اجتماع السرايا يؤمّن التوافق على تعديل الحدود الجنوبيّة: نسف المفاوضات مع العدوّ؟ Saraya meeting that secures consensus on amending the southern torpedoing

Lebanon may present two new options in border talks | News , Lebanon News |  THE DAILY STAR
Lebanon may present two new options in border talks

اجتماع السرايا يؤمّن التوافق على تعديل الحدود الجنوبيّة: نسف المفاوضات مع العدوّ؟

الأخبار

ميسم رزق

الجمعة 9 نيسان 2021

وزير الأشغال اللبناني ينفي استقالة الحكومة: "لا مانع لدينا م | مصراوى
حسان دياب

بعد أشهر من النقاش والجدال، وافق رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال حسان دياب والوزراء المعنيون على توقيع تعديل الحدود البحرية الجنوبية. تطوّر كبير قد ينسف المفاوضات غير المباشرة مع العدو الإسرائيلي، ويثبّت حق لبنان بمساحة 1430 كيلومتراً مربعاً، ويمنع «إسرائيل» من سرقة ثروة لبنان النفطيةقُضيَ الأمر. أخيراً، استدركَت الحكومة النتائج الكارثية التي كانَت ستنجُم عن تأخير تعديل المرسوم 6433 (الصادر عام 2011، والذي يحدد حدود المناطق البحرية الاقتصادية الخالصة للبنان)، وقررت إضافة مساحة 1430 كيلومتراً مربعاً إلى المنطقة «المتنازَع عليها» عند الحدود الجنوبية. بعدَ انقسام سياسي دامَ أشهراً، ونقاشات بينَ القوى السياسية ومراسلات مع الجهات المعنية، وجدَ رئيس الحكومة حسان دياب والوزراء المعنيون بالتوقيع أنفسهم أمام خيارين: إما التوقيع وتثبيت حقّ لبنان في هذه المساحة وإبلاغ الأمم المتحدة بذلك، أو تركها ملاذاً لشركات التنقيب التي تعمَل مع الحكومة الإسرائيلية لتسرح وتمرَح فيها، وتُصبِح الحدود «السايبة» هي البوابة التي يستغلها العدو الإسرائيلي لشفط ثروة لبنان النفطية، وخاصة أن التنقيب في هذه المنطقة تحديداً (حقلي «كاريش» و«72») سيبدأ في حزيران المقبل. وفي حال سلوك تعديل المرسوم الطريق المتوقع له، ستمتنع شركات التنقيب عن العمل في المنطقة التي ستُصبح «متنازعاً عليها».

السنيورة يناشد «السيّد الرئيس»: وا أوباماه، وا أوباماه - أرشيف موقع قناة  المنار
فؤاد السنيورة

قرار التوقيع على تعديل المرسوم، اتّخذ مساءَ أمس في اجتماع وزاري ضمّ دياب ووزيرة الدفاع زينة عكر، ووزير الأشغال والنقل ميشال نجار، ووزير الخارجية شربل وهبة، والوفد العسكري المفاوض في الناقورة: العميد بسام ياسين والعقيد البحري مازن بصبوص. اقتراح التعديل كان قد ورد من قيادة الجيش، بعد سنوات على إنجاز دراسات مراسلات تجاهلتها الحكومات المتعاقبة. كان الجيش، منذ نحو 10 سنوات، يحاول تصحيح «الخطأ» الذي ارتكبته حكومة الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة الأولى، وحوّل مساحة 860 كيلومتراً مربعاً من المياه الجنوبية اللبنانية إلى منطقة «متنازع عليها». وبموازاة المفاوضات التي كانت تجرى بوساطة أميركية، تبيّن لفريق من التقنيين العسكريين والمدنيين أن حق لبنان يتجاوز تلك المنطقة «المتنازَع عليها»، ليصل إلى 2290 كيلومتراً مربعاً لا 860 كيلومتراً مربعاً فقط.

قرار التوقيع على التعديل لم يكُن سهلاً، فقد «استمر النقاش بين الوزراء لأكثر من ساعة ونصف ساعة حول من يُفترض به أن يوقّع أولاً». في البداية، «جرت محاولات من قبل وزراء لكي لا يكونوا أوّل الموقّعين»، لكن «رئيس الحكومة، ولأول مرة، كان متحمساً للحسم، فقال: إننا اجتمعنا اليوم لاتخاذ قرار، وعلينا توقيع المرسوم. وعندما يوقّع الوزراء سأقوم أنا فوراً بالتوقيع».

تعرفوا على وزير الاشغال الجديد
ميشال نجار حزب الكتائب

وبحسب المعلومات، دافع وزير الخارجية عن ضرورة تعديل المرسوم، وأكدت وزيرة الدفاع أنها ستوقّع وهي تتبنّى توجهات قيادة الجيش، بينما طلب وزير الأشغال مهلة ثلاثة أو أربعة أيام للتوقيع، لأنه يريد العودة إلى مديرية النقل البري والبحري في الوزارة، للاستيضاح حول عدد من النقاط. وخلال الاجتماع، «عرض الوفد العسكري على وزير الأشغال أن يحضر إلى الوزارة ويقدّم له عرضاً بكل المعلومات والإحداثيات الجديدة، لكن نجار أصرّ على العودة إلى المديرية كونها هي التي أعدّت المرسوم قبل إصداره عام 2011».

وزير الأشغال طلب مهلة ثلاثة أيام للعودة إلى مديريّة النقل البرّي والبحري


بعد الاجتماع، صدر بيان من الأمانة العامة لمجلس الوزراء أشار إلى أن «الرئيس دياب أكد خلال الاجتماع ضرورة الإسراع في بتّ هذا الملف. وبعدما قدم وفد الجيش شرحاً مفصلاً حول الملف، أكدت وزيرة الدفاع الوطني تبنّيها مشروع المرسوم المرفوع من قبلها. واستمهل وزير الأشغال العامة والنقل لدراسة هذا المشروع بالسرعة القصوى بالتنسيق مع قيادة الجيش تمهيداً لاستكمال الملف وتوقيعه من قبل وزيرَي الدفاع والأشغال ليصار بالنتيجة إلى عرضه على الرئيس دياب لتوقيعه وإحالته إلى رئاسة الجمهورية لإصدار الموافقة الاستثنائية المطلوبة».

