Senior Shia cleric slams Islamic countries joining US-Israel alliance

January 27, 2022 

Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought denounced some Islamic states over joining the coalition of the US and Israeli regime.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought denounced some Islamic countries over joining the coalition of the US and Israeli regime.

Sheikh Hamid Shahriari, in his speech at the proximity conference held to mark the birth anniversary of Hazrat Fatemeh Zahra (SA) held at Torbat-e-Jam Azad University on Tuesday expressing regret that the assets of Muslim world should fund non-Muslim institutions.

He referred to the US-brokered normalization deals as signed between some Muslim states and the Israeli regime and asked,” Why should the assets in some Islamic countries fund a European team?”

The cleric noted that the US and UK are certainly behind some satellite networks and cyber channels and constantly desecrate Islamic sanctities.

Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought referred to presence of Daesh terrorist group in Iraq and Syria saying,” Presence of Daesh aimed tearing down Iraq into three parts before its topple though unity among Shia, Sunni and Kurds and their joining with Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani foiled the plot for disintegration of Iraq.”

Sheikh Shahriari warned that similar plots for dividing the world of Islam will be carried out if Muslims do not stand vigil.

“Enemies cannot tolerate unity among Muslims” he said and added,” They are the same people who killed nearly 80 million in World Wars merely for their own benefits and now they are boasting to their so-called human rights.”

Top cleric also denounced the western countries for looting the cultural heritages in Iraq and Syria and said,” The US objective for its presence in the region is for guaranteeing its benefits as it has been so in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.”

Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, Sheikh Hamid Shahriari made the comments at “Reyhant-Unnabi” conference, proximity meeting held in Torbat-e-Jam Azad University on Tuesday.

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Russia Reacts to Nato and History

January 20, 2022

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Russia Seeks Security

In mid-December 2021 the Russian government publicly announced that it would “seek legally formulated guarantees of security” from the United States and its allies that would end NATO military activity in eastern Europe as well as military support for the Ukraine.

U.S. media reporting on this event, characterized by the New York Times, framed it as a Russian attempt to “wind back the clock 30 years to just before the collapse of the Soviet Union,” and thus Russian demands were “echoes of the Cold War.” Little media credence has been given to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that his country is “threatened” by NATO activities close to its borders.

In the meantime, “NATO officials emphasized that NATO countries will not rule out future membership for any Eastern European countries, including those bordering the Russian Republic, such as Ukraine.” U.S. President Biden has responded Russian demands with contradictory policies. On the one hand, Washington insisted that what was necessary was a “context of de-escalation,” and on the other, declared that the American “flow of arms to Ukraine would continue.”

It would seem that while Washington and its allies, to say nothing of the media, heard the Russian demands, they displayed no evidence of understanding them within an accurate historical context—a history that goes back considerably further than the dissolution of the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

Part II—Historical Background

For those readers who are interested in understanding what historically motivates the Russian leadership to behave as they now do, and make their current demands, here is a rundown of relevant past events.

— In modern times, Russia was first invaded from Western Europe in 1812. In that year, Napoleon Bonaparte’s multinational Grande Armée attacked Russia. The invasion failed and ultimately helped lead to Napoleon’s fall from power. For the Russians this was not so much a victory as a national tragedy. An estimated 200,000 Russians died, and soon after Napoleon occupied Moscow, then the “spiritual capital” of the country, the Russians burned the city down around him.

— Between 1812 and 1914, Russia maintained one of Europe’s huge multiethnic empires alongside those of Austria-Hungary, Germany, France and Great Britain. On its European side, the Russian Empire held sway over Poles, Finns, Ukrainians, and various other Slavic and Baltic people—that is, Russia established a sphere of influence that encompassed a good part of eastern Europe. Operating as an absolute monarchy, it did not readily respond to the needs of its subject peoples. By the early twentieth century, the Russian Empire’s centralized government was growing weak and was roiled by challenges to its dictatorial ways.

— In 1914 World War I broke out with Russia, Britain, France and the United States on one side and Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire on the other. After a brief Russian incursion into East Prussia, the Germans went on the offensive and moved deep into western Russia, inflicting heavy casualties. This marked the second time Russia was invaded from the West. Successive defeats led to the collapse of Russia’s imperial government and eventually the founding of the Soviet state in 1917. Overall, Russia lost approximately two million soldiers and over a half million civilians in this war. Russia also lost most of its Eastern European lands.

— The next twenty years marked the so-called interwar period, the time between World War I and World War II. For our purposes, the most important consequence of this period was the creation of independent states such as Poland, Hungary, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and others out of what, until the end of World War I, had been the imperial territories of the German, Austrian and Russian empires. Unfortunately, the initial lifespan of this independent status was short.

— It was World War II that brought an end to this initial period of East European national revival. The war began on 1 September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Nazi Germany soon conquered most of continental Europe. Then on 22 June 1941 Germany launched a massive invasion of Soviet Russia. This marked the third invasion of Russia from the West in a little over one hundred years. Initially, Germany occupied much of Soviet Russia west of the Ural Mountains. However, the situation changed in 1942, particularly after the German troops failed to capture the city of Stalingrad. After that failure the Soviet forces began a long slow process of pushing the Germans back—a long German retreat that would go on till the end of the war in 1945.

—Those new East European nations mentioned above were free of German control by early 1945. However, they never did regain full independence. German control was now exchanged for Soviet Russian control. The Western interpretation of Soviet post-war occupation was that it was the product of an inherent drive for world conquest by the communists. However, there are other explanations that flow more logically from the history given above.

— Communism as an ideology might predict the eventual victory of the working classes and the withering away of the state, but in every case where communists have come to power, they have eventually settled down and ruled as nationalists. It might have been different if Trotsky had gained power in Soviet Russia instead of Stalin, but we will never know for sure. Thus, it is highly unlikely that Stalin ordered the permanent occupation of Eastern Europe for communist ideological reasons. He had at least two nationalistic reasons motivating him. One was that Russia was traditionally a great imperial power and holding vast territory was the part of the definition of a great power. That was a status the Russians hoped to recapture. The second reason was perhaps more immediately important. Given that Russia had been repeatedly invaded from the West, what the Soviets wanted from their war-won occupied territories was the creation of a large and deep buffer zone. That is, a security zone between the historical sources of their pain—countries such as France and Germany—and the Russian border. Nonetheless, the Western leaders interpreted Soviet behavior as communist-inspired aggression and created NATO, a military alliance, to forestall further Russian advances. The Russians, in turn, interpreted NATO as yet one more reason why they needed a buffer zone. They may have been right.

— Soviet Russia’s buffer zone lasted as long as the Soviet Union lasted—that is, until 26 December 1991. After that, Russian troops were pulled back to the new Russian Republic. At that point, the Eastern European countries founded after World War I, and other non-Russian territories such as Ukraine, moved to assert their independence. The other side of this coin is that the collapse of Soviet Russia left millions of ethnic Russians who had migrated within the Soviet empire prior to 1991 stranded in new political entities, such as the Ukraine, with which they had no strong identification.

— The leaders of these new nations knew their history and assumed that Russia would someday seek to recreate its lost empire qua buffer zone. So they sought to protect themselves by sheltering under the NATO umbrella. NATO embraced most of them, and thus a military organization that was designed, ostensibly, to prevent Russia from expanding westward, now rapidly expanded eastward. Sooner or later Russia, motivated by its own history, was bound to react.

Part III—The Situation Today

NATO’s expansion eastward has set up the confrontation we witness today. The Russians had to accept NATO’s early move to the east because the new Russian Republic was initially in political and economic disarray. Nonetheless, as President Putin put it, “Russia feels threatened by an encroaching Nato.” Today, the disarray has passed, separatist movements within the Russian Republic, such as in Chechnya, have been brutally crushed, and the Russians have decided to draw a “red line” to forestall further NATO expansion into what remains of the non-Russian areas between themselves and a historically hostile West. That red line encompasses Ukraine. Thus, that country’s recent turn toward the West and its expressed desire to eventually join the NATO alliance has triggered historically embedded alarms in Moscow. To emphasize this point to the Ukrainian leadership, Russia has amassed troops on their mutual border in a manner that suggests the possibility of invasion. Russia has also increased aid to the separatist pro-Russian part of eastern Ukraine—the Donetsk People’s Republic.

A singular problem here is that none of the Western media coverage and very few of the Western politicians demonstrate an understanding of the situation within an appropriate historical background. Essentially, few of these otherwise influential people know any of the relevant history before 1991, and that is why you get this from the Los Angeles Times: “Thirty years ago this month, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Ukraine broke away from Moscow’s control. Russian President Vladimir Putin has never gotten over it.”

For a while now the United States and its NATO allies have had the Russian Republic surrounded with long- and intermediate-range missiles. There are plans to place these weapons in NATO’s Eastern European member states. These weapons are described as “defensive,” but most of them have offensive capabilities. For the Russian Republic this seems too much like a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. If the Americans were alarmed by such missiles on their doorstep at that time, why should they now be surprised that Moscow is alarmed? The Biden administration, looking to switch subjects from the Russian demands for comprehensive security agreements to particular agreements on missile placement and the nature of NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, has offered to enter negotiations on these specific topics. This is certainly a good first step, but it’s probably not sufficient.

The United States and its NATO allies may well have to swallow some of their pride and go further. They may have to give up any further eastern expansion of the Western military alliance. The Russian Republic, motivated by three tragic invasions and convinced of the need for a security buffer zone, seems very serious about their “red line.” I don’t think they are bluffing, and therefore the West should realize this is not just Putin playing from a “tough guy” script. History speaks here as well.

Tuesday morning headlines (a little change of tone or not?)

January 25, 2022

A few more links here, and amongst the many similar to yesterday’s, I decided to single out some possibly different ones:

NATO member will withdraw troops in event of war with Russia – president

Russia may not be poised to invade Ukraine – Pentagon

Germany has ‘betrayed’ Ukraine – Kiev mayor

No threat of immediate Russian attack on Ukraine – EU

Oleksiy Danilov informed about the results of the NSDC meeting

Zelensky to Ukrainians: Everything under control, no reason to panic

Ukraine urges calm, saying Russian invasion not imminent

Of course, this selection is very one-sided, there are many more headlines every bit as bad the ones yesterday, so let’s not make too much of this.

Also, please remember that in 08.08.08 Saakashvili made a speech promising peace to South Ossetia just HOURS before the Georgian forces attacked!

But what this does show, is that there is a “narrative chaos“.

Actually, this is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  The fact is that Russia’s ultimatum has created chaos in the so-called “united West” pitting some part of the deep state elites against others.  That, by itself, is already a very good outcome.

Another good outcome is the laughable idea to send a few thousands US troops to “defend Europe” within five days.  Why is is laughable:

  • a few thousand troops make no difference
  • bringing them to the EU is not enough, you then have to prepare them and deploy them for combat; that would take much longer.
  • If a Ukie attack is limited to the LDNR, it will take about 24 hours to stop it.  It would take Russia less than a week to destroy the Ukie military.  By the time the first US jarheads land in Germany or Poland, it will all be over.
  • Finally, what does adding several thousands solider from a military which has never fought in defense of its homeland and never won a war since WWII do to “deter Russia” anyway?

Next, I strictly personal opinion about Russian forces in Cuba/Nicarague/Venezuela/etc.

As Andrei Martyanov recently commented, western military moves are all about PR.  Russian military moves are all about war.  From a PR prospective, deploying Russian missiles in Cuba or Venezuela might look like a good idea, but from a military point of view?

Does anybody remember that the USSR had several brigades defending the Soviet missiles in Cuba?  Why, because Cuba is as close to the USA as Estonia is to Russia, and that means that deploying forces right across the US border puts that force at a huge risk of US preemptive attack.

Next, while Cuba is the most stable of them all, it is a fact that thanks to decades of subversion, attacks, sabotage, coup attempts and the like, countries like Nicaragua or Venezuela are inherently unstable (again, by no fault of their own).  Placing weapons like, say, the Iskander complexes there would not only expose them to attack, but even possibly to capture.  Some will say that Russia can send forces there to defend them.  In theory – yes.  But in practice?

Such a deployment would be both risky and very very expensive.  Also, what if the US decides not to invade Cuba/Venezuela/Nicaragua but to blockade it.  Does the Russian military have the means to breach a blockade many thousands of miles away from Russia?  Nope, she does not.  Neither her Navy nor her Aerospace forces have the means to engage in a struggle for naval/air superiority against the USA in the Caribbean.

It would be much safer, quicker and cheaper to use her submarines and long range aviation to threaten both US coasts, the one in the Atlantic and the one in the Pacific with cruise and ballistic missiles, including hypersonic ones.  I won’t even mention the Poseidon underwater drones which could completely wipe out both US coasts.

Interestingly, the RAND corporation is posting articles which strongly suggest that the US and the West are deluding themselves about how war between Banderastan and Russia would look.  Check these out:

U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine: A Silver Bullet?

Ukraine Needs Help Surviving Airstrikes, Not Just Killing Tanks

Okay, RAND is RAND, so they will never challenge the official narrative about Russia as the evil aggressor, but this shows, yet again, that there is some very serious disagreements inside the US ruling elites.

I will conclude today with 4 photos under the heading “one image is worth 1000 words”:

This is the Russian minister of defense:

These are Russian soliders

This is the Ukie minister of defense:

This is, according the The Times, the soldiers civilians which will deter/defeat the Russians

Reach your own conclusions 🙂


PS: if you understand Russian, here is some good info on the woman created above.

What Next?


January 23, 2022

I’m not sure even a NATO mosquito could cross the Russian border unmolested. And when a bear is lethally threatened, it doesn’t posture; it charges in a mighty roar. So why the Russian ultimatum? There are many plausible motives, many of which are not mutually exclusive. I’d like to focus on an aspect that hasn’t been discussed yet.

The last ten to twenty years could be characterized as a rivalry between China’s desire to re-balance the world’s economy, and the US’s effort to maintain the Dollar’s supremacy. China rose on the back of Western consumerism. There is only that much the West economy can absorb of China’s growing production, and that limit has clearly been exceeded. If China is to pursue its economic development, it needs additional “advanced” export markets to sustain its growing middle class. This is the Chinese necessity underlying the BRI, it cannot grow without the world growing with it.

Until recently it was content with a simple strategy: Enter several disparate countries at a time and start economic projects. Soon enough the US intervened to discipline the offenders; but they cannot strike all at once, choices must be made. Meanwhile, China approaches another bunch with still more economic projects. The US gets slowly overwhelmed, while the projects advance two steps forward, one step backward. On paper, it looks like an expensive proposition, but that is the beauty of it, it’s all paid for with US paper, while gold is accumulated. This entire period is comparable to the early and middle stages of a Go game

There is a point however when all these mini economic hubs must consolidate into a unified stream of connections to realize their full potential. That means no more US military interference and economic/financial disruptions. It seems we are now entering the late stage when “eyes” must be locked and linked.

There is little question the latest Russian move was long prepared and discussed with China. We may assume a common goal, and that none of the recent events are coincidences.

China and Russia favor and promote inter-currency settlement of trades. The Digital Yuan (E-CNY, electronic China Yuan) is designed for this purpose and has just completed successfully its live trials. It is reasonable to expect its official announcement in the near future. There are rumors this will be done during Putin’s visit to the Olympics. Regardless of the exact launch date, preparation must be made against the predictably harshest US resistance to its international deployment. There’s little doubt in my mind that many, if not most of East Asia will readily incorporate the new crypto iteration of the Yuan. However the Kazakhstan events, which were clearly foreseen with great precision, essentially opened up the entire Central Asian economies to its eventual use. With the recent 400bn commitment to Iran and the ongoing Pakistani projects, one may merrily add them to the bunch. India is free to join whenever they deem it in their best interest. This brings us right to the doorsteps of the Middle East.

