US Launches Heavy Attack on Kataib Hezbollah in Eastern Syria

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Albukamal

Leith Aboufadel
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The U.S. Coalition carried out heavy strikes over eastern Syria on Thursday evening, targeting a number of Iraqi paramilitary personnel near the border city of Albukamal. According to reports from eastern Syria, the U.S. Coalition targeted the troops of Kata’ib Hezbollah at a base near the Iraqi border; this resulted in heavy damage to the installation.

The number of casualties from the U.S. strikes is still unknown at this time, as Kata’ib Hezbollah has not released any figures regarding their losses.

The attack was the first carried out by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden since he took office on January 21st, 2021.

The Biden administration said the attack on Thursday night was carried out in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq that killed one American contractor.

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U.S. RELEASES DRONE VIDEO OF IRANIAN MISSILES STRIKES ON ITS FORCES AT AYN AL ASAD AIRBASE IN IRAQ

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq
A screenshot from the video

The United States released a previously unseen drone video showing the Iranian missile strike on US forces at the Ayn Al Asad Airbase in Iraq which took place on the 8th of January 2020 as a retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Sulaimani.

How Precise Are Iranian Missiles? Analysis Of Missile Strikes On U.S. Military Base In Iraq (2020):

This video is based on the analysis of Haider Geoanalyst originally appeared on TheSaker.is

Several sources in the past weeks have analyzed the Iranian missile strikes on US forces at the Ayn Al Asad Airbase which took place more than two weeks ago on the 8th of January 2020 as a retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Sulaimani.

In this analysis, the post-strike satellite imagery is assessed to give us some insights on what happened at the Ayn Al Asad Airbase and to estimate the accuracy of the Iranian missiles.

It is clear, even prior to conducting any analysis, that the Iranian missiles targeted individual structures with a high rate of accuracy. This analysis attempts to estimate the accuracy in terms of how far the missiles landed from their targets. Since the Iranians did not make public the targets they wanted to hit or destroy, it is assumed that the individual missiles were targeting the actual structures they destroyed or the nearest structures to their impact locations.

A term often used in precision guided munitions (artillery shells, smart-bombs, missiles, etc.) is the circular error probability (CEP). This value is not derived from actual warfare statistics but from weapons testing or claims from the weapons manufacturer. Instead of using the CEP, we will attempt to derive our own statistics from the small sample size of missile strikes.

Introduction to Ayn Al Asad Airbase

The US occupation forces between 2003 and 2005 changed the name of the airbase from its original 1980s name of Qadisiyah Airbase to the name of Ayn Al Asad, which in Arabic literally either means “Eye of the Lion” or in this case “Lion spring” due to the hydrological spring which is now located within the perimeter of the airbase. This spring feeds the Wadi al Asadi stream valley located in the northern part of the air base and flows eastwards into the Euphrates River as one of its tributaries. The main part of the base originally had a perimeter length of 21 km, not including other secondary or auxiliary bases located in the surrounding areas. The perimeter was expanded by the Americans to 34 km (Figure 1), giving the base a total area size of approximately 63 km2 and making it the largest military base in Iraq by area size. For comparison, this is almost twice the size of the New York City metropolitan area.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

The base consists of two major runways (a third runway is unpaved), several taxiways, a variety of different facilities and buildings for personnel, equipment, communications, including sports and leisure centers with theaters and swimming pools. The base further has soft and hardened aircraft shelters (hangars). The trapezoidal shaped hardened aircraft hangers were built by Yugoslavian companies across many bases in Iraq in the 80s and are nicknamed “Yugos” by the Iraqis. The two hardened runways have a length of approximately 3,990 m. This is almost 1 km shorter than Iraq’s longest aircraft runway of 4,800 m located at Erbil airport, which is also one of the longest in the world. For further historical and general information on the Ayn Al Asad Airbase, see the following websites here ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Asad_Airbase ), here ( https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/al-asad.htm ) and here ( https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/al-asad-airbase-iraq/ ).

Reports indicate that around 15 to 16 missiles were fired from multiple locations inside Iran, with at least 10 missiles fired from bases in the Kermanshah area. If this is indeed the case and assuming a straight line flight path, the missiles could have traveled a distance of approximately 425 km from Kermanshah until reaching the Ayn Al Asad Airbase (Figure 2).

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Airbase missile strike overview

In recent days, analysts have identified a total of nine separate missile impact strikes within the Ayn Al Assad Airbase perimeter. This does not exclude the possibility of other missile impact sites within the base’s perimeter which have not been identified or published online. Seven strikes (number 1 to 7) are found at the facilities located just above the northern taxiway and runway, which according to the imagery, houses a variety of drones and aircraft, including V-22 Ospreys, MQ-1 Predator drones, UH-60 Black Hawks and even (K)C-130 Hercules aircraft for transport and refueling. Another missile impact (number 8) is located on the taxiway between the two paved runways and impact number 9 is found on a taxiway in the southeastern complex of hardened aircraft hangars.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 1 and 2

Strikes number 1 and 2 are approximately 110 m apart. Crater impact nr. 1 is 28 m away from the destroyed soft non reinforced target (possibly a tent structure). Nr. 1 has a small circular blast followed by a secondary semi-circle pattern. The secondary pattern towards the west also gives away the eastern incoming missile direction. Impact nr. 1 is peculiar since it is not a direct hit, but landed 28 m next to the nearest structure. The question is if the Iranians intentionally targeted this point or is it an accuracy issue (off by 28 m) ?

Strike nr. 2 has a similar sized crater and blast pattern as nr. 1 (approx. 27 to 28 m). So it is highly possible that both strikes were conducted using the same missile, with strike nr. 2 having a more obvious blast circle due to it landing exactly in the middle of a series of built soft structures (possible tents). From the measurements we can conclude that strike nr. 2 is more or less dead center on the 5 soft like tent structures and there is no substantial accuracy error.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 3

Site nr. 3 contains two soft structures (possible tents). The missile’s crater and circular blast pattern is located almost in the center of the left building. If this building was deliberately targeted, the error is no more than 3 m. For comparison, this is the average accuracy of a handheld GNSS (GPS) device or a current smartphone, which is very impressive for a warhead landing at more than 2000 km/h (terminal velocity).

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 4 and 5

Sites 4 and 5 are two building (soft structures) next to one-another each hit with what seems to be similar type of missiles with primary blast radius of 8 to 9 m and secondary circles of around 20 to 22 m. If the center of the buildings were targeted, accuracy errors are 6 and 14 m for site 4 and 5, respectively. Again, we do not know if the Iranians deliberately targeted a certain part of the structures.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 6

Strike 6 is located on the left side of a long metal roof soft structure, similar to a steel open warehouse. The left half of the building shows a primary blast circle of approximately 17 m in radius, with an overall damage radius of approximately 25 m. If we assume that the center of the building was the actual target, then we find an error of 51 m. Again, the question is whether the left side of this building was deliberately struck instead of the central part. It’s possible to assume that the Iranians intentionally targeted the western side of the building, having prior knowledge the blast radius of their missiles and the importance of the western side of the building.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 7

Strike number 7 is the most easterly impact site and is found near the end of the northern runway. The impact is located almost exactly in the middle of four soft aircraft shelters. The post-strike image (taken a few hours after the event) shows V-22 Ospreys and MQ-1 predator drones parked just south of the shelters. The first circular blast pattern has a 15 m radius. The incoming direction of the missile caused the complete destruction of the adjacent shelter just left of the impact point, while the shelter to the right was lightly damaged. If we assume the Iranians were targeting the middle point of the second shelter (taken from left to right) than the accuracy error would be about 18 m. However, it is highly likely that the four soft shelters were targeted as a single unit. If that is the case, then the missile was only 7 m off (accuracy error) from the middle point.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 8

If we assume that the Iranians are not randomly lobbing missiles inside the airbase with CEP errors of 100 to 500 m as some of the so called “think tank” experts presume (or have previously presumed in recent years), then we can assume that site nr. 8 was targeting the taxiway located between the two paved runways as previously shown in Figure 3. In the images below we can see an impact crater hitting the side of the taxiway. The impact is 23 m from the center of the taxiway pavement and we use this distance as a measure of accuracy. A clear circular blast pattern is visible and a directional blast cone indicates the incoming missile direction.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Site number 9

Strike nr. 9 is the second strike on a taxiway and is the most southern impact site situated in a hardened hangar complex. The impact crater is located almost exactly on one of the corner points of a paved T-junction. If the Iranians purposely targeted this exact point, then the accuracy error could possibly be no more than 2 meters. However, if the target was the actual center of the T-junction, then the error is approximately 11 m. Like in site nr. 8, we see a circular blast with a cone like fan shaped pattern giving the incoming missile direction.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Assessment and conclusions

There are different ways to assess the accuracy of these strikes based on the fact that we do not have the exact coordinates the Iranians wanted  to target. It is not very realistic to assume that the Iranians were perfectly able to target the exact coordinates they intended to hit with perfect accuracy. There is however uncertainty in whether the Iranians intentionally missed some of their targets. The abovementioned observations clearly show a pattern of very accurate strikes on individually targeted buildings/structures. There are two most likely scenarios:

  1. The Iranians intentionally targeted and destroyed some targets. Accuracy errors occurred causing some missiles to miss the exact center point of their targets, with other targets being completely missed.
  2. The Iranians intentionally destroyed some targets and intentionally missed some others.

The table shows the estimated range in accuracy for each of the 9 strike locations based on our observations and interpretation. The green numbers are the most likely errors in meters, while red numbers indicating the less likely errors based on our assumptions of what the Iranians intended to target. An average missile target accuracy of 11 m is based on what are the most likely intended targets (or in other words the most likely scenario). The statistical spread of this small sample size (of only 9 strikes) is 8.5 m. So the lower and upper limits of the accuracy, based on the standard deviation, is estimated to range between 2.5 and 19.5 m. The median value, which is somewhat comparable to the CEP, is 7 m. This means that half of the strikes landed within 7 m. Finally, the average blast (damage) circle is estimated at 21 m.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Let’s visualize these numbers and assume that these numbers can be used in circles. The figure shows a MQ-1 predator drone theoretically being targeted. The yellow line indicates the 11 m mean accuracy value. This is where missiles will land on average. The red line gives the 7 m median value where 50 % of the strikes are found inside this circle. The subsequent figure also includes examples of blast circle (average radius of 21 m) locations in respect to the target.

U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq
U.S. Releases Drone Video Of Iranian Missiles Strikes On Its Forces At Ayn Al Asad Airbase In Iraq

Assuming the estimation of the intended targets and measurements are realistic, an Iranian missile accuracy ranging on average between 2.5 and 19.5 m is very impressive to say the least and indicates the use of advanced terminal guidance technology (guiding a missile in its terminal phase). Reports have suggested that the Fateh-313 tactical short range ballistic missile (SRBM) was used in the Ayn Al Asad Airbase attack, with other reports suggesting that the Qiam 1 was also used in the attack, including on Erbil Airport. The Fateh-313 is an upgraded Fateh-110, with an increased missile range up to 500 km. Terminal guidance technologies are most likely to be combined, including inertial guidance systems (INS), GNSS systems and possibly electro-optical guidance.

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Biden Diversity Strikes Syria (Paul Joseph Watson)

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Israel Reportedly Points Finger at Iran After Cargo Ship Explosion in Gulf of Oman

Ship fire Gulf of Oman
A video grab shows a fire and smoke billowing from a ship in the Gulf of Oman (photo by Gulf Today).

Source

15:03 GMT 27.02.2021

An explosion that ripped through an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday could be the work of Iran, The Times of Israel reports, citing unnamed Israeli officials as saying.  

Unsourced reports from the Israeli media outlets Haaretz and Channel 13 claimed that Iran knew that the vessel was owned by an Israeli businessman – who himself rejected the speculation pertaining to the Islamic Republic.

A separate unsourced report by Israel’s Channel 12 asserted that the explosion was caused by a missile fired by an Iranian warship.

This was echoed by the maritime risk-management firm Dryad Global, which tweeted on Friday that the blast could possibly stem from “asymmetric activity by Iranian military”. Tehran has not commented on the matter yet.

The company identified the ship as the MV Helios Ray, claiming that the blast took place as the vessel with 28 crew members on board was about 44 nautical miles (50 miles) from Oman’s capital Muscat.

No one was reportedly hurt in the blast, which ostensibly caused several holes in the port and starboard sides of the ship, owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar, founder of Ray Shipping Ltd.

The maritime risk intelligence company Ambrey Intelligence posted a raft of photos on its Twitter page, thought to show damage to the Helios Ray as a result of the explosion. The authenticity of the images has yet to be confirmed.

The Israeli media reports come as the satellite-tracking data from the website MarineTraffic.com showed that the explosion-hit cargo ship arrived at a Dubai port earlier on Saturday.

This was preceded by Ungar being quoted by the Ynet news outlet as claiming that the explosion was most likely caused by “missiles or a mine placed on the bow”.

“Israeli authorities will investigate this together with me. I don’t think this deliberately targeted an Israeli-owned ship. That has not happened to me before”, the businessman added.

He reportedly went even further by asserting that the blast could be “part of the game between Iran and the US, that’s why they are hitting Western ships”.

The claims come after the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said, without providing further details, that a ship was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman at 20:40 GMT on Thursday. The UKMTO added that “investigations are ongoing” and that the “vessel and crew are safe”.

Iran-US Tensions

The developments come amid increasing tensions between Tehran and the US, Israel’s ally, which escalated on 25 February, when two F-15 jets launched seven missiles in Syrian territory, following an order from US President Joe Biden.

The attack destroyed nine facilities and partially damaged two facilities, making them unsuitable for use. The facilities were used, according to Washington, by Shia militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah and other formations that are believed to be behind attacks against American military assets in Iraq.

Iran denounced the US airstrikes as “aggression” and a “violation of international law”, insisting that the US presence in Syria is illegal. The attack was also condemned by Syrian authorities as a “cowardly aggression” that will “lead to consequences that will escalate the situation in the region”.

President Biden, for his part, said that Thursday’s US airstrikes are a message to Iran: “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful”.

US-Iranian tensions have been in place since then-President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and the reinstatement of strict economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Exactly a year later, Tehran announced that it had started scaling down some of its JCPOA obligations, including those related to uranium enrichment.

As far as Israel and Iran are concerned, relations between the two sides remain frozen, with Tehran denying the Jewish state’s right to exist and frequently pledging to destroy it.

Over the last few years, Israel has reportedly carried out a number of airstrikes on Syria, which Tel Aviv says are aimed at countering the alleged Iranian military presence in the Arab Republic. Damascus condemns such attacks as violations of Syria’s national sovereignty, while Tehran insists that there are only Iranian military advisers in the country to help the government fight terrorists.


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Open note to those who voted for the Dems

Open note to those who voted for the Dems

February 26, 2021

It sure did not take Biden very long to, as the US politicians like to say, “send a message” by illegally attacking a sovereign nation and murdering 17 people.

If you voted for the Dems, then

This act of international aggression, and all those which will now follow, are on YOU!

Yes, you.  There is simply *no way* that you could argue that “oh I did not know” or “but, but, Biden promised to be a good president“.  Sorry, because for the past 4 years thousands of us have been trying to warn you, to explain to you in detail what would happen if the Neocons fully took control of the USA. We predicted it all, we gave you all the evidence, but you refused to listen.  Now it is too late.

And while it is true that Biden did steal the election, those who truly and legally voted for him now bear the moral responsibility for this crime and all the future crime of the Biden Administration.

Only those who did not vote for the Dems can still say “not in my name”.

All others are now accomplices (before, during and after the fact) to the crime of aggression.  They are also to blame for the internal chaos which will result from having a the first “Woke Administration”.

All the innocent blood is on you, Biden voter.

The Saker

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Biden Administration Launched Its First Strikes On Iranian-backed Groups In Syria And Iraq

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

After nearly two months of daily attacks against United States convoys and positions in Iraq, on February 25th Washington carried out airstrikes in response.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Washington was confident in what it attacked, and that it was the right target. There was no information about this incident or any damage caused by the strike from officials in Damascus or Tehran. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US had carried out a “defensive precision strike”.

This involved airstrikes that struck alleged Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) facilities. They were located at a border control point in Eastern Syria.

The press release misspells the names of both KH and KSS, which is showing in how clearly the US is aware of who continues attacking its interests.

Both groups are part of the Iraqi Armed Forces, as they are in the ranks of the Popular Mobilization Units. One of the key forces in the fight against ISIS. Many PMU factions historically have had close relations with Iran and thus they were struck as an authorized response for the strikes on US interests in the Middle East.