اتخاذ قرار توقيع التعديل وتصحيح الخطأ السابِق، يُعدّ تطوراً كبيراً في ملف الترسيم البحري، جنوباً. فهو الأمر الذي سعى العدو الإسرائيلي جاهداً من أجل منعه، وكلّف الوسيط الأميركي بالضغط على الدولة اللبنانية من أجل التراجع عن الخط (29) الذي طرحه الوفد اللبناني المفاوض في الناقورة، بناءً على دراسات وخرائط وإحداثيات تؤكد حق لبنان بمساحة 2290 كيلومتراً في البحر، بدلا من الـ 860 كيلومتراً مربعاً «المتنازع عليها». وهو الأمر الذي دفعَ بالجانِب الإسرائيلي أيضاً، إلى تعليق عملية التفاوض غير المباشر وشنّ حملة في وسائله الإعلامية تتهم لبنان بنسف المفاوضات.

قد يؤدي تعديل المرسوم 6433 الى وقف المفاوضات فعلاً، وتعنّت العدو الإسرائيلي ورفضه العودة الى طاولة الناقورة. لكن الأكيد أن هذا التعديل سيكون ورقة قوية في يد الوفد اللبناني المفاوض، والأهم أنه سيُثبت حق لبنان حتى الخط (29)، ويحوّل مساحة 2290 كيلومتراً الممتدة إلى نصف حقل «كاريش» إلى منطقة متنازع عليها، الأمر الذي يمنَع شركة «إنرجين» اليونانية، أو أي شركة أخرى، من البدء بعملية التنقيب في هذا الحقل، لأنه يشكّل اعتداء على المنطقة الاقتصادية الخالصة التابعة للبنان.

في الاجتماع نفسه، ناقش رئيس الحكومة والوزراء والوفد المفاوض، موضوع ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع سوريا. وجرى تكليف وزير الخارجية شربل وهبة بمهمة التواصل مع الجانب السوري. وعلمت «الأخبار» أن وهبة وجّه دعوة إلى السفير السوري في لبنان علي عبد الكريم علي، حيث سيلتقيه في الوزارة يوم الثلاثاء المقبل، لإبلاغه باستعداد لبنان للتفاوض والبحث معه في الآليات المناسبة للبدء بالمحادثات، في انتظار وصول الكتاب الذي أعدّته قيادة الجيش ورأي المجلس الوطني للبحوث العلمية، ورسالة السفير اللبناني في دمشق سعد زخيا. وأكدت مصادر مطّلعة أن «الوفد العسكري ــــ التقني الذي يتولّى مهمة المفاوضات غير المباشرة مع العدو الإسرائيلي، هو نفسه من ستُوكَل إليه مهمة التفاوض المباشر مع الجانب السوري».



Saraya meeting that secures consensus on amending the southern torpedoing

Al , Akhbar

Maysam Rizk

Friday, April 9, 2021

وزير الأشغال اللبناني ينفي استقالة الحكومة: "لا مانع لدينا م | مصراوى

After months of debate, political division, discussions between political forces, Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the ministers concerned agreed to sign the Southern Maritime Border Amendment. A major development that could torpedo indirect negotiations with the Israeli enemy, prove Lebanon’s 1,430-square-kilometer right, and prevent Israel from stealing Lebanon’s oil wealth. Finally, the government realized the disastrous consequences of delaying the amendment of Decree 6433 (issued in 2011, which sets the boundaries of Lebanon’s exclusive economic maritime zones) and decided to add an area of 1,430 square kilometers to the “disputed” area at the southern border.

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the ministers concerned ministers found themselves facing two options: either sign the Amendment and establish Lebanon’s right to this space and inform the United Nations, Or leave the “loose” borders as a haven for exploration companies working with the enemy entity a gateway to steal Lebanon’s oil wealth, especially since exploration in this particular area (Karish and 72 fields) will begin next June. After signing the amendment of the decree, exploration companies will refrain from working in the area, which will become “disputed”.

The decision to sign the amendment of the decree was taken yesterday evening at a ministerial meeting that included Diab, Defense Minister Zeina Aker, Minister of Works and Transport Michel Najjar, Foreign Minister Charbel Wahba, and the military negotiating delegation in Naqura: Brigadier General Bassam Yassin and Marine Colonel Mazen Basbous.

السنيورة يناشد «السيّد الرئيس»: وا أوباماه، وا أوباماه - أرشيف موقع قناة  المنار
Siniora

The amendment proposal was received from the army command, years after the completion of correspondence studies ignored by successive governments. For nearly 10 years, the army has been trying to correct the “mistake” made by President Fouad Siniora’s first government, turning an area of 860 square kilometers of Lebanese southern waters into a “disputed” area.

In parallel with the U.S.-brokered negotiations, a team of military and civilian technicians found that Lebanon’s right exceeded that “disputed” area, reaching 2,290 square kilometers, not just 860 square kilometers.

The decision to sign the amendment was not easy. “The discussion between ministers continued for more than an hour and a half on who should sign first.” In the beginning, “attempts were made by ministers not to be the first to sign,” but “the prime minister, for the first time, was enthusiastic about making a decision, so he said:

We met today to make a decision, and we have to sign the decree.” When the ministers sign, I will immediately sign. ”

تعرفوا على وزير الاشغال الجديد
Michel Najjar, the Phalange Party

According to the information, the Foreign Minister defended the need to amend the decree, and the Minister of Defense confirmed that she will sign while adopting the directions of the army leadership, while the Minister of Works asked for three or four days to sign, because he wants to return to the directorate of land and sea transport in the ministry, to clarify a number of points. During the meeting, “the military delegation offered the Minister of Works to come to the ministry and present him with all the new information and coordinates, but Najjar insisted on returning to the directorate because it was the one who prepared the decree before it was issued in 2011.”

The Minister of Works requested a three-day deadline to return to the Directorate of Land and Maritime Transport

After the meeting, a statement issued by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers indicated that «President Diab stressed during the meeting the need to speed up the bit of this file. After the army delegation provided a detailed explanation of the file, the Minister of National Defense confirmed that she had adopted the draft decree submitted by her. The Minister of Public Works and Transport has begun to study this project as soon as possible in coordination with the army command in preparation for the completion of the file.

