب مدير الشؤون السياسية العسكرية، كيلي كالاوي مخطط سياسي/عسكري، أماندا دوبن مسؤولة عن استراتيجية وتخطيط مكافحة الإرهاب، وليام ماكغلوين مسؤول عن استراتيجية وتخطيط مكافحة الإرهاب. وشارك من السفارة الأمريكية في الرياض: كریستوفر هنزل القائم بالأعمال، اللواء ويندول هاغلر كبير مسؤولي الدفاع / ملحق الدفاع، وترايسي لوكبرين نائبة مستشار الشؤون السياسية

المبادرات المشتركة بين السعودية والولايات المتحدة

حددت وثيقة سعودية غير مؤرخة المبادرات الهادفة لتعزيز العلاقات العسكرية والأمنية الاستراتيجية بين الجانبين الامريكي والسعودي، كما يلي:

1 – مبادرة تحالف الشرق الأوسط الاستراتيجي
قدم الجانب الامريكي لسمو سفير خادم الحرمين الشريفين في واشنطن مقترحاً معداً من مجلس الامن القومي حيال هيكل وآلية تحالف الشرق الاوسط الاستراتيجي. ويتضمن المقترح الخطوات المستقبلية للمضي قدماً في هذا التحالف. وقد أحالها سموه ببرقيته رقم 100408 تاريخ 16-9 -1439هـ الى معالي رئيس الديوان الملكي للعرض على النظر الكريم للتوجيه حيالها.

2 – مبادرة القضاء على داعش ومحاربة الإرهاب عسكرياً
أبرز ما تم: الإعلان عن جاهزية الدول الإسلامية لتوفير قوة الاحتياط
تم الاعلان في «بيان الرياض» عن جاهزية الدول الاسلامية لتوفير قوة الاحتياط. اتفق الجانبان على استئناف اجتماعات فريق التخطيط المشترك لمناقشة النواحي المتعلقة بالقيادة والسيطرة والدعم اللوجستي ومسؤوليات التدريب ومهام العمليات لقوة الاحتياط الاستراتيجي، وتم التواصل مع الجانب الامريكي عدة مرات لطلب تحديد توقيت الاجتماع.

البحرين: اميركا تتراجع عن اولوية التهديدات الإيرانية، ونريد ضمانات بعدم التخلي عنّا كما خرجت من الاتفاق النووي


3 – مبادرة تعزيز التعاون الثنائي
أبرز ما تم:
أ – جاري العمل بين البلدين على تأسيس قاعدة جوية بحرية مشتركة في البحر الأحمر. تم الاتفاق المبدئي على الموقع المقترح للقاعدة.
ب – إستكمال الخطوات المقبلة في مذكرة النوايا الموقعة مع الجانب الأمريكي. تم التوقيع خلال زيارة الرئيس الامريكي على مذكرة نوايا خاصة بمتطلبات وزارة الدفاع من الجانب الامريكي لمدة عشر سنوات.

4 – مبادرة دعم التحالف في استعادة الشرعية في اليمن
أبرز ما تم:
أ – جاري العمل على تقديم الجانب الأمريكي للدعم اللازم لقوات تحالف دعم الشرعية في اليمن. تم تقديم متطلبات قوات التحالف من الجانب الامريكي خلال اجتماع اللجنة الثلاثية في الرياض. كما تم تقديمها للمختصين في البيت الأبيض في الاجتماع الذي عقد برئاسة سمو الامير بتاريخ 30-7- 1439هـ. وقد ذكر الجانب الامريكي أنه ستتم دراستها ومن ثم العمل على تقديم الدعم اللازم.

الإستراتيجية السعودية للمواجهة مع إيران
أعدت اللجنة التوجيهية (السعودية) بتاريخ 1440/10/30هـ (4/7/2019م) الخطوط العريضة لما أسمتها «مراحل إعداد الإستراتيجية الشاملة للتعامل مع إيران»، وجاءت كما يلي:

المرحلة الأولى: مرحلة التهيئة
– التوجه الاستراتيجي والحوكمة
– جمع التقارير والمعلومات المختصة بالشأن الايراني من الجهات الحكومية والخبراء والمصادر ذات العلاقة وتشكيل فريق العمل الخاص بالمبادرة.

المرحلة الثانية: مرحلة التحليل والتقييم
– عمل تقييم استراتيجي لدولة ايران ويشمل تحديداً ووصفاً للبيئة الداخلية والاقليمية والدولية بالإضافة الى التوقعات المستقبلية والاستشرافية لإيران ودورها في المنطقة والعوامل المؤثرة فيها.
– تحليل وتقييم السياسات الحالية للمملكة تجاه ايران ومدى فعاليتها والفجوات الموجودة.
– مراجعة وتحليل الأهداف الاستراتيجية.
– عرض المخرجات على الفريق الإشرافي.

المرحلة الثالثة: بناء وإعداد الاستراتيجية
تحلیل مخرجات ورش العمل والاجتماعات مع الجهات ذات العلاقة، اعتماد الاهداف من اللجنة التوجيهية، بناء وإعداد المسودة الاستراتيجية من قبل الفريق المكلف، ورفع وثيقة الاستراتيجية المقترحة.

محاضر من اجتماعات الدول الأعضاء في تحالف «ميسا»

الإمارات: قلقون من عدم وجود ضمانات أميركية، ولماذا نتجاهل خطر ايران وحزب الله؟
مصر تخرج لأن لديها انشغالاتها: يجب أن نفرق بين الجماعات المسلحة والجماعات الإرهابية
عُمان: لن ندخل في تحالف يخالف سياساتنا… لا نعارض مطالب السعودية لكن المقترحات لا تلزمنا
قطر: الاشارة الى المنظمات الارهابية يجب ان تكون مطابقة لتوصيفات الأمم المتحدة

محضر اجتماع تنسيقي بين دول الخليج عقد في مقر الملحق العسكري السعودي في واشنطن، 19 فبراير 2019، لتنسيق الموقف من المقترح الذي تقدمت به الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بشأن تأسيس تحالف الشرق الأوسط الإستراتيجي (MESA)

شارك في الإجتماع: السفير د. أحمد العقيل/ وزارة الخارجية السعودية، السيد سالم الزعابي/ مدير إدارة التعاون الأمني في وزارة الخارجية الاماراتية، الشيخ د. عبده بن أحمد آل خليفة/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون الدولية في البحرين، الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح/ مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء وزير الخارجية، د. أحمد السعيدي/ القائم بالأعمال في سـفارة سلطنة عمان لدى الولايات المتحدة.

أبرز المداخلات:
رئيس الوفد السعودي: المقترح الأمريكي بصيغته الحالية لا يلبي الطموحات، فليس هناك أي التزام من الجانب الأمريكي، بالإضافة إلى أنه لا يقدم أي مزايا للدول الأعضاء. نريـد أن يقتصر التحالف على الشق العسكري – الأمني فقط، ويتضمن مصادر التهديدات، إضافة الى إمكانية عقد شراكات استراتيجية مع دول حليفة أخرى.
رئيس وفد البحرين: هناك فرق كبير بين المقترحين الأول والثاني في ما يخص تحديد التهديدات. فبعد أن كان المقترح الأول المقدم من البيت الأبيض يشير بوضوح الى مواجهة التهديدات الإيرانية، كان المقترح الثاني الذي أتى من قبل وزارتي الدفاع والخارجية الأمريكتين أقل حدة. نرغب بالحصول على ضمانات بعدم تخلي الولايات المتحدة عن هذا التحالف كما حصل بانسحابها من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران.
رئيس وفد دولة الإمارات: لدينا مصادر قلق تتلخص في أمرين:
1) الضمانات من الجانب الأمريكي. فليس هناك ما يطمئننا بشكل قاطع.
2) الأعباء الماليـة الناتجة عن هـذا التحالف، إذ تحاول الإدارة الأمريكية الحالية تقليصها.
رئيس الوفد الكويتي: ننوه بأهمية العمل على صياغة الهيكل الإطاري للتحالف والذي ستندرج تحته كافة القطاعات المقترحة (السياسي، العسكري، الاقتصادي، الطاقة).
بعدها طرح ممثلون عن الديوان الملكي ووزارة الدفاع السعودية ورقة تتضمن التالي:
– يرتكز التحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط على 4 محاور رئيسية: الدفاع المشترك، إدارة الأزمات، التعاون الامني، الهجوم الإستباقي (اذا لزم الامر).
– الهدف الرئيسي هو المحافظة على أمن واستقرار منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا.
– يدعم التحالف دور المنظمات الإقليمية القائمة (مجلس التعاون).
– يكون التحالف بصيغة معاهدة (ملزمة).
– تمرر القرارات بأكثرية ثلثي دول التحالف المؤسسين، حتى لا تعطل قراراته من دولة معينة.
– مقر التحالف المقترح هو الرياض.

محضر اجتماع الدول الأعضاء في التحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط (MESA)، والذي انعقد في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشنطن، 21 فبراير 2019

شارك في الإجتماع ممثلون عن المملكة العربية السعودية، دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة، دولة الكويت، مملكة البحرين، سلطنة عمان، دولة قطر، جمهورية مصر العربية، المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية، والولايات المتحدة الامريكية.

المملكة العربية السعودية: السفير أحمد سليمان العقيل/ وزارة الخارجية؛ اللواء طلال العتيبي/ مستشار وزير الدفاع.
دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة: سالم الزعابي/ مدير إدارة التعاون الأمني في وزارة الخارجية.
مملكة البحرين: الشيخ د. عبدالله بن أحمد آل خليفة/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون الدولية.
دولة الكويت: الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح/ مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء؛ العميد الركن محمد عبدالعزيز الظفيري/ مدير العمليات المشتركة في وزارة الدفاع.
سلطنة عمان: – د. محمد بن عوض الحسان/ القائم بأعمال وكيل وزارة الشؤون الخارجية.
جمهورية مصر العربية: السفير معتز زهران/ نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون مكتب الوزير.
المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية: العميد ركن عمر العبابنه/ الملحق العسكري للمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية في واشنطن.
الولايات المتحدة الامريكية: السفير ديفيد هيل/ وكيل وزارة الخارجية للشؤون السياسية؛ تیم لاندر کينج/ نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون الخليج؛ فيكتوريا كوتيس/ ممثلة وكالة الأمن القومي؛ مايكل مولروي/ نائب مساعد وزير الدفاع؛ سكوت بنيديكت/ نائب مدير الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية؛ جون غودفري/ نائب مدير المركز الوطني لمكافحة الإرهاب.

أبرز المداخلات:
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: مقترح التحالف الحالي يحتاج إلى التعديل، نحن كمجموعة اجتمعنا في مقر السفارة السعودية قبل يومين، وأولى الخطوات التي نراها هي تشكيل مجموعة عمل معنية بإعادة صياغة المقترح.
– ممثل وزارة الدفاع السعودية: عندما نعود للخلف، نستذكر الوعود الأمريكية بحماية المنطقة وحفظ أمنها واستقرارها. المحور العسكري مهم بالنسبة لنا.
– رئيس الوفد المصري: نحن نرى أن هذا التحالف يميل لكونه ذا طبيعة استشارية، نتطلع إلى تطبيق رؤى الرئيس دونالد ترامب على أرض الواقع وتأمين منطقتنا من القلاقل وعدم الاستقرار. كما نؤيد التركيز على الجانب السياسي أكثر وأن نتوصل للإطار الذي يمكننا من خلاله مناقشة بقية المحاور. كما يجب أن نفرق بين الجماعات المسلحة والجماعات الإرهابية.
– رئيس وفد عمان: نؤيّد رؤية الرئيس دونالد ترامب ونراها طموحة وذات فائدة على المنطقة. لكن هذا التحالف ليس بديلاً عن الترتيبات الثنائية التي تربطنا بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية.
– مايكل مولروي: يجب أن نكون واضحين بأن الحلف ليس مماثلاً لـ NATO. ليست لدينا استراتيجية لتوزيع قواتنا على الحلفاء، ونحن نتطلع للعب دور عسكري إشرافي.
– سكوت بنيديكت: مراكز الإمتياز (centers of excellence) حسب الرؤية الأمريكية ليست مراكز قيادة أو عمليات، ولكن مراكز للتدريب وذات طبيعة استشارية. هذه المراكز ستساهم في بناء القدرات العسكرية لحلفائنا.
– جون غودفري: سنتابع العمل وسنأخذ بملاحظات الدول بعد هذه المداولة، ونأمل أن يكون الإطار المنشود جاهزاً خلال شهر.

محضر الإجتماع التنسيقي بين دول مجلس التعاون + الأردن حول تحالف (MESA)، والذي عقد يوم الأحد 7 أبريل 2019 ، بمقر الاستخبارات العامة في العاصمة الرياض

قائمة الحضور: المملكة العربية السعودية (اللواء طلال العتيبي والسفير أحمد سليمان العقيل)، دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة (السفير سالم بن محمد الزعابي والعميد الركن حمدان بن أحمد الزيودي)، مملكة البحرين (الشيخ عبدالله بن علي آل خليفة والمقدم رکن سلمان بن عبدالله آل خليفة)، دولة الكويت (الشيخ أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح)، سلطنة عمان (السفير محمد بن عوض الحسان والعميد سيف البوسعيدي)، دولة قطر (عضو في بعثة قطر لدى الأمانة العامة لمجلس التعاون)، المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية (السفير خالد الشوابكة والوزير المفوض محمد التل).