According to Washington, the strikes aren’t aimed at an escalation, but rather to de-escalate the situation. Any casual observer would note that it is far more likely that US President Joe Biden will get an escalation as a result.

Two days before the “defensive precision strike” Kata’ib Hezbollah released an official statement denying that it had anything to do with the rocket strikes on US positions. Evidently, to no avail.

The last straw for the US happened during the day on February 25th. Two convoys were attacked by IED blasts. These attacks led to no casualties, similarly to the previous ones. It appears that material damage was the purpose of the incidents. The declared purpose of the attacks was to push the US forces out of Iraq. This, too, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

NATO is increasing its presence in Iraq. The US also said it could deploy more troops to the Middle East. When Joe Biden was elected US President, the MSM claimed that the two-faced international policy was done with, after Donald Trump had vacated office. This is a testament to the opposite.

On one side, Washington says that it is ready to sit at the negotiating table with Iran, and discuss restoring some normality. One the other side, it strikes Iran’s allies and accuses them of carrying out attacks that they vehemently deny.

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Biden attacks Syria, continuity or change?

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‘Don’t give murderers a free pass’: Outrage as Biden refuses to sanction MBS

Activists and lawmakers say Saudi crown prince must face consequences after US intelligence report confirmed he was responsible for Khashoggi murder

US intelligence assessment revealed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman authorised the assassination (AFP/File photo)

By Ali HarbUmar A Farooq in Washington

Published date: 27 February 2021 00:06 UTC |

The virtual ink on a US intelligence report blaming Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi had not dried when the Biden administration ruled out imposing sanctions on the crown prince – a move that rights groups say would be fundamental for ensuring justice for the slain journalist.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Friday that Washington will not take action against the crown prince himself. 

The US State and Treasury departments had announced sanctions against dozens of Saudi individuals over their involvement in the Khashoggi murder and other rights violations without identifying them.

“What we’ve done by the actions that we’ve taken is really not to rupture the relationship but to recalibrate it to be more in line with our interests and our values,” Blinken told reporters.

Earlier on Friday, the State Department unveiled new visa restrictions dubbed the “Khashoggi Ban” that would allow Washington to target “individuals who, acting on behalf of a foreign government, are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities”.

For its part, the Treasury said it imposed sanctions on several Saudi officials, including Ahmed al-Asiri, former deputy head of military intelligence at the time of Khashoggi’s assassination, and members of the hit team that carried out the murder, known as the “Tiger Squad” or Rapid Intervention Force.

However, without sanctions against MBS, who the US government now publicly acknowledges was responsible for the killing, some advocates and lawmakers are saying the mastermind of the assassination is getting away with murder.

‘Unconscionable’

Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch, called failure to impose sanctions on MBS over the killing “unconscionable”.

“The fact that the US has sanctioned so many of MBS’s associates but not him sends a terrible message that the higher up in a government you are, the more likely it is you can commit crimes with impunity,” Prasow told MEE. 

“It also undermines US credibility. It’s hard to see what incentive MBS has to alter his conduct, whether inside Saudi Arabia, in his conduct in the war in Yemen, or in other extraterritorial attacks on dissidents, when he knows he can literally get away with murder.”

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government insider and journalist who wrote for the Washington Post and Middle East Eye, resided in the United States before his death.Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved Khashoggi murder, US report says

Saudi government agents murdered him and dismembered his body at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, while he was trying to retrieve personal paperwork, in October 2018. 

After initially insisting that Khashoggi left the building alive, Saudi officials acknowledged that the journalist was killed more than two weeks after the murder. But Riyadh insists that the assassination was a rogue operation that happened without the approval of top officials.

The murder sent shockwaves throughout Washington, amplifying criticism against the kingdom in Congress, but former President Donald Trump moved to shield Riyadh and particularly the crown prince from the fallout.

The Trump administration had refused a legally binding congressional request to release a report on the US intelligence community’s findings about the involvement of Saudi officials in the murder.

The administration of President Biden, who had called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” as a presidential candidate in 2019, made the report public on Friday, documenting what experts had been saying for years – that the murder, which involved the crown prince’s aides, could not have happened without his blessing.

Saudi Arabia was quick to reject the findings, calling the US assessment “negative, false and unacceptable”.

‘Free pass’

While rights groups hailed the release of the report as a step towards ensuring accountability for the murder, the administration’s failure to impose sanctions on the lead perpetrator left many disappointed.

“The Biden administration is trying to thread the needle. They want to continue to work with a partner that has committed a heinous act against a US resident, while taking some steps toward accountability,” Seth Binder, advocacy officer at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), told MEE.

“But if human rights is really going to be at the center of US foreign policy, as the administration has repeatedly stated, then it can’t give murderers a free pass.”

Before taking office, Biden vowed to “reassess” US-Saudi relations. Since his inauguration, he has paused some arms sales to Riyadh and announced an end to Washington’s support for the kingdom’s “offensive operations” in Yemen.

Still, many rights advocates and lawmakers are demanding a more forceful approach to Riyadh and MBS from Washington.

‘We’re calling on the Biden administration to move ahead with accountability measures to sanction MBS personally’

– Raed Jarrar, DAWN

“We’re calling on the Biden administration to move ahead with accountability measures to sanction MBS personally, along with everyone else who is implicated in that killing,” said Raed Jarrar, advocacy director at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).

Established last year in Washington, DAWN, a rights group, was envisioned by Khashoggi before his murder.

Speaking at a news conference after the release of the report, Jarrar urged ending US weapons sales to the kingdom. “Transparency is meaningless without accountability,” he said.

Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said many rights advocates are “disappointed” in Washington’s decision against sanctioning MBS. 

He added that Congress and the Biden administration should halt offensive arms sales to Saudi Arabia, not only over the murder of Khashoggi, but also for the mistreatment of dissidents at home and war crimes in Yemen.

“And this goes for France. And this

Congress members call for sanctions

Leading Congress members from Biden’s own Democratic Party said on Friday that the president should impose sanctions on MBS.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced on Friday that she will be introducing a bill to penalise the crown prince. She called the release of the report a “turning point” in US-Saudi relations.

“To this day, we continue to supply Saudi Arabia with US arms that are used to commit human rights abuses around the world,” the congresswoman said in a statement. 

“To this day, we still cooperate with the Saudi regime on defensive war efforts – including intelligence sharing. These must end. And there must be direct consequences for Mohamed bin Salman and his functionaries.”Will the CIA report cost Mohammed bin Salman his throne?

Congressman Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee who has been pushing for making the report public, hailed releasing the assessment but said the administration should do more to hold MBS accountable.

He decried going after those who carried out the assassination, but not the leader who ordered it.

“The report itself is pretty remarkable in saying in no uncertain terms that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered the capture or killing of an American resident and journalist, that essentially the crown prince has blood on his hands,” Schiff told CNN. 

“I would like to see the administration go beyond what it is announced in terms of repercussions to make sure there are repercussions directly to the crown prince.”

Ron Wyden, a key Senate Democrat, also underscored the need to ensure that MBS is punished for the murder.

“By naming Mohammed bin Salman as the amoral murderer responsible for this heinous crime, the Biden-Harris administration is beginning to finally reassess America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and make clear that oil won’t wash away blood,” he said in a statement.

“There is still far more to do to ensure that the Saudi government follows international laws. There should be personal consequences for MBS – he should suffer sanctions, including financial, travel and legal – and the Saudi government should suffer grave consequences as long as he remains in the government.”

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Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

California Collapsing

Martin Sieff

February 24, 2021©

California now fulfills Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s nightmare vision in his prophetic masterpiece “The Possessed” as to what unlimited liberalism must inevitably create – if not stopped in its tracks and rolled back.

Where California goes today, the rest of the United States and much of the Western world goes tomorrow. But what we are now seeing in America’s most populous state is the complete internal collapse of the entire liberal progressive civilization and the society that has most frantically tried to fulfill it

For well over a hundred years, California, the self-styled “Golden State” has trail-blazed  the future of America especially through the two famously American industries of aerospace and motion pictures. Telecommunications, computers and Artificial Intelligence are now led from Silicon Valley and the state has dominated the national politics of the United States too.

California rapidly grew into the wealthiest and largest population US state. It has produced two two-term presidents (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan), one of the most important Chief Justices of the Supreme Court (Earl Warren) and the likely next president – current Vice President Kamala Harris if 78-year-old Joe Biden cannot complete his term.

From 1928 to 2004, 14 out of 19 winning presidential election tickets included someone from either California or Texas and Biden’s choice of Harris put California back at the heart of national electoral politics last year.

Politically, California remains rock solid liberal. It has not elected a single Republican to national or statewide office since reelecting incumbent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown notoriously notoriously handed out state accreditation and driving licenses to untold hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, secure in the knowledge that they would all vote Democrat and so it proved. Registered Democrats now hold a 46 percent to 24 percent advantage over registered Republicans statewide.

California also holds a cast-iron grip on the national Democratic leadership in Congress through House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her key allies such as Congressman Adam Schiff, whose farcical bungles in the two impeachments of President Donald Trump did not dent his immutable position as one of Pelosi’s most youthful favored sons (he is merely 60) at all.

Yet now, California is in terminal collapse and crisis. Governor Gavin Newsom, farcically promoted by the national Mainstream Media (MSM) as a heroic White Knight in Shining Armor in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring has been exposed even in his own state as a catastrophic bungler and hypocrite who has never had a clue what he was – or more usually was not – doing. As I write, California’s sick and tired citizens are close to providing the 1.5 million signatures necessary to pull Newsom into what would certainly be a chaotic recall election.

California was also ravaged last year by the worst wild fires in its history. The slavish media – told what to think by the mindless Los Angeles Times (once a great newspaper) and even more infantile San Francisco Chronicle – bent over backwards to avoid acknowledging the real causes but they have been exhaustively documented.

Witless romantic Green environmental policies scrapped the centuries old, wise practices of creating firebreaks in forests between clumps of trees that would limit fire outbreaks in hot weather. Far from “protecting the trees” and wildlife, as the kneejerk Greens demanded, the ending of windbreak spaces instead allowed forest fires to blaze on an unprecedented scale and at record speed.

At the same time, multiple millions of people sweated in even luxury suburbs through the rolling heat waves without any air conditioning relief because the state electric grid -another victim of ignorant Green prejudice falsely masquerading as “science” – repeatedly collapsed, unable to generate the necessary reliable requisite power levels at vital times.

Los Angeles, the state’s largest city and arguably the most populous now in the United States, has become a byword for violent crime and especially the stronghold of the enormous, ultraviolent and rapidly growing MS 13 organization, routinely mislabeled as a mere “gang” in media reports. MS 13 has up to 50,000 members worldwide of whom at least 10,000, officially, and probably twice as many according to the private assessments of many police officers are in LA.

The Trump administration had remarkable success – again unacknowledged in the liberal media – in deporting many thousands of MS 13 members. However, President Joe Biden has already ensured with his initial Executive Orders that the old open border policies of both Democratic presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and Republican ones (Ronald Reagan and both George Bush’s) is being restored so they can flood back in again.

San Francisco – America’s “anything goes” city – is in even worse shape. Its most famous, historically popular and beautiful stylish locations are now swamped with aggressive, unsanitary street people who openly urinate and defecate in the streets. Public services, long superb, are now appalling.

Even the mindless liberal suburban classes who have relentlessly voted for and imposed these catastrophic polices over the past 40 and more years are now fleeing California as property values crash and taxes become too crushing even for them.

If California continues to trail-blaze the future for the rest of the United States, that future is now clear: It is a high taxation society with a huge, impoverished, unemployed and unemployable destitute class where the middle class is annihilated, organized gangs and general chaotic street crime including muggings, rapes and murders metastasize in all major urban areas and gangs more numerous and heavily armed than the police operate openly with impunity.

It is a society where unlimited abortion on demand to and even beyond the point of birth is acclaimed as a “moral” imperative supposedly superior to all the Ten Commandments.

For California now fulfills Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s nightmare vision in his prophetic masterpiece “The Possessed” or “The Devils ” as to what unlimited liberalism must inevitably create – if not stopped in its tracks and rolled back.

As goes California, so goes the rest of the United States: For a hundred years, since the infant silent movie industry entranced the entire world before and during World War I, that simple mantra has held true.

But if America’s future now has no future – what future can the rest of America look forward to?

Iran Rejects US Claim for Self-defense in Soleimani Case

Iran Rejects US Claim for Self-defense in Soleimani Case

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations [UN] said the US claim for legitimate self-defense in case of the January 2020 assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani is overwhelmingly rejected.

At the UN Security Council Open Arria Formula Meeting which was held in New York on February 24, Majid Takht Ravanchi called on the world to strongly stand against some countries which misuse “legitimate self-defense” to excuse their illegitimate measures.

The Feb 24 UN meeting focused on ” Upholding the collective security system of the UN Charter: the use of force in international law, non-state actors and legitimate self-defense.”

“First, the prohibition of the threat or use of force, save the two exceptional cases authorized by the Charter, is one of the greatest accomplishments of our Organization. This is a cardinal principle of international law, the preservation and full observance of which is our collective responsibility that must be fulfilled responsibly,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

“Second, states have intrinsically an obligation to protect their citizens and territories and accordingly, enjoy an inherent right to self-defense. The term “inherent”, clearly and adequately reflects the natural foundations and essential importance of this right, which of course, must be exercised only “if an armed attack occurs”. These are the well-drafted and well-crafted terms of the Charter. Obviously, it must also meet the criteria of necessity, proportionality, and immediacy,” he added.

There is a growing tendency by some states to resort to the threat or use of force through abusing the inherent right to self-defense, the ambassador noted, explaining that when the US forces, at the direct order of their President, brutally assassinated martyr Soleimani in Iraq, in gross violation of the basic norms and principles of international law, the US Government, through its communication to the Security Council President, desperately attempted to justify such an obvious act of terrorism through a series of fabrications and an extremely arbitrary interpretation of the Charter’s Article 51.

“Many international law scholars and practitioners have categorically rejected such an interpretation of the right to self-defense,” Takht -Ravanchi underscored.

Fourth, this alarming trend must be a source of serious concern to all States, and every effort must be made to reverse this extremely dangerous process. If unchecked, the right to self-defense will not only be abused more frequently by such States but also, will institute further exceptions to the principle of the prohibition of the threat or use of force, he added.

Fifth, measures taken in self-defense shall be reported to the Council “immediately”, Iran’s envoy emphasized.

Source

The Ukraine’s many ticking time bombs

THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 23, 2021

While the Ukraine has mostly been out of the news, there were bigger stories out there, things have gone disastrously wrong under “Ze” (Zelenskii) and the Ukraine is now looking at several time bombs which could explode at any minute. Here is a partial list of problems which the Ze administration will have to deal with in 2021: (in no particular order)

  1. The strengthening of the internal opposition to Ze’s rule
  2. The COVID pandemic, the vaccine scandal and the crumbling Ukrainian infrastructure
  3. The crackdown on free speech
  4. The persecution of opponents inside and even outside the Ukraine
  5. The (limited) rise of (putatively pro-Russian) OPZZh party
  6. The sharp rise in European rhetoric against Russia which the Ze admin will want to match and cater to
  7. The hardening of the positions of the LDNR
  8. A further increase in US/NATO saber rattling and provocations
  9. The regime in Kiev openly planning for a war against Russia

Still, before looking at each one of these threats, I think that we need to first look at what the Zelenskii presidency has meant to the Ukraine. To make a long story short, many (most?) Ukrainians are now realizing two things: first Zelenskii made many promises and kept none of them and, second, Zelenskii is even worse than Poroshenko (which is hard to believe or even imagine, but such is the sad truth). Early on, it did appear that Zelenskii might bring some real “change we can believe in”, the main one being that he would take action against the various Nazi death squads and open real negotiations with the Donbass. Neither of those actually happened. Zelenskii is clearly terrified of the political and military power of the nationalists and far from forcing the Ukronazis to abide by the rule of law, Ze comprehensively caved in to their agenda.

It is not my purpose today to analyse in detail what Zelenskii did or did not do, I will simply summarize it all by saying that Zelenskii was all talk and no action. Literally, he has completely neglected the many crises which have plagued the Ukraine since the so-called “revolution of dignity”. What he did do is preside over a sharp increase in the scope and magnitude of suppression of free speech (more about that below). He also tightened laws against the Russian language. And, of course, Ukrainian Su-27s escorted US B-1Bs along the border between Russia and the Ukraine (makes me wonder if these Ukrainian pilots have any honor or dignity left! But no, they are just servants, that’s all, meek servants of their overseas masters). These are just a few examples of purely political actions which are “for show only” but which do absolutely nothing to actually address any real problem.