It was signed by the Ministers of Defense and Works to be presented to President Diab for signature and referred to the Presidency of the Republic to issue the required exceptional approval.”

The decision to sign the amendment and correct the previous error is a major development in the maritime demarcation file, south. This is what the Israeli enemy sought to prevent, and the U.S. mediator was tasked with pressuring the Lebanese state to reverse the line (29) put forward by the Lebanese negotiating delegation in Naqoura, based on studies, maps and coordinates confirming Lebanon’s right to 2,290 kilometers at sea, instead of the “disputed” 860 square kilometers. This has also prompted the Israeli side to suspend the indirect negotiation process and launch a campaign in its media accusing Lebanon of torpedoing the negotiations.

The amendment to Decree 6433 could effectively halt the negotiations, intransigence of the Israeli enemy and its refusal to return to the Naqoura table. But surely this amendment will be a strong paper in the hands of the Lebanese negotiating delegation, and most importantly it will prove Lebanon’s right to the line (29), and turn the area of 2,290 kilometers extending to half of the Karish field into a disputed area, which prevents the Greek company Energin, or any other company, from starting the exploration process in this field, because it constitutes an attack on Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone.

At the same meeting, the prime minister, ministers and the negotiating delegation discussed the demarcation of the maritime border with Syria. Foreign Minister Charbel Wahba was tasked with communicating with the Syrian side. Al-Akhbar learned that Wahba invited Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali, where he will meet with him at the ministry next Tuesday, to inform him of Lebanon’s readiness to negotiate and discuss with him the appropriate mechanisms to start the talks, pending the arrival of the book prepared by the army leadership and the opinion of the National Council for Scientific Research, and the letter of the Lebanese ambassador in Damascus Saad Zakhia. Informed sources confirmed that “the technical military delegation that is in charge of indirect negotiations with the Israeli enemy, is the same one who will be entrusted with the task of direct negotiation with the Syrian side.”

Will Israeli Supremacism continue to get a free pass?

Germany, France slam US over sanctions against ICC chief prosecutor |  Africa | DW | 04.09.2020

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 9, 2021

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: Israel does not really mind being a rogue nation, but would prefer the fact not get too much widespread attention. But this is exactly what the good people at the ICC had finally decided to do.

The Zionist regime, as expected, has responded that the ICC can stuff its investigation of Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians where the sun does not shine. Everyone knows this is true, but most pretend that Israel is a ‘special’ situation.

In effect Israel is allowed to ‘do onto others that you would not want them to do onto you’ because they are…you know…special. Different rules apply for Israelis and their supporters that don’t apply to you and I, because, you know, we are not one of them.

Historical and contemporary media have swallowed this free pass for Israeli supremacism as some form of dispensation it must pay for the ‘Big H’, guilt for not preventing it. I am not even going to use the word, because the Israelis have inflicted the ‘Big H’ on the Palestinians and write it off as a just security matter.

The last time looked we had 75 to 80 million dead from WWII related causes, a number heavily biased because it left out a chunk of the 50 million Chinese dead estimates. One special group has reserved for themselves to be annointed the most horrible thing that happened during WWII, and everyone else can not only go to the back of the bus, but jump off or be thrown off.

That has always stuck me as rather impolite, and hence I have never had warm and fuzzy spot for Israeli, Zionist, Jewish supremacism, for those who practice it.

They may consider me a bad person for this, but I would consider it just a rational observation. I would even be open to hearing their raionale for one group being allowed to hold the number one supremacism spot as an unquestionable right, and dish out to the Palestinans whatever horrors it many want and that be no one else’s business

Jim W. Dean ]

First published … April 09, 2021

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will tell the International Criminal Court that it will not cooperate with its investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel will respond to a notification letter from the ICC, telling it that Tel Aviv does not recognize the tribunal’s authority.

Last month, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in a statement the launch of a war crimes investigation into the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

She said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman said.

“Our resistance is legitimate and it comes to defend our people. All international laws approve legitimate resistance,” Qassem noted.

Palestine was accepted as an ICC member in 2015, three years after signing the court’s founding Rome Statute, based on its “observer state” status at the United Nations.

Both Israel and the United States have refused to sign up to the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

BIOGRAPHY

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing Editor

Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

Nuclear Deal Committee Concludes Meeting, Iran Reiterates Call for Lifting US Ban

April 9, 2021

manar-09754580016179661313

Nuclear Agreement Joint Committee ended the second round of its 18th regular meeting Friday in the Austrian capital Vienna. After the meeting, the delegations of Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to hold the next meeting next Wednesday at the level of assistants to foreign ministers of member states.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs Abbas Araqchi says Tehran will not stop any of its nuclear-related activities until Washington lifts the whole sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Emphasizing on Iran’s principle stance on lifting of sanctions, Araqchi said that Tehran will not halt or even reduce the pace of its nuclear activities in particular in uranium enrichment sector.

The 20 percent enrichment of uranium is going forward even with the faster pace than the speed that the Iranian parliament envisaged in its law, he said, adding that 20 percent enriched uranium are being produced now.

The trend will go on until an accord will be reached, which will oblige the US to lift all of its sanctions, he stated, stressing that the whole sanctions should be lifted in one stage.

He further pointed to the negotiations with Europeans, Russia and China, noting that the claim that Iran is discussing with Europeans and they are holding talks with the Americans is not true, because the Iranian delegation in Vienna are negotiating with a set of current member states of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including the UK, France, Germany as well as Russia and China; then, they put forward the issue with the US in a way they know themselves.

Araqchi went on to say that there are signs that the Americans are reviewing their own stance and move forward to lift all sanctions, but the Iranian side is not still in a position to make a judgement, because the negotiations have not been finalized.

According to the Iranian diplomat, a long way is still ahead; although, the pace of negotiation is moving forward and the atmosphere of the talks are constructive.