أبرز المداخلات:
قدم العقيد سلمان الحربي من وفد المملكة عرضاً بملاحظات الجانب الأمريكي، وهي كالآتي:
– أن يكون هذا التحالف شاملاً، ولا يقتصر على الجانب العسكري والأمني.
– أن لا يأخذ التحالف شكل حلف الناتو، وتحديداً المادة الخامسة من اتفاقية الحلف.
– لا تحالف بصيغة معاهدة، وإنما يمكن البدء بأمور غير ملزمة، ومن ثم الإنطلاق لتعميقها.
– يرى الأمريكيون عدم جدوى إنشاء مقر للتحالف بالرياض حالياً، وانما اقتراح مقر كأمانة عامة للتحالف.
– يرون أن آلية التصويت ينبغي أن تكون بالإجماع.
– في ما يخص التزام الولايات المتحدة بأمن الخليج، فإن قطاعات في الإدارة الأمريكية غير ملتزمة به.
– حول موضوع مصر، أفاد اللواء طلال العتيبي بأن الأخوة في مصر يرون أن هذا التحالف غير واضح الأهداف، لكنهم قد يعودون الى التحالف اذا اتضحت الرؤية لهم.
– رئيس وفد عمان شكر المملكة العربية السعودية، وأشار الى أن مقترح MESA ليس وارداً من جانب الخارجية الأمريكية، وإنما من الرئيس الأمريكي، وأفاد بأن المسؤولين العمانيين التقوا ثنائياً بالجانب الأمريكي الذي أبلغهم أن مقترحه أشمل من المقترح السعودي، وان القاعدة في هذا التحالف هي المقترح الأمريكي. وأكد ان عمان، ومنذ أيام الملك فهد بن عبدالعزيز رحمه الله، تؤيد التعامل الجانب الأمريكي في المجال العسكري ثنائياً، وذلك لاختلاف قوانين وأنظمة الدول الخليجية، وقال: لن ندخل في أي شيء يخالف سياساتنا، لكن الأمور الأخرى نحن معها.
– اللواء طلال العتيبي (مستشار وزير الدفاع السعودي) سأل رئيس وفد عمان: «هل نفهم بأن عمان ليست من ضمن التحالف العسكري؟».
– رئيس وفد عمان أجاب: «نعم نحن مع الشق الاقتصادي وليس العسكري»، وأكد ان السلطنة لا تمنع المملكة العربية السعودية من المضي قدماً في ورقتها المقترحة، لكن هذه الورقة لا تلزم عمان.
– اللواء العتيبي استغرب طرح الأخوة في عمان، وأكد أن السعودية لا تطالب بشيء جديد، فهناك تجربة مماثلة وهي قوة درع الجزيرة. وطالب الأخوة في سلطنة عمان بإعادة النظر في موقفهم.
– رئيس وفد دولة الكويت: في ما يخص موضوع معاهدة التحالف، تم إبلاغنا من قبل الجانب الأمريكي بصعوبة تمريرها في الكونغرس الأمريكي، وحتى نحن في دولة الكويت لدينا إجراءات دستورية ملزمة. وفي ما يخص الإلتزام الأمريكي بأمن دول الخليج، من الممكن الإشارة إلى ما سبق ذكره في البيانات الختامية للقمم الخليجية الأمريكية.
– رئيس وفد البحرين ذكر ان المادة الخامسة من اتفاقية الناتو ملزمة، ولكن نستطيع عمل اتفاقيات MO أو DCA لا تحمل أي عنصر التزام مثلما فعلت الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية مع كوريا الجنوبية وأفغانستان.
– رئيس وفد الإمارات شدد على ضرورة أن لا تمس الاتفاقية سيادة الدول، ولا تؤثر على علاقاتنا الثنائية مع الدول الأخرى، ولا تتعارض مع التزاماتنا الدولية. كما طالب بعدم احتكار استيراد الأسلحة من دولة واحدة.
– اللواء طلال العتيبي طلب من الحضور رأيهم حيال طريقة التصويت في التحالف، حيث يرى التصور السعودي أكثرية الثلثين، والجانب الأمريكي يريد الإجماع.
رئيس وفد عمان: نحن مع الاجماع.
رئيس وفد الاردن: نؤيد الإجماع.
رئیس وفد البحرين أيد مقترح السعودية في مسالة التصويت، أي الثلثين.
رئيس وفد الإمارات أيد مقترح السعودية في مسألة التصويت بأكثرية الثلثين.
قطر : نحن مع الإجماع.
الكويت: لدينا نموذج حي وفعال أقره قادتنا وهو النظام الأساسي لمجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية، ونصوصه واضحة وبالإمكان الاستعانة به في هذا الصدد.
– إقترح مستشار وزير الدفاع السعودي إبلاغ الجانب الأمريكي تأجيل موضوع التصويت إلى وقت آخر لكي تتمكن الدول من دراسته.

محضر الإجتماع العام حول تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بين دول مجلس التعاون+ الأردن + الولايات المتحدة، والذي عقد بمقر الإستخبارات العامة في الرياض يوم 8 أبريل 2019

قائمة الحضور: السعودية (العتيبي والعقيل)، دولة الإمارات (الزعابي والزيودي)، مملكة البحرين (عبدالله بن علي آل خليفةوالمقدم الرکن سلمان بن عبدالله آل خليفة)، الكويت (أحمد ناصر المحمد الصباح)، عمان: (الحسان والبوسعيدي)، قطر (الدكتور خالد الخاطر مدير إدارة السياسات والتخطيط في وزارة الخارجية والدكتور عيسى المناعي مدير إدارة الأمريكتين)، الأردن (الشوابكة والتل)، الولايات المتحدة (تيموثي ليندر كينج نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الأدنى، كريستوفر هنزل القائم بأعمال سفارة الولايات المتحدة في الرياض،
تشارلز کامبارو مدير مجلس الأمن القومي لشؤون الخليج، جوشوا فولز مسؤول في مكتب موارد الطاقة – وزارة الخارجية).

أبرز المداخلات
– العتيبي: نرحب بحضور الوفود الشقيقة والأصدقاء الأمريكان، ونعرب عن أسفنا لعدم حضور جمهورية مصر العربية لهذا الاجتماع، ونتمنى عودتها للتحالف لما تقدمه من قيمة مضافة. نتطلع إلى إعداد تحالف عسكري في الشرق الأوسط لضمان أمن واستقرار منطقتنا من مخاطر التهديدات والتحديات الاقليمية والتصدي لمخاطر الإرهاب. نتطلع إلى ايجاد قواسم مشتركة بين الورقة السعودية والورقة الأمريكية للمضي نحو دمجهما، من أجل حصول دول تحالف MESA على ضمانات والدفاع عن الدول وتسهيلات التسليح، بالإضافة إلى معاملة مماثلة للناتو + 5.
– رئيس وفد مملكة البحرين: نتطلع للحصول على التزامات وامتيازات من الحليف الأمريكي ومثال على ذلك ناتو + 5 ، مع آلية للدفاع المشترك للحماية من الأخطار الخارجية.
– رئيس وفد سلطنة عمان: للسلطنة رغبة بتغيير كلمة «التحالف» إلى تجمع او منتدى او إتحاد او مبادرة، لما يمثّله مسمى التحالف من حساسية لدى السلطنة حيث يعطي الإنطباع بأنه موجه ضد أحد، وهو أمر ضد واحدة من الركائز الرئيسة لسياسة سلطنة عمان. وأود أن أتقدم بهذا الطلب رسمياً.
ونأمل ان لا يكون هذا المشروع الذي يحمل أربع ركائز مهمة من أجل التواصل فيما بيننا فقط، وإنما يساهم في حل ازمات المنطقة. كما ان لدينا نحن والأشقاء ملاحظات كثيرة نرغب بطرحها في مناسبات أخرى.
– رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة: نحن نميل لمصطلح التحالف لأنه يعبر عما نتطلع إليه، لكننا مرنون لمناقشة قلق الأصدقاء في عمان.
– رئيس وفد قطر: بعد الإطلاع على الورقتين المطروحتين للنقاش (السعودية والأمريكية)، نحن ندفع باتجاه مناقشة وتعديل الورقة الأمريكية للبقاء في مسار واحد.
– رئيس وفد الكويت: نؤيد ما عبر عنه اللواء طلال من الأسف لانسحاب مصر من هذا التحالف، وأذكر انه عندما استلمت الكويت أول مقترح لهذا التحالف في مايو عام 2018، كان يضم دول المجلس والأردن فقط ولم تكن الشقيقة مصر ضمن الدول المقترحة للانضمام إليه، ونقلنا للأصدقاء في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ضرورة وجود مصر في هذا التحالف.
– وفد الولايات المتحدة: بالتأكيد نرغب بعودة مصر إلى الفريق، ولديها هموم ومشاغل يجب إيضاحها.
اللواء طلال العتيبي سأل الوفود عن موقف كل منها من عودة مصر الى التحالف، وجاءت الأجوبة على النحو التالي:
– البحرين: مع عودة مصر.
– الإمارات: مع عودة مصر.
– الأردن: مع عودة مصر.
– الكويت: الكويت أساس هذه الفكرة.
– عمان: لم يعلق الوفد (فهم بأنهم موافقون).
– قطر: لم يجب وفد قطر.
ثم قدم د. سعود التمامي من الديوان الملكي السعودي عرضاً للتهديدات والمخاطر التي مرت بها المنطقة، وأشار الى ان المنطقة شهدت تجارب تحالف ناجحة، مثل تحالف حرب تحرير دولة الكويت والتحالف الدولي لمحاربة تنظيم داعش، الا انها كانت تحالفات مؤقتة، وهو ما يدفع للبحث عن تحالف دائم.
رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة عرض ورقة خاصة بمكافحة الإرهاب، وقال ان بلاده تتطلع إلى تلقي أجوبة الدول عليها. ثم طرح العناوين التالية:
– تبادل المعلومات بشكل فعال بين أعضاء التحالف من أجل دحر الارهاب.
– ردع الدول التي تدعم تمويل الارهاب، وتبادل المعلومات بهذا الشأن على الصعد السياسية والدبلوماسية والأمنية والقضائية.
– تنظر الإدارة الأمريكية لهذا التحالف نظرة بعيدة المدى، فالأعداء الذين نواجههم اليوم قد يتغيرون بعد 15 عاماً.
– رئيس وفد دولة الامارات: لدينا قضايا مهمة تهدد الأمن القومي، وأستفسر هنا: هل سيناقش فريق العمل الخاص بالإرهاب قوائم الارهابيين، وآلية محاربته، والارهاب الممول من الدول؟ كما نتطلع الى الخروج بتعريف محدد لمصطلح الارهاب، نظراً لتباين الآراء في هذا الشأن.
ولدينا ملاحظات تتعلق بمسألة تقليل تواجد القوات الأمريكية في المنطقة، وتقليل الأعباء المالية على الجانب الأمريكي، بالإضافة الى أهمية مراعاة سيادة الدول، وعدم احتكار مصادر التسليح.
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: نقترح عقد اجتماعات الفرق العاملة في الرياض، واجتماع مكافحة الارهاب في واشنطن، وإذا تم التوافق على ذلك نقول على بركة الله (لم يعلق احد).

الجلسة الثانية:
الوفد الأمريكي (تشارلز كامبارو – وكالة الأمن القومي NSA): – لقد أتينا بمفهوم للتحالف يقوم على نظرة استراتيجية وشمولية، فالإدارة الأمريكية داعمة بقوة لهذا التحالف.
– لقد أمضينا وقتاً طويلاً مع الجانب السعودي لمناقشة الورقتين، وكيفية الوصول إلى ورقة مشتركة.
– في الوقت الحالي، نحن غير مستعدين لأن يأخذ هذا التحالف شكل حلف الناتو، ومن بينها المادة الخامسة فيه. كما ان فكرة إنشاء مقر رئيسي على غرار الناتو سابقة لأوانها.
– الأمور تسير بشكل إيجابي. وعلينا أن نرى إن كنا نستطيع تعزيز هذا التحالف من خلال الميثاق الأساسي لمجلس التعاون الخليجي.
رئيس الوفد السعودي:
اتفقنا اليوم على خارطة طريق وهي على النحو الآتي:
1 – أن نعقد اجتماعا مع الولايات المتحدة قبل شهر رمضان من اجل دمج الورقتين.
2 – أن تقوم الدول بإرسال ملاحظاتها على ورقة مكافحة الارهاب خلال ثلاثة اسابيع.
3 – اتفقنا على إنشاء فرق عاملة تجتمع بشكل دوري في الرياض.
4 – دراسة هموم الجانب العماني فيما يخص تغيير مسمى التحالف.

محضـر الاجتمـاع حـول تحـالف الشـرق الأوسـط بين دول مجلس التعاون + الأردن + الولايات المتحدة، والذي عقد في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشـنطن في 18 أيلول/ سبتمبر 2019

– أوضح الوفد السعودي مجدداً أن افضل وسيلة لإنشاء هـذا التحالف هي عبر الركيزة الأمنية، وليس عبر الرائز الأربع (الأمن والاقتصاد والسياسة والطاقة)، كما يطرح الوفد الأمريكي.
في المقابل، أكد المسؤول عـن ملف MESA بالبيت الابيض في الاجتماع على أهمية الركائز الأربع للتحالف، وقال: أتمنى من الدول الداعمة لها أن تعلن موقفها الآن، أما الدول التي لديها رأي آخر فعليها أن تعلم أن العمل مستقبلاً لن يتم إلا وفق الركائز الأربع.
– رئيس وفد الأردن: نرى أن الركائز الأربع لا يمكن اجتزاؤها حيث أنها تعمل جميعاً بخط متواز.
– رئيس وفد مملكة البحرين: نؤكد على أهمية الركيزة الأمنية واعتبارها أولوية لهذا التحالف.
– رئيس وفد سلطنة عمان: نعتبر أن أحد أسـباب عدم الاستقرار فـي المنطقـة هـو الجانب الاقتصادي، ونـحـن فـي عمان ندعم أي تحرك يساهم بدعم الجانب الاقتصادي، ونرى المضي قدماً في الركائز الأربع.
– وفد المملكة العربية السعودية: نحن لم نوافق على ورقة الركائز الأربع.
رئيس وفد الأردن: حسب فهمي أنا اتفقنا على العمل وفـق الركائز الأربع، ونؤكد على دعم الأردن لها.
– رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة: ما حدث في السعودية (هجوم بقيق) يجعلنا نهتم بركيزة الطاقة، خاصة أن هناك العديد من الدول النفطية في المنطقة.
– نائب مساعد وزير الدفاع الأمريكي: بالنسبة للركيزة الأمنية، ستكون الاتفاقية المتوقعة ملزمة للدول من ناحية التشاور الأمني، لكنها لا تلزمنا باتخاذ أي إجراء عسكري في حال حصول اعتداءات.
– رئيس وفد المملكة العربية السعودية: مـا نسعى له هو إقامة تحالف على أسـاس صيغة النـاتو + 5، والتوصل الى اتفاق ملزم للدول في هذا الشأن.
– رئيس وفد الامارات العربية المتحدة: لم نسمع من قبل عن اتفاقية غير ملزمة. وفي هذه الحالة، نرى أن الأفضل أن يكون بمثابة إعلان نوايا.