A perfect example of this “all talk no action” approach was how Ze dealt with the COVID pandemic in the Ukraine. First, opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow and came up with a plan to help the Ukraine deal with the COVID pandemic: Russia would hand over her vaccine-development technologies to the Ukraine’s only advanced pharmaceutical company which could then produce Sputnik-V for the needs of the Ukrainian population first, and then for export. Considering that neither the EU nor the US has any inclination to offer vaccines to the Ukraine, and considering that the Ukraine has zero chances of developing its own vaccine, this solution would seem a no-brainer. But not in the ugly Banderastan the Ukronazis created on the ashes of the real Ukraine. Instead, the Ukrainian authorities announced that they would be getting their vaccines from China. There were only two problems with this “solution”: 1) the Chinese vaccine is only about 50%+ effective and 2) the money allocated to this purchase was immediately stolen and has now disappeared (it is being investigated, of course, but we all know how such “investigations” end). However, with all the hysterical anti-Russian propaganda of the Ukrainian Nazis, it was quite unthinkable for them to accept anything Russian publicly, including a vaccine (away from the public eye, the Ukraine still purchases a lot of things from Russia, including energy). Russia is, after all, a fake “Rus” populated by Ugro-Mongols (not “pure Slavs” like the Ukrainians imagine themselves to be), it is “Putin’s Mordor” and, last but not least, Russia is the official “aggressor-country”, how can a proud Ukie nationalist accept *anything* from this demonic country, even if this saves his life?

Besides, Ze personally explained that Sputnik-V has not been properly tested and that he did now want to turn the Ukrainian people into “guinea pigs” (apparently, he and his advisors are too dumb to read The Lancet; either that, or they don’t mind their own people dying as long as the priorities of political discourse are upheld). As a result, while normal Ukrainians are denied any possibility of vaccination, wealthy Ukrainians are already organizing special trips to Russia to get vaccinated (US diplomats in Moscow are also getting the Russian vaccine).

As a result of this kind of ideology-driven “policies”, the Ukraine is now begging the West for any vaccine (even the clearly dangerous ones!). In response, the US gave the Ukraine a refrigerator (presumably to keep any future vaccines properly refrigerated). As for the Ukrainian medical infrastructure it is, just like the rest of the Ukraine’s infrastructure, in shambles. In fact, it was in shambles long before the COVID pandemic. All the pandemic did was to make things worse and reveal the truth to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the COVID pandemic is hardly the only medical crisis facing the Ukraine: with a crumbling infrastructure, demoralized, demotivated and underpaid Ukrainian MDs who work in terrible conditions (many have emigrated, many to Russia, by the way), and no funds to deal with anything (the Ukraine is broke and is barely keeping one nostril above water by means of western loans). This situation is similar to the one Russia faced in the 90s during the “blessed times of democracy and freedom”, as seen by the West, and the “nightmare of the 90s”, as seen by most Russians.

It would not be honest to say that Ze did not try to deal with these problems at all. He did something: he ordered a massive crackdown against the opposition. These measures included banning, by executive order, the last three (rather moderate) opposition TV channels, by charging a Ukrainian blogger who lives in Spain with, I kid you not, “high treason” and by imposing sanctions on several opposition figures, beginning by Medvedchuk. And just to clarify – none of this was done legally or even in a vaguely lawful manner (how can a country impose sanctions on its own citizens? And without any judicial review!) . As expected, the US Embassy in Kiev gave these repressive measures their full and enthusiastic support. After all, according to Uncle Shmuel, this is all about “countering Russian disinformation”. In sharp contrast, the Ukranian public immediately understood what this meant (the Russian language Internet has also been blocked in the Ukronazi Banderastan, as are Russian social networks, books, art, music, etc.).

Like the typical imperial satrap that he is, Ze now rules almost exclusively by executive orders, always backed by the “muscle” of the Ukrainian “security services” (which, in reality, are the typical kind of absolutely corrupt third world “secret police” which the regular citizens are fearful of, but which those connected to the regime can always use as their personal terror squads; the Ukie “SBU” really reminds me of the kind of death squads I remember from Latin America in the 70s and 80s, say like this one).

Of course, the main reason for this crackdown on free speech can be found in the dramatic loss of popularity of Ze himself, but also because the arguments of the opposition are now becoming more popular, giving the opposition a sense of confidence. Alas, this confidence might not be warranted.

Let’s take the most famous Ukrainian opposition party, the “Opposition Platform for Life” abbreviated (in Russian) “OPZZh”. In the 2019 elections the OPZZh did very well, it came in as the 2nd party in the Rada after the “People’s Servant” party of Ze. That is true. But what is often forgotten is that OPZZh came in 2nd with only 13.05% of the vote and, even more importantly, the OPZZh has already “maxed out” its electoral potential. Why? Because this party is perceived by most Ukrainians as being pro-Russian and most Ukrainians are not pro-Russian at all. Many decades of anti-Russian and nationalist propaganda, from the Krushchev years up to today, combined with a massive and sustained Ukronazi propaganda aired by western radio stations and media, all have left their devastating impact on the self-perception and ethos of the Ukrainian people. This is especially true since the Ukraine lost both Crimea and the Donbass, which were strongholds of anti-Nazi political opposition to the Ukronazi regime. I just don’t see regions like Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk or Zhitomir ever giving a majority vote to the OPZZh, even if southern and eastern regions might. So while the OPZZh might get some more votes (say, in the southern regions of the Ukraine), it will probably never be enough to turn this self-described opposition party into a ruling one.

There used to be an alliance of opposition parties called “Opposition Block” which brought together various opposition movements and parties. Now its members have gone either to the OPZZh or founded their own sub-groups (like the 2019 version of the Opposition Block). The former Party of Regions has dissolved in abject shame, its clueless leaders mostly in exile, but a few strong and outspoken opposition figures did come from it, including Elena Bondarenko and Elena Lukash. I should also mention the name of Vadim Rabinovich, a very outspoken and articulate politician (whose main political liability is his Israeli passport).

All-in-all, there are definitely some interesting political figures in the opposition, but they do not, in my opinion, represent a viable option for the Kremlin and, frankly, they aren’t much of an option for the Ukraine either.

Still, for the Kremlin to put all its political eggs into the OPZZh basket does, to some degree, make sense. Why? Well, for one thing, OPZZh is the only major political force in the Ukraine willing to openly talk with the Kremlin. So you can say that the only option is by definition also the best one. But while Putin and the Russians are going through all the right motions with the Ukrainian opposition figures, I strongly suspect that the Kremlin knows what the real score is, and that this score looks very grim indeed. Simply put: there is no personality in the Ukraine capable of rallying enough people to finally kick Ze and his gang out of power. Why? Mostly because the Ukraine is ideologically and morally bankrupt. Well, financially, too, of course. But the main problem is that the only people with a vision for the future of the Ukraine are the Nazis. Nobody else is offering any halfway credible vision for the future of the Ukraine. Of course, this makes sense because the tragic truth is that the Ukraine has no future. None whatsoever. After all, it is an artificial country, created by Lenin and Khrushchev, whose national identity is solely based on hatred (see here and here) and whose constituent parts have mutually exclusive ideologies, beliefs and views.

It is quite remarkable that while under Poroshenko’s rule the opposition was persecuted both legally and illegally (unpunished murders of political dissidents happened in large numbers, nobody in the “democratic West” had anything to say about them!), Ze has actually gone one step further: he is clearly determined to declare that the entire opposition is composed not of Ukrainian opponents, but of traitors to the Ukraine, “Putin agents” and secret supporters of the “Russian world”. Hence, the latest series of crackdowns, lawsuits and administrative persecutions.

As always, the West only makes things worse. How? Well, since Biden won stole the US presidential election, the US-run comprador ruling classes in Europe are scrambling to show that they are just as anti-Russian as the new administration. That, in turn, encourages the regime in Kiev to show more anti-Russian aggression (in whatever form, does not really matter). This “change of tone” is immediately noticed in the Donbass and results in an escalation of the political rhetoric (and military “incidents”) in the LDNR. That, in turn, impacts the Russian political scene and resulted in things like the trip of Margarita Simonian, the editor-in-chief of the television news network RT and of the state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, to Donetsk were she publicly declared “Russia, mother, take the Donbass back home!” (“Россия, матушка, забери Донбасс домой!”). Of course, she insisted that this was her private opinion and that she was not speaking in any official capacity, which is true. But what is also true is that Simonian is a popular figure in Russia, and her words were immediately discussed on all the talkshows, VK, blogs and all the major TV channels. Everybody understands that while she was speaking in her own name, she was acutely aware of, shall we say, the “mood” in the Kremlin (and of the Russian street!) and that her saying that now will have a noticeable impact on the Russian political discourse, both the official onе and on the Russian Internet (Runet). This is a potentially very dangerous sequence:

  1. The US ups its anti-Russian rhetoric.
  2. The Europeans immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  3. The Ukronazis also immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  4. The LDNR republics warn of escalation and increase pressure on Russia.
  5. The Russians react to all of the above and harden both their rhetoric and actions.
  6. The West feels like it has to show its military power, but can only do so symbolically.
  7. Russia uses actual military capabilities to oppose western symbolic actions.
  8. The West accuses Russia of military escalation.
  9. The Russians officially declare that the West is 1) non-agreement capable (old argument) and 2) hypocritical beyond words.
  10. The West then uses its “soft” (political) power to harass Russia, only further making things worse (see #1 above)

This is exactly the kind of open-ended escalation which can result in a major cataclysm. As for Ukronazis politicians, they flood the air with triumphant declarations about their “new” missile “Neptune” which they could use to destroy the Crimean Bridge (see here or here for a good laugh!). Of course, the Russians know that the “new” Neptune missile is just a modernization of the old, 1980s era, Soviet Kh-35 missile, a subsonic missile with a 145kg (320lbs) warhead. The original Kh-35 had a 130km (70nmi) range, which was bumped up to 300km (160nmi) in Russia in 2015. The “new” Neptune also has a 300km range. In plain English this means three things: 1) the Russian air defenses can easily shoot down this slow flying missile 2) a 145kg warhead can’t do any meaningful damage to a huge structure like the Crimea Bridge and 3) Kiev is still up to no good and dreams of a reconquista.

But that is not all! Kiev is also promising to 1) build a new naval base not only on the Black Sea coast, but also on the Sea of Azov and 2) they are now working with the UK to build up these capabilities. Best of all, the western and Ukrainian propaganda outlets are open declaring that this is a strategy to defeat Russia (for a good laugh, read this). The truth is this: nevermind the Sea of Azov, the entire Black Sea is now a de facto “Russian lake” and Russia has the means to destroy any ship sailing the Black Sea within minutes, everybody knows that, at least anybody with any military background. In case of conflict, the survival time of these two Ukrainian bases would be counted not even in minutes, but in seconds. Deploying any force so near to the Russian border is basically suicidal.

One more example of the kind of insanity which has taken over the Ukraine with Ze in power: believe it or not, but the Ze administration has explained that the Ukraine gave NATO the “authorization” to overfly Crimea. Again, this is such a self-evidently stupid idea that I won’t discuss it on its merits. All I want you to do is imagine hearing all that crazy stuff if you were a Russian decision maker: would you simply ignore these nutcases or would you take the needed measures to make sure that none of that ever happens. Even Lavrov recently quoted the famous Roman wisdom “si vis pacem, para bellum” which, considering that Lavrov is most definitely a “moderate” tells you all you need to know about Russian responses to all this insanity.

The sad truth is that Ze’s Ukraine is no more viable than Poroshenko’s was. In fact, I would argue that the Ukraine is cracking at all its seams and that the only solution left just to delay, but not prevent, a Somalia-like style collapse is to import everything from abroad: from the EU, of course, but also from Russia (especially energy) which continues to provide the Ukraine with energy, even if this is rarely advertised (especially in the Ukraine). The Ukrainian energy sector is in ruins, as is the Ukrainian agricultural sector (the “agrarian superpower” promise also failed to deliver; it reminds me of Krushchev’s “corn crusade”…). None of that is ever reported in the West (for a good laugh, see herehere or here) except buried deeply in some reports like this rare admission “The informal sector in Ukraine is estimated to account for a third of the country’s GDP, and GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) is only 20% of the EU average”.

The reality of the collapse of the Ukraine is so serious that the international community has decided to provide COVID vaccines to the Ukraine through the COVAX program which Wikipedia defines as “the financing instrument that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income economies to access to COVID-19 vaccine funded by donors”. In fact, the decision has been made that the Ukraine will be amongst the first countries to benefit from this international aid program. Okay, in plain English this means this: since the Ukraine cannot produce a vaccine, and since the Ukraine has no money to purchase vaccines abroad, and since the epidemiological situation in the Ukraine (and in all the other poor countries) represents a real danger for developed and wealthy countries too, it only makes sense for the rich to inoculate the poor, if only to avoid being contaminated by them (yet another case of self-interest masquerading as charity).

The richer countries will have no option but to pay for the costs to inoculate those people who live in failed states and other indigent countries. Yet, even Ze himself had to admit that even this will not be enough. It sure looks to me like the US will peddle its worst vaccines (Pfizer) to the Ukrainians and still make a profit. Some opponents of the regime, like Anatolii Sharii (the blogger living in Spain and accused of “high treason”) suggested to do with the Russian vaccines what the Ukraine has already done with Russian energy: don’t buy it from Russia but, instead, let Russia sell her vaccines (Russia is the only country in the world with 3 tested and fully approved vaccines) to the EU which then can re-sell it to the Ukraine, thereby obfuscating the “aggressor-nation” origin of the vaccine from the public eye. This technique, called a “reverse”, is what the EU and the regime in Kiev came up with to avoid admitting the absolutely inadmissible fact that the Ukraine still only exists because Russia allows it to (if Russia was to cut off all ties with the Ukraine the latter would quickly collapse, if only because of a lack of energy).

But no country can live by “reversing” everything. Not only are “reversed” goods more expensive than the original ones (transportation costs money), but it’s not like the EU has enough energy or vaccines for itself. And while the Europeans have lied to the Ukrainians about pretty much everything and made innumerable promises about how the Ukraine will become “the next Germany” in the EU, the sad reality is that nobody in the EU gives a damn about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. EU politicians don’t even care about their own people, why should they care about anybody except themselves anyway? Remember, this is the “new EU” where the only truly “European values” left are greed, power and psychopathic hypocrisy. From now on when you think Europe, don’t think Henry Dunant (the founder of the Red Cross movement, long before Clara Barton who only founded the American Red Cross 18 years later) or J.S. Bach, but think Conchita Wurst: that is the new, Woke, face of Europe.

In fact, I would even argue that the *only* country in the world where people still *truly* care about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people remains Russia. This idea is, of course, 100% pure crimethink which nobody in the West will ever admit to it. Sadly, there are plenty of signs indicating that the traditional love the Russian people had for the Ukraine is quickly being replaced by a strong sense of disgust.

In this highly unfavorable backdrop it is now also becoming increasingly impossible for the Ukrainian propaganda machine to conceal the scope and magnitude of the deep crisis affecting the country: the quickening pace of the collapse of the Ukrainian infrastructure is simply impossible to conceal. And does one conceal stuff like the severe shortages in goods and services? Or how do you conceal an electricity outage?

Conclusion:

The Ukraine is facing a range of major problems which are unlikely to remain contained to the territory of the Ukraine. Things like crime, or a pandemic, or the rule of the mob are very hard to contain. Sooner or later these inevitably bleed over the border to the neighboring country which then, in turn, has to face the same threats. In theory, Russia, the US and the EU could get together and agree on an international rescue plan, but since the US and EU consider that they are playing a zero sum game against Russia, no western politician will ever openly advocate for a real collaboration with Putin’s Mordor. Putin recently declared that “why does everything revolve around the Nord Stream — 2? They want to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project “Ukraine”, that’s all. In fact, everything is quite primitive, everything is simple, we have long understood this, but this is the world in which we live”. Needless to say, Russia won’t agree to foot the bill for this disastrous experiment russophobic ethnogenesis, if only because she simply does not have the kind of reserves to pay for such a huge program. At most, Russia will continue to help the Donbass, and even in this case Russia (or the LDNR republics) could consider demanding reparations from Kiev and its western sponsors. Again, knowing how western arbitration courts work, that won’t happen either.

I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that the Donbass or Crimea will ever agree to return under Kiev’s rule, not de facto and not de jure. That is a given. Neither do I believe that the rump Ukraine is a viable entity. The only conclusion I can come to is this: a breakup of the Ukraine might be inevitable. In fact, such a breakup might even be desirable for all parties (except the russophobic warmongering ruling classes of the AngloZionist Empire who want to destroy Russia at any and all cost).