Source: Al-Manar English Website and IRNA

Related News

Before becoming a terrorist leader, ISIS chief was a prison informer in Iraq for U.S., records show “واشنطن بوست”: زعيم “داعش” كان مخبراً للأميركيين في سجنه بالعراق

Before becoming a terrorist leader, ISIS chief was a prison informer in Iraq for U.S., records show

U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll in Baghdad on Oct. 15, 2008. The United States had announced that day that a foreign insurgent killed in the city of Mosul was Abu Qaswarah, shown on screen, the No. 2 in the Islamic State of Iraq, previously known as al-Qaeda in Iraq. (Ali Abbas/AFP/Getty Images)
Headshot of Joby Warrick

By Joby Warrick

April 7, 2021 at 3:54 p.m. PDT

In confidential interrogation reports, Iraqi detainee M060108-01 is depicted as a model prisoner, “cooperative” with his American captors and unusually chatty. At times, he seemed to go out of his way to be helpful, especially when offered a chance to inform on rivals within his organization, then known as the Islamic State of Iraq.

Over several days of questioning in 2008, the detainee provided precise directions on how to find the secret headquarters of the insurgent group’s media wing, down to the color of the front door and the times of day when the office would be occupied. When asked about the group’s No. 2 leader — a Moroccan-born Swede named Abu Qaswarah — he drew maps of the man’s compound and gave up the name of Abu Qaswarah’s personal courier.

Weeks after those revelations, U.S. soldiers killed Abu Qaswarah in a raid in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Meanwhile, the detainee, U.S. officials say, would go on to become famous under a different name: Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi — the current leader of the Islamic State.

U.S. officials opened a rare window into the terrorist chief’s early days as a militant with the release this week of dozens of formerly classified interrogation reports from his months in an American detention camp in Iraq. Although the Defense Department had previously released a handful of documents that cast the future Islamic State leader as an informant, the newly released records are an intimate portrait of a prolific — at times eager — prison snitch who offered U.S. forces scores of priceless details that helped them battle the terrorist organization he now heads. The Islamic State grew out of an organization that was once called al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The appeal of ISIS fades among Europeans who returned home from Syria

“Detainee seems to be more cooperative with every session,” one 2008 report says of the man whose real name is Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abd-al-Rahman al-Mawla. “Detainee is providing a lot of information on ISI associates,” says another.

As spelled out over 53 partially redacted reports, Mawla’s cooperation with American forces included assisting with artists’ sketches of top terrorism suspects, and identifying restaurants and cafes where his erstwhile comrades preferred to dine.

In an ironic twist, Mawla appears in the reports to be particularly helpful in equipping the Americans to go after the group’s propaganda unit, as well as non-Iraqis in his organization — volunteers from across the Middle East and North Africa who joined the group during the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Foreign terrorism branches and media operations are regarded as the most effective components of today’s Islamic State.

“He did a number of things to save his own neck, and he had a long record of being hostile — including during interrogation — toward foreigners in ISIS,” said Christopher Maier, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, who discussed in an interview the records released by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a Pentagon-funded academic institution at the U.S. Military Academy. “With the rise of ISIS, and the desire to form a caliphate with thousands of foreign fighters, that’s problematic” for Mawla.

The records, which were released as part of an academic study, have helped U.S. officials fill in blanks in the biography of Mawla, a relatively obscure functionary in the Islamic State when he was named “caliph” after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019. After some initial uncertainty about the true identity of the new leader, U.S. counterterrorism officials concluded that it was Mawla, an Iraqi figure well known to them from his previous captivity.

The Iraqi, then a 31-year-old mid-level official within the Islamic State of Iraq — later known simply as the Islamic State — was apparently captured in late 2007 or early 2008, and was subjected to dozens of interrogations by U.S. military officials. The precise date of his release is not known, but the interrogation record stops in July 2008. By then, Mawla has stopped being cooperative, and reports reveal that he was “anxious” about his status, suggesting that he expected to be rewarded for the quantity of information he supplied.

What is clear from the reports is that over a period of at least two months in early 2008, Mawla was an interrogator’s dream, revealing the identities of terrorism leaders and providing maplike directions on how to find them. In one instance, he walked U.S. officials through his personal phone book, a black notebook that was seized when he was captured. In one session, he pointed out the phone numbers of 19 Islamic State officials and even disclosed how much money some of them made.

“Al-Mawla was a songbird of unique talent and ability,” Daniel Milton, an associate professor at the Combating Terrorism Center and one of the researchers who reviewed the documents, wrote in an essay published by the national security blog Lawfare. “These [interrogation reports] are chock-full of such details.”

Islamic State defector inside Baghdadi’s hideout critical to success of raid, officials say

The officials who released the documents clearly understood their potential as a source of embarrassment for Mawla, although the Islamic State leader’s background as an informant was already known within Islamist militant circles. Prominent commentators on pro-Islamic State social media sites criticized the decision to elevate the Iraqi to caliph, arguing that he was not qualified for the job.

He took the position several months after the liberation of the last of the Islamic State’s territorial holdings in Syria, and since that time, he has kept a relatively low profile. U.S. counterterrorism officials think he is hiding out in Iraq or Syria, the terrorist group’s traditional base. There, he has continued to wage a low-grade insurgency marked by frequent attacks against military outposts and government and tribal officials.

The group’s propaganda organs, meanwhile, have sought to shift attention to the achievements of Islamic State branches in Africa, where well-armed terrorists are regularly killing government soldiers and occasionally seizing territory. Last month, militants seized the town of Palma on Mozambique’s northern coast in a brazen operation that killed dozens.

U.S. officials warn that even a tarnished and partially defanged Mawla remains dangerous, given the ample opportunities to acquire money, weapons and recruits in ruined and largely lawless provinces in eastern Syria.

“They’re biding their time and waiting for circumstances to change in their favor,” said John Godfrey, the State Department’s acting special envoy for the global coalition against the Islamic State. “They’re conducting just enough high-profile attacks to show that they’re still there and still relevant.”


“واشنطن بوست”: زعيم “داعش” كان مخبراً للأميركيين في سجنه بالعراق

Headshot of Joby Warrick

الكاتب: جوبي واريك

المصدر: واشنطن بوست

اليوم 10:53

كشف تقريران صدرا عام 2008 عن القرشي واسمه الحقيقي أمير محمد سعيد عبد الرحمن مولى أن المحتجز يبدو أكثر تعاوناً مع كل جلسة استجواب وأنه يقدم الكثير من المعلومات عن الشركاء في تنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية في العراق”.