التحالف الإستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط وإسرائيل:
تعود جذور التفكير بإنشاء التحالف الى طرح أمريكي أعلنت عنه كونداليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية عام 2004 ، عندما تحدثت عن «الشرق الاوسط الجديد» الذي يضم دولاً عربية «معتدلة» وإسرائيل.
وتم التطرق الى دور اسرائيل في تحالف الشرق الاوسط الاستراتيجي في إجتمع 18 سبتمبر 2019 بين دول مجلس التعاون والأردن والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، والذي عقد فـي مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في واشـنطن. هنا ملخص لأبرز الحوارات التي دارت بهذا الصدد، كما ظهـر في وثيقـة سعودية سرية:
– قـدم الوفد الأمريكي بإدارة تيموثي ليندر كينج عرضاً حول الركيزتين السياسية والإقتصادية للتحالف، وقال: أقترح فتح قنوات جديدة بـين دول التحالف كمجموعة، والبلدان الأخرى لمواجهة التحديات الاقتصادية التي تواجه دول التحالف. لدينا اهتمام لزيادة تواجد الشركات الأمريكية في المنطقة. رؤيتنا تتلخص في أن تكون هناك مذكرة تفاهم غير ملزمة تحتوي على الركائز الأربع (السياسة، الإقتصاد، الأمن، الطاقة)، وسيكون من المهم التفاوض لاحقاً حول الأمور التي تشغلكم مثل آلية فض المنازعات وانضمام دول جديدة. ولا يخفى عليكم أن إسرائيل ترغـب بالإنضمام مسـتقبلاً للتحـالف، ولكنهـا ليست الدولة الوحيدة. نريد أن نطور منظومة تسمح بإنضمام دول أخرى، وليست لدينا وثيقة جاهزة الآن، ولكن من الممكن أن نقدم لكم خلال الأسابيع القادمة وثيقة من ورقة واحدة لكي تقدموا ملاحظاتكم عليها.
– رئيس الوفد السعودي: نحتاج شرحاً لنقطة العلاقات مع الدول الأخرى.
– رئيس وفد قطر: من المفيد أن نحصل على المستندات حتى يتسنى لنا دراستها وتجهيز الردود عليها.
– رئيس وفد الكويت: أثني على العلاقـات بين دولنا وشريكنا الأمريكي. وأقترح أن تقدم لنا الولايات المتحدة نسخة من مذكرة التفاهم لمناقشتها.
– كينج: نؤكد التزامنا بالتحالف. ستكون هناك أحداث في عالمكم ونتطلع الى استمرار تحالفنا وشراكتنا. ونؤكد أن أي رئيس سيستلم رئاسة الولايات المتحدة سيثمن هـذا التحالف. سنواصل الحوار للتعامل مـع هذه التحديات، فأنتم حلفاء رائعون لنا.

التهديدات التي تواجه التحالف
جرت في الإجتماعات التأسيسية لتحالف الشرق الأوسط الإسـتراتيجي مناقشات حول «التهديدات» الرئيسة التي تواجهها دول التحالف. وكان لافتاً أن الجانب الاميركي تـطرق الى تحديد العراق كأحد مصادر الخطر على مصالحه، الى جانب إبـداء تحسس خاص من دور الصين التكنولوجي والإقتصادي في المنطقة، مضافاً الى دور إيران الإقليمي. وتم التطرق الى هذه «التهديدات» في مناسبتين على الأقل. في اجتمـاع ناقش التحضير لإطلاق تحالف الشرق الأوسط (MESA) بين دول مجلس التعاون والأردن والولايات المتحدة، في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية في 18 أيلول/ سـبتمبر 2019، تحدث الجانب الأمريكي عن تهديدات تمثلها الصين وإيران والعراق. وأكد فيليـب بيرتسيون، وهو مسؤول في الاستخبارات الامريكية على ضرورة مواجهة التحديات التي تمثلها ايران، على ضوء «الإعتداء» الأخير على المعامل النفطيـة السـعودية فـي البقيـق.
وذكر أن مواجهة ايران هي أولوية أمنيـة، وقال انها والحوثي يمثلان تهديـداً للمنطقة. وأشار إلى أن هناك قوى خارجية مثل الصين وروسيا «يقومون أيضا بعمليات ليست في صالح المنطقـة». وقال ان عودة روسيا الـى المنطقة عام 2015 من خلال انخراطها فـي حرب سوريا، كان لها دور في التأثير على الأمن الإقليمي.
وأبدى الجانب الأمريكي فـي المحادثات الجماعية والثنائية قلقاً خاصاً تـجاه تصاعد الدور الصيني في المنطقة، وخاصة في موضوع تكنولوجيا الاتصالات والخدمات التي تقدمها شركة هواوي، واعتبر أن الأخيرة مصدر مهم للإستخبارات الصينية.
وخلال الجلسة الثانية في الإجتماع ذاته، أعاد رئيس وفد الولايات المتحدة الكلام على ضرورة مواجهة التهديد الآتي من الصين وإيران والعراق. وقال عن الصين:
لدينا قلق تجاه شركة «هواوي» الصينية. الجيـل الخامس للإنترنت يؤثر ايضاً على الأمن القومي لدول التحالف، حيث أن القانون الصيني يجبر الشركة على افشـاء بيانات عملائها للاستخبارات الصينية. نحن نرى أن اريكسون، نوكيا، وسامسونج هي الشـركات التي نثق بها، ولا نقـول إن الشركات الأمريكية هي الحل، ولكن يجب أن نستخدم شركات موثوقة.
رد الوفد السعودية: في ما يخـص موضـوع الجيـل الخـامس 5G، كيـف تقـارنون شـركات خارجة مــن السوق مثل اريكسون ونوكيا، بشركة تمتلك قدرات مثل هواوي؟
أجاب وفد الولايات المتحدة: الأمن الاقتصادي يعتبر مـن روافد الأمن القومي. ونحن في الولايات المتحدة ومن خلال مواجهتنا لإيران لم نطلق رصاصة واحدة، بل واجهناهم عبر الجانب الاقتصادي.
وفي الاجتماع الأمني – السياسي للتحالف الاستراتيجي للشرق الأوسط (MESA) والذي عقد بمقر الخارجية الأمريكية في واشنطن بتاريخ 21 فبراير 2019 ، اعتبر وفد قطر أن التحالف المقترح سيكون قاصرأ في حال استمرار الأزمة الخليجية، داعياً الى تحديد مصادر التهديد التي يمكن أن تكون محل اتفاق بين الاطراف المشاركة.
بينما سأل وفد البحرين: لماذا لم يتم ذكر إيران كتهديد كما كان الحال في الورقة السابقة؟ فأجابت ممثلة وكالة الامن القومي الامريكي فيكتوريا كوتيس: ذكرتُ إيران في كلمتي الافتتاحية.
وطرح وفد الإمارات سؤالاً عن سبب عدم ذكر «الجماعات الإرهابية» التي ترعاها إيران كحزب الله. هنا تساءل وفد قطر: «هل هذا النقاش يدور حول ورقة لم تقدم لنا بعد؟ نود أن يتضمن ورود أي منظمة إرهابية تماشياً مع ما يصدر عن الأمم المتحدة».

 اشترك في «الأخبار» على يوتيوب هنا

من ملف : «السعودية – ليكس»: وثائق التحالف الاستراتيجي الخليجي – الاميركي

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

MAY 06, 2021

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning with a hat tip to Tacitus and dancing to the Hindu Kush groove

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

One cannot but feel mildly amused at the theatrical spectacle of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, its completion day now postponed for maximum PR impact to 9/11, 2021.

Nearly two decades and a staggering US$2 trillion after this Forever War was launched by a now immensely indebted empire, the debacle can certainly be interpreted as a warped version of Mission Accomplished.

“They make a desert and call it peace,” said Tacitus – but in all of the vastness of the Pentagon there sits not a single flack who could imagine getting away with baldfacedly spinning the Afghan wasteland as peaceful.

Even the UN bureaucratic machinery has not been able to properly account for Afghan civilian deaths; at best they settled for 100,000 in only ten years. Add to that toll countless “collateral” deaths provoked by the massive social and economic consequences of the war.

Training and weaponizing the – largely inefficient – 300,000-plus Afghan Army cost $87 billion. “Economic aid and reconstruction” cost $54 billion: literally invisible hospitals and schools dot the Afghan landscape. A local chapter of the “war on drugs” cost $10 billion – at least with (inverted) tangible results: Afghanistan now generates 80% of the world’s opium.

All these embarrassing facts disappear under the shadow play of 2,500 “official” departing troops. What really matters is who’s staying: by no means just a few out of some 17,000 “contractors,” over 6,000 of whom are American citizens.

“Contractor” is a lovely euphemism for a bunch of mercenaries who, perfectly in tune with a shadow privatization drive, will now mingle with Special Forces teams and covert intel ops to conduct a still lethal variation of hybrid war.

Of course this development won’t replicate those David Bowie-style Golden Years in the immediate post-9/11 era. Ten years ago, following the Obama-Petraeus surge, no fewer than 90,000 contractors were dancing to the Hindu Kush groove, lavishly compensated by the Pentagon and dabbling in everything from construction, transportation and maintenance to “enhanced interrogation services.”

Collectively, this shadow army, a triumph of private enterprise many times cheaper than the state-sponsored model,  bagged at least $104 billion since 2002, and nearly $9 billion since 2016.

Now we’re supposed to trust CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie, who swears that “the U.S. contractors will come out as we come out.” Apparently the Pentagon press secretary was not briefed: “So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly.”

Some contractors are already in trouble, like Fluor Corporation, which is involved in maintenance and camp construction for no fewer than 70 Pentagon forward operating bases in northern Afghanistan. Incidentally, no Pentagon PR is explaining whether these FOBs will completely vanish.

Fluor was benefitting from something called LOGCAP – Logistics Civil Augmentation IV Program – a scheme set by the Pentagon at the start of Obama-Biden 1.0 to “outsource logistical military support.” Its initial five-year deal was worth a cool $7 billion. Now Fluor is being sued for fraud.

Enhancing stability forever

The current government in Kabul is led by a virtual nonentity, Ashraf Ghani. Like his sartorially glamorous predecessor Hamid Karzai, Ghani is a US creature, lording it over a rambling military force financed by Washington to the tune of $4 billion a year.

So of course Ghani is entitled to spin a rosy outlook for an Afghan peace process on the pages of Foreign Affairs.

It gets curioser and curioser when we add the incandescent issue that may have provoked the Forever War in the first place: al-Qaeda.

“former security coordinator for Osama bin Laden” is now peddling the idea that al-Qaeda may be back in the Hindu Kush. Yet, according to Afghan diplomats, there is no evidence that the Taliban will allow old-school al-Qaeda – the Osama/al-Zawahiri incarnation – to thrive again.

That’s despite the fact that Washington, for all practical purposes, has ditched the Doha Agreement signed in February 2020, which stipulated that the troop pullout should have happened this past Saturday, May 1.

Of course, we can always count on the Pentagon to “enhance security and stability”  in Afghanistan. In this Pentagon report we learn that “AQIS [al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] routinely supports and works with low-level Taliban members in its efforts to undermine the Afghan government, and maintains an enduring interest in attacking US forces and Western targets.”

Well, what the Pentagon does not tell us is how old-school al-Qaeda, pre-AQIS, metastasized into a galaxy of “moderate rebels” now ensconced in Idlib, Syria. And how contingents of Salafi-jihadis were able to access mysterious transportation corridors to bolster the ranks of ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan.

The CIA heroin ratline

All you need to know, reported on the ground, about the crucial first years of the imperial adventure in Afghanistan is to be found in the Asia Times e-book Forever Wars, part 1.

Two decades later, the politico-intel combo behind Biden is now spinning that the end of this particular Forever War is an imperative, integrated to the latest US National Security Strategy.

Shadow play once again reigns. Withdrawal conditionals include the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan military and security forces; that notorious Taliban-al-Qaeda re-engagement; the fight for women’s rights; and acknowledging the supreme taboo: this ain’t no withdrawal because a substantial Special Forces contingent will stay in place.

In a nutshell: for the US deep state, leaving Afghanistan is anathema.

The real heart of the matter in Afghanistan concerns drugs and geopolitics – and their toxic intersection.

Everyone with transit in the Dubai-Kandahar axis and its ramifications knows that the global-spanned opium and heroin business is a matter very close to the CIA’s heart. Secure air transport is offered by bases in Afghanistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

William Engdahl has offered a concise breakdown  of how it works. In the immediate post-9/11 days, in Afghanistan, the main player in the opium trade was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, presidential brother and a CIA asset. I interviewed him in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, in October 2001 (the interview can be found in Forever Wars). He obviously did not talk about opium.

Ahmed Karzai was snuffed out in a Mafia-style hit at home, in Helmand, in 2011. Helmand happens to be Afghanistan’s Opium Central. In 2017, following on previous investigations by Seymour Hersh and Alfred McCoy, among others, I detailed the workings of the CIA heroin ratline in Afghanistan.

New Great Game 3.0 is on

Whatever happens next will involve layers and layers of shadow play. CENTCOM’s McKenzie, at a closed-door hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee, basically said they are still “figuring out” what to do next.

That will certainly involve, in McKenzie’s own assessment, “counter-terrorism operations within the region”; “expeditionary basing” (linguistic diversion to imply there won’t be any permanent bases, at least in thesis); and “assistance” to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (no details on what this “assistance” will consist of).

Now compare it with the view by major Eurasian powers: Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, three of them members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with Iran as an observer and soon full member.

Their number one priority is to prevent any mutating Afghan jihadi virus to contaminate Central Asia. A massive 50,000 troop-strong Russia-Tajikistan military exercise in late April had exactly that in mind.

Ministers of defense of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) met in Dushanbe with the objective of further fortifying the porous Tajik-Afghan border.