Let’s now briefly revisit the US’ choices taken during the middle stage game. Since East Asia was growing to displace the US and EU as China’s main trading partner, Washington initiated their “pivot East” strategy to disrupt their momentum. Because of the sorry state of both their economy and military, they had to “delegate” the task of containing Russia on its western border to the EU. The Ukraine, in this context, can be seen as the “pretext” for the EU to activate NATO in Eastern Europe. However, as “pivot East” was floundering, they further needed to draw on their middle east assets (it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to laugh at what I must write). To this effect, they devised the Abraham Accords to similarly delegate the task of containing the “Shiite Axis” to Israel and the Golf States. The first “casualty” of these infamous Accords was probably Pakistan’s definite defection to the BRI, which further precipitated the Afghani debacle. To correct that mistake they then tried another formation with India, Japan, and a few others, followed by AUKUS, which both turned into flops, guided by the same imperative to relieve the strain on their military in an attempt to remain relevant on all fronts.

To control the Middle East, the US needs control of Europe, if only to secure their supply line. And to influence Central Asia they must control the Middle East. Until now Washington was essentially calling the shots, while Russia and China adapted their plans to whatever was thrown their way. By submitting their security demands, Russia is signaling unequivocally it is now taking the initiative. While the reinforcement of the Ukrainian Army was first designed to pressure some Russian reaction so as to increase the European nations’ commitment to toe the anti Russia line, the resulting Russian built-up of forces and large scale exercises have effectively reversed the pressure. The bulk of NATO forces are now bogged down on the eastern European front in a self induced paranoia, severely restricting their possible redeployment elsewhere.

With the Russian ultimatum the US is now basically faced with the following choices. Sign the documents, which by extension will mean the Minsk agreement and opening of NS2, but would free NATO reinforcement to the Middle East, no matter how futile this would ultimately prove. Because if this happens Europe will quickly “organically” link to the Asian network and recover most of its sovereignty from the US. At that moment, the Middle East is lost.

By not signing, the choice becomes loosing the middle East or release the pressure in East Asia, in both cases China wins.

If they don’t reinforce the Middle East, Pakistan is soon to be followed by the entire region. Though there could be some fireworks in the process, once the dust settles the BRI will be staring straight at Africa, throwing its full weight at European and American interests on that continent. If that happens, Europe falls.

Finally if they do “save” the Middle East at the detriment of East Asia, the Asian power house will become such that no one will escape its gravitational pull for long.

It is not very difficult to see, in this context, that whichever region the US decides to forsake, it’s only a matter of time before they lose the rest. Of course, this all assumes they don’t first crumble under the weight of their debts. Will they turn nuts and try blow it all up? I can only attest that the one thing greater than their evil idiocy, is their cowardice.

“Russia plans to engage its nuclear weapons not against those countries where it was launched against Russia, but against the mastermind cities where the decisions were made. To be exact, it is Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other American cities. Please fully understand, in case American nuclear weapons are launched from, eg. Taiwan, or Poland, the response will hit New York or Washington.”  Russian Duma deputy, Yevgeny Fyodorov.

Assisted ‘genocide’: How allied weapons embolden Saudi crimes in Yemen

January 25, 2022

By Farah Hajj Hassan

How the Saudi coalition’s crimes began with weapons from allied nations and why they are determined to remain silent.

Assisted Assassinations: How allied weapons enable Saudi crimes in Yemen

As it turns out, the real-life monsters behind the Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen and the massacre of its people are the same champions and cheerleaders of human rights around the world oozing with hypocrisy and double standards. UNICEF has called the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the UK, France, Canada, and the US are among the countries responsible for making that nightmare a reality.

The US Department of State reports that human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia include, but are not limited to, “unlawful killings, executions for nonviolent offenses, torture, and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, severe restrictions of religious freedom,” and many many more. As of 2020, Saudi Arabia remains the world’s largest arms importer. Arms sales from the US alone amounted to $3 billion from 2015-2020, agreeing to sell $64.1 billion worth of weapons to Riyadh. 

In what universe does that sound like a government worth funding with weapons? Why then do we not hear the same cries of human rights resounding in the West? Because the west and its previous administrations have long ago sold their soul to the Saudi regime before any of their current administrations can even remember. 

A permanent [bloody] record

US President Joe Biden made foreign policy commitments to end the selling of “offensive” weapons to the kingdom and “end all support” for a war that created a humanitarian catastrophe. 

How did Biden deliver? A major arms sale two months ago, including 280 air-to-air missiles valued at $650 million.

At the time, the Pentagon’s statement said the sale would help to “improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.”

Does the US consider economic progress to be the complete destruction and demolishment of a country along with 3,825 murdered children? 

The former administration under Donald Trump shamelessly embraced arms sales to Saudi Arabia that in no doubt helped prolong the war that has killed thousands in what is considered the Arab region’s poorest nation, further destabilizing the already volatile region. 

Unlike Biden, Trump was very public about the economic and diplomatic benefits that would follow the sale, with no regard to the thousands being killed and maimed as a result of the US-designed and manufactured weapons. 

Entesaf Organization for Women and Child Rights in Yemen reported the data, adding that more than 400,000 Yemeni children are suffering from severe malnutrition, 80,000 of whom are at risk of facing death. The number of displaced families as of November has reached 670, 343 in 15 governorates.  Where exactly does Saudi Arabia intend to implement its economic progress in Yemen to allow those families to prosper? 

Britain has been under increased scrutiny over its arms deals to Saudi Arabia and remains silent on the crimes it repeatedly commits. 

The mind-boggling hypocrisy of the west almost has no end. The frenzy that surrounds the defense of Saudi Arabia by its allies can be mirrored with the hysteric defense of “Israel” while it commits its crimes against the Palestinians on a regular basis.

In numerous TV interviews, British and American officials can be shown echoing the same formula we have heard countless times in the last twenty years. Begin with a dictator or lack thereof, blame the people for overthrowing said dictator or supporting him, blame Iran for “emboldening” and training militias, and bam! Claim your get-out-of-jail-free card in international law.

Clean smiles, dirty hands

Other Saudi allies have had their fair share of arms deals that enabled Saudi aggression.

Canada for instance has long been an arms exporter to Saudi Arabia. In 2020, Canada sent close to $2.9 billion of arms hardware to Saudi Arabia. The exports included light-armored vehicles, 31 large-caliber artillery systems, and 152 heavy machine guns

Justin Trudeau, a man who has repeatedly come out and condemned and apologized about residential schools, remains silent regarding the Yemeni children whose schools have been rendered to piles of dust.

In August, Amnesty International Canada and Project Ploughshares urged Canada to end their sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia as a report surfaced accusing the Prime Minister of violating the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia. The report detailed evidence that weapons from Canada to the Kingdom were used in the war, including LAVs (light-armored vehicles) and sniper rifles. Under the previous Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada inked a $12 billion deal to ship Canadian-made LAVs to Saudi Arabia.

France and the UAE: A match made in hell

In December 2021, France signed a deal with the UAE worth $19.20 billion to supply 80 Rafale fighter planes by Dassault Aviation, the largest single purchase of the Dassault-made Rafale outside of the French Army. Human Rights Watch criticized the sale, saying the UAE has played “a prominent role” in the atrocity-ridden war on Yemen. The statement also said that Riyadh was in 2020 the largest buyer of French weapons.

In a report titled “Arms sales: France and the United Arab Emirates, partners in the crimes committed in Yemen,” numerous organizations list how France failed to respect its human rights commitments according to the UN Arms Trade Treaty which “regulates the international trade in conventional arms.” The report details that the UAE is a strategic ally of France and describes the former as a “repressive dictatorship”, where all dissenting voices risk imprisonment or torture, recalling the unjust sentences issued against 69 human rights activists in 2013 after an unfair trial. 

The investigative French website Disclose revealed that France delivered tens of thousands of arms to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar during President Francois Hollande’s reign in 2016, despite knowing that they would be used in the war on Yemen.

The website quoted “secret defense documents” that “since 2016, France has allowed the delivery of about 150,000 shells” to its two Gulf allies.

The French President met with Mohammed Bin Salman as one of the first western leaders to visit the kingdom since the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The hypocrisy with France, in particular, is that it prides itself in its secular mantra, and its policies have mostly targeted Muslims and adopted highly anti-Islamic rhetoric. Macron’s cozying up to MBS tells a different story, with the Secretary-General of Amnesty International commenting on the move by suggesting that it is part of a “rehabilitation” policy of the Saudi Prince. She expressed, “It grieves me that it is France, a country of human rights, which is used as the tool of this policy.” 

Typhoons of misery for Yemen

Over half of Saudi’s combat aircraft deployed in bombing operations in Yemen are provided by none other than the UK.

The United Kingdom signed off on arms exports worth nearly $1.9 billion to Saudi Arabia between July and September 2020 following the lifting of a ban on weapons sales to the Gulf country. “UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis they have created, yet the UK government has done everything it can to keep the arms sales flowing,” said Sarah Waldron, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT). 

The published value of UK arms export to the Saudi-led coalition since the beginning of the war is £6.9 billion, and CAAT estimates that the real value is over £20 billion.

Between January 2015 and December 2019, the British government approved 385 licenses for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. The UK Government has confirmed that the Saudi-led coalition attacked Yemen with weaponry that was manufactured in the UK, including Typhoon and Tornado fighter planes, Paveway bombs, and Brimstone and Stormshadow missiles. 

The British government has also admitted that precision-guided weapons have also been used in the war on Yemen. 

The Mwatana’s 2019 report “Day of Judgement: the role of the US and Europe in civilian death, destruction, and trauma in Yemen,” dissects the details of UK weapons and attacks on civilians in Yemen including an attack on a community college, warehouse, and multiple factories. 

Raining missiles 

Days ago, the Yemeni Armed Forces announced “carrying out a qualitative military operation, Yemen Hurricane, in response to the escalation of aggression against the country.” The operation targeted Abu Dhabi’s airport, the oil refinery in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, and several other sites in the UAE.

Ali Al-Qahoum, a member of Ansar Allah Political Bureau, blessed the Yemeni operation in the UAE depth, saying that “this operation and others will continue as long as the aggression and siege continue with strategic goals further ahead.”

Yemeni victims of the Saudi-led war filed a complaint against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for financing terrorism.

The complaint was submitted on behalf of the Yemeni NGO, the Legal Center for Rights and Development, which is based in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The war on Yemen in numbers

Nowhere to run

The megaphones of human rights campaigns and global petitions against the war on Yemen must be amplified, keeping in mind that the enemy is not Ansar Allah, neither is it the Palestinians, nor is it the Lebanese, or the Chinese, or the Russians. The true enemy of the West is the Axis of Resistance. Time has proven that a refusal to kneel to the demands of the West is all it takes to become an enemy. 

If the cries of the virtuous remain unheard and the coalition and governments complicit in the massacres refuse to listen, then the Yemeni people surely will be left with the only other alternative. It was, is, and will always be the only key that unlocks the shackles of oppression and brutality; Resistance. 

And one thing will certainly never change. The Saudi royals, no matter how enshrined in gold, can never cleanse themselves of the crimes they have committed against humanity, for conscience is the one thing they cannot buy. 

Andrei Martyanov on Blinken and Lavrov

January 21, 2022

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Andrei is truly one of the absolutely best analyst of military affairs!

Manifest Destiny Done Right. China and Russia Succeed Where the U.S. Failed

January 22, 2022

Matthew Ehret


The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

-Abraham Lincoln

It should be obvious that the world is being sucked into a new Cold War, with old school iron curtains, anti-communist rhetoric and even nuclear sabre rattling pushed by unipolar war hawks in the west. Unlike the first Cold War, this new variant strain features Russia and China working closely together along with Iran and a growing chorus of nations who are increasingly integrating into the Belt and Road Initiative.

What crime have these Eurasian nations committed such that the U.S./NATO military industrial complex has placed targets on them?

Simply that they have chosen to not submit to a unipolar technocratic scientific dictatorship.

Instead of embracing a dystopic destiny locked inside a shrinking geopolitical cage as Boris Yeltsin or Zhao Ziyang were happy to do not too long ago, today’s Eurasian intelligentsia has recognized that the only solution to the multifaceted crisis threatening civilization is located in the future. This may sound like a simplistic platitude to some, but from a geostrategic standpoint, the future is where creativity lives.

When resources are monopolized and systems of rules shaped by a sociopathic elite antagonistic to the basic rights of humanity, the only viable pathway of resistance to engage in successful combat is to change the rules of the rigged game and create new resources. This is done by increasing the opportunity to 1) make new discoveries which 2) create new resources, 3) translate newly discovered principles into new technological improvements that 4) increase the productive powers (mental, spiritual and physical) of humanity. If steps 1-4 don’t exist in the present, then where are they to be found?

I say it again: The Future.

The concept of positive future ideals teleologically (1) driving society forward was a powerful notion that once governed much of western civilization. The idea that man was made in the living image of a Creator, capable of participating in the continuous process of creation itself was an empowering notion which animated some of the greatest upward leaps in scientific progress, liberty, sovereignty, increased quality of life and population growth ever seen. In the early United States, this concept became known as “manifest destiny”… that God had a plan to expand the best of civilization and extend the fruits of progress to all in order to fulfill the Biblical mandate that humanity was expected to “be fruitful and multiply” and “replenish the earth and subdue it”.

While many goods to humanity arose out of this idea, it was also a double-edged sword that did great damage if used by tyrants, slave owners, or imperialists who ignored the reality that ALL humanity was endowed by the creator with inalienable rights, and not just a select few who felt they had the right breeding, religion, language, or racial characteristics.

A popular painting extolling the virtue of manifest destiny during the pioneering days of the 19th century which at times resulted in great good and at many other times, justified great evil

A New Eurasian Manifest Destiny Awakens

In Russia, this future orientation has taken the form of a sort of 21st century “Russian Manifest Destiny” which aims to extend civilization into the Siberian Far East and Arctic, and beyond Central Asia, Mongolia, Japan, China and beyond. While many are accustomed to myopically analyze world events from a “bottom up” mode of analysis, it is clear that

Since 2018, Russia’s eastern development ambitions have increasingly merged with China’s northern extension of the BRI dubbed The Polar Silk Road which has amplified the growth of railways, roads, telecommunication hubs, ports, energy projects and sea corridors through regions long thought inhospitable to human civilization.

China has seen the birth of its own version of “Manifest Destiny” in the form of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was unveiled in 2013, displaying a power of transformation, interconnectivity, and win-win cooperation beyond anything even its greatest fans imagined eight years ago. Within a short period of time, over $3 trillion has been spent on small, medium and large-scale infrastructure projects now involving 140 nations (to varying degrees of participation.)

Glancing across the thousands of BRI projects springing up around the globe, we find the greatest array of rail lines (including high speed: maglev and conventional), integrated development corridors, new smart cities, new industrial hubs, pipelines and advanced science initiatives touching on space exploration, atomic power, fusion research, quantum computing and much more.