صورة أرشيفية للزعيم
صورة أرشيفية للزعيم “داعش” المعروف باسم أبو إبراهيم الهاشمي القرشي

كشفت صحيفة “واشنطن بوست” الأميركية أن الزعيم الحالي لتنظيم “داعش” أبو إبراهيم الهاشمي القرشي كان “متعاوناً” مع خاطفيه الأميركيين خلال استجوابه، وخاصة عندما عرض عليه الإبلاغ عن منافسيه داخل تنظيمه السابق لـ”داعش”، الذي كان يُعرف آنذاك باسم “دولة العراق الإسلامية”.

M060108-01

وقالت الصحيفة إنه في تقارير الاستجواب السرية الأميركية، تم تصوير المعتقل العراقي ذي الرقم أم 060108-01 بأنه سجين نموذجي “متعاون” مع خاطفيه الأميريكيين ويتحدث بشكل غير عادي وبذل واسع جهده كي يكون مفيداً. وأضافت الصحيفة أنه بعد أسابيع من هذه الاستجوابات، قتل جنود أميركيون أبو قسورة في غارة على مدينة الموصل العراقية. 

وأوضحت الصحيفة أن هذه المعلومات كشف عنها المسؤولون الأميركيون مع الإفراج عن عشرات من تقارير الاستجواب السرية السابقة هذا الأسبوع تضمنت معلومات نادرة عن الأيام الأولى للقائد الإرهابي من الأشهر التي قضاها في معسكر اعتقال أميركي في العراق.

وعلى الرغم من أن وزارة الدفاع الأميركية كانت قد أصدرت سابقاً عدداً قليلاً من الوثائق التي تصور القرشي، زعيم “داعش” المستقبلي كمخبر، فإن السجلات التي تم إصدارها حديثاً هي صورة ودية لواشٍ في سجن غزير الإنتاج قدم للقوات الأميركية عشرات التفاصيل التي لا تقدر بثمن والتي ساعدتهم على قتال المنظمة الإرهابية التي يرأسها الآن والتي كانت تسمّى أنذاك “القاعدة في العراق”.

يقول تقرير صدر عام 2008 عن الرجل واسمه الحقيقي أمير محمد سعيد عبد الرحمن مولى: “المحتجز يبدو أكثر تعاوناً مع كل جلسة استجواب”. ويقول تقرير آخر: “المحتجز يقدم الكثير من المعلومات عن الشركاء في تنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية في العراق”.

وقالت الصحيفة إن أكثر من 53 تقريراً منقحاً بشكل جزئي أظهروا أن تعاون تضمن تعاون مولى (القرشي) مع القوات الأميركية تضمن المساعدة في رسم تقريبي لكبار المشتبهين بالإرهاب، وتحديد المطاعم والمقاهي التي يفضل رفاقه تناول العشاء فيها.

وأضافت أنه في مفارقة ساخرة، يظهر مولى في التقارير أنه كان مفيداً تحديداً في تزويد الأميركيين بالمعلومات اللازمة لملاحقة وحدة الدعاية التابعة للجماعة، وكذلك ملاحقة غير العراقيين في منظمته، وهم متطوعون من جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا انضموا إلى التنظيم أثناء الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق. تعتبر فروع الإرهاب الأجنبي والعمليات الإعلامية من أكثر المكونات فعالية لتنظيم “داعش” اليوم.

وقال كريستوفر ماير، مساعد وزير الدفاع الأميركي للعمليات الخاصة والصراع منخفض الحدة: إن مولى قام بعدد من الأشياء لإنقاذ رقبته، وكان لديه سجل طويل من العدائية – بما في ذلك أثناء الاستجواب – تجاه الأجانب في داعش”. وأضاف ماير، الذي ناقش في مقابلة السجلات الصادرة عن مركز مكافحة الإرهاب في ويست بوينت، وهي مؤسسة أكاديمية ممولة من البنتاغون في الأكاديمية العسكرية الأميركية: “مع صعود داعش، والرغبة في تشكيل خلافة بآلاف المقاتلين الأجانب، كان ذلك إشكالياً” لمولى.

وقد ساعدت السجلات، التي تم إصدارها كجزء من دراسة أكاديمية، المسؤولين الأميركيين في سد الفراغات في سيرة مولى، وهو مسؤول غامض نسبياً في “داعش” عندما سمّي كـ”خليفة” بعد مقتل أبو بكر البغدادي في تشرين الأول / أكتوبر 2019. فبعد بعض الشكوك الأولية بشأن الهوية الحقيقية للزعيم الجديد، خلص مسؤولو مكافحة الإرهاب الأميركيون إلى أن مولى هو شخصية عراقية معروفة لهم منذ أسره سابقاً.

وظهر أن العراقي، الذي كان آنذاك يبلغ من العمر 31 عاماً، وكان مسؤولاً متوسط ​​المستوى داخل “دولة العراق الإسلامية” – التي عُرفت لاحقاً باسم “الدولة الإسلامية” (داعش) – أُلقي القبض عليه في أواخر عام 2007 أو أوائل عام 2008، وخضع لعشرات الاستجوابات من قبل المسؤولين العسكريين الأميركيين. وغير معروف التاريخ الدقيق لإطلاق سراحه، لكن سجل الاستجواب توقف في تموز / يوليو 2008. وبحلول ذلك الوقت، توقف مولى عن كونه متعاوناً، وكشفت التقارير أنه كان “قلقاً” بشأن وضعه، مشيرة إلى أنه كان يتوقع أن يُكافأ على كمية المعلومات التي قدمها.

وما يتضح من التقارير هو أنه على مدى شهرين على الأقل في أوائل عام ، كان مولى حلم كل محقق، حيث كشف عن هويات قادة الإرهاب وقدم توجيهات شبيهة بالخرائط حول كيفية العثور عليهم. وفي إحدى الحالات، كشف للمسؤولين الأميركيين عن دفتر هاتفه الشخصي، وهو دفتر ملاحظات أسود صودر عندما تم القبض عليه. وفي إحدى جلسات الاستجواب، أشار إلى أرقام هواتف 19 من مسؤولي “الدولة الإسلامية”، بل حتى كشف عن مقدار الأموال التي جناها بعضهم.