And then there’s the Turkmen-Afghan border, from which the opium/heroin trail reaches the Caspian Sea and diversifies via Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Moscow, even more than the CSTO, is particularly worried by this stretch of the trail.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is poppyfield-300x168.jpg

The Russians are very much aware that even more than different opium/heroin routes springing up, the top danger is a new influx of Salafi-jihadis into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Even if analyzing it from completely different perspectives, Americans and Russians seem to be equally focused on what Salafi-jihadists – and their handlers – may come up with in post-9/11, 2021 Afghanistan.

So let’s go back to Doha, where something really intriguing is afoot.

On April 30, a so-called extended troika – Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan – issued a joint statement in Doha on their discussions regarding a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

The extended troika met with the Kabul government, the Taliban and host Qatar. At least they agreed there should be “no military solution.”

It gets curioser and curioser again: Turkey, backed by Qatar and the UN, is getting ready to host a conference to further bridge the gap between the Kabul government and the Taliban. Realpolitik cynics will have a ball wondering what Erdogan is scheming at.

The extended troika, at least rhetorically, is in favor of an “independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan.” Talk about a lofty undertaking. It remains to be seen how Afghanistan’s “neutrality” can be guaranteed in such a nest of New Great Game serpents.

Beijing and Moscow will be under no illusions that the newly privatized, Special Forces Afghan-American experiment will eschew using Salafi-jihadis, radicalized Uighurs or other instant assets to destabilize what in effect should be the incorporation of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where it’s already an observer) and the larger Eurasia integration project.

An extra-intriguing piece of the puzzle is that a very pragmatic Russia – unlike its historical ally India – is not against including the Taliban in an overall Afghan settlement. New Delhi will have to go along. As for Islamabad, the only thing that matters, as always, is to have a friendly government in Kabul. That good old “strategic depth” obsession.

What the major players – Russia and China – see in the framework of a minimally stabilized Afghanistan is yet one more step to consolidate the evolution of the New Silk Roads in parallel with the Greater Eurasia partnership. That’s exactly the message Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Now compare it with the – never explicit – strategic deep state aim: to keep some sort of military-intel “forward operating base” in the absolutely crucial node between Central and South Asia and close, oh so close, to national security “threats” Russia and China.

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning at the graveyard of empires.

IRAN WILL LEAVE VIENNA AT THE END OF THE MONTH IF BIDEN DOESN’T LIFT ALL SANCTIONS

By Elijah J. Magnier:

Iranian and Western delegations returned to their capitals after the third Vienna round, with optimism emanating from the statements of the gathered officials. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi issued positive information about the US lifting sanctions on energy, economic sectors, shipping, freedom of transportation, banks, and on many Iranian personalities. The negotiations have reached a stage where the elaboration of complex texts is on the table. Also, there were talks about the US releasing more than 90 billion dollars withheld from Iranian funds and another 20 billion frozen in Iraq, Korea and China from oil revenues. No details have been discussed so far about the interest on these funds held for many years due to US sanctions.

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There was also talk about the possibility of exchanging Iranian prisoners held in America, who number 18, including 7 in critical health condition, and others of Iranian – Western double nationality holders (American and British) detained in Iran on charges of espionage. This is an old Iranian demand that Iran insists on ending everything in one single exchange.

However, after lifting sanctions against individuals and accepting all demands, the biggest problem lies in Iran’s request to ensure that the lifting of sanctions will be applied in a specific time frame. According to a particular pre-agreed timetable, Iran wants to ensure that all frozen funds will return to the Central Bank. Countries around the world will be allowed to deal with Iran in all sectors without intimidation.

Iran has never requested the return of diplomatic relations with the US, but rather the lifting of the sanctions imposed on it since 2015 and that President Barack Obama agreed to cancel. Moreover, Iran wants to lift all additional sanctions added by Donald Trump when the nuclear deal was torn apart in 2018.

Negotiations have reached a reasonable level, although Iran still refuses to communicate with the US directly because the US is no longer a partner in the JCPOA and that talks could blow up any time. The US flag was removed from the negotiating room at the request of Iran. The Iranian delegation stressed the need for the US delegate not to be present at the same hotel where the negotiations are taking place until the White House announces the end of all sanctions. This is when the US will become a JCPOA partner again.

An Iranian decision-maker in Iran said that “the Leader of the revolution, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, will not give an unlimited time-space to negotiate in Vienna. This is the last month before the announcement of the clinical death of the JCPOA agreement if all Iranian conditions are not met.” The source asserts that “Iran will not accept the American evasiveness that called for easing the sanctions by lifting those related to the nuclear file and placing other sanctions related to Iran’s missile capability, the Revolutionary Guards and others sectors until a future negotiation to be established later. Either all sanctions are lifted, or no deal is reached because mid-solutions are not accepted.”

بين سورية واليمن قراءة أوروبيّة Between Syria and Yemen, a European reading

* Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation *

بين سورية واليمن قراءة أوروبيّة

 ناصر قنديل

لا ينتبه بعض المحللين للمعاني العميقة التي أفرزتها كلٌّ من الحربين الكبيرتين اللتين هزتا المنطقة، الحرب على سورية والحرب على اليمن، والنتائج المتعاكسة لكل منهما، خصوصاً أن بعض المسؤولين الأوروبيين السابقين الذين شاركوا في مرافقة سنوات من الحربين، يكشفون خلال مداخلاتهم في ورشات عمل تعقدها مراكز لدراسات الأمن والاستراتيجية، عن أن حرب اليمن كانت محاولة لاستنساخ عكسي للحرب على سورية بالاستثمار على مصادر القوة التي اعتقد السعوديون أنها عوامل تأثير حاسمة في مسار الحرب على سورية، التي كانت في مرحلة التوازن السلبي عندما انطلقت الحرب على اليمن، في ظل قراءة سعودية أميركية اوروبية تقول إن الجماعات المناوئة للدولة السورية تستمدّ قوتها من وجود حدود سورية مفتوحة على دول داعمة تؤمن لها الظهير والسند والتمويل والتسليح وجلب الآلاف من المسلحين، وبالمقابل فإن الدولة السورية تستمدّ قوتها من كونها تمثل الشرعية الدستورية المعترف بها دولياً، والتي تقوم بإدارة المؤسسات الأمنية والمالية والخدميّة، فجاءت الحرب على اليمن تستثمر على حصار كامل يقطع حتى الهواء عن أنصار الله براً وبحراً وجواً، وبالتوازي الاستثمار على عنوان الشرعيّة الدستورية اليمنية كغطاء لخوض الحرب ومحاولة تفعيل مؤسسات هذه الشرعية عسكرياً وأمنياً ومالياً وخدميّاً، لامتلاك موقع متفوّق في القدرة على حسم الحرب، التي توقعت الدراسات أنها ستحسم خلال أسابيع أو شهور، لهذين الاعتبارين.

تقول القراءة الأوروبيّة الأشدّ تعمقاً في قراءة سرديّة عن الحربين أن عام 2015 الذي كان مفصلياً فيهما، كعام لتوازن سلبيّ في سورية ولبدء الحرب على اليمن، شكل نقطة انطلاق لمسارين متعاكسين في الحربين، ففي سورية بدأت الانتصارات تظهر لصالح الدولة السورية، ثم تتدحرج على مساحة الجغرافيا السورية، بينما بدأت التعقيدات تكبر بوجه ما يفترض أنها الدولة اليمنيّة المدعومة سعودياً ومن خلفها حلف دولي إقليميّ كبير، وجد فيها فرصة لحرب بالوكالة على إيران في مرحلة وصفت بمرحلة الضغوط القصوى على إيران، وفي ظل إدارة أميركية برئاسة الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب وفرت لهذه الحرب كل أسباب الفوز، ويقارن المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون الذين رافقوا من مواقع مسؤولياتهم مراحل هامة من الحربين، أن حجم الدعم الذي حصلت عليه الدولة السورية من روسيا وإيران وحزب الله، أقل بكثير من حجم المشاركة السعودية والغربية في الحرب التي اتخذت من عنوان دعم الدولة اليمنيّة شعاراً لها، سواء بحجم قوة النار أو حجم الأموال أو عديد المقاتلين، بينما حجم الدعم الذي حازته الجماعات المناوئة للدولة السورية عبر الحدود مالاً وسلاحاً وعديداً، بما في ذلك التحدي الذي مثله ظهور تنظيم داعش، يمثل أضعافاً مضاعفة لما وصل لأنصار الله في ظل حصار تمكّن من إغلاق محكم للمنافذ البرية والبحرية والجوية، ولا يمكن بالتالي قراءة النتيجتين المتعاكستين للحربين إلا بقراءة الفوارق بين “الدولتين” و”المعارضتين”.

يقول المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون في ورش عمل شاركوا فيها حديثاً، إن على الضفتين الافتراضيتين في التسمية لمفردة الدولة والمعارضة هنا وهناك تكمن كلمة السر، فعلى ضفة الدولة نرى في سورية رئيساً لم يغادر بلده ومكتبه في قلب الساعات الأشدّ خطراً في الحرب فيما كانت القذائف تتساقط قرب القصر الجمهوري، وجيشاً متماسكاً يقاتل بروح استشهاديّة، وشرائح واسعة من الشعب السوري تعتبر الحرب حربها بكل يقين وإيمان، وتتحمّل الحصار والضغوط والتضحيات، بينما على الضفة اليمنيّة رئيساً ووزراء وقادة وصولاً الى مستوى معاون الوزير وما دون من مستشارين ومعاونين يتوزّعون بين الرياض والقاهرة وعمان، يعيشون في فنادق خمسة نجوم، ويشمل ذلك كبار المسؤولين العسكريين، بينما يقع عبء القتال على الجيش السعوديّ والجيش الإماراتيّ، والجيوش التي ساندتهما كالجيش السودانيّ، أما على ضفة المعارضة فنرى قائداً وشعباً ومقاتلين يشكلون في اليمن وحدة متكاملة لم تغادر معاقلها رغم ضراوة النيران وشدة الحصار، تملك اليقين بنصرها، وتقدّم التضحيات بلا حساب من قادتها، وبالمقابل نرى في سورية قادة يقيمون في فنادق خمسة نجوم في باريس واسطمبول والقاهرة والرياض ودبي، يتنعّمون بالمال المفترض أنه مخصص لدعم معاركهم، وقد تحوّل مَن يفترض انهم ثوار الى مرتزقة ينتقلون من بلد الى بلد لحساب دول أخرى، فيما يستندون في معاركهم التي يسوّقونها في الإعلام على جماعات مصنفة إرهابية أمسكت الأرض التي يزعمون أنها مناطق سيطرتهم، قتلت وذبحت الشعب الذي زعموا أنهم حماته.

يخلص المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون في مقاربتهم الى القول إن المقارنة تكفي للاستنتاج أن الأرض لمن يحميها ويضحّي لأجلها، وأن الصادقين في إيمانهم بما يدافعون عنه تظهرهم الحروب، حيث خطر الموت داهم، ولا مكان أمامه للاستعراض والغش، فكما النار تكشف المعادن، تكشف الحروب معادن القادة وصدق قضاياهم، ولذلك يبدو بديهياً أن يكون النصر في اليمن للسيد عبد الملك الحوثي، وأن يكون النصر في سورية للرئيس بشار الأسد، لأن القضية باتت واضحة ليست قضية دولة ومعارضة، بل قضية الصدق والتضحية.


Between Syria and Yemen, a European reading

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Nasser Kandil


Some analysts do not pay attention to the deep meanings produced by each of the two great wars that shook the region, the war on Syria and the war on Yemen, and the opposite results of each of them, armed, especially since some former European officials who followed the years of the two wars, revealed in the workshops of centers for security and strategic studies, that the Yemen war was an attempt to reverse the war on Syria by investing in the sources of power that the Saudis believed were decisive influencing factors in the course of the war on Syria, which was in the phase of negative power balance when the war on Yemen began. The Saudi, American, European reading that the groups opposed to the Syrian state derive their strength from the presence of Syrian borders open to supportive countries that secure the back, support, financing, arming, and bringing in thousands of militants, on the other hand, the Syrian state represents the internationally recognized constitutional legitimacy that manages the security, financial and service institutions. As for the war on Yemen, it has wagered on a complete land, sea and air blockade, and investing in the title of Yemeni constitutional legitimacy as a cover for waging war and activating military, security, financial, institutions to have a superior position and ability to resolve the war, within weeks or months.

While the complications began to increase in the face of what is supposed to be the Yemeni state supported by Saudi Arabia and behind it a large international regional alliance, there was an opportunity for a proxy war on Iran in a stage described as the stage of maximum pressure on Iran, and under an American administration headed by former President Donald Trump, it provided for this war all Reasons for winning. The most in-depth European reading on the two wars says that 2015, the year of negative balance in Syria and the start of the war on Yemen, constituted a starting point for two opposing tracks in the two wars. The size of the support that Syria received from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah is much less than the size of Saudi and Western participation in the war of support for the Yemeni puppet state, whether by the size of the firepower, the amount of money, or the number of fighters. The amount of support that the anti-Syrian state groups have acquired across the borders, with money and weapons, including the challenge posed by the emergence of ISIS, represents a multiples of what Ansarallah acquired under a tight siege that closed the land, sea and air ports, and therefore the opposite results of the two wars can only be read by reading the differences between the “two states” and the “opposition.”

In recent workshops, former European officials say, the keyword lies on both sides of the default doctrine of the state and the opposition here and there. On the bank of the state we see in Syria a president who did not leave his country and his office in the heart of the most dangerous hours of war while the missiles were falling near the Presidential Palace, and cohesive army fighting in a spirit of martyrdom, and large segments of the Syrian people consider the war its war with certainty and faith, and bear the siege, pressure and sacrifices, while on the Yemeni bank, there is a president, ministers, and leaders down to the minister’s assistant level and below of advisers and assistants distributed between Riyadh, Cairo and Amman, living in five-star hotels, including senior military officials, while the burden of fighting falls on the Saudi and the Emirati army, and the armies that have supported them, such as the Sudanese army. On the Yemeni bank of the opposition we see a leader, people and fighters form in Yemen an integrated unit that did not leave its strongholds despite the ferocity of the fire and the severity of the siege, has the certainty of its victory, and it makes sacrifices without expense from its fighters and leaders, and in return we see in Syria opposition leaders staying in the hotels of five stars in Paris, Istanbul, Cairo and Dubai, enjoying the money supposedly intended to support their battles, has turned the supposed rebels into mercenaries moving from country to country, on behalf of other countries, while basing their battles in the media on terrorist groups that have captured the land they claim to be their areas of control, killing and slaughtering the people they claimed to be their protectors.