These corridors of development have stretched through northern lines via Russia as well as Central Asian states which includes the “Middle Corridor of the BRI”. More recently, we have seen the blossoming of a southern route from China to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon also take form with Syria finally signing up on January 12th, 2022. Nations across Africa have also enthusiastically jumped on board with over 48 of 54 African nations signing onto the BRI. Currently, 18 Ibero American and 20 Arab states have also joined the program.

Must Diversity Be Sacrificed for Unity?

Both China and Russia have extremely large nations with vast potential in terms of undeveloped resources, manpower, and technological needs, but they also host a diverse array of smaller cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic groups from all walks of life.

The vast majority of Russia’s 146 million citizens live in the Westernmost 1/5th of the country with 80% of the population living in or near urban zones extending from the Baltic to Caspian Sea. In the expansive north-eastern regions of Siberia (occupying a landmass 1.3 times the size of Canada), only 24 million citizens are diffused throughout this underpopulated land.

China faces similar problems with its population density and developed sectors locked up not in the west, but narrowly along its eastern pacific coast. Nearly 94% of China’s population still lives in the east of the Heihe-Tengchong Line with the vast inner heartland housing only 6% of the Chinese population.

Russia hosts 193 ethnic groups comprising nearly 20% of its population and although China’s Han population is by far the largest demographic (representing 91% of the population), there are 56 distinct ethnic groups representing 113 million people, many of whom live scattered across Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.

The pressing quandary faced by Eurasian leaders planning out their programs of outward expansion can be stated in the following manner: How is it possible to extend scientific and industrial development across multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic territories both domestically and internationally without destroying the cultural heritage of the hundreds, if not thousands of smaller cultural groups along the way? Must development always occur at the expense of cultural diversity of smaller ethnic groups as has been too often the case in world history, OR is there an organic way to balance both factors?

How NOT to do Manifest Destiny

The irony is that up until recently, the concept of Manifest Destiny has been traditionally associated with the United States which shares many demographic characteristics with both China and Russia with the vast majority of population concentrated in the eastern half of the continent.

Sadly, the forces who shaped American expansion- especially during those first 125 years when Manifest Destiny had its greatest influence, have too often failed this test miserably. In its first 12 decades of life, the USA grew from 13 backward colonies in 1776 to 45 industrially-advanced states in 1900. Throughout those years, the wiser anti-slavery voices of Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Sumner, William Seward, and William Gilpin were too often subverted by an anglophile deep state parasite class that ran both Wall Street in the north and the southern slave power.

This multiheaded hydra lurking within the heart of the USA had its own perverse ideas of “Manifest Destiny” which stood in diametric opposition to the ambitions of the great statesmen listed above.

Where abolitionist-leading figures like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton encouraged the sharing of knowledge, technical skills, science and the fruits of technological progress to both blacks and natives without forcing religious conversions or crushing their local traditions, the deep state in both northern and southern zones of influence sought to only expand their power through the conquerors whip.

The southern perversion of Manifest Destiny promoted by Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Albert Pike envisioned increased black slavery and Native Americans crushed under the heel of the “superior” white race, and cordoned off into cage-like plantations or reservations never to have a say in their own destiny. Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removal Act emptied out valuable lands quickly handed over to southern cotton planters who quickly expanded the influx of black slaves from Africa vastly increasing the tension between free vs slave states leading to the inevitable Civil War of 1861-65.

It is often forgotten that under the Mazzini-connected freemasonic-laden presidency of Franklin Pierce (1853-1857), then-Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later Confederate President) and General Albert Pike were in charge of advancing a “southern alternative” to the trans continental railway through slave states. Unlike the northern line (begun by Lincoln in 1863) which was designed to spread industrial growth and ultimately connect with China, (2) the southern version simply served as an iron cage to keep the enslaved under the control of masters. In this way, the confederate “Manifest Destiny” was no different from the Cecil Rhodes racist vision of the Cape to Cairo rail line that sought to keep the continent under the British heel or today’s EU-London “Green Belt Initiative”/OSOWOG Plan to force green energy grids from Africa to India.

During the Civil War, the British were more than happy providing weapons, warships, logistic support, intelligence hubs in Canada and funding to the rebels nearly resulting in Lincoln fighting a war on two fronts early on (one against the south and the other against the British Empire) (3).

While the legitimate defenders of American Manifest Destiny sought to avoid war, relying instead on diplomacy to grow their territories (see: the Louisiana purchase of 1804Oregon Territory in 1848, or Alaska purchase of 1867), the “America” of Wall Street and Virginia’s slave power were always happy to pick a fight with a neighbor to spread their imperial ambitions (see the Mexican war of 1846-48, or overthrow of Hawaii’s monarchy in 1893).

Unfortunately, those American traditions that once resisted imperialism have withered away, with today’s republic a poor shell of its former self, purged of genuine patriots in positions of federal power. Today’s USA has hollowed out its industrial base, destroyed its cultural connection to Christian values and its faith in scientific progress resulting in an alienated nation of nihilistic consumers without a vision for the future.

The Growth of Eco-Colonialism in the 20th Century

The racist program of ghettoization of natives in the form of tribal reservations has segregated First Nation tribes from the rest of society for generations, keeping them locked into cycles of dependence, poverty, substance abuse, infant mortality rates and suicide magnitudes higher than the national average.

This manipulation of Native Americans has also seen these abused people used by game masters attempting to block broader continental development projects under a policy of “human ecosystems-management”. Since the late 1960s, it has become increasingly fashionable to treat native populations as just extensions of their local ecosystems- both of which are presumed to exist in stationary equilibrium by computer models which have been used to calculate conservation regions and optimal population growth for decades.

For anyone struggling to understand why the large-scale economic growth policy advanced by the likes of Franklin Roosevelt and JFK were derailed in the late 1960s with the onset of the Vietnam War, understanding this racist use of native reserves and ecosystem management is vital. The vast growth of conservation parks and federal lands kept off limits from all infrastructure investment was not the effect of warm-hearted nature lovers as many have been led to believe, but rather the effect of a cold calculated policy by geopolitical gamemasters intent on keeping society locked into a small controlled world of “limited resources”.

Image: Conservation lands (top) and national reserve parks (below): National Academy of Sciences of North America

While liberal imperialists shed crocodile tears for the plight of natives long abused by selfish white colonizers, they were too happy supporting mass sterilization of native women throughout the 1970s, and keeping the natives without clean drinking water, reliable electricity, healthcare or even access to quality jobs.

One of the most vocal proponents of the trans-continental railway (extending into Eurasia) was Lincoln-ally William Gilpin (Colorado Governor during the Civil War) who astutely identified the reservations to be “like blocks of stone in the wall of a jail against the frontier line”.

Under the veil of this new type of modern colonialism, money was often infused into the coffers of corrupt tribal leaders who have been happy letting oil cartels exploit their resources while keeping their people locked in cycles of dependence and zero technological growth.

From this perspective, one can see a clear parallel in the application of a similar neo-colonial policy applied to Africa.

China: A Manifest Destiny with Dignity

Despite the loud denunciations from the western Five Eyes-managed political class, China’s approach to both African BRI partners and their own minority groups stands in stark contrast to this nefarious tradition of exploitation and cultural genocide deployed by the western oligarchy for generations.

What we have seen in places like Tibet and Xinjiang are cultural heritage centers, exploding literacy rates, the celebration and teaching of traditional languages, songs, stories and dances given full government patronage.

While evidence of this cultural growth has grown across all minority ethnic zones, we have also seen a dramatic growth in longevity, population density, quality of life, poverty reduction, infant mortality reduction, and access to advanced industrial skills, clean water, internet and abundant electricity.

On a religious level, over 24,400 mosques currently exist in Xinjiang, not to mention 59 Buddhist temples and 253 churches. In only eight years, the bane of Saudi-U.S. funded terrorism in China has been dealt with without a single Arab state bombed back to the stone age which is no small accomplishment.

In Tibet, high speed and conventional rail has connected the local communities that had long lived in poverty, to broader global markets with durable technical skills and training growing vibrantly among the younger population.

Buddhist temples are also thriving with the full support of the government. NED-controlled propaganda outlets in either region would have you remain blind to these demonstrable facts of Chinese life.

While concessions favoring Chinese firms are certainly built into most BRI-connected projects springing up across Southwest Asia, Africa, and beyond, the fact is that infrastructure (both hard and soft), new industrial hubs and educational opportunities are springing to life at breakneck speed.

Across Africa, we have found local cultural traditions thrive in tandem with the same policy we have witnessed in Tibet and Xinjiang. If this is news to you, try putting down the Epoch Times and watching some local African news or CGTN’s African channels.

China’s approach stands in stark contrast to those IMF-World Bank-USAID programs that have systematically kept poor nations in usurious debt-trap enslavement for decades providing money to buy a few fish, but never allowed the capability to fish for themselves. China, on the other hand has encouraged the growth of vast construction projects, manufacturing hubs, and perhaps most importantly, advanced engineering skills.

Overcoming Russia’s Monetarist Obstacles

In Russia, a privatized central banking system still largely influenced by monetary protocols shaped by the IMF has made actualizing Putin’s Far Eastern vision much more difficult than in China where a vibrant state owned banking system provides an invaluable instrument of long-term growth. Russia’s private central bank, established (in its current form) in 1990, still suffers from deep-seeded structural ties to the IMF, WTO and liberal ideologues swarming across the bureaucratic landscape ensuring that a doctrine of “balanced budgets” and free markets takes precedence over the emission of productive credit.

Despite these blocks, Russia’s unique version of Manifest Destiny has begun to spring into life with Sergei Shoigu’s “grand masterplan for Siberia” starting with the construction of five new cities housing 500,000 to a million citizens.

Additionally, the plans to expand and improve both the 9300 km Trans-Siberian Railway and its 4300 km southern Baikur-Amal Mainline rail being modernized, double tracked and integrated ever more deeply into Mongolia, China and even Japan. This dovetails the expanding International North South Transportation Corridor from Moscow to India via central Asia and Iran which should now be seen as another dimension of BOTH the BRI and Far East Vision [see map below]. As the project advances, freight traffic along these rail lines will increase from 120 million tons/year to 180 million tons/year in 2024.

This rail expansion is tied closely to Russia’s Development Plan for the Northern Sea Route adopted in 2019 and which seeks to increase annual shipments to 80 million tons by 2024. On top of ports and new arctic mining hubs, this plan includes the construction of 40 new vessels (including more nuclear icebreakers), railways, and northern seaports which will see 10 days of shipping time slashed from goods between China and Europe.

If this wasn’t enough, on January 15, 2022, Putin announced that proposals to construct a long awaited Arctic railway to the Barents Sea must be submitted by May 10 2022.  This rail will extend to the Indiga Port in the Nenets Region which will host a year-round arctic port with a capacity of processing 80-200 million tons of cargo/year.

China and Russia have agreed to build Arctic science research centers in 2019 in order to “promote the construction of ‘Silk Road on Ice’”, while new designs for a new international scientific research base in Yamal called Snezhinka (aka: “Snowflake”) will be opened in 2022. In both instances, pure scientific research on Astro-climatology (the Arctic is the densest entry point for interstellar cosmic radiation which plays a driving role in climate change), species evolution and chemistry will be done in such new centers. Perhaps the most exciting fields of research will involve the testing of new artificial ecosystem designs requisite for sustaining human life comfortably not only in the Arctic but also on other celestial bodies like the Moon or Mars. Both nations have after all, agreed to co-develop a permanent lunar base which will be unveiled in the coming decade.

If we can avoid the trappings of nuclear war, then the discoveries that will be made along this exciting new chapter of inter-civilizational development are beyond the capacity of any computer model to predict, but they will happen nonetheless. The unleashing of creative discoveries by educated, inspired, goal-oriented human minds will increasingly awaken new technologies, and redefine humanity’s relationship to the periodic table of elements as new uses are found for the atom with wider access to the thousands of isotopes that still have yet to find a role in our economic systems. In this way, space and time itself will be condensed as magnetic levitation rail, nuclear propulsion systems and new energy sources will be brought online revolutionizing our ideas of “near”, “far”, “slow” and “fast” in dramatic ways.

Just think of the many months one would have to travel from old to new worlds in colonial days, to the mere hours such a transit takes on a hypersonic plane today. This is the sort of quantum leap expected as the 300 days transit to Mars currently required with chemical rockets will fall to a matter of weeks with nuclear propulsion.

Perhaps one might wish to accuse me of an overabundance of idealism, but so what?

This process is already unfolding before our very eyes, as political and scientific realities which many thought impossible only a decade ago, have already begun changing the trajectory of our collective future. If humanity’s phase shift into a mature self-conscious species is subverted once more… at a time when thermonuclear weapons litter the globe, there is no guarantee that we will get another chance.

Former British MP Corbyn: Arms sales to Saudi Arabia must end now

Jan 22 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

After the Saudi-led coalition launched raids on Yemen, in a continuous act of terrorism and genocide, former British MP Jeremy Corbyn condemned the attacks and called on officials to “stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”

British MP Jeremy Corbyn stands in solidarity with Yemen against the Saudi-led coalition.

“Airstrikes in Yemen last night killed more than 60 victims and caused a nationwide internet blackout.

The UK government is complicit in these crimes through arming and training the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Arms sales to Saudi Arabia must end now.”

These were the words of former British MP Jeremy Corbyn in a tweet as he stood in solidarity with Yemen against the Saudi-led coalition’s murderous acts in the war-torn country. 

Earlier, Corbyn stood in solidarity with Yemen against the British government and called on Boris Johnson to “stop arming Saudi Arabia.”

Read more: US Arms in Saudi’s Pool of Blood: The Yemeni Massacre

Corbyn would stop arms sales to Saudi

Two years back, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the United Kingdom’s main opposition Labor Party, has stated that if his party wins the country’s upcoming election, he will stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use in war-torn Yemen.

“Labour will stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and work to end the war there, not actively support it as the Conservative government has done,” Corbyn said in a speech setting out his party’s foreign policy objectives before the December 12 polls.

UN condemns Saudi-led coalition attack

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned airstrikes in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.

According to Guterres’ Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, additional deadly airstrikes in Yemen have been reported, with children among those killed.

“An airstrike on telecommunications facilities in Al-Hudaydah has also significantly disrupted vital internet services across much of the country,” Dujarric said in a statement. “The Secretary-General calls for prompt, effective and transparent investigations into these incidents to ensure accountability.”

Internet blackout across Yemen

Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported yesterday that Yemen is suffering from a nationwide internet blackout as a result of the Saudi-led coalition targeting the telecommunications tower in Al-Hudaydah two nights ago.

NetBlocks, which monitors internet networks, showed the blackout began at around 1 am.

Cloudflare, based in San Francisco, has also shown that Yemen is experiencing a blackout.

Yemen’s Al Masirah TV said the airstrike on the telecom building led to civilian casualties and showed footage of people digging through the rubble looking for victims.

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Andrei Martyanov on Blinken and Lavrov

January 21, 2022

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The Other Side of the Story: Russia’s view on Geopolitics, War and Energy Racketeering

January 21, 2022

by Nash Landesman

The following is an exclusive interview with Russian Duma deputy, Yevgeny Fyodorov, a high-ranking conservative, nationalistic lawmaker in President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party. He has been Chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy of the State Duma and a member of the Advisory Council of the President of the Russian Federation. Below we discuss war with Ukraine, principles of sovereignty and geopolitics, the ongoing energy battle, the nuclear option, and the reestablishment of the Soviet sphere, all within the context of US ambition and Russian counter-strategy.