وكتب دانيال ميلتون، الأستاذ المشارك في مركز مكافحة الإرهاب وأحد الباحثين الذين راجعوا الوثائق، في مقال نشرته مدونة الأمن القومي “لاوفير”  Lawfare: “كان مولى طائراً مغرداً يتمتع بموهبة وقدرة فريدتين. وتقارير الاستجواب هذه مليئة بمثل هذه التفاصيل”.

وقالت الصحيفة إن المسؤولين الأميركيين الذين نشروا هذه الوثائق قد أدركوا إمكاناتها كمصدر لإحراج مولى، على الرغم من أن خلفية زعيم “داعش” كمخبر كانت معروفة بالفعل داخل الأوساط الإسلامية المتشددة. وكان معلقون بارزون مؤيدون لـ”داعش” قد انتقدوا على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي الموالية للتنظيم قرار ترقية مولى إلى منصب الخليفة، بحجة أنه غير مؤهل لهذا المنصب.

وقد تولى مولى هذا المنصب بعد أشهر عدة من تحرير آخر معاقل تنظيم “داعش” في سوريا ، ومنذ ذلك الوقت، ظل بعيداً عن الأضواء نسبياً. يعتقد مسؤولو مكافحة الإرهاب الأميركيون أنه يختبئ في العراق أو سوريا، القاعدة التقليدية للجماعة الإرهابية. وهناك، واصل شنّ تمرد منخفض الدرجة تميز بهجمات متكررة ضد المواقع العسكرية والمسؤولين الحكوميين والقبليين. 

في المقابل، سعت أجهزة الدعاية لتنظيم “داعش” إلى تحويل الانتباه إلى إنجازات أفرع التنظيم في إفريقيا، حيث يقوم الإرهابيون المسلحون بشكل جيد بقتل الجنود الحكوميين بشكل منتظم والاستيلاء على مناطق جديدة أحياناً. فالشهر الماضي، استولى متشددون على بلدة بالما على الساحل الشمالي لموزمبيق في عملية جريئة أسفرت عن مقتل العشرات.

ونقلت “واشنطن بوست” أن المسؤولين الأميركيون يحذرون من أنه حتى مولى، الملطخة سمعته جزئياً، لا يزال خطيراً، نظراً للإمكانات الوفيرة للحصول على المال والأسلحة والمجندين في المحافظات المدمرة في شرق سوريا، والتي ينعدم فيها القانون إلى حد كبير.

وقال جون غودفري، القائم بأعمال المبعوث الخاص لوزارة الخارجية الأميركية إلى التحالف العالمي ضد “داعش”: إن مقاتلي “داعش” ينتظرون حلول وقتهم وينتظرون تغيّر الظروف لصالحهم. فهم يشنّون ما يكفي من الهجمات البارزة لإظهار أنهم ما يزالون هناك ولا يزالون مفيدين.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: الميادين نت

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity on Avoiding War in Ukraine

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Global Research, April 07, 2021

Antiwar.com 6 April 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Avoiding War in Ukraine

Dear President Biden,

We last communicated with you on December 20, 2020, when you were President-elect.

At that time, we alerted you to the dangers inherent in formulating a policy toward Russia built on a foundation of Russia-bashing. While we continue to support the analysis contained in that memorandum, this new memo serves a far more pressing purpose. We wish to draw your attention to the dangerous situation that exists in Ukraine today, where there is growing risk of war unless you take steps to forestall such a conflict.

At this juncture, we call to mind two basic realities that need particular emphasis amid growing tension between Ukraine and Russia.

First, since Ukraine is not a member of NATO, Article 5 of the NATO Treaty of course would not apply in the case of an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Second, Ukraine’s current military flexing, if allowed to transition into actual military action, could lead to hostilities with Russia.

We think it crucial that your administration immediately seek to remove from the table, so to speak, any “solution” to the current impasse that has a military component. In short, there is, and can never be, a military solution to this problem.

Your interim national security strategy guidance indicated that your administration would “make smart and disciplined choices regarding our national defense and the responsible use of our military, while elevating diplomacy as our tool of first resort.” Right now is the perfect time to put these words into action for all to see.

We strongly believe:

1. It must be made clear to Ukrainian President Zelensky that there will be no military assistance from either the US or NATO if he does not restrain Ukrainian hawks itching to give Russia a bloody nose — hawks who may well expect the West to come to Ukraine’s aid in any conflict with Russia. (There must be no repeat of the fiasco of August 2008, when the Republic of Georgia initiated offensive military operations against South Ossetia in the mistaken belief that the US would come to its assistance if Russia responded militarily.)

2. We recommend that you quickly get back in touch with Zelensky and insist that Kiev halt its current military buildup in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have been lining up at the border ready to react if Zelensky’s loose talk of war becomes more than bravado. Washington should also put on hold all military training activity involving US and NATO troops in the region. This would lessen the chance that Ukraine would misinterpret these training missions as a de facto sign of support for Ukrainian military operations to regain control of either the Donbas or Crimea.

3. It is equally imperative that the U.S. engage in high-level diplomatic talks with Russia to reduce tensions in the region and de-escalate the current rush toward military conflict. Untangling the complex web of issues that currently burden U.S.-Russia relations is a formidable task that will not be accomplished overnight. This would be an opportune time to work toward a joint goal of preventing armed hostilities in Ukraine and wider war.