Former European officials conclude in their approach that the comparison is enough to conclude that the land is for those who protect it and sacrifice for it, and that those who believe in what they defend are shown by wars, where the danger of death is imminent, as fire reveals minerals, wars reveal the minerals of leaders and the sincerity of their causes, and therefore it seems self-evident that victory in Yemen is for Mr. Abdul Malik al-Houthi, and that victory in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad, because the issue has become clear is not a state and opposition issue, but the issue of honesty and sacrifice.

The Feminization of Western Men

May 05, 2021

By Paul Craig Roberts and posted with permission

In a remarkable interview published on Russia Insider in March 2019, RT’s Anissa Naouai interviewed Danish journalist Iben Thranholm about the disappearance of Western manhood: Dear European Men: You Are Pathetic Pussies.  This is a Danish woman’s conclusion.

Thranholm says that Western men have been feminized and Western women defeminized. She says feminists have destroyed men, who are now raised to be women. Consequently, there is no one to protect white women from the sexually aggressive immigrant-invaders brought into all European countries by the anti-white European Union, an enemy of national sovereignty that wants the destruction of European ethnic nationalities.  The EU is heavily supported by Washington and American money.

Thranholm’s conclusion resonated with me. For a number of years I have noticed that unless I am among older men I often only hear males with women’s voices, speaking like girls, the same intonation and the same words, “like,”  “really.”  I hear males who sound like Valley Girls. When you look at them you don’t see male strength, and neither does Camille Paglia who says androgyny is historically a sign of cultural collapse–https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/no_author/lesson-from-history-transgender-mania-is-sign-of-cultural-collapse-camille-paglia/.  When I hear idiots in Washington and European capitals issuing threats to Russia, I wonder where they are going to find any men capable of fighting a Russian army.

Iben Thranholm says Western men have been deprived of strength and confidence by feminism.  All over Europe, white women of European ethnicity, French, German, Danish, Swedish are raped openly in public by the privileged people of color welcomed in by scum like Merkel, the corrupt French governments, the bought-and-paid-for Italians, the dumbshit British, and the white men just look away and walk on by. Not only has feminism deprived men of any sense of obligation to their women, they are scared to death of being arrested for offending a person of color by interfering with his rape of a white woman.  Indeed, in Scandanavia women are not only afraid to leave their homes, they are afraid to report their rape, because the police might charge them with a hate crime for claiming rape by a protected person of color. In Sweden the protection of Swedish women is so nonexistent that it is becoming a right for a person of color to rape a Swedish woman.  The treasonous governments, treasonous against their ethnic populations, will not confront the mistake they made by overwhelming their nations with immigrant-invaders whom they refuse to hold accountable. Therefore, they blame the raped white women.  And the Swedes are such sheep that they reelect governments that favor immigrant invaders over ethnic Swedes. Who can imagine a Swedish army confronting a Russian army? It would be a five minute war.

The same for all of Europe.  The immigrant-invaders have shown that they can walk through European authority like a wet paper bag.  There is nothing there but self-doubt and self-hate.  Europe exists only as a geographical location. To understand Europe and the collapsing US, read Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints.

How ironic it is. NATO has an army, in name if not in fact, to protect against Russia, which presents no threat.  Yet nothing can be done to protect the women of Europe from immigrant-invaders welcomed in by the excrement that comprises European governments. Does anyone less represent German ethnicity than Merkel?  Does anyone less represent French ethnicity than Macron?  Where in European politics is there any sign of concern for European ethnicities?

Iben Thranholm says that by destroying manhood, the feminists have unbalanced society and left themselves at peril.  There are no longer any men.

Here is the interview.  Everyone, especially feminists, will do very well to listen. The RT interviewer leaves something to be desired, but Iben Thranholm gets her point across.  https://russia-insider.com/en/dear-european-men-you-are-pathetic-pussies-iben-thranholm-video/ri12471

The forthcoming inevitable battle for Middle-East Peace

May 05, 2021

The forthcoming inevitable battle for Middle-East Peace

by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The alleged stray ground-to-air Syrian missile that landed near the nuclear reactor in Dimona Israel carried many messages; both overt and covert.

And, as if the fact that this missile managed to penetrate Israel’s formidable ‘Iron Dome’ was not embarrassing enough for Israel, the official Israeli report alleged that the missile was actually Iranian-made; not Russian as initially perceived by the world.

In other words, the Israeli report is saying that its ‘Iron Dome’ has been easily penetrated by a missile that is 1) not meant to hit ground targets, 2) had already spent its fuel and maneuverability and was literally on a free fall trajectory by gravitation and not propulsion, 3) yet it penetrated the allegedly most advance air defense system in the world, and 4) above all, it was made in Iran; a nation ‘crippled by sanctions and governed by ‘fundamentalist Mullas’.

Seriously, Israel has never before admitted a defense failure that is even close to such similar proportions.

Ironically, almost simultaneously, Iran revealed photos of an American aircraft carrier taken by a drone; not to forget mentioning that Iran also revealed that it has developed kamikaze drones ready to attack any target within their range in the Gulf.

But the Dimona incident alone cannot be seen in isolation of the recent Russian ‘diplomacy’ initiatives in the Middle East. I have deliberately put the word diplomacy under inverted comas, because that Russian version of diplomacy has a side that proves its worth in both traditional diplomatic ways as well as ones that are unorthodox.

Russia has thus far been very tight-lipped about its objectives in the Middle East. My own analysis of it has landed me in hot water with Russian friends and media allies, and I accept their stand. Perhaps they do not want me to ‘spoil the hidden agenda’, but my role as an analyst is not going to stop, and their views, directives, and concerns will not make me feel guilty for expressing my analyses and predictions.

In this portrayal of recent regional political events in the Middle east, I am relying on bits of pieces of information from here and there, but the analysis of it all is based on my own understanding of what makes sense in combining all what is currently taking place. My analysis does not represent the views of any blog, news agency or government. I have expressed similar views earlier, but events keep progressing, and in every step of the way, it seems that my initial prediction about the Russian initiative in the Middle East was accurate. So here is an updated summary of it all with a bit repetition of earlier material for the benefit of first-time readers.

Ever since Russia responded to Syria’s request to offer military aid, Russia responded with accepting the request under certain conditions; conditions that stipulate a Syrian-Israeli peace settlement agreement.

But this wasn’t all. Putin’s Russia is trying to reverse what Kissinger did to Russia some forty years ago when he catapulted the USSR out of Middle East politics and conned Egypt into accepting a unilateral peace deal with Israel in the so-called Camp David Accords.

Ever since then, Russia has been deprived of a role to play in the Middle East, none at all, until Putin sent troops into Syria and thereby changing the status quo not only in the Middle East, but also heralding the end of the single global superpower status of the post USSR USA.

The post-USSR world has seen Russia suffering from huge American-based NATO encroachments in Eastern Europe, and the current impasse in Ukraine is only one aspect of it. Former Warsaw Pact nations have gone full dipole away from Russia and in cahoots with their new-found Western ‘allies’. The Stalin era might have left a bitter taste in the palate of some East European countries, but this was a long time ago, and nations like Poland and Ukraine surely must understand and know who are their historic regional and global allies. With the era of Nazism and Fascism in the dust bin of history that Europe would like to forget, even Germany and France ought to realize that today’s Russia cannot be associated with Stalin’s-USSR any more than today’s Germany and France can be associated with Hitler and Petain.

And, if Poland wants to remained mentally entrenched in the Stalin era and forget about who liberated it from Nazi occupation, it should look further back in history and remember that the partition of Poland in the 19th Century was not only orchestrated by the Russian Czars, but also in collaboration with Prussia and Austria.

As discussed in the previous article, the current animosity of Eastern European nations towards Russia is not something that can be rationally explained and justified.

Back to the Middle East.

Only Russia can broker a peace deal in the Middle East, a deal that includes not only Syria and Israel, but also Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The main sticking elements in any such deal are Israel and Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran.

In the same previous article mentioned above, I predicted a win-win scenario that Russia will broker between Iran and Saudi Arabia; one that guarantees the mutual withdrawal of Iran from Syria and Saudi Arabia from Yemen. As a matter of fact, a few days ago Saudi Crown Prince MBS announced that he wants to have a good relationship with Iran. Is this a sign that this deal is closer than we think? Perhaps not, but I cannot think of any other reason.

Turkey will undoubtedly want a bite of the cherry, and I not sure how will Russia be able to diplomatically appease Erdogan without giving him too much more than what he has taken already. However, his recent stand on Ukraine has put him in deep hot water with Russia and in any future bargains, he will find that his Ukraine venture will be used against him. He has deliberately introduced a bargaining chip that can be used only against himself.

This leaves Israel; how to bring Israel to the negotiating table for a deal that is unlike all previous American-brokered deals.

All American-brokered deals have thus far been based on providing Israel with the lion’s share and the Arab party with very little; especially when it came to making deals with the Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, on top of the political and strategic gains that America delivered to Israel in all of those deals, America ensured that Israel continued to have military superiority and that Arabs would never be able to score a major military victory, even if united.

Despite the October 1973 (ie Yom Kippur War) and what followed it, all the way up to the July 2006 war with Hezbollah, and the humiliations that Israel suffered from all of those military engagements, Israel remains mentally entrenched in the euphoria of the huge Six-Day War win of June 1967 and what ensued afterwards, resulting in what can best be described as the invincible army complex.

Israel will not be prepared to sign a peace agreement with Syria while it believes that it continues to have this military superiority; the power to shape events in its favour. For Israel to change course and become more realistic, it needs either a new generation of political leaders who are more rational, or a reality check; a punishment if you wish.

This is why it is that, inasmuch as the corridors of negotiations are opening up and the tables are being prepared, so are the drums of war.

It is worthy to note here that major reconstructions have not begun in Syria yet. The underlying message here is that perhaps Syria is expecting more carnage, and that reconstruction will have to wait. Why reconstruct twice? In its current state of devastation, Syria has little to lose.

Israel, on the other hand, is in a very vulnerable situation, and the Dimona incident has exposed this gaping hole.

Syria has exercised great restraint in the face of the ongoing Israeli airstrikes. Even though an Israeli jet was downed a few years ago, by-and-large, Syria has remained non-respondent. We do not know exactly what is happening behind the scenes, but it seems that Israel is misreading Syria’s lack of response and seeing weakness, despite information from Russia that such is not the case. Israel will continue to act like the regional bully, refusing to sit at the negotiating table as an equal partner, unless it receives a significant hit.

This hit is not necessarily one that will cause much carnage in Israel such as civilian and military loss of life. Putin will not accept or allow such a level of devastation to be inflicted on Israel. After all, a significant fraction of Israel’s population is originally Russian. Putin, furthermore, is intent on convincing Israel that it is Russia, and not America, that can give Israel real peace with its Arab neighbours.

To this effect, Israel only needs to lose a few fighter-jets, ten, maybe twenty, finding itself unable to defend key military and strategic land targets in order for it to realize that the days of military superiority are gone.

The Dimona incident is a forewarning, but only if Israel wants to read in between the lines. Otherwise, there will be a war in the Middle East, a war that will be intended to be contained and limited to be a punch, a powerful punch, but not a knockout.

With this said, this is the Middle East, a very volatile region, with many volatile heads. A limited war aimed at showing who has muscle may end up spiraling out of control and into something very large. With experience of such unpredictability, Syria is presenting to Israel that a long war will bring more destruction upon Israel than it will on an already destroyed Syria.

What seems certain is that peace initiatives are on the table, but not all parties are yet convinced that they will attend such talks as equal partners before some arms are twisted and statures rattled.

ROCKETS RAIN OVER US BASES IN IRAQ

04.05.2021

Source

See the source image

Military bases of the United States in Iraq are suffering from poor weather conditions, as it would seem it’s raining rockets in the first days of May and late April.

Late on May 2nd, the US Camp Victory in Iraq came under rocket fire.

Two rockets hit the site near the Baghdad airport.

The third shell was reportedly intercepted by the C-RAM anti-aircraft system.

It was the second attack on Camp Victory in the last 10 days.

Not too long after, on May 3d, the Balad Air Base in the Salah al-Din province that houses Iraqi forces and US contractors was targeted by another rocket attack.

The commander of the base, Div. Gen. Sahi Abdul Ameri, said that a total of 9-10 explosions were heard, but only three self-made rockets exploded on the territory of the base.

The rockets reportedly were 107mm Katyushas.

Alleged photos show that the launchers were labeled with photos of assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Units commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Still, the Pentagon said the increasing frequency of attacks against US forces in Iraq does not mean that effective measures are not taken to protect them, adding that the targeted base only hosted only by Iraqi troops and contractors working for an American company.

Alongside this, almost daily IED attacks target convoys moving logistic supplies and equipment for the US-led coalition all over Iraq.

Most recently, on May 2nd, two separate convoys were targeted.

Pro-Iranian groups are suspected of carrying out the attacks.

The recent strikes may be in response to explosions at a large chemical plant located near the city of Qom in central Iran, on May 2nd.

A spokesman for the Qom Fire Department told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the fire had been prevented from reaching nearby alcohol tanks which would have caused a “very large accident” if they had caught fire.

There is no official release of what caused the explosion, but it did happen just as there were some reports that some progress had been made in Vienna in negotiations to salvage the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

On May 1st, Iran revealed that the US had agreed to lift some sanctions in order to revive the 2015 deal.

Tel Aviv has been attempting to hinder the talks between the US and Iran for a while.

Last month, an act of sabotage targeted Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Israeli intelligence was blamed for this.

The vicious cycle that is the situation around the Iran Nuclear Deal continues, and it is likely that the situation could deteriorate further if Washington and Tehran reach a deal Tel Aviv is unsatisfied with.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border – Reports (Updated)

 04.05.2021 

Update:  Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition forces in Iraq, confirmed the attack. According to the initial report, 10 rockets struck the airbase, which hosts US, coalition and Iraqi forces, at 7:20am local time.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, which belongs to the American Army, has been targeted by at least two rockets on May 4, according to the Iraqi TV channel ‘Al-Ahd’. Air sirens have been reportedly activated.