TURKEY’S ETERNAL CRUSADE ON PKK CONTINUES

South Front

Turkey is unrelenting in its crusade against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party and the People’s Protection Units, as two parts of a whole.

Ankara’s forces carry out frequent operations within and without the country, targeting both the Kurdistan Worker’s Party s (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG)’s interests and members. The Turkish government dubs both groups as terrorists, and does not shy away from invading the sovereign territory of other countries to pursue and “eliminate” their members and positions.

As a result, Turkey frequently encroaches on Syrian and Iraqi territory, and even has observation posts set up to target its Kurdish enemy.

It strongly opposes the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group whose core is comprised of the YPG, and receives heavy US support.

Most recently, between February 10th and the 14th, Turkey began its most recent operation in northern Iraq. In particular, it took place on the Gara Mountain in the Duhok Governorate of the Kurdistan Region. The result was such that both the PKK and the Turkish Armed Forces claimed victory, following the operation. The accounts of what transpired vary.

Turkey said it killed 53 PKK members, and captured 2. It admitted to losing 3 soldiers, while 4 of its troops were wounded in battle. According to the PKK, Turkey lost at least 30 soldiers, and dozens more were injured. A sort of collateral damage involved 13 Turkish hostages whose corpses were discovered in a cave network in the mountain area. Turkey and the US claimed that these were largely civilians, and some intelligence officers. The PKK claimed these were 13 Turkish military hostages. Turkey’s Defense Minister claimed many weapons and ammunition, as well as other equipment were seized.

In the aftermath, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expand military operations which showed progress to other regions where threats are still significant.

Ankara’s aggressive and assertive actions are making many of the involved parties dissatisfied. Regardless it keeps carrying them out and shows no intention of stopping.

In Iraq, the Al-Nujaba Islamic Resistance Movement issued a warning to the Turkish Army against invading the country any longer. It said that it would suffer the same fate as the American Army whose convoys and positions continue to be targeted. Iraq maintains the posture that Turkey must withdraw fully from its sovereign territory. It should simply pack up its bases in the north of the country and vacate the premises.

In response, Turkey maintains that the West, and Iraq’s government aren’t doing enough to counter the alleged terrorist threat. Ankara claims it has its right of self-defense, even if it requires invading other countries.

Operation Claw Eagle 2 was of questionable success, if the numbers by the PKK are to be considered, against those provided by Turkey. These operations, however, are unlikely to stop, both in Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan seems hell-bent on solving all “security issues” and expanding Turkish activities in regions that are deemed threatening to Ankara’s interests.

Related

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

February 22, 2021

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The late Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski for some time dispensed wisdom as an oracle of US foreign policy, side by side with the perennial Henry Kissinger – who, in vast swathes of the Global South, is regarded as nothing but a war criminal.

Brzezinski never achieved the same notoriety. At best he claimed bragging rights for giving the USSR its own Vietnam in Afghanistan – by facilitating the internationalization of Jihad Inc., with all its dire, subsequent consequences.

Over the years, it was always amusing to follow the heights Dr. Zbig would reach with his Russophobia. But then, slowly but surely, he was forced to revise his great expectations. And finally he must have been truly horrified that his perennial Mackinder-style geopolitical fears came to pass – beyond the wildest nightmares.

Not only Washington had prevented the emergence of a “peer competitor” in Eurasia, but the competitor is now configured as a strategic partnership between Russia and China.

Dr. Zbig was not exactly versed in Chinese matters. His misreading of China may be found in his classic A Geostrategy for Eurasia published in – where else – Foreign Affairs in 1997:

Building in Beijing

Although China is emerging as a regionally dominant power, it is not likely to become a global one for a long time. The conventional wisdom that China will be the next global power is breeding paranoia outside China while fostering megalomania in China. It is far from certain that China’s explosive growth rates can be maintained for the next two decades. In fact, continued long-term growth at the current rates would require an unusually felicitous mix of national leadership, political tranquility, social discipline, high savings, massive inflows of foreign investment, and regional stability. A prolonged combination of all of these factors is unlikely.

Dr. Zbig added,

Even if China avoids serious political disruptions and sustains its economic growth for a quarter of a century — both rather big ifs — China would still be a relatively poor country. A tripling of GDP would leave China below most nations in per capita income, and a significant portion of its people would remain poor. Its standing in access to telephones, cars, computers, let alone consumer goods, would be very low.

Oh dear. Not only Beijing hit all the targets Dr. Zbig proclaimed were off limits, but the central government also eliminated poverty by the end of 2020.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping once observed, “at present, we are still a relatively poor nation. It is impossible for us to undertake many international proletarian obligations, so our contributions remain small. However, once we have accomplished the four modernizations and the national economy has expanded, our contributions to mankind, and especially to the Third World, will be greater. As a socialist country, China will always belong to the Third World and shall never seek hegemony.”

What Deng described then as the Third World – a Cold War-era derogatory terminology – is now the Global South. And the Global South is essentially the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on steroids, as in the Spirit of Bandung in 1955 remixed to the Eurasian Century.

Cold Warrior Dr. Zbig was obviously not a Daoist monk – so he could never abandon the self to enter the Dao, the most secret of all mysteries.

Had he been alive to witness the dawn of the Year of the Metal Ox, he might have noticed how China, expanding on Deng’s insights, is de facto applying practical lessons derived from Daoist correlative cosmology: life as a system of interacting opposites, engaging with each other in constant change and evolution, moving in cycles and feedback loops, always mathematically hard to predict with exactitude.

A practical example of simultaneously opening and closing is the dialectical approach of Beijing’s new “dual circulation” development strategy. It’s quite dynamic, relying on checks and balances between increase of domestic consumption and external trade/investments (the New Silk Roads).

Peace is Forever War

Now let’s move to another oracle, a self-described expert of what in the Beltway is known as the “Greater Middle East”: Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC, certified warmongering neo-con, and one-half of the famous Kaganate of Nulands – as the joke went across Eurasia – side by side with his wife, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, who’s about to re-enter government as part of the Biden-Harris administration.

Kagan is back pontificating in – where else – Foreign Affairs, which published his latest superpower manifesto. That’s where we find this absolute pearl:

That Americans refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as “forever wars” is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats. In both cases, Americans had one foot out the door the moment they entered, which hampered their ability to gain control of difficult situations.

So let’s get this straight. The multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars are “relatively low-cost”; tell that to the multitudes suffering the Via Crucis of US crumbling infrastructure and appalling standards in health and education. If you don’t support the Forever Wars – absolutely necessary to preserve the “liberal world order” – you are “intolerant”.

“Preserving a general peace” does not even qualify as a joke, coming from someone absolutely clueless about realities on the ground. As for what the Beltway defines as “vibrant civil society” in Afghanistan, that in reality revolves around millennia-old tribal custom codes: it has nothing to do with some neocon/woke crossover. Moreover, Afghanistan’s GDP – after so much American “help” – remains even lower than Saudi-bombed Yemen’s.

Exceptionalistan will not leave Afghanistan. A deadline of May 1st was negotiated in Doha last year for the US/NATO to remove all troops. That’s not gonna happen.

The spin is already turbocharged: the Deep State handlers of Joe “Crash Test Dummy” Biden will not respect the deadline. Everyone familiar with the New Great Game on steroids across Eurasia knows why: a strategic lily pad must be maintained at the intersection of Central and South Asia to help closely monitor – what else – Brzezinski’s worst nightmare: the Russia-China strategic partnership.

As it stands we have 2,500 Pentagon + 7,000 NATO troops + a whole lot of “contractors” in Afghanistan. The spin is that they can’t leave because the Taliban – which de facto control from 52% to as much as 70% of the whole tribal territory – will take over.

To see, in detail, how this whole sorry saga started, non-oracle skeptics could do worse than check Volume 3 of my Asia Times archives: Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 1 (2001-2004) . Part 2 will be out soon. Here they will find how the multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars – so essential to “preserve the peace” – actually developed on the ground, in total contrast to the official imperial narrative influenced, and defended, by Kagan.

With oracles like these, the US definitely does not need enemies.

Bernays and Propaganda – Democracy Control

February 21, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Capitol_Sunrise-1024x576.jpg

From their experiences in the formulation, manipulation and control of public perception and opinion with the CPI, both Lippman and Bernays later wrote of their open contempt for a “malleable and hopelessly ill-informed public” in America. (1) Lippmann had already written that the people in a democracy were simply “a bewildered herd” of “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” (2) who should be maintained only as “interested spectators”, to be controlled by the elite “secret government”. They concluded that in a multi-party electoral system (a democracy), public opinion had to be “created by an organized intelligence” and “engineered by an invisible government”, with the people relegated to the status of uninformed observers, a situation that has existed without interruption in the US for the past 95 years. Bernays believed that only a few possessed the necessary insight into the Big Picture to be entrusted with this sacred task, and considered himself as one member of this select few.

“Throughout his career, Bernays was utterly cynical in his manipulation of the masses. In complete disregard of the personal importance of their sincerely held values, aspirations, emotions, and beliefs, he saw them as having no significance beyond their use as tools in the furtherance of whatever were the commercial and political ends of his hirers.”

In his book ‘Propaganda’, (3) (3a)(4) Bernays wrote, “It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was not possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace. The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Bernays’ original project was to ensure US entry into the European war, but later he primarily concerned himself with the entrenchment of the twin systems of electoral democracy and unrestricted capitalism the elites had created for their benefit, and with their defense in the face of increased unrest, resistance, and ideological opposition. Discovering that the bewildered herd was not so compliant as he wished, Bernays claimed a necessity to apply “the discipline of science”, i.e., the psychology of propaganda, to the workings of democracy, where his social engineers “would provide the modern state with a foundation upon which a new stability might be realized”. This was what Lippmann termed the necessity of “intelligence and information control” in a democracy, stating that propaganda “has a legitimate and desirable part to play in our democratic system”. Both men pictured modern American society as being dominated by “a relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses”. To Bernays, this was the “logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized”, failing to note that it was his European handlers who organised it this way in the first place.

Lippman and Bernays were not independent in their perverted view of propaganda as a “necessity” of democracy, any more than they were in war marketing, drawing their theories and instruction from their Zionist masters in London. The multi-party electoral system was not designed and implemented because it was the most advanced form of government but rather because it alone offered the greatest opportunities to corrupt politicians through control of money and to manipulate public opinion through control of the press. In his book The Engineering of Consent, (5) (5a) Bernays baldly stated that “The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process”. In other words, the essence of a democracy is that a few “invisible people” manipulate the bewildered herd into believing they are in control of a transparent system of government, by choosing one of two pre-selected candidates who are already bought and paid for by the same invisible people.

Even before the war, the ‘secret government’, i.e., the European handlers of Lippman and Bernays, had fully recognised the possibilities for large-scale population control and had developed far-reaching ambitions of their own in terms of “Democracy Control”, and using the US government once again as a tool. Their interest was not limited to merely the American population, but quickly included much of the Western world. With Lippman and Bernays as their agents, these invisible people had the US government applying Bernays’ principles in nations all over the world, adding the CIA Project Mockingbird (6) (7) (8(9) (10), the VOA (11) (12), Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty, and much more to their tools of manipulation of the perceptions and beliefs of peoples of dozens of nations. The US State Department, by now totally onside, claimed that “propaganda abroad is indispensable” for what it termed “public information management”. It also recognised the need for absolute secrecy, stating that “if the American people ever get the idea that the high-powered propaganda machine was working on them, the result would be disaster”. But the high-powered machine was indeed working on them, and continued to an extent that might have impressed even Bernays.

The history of propaganda and its use in manipulating and controlling public opinion in the US, and in Western democracies generally, is a long story involving many apparently disparate and unrelated events. A major crisis point for elite control of American democracy was the Vietnam War, the one period in history when the American people were treated to accurate media coverage of what their government was actually doing in another country. Due to the horrific revelations of American torture and brutality, public protests were so widespread that the US was on the verge of anarchy and became almost ungovernable. Americans were tearing up their military draft notices and fleeing to Canada to escape military service. Streets and university campuses were overwhelmed with protests and riots, at least until Nixon ordered the students shot in the back. (13) (14) (15) That was in 1970, but in 1971, Daniel Ellsberg stole “The Pentagon Papers” from the RAND corporation where he worked, and leaked them to the media, and that was the beginning of the end. After the political fallout and Nixon’s resignation, Bernays’ secret government went into overdrive and the American political landscape changed forever.

A major part of this ‘democratic overdrive’ was the almost immediate creation in July of 1973 by David Rockefeller, Rothschild, and some “private citizens”, of a US-based think tank called ‘the Trilateral Commission’. (16) At the time, Rockefeller was Chairman of Rothschild’s Council on Foreign Relations as well as Chairman of the Rothschild-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Obama’s Foreign Policy Advisor, was a ‘co-founder’. The necessity for the formation of this group was officially attributed to the Middle-East oil crisis, but they focused on a much more important crisis – that of democracy, which was exhibiting clear signs of going where no man should go. At the time, with a modicum of free press remaining, the Washington Post published an article titled “Beware of the Trilateral commission” (17). They would not do so again. Any criticism of the Commission is today officially listed by the US government as a ‘conspiracy theory’. (18)

I could find no record of any report by the Trilateral Commission on the Mid-East oil crisis, and it appears their first major report, published by New York University in 1975 only two years after their formation, was titled, “The Crisis of Democracy” (19) (20), a lead writer of which was a Harvard professor named Samuel Huntington.

In the paper, Huntington stated that “The 1960’s witnessed an upsurge of democratic fervor in America”, with an alarming increase of citizens participating in marches, protests and demonstrations, all evidence of “a reassertion of equality as a goal in social, economic and political life”, equality being something no democracy can afford. He claimed, “The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960’s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, it manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services.”

Huntington, who had been a propaganda consultant to the US government during its war on Vietnam, further lamented that the common people no longer considered the elites and bankers to be superior and felt little obligation or duty to obey. We needn’t do much reading between the lines to see that Huntington’s real complaint was that the wealthy elites, those of the secret government, were coming under increasing public attack due to revelations of grand abuses of their wealth and power. They were no longer admired and respected, nor even particularly feared, but instead were increasingly despised. The people also abandoned trust in their government due to the realisation of the extensive infiltration of the White House and Congress by Bernays’ “shrewd operators”, leading to, in Huntington’s words, “a decline in the authority, status, influence, and effectiveness of the presidency”.

Huntington concluded that the US was suffering from “an excess of democracy”, writing that “the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires apathy and noninvolvement”, stating this was crucial because it was precisely these qualities of the public that “enabled democracy to function effectively”. True to his racist roots, he identified “the blacks” as one such group that was becoming “too democratic” and posing a danger to the political system. He ended his report by stating that “the vulnerability of democracy, essentially the ‘crisis of democracy’”, stemmed from a society that was becoming educated and was participating, and that the nation needed “a more balanced existence” with what he called “desirable limits to the extension of political democracy”. In other words, the real crisis in democracy was that the people were beginning to believe in the “government by the people, for the people” part, and not only actually becoming involved but beginning to despise and disobey those who had been running the country solely for their own financial and political advantage. And of course, the solution was to engineer a social situation with less education and democracy and more authority from the secret government of the elites.

Democracy, according to Huntington, consisted of the appearance but not the substance, a construct whereby the shrewd elites selected candidates for whom the people could pretend to vote, but who would be controlled by, and obey their masters. Having thus participated in ‘democracy’, the people would be expected to return to their normal state of apathy and noninvolvement.

Noam Chomsky also noted in an article that in the student activism of the 1960s and early 1970s, the nation apparently risked becoming too well educated, creating the Trilateral Commission’s ‘crisis of democracy’. In other words, the ignorance necessary for the maintenance of a multi-party government system was at risk of being eroded by students who were actually learning things that Bernays’ secret government didn’t want them to learn. “The Commission in a report decried the focus on what it called “special-interest groups” like women, workers and students, trying to gain rights within the political arena that were clearly “against the national interest” [of the top 1%]”. The Commission stated it was especially concerned with schools and universities that were not doing their job of “properly indoctrinating the young” and that “we have to have more moderation in democracy”. From there, the path forward was clear: young people in America would now be “properly indoctrinated” by both the public school system and the universities, so as to become “more moderate”, more ignorant, and above all to avoid demanding things like social equality and workers’ rights that were so clearly against the ‘national interest’ of the elites and their ‘secret government’.