Atop the unipolar priority list lies the looming Russian “threat” of providing European consumers with affordable, dependable heating and cooking gas at stable long-term contract terms amidst the dead of winter. Only America and its’ “allies”/ [subordinates/collaborators] can halt this menace by supplanting cheap Russian gas piped from relatively short distances with much more expensive, technically-complex US liquid natural gas shipped from across the Atlantic, capitalizing on America’s shale revolution while stamping out Russian influence in Europe—killing two birds with one stone. (Although at least twenty-nine multibillion dollar regasification intake terminals have been built across Europe under US pressure to import its supplies, a new Russian pipeline threatens to render them sunk costs).

The Russian pipeline would “pose an existential threat to European energy security,” states one US sanctions bill, implying that the very notion of energy security outside of US/EU auspices is the threat itself. Washington is trying to block this development, using various means that now include the threat of war under any pretext.

Since Soviet times as much as 80% of Europe’s Russian gas imports traversed Ukraine— but lately those flows have since slowed to a trickle, due to Washington’s eight-year proxy war in Donbas, NATO expansion, Kiev’s tendency to syphon Russian gas and not pay its bills, and other factors. It is little wonder Moscow is scrambling to establish alternate routes avoiding third-party generated instability.

This year European gas prices rocketed to record highs, adding fuel to Russian ambitions to circumvent its’ now-hostile neighbor with its’ latest project, the recently- completed $11 billion natural gas pipeline, Nordstream 2, running under the Baltic sea direct to Germany, crucially evading land transit states subject to external control.

Nordstream 2 could be a major geopolitical boon to both Russia and Germany, helping the latter achieve the energy independence it would need to take steps to chart an independent course and/or remove US occupation troops from its territory, still present under the NATO umbrella since WWII.

Despite the pipeline’s recent completion, the European Commission has delayed (indefinitely) the certification required in order for Russia to start pumping gas. Whether Moscow will go ahead and do it anyway remains up in the air.

What is clear is that US counter-strategy is a patchwork of threats, hysterics and racketeering. As Richard Morningstar, former US diplomat and founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Centre, bluntly put it, “I think Nord Stream 2 is really a bad idea…If you want to kill the [US-based] LNG strategy go ahead with Nord Stream [2]”.

The pipeline also undermines an interrelated, long-developing, radical globalization scheme—an internal EU gas market established under the European Energy Charter that’s designed to dismantle Gazprom by preventing Russia from owning or controlling its downstream energy assets.

Large land transit states like Ukraine help to ensure that Russia obey the rules. But after withdrawing from the aforementioned treaty in 2009, Russia has struck bilateral gas deals with states like Hungary and Belarus, enraging Washington and Brussels. Now Nordstream 2 would symbolize the ultimate affront to the internal energy market architecture as it involves Europe’s most powerful nation, Germany, with no transit states in-between.

(Berlin has been left in the cold ever since caving to pressure to phase-out its nuclear capacity and cease domestic coal production). The pertinent question is: on whose outside supplies will Berlin come to depend? Europe’s future may hang on the answer.

Ex-German chancellor Angela Merkel supported the pipeline, her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, along with the Austrian Federal Chancellor, Christian Kern, complaining, “The draft bill of the US [sanctions regime] is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market. We cannot accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions…involving Russia, such as Nord Stream 2, [which] impacts European-American relations in a new and very negative way.”

Detractors, meanwhile, insist that a pipeline avoiding Ukraine would give Russia more leverage over its weaker neighbor, despite the implied detachment, a piece of double-think requiring little to no explanation.

Nevertheless, one hard-headed member of Russia’s Duma explains what’s really going on, from Moscow’s view, and what’s truly at stake in this developing saga.


Q: How does EU policy affect European states’ energy consumption?

Yevgeny Fyodorov

A: The alternative to our natural gas is, of course, importing US LNG, which is much more expensive. The crucial interested parties in our piped gas are Europe and especially Germany. The key question arises from the fact that the EU wants absolute control over the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline. They want to control everything. The principle of competition of nations is involved. Russia is also interested in full control over those gas supplies; it helps Russia to fulfill its obligations. We welcome no third party to play this game as an outside controller over the pipeline.

Hence the Germans’ position: they support Nordstream 2 because it provides for their gas balance and they understand that otherwise they will lack gas. Nord Stream 2 is a kind of “magic wand” for Russia because it helps Germany to get a stable gas supply and sign long-term contracts. Otherwise they will need to keep temperatures in their dwellings very low. If the EU refuses to certify Nordstream 2, Europe will freeze. It would be like shooting its’ own leg.

The position of Europe is this: give us all transport routes and gas fields—but it contradicts the Russian principle of state sovereignty. So Russia won’t agree to it. Our position is simple: we supply gas, you can either take it or not. We aren’t going to sort out your domestic problems.

Q: What are the impediments to gas flowing through the recently-completed Nordstream 2 pipeline?

A: Blocking Nordstream 2 is a result of pressure from the Americans. There we need to understand common sense. What is the Americans’ interest? It is a very basic interest. There is no economic profit in LNG supplied from the US. The interest of the US is that they are generally against German economic independence and independent resouces. Yes, we have American military troops in Germany, Germany is being controlled by the US. In case Germany becomes too independent it will simply throw away American control. This is how history works. Of course, this is why the Americans are against NS2. Not just because of the competition with their LNG, but also because of US Anti-German policy. They dislike that Germany would gain a new level of economic independence; such level which would allow Germany to get rid of American control.

It’s clear that the U.S. wouldn’t like European countries, particularly Germany, to become more powerful. So, the U.S.’s geopolitical interest consists in Germany not being able to solve its problems with gas supply beyond U.S.’s influence, without the influence from Ukraine, Poland etc… As a result Americans opposed Nord Stream 2 from the very beginning. It’s obvious. Because it’s one thing when you control a few countries and manipulate them and it’s absolutely different thing when Germany will get a regular gas supply and will be independent of the US. It’s the position of the US and it’s clear and understandable.

The position of Germany: it needs a reliable gas supply and independence. The position of Russia: to earn money for its gas supply. With every coming year, Germany will become more and more sovereign\independent and one day American troops will be withdrawn from its territory. I’m sure one day Germany will raise the question of withdrawal of American occupation troops from their land. You know, these troops were simply renamed from occupation troops into NATO’s troops. It’s in the interests of German people and at some point Germans will do it. Russia will definitely help them, not in a military way but by creating geopolitical foundation of free nations.

And now another question: the situation in the European Union. European regulations/treaties/charters/energy packages were adopted not by Germany but by the EU and which are greatly influenced by the U.S. They created the so-called energy packages … If EU countries had signed long-term contracts, there wouldn’t have been any price increase. They could have agreed on $300 per cubic meter for many years ahead. But without these contracts the price rocketed to $1000, harming Germany and other European countries.

A: How does the issue of sovereignty come into effect?

What’s the main motivation of any nation? Sovereignty and freedom. And if there are any occupation troop on their land, it’s anything but freedom. That’s why any nation will demand occupation armies to leave their country even if at present they don’t talk about it openly because of the propaganda. Germany is moving in this direction. It’s a normal process. A Unipolar world is neither normal nor legal in the historic context. Either there is one Empire, like the Roman Empire of Alexander the Great, or the world is multi-polar. There is no other option.

Today’s unipolar world is volatile. And Americans understand this. They have two options: either to create a colonial empire (but aren’t powerful enough to do it) or accept\embrace the multi-polar world model. They are guided by the rules of competition among nations according to which everyone is everyone’s enemy. That’s the way people live in the world. All the wars were caused by this. The logic is: you’re the most powerful and the rest are suppressed by you. Everyone is suppressed by you, not only major enemies like Russia, but allies as well. They are allies because American troops are on their territory but not because they love America.

Q: Why does the U.S. still insist on gas transit through Ukraine?

A: Another play is the game with Ukraine, where we still talk about keeping gas supply transiting through it. Nobody (in Russia) refuses to transit via Ukraine. But the talks and wishes are about the substantial profit Ukraine will obtain from transiting our gas over its’ territories. The Americans will continue to insist that Russia must finance its’ own war with Ukraine, until NS2 will start to function; until Russia manages to exclude Ukraine from financing its’ military actions with Russian money [via transit fees amounting to billions of dollars per year].

Frankly speaking there is a particular part of Ukraine that refused to follow the orders of the newly- emerged power in Kiev, who occupied power in 2014. The new undersea pipeline (NS2) shouldn’t involve a third party like what we have to deal with in the case of Ukraine. Our undersea pipeline is more convenient for Europe. It is clear that when the Ukraine pipeline was constructed in the middle of last century there were no underwater pipeline technologies. Now this new technology has emerged thanks to scientific progress.

Q: What are the economic implications of this energy battle?

A: Let’s look at this question from the viewpoint of science, history and geopolitics. What is the American dollar? The American dollar is a world currency. Let’s look at some figures: the American dollar turnover in the world is 40%, the euro turnover is 40% whereas the ruble turnover is only 0.18%. So, the ruble turnover is 400 times lower than that of the dollar or euro. The ruble doesn’t exist on the global scale.

Americans have built their consumption at the expense of the world dollar. Estimates show that Americans consume 4 times more than they produce on their territory. The situation in Russia is quite the opposite. Russia produces 4 times more of the global GDP than it consumes. As a result Russia is a contributor to the world economy while the US is a vermin\parasite. These are merely figures\data, nothing personal. So, the dollar is of great importance to the Americans.

The dollar requires worldwide jurisdiction – Anglo-Saxon law – because currency is worthless if it’s not supported by juridical system. Hence comes the mechanism of the world jurisdiction, the unipolar world as a vertical authority. According to Putin, “one power center means one decision-making center”. What’s Russia’s interest? To restore the ruble, which will allow Russia to immediately control 6% of the world currency turnover. And I’d like to remind you that at present we control only 0.18%. In the long run, taking into account that Russia has 1\3 of the world’s resources, we expect this figure to reach 1\3 of the world turnover. We want to have the right to print out currency.

Q: Do the aforementioned issues implicate a pivot to Asia?

A: There is a policy of reducing dependance of EU countries on Russian gas. We are ready to sell our gas to EU countries. But we see EU legislation creates harm to Europe, eg. Now the natural gas price jumped to $900 per 1000 cubic meters. But those are internal problems; they should be able to set up their legislation so that it will not harm their economy. Concerning Chinese – Russian relations and natural gas supply to China, the supply will continue to grow.

This is about geopolitical and economic profitability. There are certain issues that lead to this. Russia and China have a common goal: to establish sovereignty. I reiterate one figure for economists: in the world economy the USD and the Euro comprise 80% of the world economy. The Russian ruble comprises one twentieth of 1% of global reserves. Hundreds of times less. Naturally that is unfair and illegal. And we will carry on politics which will result in the situation where the Russian ruble will equal Russia’s economy and resource export capability. And China will be our ally.

Q: What is the general position of European states, notwithstanding EU internal market legislation?

A: Who is the enemy of American unipolar world? The enemy of any unipolar world, including the American one, is national thousand-year-old states\countries, like Germany, France, etc… because such countries don’t want to be given orders. France has been independent for more than 1000 years.

They don’t need any bosses in Brussels, let alone in Washington. So the policy of the US is to subdue them. The US has been trying to achieve this goal, firstly, by assisting in EU creation and by Mediterranean wars which led to millions of refugees who break French, German etc… national regimes. That’s the goal. Why did America bomb Libya, Syria? Why were they involved in the coup d’état in Egypt? It’s clear that they wanted to destroy national thousand-year-old states, which leads to economic destruction.

Q: What do you make of the de-Russification laws in Ukraine?

A: It is occupational tool intended to limit and prohibit the Russian language in Ukraine. The character and basic feature of Russian nation is that it is cultural people with big history. And the Russian language is a very important factor in consolidating and uniting multiple smaller nations.

In the territory of Ukraine, as Ukraine itself is not a legal state from the position of International Law. So in Ukraine outside extranational parties. First of all, the US and their allies carry out the politics to stop the process of reestablishment of the joint united Motherland within it’s 1945 borders. In turn the reestablishment process in many parts of the Soviet Union is being carried out by all interested parties.

From this fact emerges the conflict within Ukraine. This conflict could only be resolved by establishment of one single united state of Ukraine and Russia. Otherwise, it will never be resolved and will last forever. Actually, the reunion (of Ukraine and Russia) will definitely happen one day, is my strong belief. All serious leading experts understand that. The situation (between Russia and Ukraine) is still not regulated in accordance with the procedures guiding the liquidation of the Soviet Union. That is most important to understand. To say it in rough words, the situation with Ukraine and Crimea is prolonged and delayed until today. These are the roots of conflicts and arguments with Ukraine about Crimea and Donbass and Lugansk, and with Moldova, Transdniestria, Georgia, Abkhazia, etc…

Q: How does Russia view subversive actions in nearby states like Belarus, for example?

A: As an attempt to intrude by a third party into territory of an internationally recognized state entity, a joint Motherland within 1945 borders. Actually, we will react to intrusion into any other country, not only Belarus. Russia will use shield and defense tools. Defense tools we have include nuclear weapons, to protect and secure our borders and keep them safe and contain safely our nuclear weapons, and using those nuclear weapons. In other words, should America enter the territory of Belarus, our nuclear missiles are targeted at London, Washington, New York and other cities. The US will continue to manipulate Ukraine and Belorussia to oppose Russia. They will utilize the issue of unregulated state borders [see today: Kazakhstan] between these countries as a lever against its’ competitor and opponent, Russia.

Q: Do you feel that America’s missile bases in Eurasia are directed towards Russia?

A: We don’t ignore the reality that the US has installed missile bases throughout Eurasia. And the [US] State Department was saying that they will form new military nuclear bases there, including in Asian countries. Please understand this is very simple story. Russia plans to engage its nuclear weapons not against those countries where it was launched against Russia, but against the mastermind cities where the decisions were made. To be exact, it is Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other American cities. Please fully understand, in case American nuclear weapons are launched from, eg. Taiwan, or Poland, the response will hit New York or Washington.

Q: Please elaborate on the EU’s long-unfolding internal gas market/energy treaty packages.

A: Sure. European policy was to reject long-term contracts. This policy was to start a competitive war in which, as they said, the price would be reduced as a result of competition. And here lies their error of judgment. Competition works only if there is excess supply.

But taking into consideration the post-Covid economy boost of China and Asia [among other factors], there hasn’t been any excess supply. As a result the EU failed. [higher prices, however, have increased demand for US LNG imports, perhaps implying that Russia’s plan backfired, playing into America’s hands]. Those who signed long-term contracts didn’t suffer at all. Some French companies, for instance, didn’t lose anything. They even benefited from this. So this price increase is the EU’s fault. What Russia wants is just to earn money for its produce. Russia thinks like this: if we don’t sell gas in Europe, we could sell it in China.

Q: What is the situation surrounding US negotiations with Germany regarding Russian energy?

A: Look: Who is more important: the supplier or the consumer who pays money? Surely, it’s the consumer. So, who is the main player in this situation: Germany or Russia? Germany. That’s why the U.S. opposes Nord Stream 2 by negotiating with Germany, not Russia. Germany is the main player here. So, the U.S. exerted pressure on Germany. And Germany, in its turn, tried to compensate by offering to invest in Ukrainian system, hydrogen etc… The negotiations regarding Nord Stream 2 were conducted between Germany and the U.S. but not between America and Russia.

Q: How do offhand events, like the “Russiagate” fraud, the alleged Navalny poisoning, hysteria surrounding Russian troop buildup along the Russian-Ukrainian border, etc… influence public opinion?