More details on the attack should be provided in coming hours. It is the third military base hosting US troops to be targeted in three days. (LinkLink)

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

Moreover, multiple IEDs had targeted US army convoys near Jereshan border between Iraq and Kuwait, Sabereen news reported on May 4th.

According to the reports, the US occupation forces were targeted in one of the warehouses and transport garages at the Jereshan border crossing.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

On May 3, the Balad Air Base in Salah al-Din province that houses Iraqi forces and US contractors was targeted by rocket attack.

Previously, late on May 2, The US Camp Victory in Iraq came under rocket fire.

The ongoing attacks may be a result of the alleged sabotage attack on a large chemical plant located near the city of Qom in central Iran that took place on May 2nd.

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Financialization and its Discontents

Financialization and its Discontents

May 04, 2021

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

THE NONAGE

The term financialization is generally used as a reference to that part of the economy indicated by the acronym FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) and its growing importance in the economy in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Financialization has been a developmental process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites have gained greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes. Financialization transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and micro levels. Its principal impact has been to elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real value producing sector of the economy; that is to say to transfer income from the value-producing sector to the extractive sector and thereby increase income inequality and wage stagnation.

EXPANSION AND GROWTH

Since 1970 this part of the economy has grown from a significant part of the US economy as well as of those overseas. This means that a significant magnitude of market transactions are associated with finance. In terms of corporate profits finance is said to account for approximately 40% of US GDP. This is a significant but disputed figure and, moreover, it does not include those overseas earnings of companies whose profits are repatriated to their countries of origin. Thus, the increasing presence and role of finance in overall economic activity and the increase of profits channelled to the financial sector represent the salient indicators as to what has been termed financialization. However, the level and importance of finance in the US economy is held in some quarters to have been actually deleterious to growth. A 2012 International Monetary Fund study concluded that the U.S. financial sector has grown so large that it is slowing economic growth. New York University economist Thomas Philippon supported those findings, estimating that the U.S. spends $300 billion too much on financial services per year, and that the sector needs to shrink by 20%. Harvard University and University of Chicago economists agreed, calculating in 2014 that workers in research and development add $5 to the GDP for each dollar they earn, but finance industry workers cause the GDP to shrink by $0.60 for every dollar they are paid. A study by the Bank for International Settlements reached similar conclusions, saying the finance industry impedes economic growth and research and development-based industries.

A picture containing building, outdoor, ground, stone Description automatically generated

Wall Street – Belly of the Beast

So this 40% figure increasingly looks like an estimate and does not necessarily represent value or productivity since financialisaton is essentially an extractive process which basically moves wealth from one group to another. For example from everyday wage earners and productive enterprises to the banking, insurance, real estate, and other extractive retail and loan industries. In a study in 2016 two finance academics one at the University of Massachusetts, Professor Gerald Epstein one of the best-known authorities on financialization, together with Juan Montecino of Colombia University published a joint document.(1) It was a type of financial curse for the United States, and it sought to use established methods which attempted to measure the overall damage created by a bloated financial sector in the US. It was argued by these eminent scholars that financialization would put the economy at risk of debt deflation and prolonged recession. Crunching the figures the conclusion that they arrived at was ‘that the US financial system will impose an excess cost of between $12.9 trillion and $22.7 trillion on the US economy between 1990 and 2023, thereby ‘making finance in its current form a net drag on the American economy.’

This calculation of the putative benefits of the financial sector to the US economy, minus the costs imposed by this same sector, was equivalent to a net loss of $105,000-$184,000 for the average American family: without this loss, the typical US household would have doubled its wealth at retirement. The US economy would have been stronger today if the US government had simply paid its highest paying financiers their full salaries, then sent them off to live in luxurious gated communities to play golf all day. (2)

Regardless, financialization operates through three different conduits: changes in the structure and operation of financial markets, changes in the behaviour of nonfinancial corporations, and changes in economic policy. Countering financialisaton would call for a multifaceted agenda that; restores policy control over financial markets; challenges the neoliberal economic policy paradigm encouraged by financialization; makes corporations responsive to interests of stakeholders other than just financial markets, and; reforms the political process so as to diminish the influence of corporations and wealthy elites. As policy options go, this seems eminently sensible. But when have sensible ideas ever been given house room by the financial powers-that-be (PTB). Unfortunately, therefore, we seem stuck with this enemy within.

THE DESTRUCTION OF VALUE.

This ongoing transformative process – akin to an economic late-stage carcinoma – represents a regressive structural change in the nature of the late capitalist economy. This is to say the relationship between the value-creating manufacturing sector and the extractive sector, (FIRE) Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. In the earlier phase of capitalism, the financial sector was much smaller and served to grease the wheels of industry by providing investment capital and credit obtained from depositors. That symbiotic relationship has now ended, and finance has increasingly taken on a life form of its own relegating manufacturing industry to the second tier. Financialization is a pattern of accumulation that relies increasingly on profit making through financial channels even for firms which are not financial. As a case in question: General Motors in the US, for example, had a trading and finance sector which was to grow larger than the original auto-vehicle operation itself. And it was precisely this branch of the company which went bust during the 2008 crash, which gave rise to a bail-out from the Federal Government of $50 billion dollars. What’s good for GM is good for America, yes? Unfortunately, the same Federal Government was unable to stump up petty-cash of $13 billion for the home base of GM – Detroit – which also became bankrupt. This I think speaks volumes regarding the US government’s priorities. Interestingly Detroit was largely a population of Afro-American people.

The ongoing rise of financialization has been attributed to the decline in the rate of profit of manufacturing industry over the period of the post-war boom, the Trente Glorieuses 1950-1970, as the French called it. (3) The reasons for this long-term decline are another article, but the decline was palpable, nonetheless. Suffice it to say that the fall in the level of profitability occasioned a basic reconfiguration, both political and economic, in the nature of the global political economy. During this period of economic and political turbulence firms had to look for other ways of making profits other than through boom-style brick- and -mortar investment.

Fattening up the bottom line through reductions in corporation tax, tax avoidance scams such as transfer pricing, company share buy-backs, some very dubious mergers and acquisitions, the creation of ‘flexible’ labour markets, all generally involved finance and banking services which expanded their services to meet this increased demand; a demand that this sector created in the first place.

The financial leech on the productive economy may be best understood by a reference to biology.

There is a particular type of parasite which preys on humans – dracunculus – which can reach a metre in length. Care must be taken extracting these creatures since when one simply pulls off the protruding head of the worm, the worm will break and leak high levels of foreign antigen which can lead to anaphylactic shock and fast death of the host. Professor Michael Hudson compares this sort of biological parasitism with the financial parasitism, which is now sucking dry the world economy, the host. He writes:

‘’Furthermore, the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sector – banks, credit agencies, investment companies, brokers and dealers of commodities and securities, security and commodity exchanges, insurance agents, buyers, sellers, lessors, lessees and so forth – has now reached such a level that it has become larger, more ubiquitous, and profitable than productive industry. Prior to the ascent of financialised capital and the deregulation and privatisation mania, the role of finance was usually restricted to greasing the wheels of the productive (value-creating) economy. Commercial banks took the publics’ deposits and funnelled it as credit into manufacturing and commercial enterprises. In this regulated environment commercial banks and other financial institutions were legally circumscribed in the level of credit they could extend.’’ (4)

FINANCE GOES GLOBAL

The seemingly unstoppable financial Runaway Train rolled on with the ‘Big Bang’ – that is to say the deregulation of finance carried out initially by the Thatcher government in the UK in 1986. The phenomenon was to spread around the world now that finance was off the leash. Instead of producing real value as embodied in goods and services, the selling of ownership titles – fictitious capitalwhich effectively represents accumulated claims, legal titles, to future production and more specifically claims to the income generated by that production – were simply paper claims to wealth rather than wealth itself. Banks for example were loath to lend to start-up manufacturing companies but fell over themselves to lend mortgage loans to anyone who had a pulse. This was to become the chosen field of investment. It was the essence of extractive capitalism. (5)

Unfortunately, as a result of financial deregulation the situation actually got worse. The Bank of England had, in its infinite wisdom, decided to host but not regulate a new market for homeless dollars in London. Yet this new business was not regulated or taxed by the United States either, so who was regulating or taxing it? The answer was nobody. Amid high anxiety about the loss of empire the City of London establishment had quietly turned Britain into an offshore tax and financial haven. Currency and financial traders immediately took note. The Americans gave this business an appropriate name. Eurodollar markets or Euromarkets. (6)

Thenceforth a Eurodollar, a dollar which was simply a dollar which had escaped Bretton Woods controls and was being traded in these new libertarian markets which were mostly located in Europe. Eurodollars were a new form of stateless monies and, as a London banker put it ‘completely isolated from the monetary mass of the rest of the UK .’… So Eurodollars were in one sense dollars like any other, but in another sense, they were different because they had escaped into a market outside of US government control, where they could behave freely.

According to A Bank of England memo in those early days this move explained the Euromarkets attractions: to wit, freedom from local supervisory controls such as Banking regulations to stop excessive risk taking – with OTO – ‘other peoples’ money’. Freedom from macroeconomic controls such as foreign exchange restrictions; low or zero taxes for the customers and players; secrecy and very liberal company legislation.

And where did this leave national governments? Well, the Euromarkets provided anonymity to tax avoiders, scammers and criminals of every stripe which included flight capital, terrorist and illicit drug cartels so they were the natural bases and hideaways for both elements of both the haute bourgeois and the criminal cartels. An illustration of the amount of monies secreted away in these tax havens can be gleaned from the figures: The Shadow Banking Sector of the Cayman Islands, stood at assets worth $5.8 trillion – equivalent of 170,000 percent of Cayman’s GDP and over twice the size of the UK’s GDP. Worth adding that the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean is only one tax-avoidance venue in Britain’s hidden empire.

A city next to a body of water Description automatically generated with low confidence

The Cayman Islands.

Other dubious income stream recipients include, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Nearer to home in the English Channel, there lie the tax havens of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. These are now known as Crown Dependencies who did not cut all their ties after the Empire expired. (7)

But although in this respect the UK, that is to say the City of London and Canary Wharf, could arguably be regarded as being market leaders, it is only one of many well-heeled investor outposts in an archipelago of a global no-tax, no-questions asked, venues including Delaware – does Delaware ring any bells? It should. This is a multinational operation organized by multinational institutions, offering its services to an opulent global multinational clientele.

CLASS, POWER AND POLITICS

Reading the material for this article I became increasingly reminded as to the manner of which the present political/ideological developments and present conjuncture came into being along with its past manifestations. Back in the 18/19th centuries there was a battle royal taking place between the old aristocratic landed classes and the newly emerging bourgeoisie based in the manufacturing towns of both Europe and the United States (8). The United Kingdom was very much at the centre of this political confrontation and the challenge to the established order of the King and the divine right to rule which had already been shaken by the English Civil War 1642-49 and had visibly weakened – particularly when Charles 1 had his head chopped off in 1649; this was followed by the French Revolution when Louis XVI also lost his head in January 1793. After which the French seemed to have developed a penchant for revolutions! (See 1848 and 1871.) But the new order was beginning to make its presence felt. Thus the 18th and 19th centuries were in essence class struggles which carried on into the 20th century with the rise of socialism and nationalism.

But the interesting aspect has been the late 20th century counter-revolutionary movement predicated on the development of a new bourgeois class which has effectively established itself inside the financial sector of the economy and has effectively become a new ruling class ably assisted by a vast political bureaucracy, the entertainment industry, Big Tech/Pharma and the media which now plays the role of an organized religious pillar of support to the existing order. History seems to be repeating itself, but not in quite the same fashion. So as Marx once said: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte).

Key Historical Figures:

ADAM SMITH 1723-1790

Adam Smith was born in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy 1723 son of a customs officer. Attended the university of Glasgow where he studied moral philosophy (1759) and was to publish The Theory of Moral Sentiments. And in 1776 The Wealth of Nations.

  1. This was the age of Industrial capitalism.
  2. He was a friend of the great conservative Scottish philosopher David Hume.
  3. In 1776 his magnum opus ‘’An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations. A work which became the foundation for the new ‘science’ of Political Economy.
  4. Smith saw the economy as being subject to a set of invariant scientific laws. Economic processes were driven above all by ‘’the natural effort that every man is continually making to better his own condition … within the complex and changing web of economic phenomena we will find one constantly acting force; the uniform, constant and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the principle from which public and national as well as private opulence is originally derived.’’
  5. This is human nature, according to Smith. Moreover, this invariable human nature manifests itself most forcefully under social conditions, namely those of the bourgeois order of private property and unrestricted competition.
  6. So far as economic contacts are concerned everyone enters intercourse with others only insofar as this is dictated by his own personal interests and promises some form of gain. The form of this intercourse is exchange conducted in markets.
  7. Famous quote: ‘’It is not from the benevolence of the brewer, the butcher or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own interests.’’
  8. Smith deduces the basic socio-economic institutions that characterise a commodity-capitalist economy from the nature of man; what he takes as human nature, however, is the determinate nature of man under the influence of the commodity-capitalist economy.
  9. A philosophy of rational and radical individualism.
  10. Society and the individual will prosper with freedom of individual economic initiative and the elimination of state interference. ‘’Thus, every man as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interests in his own way, and to bring both his industry and his capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men. The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty performed ….
  11. Smith was the founder of the doctrine of economic liberalism – maximum freedom for the individual and freedom from coercive state interference.
  12. Smith therefore considered the economic phenomena of bourgeois society to be ‘natural’ in the sense that they had been arranged in the best possible fashion and required no conscious intervention by any agencies of state or of society.
  13. Smith was vehemently opposed to the creation of monopoly, which he viewed as simply criminal organizations.

David Ricardo (1772-1823)

Born in London, England, Ricardo was the third to be born to a Sephardic Jewish family of Portuguese origin who had recently relocated from the Dutch Republic. His father, Abraham Ricardo, was a successful stockbroker. Ricardo junior began working with his father at the age of 14. At age 21, Ricardo eloped with a Quaker woman, Priscilla Anne Wilkinson, and, against his father’s wishes, converted to the Unitarian faith. This religious difference – Judaism and Christianity – resulted in estrangement from his family, and he was led to adopt a position of independence. His father disowned him, and his mother apparently never spoke to him again.