Before Huntington and the student activism of the 1960s, we had another renowned expert on propaganda, politics and fascism, in the person of another American Jew, Harold Lasswell, who has been admiringly described as “a leading American political scientist and communications theorist, specializing in the analysis of propaganda”, with claims Lasswell was “ranked among the half dozen creative innovators in the social sciences in the twentieth century”. His biographer, Almond, stated firmly that “few would question that [Lasswell] was the most original and productive political scientist of his time”. (21) High praise indeed, reminiscent of that ladled onto Lippman and Bernays – and for the same reasons.

Even earlier, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the University of Chicago held a series of secret seminars on “communication”, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, that included some of the most prominent researchers in the fields of ‘communications and sociology’, one of whom was Lasswell. Like Lippman and Bernays before him, and Huntington et al after him, Lasswell was of the opinion that democracy could not sustain itself without a credentialed elite shaping, molding and controlling public opinion through propaganda. He stated that if the elites lacked the necessary force to compel obedience from the masses, then ‘social managers’ must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda”, because of the “ignorance and superstition of the masses”. He claimed that society should not succumb to “democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests”, because they were not. Further, “the best judges are the elites, who must, therefore, be ensured of the means to impose their will, for the common good”. The Rockefeller and other Foundations and think-tanks have been slowly executing this advice now for almost 100 years.

Among the many results of the work of Lippman and Bernays was the subsumption, of initially the Executive Branch and eventually the Legislative Branch as well, of the US government, into a global plan of the European and American bankers and their US corporate and political interests. We speak openly today of the White House and US Congress being overwhelmingly controlled by the Jewish lobby and their multinational corporations, but this forest was planted 100 years ago. By the early 1900s we already had an American government firmly under the powerful influence of, and effectively controlled by, what Bernays termed the “secret government”, and which was controlled in virtually the same manner as the bewildered public herd. During his presidential election campaign in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt said, “Behind the visible government there is an invisible government upon the throne that owes the people no loyalty and recognizes no responsibility”, (22) and claimed it was necessary to destroy this invisible government and undo the corrupt union of business and politics. Roosevelt again:

“It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor and other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness. These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.”

Arthur Miller wrote that “Those who formally rule, take their signals and commands not from the electorate as a body, but from a small group of men. It exists even though its existence is denied, and this is one of the secrets of the American social order, but one that is not to be discussed.” And, as Baudelaire told us, “The devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist”. The truth of this is everywhere to be seen, but few want to look.

Returning to Bernays and his propaganda to save democracy, and the versions promulgated by his heirs, there were two intermixed currents in that river. The most important was for the (largely foreign) bankers and industrialists to regain full control of the US government, especially the economic sectors, the first step being to repair the loosened control of the political parties themselves and the politicians inhabiting them. There is an interesting Chinese document that accurately addresses the deep Jewish influence on the US government at the time, stating: “The Democratic Party belongs to the Morgan family, and the Republican Party belongs to the Rockefeller family. Rockefeller and Morgan, however, belonged to Rothschild.” (23) Then, new and extensive efforts were required to regain social and political control of the population. What they needed was a vaccine, not to protect the American people, but to infect them with an incurable disease pleasantly named ‘democratisation’, but which would be more readily recognisable as zombification. They succeeded.

Democracy had always been hyped in the West as the most perfect form of government, but under the influence of an enormous propaganda campaign it soon morphed into the pinnacle of enlightened human evolution, certainly in the minds of Americans, but in the West generally. Since a multi-party electoral system formed the underpinnings of external (foreign) control of the US government, it was imperative to inject this fiction directly into the American psyche. They did so, to the extent that “democracy”, with its thousands of meanings, is today equivalent to a bible passage – a message from God that by its nature cannot be questioned. Bernays and his people were the source of the deep, abiding – and patently false – conviction in every American heart that democracy is a “universal value”. One of the most foolish and persistent myths these people created was the fairytale that as every people evolved toward perfection and enlightenment, their DNA would mutate and they would develop a God-given, perhaps genetic, craving for a multi-party political system. This conviction is entirely nonsense, without a shred of historical or other evidence to support it, a foolish myth created to further delude the bewildered herd.

But there was much more necessary in terms of social control. By the time Regan replaced Carter in 1980, all the wheels were in motion to permanently disenfranchise American citizens from everything but their by now beloved “democracy”. Regan’s assault on the American public was entirely frontal, with Volcker of the FED plunging the US into one of the most brutal recessions in history, driving down wages and home ownership, destroying a lifetime’s accumulation of personal assets, dramatically increasing unemployment, eliminating labor unions almost entirely, and making the entire nation politically submissive from fear. Interestingly, the more that their precious democracy was impoverishing and emasculating them, the more strongly the American public clung to it, no longer retaining any desire for equality but merely hoping for survival. The eight years of Regan’s presidency were some of the most brutal in US history, but with the power of the propaganda and the willing compliance of the mass media, the American people had no understanding of what was happening to them. The lessons of the 1970s and the Vietnam War were learned well, and Bernays’ “invisible people” reclaimed the US as a colony, both the government and the people, the reclamation cleverly “engineered by an invisible government”.

The full Machiavellian nature of this propaganda, its true intent and results, will not be immediately apparent to readers from this brief essay. The next essay in this short series, a description of the further transition of Bernays’ propaganda methods to education and commerce, will fill in many of the gaps and permit readers to connect more dots and obtain a clearer picture of the entire landscape.

*

Introduction – If America Dissolves…  https://thesaker.is/if-america-dissolves/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 1 of 5 — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 2 of 5 — The Marketing of War — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda-the-marketing-of-war/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 3 of 5 –– Democracy Control


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

His full archive can be seen at

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

Notes

(1) https://alethonews.com/2012/07/31/progressive-journalisms-legacy-of-deceit/

(2) http://thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/MediaControl_excerpts.html

(3) https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Edward-Bernays/dp/0970312598

(3a) https://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Bernays_Propaganda_in_english_.pdf

(4) https://archive.org/details/BernaysPropaganda

(5) https://www.amazon.com/Engineering-Consent-Edward-L-Bernays/dp/B0007DOM5E

(5a) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/The_Engineering_of_Consent_%28essay%29.pdf

(6) https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-the-cia-paid-and-threatened-journalists-to-do-its-work

(7) https://thenewamerican.com/cia-s-mockingbirds-and-ruling-class-journalists/

(8) https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/cia-report-on-project-mockingbird/295/

(9) https://allthatsinteresting.com/operation-mockingbird

(10) https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_mediacontrol03.htm

(11) https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/radio-liberty-and-voa-are-a-part-of-american-propaganda-machine-and-are-banned-in-the-usa/

(12) The VOA surrounded China from all neighboring countries, and including a massive presence in Hong Kong, broadcasting American seditionist propaganda into China (according to Bernays’ template) 24 hours a day for generations. It failed, and was finally shut down in 2019. Also, when the Taiwanese scientist identified the 5 original haplotypes of the COVID-19 virus and proved they had originated in the US, it was the VOA that harrassed the man so badly online that he closed all his social media accounts and went dark. Democracy being a coin with only one side, the US greatly resented China Radio International broadcasting “Beijing-friendly programs on over 30 US outlets, many in major American cities.” http://chinaplus.cri.cn/opinion/opedblog/23/20181006/192270.html

(13) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/kent-state-massacre-vietnam-war-national-guard-50-year-anniversary-a9497501.html

(14) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/reference/united-states-history/ohio-kent-state-university-shooting/

(15) http://news.cnr.cn/native/gd/20200606/t20200606_525118936.shtml

(16) http://www.antiwar.com/berkman/trilat.html

(17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1992/04/25/beware-the-trilateral-commission/59c48198-9479-4c80-a70a-a1518b5bcfff/

(18) http://mail.conspiracy-gov.com/the-new-world-order/trilateral-commission/

(19) https://www.trilateral.org/download/doc/crisis_of_democracy.pdf

(20) https://ia800305.us.archive.org/29/items/TheCrisisOfDemocracy-TrilateralCommission-1975/crisis_of_democracy_text.pdf

(21) https://www.nap.edu/read/1000/chapter/10

(22) https://www.sgtreport.com/2020/11/former-presidents-warn-about-the-invisible-government-running-the-united-states/

(23) The Age of Innovation 2013 Issue 6 95-97 pp. 3 of 1003, The database of scientific and technological journals of Chinese science and technology; http://www.cqvip.com/QK/70988X/201306/46341293.html

Sitrep: How Democratic is China?

February 21, 2021

Locally called Happy Grandpa

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

You can get it here:  https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Having recently read Godfree’s latest book, Why China Rules the World, I learned about trial spots, the history of these and how basically everything that is accepted by the population, gets trialed first, by the population.

We change pace on this regular sitrep and instead of bringing together a wide selection of information, we only look at one long read that may answer many questions, at least many of those that I see so regularly on The Saker blog.  This ends with Hong Kong as a new trial spot.


By Godfree Roberts and first posted on Here Comes China

Like America, China is a republic and, like America, says it is democratic, but how democratic is China? A glance at history is always a good starting point

The People are supreme, the state is secondary and the Ruler is the least important: only those who please the people can rule. Mencius[1]

In Roman politics, citizens lost control of politicians after they elected them. It’s one of the system’s greatest weaknesses and it is no wonder that, like our Roman forebears, we regard government as our biggest problem[2]: we cannot compel them to keep their promises.

Imagine that, instead of hiring eloquent amateurs, we hired professionals–sociologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists–and told them to create solutions to our problems identified by publicly conducted surveys. Then they should support state and local governments to implement policy solutions, track public satisfaction with them for a few years and discard failed policies. California would probably try Canadian medicare and if their medical bills fell fifty percent and Californians showed a three year gain in healthy life expectancy, we’d elect a thousand volunteers and send them–all expenses paid–to Washington so they could audit the results and pass legislation.

That’s what China does and it’s why their democracy resembles Proctor & Gamble more than Pericles of Athens.

How Democratic is China–Really?

Large-scale national surveys, the Chinese Labor Dynamics Survey (Sun Yat-Sen University), the Chinese Family Panel Survey (Peking U), the Chinese General Social Survey (Renmin U), the Chinese Income Inequality Surveys (Beijing Normal U) and hundreds of polls by overseas scholars and institutions like Harvard University, Gallup, Edelman, World Values and Asian Barometer, rival the world’s best in sampling techniques, questionnaire design and quality control.

The results, all available online, are a treasure trove of democratic data that Mao created by wresting policy control from scholars and commissioning extensive surveys[3] saying, “Public opinion must guide our actions.” Today, says author Jeff J. Brown, “My Beijing neighborhood committee and town hall are constantly putting up announcements, inviting groups of people–renters, homeowners, over seventies, women under forty, those with or without medical insurance, retirees–to answer surveys. The CPC is the world’s biggest pollster for a reason: China’s democratic ‘dictatorship of the people’ is highly engaged at the day-to-day, citizen-on-the-street level. I know, because I live in a middle class Chinese community and I question them all the time. I find their government much more responsive and democratic than the dog-and-pony shows back home, and I mean that seriously.”

Mao introduced universal suffrage in 1951 (ten years before America[4]) on the basis of one person, one vote. Everyone voted to elect a legislature that would control of all legislation and approve all senior appointments. He even extended democracy to non-citizens, as Quaker William Sewell[5], a professor at Jen Dah Christian University in Szechuan recalls,

As a labor union member, I was entitled to vote. The election of a government in China is indirect. We at Jen Dah were to vote for our local People’s Congress. Then the Local Congresses would, from among their own members, elect the Duliang Congress. From these members and from the congresses of the great cities and many counties would be elected the Szechwan People’s Provincial Congress. Finally emerged the National People’s Congress, every member of which had in the first place been elected to a local body. The National Congress made the laws, elected the Chairman, and appointed the Premier and members of the State Council. In our chemistry group we discussed the sort of men and women who might best represent us; then we put forward half a dozen names.

Each group in our Jen Dah section did the same. All the names were then written on a board so that everyone might see who had been suggested. The names which several groups had listed in common were put on a short list. They amounted to over a dozen, any groups being still at liberty to put forward again any name which they considered should not have been omitted. Those whose names were on the short list had then to be persuaded to allow their names to remain. This took some time as a genuine sense of inability to cope made many of them reluctant to undertake such responsible work. Each person was discussed at length by the group. Those who were unknown were invited to visit the various groups so that they might be questioned. At length a still shorter list of candidates was obtained, which was cut down eventually, after further discussion, to the number desired.

When the day of the election came, the flags were flying and the bands with their cymbals and drums with their constant rhythm made it all pleasantly noisy. Voting slips were handed out at one end of the booth and students, all sworn to secrecy, were available to help if you couldn’t read. Then alone, or accompanied by your helper, you sat at the table and cast your votes. The list contained names which had by now become very familiar but there was a space at the bottom for additional names to be added should you so desire. A ring was to be put around those whom you wished to be elected and the paper dropped into the box. In England I had voted for a man I didn’t know, with whom I had never spoken and who asked for my vote by a circular letter and who had lost to his rival by over 14,000 votes. I had felt that my vote was entirely worthless. In China, at this one election, I had at least had the happy illusion that my vote was of real significance.

By the 1980s the electoral process had deteriorated, powerful family clans dominated local elections and villagers regularly petitioned Beijing to send ‘a capable Party Secretary to straighten things out’. So the government invited The Carter Center to supervise the process and, by 2010, voter turnout had outstripped America’s and the Prime Minister encouraged more experiments, “The experience of many villages has proven that farmers can successfully elect village committees. If people can manage a village well, they can manage a township and a county. We must encourage people to experiment boldly and test democracy in practice.” Five years later President Xi asked the Carter Center to reevaluate the fairness of election laws and to educate candidates in ethical campaigning, “Democracy is not only defined by people’s right to vote in elections but also their right to participate in political affairs on a daily basis. Democracy is not decoration, it’s for solving people’s problems.” Like Capitalism, Democracy is a tool in China, not a religion.

There are six hundred thousand villages and successful candidates, who need not be Party members, begin their five-year terms with a trial year at the end of which, if they fail to achieve their promised goals, they’re dismissed. Otherwise they spend their second year reviewing and adjusting their objectives, knowing that their successes could be propagated nationwide.

Village representatives choose peers to represent them at district level where further voting elects county representatives until, eventually, three thousand provincial congresspeople, all volunteers, convene in Beijing and strive for consensus as earnestly as they do in their villages. Congresspeople are volunteers, ordinary citizens whose progress to the national level requires prudence and common sense. Tiered voting makes it difficult to join a higher level assembly without the support from politicians below and impossible for the Party to completely control the process. As a result, one-third of National People’s Congresspeople are not Communist Party members, nor are other parties merely decorative. Parties like the China Democratic League[6], the Kuomintang[7] and the Jiusan Society[8] (whose all-PhD members campaign for climate initiatives, increased R&D budgets and data-driven health policies) regularly produce outstanding Ministers.

Is China’s Constitution Democratic?

The Constitution is clear: “The National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections. They are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision. All administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the People’s Congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.” Most legislation receives ninety-percent support in Congress but does this make the NPCC a mere ‘rubber stamp’ as critics claim[9]?

The ‘rubber stamp’ misunderstanding arises because policy development is managed like double-blind, randomized clinical trials, called Trial Spots, and Congress is primarily responsible for publicly evaluating data gathered on them. Europe has started universal income trial spots but China has been doing them for thirty years and has a mature system to support it and manage it.

It’s not hard to must ninety-percent support if the data is sound. Policy proposals are first tried in villages, towns or cities and the vast majority die during this phase for the same reasons that most scientific experiments fail. The process has created the most trusted government on earth but Congress is no pushover. Congresspeople visit, inspect and audit Trial Spot cashflows, calculate affordability and debate scalability and national impact.

When, after thirty years of engineering studies, the government presented its proposal to fund the Three Gorges Dam, Congress demurred. The project’s cost and scale were beyond most members’ imagination, retired engineers and foreign experts damned it and a million people who would be displaced criticized the project so vehemently that legislators demanded a similar dam be built nearby to demonstrate geological stability. The government duly built the Gezhouba Dam downstream yet, when they re-presented the funding request, just sixty-four percent of delegates supported it and, when the government decided to proceed, people loudly accused it of ‘ramming the bill through.’

Though China’s process is neither fully scientific nor totally democratic, labeling it ‘authoritarian’–a Western concept–also misses the point. China’s reliance on data for course corrections is its greatest strength, though even solid data does not guarantee smooth sailing. Fifty percent of legislation[10] is not passed within the planned period and ten percent takes more than a decade, thanks to the Peoples Consultive Congress, a gigantic lobby of special interest groups–including peasants, indigenes, professors, fishermen, manufacturers and Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party–who ensure that pending legislation does not damage their interests. Legislators must use both trial data and political tradeoffs to craft the laws which, by the time they emerge, have almost unanimous support[11]. Even then, legislation is issued ‘subject to revision’ because data collection continues after implementation, too.