There is opportunity as well as risk in the current friction over Ukraine. This crisis offers your administration the opportunity to elevate the moral authority of the United States in the eyes of the international community. Leading with diplomacy will greatly enhance the stature of America in the world.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

  • William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
  • Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer & former Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (ret.)
  • Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)
  • Graham E. Fuller,Vice-Chair, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
  • Robert M. Furukawa, Captain, Civil Engineer Corps, USNR (ret.)
  • Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
  • Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
  • John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
  • Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
  • Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
  • Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)
  • Pedro Israel Orta, CIA Operations Officer & Analyst; Inspector with IG for the Intelligence Community (ret.)
  • Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
  • Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
  • Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
  • Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
  • Sarah G. Wilton, CDR, USNR, (ret.); Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)
  • Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)
  • Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

*

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Tension in Ukraine and the Turkish Straits Issue التوتر في أوكرانيا وقضية المضائق التركية

Tension in Ukraine and the Turkish Straits Issue

Ukraine tensions - Russia, USA, NATO, the Turkish Straits

 ARABI SOURI 

حسني محلي
International relations researcher and specialist in Turkish affairs

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The Ukrainian interior, especially the border separating the west and east of the country, is witnessing a dangerous tension, which many expect will turn into hot confrontations between Ukraine backed by America and some European countries and Russia that support separatists in the east of the country, who in 2014 declared autonomy in the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

This tension acquires additional importance with the approaching date of the exercises scheduled to take place next month, with the participation of Ukrainian forces and NATO units, the largest of their kind since the fall of the Soviet Union. Moscow sees in these maneuvers, which bear the name ‘Defending Europe – 21’, as a direct threat, because they will include the Black Sea and the North Baltic Seas, which are potential hotbeds of confrontation between Russia and NATO.

All this comes as Washington continues its relentless efforts to include Ukraine and Georgia in the (NATO) alliance before the end of this year, after it included in 2004 both Bulgaria and Romania to it, in an attempt to tighten the blockade on Russia in the Black Sea, which Turkey also overlooks.

President Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart Zalinsky (a Jew and a friend of Netanyahu), and after that the contacts made by the defense and foreign ministers, the chief of staff, and the secretary-general of the US National Security Council with their Ukrainian counterparts this week, to prove the seriousness of the situation in the region, after Washington confirmed its absolute support for Ukraine in its crisis with Russia.

The Russian response to these US-Ukrainian provocations was not late, Moscow mobilized very large forces in the region, and large naval maneuvers began in the Crimea and the Krasnodar region in southeastern Ukraine and in the northern Black Sea.

The timing of the Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Shantop’s speech about President Erdogan’s powers to withdraw from the Montreux Convention gained additional importance, because it coincided with the escalation between Moscow and Washington, and sparked a new debate in the Turkish, Russian and Western streets, as 120 retired Turkish diplomats signed, and after them 103 admirals retirees, on two separate statements in which they denounced Shantop’s words, and said: ‘The withdrawal from the Montreux Agreement puts Turkey in front of new and dangerous challenges in its foreign policy, and forces it to align itself with one of the parties to the conflict in the region.

The response came quickly from Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu and Fakhruddin Altun, spokesman for President Erdogan, who accused the admirals of ‘seeking a new coup attempt. While the Public Prosecutor filed an urgent lawsuit against the signatories of the Military personnel’s statement, the leader of the National Movement Party, Devlet Bakhsali, Erdogan’s ally, demanded that they be tried and their pensions cut off. Some see this discussion as an introduction to what Erdogan is preparing for with regard to the straits and raising the level of bargaining with President Putin.

The ‘Montreux Convention’ of 1936 recognized Turkey’s ownership of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles straits while ensuring freedom of commercial navigation in them for all ships, and set strict conditions for the passage of warships owned by countries not bordering the Black Sea through these straits. Washington does not hide its dissatisfaction with this convention, and since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been planning to send the largest possible number of its warships to the Black Sea and the bases it is now seeking to establish in Bulgaria and Romania, and later Ukraine and Georgia.

With Turkey’s support for this American scheme, Russian warships will find themselves in a difficult situation en route to and from the Mediterranean. Russian diplomatic circles have considered the Istanbul channel that Erdogan seeks to split between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, parallel to the Bosphorus, as an attempt by Ankara to circumvent the ‘Montreux Convention’, so that American and (North) Atlantic warships can pass through this channel in the quantity and sizes they want, far from the conditions of the Montreux Convention.

All these facts make Turkey, directly or indirectly, an important party in the possible hot confrontations in Ukraine, given Ankara’s intertwined strategic relations with Kiev, especially in the field of war industries, especially the jet engines for drones and advanced missiles. In addition to this, the Turkish religious and national interest in the Crimea region, which Muslims make up about 15% of its population, with their bad memories during the communist Soviet rule, the ideological enemy of the Turkish state, which is the heir to the Ottoman Empire, which is the historical enemy of the Russian Empire.

Whatever the potential developments in the Ukrainian crisis and their implications for the Turkish role in the Black Sea region, with their complex calculations, Moscow and Washington (and their European allies) do not neglect their other regional and international accounts in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions, especially with the continuation of the Syrian, Yemeni, Somali and Libyan crises, and their repercussions on the balance of power in the basins of the Straits of Hormuz, Bab el-Mandeb and the Eastern Mediterranean, where ‘Israel’ is present, which borders Jordan with its recent surprising events.

Erdogan Used 3000 Syrian Terrorists in the Nagorno Karabach Battles

https://syrianews.cc/erdogan-used-3000-syrian-terrorists-in-the-nagorno-karabach-battles/embed/#?secret=MqFNSvMgQn

Here, the recent Russian-Iranian-Chinese moves with their various elements gain additional importance, because they disturbed and worried Western capitals, which found themselves forced, even in their last attempt, to distance Tehran from this alliance, by returning to the nuclear agreement as soon as possible.

Washington and Western capitals believe that this may help them to devote themselves to the Ukraine crisis, and then to similar issues in other regions, through which it aims to tighten the siege on Russia in its backyards in Central Asia and the Caucasus, where Georgia and Azerbaijan have direct links with Turkey.

It has become clear that, with all its geostrategic advantages, it will be the arena of competition, and perhaps direct and indirect future conflict between Washington and Moscow, as they race together to gain more positions in its arena, which supports President Erdogan’s position externally, because his accounts have become intertwined in Syria and Karabakh with Russia, and its ally Iran, it will also support his projects and plans internally to stay in power forever, thanks to US and European economic and financial support. Without this, he cannot achieve anything.