Ricardo was part of the radical intelligentsia who believed that history was cyclical rather than linear. His was a high-Tory view rather than the Whiggish notion that history was advancing in the direction of progress and reason. This is clearly reflected in Ricardo’s views (see below) as well as others such as Thomas Malthus. What Ricardo foresaw was rather different than the Whiggish view of progress. This latter view postulated a world in which everyone moved together up the escalator of progress. Unlike Smith, however, Ricardo saw that the escalator worked with different effects on different classes. Some rose triumphantly to the top, whilst others, who managed to move up a few rungs of the ladder could be kicked down to the bottom; whilst those who got the full benefit of the ride – the landed aristocracy – did nothing at all to earn their reward – i.e., the power of the soil and the rent on land.

To Adam Smith society was one great family; to Ricardo it was an internally divided camp. ‘’The interest of the landlord is also opposed to the interest of every other class in society – namely, capitalists and workers. Ricardo’s animus toward to the land-owning classes was in part based upon this theory of economic rent as outlined in his definitive work, The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation first published in 1817.

THE THEORY OF RENT

Suppose, says Ricardo, there are two neighbouring land-lords. On one landlord’s fields the soil is fertile, and with the labour of a hundred men and a given amount of equipment he can raise 15 hundred bushels of wheat. On the second landlord’s field the soil is less fecund; the same men and their equipment can only raise one thousand bushels. This is merely a fact of nature, but it has an economic consequence; the grain will be cheaper per bushel on the fortunate landlord’s estate. Obviously since both landlords must pay the same wages and capital expenses, there will be an advantage in cost to the man who secures 500 more bushels than his competitor.

It is this difference in costs that rent springs. For if the demand is high enough to warrant tilling the soil on the less productive farm it will certainly be a very profitable operation to raise grain on the more productive farm. Indeed, the greater difference between the two farms, the greater will be the differential rent. If for example it is just barely profitable to raise grain at a cost of £2 a bushel on very infertile land, then certainly a fortunate landowner whose rich soil produces grain at only 50 pence a bushel will gain a large rent indeed. For both farms will sell their grain on the market at the same price say £2.10 – the owner of the better ground will therefore be able to pocket the difference of £1.50 in their respective costs of production.

No-rent on Marginal Land:

In the diagram below the most productive land (A) has the highest yield 35 quintiles. The marginal land (D) which just covers its expenses and no more. This land is called ‘no-rent land’. All rents are measured from it upwards.

Quality of Land of Does of Capital and Labour

‘D’ quality and land which produces 20 quintals per plot is the marginal land. Here the return and cost are equal. It is just worthwhile cultivating this land since it just covers expenses of cultivation and yields no surplus to the cultivator. Thus, the concept of economic rent, more broadly applied, means a rent (surplus) income over and above the normal/average income which normally accrues to factors of production. This particularly applies to monopolistic and oligopolistic market conditions. Present day monopolists/oligopolists pay a premium for their costs of output over and above average profit – this premium is ‘economic rent’.

DIMINISHING RETURNS

However, Ricardo was astute enough to point out the capitalism was (still is) a dynamic system, constantly mutating and expanding. This had the effect of an increasing demand for factor inputs, including labour. This led to rising wages; but only temporarily, since this increased income produced more children, future labourers, who would flood the market with still more labourers. And this is where Ricardo parted company with the sunny, prosperous world predicted by Smith. Ricardo postulated that as population expanded it would become necessary to push the margin of cultivation out further. More mouths would demand more grain and more grain would need more fields. Naturally, the newly cultivated fields would not be so productive as those already in use, for it would be a foolish farmer who had not already used the best soil available to him.

Therefore, as the growing population caused more and more land to be put into use, the cost of producing grain would rise. Thus, the selling price would also rise and so would the incomes of the well-situated landlords. Moreover, wages would need to rise pari passu also, since as grain became more expensive the labourer would have to be paid more, simply to enable him to buy his sustenance to stay alive.

This is the ‘law’ of diminishing returns. And it benefits nobody except the landlords. The capitalist-the man responsible for the progress of society in the first place-has been caught in two jaws of a vice. 1. He must pay higher wages which increase costs, since bread is become more expensive. 2. The landlords are much better off, since the rents they have been rising on good land, as worse and worse land has been planted. And as the landlord’s share in society’s bounty increases, there is only one class that gets elbowed aside to make room for him – the capitalist. What a different conclusion from Adam Smith’s great pageant of progress. Suffice it to say Ricardo was the voice of the rising industrial bourgeois class against what both he and they considered a parasitic, rentier landowning gentry. It was in this spirit that he campaigned against the high tariff on imported corn.

FREE TRADE & COMPARTIVE ADVANTAGE: The condition in which the free flow of goods, services and finance in international exchange is neither restricted nor encouraged by government intervention. This line of reasoning was originally given a theoretical elaboration by David Ricardo (1772-1823) and his theory of comparative advantage. This was a hypothetical construct where two nations – England and Portugal – both produced wine and cloth. Portugal had an absolute advantage in both. But a comparative advantage in wine. It would therefore benefit all if England were to specialise in cloth and Portugal in wine. This theory rested upon a number of questionable assumptions. These are as follows:

a) Factors of production are perfectly mobile within each country and they can be instantly switched between industries without any adjustment problems. However the same factors are immobile between countries, though final goods and services can be traded.

b) There are constant returns to scale and constant average costs of production in both industries and both countries

c) Both commodities, wine and cloth, are in demand in both countries.

d) The limited resources and factors of production in each country are fully employed.

e) Transportation and adjustment costs involved in trade are discounted

In the real world, however, none of the above assumptions hold. All governments are heavily involved in regulating overseas trade. They either seek entry into other markets or attempt to restrict entry into their own. Essentially all governments are in one way or another mercantilist (see below) and in this sense free-trade is just another policy option to be placed alongside protectionism: they are not antipodes but twins. International trade, like war, is a continuation of politics by other means.

NOTES

The development of political economy did not of course stop at this point, but quite simply I did not have any inclination to go further and summarise the significant impact of Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill in the 19th century and J.M.Keynes and J.A.Schumpeter in the 20th. The process is of course open ended.

(1) Overcharged: The High Costs of High Finance. 2016

(2) The Finance Curse – Nicholas Shaxson. – 2018 – p.11

(3) K.Marx – The Long Run Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall – Capital Volume 3, Chapter 25. And/or J.A.Schumpeter, ‘Business Cycles ‘- Schumpeter believes in the existence of the long wave of upswings (or boom) and downswings (or depression). Once the upswing ends, the long wave of downswing begins and the painful process of readjustment to the “point of previous neighbourhood of equilibrium” starts.

(4) M.Hudson – Terminal Infection – Killing The Host 2015

(5) The Big Bang – 1986 – finance goes global. See also, Fictious capital, Marx, chapter25 Volume 3 of Capital.

(6) What is a Eurodollar? The term Eurodollar refers to U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at foreign banks or at the overseas branches of American banks. Because they are held outside the United States, eurodollars are not subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, including reserve requirements. Dollar-denominated deposits not subject to U.S. banking regulations were originally held almost exclusively in Europe (hence, the name Eurodollar). Now, they are also widely held in branches located in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. What is a euromarket? The euromarket extends beyond the Eurozone countries that use the euro currency to all countries signed on to that free trade agreement.

(7) Nicholas Shaxson – The Finance Curse – 2018 passim.

(8) Although there was no Aristocratic class in the US – perhaps in the South. There was King George of course but he was on the other side of the Atlantic.

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford

Source

Finian Cunningham

April 30, 2021

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford -  TheAltWorld

“The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away,” says former British ambassador to Syria in an interview with Finian Cunningham.

The United States, Britain, and other NATO powers failed in their covert military efforts for regime change in Syria, thanks in large part to the principled intervention by Russia to defend its historic Arab ally. However, Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria, contends that regime change is still very much a top priority for Western powers and their criminal agenda of reshaping the Middle East according to their imperial objectives. In the following interview, Ford explains how the Western tactic has now shifted to intensifying economic warfare in order to buckle the Syrian government led by President Assad. Nevertheless, the former British envoy envisages that the presidential election on May 26 will see Assad being resoundingly re-elected by a nation defiant towards Western aggression.

peterford hashtag on Twitter

Peter Ford is a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) who has publicly denounced Britain’s proxy-terror war for regime change in the Arab nation, along with other NATO accomplices. He is a seasoned diplomat having graduated in Arabic Studies from Oxford University and serving as an envoy in several Middle East countries. Ford has incurred the wrath of the British establishment for his outspoken truth-telling about their nefarious agenda in Syria. On the other hand, he has won the admiration of many people around the world for his courage and integrity. He is a recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism.

Interview

Question: What do you make of the ruling last week by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to strip Syria of its member rights based on allegations that the Syrian government military forces have repeatedly used chemical weapons during the 10-year war? It seems that the OPCW has become extremely politicized by the United States and its Western allies. Do you see a lot of arm-twisting of member states by Western powers to produce OPCW sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

Question: The OPCW’s executive has been exposed in distorting its own reports for the objective of incriminating the Syrian government over alleged chemical weapons attacks. Do you think the OPCW has been turned into a lever to enable Western powers to harass Syria because these powers have been blocked by Russia and China from using the United Nations Security Council as a mechanism for aggression against Syria?

Peter Ford: The United States and the United Kingdom have not hesitated to ventriloquize the OPCW executive to get their way on Syria, stifling whistleblowing even where the cases of misreporting have been flagrant. As a former United Nations official myself, I can say that international organizations are nearly all controlled and used by the U.S./UK, with the Security Council thankfully the one arena where they are unable always to get their own way. This irks them considerably, leading them to go even further in exploiting and debasing agencies like the OPCW.

Question: Three months into a new administration in the United States under President Joe Biden, is there any discernible change in Washington’s policy towards Syria? You have stated publicly before that the whole war in Syria was a regime-change operation orchestrated by the U.S., Britain, France, and others. Is regime change in Syria still on the Western powers’ agenda?

Peter Ford: Regime change is very much still on the agenda. It cannot be openly avowed, of course, but how else to describe a policy of seeking a  “transition” under conditions that would guarantee removal of the present government? Those conditions include rigged elections and “justice” against “war criminals”. The economic warfare is as severe as anything that was waged against Iraq to bring Saddam down. It is blatant deceit to pretend this policy is not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. Biden brings no change. If anything he is doubling down on the policy of his predecessor, without even the pretense of wanting out of Syria, holding on to sanctions, and deliberately hampering reconstruction.

Question: The United States still has troops illegally occupying parts of eastern Syria near the country’s oil fields, denying the Syrian state important resources for national reconstruction. You have described the American forces there as functioning like a “tripwire”. Could you expand on that concept?

Peter Ford: U.S. forces in occupied parts of Syria number around a thousand. The Syrian Arab Army could overrun these forces and their Kurdish allies in a matter of days. What stops them? The certain knowledge that any advance towards the American forces would trigger massive retaliation from the U.S. Air Force operating from its bases in the region. So the function of these U.S. forces is not to help “eradicate ISIS terror remnants” as implausibly claimed, but to serve as a tripwire and thereby deter Syrian forces from recovering territories that hold most of Syria’s oil and grain resources. Denial of these resources is key to bringing Syria to its knees via economic warfare.

Question: Could Biden step up the military intervention in Syria? Or is it more likely that the U.S. and its Western allies will pursue economic warfare through sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: It must be considered unlikely that the U.S. would put many more boots on the ground but many in the Pentagon are straining at the leash to bomb Syria at the slightest pretext. For the moment, the policy planners are counting on economic sanctions and are content to wait for the Syrian government to buckle.

Question: What are the strategic reasons for Western regime change in Syria?

Peter Ford: It’s a way of getting at Russia and Iran, essentially. A little thought experiment proves it. Imagine Assad suddenly said he was ready to get rid of the Russians and Iranians and complete America’s set of Arab powers in return for being left in power. Egypt’s Sadat did something similar in the late 1970s so it’s not unthinkable, and Assad was having tea with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth not so very long ago. Would the U.S. not then cast aside without a moment’s hesitation all the blather about democracy and human rights?

Question: How significant was Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian war in October 2015?

Peter Ford: It was a life-saver. Most people do not realize how close ISIS and other terrorist proxies were to grabbing control of Damascus. Naturally, the Western powers never like to acknowledge this awkward truth.

Question: France’s former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas remarked in a media interview back in 2013 how he was privately approached by British officials with a scheme for regime change in Syria two years before the war erupted in 2011. As a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) can you recall noticing any such plot being considered?

Peter Ford: Planning for regime change in Syria only really began when the aftermath of the Iraq war went really sour and rather than blame themselves, the U.S./UK sought to deflect blame on to Syria. It accelerated after Britain’s Conservatives with their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian obsessions, and their support for Israel, came to power in 2010.

Question: Your principled and outspoken criticism of the British government’s involvement in the Syrian war has won you much respect around the world. Do you feel personally aggrieved by the malign conduct of Britain in Syria?

Peter Ford: I feel ashamed for my country’s actions. It really is quite shameful that we have been instrumental in causing suffering for millions of Syrians while hypocritically claiming we are doing it for their own good.

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

End the genocidal siege of Syria!

May 1, 2021

Air Mission: April Overview

Air Mission: April Overview

May 01, 2021

By Nat South for the Saker Blog

From time to time, I gather and compile basic statistics on US / NATO/ Swedish flights principally near to Russia, (articles posted on my blog). The idea is to get a rough snapshot of the activity, location and types of aircraft that carry out intelligence-gathering missions, broadly known as Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, (ISR), as well as those in direct support of those missions. It is a thankless and time-consuming task, but hopefully it can offer a semblance of having a wider perspective on issues, other than just riding on emotional off-one events, without providing any context.

The US and NATO (and Sweden) routinely send out a variety of aircraft dedicated for ISR missions along or in proximity to Russia. These missions are tasked with monitoring the military status quo, namely the movement of units and in particular the deployment of equipment and ships. Given the ongoing Ukraine-Russia tensions, the data collecting took on another aspect in the last month, namely what kind of activity and response could be seen. Well, the answer is that the skies got a little more crowded in April.