Congress commissioned the Guangzhou-Shenzhen high speed rail Trial Spot in 1998 before voting to fund today’s massive HSR network. In 2016 the administration advanced legislation permitting genetically modified food crops because they had promised that GM maize and soybeans would be in commercial use by 2020. Two years later–after an intense public education campaign–a survey[12] found half the country still opposed to GM, ten percent were supportive and eleven percent considered GM ‘a bioterrorism weapon aimed at China’. Legislation was shelved. Venture capitalist Robin Daverman describes the process at the national level:

China is a giant trial portfolio with millions of trials going on everywhere. Today, innovations in everything from healthcare to poverty reduction, education, energy, trade and transportation are being trialled in different communities. Every one of China’s 662 cities is experimenting: Shanghai with free trade zones, Guizhou with poverty reduction, twenty-three cities with education reforms, Northeastern provinces with SOE reform: pilot schools, pilot cities, pilot hospitals, pilot markets, pilot everything. Mayors and governors, the Primary Investigators, share their ‘lab results’ at the Central Party School and publish them in their ‘scientific journals,’ the State-owned newspapers.

Beginning in small towns, major policies undergo ‘clinical trials’ that generate and analyze test data. If the stats look good, they’ll add test sites and do long-term follow-ups. They test and tweak for 10-30 years then ask the 3,000-member People’s Congress to review the data and authorize national trials in three major provinces. If a national trial is successful the State Council [the Brains Trust] polishes the plan and takes it back to Congress for a final vote. It’s very transparent and, if your data is better than mine, your bill gets passed and mine doesn’t. Congress’ votes are nearly unanimous because the legislation is backed by reams of data. This allows China to accomplish a great deal in a short time, because your winning solution will be quickly propagated throughout the country, you’ll be a front page hero, invited to high-level meetings in Beijing and promoted. As you can imagine, the competition to solve problems is intense. Local government has a great deal of freedom to try their own things as long as they have the support of the local people. Everything from bare-knuckled liberalism to straight communism has been tried by various villages and small towns.

Yiwu, a sleepy town in the middle of Zhejiang province, started an international trade Trial Spot in the 1980s and became the world’s center for small commodities like stuffed animals (and the subject of endless books and articles). Today, townships are running Trial Spots on smart towns, schools ran Trial Spots on academic quality, labor unions ran labor rights Trial Spots, state-owned enterprises trialed mixed compensation (cash and stock) and maverick officials tried ideas knowing that any damage would be contained and successes quickly replicated. Even the conservative Chinese Customs had ‘trade facilitation Trial Spots’ at border crossings.

The Health Ministry asked thirty-three Provincial Health Ministers–PhDs and MDs–to bring childhood obesity under control by 2030. The ministers involved a thousand County Health Directors and today hundreds of Childhood Obesity Awareness Trial Spots are running in cities and townships across the country. One billboard warns, rather dubiously, that obesity reduces children’s intelligence but wheat and chaff will be separated by 2030 and overweight children will become as rare as they were when we were young. Overall, the process keeps the government in sync with people’s wishes better than any on earth: 

Every five years since 1950, planners have readjusted the nation’s course towards the country’s ultimate goal of dàtóng, issued progress reports and gathered feedback. Results encouraged them to allow entrepreneurs to compete in non-essential industries like automobile manufacturing but showed that profits on essential services were as burdensome as taxes. Profiting from healthcare, they found, taxed every business needing healthy workers, and profits from education taxed every businesses that needs literate workers. The government now provides them at cost and even supports loss-making corporations (‘zombies’ to neoliberals) that serve a social purpose.

Are China’s Five Year Plans Democratic?

Researchers begin Five Year Plans with questionnaires and grassroots forums and, after mid-term assessments, Congress commissions scholars to evaluate and economists to budget for their recommendations. Teams then tour the country, appear on local TV, listen to local opinions and formulate proposals. One planner[13] explained, “Computers have made huge improvements in collecting and analyzing the information but still, thousands of statisticians, actuaries, database experts and technicians with degrees in urban, rural, agricultural, environmental and economic planning invest thousands of hours interpreting and analyzing this vast trove of data, statistics and information. Needless to say, for a continent-sized country with over a billion citizens, it takes hundreds of thousands of people to develop each Five-Year Plan.”

Next, the State Council publishes a draft Plan and solicits input from employees, farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, officials and specialists and feasibility reports from all twenty-seven levels of the bureaucracy responsible for implementing it. The Finance and Economics Committee analyzes the Plan’s budget and, after the State Council and Politburo sign off, Congress votes. Then discussion is suspended and implementation proceeds unimpeded. Here’s the cover sheet for the 12th Plan:

Over the five years, economic growth averaged 7.8%, services became the largest sector and consumption became the major growth driver, energy intensity fell eighteen percent and emissions dropped twelve percent, the urban-rural income gap narrowed, rudimentary health insurance became universal, three hundred million folk gained access to safe drinking water and one hundred million were lifted from poverty. Harvard’s Tony Saich, who conducts his own surveys, concludes that ninety per cent of people are satisfied with the government and surveys found that eighty-three percent think it runs the country for everyone’s benefit rather than for special groups. More remarkably, it’s run parsimoniously:

Legislation, once published in newspapers and posted on neighborhood bulletin boards, now blossoms online. Every draft is posted for citizens, non-citizens, national and international businesses alike to comment and critique–and they do. If there is strong pushback or resistance to proposed laws they’re sent back for amendment. And if that is too cumbersome there is the constitutional right to demonstrate publicly.

Today, smartphones, social media and streaming video to multiply the effects of public demonstrations (as 150,000 ‘mass incidents’ in 2018 testify). Rowdy protests–usually triggered by local officials’ unfairness, dishonesty or incompetence–are cheap, exciting and safe since police are unarmed. Indignant[14] citizens paint signs, alert NGOs and the media, recruit neighbors, bang drums, shout slogans and livestream their parade. Responses which once took months now take hours. Targeted officials–usually after a phone call from an angry superior–speed to the scene, bow deeply, apologize profusely, kiss babies, explain that they had no idea that such things were going on and promise brighter tomorrows. Since cell phones became ubiquitous local officials’ approval has risen from forty-five to fifty-five percent and, by 2025, should rival Americans’ seventy percent.

From land redistribution in the 1950s to communes in the 60s to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Reform and Opening and anti-corruption, Chinese politics are almost unrecognizable from one decade to the next yet policy support rivals Switzerland’s. Tsinghua Professor Daniel Bell[15] credits democracy at the bottom, experiments in the middle and meritocracy at the top for a string of policy successes. And The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says wistfully, “If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions.”

Former President Hu Jintao, who formalized Trial Spots, wisely observed that there’s more to China’s democratic process than meets the eye, “Taking from each according his ability and giving to each according to his need requires democratic rule of law, fairness and justice, honesty and fraternity, abundant energy, stability, orderliness, harmony between people and the environment and sustainable development.”

Words to ponder.

https://www.herecomeschina.com/chinas-congress-in-action/embed/#?secret=7PZudnQV7E

https://www.herecomeschina.com/hong-kong-democracy-trial-spot/embed/#?secret=IFeCAeJegO

—————————————————————————————

[1] Confucius’ most famous disciple, Mencius, lived 372 BC – 289 BC.

[2] Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem. Gallup. February 18, 2019

[3] The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China. Wenfang Tang

[4] The Voting Rights Act of 1965

[5] William Sewell, I Stayed in China.

[6] The China Democratic League is for teachers from elementary school to universities. Since Confucius is China’s archetypal teacher and teachers are held at an high regards by the society as a whole, this is a highly influential party.

[7] The Kuomintang of China, KMT; (sometimes Guomindang) often translated as the Nationalist Party of China) is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently the opposition political party in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

[8] The Jiusan Society is for PhD scientists, mostly physicists and engineers, whose position is ‘everything should be run by science’. Very big on pushing for climate initiatives, environmental protection, more R&D budget, better health policies, etc.

[9] Wikipedia

[10] Authoritarian Gridlock? Understanding Delay in the Chinese Legislative System. Rory Truex. Journal of Comparative Political Studies, April 2018

[11] The lowest recorded legislative support is sixty-four percent for the Three Gorges Dam project, which now repays its original investment every two years. It was the biggest, most expensive single-site project in history whose lake has changed the earth’s rotation, so legislators’ caution in their generation is understandable.

[12] Public perception of genetically-modified (GM) food: A Nationwide Chinese Consumer Study. Kai Cui & Sharon P. Shoemaker. npj Science of Food volume 2, Article number: 10 (2018)

[13] Jeff J. Brown, China Rising.

[14] Tang, Populist Authoritarianism.

[15] The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy.(p. 9) Daniel . Bell


If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

here are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to his Chinese counterpart’s suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had their first phone call last week since the latter was inaugurated last month. The Chinese leader used this opportunity to share his vision for win-win ties with America. He emphasized their common goals in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting the global economic recovery, combating climate change, and ensuring regional stability. President Xi also suggested reestablishing dialogue mechanisms to this end and cooperating more closely on a whole range of other issues such as financial, law enforcement, and military ones among others.

One of the most important highlights of their conversation was President Xi reminding his American counterpart that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang are China’s internal affairs and that the US must respect them accordingly. The US has been meddling in these issues over the past few years, so it’s important that it changes its behavior for the better in order for relations with China to finally improve. Provided that President Biden listens to President Xi’s advice, then both countries can focus on the boundless possibilities for win-win cooperation between them.

There are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to these suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability. First, America is beset with numerous domestic problems at the moment which require the new administration’s full attention. It mustn’t remain distracted by following in former President Trump’s footsteps in trying to “contain” China since that would be a serious neglect of its responsibility to address issues as urgent as the COVID-19 crisis, America’s economic recovery, and the recent disturbing rise in domestic extremism.

Second, while President Biden provocatively spoke about his expectations for a continued so-called “extreme competition” between his country and China during a recent speech, he also added that he’ll seek to focus on what he described as the “international rules of the road”. This might be a euphemism for resorting to multilateral means in pursuit of advancing his predecessor’s goal of “containing” China, but it could also suggest a much-needed and long-overdue rethinking about the present trajectory of bilateral relations. Should that be the case, then it might result in a renewed impetus to comprehensively regulate their relations.

If the US starts by respecting China’s internal interests per President Xi’s advice, then it would go a long way towards getting ties back on track. The previously discussed possibilities for expanding upon what the Chinese leader described as “the most important development in international relations over the past half century or more”, the restoration and growth of China-US relations, would then be unlocked and the entire global community would benefit as a result of them working more closely together in pursuit of shared interests. Some competition might continue to exist, but it wouldn’t be “extreme” and could therefore be managed.

For example, the US-led Quad might come to take on less of a military nature and instead focus more on economic and political cooperation, ideally in a way that doesn’t imply any negative intent towards China. In that scenario, the Quad might even become a useful platform for managing China-US relations in the region, especially if its Australian and Japanese partners help facilitate talks on the eventual incorporation of China and the US into a larger trade bloc between them all. This could come about because of Canberra and Tokyo’s joint inclusion in two regional economic organizations.

They’re members of both the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China and the US have signaled interested in joining the first-mentioned while Beijing is already part of the second. The US also has a free trade pact with Australia and recently reached an economic deal with Japan in 2019. This creates the perfect backdrop for Australia and Japan to help bring China and the US closer on the economic front upon any rapprochement between them. That’s the most promising scenario that China and the US should work towards in the future.

America’s Middle East Policy Is Outdated and Dangerous سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

**Please scroll down for the Arabic Version first published in Al-Mayadeen **

A New Approach to the Gulf States Needs a Better Foundation

U.S. aircraft at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 2016

By Chris Murphy

February 19, 2021

In his 1980 State of the Union address, which came in the wake of the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter described in grave terms the risks of losing access to Middle Eastern oil. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” he said. “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” That pledge became known as the Carter Doctrine, and it has remained a defining feature of U.S. Middle East policy ever since.

At the time of Carter’s pronouncement, the United States relied heavily on oil imports to power its economy, and 29 percent of that oil came from the Persian Gulf. Even two decades later, little had changed: in 2001, the United States still imported 29 percent of its oil from the Gulf. But it’s not 1980 or 2001 anymore. Today, the United States produces as much oil as it gets from abroad, and only 13 percent comes from Gulf countries. The United States now imports more oil from Mexico than it does from Saudi Arabia.

Yet even as the driving rationale for the so-called Carter Doctrine has become obsolete, it continues to shape the United States’ approach to the Gulf—emblematic of a broader failure of U.S. policy to catch up with the broader changes to U.S. interests in the region since the 1980s. President Joe Biden should acknowledge new realities and reset the United States’ relationships in the Gulf in a way that promotes American values, keeps Washington out of unnecessary foreign entanglements, and prioritizes regional peace and stability.

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There are myriad reasons for strong relations between the United States and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decisions by Bahrain and the UAE to establish formal ties to Israel are a clear sign of the positive influence these countries can exert. Kuwait and Oman play powerful roles in mediating regional conflicts. The United States’ counterterrorism partnerships with GCC countries, while frequently flawed, are still crucial, as these governments often have information on extremist networks that U.S. intelligence cannot glean on its own. And the United States is broadening its people-to-people ties with the region: today, tens of thousands of students from the Gulf study at U.S. colleges and universities. Accordingly, the United States must make clear to Gulf allies that its goal is not to pull away from the region but instead to create a more substantive and stable link between the United States and the GCC.

But it is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf: the top two GCC priorities for the relationship—sustaining U.S. military assistance to fight regional proxy wars and maintaining U.S. silence on domestic political repression—will, in the long run, destroy the GCC countries themselves. The United States’ objective must be to replace this broken foundation with a new system that supports a peaceful Gulf replete with stable, diversified national economies and responsive governments—the kind of future that leaders such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman staunchly claim the Gulf is seeking. A U.S.-Gulf relationship built on economic, diplomatic, and governance ties, rather than just brute security partnerships, will accrue to the benefit of both U.S. and Middle Eastern interests.

AVOIDING PROXY WARS

The first step is for the United States to disengage from the GCC’s proxy wars with Iran. The Iranian government is a U.S. adversary, but the festering series of hot and cold conflicts in the region—in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen—has simply served to strengthen Iran’s influence and create cataclysmic levels of human suffering. A pullback from U.S. intervention in places such as Syria and Yemen will, no doubt, cause immediate consternation in the Gulf. By now, however, the enormous costs of the false belief that the United States can indirectly steer the outcomes in Syria and Yemen are crystal clear. In both theaters, the United States’ tepid, halfway military involvement was never substantial enough to tip the balance and has served instead to extend the conflicts. Washington suffers from a hubristic confidence in its ability to accomplish political goals through military interventions. Instead, the most significant effect of recent U.S. Middle East adventurism has been to fuel perpetual wars that embolden extremist groups and allow anti-American sentiment to grow.

It is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf.

Although the United States should retain its security partnerships with Gulf nations, the U.S. footprint should be smaller. Before the Gulf War, the United States was able to protect its interests in the region without massive military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and without billions in annual arms sales to these same nations. The foreign policy community in Washington acts as if this massive military presence is now mandatory to protect U.S. interests, even though it wasn’t prior to the creation of the post-9/11 security state. U.S. bases are costly, drawing focus away from increasingly important theaters such as Africa and Asia; they create pressure on the United States to ignore serious human rights abuses lest criticism puts the troop presence at risk; and they stand out as military targets and propaganda fodder for Iran, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State (or ISIS). As U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undertakes a global review of the United States’ military posture, the Biden administration should seriously consider reducing its military basing in the region. Reconsidering the costs and benefits of basing the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain would be a good start, as the United States’ massive footprint is becoming more trouble than it is worth.

Finally, although the United States should continue to sell military equipment to its partners, Washington should ensure that it is selling truly defensive arms. Today, too many American weapons are used irresponsibly and in violation of international law. Others, such as the recently announced Reaper drone sale to the UAE, fuel a regional arms race that runs counter to U.S. security interests. As it pulls back on systems with more offensive capabilities, however, the United States should still be willing to provide more advanced defensive weapons, such as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile technology, that fit the Gulf’s real security threats.