A: Russia is constantly blamed and there are two reasons why. Firstly, Russia doesn’t have influence on its own information sphere; it doesn’t have the necessary technology. Even Russia’s social networks, television are American. Mass media in Russia are beyond Russia’s jurisdiction. Russia doesn’t have “weapons” in the information sphere. Besides it’s very convenient to put all the blame on Russia in order to solve one’s own domestic problems. It’s common practice.

Q: Is the EU’s energy Treaty Packages/Charter unfeasible?

A: The EU’s energy packages are based on market excess supply. What I mean is they get gas supply from everywhere, from the U.S., Asia, Norway, and Russia. Europe wants to get the lowest price due to the competition between these suppliers. It only works providing there is excess supply due to different reasons, including transport logistics [plus Russia’s allegedly withholding supply from the market for leverage in Nordstrream 2 negotiations]. So it was a wrong strategy. I have only one question here: was this strategy was wrong because they are fools in Brussels or because they just played along with Americans? I think the latter. The situation got out of control: it led to price increase. Now they don’t know how to handle it.

Q: Will Russia accept the terms and conditions of these energy packages?

A: While drawing up this energy package (and it took years), they didn’t anticipate post-Covid syndrome which changed the situation globally. But Russia’s position is very simple. We support sovereignty. Historically, the concept of sovereignty in the Russian word is a priority. We respect the sovereignty of others. Russian position is simple: here is gas, you can either take it or not. We aren’t going to change your own internal regulations.

Q: How does US and Russian geopolitical strategy differ?

A: We have a different geopolitical strategy. The U.S. strategy is to support dollar turnover in the world. The U.S. domestic economy is dependent on external dollar. Hence 800 (military) bases abroad.

The strategic historical policy of Britain and later America – the so called “gunboat policy, is creating conflict zones and supporting both conflicting parties with the aim of controlling the situation. That’s the U.S. policy. It originates from the American principle of nation building. Russia’s policy is exclusively managing our own business. We are a country of defensive\protective policy. The only exception was the USSR with its Marxist ideology of world revolutions. But it was a temporary exception and it was rejected by Russia.

Q: Do you regard ecological complaints from Poland as a part of the American scheme?

A: Sure. Poland is under U.S. control. If Americans remove this control, it will be gained by Germany. But it’s not in the U.S. interests, so they use Poland and Ukraine. They tried to control Belarus but failed. It’s a clash of strategies. The American strategy is “divide and rule.” Americans want to divide Russia in order to get supplies separately from the Siberia, Ural. But since Russia has nuclear weapons, this plan won’t work out for them.

Q: Would Russia like to restore something like the USSR?

A: The priority here consists in re-establishing legal outcomes, in restoring something that was violated illegally. If a country is divided legally, they have the right to do so. For example, the Czech Republic and Slovakia decided to split. If they did it legally, that’s not a problem. But if it’s illegal, it should be revoked. Do you feel the difference?

As for Yugoslavia one should scrutinize the legitimacy of its division. What are the relations between international and internal\domestic laws? International law doesn’t interfere with domestic laws. A country can be destroyed\divided only by its own laws. If internal Yugoslavian laws were broken while dividing Yugoslavia, then this country should be restored. For the same reason Americans insist on Serbia recognizing Kosovo. Because Americans are well aware that until Serbia recognizes Kosovo’s independence, Serbia and Kosovo can’t be considered legally divided, no matter how many American (military) bases are located in Kosovo.

Without any doubt, the Soviet Union’s dissolution was illegal. By the way, from the viewpoint of law, it wasn’t dissolved because no republic, except for the Baltic States, took the decision to leave the Soviet Union. The republics decided on the state sovereignty but any union consists of sovereign states. So, it doesn’t mean the dissolution of the union.

Q: Who controls Russia’s Central Bank?

A: You must understand how our Central Bank works. The Central Bank is the Depositary of IMF and secures and answers for worldwide USD circulation and includes part of Russian territory. So the Central Bank is part of USD circulation. The Russian Ruble is a derivative of USD and Euro circulations. The Ruble emission is carried out proportionally to part of export deals, as part of USD and Euro income as a result of such operations. So, the Central Bank policy and ruble policy does not reflect the Russian economy at all. It just shows our export potential. So we understand we need reforms to nationalize our currency exchange system and Central Bank. And reforms would create a ruble currency bulk inside Russia in correlation with exports. Similar to what the ECB and Forex are doing. We plan this reform.

Nash Landesnan has written for a number of publications. He can be contacted at

Is there a deal being prepared behind the scenes?

January 21, 2022

I have to admit that when I heard that the US has no intention of giving the Russians anything in writing I began wondering whether it even made sense for Lavrov to fly to Geneva.  Yet, Lavrov thought otherwise and flew to the Swiss city.  The outcome?  Meh…

The US wants another week to prepare a written reply.  Okay, that is some kind of result and I suppose that, considering what is at stake, waiting yet another week is okay.  Frankly, the Russians are acutely aware of two things:

  • US diplomats and experts are, at best, clueless amateurs
  • The War Party is in full-blow hysterics mode

So they decided to give “Biden” another week.  Like a teacher who agrees to give a particularly dumb student a few extra days to turn in his assignment.

What else?

Well, there is this: remember the rather weird words by Biden about a “minor incursion“? (since then, both Biden himself and Blinken has declared that Biden was misunderstood).

Today former ambassador McFaul, a true russophobic nutcase and certified imbecile, said that if the Russian soldiers go as far as Kiev this would trigger a full-scale response from the US and its allies.

Wait! What?

Since when do the Russian have to get their soldiers as far as Kiev to get sanctioned???

Before continuing, a few absolutely CRUCIAL reminders:

  • Russia neither wants nor has any reason at all to invade country 404, with all its intellectuals already long gone (most of them in Russia, low qualified refugees when to clean EU toilets), its deindustrialized wastelands, its many neo-Nazis and zero natural resources (they already sold it all).  In fact, most Russians are categorically opposed to any such intervention.
  • The only thing which could force Russia to use her ground forces would be a successful (and rather unlikely) Ukrainian invasion of the LDNR.  Russia currently does have the forces needed for such a counter-attack in her western regions.  She does not have the size of force needed to occupy the Ukraine.
  • Russia has the means to defang the Ukie military using only standoff weapons, Russian military experts believe that such an operation would take a week or even less.

In other words, the notion of a Russian ground operation to take Kiev is total, hallucinatory, nonsense. Ditto for the idiotic idea that Russia must invade in February before the frozen ground turns into dirt (Russian ground forces have no problems operating or fighting with dirt, snowmelts or any other natural phenomenon between -50C to +50C).  That is exactly the kind of crap McFaul always spews (with this uniquely paranoid eyes and freaked-out facial expression).  But the fact that McFaul is a drooling idiot does not mean that he does not have access to what is going on behind the scenes (Blinken is just as dumb, and he is in charge of the entire US diplomacy).

So what gave him this truly weird idea?

First Biden with his “minor incursion”.

Now McFaul with his “no Russian soldiers in Kiev”.

I can offer three possible explanations for that:

  1. The Biden Admin is doing a “April Glaspie” operation on Russia: tell the Russians that the US will do little or nothing as long as Russia only liberates some areas (presumably in the eastern and/or southern Ukraine) only to then take that as a pretext and declare some kind of war (probably not military, but political and economic for sure).
  2. The Biden Admin is really trying to get rid of the Ukie suitcase and wants to break up this monstrosity into smaller, much more manageable, successor states.  If so, I like the idea.
  3. The Biden Admin is ready to let the LDNR break-away and move under the protection of Russia.  Officially, of course, the USA will never agree to that, but they can present that as a problem they did not create and they could not solve alone either (or something else along similar PR lines).

Now, like I always repeat, there is a HUGE difference between “possible” and “likely”.  The explanations above are only *possible* explanations for the weird language coming out of Biden and McFaul.

I also hasten to add that I don’t think that Russia will accept any such terms because they only refer to the Ukraine and not to a new international world order with a new international security framework, which is really what the Russians are after.  And we are talking about verifiable, binding, security guarantees – not written, or even less so, oral, assurances.

However, if these proposals are made as one part of a much broader package of ideas, then they would be worth at least considering.

I have to tell you that my feeling is that the US has already at least partially lost control of the Ukraine and possibly even the EU.

Remember how I always write that when the US President is weak (which all of them since Bush Sr. have been) then the various branches of government and administrations begin doing their own thing, having a semi-official foreign policy of their own: one by the CIA, another one by the Pentagon, another one by Foggy Bottom, etc.?

Well, the same applies to US colonies: when the colonial master is weak and in deep crisis, the colonies begin feeling that they can act more independently.  For example, the 3B+PU gang are now clearly setting the agenda in the EU, and the old Europeans à la Germany of France have become quasi irrelevant.  Likewise, I am not confident at all that the real, hardcore, Ukronazis give a damn about what the US has to say, especially since the said Ukronazis seem to have the solid backing of the EU and parts of the Ukie government: just look at how Ze was unable to deal with Poroshenko – that will tell you a lot about the real correlation of forces in Banderastan.

This is the “tail wags the dog” thing on an international level.

All that is to say that I don’t find it likely that some big deal is being worked on behind the scenes.

But I do find it possible.

We shall find out soon, in one week or less according to the US side.

In the meantime the Ukies are massing a very large force right across the line of contact.  I think of these Ukie forces like I think of folks driving motorcycles without a helmet: organ donors.  Should the Ukies use that force to actually attack, the Russians will destroy that force in 24 hours or less.  The problem is that Ukronazis are 1) rather stupid 2) totally fanaticized and 3) utterly unaware of the realities of modern warfare.

By the way, from a purely US point of view having the Ukronazis wiped out by Russian strikes is not a bad outcome as it would get rid of loads of truly crazy and unsavory characters.

I think of it as a “de-nazification by Russia” (along the lines of the expression “suicide by cop”).

One more thing: remember the rumors about the Russian evacuating their diplomatic personnel from Kiev?  Turns out that it ain’t Russia, but the US and EU representations which are being evacuated (at least partially).

In the meantime, Stoltenberg wants Sweden and Finland to join NATO while many EU countries are now sending (small) forces into various locations in Eastern Europe.  The worst of them all, the Baltic statelets, are now shipping Stinger MANPADs to the Ukies.  Knowing how many Takfiris and neo-Nazis nutcases there are in Banderastan, this is absolutely, totally and terminally irresponsible!  Yet those demented idiots are doing it.  Typical.

I wish everybody a peaceful and great week-end!


Opening Statements: Lavrov : Blinken : Meet in Geneva (Update)

January 21, 2022

Ed. Note:  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken commence talks in Geneva. This video contains only the opening statements where the press was allowed.  At approx. time marker 6.35, the opening statements are over and there is nothing of value in the rest of the video.   The Saker Blog will continue updating here for the rest of the day and there will be transcripts.

Update:  1.5 hours and Lavrov is doing his presser.  It’s done for today.  The presser is still live at this time.

ماذا يريد الأميركيّون من الاتصال مع حزب الله؟

الجمعة 21 كانون ثاني 2022

 ناصر قنديل

ما كشفه رئيس المجلس التنفيذي في حزب الله السيد هاشم صفي الدين في السهرة التي جمعته بعدد من الشخصيات الإعلامية، عن محاولات أميركية حثيثة وحديثة للاتصال بحزب الله ودعوته لاختيار المستوى الذي يناسبه للتواصل، يطرح سؤالاً كبيراً حول كيفية الجمع بين وضع الأميركيين لمعركتهم بوجه حزب الله عنوان مقاربتهم للوضع في لبنان، وسعيهم لحشد كل خصوم حزب الله تحت شعار تحجيم الحزب وحلفائه انتخابياً، بل وضع شرط القطيعة مع حزب الله والعداء له لإدراج أية مجموعة معارضة او جمعية من جمعيات المجتمع المدني على لوائح المستفيدين من المساعدات الأميركيّة، من جهة، وبين سعيهم لهذا التواصل وإلحاحهم عليه واستعدادهم لقبول المستوى الذين يناسب حزب الله لتحقيقه؟

لو كانت هناك مواجهات عسكرية وأمنية بين القوات الأميركية وحزب الله، لكان هذا السعي مفهوماً على قاعدة الحاجة لمستوى من التواصل تفرضه الحروب على المتحاربين، لإخلاء الجرحى والممرات الإنسانيّة الآمنة، وفتح باب إعلان هدنة تفرضها سياقات الحروب، لكن في صراع سياسيّ قائم على استخدام كل الأسلحة التعبويّة، وصولاً لجعل عنوان السياسة الأميركية في مخاطبة اللبنانيين، “حزب الله سبب أزماتكم فقاطعوه وواجهوه”، ثم القيام بوساطات لتأمين تواصل يكسر هذه المقاطعة، فذلك ليس بالأمر العادي، لأن كل ما يمكن تصنيفه تحت عنوان الشؤون اللوجستية والتقنية التي قد يحتاج الأميركيون لها في لبنان لا تحتاج حواراً مع حزب الله ولا تواصلاً معه، فتسييرها لا يحتاج ما هو أبعد من التنسيق والتواصل مع أجهزة الدولة، وللأميركيين خطوط ساخنة وفاعلة، مع الجيش والقضاء ومصرف لبنان. وهي عناوين المحاور ذات الصلة بكل ما يمكن أن يندرج تحت عنوان لوجستي او تقني أو إداري.

لا يخفي الأميركيون أن ما يريدونه هو تواصل للحوار السياسي، فماذا يريدون أن يبحثوا مع حزب الله، بل لماذا يريدون أن يبحثوا أي شأن مع حزب الله، فهم ومَن معهم ومَن يدور في فلكهم، ومَن يسبّح بحمدهم، يقولون إن زمن حزب الله في لبنان قد انتهى أو هو قيد النهاية، وإن الأغلبية اللبنانية بوجه حزب الله قد تحققت شعبياً، وهي قيد التحقق نيابياً، وتردّد جماعة أميركا ما هو أبعد من ذلك بتسويقهم مقولة أنه إذا نجحت المفاوضات حول الملف النووي بين واشنطن وطهران بتأمين العودة للاتفاق، سيكون رأس حزب الله على طاولة التفاوض، وإذا فشلت المفاوضات، سيكون حزب الله عرضة لحصار مميت؟

السبب بساطة لأن الأميركيين يكذبون، وهم يقولون لجماعتهم عكس ما يعلمون وعكس ما يعملون. ويكفي التذكير بما قاله روبرت ماكفرلين مستشار الأمن القومي في أيام الرئيس رونالد ريغان، عن سبب عدم إبلاغ الرئيس اللبناني آنذاك، أمين الجميل، بنية واشنطن الانسحاب من لبنان ووجود مفاوضات بينها وبين سورية، والإيحاء له بالعكس بأن الأمور مع سورية ذاهبة للتصعيد، فيجيب أن تصعيد الحلفاء يحسّن شروط التفاوض، وأنه إذا قلنا لحلفائنا إننا نفاوض او ذاهبون للتفاوض لسبقونا الى دمشق، والأمر نفسه يحدث مع حزب الله. فواشنطن تدرك أن حزب الله قوة إقليمية صاعدة وليس قوة ثابتة فقط، وتعلم ان لا تفاوض على مستقبل حزب الله. وتعلم أن القوة اللبنانية التي لن تتأثر بنتائج الانتخابات النيابية، هي ثنائي حركة أمل وحزب الله الذي يمثل حزب الله ركناً رئيسياً فيه، بل إن واشنطن لا تقيم حساباً في مقاربتها لمستقبل لبنان سواء في المواجهة او في التفاوض، لغير هذه المقاومة التي تهدد أمن “إسرائيل”. وهذا هو الهم الأميركي الأول في المنطقة. والأميركي الذي يدرك أن حروبه بلغت نهاياتها في المنطقة، ويحتاج لبدء ترسيم خطواته في ترجمة هذه النهاية، للتفاوض والحوار حول المستقبل مع هذه المقاومة، ولأن الأميركي واثق من أنه “يمون” على الذين يصفهم بجماعته أو حلفائه في المنطقة واستطراداً في لبنان، فهو يسعى للوقوف على طبيعة ما يريده حزب الله للانخراط في تسويات، تطال ملفات تبدأ بوضع الجبهة الحدودية مع كيان الاحتلال في جنوب لبنان وجنوب سورية، وتمر بمستقبل ترسيم حدود النفط والغاز، ولا تنتهي بمستقبل الاستحقاق الرئاسي في لبنان، وربما يكون البحث بصيغة سياسية وطائفية جديدة للبنان في الجيب الأميركي، إذا كان التوصل لنقاط مشتركة في منتصف الطريق ممكناً.