Going through the figures for April shows a marked overall increase in ISR the Black Sea region compared to other regions. Not surprising considering the military build-up in Crimea and in southern Russia, in response to the re-deployment of Ukrainian military hardware and units to Eastern Ukraine.

All the data obtained is done through trawling through social media accounts who track via ADS-B, Mode-S and MLAT sites, to identify the type of aircraft, location, and nationality of the aircraft. Invariably, there are some flights that are missed, because only those that had transponders active in each location were logged. For example, there were certainly more flights off the Norway, Barents Sea and in the GIUK region than I managed to record.

Some points to retain:

Intensification of flights in the Black Sea, (Crimea, Southern Russia FIR). Although the use of unmanned RQ-4B Global Hawks over Eastern Ukraine and Northern Georgia has been going on for a long time, (years in fact), there was an uptick of activities, (Graph 1) in April. Given their 250km reported ‘visual’ range, they can scan a wide swath of land. Unusually, on several occasions in April, two RQ-4B operated at the same time in the region. Prior to April, most of the ISR flight paths were fairly regular in character, this wasn’t the case several times during April, in particular the RQ-4B flights.

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Being unmanned, this is the only US / NATO aircraft that carries out missions over territorial airspace over Ukraine and Georgia. For a short time, a RQ-4B was brought in from the Middle East to carry air missions. Many of these flights did not have habitual flight track of prior ISR missions in certain areas, (Eastern Ukraine, Crimean coastline, and Georgia), often orbiting or making multiple tracking back and forth passes.

A comparison is provided below between the number of flights between February, March, and April. The figures for March or February were not different to previous months, so, a big change in frequency. To sum up, the redeployment of Ukrainian military units did not bring about changes in air missions but the Russian redeployments to the area certainly influenced US and NATO military brass in despatching aircraft to the region.

Another noticeable increase in flights is that of the US Navy P-8 Poseidon flights along the northern Black Sea coastline region. Flights were almost a daily occurrence and this unprecedented as far I know. However, this is partially consistent with the fact that the Russian Navy units started a series of naval exercises in the Black Sea over April, (some of the media reports below to get a gist of the frequency and intensity).

It has to be noted that the flights take place in international airspace, but some of the flights tracked closely the 12 nautical miles limit. As with the other ISR aircraft (Rivet Joint, EP3 Aries), the flight route taken were fairly consistent, going along the whole coast of Crimea, flying all the way down to the sea area adjoining Sochi and towards Novorossiysk, (which I refer to as Southern Russia FIR), and then returning back along the coastline.

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8-9 April https://tass.com/defense/1276211

12-13 April https://tass.com/defense/1276793

14 April https://www.rt.com/russia/520989-black-sea-fleet-dispatched-us-threat/

19-23 April https://tass.com/defense/1279759/

https://tass.com/defense/1280235

https://tass.com/defense/1281517

27-30 April https://twitter.com/mod_russia/status/1388085378175881216

Boeing P-8s contrary to social media pundits aren’t just submarine hunters, (“must be looking for a Kilo” fare), but in addition to their anti-submarine warfare (ASW), P-8s have anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. In other words, maritime domain intelligence.

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Another interesting aspect that is noteworthy is the increase in intelligence-gathering flights along the Russian Far East, (Kamchatka and Anadyr). This ties in with press releases and videos on interceptions by the RuAF, where Russian Air Force MiG-31 high-altitude fighter intercepted an USAF RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Kamchatka.

Often, several type of ISR missions were taking place simultaneously in the Black Sea region, (usually a combination of P-8 and Rivet Joint, or P-8 with Global Hawks). This means that several types of intelligence gathering are carried out, (maritime, ELINT, etc…). This situation

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The above graph shows the ISR missions carried out in April was done daily around many regions from the Baltic to the Barents Sea.

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The overall snapshot for April across many regions is shown in the above graph, the Baltic region, being the second busiest region overall.

So, how do these figures compare to those for March?

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The Black Sea region in April swapped places with the Baltic region, to lead by a wide margin. To note that I have split the Black Sea region into different sectors, to distinguish the location of flights. The Black Sea region is the overall total, which includes flights that did not enter Crimean, Russian FIRs but were in support of other ISR missions. Generally, this does not include Turkish flights in the southern Black Sea sector, as such the only flights that are counted are those support of other flights monitoring Russian military activities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to confirm whether a RQ-4B flight went to Eastern Ukraine or Georgia, so it may be expected that the figures that I have are lower than in reality.

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The main types of aircraft that carried out various intelligence-gathering missions in the Black Sea region are listed above. While some (the E-3 AWACS, Peace Eagle) stayed over land, their location of activity suggested support for overall intelligence-gathering operations linked to Russian military activities and units.

No surprise to say that it is the US military that flies the most often, with the UK in second place.

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Lastly, as an interesting comparison with my dataset, here is a graph showing the numbers of air flights along Russian borders, (including the unmanned aircraft) along with interceptions carried out since the beginning of the year, as regularly reported by the Russian Ministry of Defence. As you can surmise, a lot more aerial activity takes place in proximity to Russia generally, (Not just ISR flights but air tankers, U2s and maybe bomber flights are possibly included in the figures). These figures probably also include other non-NATO aircraft elsewhere near to Russia.

Getting this level of official data from NATO and NORAD would be a rarity and as such, it is nearly impossible to compare data for Russian military flights, as the data is rather opaque compared that of the Russian MoD. Add in a level of obfuscation, as this quote shows the typical situation:
““NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War” General Glen Van Herck’s briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2020.

  1. Define highest as per the yearly data (which is not available)
  2. Why reference it to the end of the Cold War? I find it rather misleading to use the basic value as “the end of the Cold War”, whether for aircraft and submarines.

The average NORAD interceptions in the USA/ Canada ADIZ, since 2013 is between 10-16 (roughly), PER YEAR. According to the Russian MoD, there were 10 interceptions for the whole of April alone.

Conclusion

The northern part of the Black Sea region has come under close scrutiny for April regarding US/NATO air missions, and it does not show any signs of decreasing in frequency as yet, (as I write this, there are 2 Global Hawks operating in the region). Yet other areas continue to be monitored as attentively as in previous months on a daily basis.

It highlights the continued need for intelligence by Washington and Brussels on all aspects of Russian military activities and units.

NB: For anyone interested in the naval sitreps side of activities, I have produced a series of them for March and April: https://natsouth.livejournal.com/19905.html concerning the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea. I regularly update the sitreps with a Twitter thread of additional events.

Brave New Cancel Culture World

Brave New Cancel Culture World

May 01, 2021

If we need a date when the West started to go seriously wrong, let’s start with Rome in the early 5th century

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

In 2020, we saw the enshrinement of techno-feudalism – one of the overarching themes of my latest book, Raging Twenties.

In lightning speed, the techno-feudalism virus is metastasizing into an even more lethal, wilderness of mirrors variant, where cancel culture is enforced by Big Tech all across the spectrum, science is routinely debased as fake news in social media, and the average citizen is discombobulated to the point of lobotomy.

Giorgio Agamben has defined it as a new totalitarianism.

Top political analyst Alastair Crooke has attempted a sharp breakdown of the broader configuration.

Geopolitically, the Hegemon would even resort to 5G war to maintain its primacy, while seeking moral legitimization via the woke revolution, duly exported to its Western satrapies.

The woke revolution is a culture war – in symbiosis with Big Tech and Big Business – that has smashed the real thing: class war. The atomized working classes, struggling to barely survive, have been left to wallow in anomie.

The great panacea, actually the ultimate “opportunity” offered by Covid-19, is the Great Reset advanced by Herr Schwab of Davos: essentially the replacement of a dwindling manufacturing base by automation, in tandem with a reset of the financial system.

The concomitant wishful thinking envisages a world economy that will “move closer to a cleaner capitalist model”. One of its features is a delightfully benign Council for Inclusive Capitalism in partnership with the Catholic Church.

As much as the pandemic – the “opportunity” for the Reset – was somewhat rehearsed by Event 201 in October 2019, additional strategies are already in place for the next steps, such as Cyber Polygon, which warns against the “key risks of digitalization”. Don’t miss their “technical exercise” on July 9th, when “participants will hone their practical skills in mitigating a targeted supply chain attack on a corporate ecosystem in real time.”

A New Concert of Powers?

Sovereignty is a lethal threat to the ongoing cultural revolution. That concerns the role of the European Union institutions – especially the European Commission – going no holds barred to dissolve the national interests of nation states. And that largely explains the weaponizing, in varying degrees, of Russophobia, Sinophobia and Iranophobia.

The anchoring essay in Raging Twenties analyzes the stakes in Eurasia exactly in terms of the Hegemon pitted against the Three Sovereigns – which are Russia, China and Iran.

It’s under this framework, for instance, that a massive, 270-plus page bill, the Strategic Competition Act , has been recently passed at the US Senate. That goes way beyond geopolitical competition, charting a road map to fight China across the full spectrum. It’s bound to become law, as Sinophobia is a bipartisan sport in D.C.

Hegemon oracles such as the perennial Henry Kissinger at least are taking a pause from their customary Divide and Rule shenanigans to warn that the escalation of “endless” competition may derail into hot war – especially considering AI and the latest generations of smart weapons.

On the incandescent US-Russia front, where Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sees the lack of mutual trust, no to mention respect, as much worse than during the Cold War, analyst Glenn Diesen notes how the Hegemon “strives to convert the security dependence of the Europeans into geoeconomic loyalty”.

That’s at the heart of a make-or-break saga: Nord Stream 2. The Hegemon uses every weapon – including cultural war, where convicted crook Navalny is a major pawn – to derail an energy deal that is essential for Germany’s industrial interests. Simultaneously, pressure increases against Europe buying Chinese technology.

Meanwhile, NATO – which lords over the EU – keeps being built up as a global Robocop, via the NATO 2030 project – even after turning Libya into a militia-ridden wasteland and having its collective behind humiliatingly spanked in Afghanistan.

For all the sound and fury of sanction hysteria and declinations of cultural war, the Hegemon establishment is not exactly blind to the West “losing not only its material dominance but also its ideological sway”.

So the Council on Foreign Relations – in a sort of Bismarckian hangover – is now proposing a New Concert of Powers to deal with “angry populism” and “illiberal temptations”, conducted of course by those malign actors such as “pugnacious Russia” who dare to “challenge the West’s authority”.

As much as this geopolitical proposal may be couched in benign rhetoric, the endgame remains the same: to “restore US leadership”, under US terms. Damn those “illiberals” Russia, China and Iran.

Crooke evokes exactly a Russian and a Chinese example to illustrate where the woke cultural revolution may lead to.

In the case of the Chinese cultural revolution, the end result was chaos, fomented by the Red Guards, which started to wreak their own particular havoc independent of the Communist Party leadership.

And then there’s Dostoevsky in The Possessed, which showed how the secular Russian liberals of the 1840s created the conditions for the emergence of the 1860s generation: ideological radicals bent on burning down the house.

No question: “revolutions” always eat their children. It usually starts with a ruling elite imposing their newfound Platonic Forms on others. Remember Robespierre. He formulated his politics in a very Platonic way – “the peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality, the reign of eternal justice” with laws “engraved in the hearts of all men”.

Well, when others disagreed with Robespierre’s vision of Virtue, we all know what happened: the Terror. Just like Plato, incidentally, recommended in Laws. So it’s fair to expect that the children of the woke revolution will eventually be eaten alive by their zeal.

Canceling freedom of speech

As it stands, it’s fair to argue when the “West” started to go seriously wrong – in a cancel culture sense. Allow me to offer the Cynic/Stoic point of view of a 21st century global nomad.

If we need a date, let’s start with Rome – the epitome of the West – in the early 5th century. Follow the money. That’s the time when income from properties owned by temples were transferred to the Catholic Church – thus boosting its economic power. By the end of the century, even gifts to temples were forbidden.

In parallel, a destruction overdrive was in progress – fueled by Christian iconoclasm, ranging from crosses carved in pagan statues to bathhouses converted into churches. Bathing naked? Quelle horreur!

The devastation was quite something. One of the very few survivors was the fabulous bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, in the Campidoglio/ Capitoline Hill (today it’s housed in the museum). The statue survived only because the pious mobs thought the emperor was Constantine.

The very urban fabric of Rome was destroyed: rituals, the sense of community, singin’ and dancin’. We should remember that people still lower their voices when entering a church.

For centuries we did not hear the voices of the dispossessed. A glaring exception is to be found in an early 6th century text by an Athenian philosopher, quoted by Ramsay MacMullen in Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries.

The Greek philosopher wrote that Christians are “a race dissolved in every passion, destroyed by controlled self-indulgence, cringing and womanish in its thinking, close to cowardice, wallowing in all swinishness, debased, content with servitude in security.”

If that sounds like a proto-definition of 21st century Western cancel culture, that’s because it is.

Things were also pretty bad in Alexandria. A Christian mob killed and dismembered the alluring Hypatia, mathematician and philosopher. That de facto ended the era of great Greek mathematics. No wonder Gibbon turned the assassination of Hypatia into a remarkable set piece in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (“In the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit the female philosopher”).

Under Justinian – emperor from 527 to 565 – cancel culture went after paganism no holds barred. One of his laws ended imperial toleration of all religions, which was in effect since Constantine in 313.

If you were a pagan, you’d better get ready for the death penalty. Pagan teachers – especially philosophers – were banned. They lost their parrhesia: their license to teach (here is Foucault’s brilliant analysis).

Parrhesia – loosely translated as “frank criticism” – is a tremendously serious issue: for no less than a thousand years, this was the definition of freedom of speech (italics mine).

There you go: first half of the 6th century. This was when freedom of speech was canceled in the West.

The last Egyptian temple – to Isis, in an island in southern Egypt – was shut down in 526. The legendary Plato’s Academy – with no less than 900 years of teaching in its curriculum – was shut down in Athens in 529.

Guess where the Greek philosophers chose to go into exile: Persia.

Those were the days – in the early 2nd century – when the greatest Stoic, Epictetus, a freed slave from Phrygia, admirer of both Socrates and Diogenes, was consulted by an emperor, Hadrian; and became the role model of another emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

History tells us that the Greek intellectual tradition simply did not fade away in the West. It was a target of cancel culture.

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