If Washington does these things, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will inevitably complain that the United States is abandoning them and empowering Iran. The Biden administration’s task will be to convince them that there is an alternative to a never-ending military contest with Tehran. A regional security dialogue that includes all parties can replace the arms race and proxy wars. This may sound like a utopian fantasy, but it is far from it. The green shoots of this dialogue have been showing for years, and able U.S. leadership, applying both vinegar and honey, can begin to create a structure for détente. And although the United States should not give the Emiratis or Saudis veto power over a bilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, a regional dialogue would tie the Gulf countries closer to the United States on Iran policy and likely give the GCC greater input on any future agreement Washington makes.

TESTING DE-ESCALATION

The Biden administration is best positioned to test the region’s readiness for this kind of de-escalation in Yemen. The pieces that have been missing—meaningful pressure and a credible interlocutor—are now moving into position as the Biden administration ends U.S. support for offensive operations and appoints a new special envoy to support the UN peace process. The United States is the only nation that can move the ball forward. If Washington can find a path toward peace in Yemen, where an inclusive post-Hadi Yemeni government coexists with Houthi leaders as the country rebuilds with international aid, it could be proof of concept for a broader dialogue.

De-escalation should be wildly appealing to the United States’ Gulf partners. Declining oil revenues mean these nations will soon need to make hard choices between investing in economic reforms and fighting wars in foreign countries. Given these persistent conflicts and the state control of local economies, attracting meaningful foreign investment to the region is largely a fantasy. For the United States, another benefit to decreased tensions between the Gulf and Iran is fewer incentives for Gulf interests to spread Wahhabi Islam throughout the Muslim world. This ultraconservative and intolerant brand of Islam often forms the building blocks of extremist ideology, and the Gulf-Iran feud fuels its export (alongside its revolutionary Shiite counterpart).

Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations.

The United States must also drive a harder bargain with the Gulf states on questions of human rights. In the wake of Donald Trump’s attacks on American democracy, it will be even more important for Biden to match his talk of the rule of law and civil rights with actions at home and abroad. The United States has difficult work ahead to rebuild its global brand, but ending Washington’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach in the Gulf will help.

Still, the U.S. conversation with the Gulf on human rights should be realistic. These countries will not become modern democracies overnight. If the Gulf really wants to attract international investment, however, it must address ongoing brutal crackdowns on political dissent and the lack of the rule of law. Serious outside private investment is unlikely as long as these nations torture political prisoners, maintain a draconian “guardian system” that restricts women’s ability to travel, and constantly harass dissidents abroad. Frankly, Gulf leaders should see expanding political rights as an existential issue. The United States must help these regimes understand that their long-standing social bargain of “no taxation, but no representation either” cannot last. As population growth outstrips oil revenues, royal families will soon no longer be able to afford that payoff. Once subsidies atrophy but repression remains, a disastrous storm of unrest will brew. Luckily, there are models of limited reform in the Gulf that can help the laggards inch along. Kuwaitis, for instance, elect a parliament that maintains some independence from the crown. Although this is far from modern participatory democracy, it provides some guideposts to which more repressive regimes can look.

NO COLD WAR REDUX

In pursuing this new course, some sky-will-fall adherents to the status quo will argue that if the Biden administration drives too hard a bargain, Gulf leaders will turn away from the United States and toward China or Russia. This argument is a red herring, one that plays on a misunderstanding of both the irreplaceability of military alignment with the United States and the willingness of China and Russia to get their hands dirty in Middle Eastern politics. This isn’t the Cold War: Russia has little to offer in the region, and as global oil usage continues to fall, Moscow will inevitably compete with Gulf countries for buyers. Although China will continue to look for economic opportunities in the region, it will be unwilling to play a real security role anytime in the near future. The Chinese navy isn’t going to come to the aid of a Gulf country under attack. If the Bahrainis, Emiratis, or Saudis threaten to turn to other powers, Washington can afford to call their bluff.

As a general matter, U.S. foreign policy has become dangerously anachronistic, an instrument tuned to play a song that the orchestra no longer performs. But U.S. policy is, perhaps, most inconsonant in the Gulf, where the United States’ interests have changed but its policy has not. Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations. It will be difficult, painful, and arouse loud protest. But the resulting order will be mutually beneficial, advancing U.S. interests while moving Gulf states closer to the future they claim to aspire to. As they say, the most worthwhile endeavors are never easy.

سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

الميادين نت

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

طائرة أميركيّة في قاعدة العديد الجويّة في قطر - أبريل 2016 (رويترز)

كريس مورفي – “فورين أفيرز” 19 شباط 22:39

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي، يشدد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، على أنّه لدى الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن “فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”.

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي يؤكد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، أنّ السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة “عفا الزمن عنها”، مبرزاً أنّ “السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، ولدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”. فيما يلي نص المقال: 

في خطاب حالة الاتحاد الذي ألقاه في أعقاب أزمتي النفط عامي 1973 و1979، وصف الرئيس الأميركي جيمي كارتر بعبارات خطيرة مخاطر فقدان الوصول إلى نفط الشرق الأوسط. وقال إن “أيّ محاولة من قبل أيّ قوّة خارجيّة للسيطرة على منطقة الخليج، ستعتبر اعتداء على المصالح الحيويّة للولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة.. وسيتمّ صدّ مثل هذا الهجوم بأيّ وسيلة ضروريّة بما في ذلك القوّة العسكريّة”. أصبح هذا التعهد معروفاً باسم “مبدأ كارتر” وظلّ سمة مميّزة لسياسة الولايات المتحدة في الشرق الأوسط منذ ذلك الحين.

حين أدلى كارتر بهذا التصريح كانت الولايات المتحدة تعتمد بشكل كبير على واردات النفط لتزويد اقتصادها بالطاقة وكان 29% من هذا النفط يأتي من الخليج. حتى بعد عقدين من الزمن لم يتغيّر شيء يذكر: في عام 2001، كانت الولايات المتحدة لا تزال تستورد 29% من نفطها من الخليج. لكننا لم نعد في عام 1980 أو 2001 بعد الآن. واليوم تنتج الولايات المتحدة نفس القدر من النفط الذي تحصل عليه من الخارج وتستورد 13% فقط من دول الخليج. تستورد الولايات المتحدة الآن نفطاً من المكسيك أكثر مما تستورده من السعوديّة.

ومع ذلك بالرغم من أن الأساس المنطقي لما يسمى عقيدة كارتر قد عفا عليه الزمن، إلا أنه يستمر في تشكيل نهج الولايات المتحدة تجاه الخليج – وهو رمز لفشل أوسع لسياسة الولايات المتحدة المتمثلة بتغييرات أوسع للمصالح الأميركيّة في المنطقة منذ الثمانينيات. يجب على الرئيس جو بايدن الاعتراف بالوقائع الجديدة وإعادة ضبط علاقات الولايات المتحدة في الخليج بطريقة تعزز القيم الأميركيّة وتبقي واشنطن بعيدة عن التشابكات الخارجيّة غير الضروريّة وتعطي الأولويّة للسلام والاستقرار الإقليميين.

هناك عدد لا يحصى من الأسباب لإقامة علاقات قويّة بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي – البحرين والكويت وعمان وقطر والسعودية والإمارات. إن قرارات البحرين والإمارات لإقامة علاقات رسميّة مع “إسرائيل” هي علامة واضحة على التأثير الإيجابي الذي يمكن أن تمارسه هذه الدول. تلعب الكويت وعمان أدواراً قويّة في التوسط في النزاعات الإقليميّة. إن شراكات الولايات المتحدة في مكافحة الإرهاب مع دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالرغم من كونها معيبة في كثير من الأحيان، لا تزال مهمة حيث تمتلك هذه الحكومات غالباً معلومات عن الشبكات المتطرفة التي لا تستطيع الاستخبارات الأميركيّة جمعها بمفردها.

وتقوم الولايات المتحدة بتوسيع علاقاتها الشعبيّة مع المنطقة: اليوم هناك عشرات الآلاف من الطلاب من الخليج يدرسون في الكليات والجامعات الأميركيّة. وبناءً على ذلك يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن توضح لحلفائها الخليجيين أن هدفها ليس الانسحاب من المنطقة، ولكن بدلاً من ذلك إنشاء رابط أكثر موضوعية واستقراراً بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي.

لكن حان الوقت للاعتراف بوجود خلل مركزي في نهج الولايات المتحدة الحالي تجاه الخليج: أهم أولويتين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي في العلاقة – الحفاظ على المساعدة العسكرية الأميركية لخوض حروب إقليمية بالوكالة والحفاظ على الصمت الأميركي تجاه السياسات الداخلية لدوله. القمع – سيدمر على المدى الطويل دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي نفسها. ويجب أن يكون هدف الولايات المتحدة هو استبدال هذا الأساس المكسور بنظام جديد يدعم خليجاً مسالماً مليئاً باقتصاديات وطنيّة مستقرة ومتنوعة وحكومات متجاوبة – مستقبل من النوع الذي يدعي قادة مثل ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان بقوّة أن منطقة الخليج تسعى إليه. إن علاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والخليج مبنية على العلاقات الاقتصاديّة والدبلوماسيّة والحوكمة بدلاً من مجرد شراكات أمنيّة وحشيّة سوف تعود بالفائدة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة والشرق الأوسط.

تجنب حروب الوكالة

الخطوة الأولى هي أن تنفصل الولايات المتحدة عن حروب دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالوكالة مع إيران. الحكومة الإيرانيّة هي خصم للولايات المتحدة لكن سلسلة الصراعات الساخنة والباردة في المنطقة – في العراق ولبنان وسوريا واليمن – عملت ببساطة على تعزيز نفوذ إيران وخلق مستويات كارثية من المعاناة الإنسانية. لا شك أن الانسحاب من التدخل الأميركي في أماكن مثل سوريا واليمن سيسبب ذعراً فورياً في الخليج. ومع ذلك  فإن التكاليف الهائلة للاعتقاد الخاطئ بأن الولايات المتحدة يمكنها توجيه النتائج بشكل غير مباشر في سوريا واليمن باتت واضحة تماماً.

في كلا المسرحين لم يكن التدخل العسكري الفاتر للولايات المتحدة جوهريّاً بما يكفي لقلب التوازن وخدم بدلاً من ذلك إطالة أمد النزاعات. تعاني واشنطن من ثقة متغطرسة في قدرتها على تحقيق أهداف سياسيّة من خلال التدخلات العسكريّة. بدلاً من ذلك كان التأثير الأكثر أهمية للمغامرات الأميركيّة الأخيرة في الشرق الأوسط هو تأجيج الحروب الدائمة التي تشجع الجماعات المتطرفة وتسمح للمشاعر المعادية لأميركا بالنمو.

على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تحتفظ بشراكاتها الأمنية مع دول الخليج إلا أن البصمة الأميركيّة يجب أن تكون أصغر. قبل حرب الخليج كانت الولايات المتحدة قادرة على حماية مصالحها في المنطقة من دون قواعد عسكريّة ضخمة في البحرين والكويت وقطر والسعودية ومن دون مليارات من مبيعات الأسلحة السنويّة للدول نفسها.

يتصرّف مجتمع السياسة الخارجيّة في واشنطن كما لو أن هذا الوجود العسكري الضخم أصبح الآن إلزامياً لحماية المصالح الأميركيّة، على الرغم من أنه لم يكن كذلك قبل إنشاء الدولة الأمنية بعد 11 سبتمبر. القواعد الأميركيّة مكلفة ما يجعل التركيز بعيداً عن المسارح ذات الأهمية المتزايدة مثل أفريقيا وآسيا؛ إنهم يمارسون الضغط على الولايات المتحدة لتجاهل الانتهاكات الجسيمة لحقوق الإنسان خشية أن تعرض هذه الانتقادات وجود القوات الأميركية للخطر؛ وهي تبرز كأهداف عسكريّة ومادة دعاية لإيران والقاعدة وداعش.

بينما يجري وزير الدفاع الأميركي لويد أوستن مراجعة عالميّة للوضع العسكري للولايات المتحدة يجب على إدارة بايدن التفكير بجديّة في تقليص قواعدها العسكريّة في المنطقة. إن إعادة النظر في تكاليف وفوائد تأسيس الأسطول الخامس في البحرين ستكون بداية جيدة حيث أصبح الدور الهائل للولايات المتحدة مقلقاً بالرغم من أن الأمر لا يستحق.

أخيرًا على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تستمر في بيع المعدات العسكريّة لشركائها، يجب على واشنطن التأكد من أنها تبيع أسلحة دفاعيّة حقيقيّة. اليوم يتمّ استخدام الكثير من الأسلحة الأميركيّة بشكل غير مسؤول وفي انتهاك للقانون الدولي. البعض الآخر مثل بيع طائرات “ريبر” بدون طيار التي تمّ الإعلان عنها مؤخراً للإمارات، يُغذي سباق تسلح إقليمياً يتعارض مع المصالح الأمنيّة الأميركية. مع تراجعها عن أنظمة ذات قدرات هجوميّة أكثر يجب أن تظل الولايات المتحدة على استعداد لتقديم أسلحة دفاعية أكثر تقدمًا مثل تكنولوجيا الصواريخ الدفاعية الطرفية عالية الارتفاع (ثاد) التي تناسب التهديدات الأمنيّة الحقيقيّة في الخليج.

إذا فعلت واشنطن هذه الامور فستشتكي السعودية والإمارات لا محالة من أن الولايات المتحدة تتخلى عنهما وتمكنان إيران. تتمثل مهمة إدارة بايدن في إقناعهما بوجود بديل للمنافسة العسكريّة التي لا تنتهي مع طهران. يمكن لحوار أمنيّ إقليميّ يشمل جميع الأطراف أن يحلّ محل سباق التسلح والحروب بالوكالة. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه محض خيال لكنه بعيد كل البعد عن ذلك.

كانت البراعم الخضراء لهذا الحوار تظهر منذ سنوات ويمكن للقيادة الأميركيّة أن تبدأ في إنشاء هيكل للانفراج. وعلى الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة لا ينبغي أن تمنح الإماراتيين أو السعوديين حق النقض (الفيتو) على اتفاقية نوويّة ثنائيّة مع إيران، فإن الحوار الإقليمي من شأنه أن يربط دول الخليج بشكل أقرب إلى الولايات المتحدة بشأن السياسة الإيرانيّة ومن المرجح أن يعطي مجلس التعاون الخليجي مساهمة أكبر في أيّ اتفاق مستقبلي.

اختبار خفض التصعيد

إن إدارة بايدن في وضع أفضل لاختبار استعداد المنطقة لهذا النوع من التهدئة في اليمن. القطع المفقودة من ضغوط ذات مغزى ومحاور موثوق به تتحرك الآن إلى موقعها مع إنهاء إدارة بايدن دعم الولايات المتحدة للعمليّات الهجوميّة وتعيين مبعوث خاص جديد لدعم عملية السلام التابعة للأمم المتحدة. الولايات المتحدة هي الدولة الوحيدة التي يمكنها تحريك الكرة إلى الأمام. إذا تمكنت واشنطن من إيجاد طريق نحو السلام في اليمن حيث تتعايش حكومة يمنيّة شاملة مع قادة الحوثيين وتعيد البلاد بناءها بمساعدة دولية فإن ذلك سيكون على مفهوم حوار أوسع.

يجب أن يكون وقف التصعيد جذاباً بشدة لشركاء الولايات المتحدة في الخليج. انخفاض عائدات النفط يعني أن هذه الدول ستحتاج قريباً إلى اتخاذ خيارات صعبة بين الاستثمار في الإصلاحات الاقتصاديّة وخوض الحروب في البلدان الأجنبيّة. بالنظر إلى هذه الصراعات المستمرة وسيطرة الدولة على الاقتصادات المحليّة فإن جذب الاستثمار الأجنبي الهادف إلى المنطقة هو إلى حد كبير أمر خيالي.

بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة هناك فائدة أخرى لتقليل التوترات بين الخليج وإيران تتمثل في حوافز أقلّ للمصالح الخليجيّة لنشر الإسلام الوهابي في جميع أنحاء العالم الإسلامي. غالباً ما تشكل هذه العلامة التجاريّة المتشددة وغير المتسامحة للإسلام اللبنات الأساسيّة للإيديولوجيا المتطرفة، ويُغذي الخلاف الخليجي الإيراني تصديرها (إلى جانب نظيرتها الشيعية الثوريّة).

يجب على الولايات المتحدة أيضاً أن تقود صفقة أكثر صعوبة مع دول الخليج بشأن قضايا حقوق الإنسان. في أعقاب هجمات دونالد ترامب على الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة سيكون من الأهم بالنسبة لبايدن أن يطابق حديثه عن سيادة القانون والحقوق المدنيّة بأفعال في الداخل والخارج. أمام الولايات المتحدة عمل صعب لإعادة بناء دورها العالمي لكن إنهاء نهج واشنطن الذي لا يسمع ولا يرى الشر في الخليج من شأنه أن يساعد.  