السؤال عن سبب رفض حزب الله يجد جوابه في أن المقاومة ليس لديها ما تبحثه مع الأميركي، وأن المقاومة لا تكذب فهي تصنّف الأميركي عدواً، ولذلك لا تسمح لنفسها باللعب معه تحت الطاولة، وما تحتاجه المصلحة اللبنانية من بحث فليبحث مع الدولة اللبنانيّة. وما يريد حزب الله بحثه في مستقبل لبنان واستحقاقاته يبحثه مع الأطراف اللبنانيين. فهل يفهم خصوم حزب الله من اللبنانيين، المغرومين بأميركا، معنى هذا السلوك الأميركي؟

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‘We’re Optimistic’ | Head of Russian Delegation in Vienna Ahead of Security Talks with US

January 20, 2022

Head of Russian delegation in Vienna on Arms Control, Konstantin Gavrilov, says Russia is hoping for a breakthrough in security talks with US amid rising tensions with Ukraine

A Short-Term Geopolitical Forecast

January 20, 2022

By Dmitry Orlov and posted with the author’s permission

Ever since Putin announced his demands for security guarantees from the US and NATO (in brief, stop NATO’s eastward expansion, have NATO retreat to its positions of 1997 and remove offensive weapons from Russia’s immediate vicinity) we have been subjected to a barrage of irrelevancies from Western press:

• Are these security guarantees an ultimatum or a negotiating tool?

• Will the US and NATO agree to them or reject them?

• Will Putin invade the Ukraine or will he be stopped in his tracks through the judicious and timely use of frowning, head-shaking, finger-wagging and tisk-tisking by sundry and assorted Western luminaries?

• If Putin does invade the Ukraine, does this mean that World War III is finally upon us and we shall all surely die?

I hope that I am not alone in being sick and tired of this pathetic, tiresome attempt to throw up a smokescreen and hide the inevitable reality of what is about to unfold. In case it isn’t completely clear to you yet, I would like to spell it all out. I am normally more cautious when making specific predictions, but in this case our immediate future has been carefully plotted out for us by Russia and China, with the US and its assorted puppets reduced to the status of non-playable characters in a video game who can only do one thing: hide behind a dense smokescreen of risible lies.

First, Russian security guarantee demands are not ultimatums. An ultimatum is an “or else” sort of thing, offering a choice between compliance and consequences, whereas in this case both the noncompliance and the consequences will follow automatically. The West and NATO are, for well understood internal political reasons, unable to sign these guarantees; therefore, the consequences will unfold in due course.

Russia has demanded that both the US and NATO put their refusal to agree to the security guarantees in writing; these pieces of paper will be important moving forward. To understand why, we need to take on board the fact that everything within these security guarantees has already been agreed to by the West; namely, the “not an inch to the east” guarantee given to the Russians by the US 30 years ago and the collective security principle agreed to by all members of the OSCE. By signing a document in which they declare their refusal to abide by what they previously agreed to, the US and NATO would essentially declare themselves to be apostates from international law and order. This, in turn, would imply that their own security needs can be disregarded and that instead they deserve to be humiliated and punished.

Further, by putting their refusal in writing, the US and NATO would declare the collective security principle itself—specifically with respect to the US and NATO—to be null and void, meaning that if, for instance, the Bahamas, a sovereign nation since July 10, 1973, decides to reinforce its sovereignty by hosting a Russian missile battery pointed across the Gulf Stream at Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the US would have no say in the matter, and if the US did try to speak up, they’d get beat up with this very piece of paper they signed. “Do you feel threatened now?” the Russians would ask; “Well, maybe you should have thought of that when you threatened us by putting your missiles in Poland and Romania.”

The initial stated purpose of the two installations of Aegis Ashore in Poland and Romania was to shoot down Iranian missiles, which didn’t exist then, don’t exist now, and never would have taken a giant detour and fly over Poland or Romania in any case. Although the stated purpose of these systems was for missile defense, their launch platforms can also be used to launch offensive strategic weapons: Tomahawk cruise missiles with nuclear payloads. These Tomahawks are obsolete and the Russians know how to shoot them down extremely well (as they demonstrated in Syria) but this is still very annoying, plus seeding the Russian countryside with pulverized American plutonium would not be good for anyone’s health.

Thus, we should expect bad things to happen to these installations, but we should expect to remain rather ill-informed about the details. While the non-negotiations over the Russian security guarantee demands will be as public as possible (in spite of Western plaintive cries asking that they be held in private) the “technical-military means” which Russia will use to deal with Western noncompliance will not be widely publicized. The Romanian installation might become inoperative due to a newly discovered small volcano nearby; the Polish one might succumb of a freak swamp gas explosion.

A further series of unfortunate accidents may cause the US and NATO to become shy and reticent about encroaching on Russia’s borders. NATO troops stationed in the Baltics, a stone’s throw from St. Petersburg, which is Russia’s second-largest city, might complain of repeatedly hearing the word “Thud!” clearly and loudly annunciated, causing them all to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and evacuated. A US spy plane might experience a slight GPS malfunction causing it to blunder into Russian airspace, get shot down, and have its catapulted pilot sentenced to many years of teaching English to kindergarteners in Syktyvkar or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. US Navy and NATO vessels, already prone to collisions with each other, underwater mountains and barges, might suffer an unusually large number of such mishaps in proximity to the Russian coastline, causing them to shy away from it. A large number of such events, most out of them transpiring out of sight of the public, news of them suppressed in Western press and social media, would force the mighty US military to confront an uncomfortable existential question: “Are the Russians still afraid of us, or are we just jerking each other off here?” Their response will be to go into denial and to jerk each other off harder and faster than ever before.

But if they are indeed just jerking each other off, then what about their policy of containment? What’s to contain Russia and keep it from recreating USSR 2.0?—other than the fact that the Russians aren’t stupid, learned their lesson the first time around, and Mother Russia will no longer allow a bunch of useless non-Russian ingrates to suckle at her ample bosom. “But when is Russia going to invade the Ukraine?” inquiring minds demand to know, especially those who have been paying attention to Western news sources claiming that Russia has amassed 100090 troops on the Ukrainian border (it hasn’t).

The latest theory is that what is preventing Russia from invading is the warm weather. Apparently, it has been unusually warm since 2014, which is why Russian troops haven’t rolled across the Ukrainian border yet. What have they been waiting for? The next ice age that’s due any millennium now? Instead, Russia just got the bits of the Ukraine it wanted—Crimea, the Donbass and a couple of millions of highly trained Russian-speaking professionals—all without staging an invasion, and is now waiting for the rest of the Ukraine to degenerate into its end state as an ethnic theme park and nature preserve. The only thing that’s not going well with this plan is that the Ukraine needs to be demilitarized, as required by Russia’s recent security guarantee demands.

But what if Russia’s security guarantees aren’t met and US/NATO continue stuffing the Ukraine full of weapons, sending in trainers and establishing bases? Well, then, those will need to be destroyed. This can be done by launching some rockets from small ships sailing around in the Caspian Sea, as was done to destroy ISIS bases in Syria; no ground force invasion needed. It won’t take much to prompt US/NATO to evacuate the Ukraine in a panic, seeing as they have already worked out plans for doing so and have announced that they won’t fight to defend it.

If that’s what unfolds, what do you think will happen next? Will the US start a nuclear war over the Ukraine? Umm… how about “NO!!!” Will the US impose “sanctions from hell”? Perhaps, but you have to understand that at this point in time the US and other Western economies can be accurately caricatured as a crystal vase full of excrement parked on the very edge of a high shelf over a hard marble floor. The hope is that nobody is going to sneeze because the sound pressure might cause it to go over the edge. Sanctions from hell do sound like they could cause a bit of a sneeze. Needless to say, the US will continue to talk about sanctions from hell and maybe even pass some legislation so titled, and claim to have sent “a strong message,” but to no effect.

Will Russia act immediately upon acceptance in writing the West’s refusal to provide it with the requested security guarantees? No, there is bound to be a delay. You see, February 4th is barely two weeks away, and that’s just not enough time to start and finish a military action. What’s on February 4th? Why, the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics, of course, at which Putin will be the guest of honor while US dignitaries weren’t even invited.

At the Olympics Putin and Xi will be signing a raft of major agreements, one of which may transform the already very strong relationship between China and Russia into an actual military alliance. The tripartite world order announced by Gen. Milley, in which the US, Russia and China figure as equals, will have lasted all of three months. With Russia and China acting as a unit, the SCO, which by now includes almost all of Eurasia, becomes more than just a geopolitical pole. In comparison, the US and the 29 dwarves of NATO do not quite add up to a geopolitical pole and the world once again becomes unipolar but with the polarity flipped.

And so we should not expect any military action to take place between February 4th and February 20th. Should any military mischief occur during the Olympics, which is traditionally a time of peace in the world, it is sure to be a Western provocation, since the Olympics are a traditional time of Western provocations (Georgia during the Beijing Olympics in 2008; the Ukraine during the Russian Olympics in Sochi in 2014). We can be sure that everyone is very much prepared for this provocation and that it will be dealt with very harshly.

The worst kind of provocation would be if NATO advisers actually succeed in goading the hapless and demoralized Ukrainian troops into invading the Donbass. If that happens, there will be two steps to that operation. The first will involve confusing the Ukrainians into walking into a trap. The second will be to threaten to destroy them using Russian long-range artillery from across the Russian border. When that happened previously, the Ukrainian government in Kiev was forced to sign the Minsk agreements that required the Ukrainian military to pull back and the Kiev government to grant autonomy to the Donbass by amending the Ukraine’s constitution.

But since the government in Kiev has shown no intention of fulfilling the terms of these agreements during the intervening years and instead has done its utmost to sabotage them, there is no reason to expect a new round of Minsk agreements to be signed. Instead, it will be the end of the road for Ukrainian statehood. Putin has promised exactly that. NATO advisers are likely to be frustrated in their efforts to cause the Ukrainians to attack: it is preferable for them to sit there being poked and prodded by their NATO handlers and nagged by US/EU officials and spies than to have their best and brightest obliterated by Russian artillery or to face a final round of national humiliation.

After February 20th, however, we should expect some new and interesting domestic distraction. It could have to do with Western financial house of cards/pyramid scheme finally pancaking, or it could be a fun new virus, or natural gas running out and causing a huge humanitarian emergency. Or it could be a combination of these: the virus can be blamed on China, the gas emergency on Russia, and the financial collapse on both. While everyone is distracted, an aircraft carrier or two might go missing, the Aegis Ashore installation in Poland might get totaled by freak swamp gas explosion and so on and so forth. But then nobody would take notice.

There will still be the major existential question nagging the US military/industrial complex: “Are Russia and China still afraid of us or are we just jerking each other off?” I think I know what answer Russia and China would offer: “Don’t worry about us. Just go on jerking each other off.”

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Iraqi resistance leader stresses factions are independent from Iran, warns of foreign attempts to incite sectarian conflict

January 20 2022

The leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq says that, while Tehran has remained a close ally, the decisions made by the resistance groups are completely independent

(Photo credit: AP)

ByNews Desk- 

During an interview with BBC Farsi, Iraqi resistance leader Qais al-Khazali spoke at length about the political crisis gripping Iraq, and highlighted that the recent re-election of Mohammed al-Halbousi as Speaker of Parliament served as “proof” of resistance groups’ independence from Iran.

“The fact that the Iranian parliament speaker congratulated the speaker of the Iraqi parliament has not affected our positions and [we continue] to reject the election results, and whether or not the Iranian parliament speaker congratulates us has no effect on our positions, and this is proof of our independence,” Khazali told the interviewer.

He went on to add that, in the event of a disagreement in the formation of a government by Muqtada al-Sadr, the Coordination Framework is considering its options of whether to boycott the political process or join the opposition.

Khazali, the leader of resistance faction Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, also spoke at length about the ongoing presence of US troops in Iraqi soil, despite the announcement last year by US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi that all combat troops would leave the nation by 31 December.

In this regard, he said that “as long as the occupying forces are present, there [will be a] resistance,” but also pointed out that “whether we have tension with them or reduce the level of tension is a tactic based on the interests of the resistance groups.”

“I reiterate that our decision is independent of Iran’s decision, the Iranians are allies… and because of our good relations, the Iranians have the right to comment and advise, but the final decision [lies] with us, even about the resistance,” Khazali said before adding: “I say frankly that even if the Vienna talks are concluded, the Iraqi resistance operation will not stop.”

He also pointed out that, over recent months, resistance groups in Iraq and Yemen have reached a stage where they can produce their own heavy weapons, especially drones.

During the interview, Khazali went on to reveal he had information about foreign plans to drag Iraq into a “Shia-Shia war” by taking advantage of the post-election crisis, and that some media outlets were fueling this fire.

The resistance leader expressed confidence that the existence of a supreme Shia authority in Iraq would likely prevent such a conflict. Nonetheless, Khazali believes that, due to all of these tensions, the future government “is unlikely to succeed.”

Since last October, Iraq has been mired in a political crisis over the results of parliamentary elections which saw a majority of Shia parties allied with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) end up with a meager representation in parliament.

Most recently, the leader of the winning coalition, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been meeting with all political actors in the country as he attempts to form what he has described as a “national majority government.”

The prospective Iraqi government is vacillating between the options of the majority and the opposition

Biden: Iran Nuclear Talks Advancing, Not Time To Give Up

Jan 20 2022

BY Staff, Agencies

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that it is “not time to give up” on the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“It’s not time to give up,” Biden said at a press conference to mark his first year in the White House.

“There is some progress being made,” he said.

“P5+1 are on the same page but it remains to be seen,” Biden said in a reference to the nations taking part in the negotiations in Vienna.

Talks to restore the 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers — United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany — began last year but stopped in June after the election of the administration of Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi.

The talks resumed in November.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed last week that there were only “a few weeks left” to save the Iran nuclear deal, and the United States is ready to look at “other options” if the talks fail.

The 2015 deal offered Iran relief from some sanctions that have crippled its economy, in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Then-president Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018 prompted Tehran to walk back on its commitments.

عن حزب الله وحلفائه… والمعركتيْن

 الإثنين 17 كانون الثاني 2022

ابراهيم الأمين

المعركة القائمة في لبنان تحتمل التمييز بين معركة كبرى على هُوية البلاد، وأخرى أقلّ حجماً على طبيعة السلطات القائمة وأدائها. هدف التمييز التفريق بين طبيعة وخلفية المنخرطين في المعركتين اللتين ستشهدان احتداماً في الأشهر القليلة المقبلة. صحيح أن الانتخابات النيابية تشكّل استحقاقاً مركزياً، لكنّ أحداً لا يمكنه اليوم أن يجزم بأنها حاصلة حتماً. وقد يكون الانفجار الاجتماعي الحقيقي هو العامل المركزي في الدفع ليس نحو تغيير للسلطة من خلال صناديق الاقتراع فحسب، بل نحو إعادة صياغة دستور جديد لهذه البلاد. وعندها لا يبقى معنى لهذه الانتخابات.

في المعركة الكبرى، يتشارك اللاعبون في لبنان مصالح وحسابات قوى في المنطقة والعالم. عملياً، نحن أمام مواجهة بين محور تقوده الولايات المتحدة ومحور تقوده إيران. ولا يُخفي أنصار أميركا، أو المتحالفون معها، أن هدفهم التخلّص من المقاومة، إذ يجدون في فكرة المقاومة، وفي آلية عملها وأهدافها، ما يتناقض مع أحلامهم وتصوّراتهم لهذا البلد. وبالتالي، فإن قسماً من اللبنانيين يقول، صراحة، إنه لا يريد المقاومة. ومن كان يزعم سابقاً أنه يدعم المقاومة حتى تحرير الأرض، بات يصرّح اليوم بأنه لا يريدها من أصلها، بل يريد تسوية مع إسرائيل.

يعرف خصوم المقاومة أنها ليست لاعباً محلياً كالآخرين، ويدركون أن طبيعتها تحول دون أن تكون لاعباً محلياً. وجود إسرائيل سبب رئيس وحاكم لوجود المقاومة. وجود إسرائيل، وليس احتلالها لأرض لبنانية، هو الحاكم لوجود المقاومة في كل مكان من هذه المنطقة. وهذا يعني، ببساطة، أن المقاومة تحتاج إلى عناصر قوّة لحماية نفسها وتأمين صمودها وتطوير قدراتها وأدوارها الردعية. وهي تفعل ذلك عبر تعزيز قوتها في لبنان، ومن خلال حماية ظهرها عبر الدور الذي تلعبه في سوريا والعراق، وبتعزيز فعّاليتها من خلال التحالف العضوي مع المقاومة في فلسطين، وبحماية عمقها في المنطقة والإقليم من خلال علاقتها الخاصة مع اليمن أو تحالفها الاستراتيجي مع إيران. ولأنّ الأمر على هذا النحو، لا يُفترض بخصوم المقاومة التصرّف بغرابة مع المواقف التي تتخذها والخطوات التي تقوم بها. كما أنه ساذج من يتوقع أن تحصر المقاومة نفسها ودورها في لبنان.

في هذه المعركة، لم تعد هناك أسلحة خَفيّة. أميركا لا تمزح الآن. وهي لا تعاقب المقاومة فقط، بل كل من لا يرفض المقاومة. الجديد في الحرب أن الأميركيين لن يقبلوا، بعد اليوم، من أي طرف لبناني أن يقول: «نحن مع المقاومة… ولكن». وهم واضحون في أنهم يريدون من الجميع الجهر صراحةً بأنهم «ضدّ المقاومة». وهذا ما فرض تعديلاً جوهرياً في آليات العمل، وما يجعل الضغوط على لبنان تتخذ أشكالاً، من السياسة إلى الاقتصاد والأمن والمال. وهي ضغوط ستتعاظم كلّما اشتدّت المعركة.

في المقابل، لا تزال المقاومة تلعب في موقع الدفاع. فلا تبادر إلى ضرب الأميركيين مباشرة، ولا إلى ردع المنخرطين في المحور الذي تقوده أميركا أو معاقبتهم. وهي لا تزال ترفع «الصبر» شعاراً، لأنها تريد أن تختار، هي، موقع المعركة مع الأميركيين وزمانها. ولذلك، فإنها مستعدّة لتحمّل العبء والأثمان، وحتى الضربات، من أنّى أتت وكيفما جاءت، وهذا ما يدفع الطرف الآخر إلى مزيد من التصعيد.

لكن، يبدو أن هناك ما استجدّ بما يفرض تعديل آليات العمل، إذ يبدو أن المقاومة تتحضّر لمغادرة موقع الدفاع. والمواقف الأخيرة، حيال الحملة السياسية والإعلامية المحلية والخارجية على المقاومة، ليست سوى إشارة أولى، من ضمن استراتيجية تستهدف الانتقال إلى الهجوم كوسيلة مناسبة للدفاع، خصوصاً أن الطرف الآخر لا يقف عند أي اعتبار إنساني في هذه الحرب الشرسة، وأن هناك جيشاً من اللبنانيين والعرب المنخرطين، بقوة، في هذه المعركة، وكل ما نشهده يؤكّد بوضوح أن محور أميركا، لم يعد يقبل حتى بتسويات، بل يريد إطاحة المقاومة أياً كانت الكلفة.

على حزب الله أن يدفع حلفاءه إلى تغيير كبير في سلوكهم، والوقوف عند خاطر التائهين من أنصار المقاومة

في هذه المعركة، يصبح لزاماً على أنصار المقاومة وقف المزاح أيضاً. الأمر اليوم يتجاوز النقاشات العامة والجدل القابل للضبط، إذ إننا أمام معركة وجودية. والدفاع عن المقاومة وحقّها في حماية نفسها وتعزيز قوتها وتوسيع دائرة نفوذها، يحتاج إلى انخراط مختلف في هذه المعركة، وهنا، سنكون أمام اختبار لكثير من القوى والشرائح التي لم تكن تجد مشكلة سابقاً في مجرد إعلان دعمها للمقاومة، فيما هي تقف اليوم أمام تحدّي دفع ثمن هذه المواقف، وهذا ما يجعل سقوط كثيرين أمراً متوقّعاً.

في المعركة الثانية، يجد لبنانيون كثر أنفسهم أمام عصابة تستمر في حكمهم، بكل قساوة وجلافة واستهتار، وأن عليهم رفع السقف في مواجهة أركانها. هؤلاء يتصرّفون تحت ضغط الأزمة الاقتصادية والمعيشية المتفاقمة، ويتقدمون أكثر نحو مواجهة ستكون مليئة بفوضى الشعارات والتحالفات والخطوات. وفي هذا الإطار، لن يكون مقبولاً أن تتصرف المقاومة، ومن يدعمها، بالطريقة نفسها كما في المعركة الكبرى. هنا، يجب التنبّه إلى أن التكتيك السياسي للمقاومة سيضعف إذا ما بقي محكوماً بطبيعة التحالفات القائمة اليوم.

ربما يرى كثيرون مناورةً في دعوة التيار الوطني الحر إلى مراجعة التفاهم مع حزب الله، وأن للتيار أهدافه الموضعية المرتبطة بالانتخابات. لكنّ التيار رمى، عامداً أو من دون قصد، حجراً كبيراً في المياه الراكدة (أو حتى الآسنة) التي يعيش فيها الحلف الذي قام منذ عام 2006.

وما فعله التيار تقوم به حركة أمل، وإن بطريقة مختلفة. لا تخاطب الحركة الحزب احتجاجاً أو تدعوه إلى مراجعة. لكنها تقول له إن نظرتها إلى المعركة الداخلية باتت تختلف عن نظرته. مشكلة أمل، هنا، أنها تخوض معركة دفاعية كبرى عن حجمها التمثيلي في السلطة وفي الدولة وفي الشارع أيضاً. لكنّ الحركة، كما التيار وتيار «المردة» وغيرهما من قوى وشخصيات، إنما يصعّبون الأمر على المقاومة في كل ما يطالبون به. فيما يرفض معظمهم القيام بأي مراجعة أو نقد ذاتي، أو حتى محاولة تشخيص المشكلة، من أجل توزيع عادل للمسؤوليات عن المشكلات القائمة. الأسهل لهؤلاء، جميعاً، رمي كرة النار في حضن حزب الله وإحراجه لإلزامه بخطوات تهدف إلى تحسين وضع كل فريق على حساب الآخرين.

لا يمكن لعاقل فصل قراءة حزب الله للأحداث الداخلية عن المعركة الكبرى. لكنّ أخطاء كثيرة وقعت تستدعي لفت انتباه الحزب إلى أن هناك خللاً ما في إدارة الملفات الداخلية. وهو خلل يتطلّب المراجعة الأهم. كما يتطلّب – ولو أننا جميعاً تحت الضغط – إعادة النظر في مقاربة الملفات. ويمكن الافتراض أن هناك حاجة إلى ابتداع آليات عمل تتيح الوصول إلى نتائج أفضل.

اليوم، ما يقوله نبيه بري أو جبران باسيل أو سليمان فرنجية أو آخرون من حلفاء المقاومة، هو أنهم هم من يجيدون إدارة الملف الداخلي بصورة أفضل. يُكثر هؤلاء من تكرار لازمة «لتترك لنا المقاومة الملف الداخلي ولتتفرّغ هي فقط لحماية المقاومة». ويتجاهلون أن المقاومة فعلت ذلك منذ ثلاثة عقود، والحصيلة كانت خسائر تلو الخسائر. كما يتجاهلون أن نظرتهم إلى الملفات الداخلية ليست واقعية، وأن المقاربات غير علمية، وأن الحسابات ضيّقة وفئوية، وأن طريقة إدارة المؤسسات والسلطات خلال ثلاثة عقود لم تنتج سوى الفشل.

عملياً، عندما يجري التوجه إلى حزب الله لإعادة النظر، إنما يُقصد بذلك رسم إطار جديد للتحالفات، ومطالبة الحلفاء – الأقربين منهم والأبعدين – بتغيير حقيقي. وهذا يقتضي أن يعالج الحزب مسألة الانتخابات النيابية مبكراً، عبر إعلان برنامج سياسي وخطة تحالفات وترشيحات تقطع مع الماضي، وأن يفرض (نعم يفرض)، على الآخرين، سياسات ومقاربات جديدة، وأن المهم ليس فقط الوقوف عند خاطر حلفاء هم حاجة للمقاومة اليوم، بل عند خاطر كتل من الناس غادروا مربّعات الحلفاء، وبعضهم تائه تتصيّده أدوات المحور الأميركي المهتمّ بالمعركة الكبرى.

غير ذلك، سنبقى نحصد خسائر نحن في غنى عنها، وليس آخرها كيفية مقاطعة الحكومة ثم قرار العودة إليها!

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This one-two punch from China and Russia marks the end of American adventurism

15 Jan, 2022 

By Bradley Blankenship


FILE PHOTO. © Getty Images / Gokhan Sahin
Syria’s inclusion in the Belt and Road Initiative is the final act in a long saga against American imperialism that shows how China and Russia can effectively counter U.S. intervention in the future.

Damascus officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on Wednesday, which will provide a massive lifeline to the country that has been torn to shreds after more than a decade of war and Western sanctions. But more than this, this development has set a precedent that will fundamentally change the geopolitical landscape. 

This is because the decade-spanning Syrian conflict has hosted several proxy conflicts, which has invariably left the United States and its Western allies the losers. 

For starters, while the conflict itself was, at least initially, part of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s, numerous sources (including U.S. government sources published by WikiLeaks) suggest that the United States had been seeking regime change in Syria long before then. There are also countless reports by very good journalists, including on RT, that have dug up these connections.

However, this attempt devolved so quickly, and was so futile and messy, that the U.S. had ended up siding with the very terrorists it sought to destroy in the wake of 9/11. Syria was almost completely overrun by the likes of Islamic State (formerly ISIS; the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and was on the verge of becoming a terror nexus – until Russia intervened in September 2015.

This was not a Russian invasion per se, but a legitimate intervention based on an invitation from Syrian President Bashar Assad. I was actually in college when this happened and remember discussing on my radio show how huge of a deal this was. Another major power was cleaning up America’s mess with boots on the ground. 

From then until now, the UN-recognized Syrian government has managed to regain virtually all its territory, and extremist elements like the Islamic State group have been pushed back. There remain a few holdouts, for example, near the Turkish border and in the country’s southeast still occupied by U.S. forces, but the difficulty faced in the country’s attempt to get back to normal has to do with external forces.

There’s the diplomatic side, but, since Syria has continued as a UN member, this has primarily been a regional issue. Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 as the conflict began, however it’s highly anticipated that it will be readmitted very soon – perhaps even at the group’s next summit in March. 

Other welcoming signs of Syria’s normalization are the fact that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain both reopened their Syrian embassies, Jordan reopened its border with Syria in September and the global law enforcement body Interpol readmitted Syria to its ranks in October

But the main problem for a true normalization of Syria on the world stage is its access to international finance and trade, which has been nearly impossible thanks to U.S.-led sanctions, including the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, called the Caesar Act. 

Journalists have reported since the implementation of these latest sanctions that they have actually been more detrimental to the country than the war itself, and this corrosive effect has also extended to the country’s neighbors, like Lebanon. Never mind the intended effects of these sanctions, the reality is that they are artificially placing the country in a position where rebuilding from this devastating war is impossible. 

Enter China. As the second-largest economy in the world and the driving force behind the greatest global infrastructure and development drive in history, the BRI is a natural fit for Syria. It will help the country rebuild, rebound and provide win-win opportunities for both countries while also likely bringing the conflict, finally, to an end. It is the quintessential example of how America bombs and China builds. 

While that is certainly something on its own, in the context of how this U.S.-led foreign intervention was resisted largely thanks to Russia, I believe it shows a sort of one-two punch that can and will be repeated. 

Even if this was not coordinated originally, it is a precedent I believe both Moscow and Beijing should and undoubtedly will apply elsewhere. It goes to show that Washington’s military and economic aggression can both be countered if Russia and China work in tandem as a bulwark against unilateralism. It’s for this reason I believe Syria will be the graveyard of American adventurism. 

The Longest War Of The 21st Century

15 JANUARY 2022

By Konrad Rekas


The United States and Russia negotiate about limitation of the arms race, which is now even more obvious.   Central-European media threat the public with the “New Yalta” slogan, at the same time promising the inevitable victory of the only right Euro-Atlantic system.  Meanwhile, the geopolitical and geostrategic situation is more complex and much more dangerous, not only for the whole of Europe, being something different than simple new demarcation of spheres of influence between the powers.

No-Missiles Zone

The Cold War has always been closest to the transition to a hot one when it comes to strategic balance of power measured by the deployment and range of missile systems.  This was the case when in 1962 the Soviet Union reverted an attempt to locate American missiles in Turkey, what is known at misleading name of the Cuban Crisis.  That follows in 1980s, when the symbols of Reagan’s and Thatcher’s aggressive imperialism were Pershings, Tomahawks and the Trident System (still continued by UK).  Whenever war hawks prevail in the Euro-Atlantic zone – it can be seen in the translocation of offensive combat systems, moving closer and closer to the borders of the Russian Federation.