ومع ذلك يجب أن تكون محادثة الولايات المتحدة مع دول الخليج حول حقوق الإنسان واقعيّة. لن تصبح هذه البلدان ديمقراطيات حديثة بين عشية وضحاها. ومع ذلك إذا كانت دول الخليج تريد حقاً جذب الاستثمار الدولي فعليها أن تتصدى للحملات القمعيّة الوحشيّة المستمرة ضد المعارضة السياسيّة وغياب سيادة القانون.

الاستثمار الخاص الخارجي الجاد غير محتمل طالما أن هذه الدول تعذب السجناء السياسيين وتحافظ على “نظام وصيّ” صارم يحد من قدرة المرأة على السفر ويضايق المعارضين في الخارج باستمرار. بصراحة يجب على قادة الخليج أن ينظروا إلى توسيع الحقوق السياسيّة على أنها قضيّة وجوديّة. يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تساعد هذه الأنظمة على فهم أن الصفقة الاجتماعيّة القائمة منذ فترة طويلة المتمثلة في “غياب الضرائب والتمثيل السياسي” لا يمكن أن تستمر.

نظراً لأن النمو السكاني يفوق عائدات النفط فلن تتمكن العائلات المالكة قريباً من تحمّل هذا المردود. بمجرد ضمور الإعانات واستمرار القمع ستندلع عاصفة من الاضطرابات الكارثية. لحسن الحظ هناك نماذج للإصلاح المحدود في الخليج يمكن أن تساعد المتقاعسين في التقدم. ينتخب الكويتيون على سبيل المثال برلماناً يحافظ على بعض الاستقلالية عن العرش. على الرغم من أن هذا بعيد كل البعد عن الديمقراطيّة التشاركيّة الحديثة إلا أنه يقدم بعض النقاط الإرشاديّة التي يمكن أن تنظر إليها الأنظمة القمعيّة.

لا داعي للحرب الباردة

في متابعة هذا المسار الجديد سوف يجادل بعض أتباع الوضع الراهن بأنه إذا دفعت إدارة بايدن عن صفقة صعبة للغاية فسوف يبتعد قادة الخليج عن الولايات المتحدة ويذهبون أكثر باتجاه الصين أو روسيا. هذه الحجة مضللة وهي حجة تلعب على سوء فهم كل من عدم إمكانية الاستغناء عن الاصطفاف العسكري مع الولايات المتحدة واستعداد الصين وروسيا لتسخير أيديهما في سياسات الشرق الأوسط.

هذه ليست الحرب الباردة: ليس لدى روسيا الكثير لتقدمه في المنطقة ومع استمرار انخفاض استخدام النفط العالمي ستتنافس موسكو حتماً مع دول الخليج على المشترين. على الرغم من أن الصين ستواصل البحث عن فرص اقتصاديّة في المنطقة إلا أنها لن تكون راغبة في لعب دور أمني حقيقي في أي وقت في المستقبل القريب. البحريّة الصينيّة لن تقدم المساعدة لدولة خليجيّة تتعرض للهجوم. إذا هدد البحرينيون أو الإماراتيون أو السعوديون بالتحوّل إلى قوى أخرى، يمكن لواشنطن ألا تنطلي عليها خدعهم.

بشكل عام عفا الزمن عن السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة بشكل خطير وهي أداة تمّ ضبطها لعزف أغنيّة لم تعد الأوركسترا تؤديها. لكن ربما تكون السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، حيث تغيّرت مصالح الولايات المتحدة ولكن سياستها لم تتغير. لدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج. سيكون الأمر صعباً ومؤلماً ويثير احتجاجاً شديداً. لكن النظام الناتج سيكون مفيداً للطرفين حيث سيعزز المصالح الأميركيّة بينما يقرب دول الخليج من المستقبل التي تزعم أنها تطمح إليه. كما يقولون فإن أكثر المساعي الجديرة بالاهتمام ليست سهلة أبداً.

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden’s Priority?لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟

**Please scroll down for the Arabic original version published in Al-Mayadeen **

Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden’s Priority?

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Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden's Priority?

Yemen: In a letter signed by members of Joe Biden’s team, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan convey that “the United States owes itself and the victims of the war (in Yemen) to learn something from the disaster.”

The thing that the Biden administration learns from the disaster is the recognition of the US responsibility in the tragedy of Yemen for moral and strategic reasons, in the words of Blinken, who said will return the file of the war on Yemen to the US State Department, and restore the relationship with Saudi Arabia to what it was in Barack Obama period.

Urgently, the Biden administration appointed the US special envoy, Tim Lenderking, along with a political and military team, to accomplish the mission, and it hopes to prepare a road map that will restore respect to the US that bin Salman has slurred it in the Yemeni mud.
In this context, the US State Department began to drive the vehicle, by reversing the classification of Ansarullah as part of the list of terrorism, and activating the decision of Congress and the Senate in 2019, which decided to withdraw from hostilities in Yemen.

Despite condemning the defense of Ansarullah and the Yemeni army in Marib and Al-Jawf, and the attacks of Abha airport and Khamis Mushait, Tim Lenderking is discussing with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan what he called the “Yemeni political solution”, in reference to the cut off the backstage link between bin Salman and Trump.

This trend caused the UN envoy Martin Griffiths for the first time to visit Iran, seeking help in putting pressure on Ansarullah, seeking cheering Biden and waiting for the promised US hopes. However, Tehran guided him to Sana’a, which decided a solution and confronted the aggression, and he heard the Iranian initiative.

On the other hand, Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi clarifies that Sana’a does not accept wishes unless the Biden administration goes to stop the siege and aggression and acknowledge practical steps indicating atonement for crimes.

Tehran and Sanaa are indicating that the Biden administration should solve this crisis resulting from the US responsibility in the crime of aggression and the biggest humanitarian disaster in Yemen. This aggression led to a rift in the US Democratic Party between the Bernie Sanders wing, described as progressive on the left, and the traditional wing, as well as other sectors represented by Chris Murphy.

It is the rift that forces Biden to solve the Democratic Party’s crisis in the first place, hoping to overcome the crisis of his split, just as the crisis facing the Republican Party after the fall of Trump, especially since the anti-aggression wing on Yemen expresses structural changes in the US demography, which are indicated by the weight of “foreigners or the black race in American political life. This was the reason why Biden used the presidency for breaking the creep of white racism.

The US’s crisis that Biden hopes to alleviate in the same context, was caused by the Yemeni issue, not only before the Democratic Party, but also before the people of the world, especially the European peoples.

The United States is the one who covered the participation of European governments in crimes with Trump, and as soon as the coverage reduced the rhetoric so far, the European Parliament issues a resolution calling on the European Union to commit to halting the arms supplies for Saudi Arabia and to work for the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Yemen.

The deeper crisis that exposed America’s racism inside and outside it is the loss of what Biden calls the US values. These values, exemplified by the theses of human rights, individual freedoms, and democracy … are a weapon in the hands of the US administration, to divert attention from the results of its brutality model in the misery of mankind and threatening the life of the planet.

It is a weapon of covering and launching the war to destabilize the fragile stability in some countries hostile to America, in order to open their markets and advance US interests and strategies on the other hand. The US’s responsibility for the Yemen disaster caused this weapon to rust for four years, which led Biden to make the Yemeni issue a priority, hoping to recharge it.

Mohammed bin Salman is the man whom Biden seeks to hang America’s dirt on; The front of the aggression against Yemen and America’s most brutal partner in killing. Biden is using him to relieve this heavy burden, not only because of the Yemen disaster, but also because of the human rights weapon.

In fact, Biden does not only turn the page of Trump, but also turns part of Obama’s page with Saudi Arabia and the partnership of Mohammed bin Salman. In his article in Foreign Affairs with Stephen Bomber, Robert Malley quotes a senior Obama administration official, at a National Security Council meeting in March 2015, as saying about bin Salman’s partnership: “We knew we might be riding in a car with a drunk driver.”

Iran and Sana’a intersect with Biden’s intentions to solve the US crises, if its solution helps in a solution for which Yemen made superhuman sacrifices for its sake and was subjected to various crimes against humanity, then the defeated is unable to impose conditions that he did not obtain in a destructive war, and he does not ask for free assistance to root out its thorns.

Translated from Al-Mayadeen

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لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن

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13 شباط 18:10

في اختياره اليمن أولوية إدارته، يأمل بايدن تضميد جراح أميركا المتورّطة بالهزيمة فيه، لكنه في هذه الأولوية يضع نصب عينيه التخلّص من محمد بن سلمان.

لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟
لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟

في رسالة وقّع عليها أعضاء فريق جو بايدن، المرشّح للانتخابات الرئاسية في العام 2018، ينقل وزير الخارجية أنتوني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي جيك سليفان أن “الولايات المتحدة مدينة لنفسها ولضحايا الحرب (في اليمن) بأن تتعلّم شيئاً من الكارثة”.

الشيء الذي تتعلّمه إدارة بايدن من الكارثة هو الإقرار بمسؤولية أميركا في مأساة اليمن “لأسباب أخلاقية واستراتيجية”، بحسب تعبير بلينكن، الذي أخذ على عاتقه إعادة ملف الحرب على اليمن إلى وزارة الخارجية الأميركية، وإعادة العلاقة مع السعودية إلى مرحلة باراك أوباما بطي صفحة ترامب وابن سلمان.

على وجه السرعة، عيّنت إدارة بايدن المبعوث الأميركي الخاص تيم ليذر كينغ، إلى جانب فريق سياسي وعسكري، لإنجاز المهمة، وهي تأمل إعداد خريطة طريق تعيد الاعتبار إلى أميركا التي مرّغ ابن سلمان وجهها في الوحول اليمنية، ما انعكس على الداخل الأميركي، وعلى أميركا في العالم، وفي السعودية نفسها.

في هذا السياق، بدأت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية الانتقال إلى مقود العربة، بالتراجع عن تصنيف “أنصار الله” ضمن لائحة الإرهاب، وتفعيل قرار الكونغرس ومجلس الشيوخ في العام 2019، القاضي “بالانسحاب من الأعمال العدائية في اليمن”.

وعلى الرغم من الإدانة الأميركية لدفاع “أنصار الله” والجيش اليمني في مأرب والجوف، وفي هجومي مطار أبها وخميس مشيط، فإن تيم ليذركينغ يبحث مع وزير الخارجية السعودي فيصل بن فرحان ما سماه “الحل السياسي اليمني”، في إشارة إلى قطع صلة الكواليس بين ابن سلمان وجوقة ترامب.

هذا المنحى أطلق تحرّك “المبعوث الأممي” مارتن غريفيث لأول مرّة إلى إيران، طلباً للمساعدة في الضغط على “أنصار الله”، رجاءً بالتهليل لبايدن وانتظار الآمال الأميركية الموعودة، لكن طهران أرشدته إلى صنعاء التي تقرّر الحل ومواجهة العدوان، وتعيد على مسامعه المبادرة الإيرانية. في المقابل، يوضح القيادي محمد علي الحوثي أن صنعاء لا تأخذ بالأماني ما لم تذهب إدارة بايدن إلى وقف الحصار والعدوان والإقرار بخطوات عملية تدلّ على التكفير عن الجرائم.

طهران وصنعاء ترميان كرة اللهب في ملعب إدارة بايدن لحل أزمات أميركا الناتجة من مسؤوليتها في جريمة العدوان وفي أكبر كارثة إنسانية في اليمن. هذا العدوان أدّى إلى شرخ في الحزب الديمقراطي الأميركي بين جناح بيرني ساندرز الموصوف بالتقدمي اليساري، والجناح التقليدي، فضلاً عن تشقّقات أخرى يمثّلها كريس ميرفي.

هو الشرخ الذي يفرض على بايدن حلّ أزمة الحزب الديمقراطي في المقام الأوّل، أملاً بتجاوز أزمة انشقاقه، كما الأزمة التي يواجهها الحزب الجمهوري بعد سقوط ترامب، ولا سيما أن الجناح المناهض للعدوان على اليمن يعبّر عن متغيرات بنيوية في الديمغرافيا الأميركية، يدلّ عليها ثقل “الأجانب” من غير العرق الأبيض في الحياة السياسية الأميركية، وهو الذي حمل بايدن إلى الرئاسة على ظهر كسر زحف العنصرية البيضاء.

أزمة أميركا الأخرى التي يأمل بايدن تخفيف حدّتها في الإطار نفسه هي المسؤولية عن تمريغ وجهها في الوحول اليمنية، ليس فقط أمام الحزب الديمقراطي والأميركيين “الأجانب” فحسب، بل أمام شعوب العالم أيضاً، وفي مقدمتها الشعوب الأوروبية.

إن الولايات المتحدة هي التي غطّت مشاركة الحكومات الأوروبية في الجرائم بمعيّة ترامب، وما أن تخفّف التغطية بالكلام حتى الآن، يُصدر البرلمان الأوروبي قراراً يدعو فيه الاتحاد الأوروبي إلى الالتزام بوقف إمدادات العدوان بالسلاح، وإلى العمل لانسحاب السعودية والإمارات من اليمن.

الأزمة الأعم الأكثر عمقاً التي كشفت عنصرية أميركا في داخلها وخارجها، هي فقدان ما يسميه بايدن “القيَم الأميركية”، فهذه القيَم المتمثّلة بأطروحات حقوق الإنسان والحريات الفردية والديمقراطية الأميركية… هي سلاح ماضٍ في أيدي الإدارة الأميركية، لإشاحة النظر عن نتائج نموذج التوحّش الأميركي في بؤس البشرية وتهديد حياة الكوكب.

هي سلاح تغطية من جهة، وسلاح حرب لزعزعة الاستقرار الهشّ في بعض الدول المعادية لأميركا، من أجل فتح أسواقها وتعزيز المصالح والاستراتيجيات الأميركية من جهة أخرى. إن مسؤولية أميركا عن كارثة اليمن أصابت هذا السلاح بالصدأ طيلة أربع سنوات، ما أدّى إلى تعويل بايدن على أولوية اليمن، أملاً بإعادة شحذه.

المشجَب الذي يسعى بايدن إلى تعليق أوساخ أميركا عليه هو محمد بن سلمان؛ واجهة العدوان على اليمن وأكثر شركاء أميركا وحشية في القتل العاري، وهو يضع نصب عينيه التخفّف من هذه الورطة الثقيلة الأعباء، ليس بسبب كارثة اليمن فحسب، بل بسبب سلاح حقوق الإنسان أيضاً.

والحقيقة أن بايدن لا يقلب في هذا الأمر صفحة ترامب فحسب، إنما يقلب كذلك جانباً من صفحة أوباما مع السعودية وشراكة محمد بن سلمان. ففي مقالة روبرت مالي في “فورين أفيرز” مع ستيفين بومبر، ينقل عن مسؤول كبير في إدارة أوباما، في اجتماع لمجلس الأمن القومي في آذار/مارس 2015، قوله بشأن شراكة ابن سلمان: “كنا نعلم أننا ربما نستقلّ سيارة مع سائق مخمور”.

قد يكون هذا المسؤول الكبير هو بايدن نفسه الذي لم يسمّه روبرت مالي، بدليل قطع اتصال بايدن مع ابن سلمان وإزالته عن جدول الأعمال، بحسب المتحدثة باسم البيت الأبيض جين ساكي، وبدليل آخر أكثر جدية عبّرت عنه إدارة بايدن في عزمها على ملاحقة ابن سلمان في جريمة قتل خاشقجي، بدءاً بنشر تقرير الاستخبارات الأميركية، وعزمها على ملاحقته بتحريك الدعوى التي قدّمها مستشار محمد بن نايف سعد الجبري أمام محكمة واشنطن ضد ابن سلمان وأعوانه.

أزمات أميركا الحادة التي تدفع بايدن إلى مساعي أولوية اليمن والتخفّف من ابن سلمان هي مشكلة أميركا وإدارة بايدن، فإيران وصنعاء معنيّتان بانسحاب قوى العدوان وفك الحصار والذهاب إلى حوار بين اليمنيين لإزالة آثار العدوان والاتفاق على الحل السياسي.

إيران وصنعاء تتقاطعان مع نيات بايدن لحل أزمات أميركا، إذا كان حلّها مساعداً في حل قدّم اليمن في سبيله التضحيات البطولية الخارقة، وتعرّض من أجله لشتى الجرائم ضد الإنسانية، فالمهزوم يعجز عن فرض شروط لم ينَلها بحرب تدميرية، ولا يطلب المساعدة المجّانية لقلع شوكه.

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