In practice, since Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese policy killed the INF (ДРСМД) – there is no effective international regulation of the ongoing, though not officially announced, arms race between the US and the rest of the world.  Of course, a very one-sided race, because although no one denies the modernity and training of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the power of the People’s Liberation Army – these are the Americans, however, who spend more ($778 billion) on armaments than the next eleven countries on this list combined, eight of which are American allies and dependent countries.  This massive dependence of US policy on the interests of the military-industrial complex, unchanged since the Cold War, always leaves a margin of concern whether such a huge arsenal will tempt someone to finally be used.  Even just to make some space for new purchases…

Disarmament or at least non-proliferation negotiations are therefore a necessity, as urgent as during the most dangerous crises of the two-Blocks era.  In the 1950s example of such an initiative was the Rapacki Plan.  The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Rapacki, proposed establishing of a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, encompassing the territories of both Blocks, i.e. both German states, Poland and Czechoslovakia.  Despite support from Moscow, Prague and East Berlin, as well as a very sympathetic reception by anti-war Western circles – this proposal failed facing the resistance of Atlantic militarists.  However, it would certainly be worth referring to it today by creating such a zone excluded from the relocation of missile systems, including at least Poland, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.  Depending on a willingness of interested states, similar treaties could also be signed in Asia and other regions of the World.  Otherwise, we are threatened with a permanent state of universal hybrid war – with the possibility of turning into a full-blown global conflict at any time.

Will Russians invade Ukraine?  I invite them to dinner!

Of course, the USA, UK and NATO explain all their expansive actions in the East with „Russia’s aggressive plans towards Ukraine”.  We should add that these plans are so secret and diabolical that thanks to the Western media and politicians, people talk about them over a beer in a pub and at family lunches.  They are so obvious and known to everyone…  It is probably not difficult to guess that if something is the subject of such a clear and intrusive propaganda campaign – we can be absolutely sure that there is no relation to reality.  I have repeated many times, for the past seven years, when almost every day after the Euromaidan the Russian invasion into Ukraine was foretold: if only Russia wants that, after the morning roll call in Rostov, its soldiers will have lunch in Kharkiv, dinner in Kiev, and still have enough time for afternoon tea in Lviv cafes.  And for supper I invite them to the present Polish-Ukrainian border, near which I live…

Unfortunately, however, Russia has not attacked – because the Russians are not responsible for solving other nations’ problems.  Since we know more about the first years of People’s Republics in Donbas, the more we read and hear about the moderating role of Russia, which has tried to stop the escalation of the conflict.  This is not the place to judge whether it was right to grab the hands of Donbas field commanders, not letting them to go too far to the west.  The fact is, however, that it was so.  Russia could have liberated all of Ukraine (or conquered it if someone prefer that) a long time ago, and no one, least the West, could do anything about it.  Why then should it suddenly change politics and interfere with all this Ukrainian mess, especially announcing own entrance with so long run-up?  Just to help Western war hawks, gunmakers and the funny Kiev cacique who dreams of war to save his own stool?

Anyway, even in the Western media we can hear trumpets to retreat now.  After several months of continuous counting, how many thousands of Russian tanks are about to break into a peaceful Ukraine – suddenly we can hear and read that it was probably… “Putin’s bluff” and possibly Russia does not want to invade anyone.  For readers experienced in reading between the lines – the change of the message is therefore clear:  “We will never admit we lied, but now we can say that there will be no war”.  Well, looking at Ukraine’s impressive war budget (323 billion hryvnias, over 11 billion dollars!) it should be noted that the “Russo-Ukrainian war” has already fulfilled some of its tasks. The cash that the West “lends” to Kiev returns to the West in the form of military purchases, the business is booming, and the military-industrial complex with the media on its services counts profits.

For the New International Order

Therefore, there is no doubt that the period of World unipolarity has come to an end, but the new international order has not yet been clearly shaped.  All these collisions and conflicts are absolutely natural way of establishing new rules and defining new spheres of influence.  The descending empires often struggle with such problems, especially previously hiding and denying own weakness and decay.  The United States simply must put on mean face, flex muscles and show the longest missiles.  This is how they understand their prestige, these are their internal needs, and this is how they want to guarantee the subordination of the remaining vassals.  Escaping the crisis with a recent expansion attempt, distracting rivals, delaying the inevitable – these are normal tactical tricks.  Unfortunately, trying to displace reality by throwing everything on one card and creating a global war threat – that is also an option on the table.  And that is no secret that there are American circles that would not hesitate to set the World on fire believing that “all-or-nothing” and “if not us – no one!”.

Of course, however, there are also pragmatists, as well as that part of financial capital sceptical about the policies implemented by states, pointing out that these are large corporations, not the great powers, which became the real subjects of the international order.  These great interests will decide WAR or PEACE and so far (as we can see) the arguments are weighed.  Not only between Washington and Moscow, but even more between Wall Street, City and Beijing/Shanghai.

And as far poor Ukraine concerned… Well, it will be the subject of a conflict between the West and Russia as long as there is still something to be stolen left.  Although organized plunder has been going on practically from the first moments after the Euromaidan – Ukraine is still potentially a very rich country.  Do we not remember how during the previous World War the Germans even uprooted black soils and took them away by trains?  If the Ukrainians themselves do nothing about it, their country will only be left to itself when the last train with their resources leaves for the West.  And even then, Ukraine will be assigned the role of a battlefield, including atomic one.

As we know, Zelensky’s team has already legalised privatisation of land, privileging large foreign property, previously hidden in the form of leases and joint ventures.  In 2022 there is going to be a bargain with 700 of the 3,500 remaining state-owned enterprises, especially the power industry, mining and metallurgical one.  This a reason why Zelensky announced his cabaret “war with the oligarchs” (that means with himself?) – so no one would prevent Western capital from grazing on Ukrainian wealth.  To consume it in peace – capital must threat with war.  That is the whole secret of “Russian aggression plans against Ukraine”…

There will be no other end of the World

So, is the threat of global conflict just a kind of marketing trick?  Not exactly or probably not only.   A few years ago, there was quite popular theory that World War 3 had already begun, but we do not see all its symptoms yet.  The shortage of more dramatic moments made sceptics question this hypothesis – after all better, worse, but we live somehow.  The international situation is quite normal, although from crisis to crisis and overall we can focus on other issues, from celebrities trough climate to pandemic.  The problem is that the prophets of World War 3 were right.  Only, as in the poem by the Polish-Lithuanian poet Czesław Miłosz about the end of the World that no one noticed – perhaps there will be no more global war other than a permanently hybrid war.  And the inhabitants of not infected parts of the World will doubt if it is real at all.  But an endless war for the New World Order will spread everywhere on more and more fronts.

The war we already know from Donbas, Syria, Yemen, Transcaucasia, now also Kazakhstan, soon maybe Taiwan, Ukraine or Baltic States.  But also many, many other conflicts in which enemies from one theatre of operations will often and suddenly become tactical allies elsewhere.  This can be a war not only between states, because we already know that it is possible to fight almost entirely with private capital, only hiring states to carry out heavier air strikes.  Finally, it is a war in which whole cities can disappear under bombs and missiles, as it has been till now.  But also the one in which some silent killer will fly through a window and this child’s-toy-like thing will win the decisive battle.

And most of us, if we only have a bit of luck – might never even notice…

Defying US Caesar Act, China admits Syria into BRI

January 14 2022

By Giorgio Cafiero

Syria’s entry into China’s Belt and Road Initiative is to support its economic integration into West Asia and fortify its post-conflict recovery

Marking a major boost to Sino-Syrian relations, on 12 January, Syria joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s ambitious infrastructure development strategy stretching from East Asia to Europe.

For analysts with an eye on Syria, the development was expected. In November 2021, President Bashar al-Assad discussed his country gaining membership in the BRI with his counterpart in Beijing, Xi Jinping, following high-level meetings between officials of both states in previous months.

The move will likely help Syria deepen its cooperative and economic ties to other countries in the BRI, and enable it to circumvent the effects of harsh US sanctions on the country.

China clearly seeks to bolster the government in Damascus. Over the past decade, and for various reasons enumerated here on The Cradle, conflict-ridden Syria has been a country of increasing interest to Beijing.

Economy and the long game

China’s BRI agenda has been one main point of mutual interest: As Beijing sees it, Syria represents a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea which bypasses the Suez Canal and revives ancient trade routes connecting China to the African and European continents.

The incorporation of coastal Tartus and the capital city of Damascus into the BRI could boost Beijing’s economic footing in the Levant and Mediterranean.

Although nearly 11 years of warfare in Syria have prevented the Chinese from leveraging the Arab state’s geostrategic location to advance Beijing’s BRI, China’s leadership has carefully focused on playing the long game.

Now, in the post-conflict era, with Syria in need of massive reconstruction and infrastructure projects, China’s BRI has been brought into play.

Ancient links and modern opportunities

As a BRI member, Syria will look to further integrate itself economically into West Asia. In desperate need of foreign investment for the process of redevelopment, the Syrian leadership views China as a key investor and partner to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

Importantly, during this period, China’s good will has grown among Syrians, in large part because of Beijing’s bold initiatives to thwart direct western military intervention at the UN Security Council and other institutions.

It is safe to assume that China will, at least eventually, be able to leverage its popularity among Syrians to take advantage of new economic opportunities in the country’s post-conflict future.

At the ceremony of Syria’s admission into the BRI, held this month in Damascus, Fadi Khalil, who heads Syria’s Planning and International Cooperation Commission, hailed the initiative. He invoked the historic roles of Aleppo and Palmyra in the ancient Silk Road and spoke about the potential for future Sino-Syrian relations within the framework of greater bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Khalil and Feng Biao, Beijing’s ambassador to Syria, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Syria’s admission into this Chinese initiative, which other Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have previously joined at different levels of commitment.

Other recent developments underscore the extent to which Syria and China are deepening their ties. At the start of this year, Beijing aided Syria by sending over more than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to Syrian state-owned media.

Despite the many ways in which Syria sees itself benefitting from membership in the BRI, the West Asian framework for this project will be no bed of roses.

A geographic wrench in the works

For Beijing, it is important that Iraq establish a long-term BRI corridor to both Syria and Jordan. While the BRI route between Iran and Syria – that traverses Iraq – has yet to be agreed upon with Baghdad, the Chinese must have many valid concerns about the security risks of doing business in Syria and Iraq.

China recognizes that “Iraq continues to top the list of high-risk investment destinations” in this grandiose project. Obviously, the same can be said about Syria where ISIS and other extremist militants continue to wage acts of terrorism, notably on the country’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.

With serious issues stemming from terrorism, social unrest, economic woes, and violent political instability, Iraq and Syria are two countries plagued by countless security uncertainties.

Although Chinese firms tend to accept higher levels of security risks than western companies, securing the BRI in Syria’s volatile neighborhood will prove no easy task for Beijing and its West Asian trade partners.

A far more stable and secure BRI economic corridor to Europe would be via northern Iran – a route already secured – then extending directly from Iran into Turkey. Yet the ice-cold state of Ankara-Damascus relations, China’s view of Turkey as an uneasy BRI partner, and NATO pressures on Ankara to avoid Beijing and Tehran, all contribute to practical challenges that will not be easy for the BRI’s financiers to quickly overcome.

But the Sino-Syrian deal this week shows that China is moving forward with its West Asian framework, despite these obstacles. One wonders whether Beijing has reason to believe Iraq’s acquiescence to the BRI is already in the bag. There is little point of developing the Syrian part of the project, without the Iraqi bridge necessary to secure Iran’s connectivity to Syria.

Washington’s reconstruction obstacle: The Caesar Act

On 17 July, 2020, the US began implementing the most sweeping sanctions which Washington has ever imposed on Syria.

Formally known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (or Caesar Act), the Biden administration continues to target Syria with Trump-era sanctions which pursue entities or individuals worldwide – including third-party actors – conducting business with government-dominated bodies of the Syrian economy, such as gas, oil, construction, engineering, and banking.

When China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Damascus in July 2021, he met with Assad and other high-ranking Syrian government figures.

That visit by Beijing’s top diplomat was an early indication of China’s seriousness about strengthening ties with Syria, despite Washington’s continued imposition of wide-ranging sanctions on the state.

During his visit to Syria, Wang emphasized his government’s staunch opposition to the foreign-backed ‘regime change’ agenda targeting the Assad government. Beijing frames its pro-Assad stance within the context of supporting Syria’s sovereignty as an independent nation-state.

Throughout the past 11 years of warfare in Syria, China has maintained four core beliefs on the conflict: First, that the Syrian people need to reach a political solution; second, that a political transition in Syria is necessary; third, that top priorities include nation-wide reconciliation and unity; and fourth, that the international community has an obligation to help Syria.

The BRI, while initiated and heavily financed by the Chinese, is ultimately a multinational project involving dozens of countries, many of them US-allied, and interconnected with Syria via history, religion, culture, and economy – past and present.

A project this global is unlikely to come to a grinding halt because of a domestic US government ruling on trade formulated thousands of miles away from the activity.

Fighting terrorism in Syria and China

Another issue that has driven the Beijing-Damascus joint agenda in recent years is China’s ‘securitization campaign’ or ‘pacification drive’ in Xinjiang.

Assad’s government has publically condemned western efforts to use the plight of Uighurs for the purpose of creating a wedge between China and Muslim-majority countries.

Syria, like most Arab-Islamic countries, has defended Beijing in the face of the US and other western governments which allege that Chinese authorities are guilty of waging ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang, where about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, reside.

Mindful of the fact that Uighur jihadists came from Xinjiang to Syria to fight the Syrian government in the ranks of Islamic State and other violent extremist groups, Damascus and Beijing see themselves as having common cause in a struggle against terrorism and extremism.

In 2017, Syria’s ambassador to Beijing said that roughly 5,000 terrorists from Xinjiang were transported, mostly via Turkey, to Syria during the conflict. Chinese authorities have voiced serious concerns about the now battle-hardened and indoctrinated extremists potentially returning to China to carry out acts of terrorism.

Likewise, Beijing rejects the view of western governments that Assad is guilty of serious crimes. China’s leadership believes that the Syrian government deserves praise for its fight against forces which sought to overthrow Assad and his government.

When Wang was in Syria last summer, he said that “the Syrian government’s leading role in fighting terrorism on its soil should be respected, schemes of provoking ethnic divisions under the pretense of countering terrorism should be opposed, and Syria’s sacrifice and contribution to the anti-terror fight should be acknowledged.”

The future of the Sino-Syrian relationship

Currently in the US there is strong support from both sides of Washington’s political aisle for stringent Trump-era US sanctions on Damascus. In fact, this year, Biden’s administration has come under bipartisan pressure to intensify the US government’s enforcement of the Caesar Act.

Given the existing polarization and hostility in West Asian geopolitics, it is difficult to imagine Washington lifting the Caesar Act in the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this means that the US will probably continue to target Syria’s economy with crippling sanctions.

Within this context, Damascus has all the reason in the world to pursue strategies that can help it minimize the harm caused by Washington’s financial warfare.

“China can play an important role in weakening the impact of the Caesar sanctions,” said Dr. Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East department at the University of Oklahoma, in an interview last year with The Cradle.

“In Iran, China has done this,” Landis explained. “Iran’s oil exports, which were devastated by sanctions, have begun to grow again, largely because China is purchasing Iranian oil again. China is the workshop of the world so it can supply most of the goods that Syria needs. China is also strong enough to thumb its nose at US sanctions. As the US increasingly forbids US companies from dealing with Chinese firms, China has greater incentive to punish the US by breaking sanctions on countries like Iran and Syria.”

Now that Syria has joined the BRI, it is safe to conclude that the Chinese will play an increasingly important role in terms of Syria’s strategies for withstanding sanctions imposed by the US.

The odds are good that, as time passes, China and Syria’s geopolitical and geo-economic value to each other will only expand.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

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