The bet remains on the content of the phone call that the Turkish president is waiting for from President Biden, for which many have written many different scenarios that will have their results reflected on the overall US-Russian competitions. This possibility will raise the bargaining ceiling between Erdogan and both Putin and Biden, whoever pays the most will win Turkey on his side or prevent it from allying with his enemy.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=byysW2Qrix

Tsar Putin Brings the Sultan Wannabe Erdogan Half Way Down the Tree

https://syrianews.cc/tsar-putin-brings-the-sultan-wannabe-erdogan-half-way-down-the-tree/embed/#?secret=AkXY3KfFOg

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التوتر في أوكرانيا وقضية المضائق التركية

حسني محلي
باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

حسني محلي

المصدر: الميادين نت

5 نيسان 12:08

مهما كانت التطورات المحتملة في الأزمة الأوكرانية وانعكاساتها على الدور التركي في منطقة البحر الأسود، بحساباتها المعقدة، لا تهمل موسكو وواشنطن حسابتهما الإقليمية والدولية الأخرى في منطقتي الأبيض المتوسط والأحمر.

التوتر في أوكرانيا وقضية المضائق التركية
تسعى واشنطن لضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف شمال الأطلسي

يشهد الداخل الأوكراني، وخصوصاً الحدود الفاصلة بين غرب البلاد وشرقها، توتراً خطيراً يتوقع الكثيرون أن يتحوّل إلى مواجهات ساخنة بين أوكرانيا المدعومة من أميركا وبعض الدول الأوروبية وروسيا التي تدعم الانفصاليين شرق البلاد، الذين أعلنوا في العام 2014 حكماً ذاتياً في جمهوريتي دونيتسك ولوغانسك.

يكتسب هذا التوتّر أهمية إضافية مع اقتراب موعد المناورات المقرر إجراؤها الشهر القادم، بمشاركة القوات الأوكرانية ووحدات الحلف الأطلسي، وهي الأكبر من نوعها منذ سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي. ترى موسكو في هذه المناورات التي تحمل اسم “الدفاع عن أوروبا – 21” خطراً يستهدفها بشكلٍ مباشر، لأنّها ستشمل البحر الأسود وبحر البلطيق الشمالي، وهي ساحات المواجهة الساخنة المحتملة بين روسيا والحلف الأطلسي.

يأتي كلّ ذلك مع استمرار مساعي واشنطن الحثيثة لضم أوكرانيا وجورجيا إلى الحلف قبل نهاية العام الجاري، بعد أن ضمّت في العام 2004 كلاً من بلغاريا ورومانيا إليه، في محاولة منها لتضييق الحصار على روسيا في البحر الأسود الذي تطل تركيا أيضاً عليه.

وجاء اتصال الرئيس بايدن بنظيره الأوكراني زالينسكي (يهودي وصديق لنتنياهو)، وبعده الاتصالات التي أجراها وزراء الدفاع والخارجية ورئيس الأركان وسكرتير عام مجلس الأمن القومي الأميركي بنظرائهم الأوكرانيين خلال الأسبوع الجاري، لتثبت مدى جدية الوضع في المنطقة، بعد أن أكدت واشنطن دعمها المطلق لأوكرانيا في أزمتها مع روسيا.

لم يتأخّر الرد الروسي على هذه الاستفزازات الأميركية – الأوكرانية، فقامت موسكو بحشد قوات كبيرة جداً في المنطقة، وبدأت مناورات بحرية واسعة في شبه جزيرة القرم وإقليم كراسنودار جنوب شرق أوكرانيا وفي شمال البحر الأسود. 

وقد اكتسب التوقيت الزمني لحديث رئيس البرلمان التركي مصطفى شانتوب عن صلاحيات الرئيس إردوغان للانسحاب من اتفاقية “مونترو” أهمية إضافية، لأنه تزامن مع التصعيد بين موسكو وواشنطن، وأثار نقاشاً جديداً في الشارع التركي والروسي والغربي، إذ وقّع 120 دبلوماسياً تركياً متقاعداً، وبعدهم 103 أميرالات متقاعدين، على بيانين منفصلين استنكروا فيهما كلام شانتوب، وقالوا: “إن الانسحاب من اتفاقية “مونترو” يضع تركيا أمام تحديات جديدة وخطيرة في سياستها الخارجية، ويجبرها على الانحياز إلى أحد أطراف الصراع في المنطقة”.

جاء الرد سريعاً على لسان وزير الداخلية سليمان صويلو، وفخر الدين التون، المتحدث باسم الرئيس إردوغان، اللذين اتهما الأميرالات “بالسعي لمحاولة انقلاب جديدة”، فيما أقام وكيل النيابة العامة دعوى قضائية عاجلة ضد الموقعين على بيان العسكر، وطالب زعيم حزب الحركة القومية دولت باخشالي، حليف إردوغان، بمحاكمتهم وقطع المرتبات التقاعدية عنهم. ويرى البعض أن هذا النقاش مقدمة لما يحضّر له إردوغان في ما يتعلق بالمضائق ورفع مستوى المساومة مع الرئيس بوتين. 

وكانت اتفاقية “مونترو” للعام 1936 قد اعترفت بملكية تركيا لمضيقي البوسفور والدردنيل، مع ضمان حرية الملاحة التجارية فيهما لجميع السفن، وحددت شروطاً صارمة على مرور السفن الحربية التي تملكها الدول غير المطلة على البحر الأسود من هذه المضائق. لا تخفي واشنطن عدم ارتياحها إلى هذه الاتفاقية، وهي تخطط منذ سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي لإرسال أكبر عدد ممكن من سفنها الحربية إلى البحر الأسود، وتسعى الآن إلى إنشاء قواعد في بلغاريا ورومانيا، ولاحقاً في أوكرانيا وجورجيا.

وبدعم تركيا لهذا المخطط الأميركي، ستجد السفن الحربية الروسية نفسها في وضع صعب في الطريق من البحر الأبيض المتوسط وإليه. وقد اعتبرت أوساط دبلوماسية روسية قناة إسطنبول التي يسعى إردوغان لشقّها بين بحر مرمرة والبحر الأسود، وبشكل موازٍ لمضيق البوسفور، محاولة من أنقرة للالتفاف على اتفاقية “مونترو”، حتى يتسنّى للسفن الحربية الأميركية والأطلسية المرور في هذه القناة بالكم والكيف اللذين تشاؤهما، بعيداً من شروط اتفاقية “مونترو”.

كل هذه المعطيات تجعل تركيا، بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر، طرفاً مهماً في المواجهات الساخنة المحتملة في أوكرانيا، نظراً إلى علاقات أنقرة الاستراتيجية المتشابكة مع كييف، وخصوصاً في مجال الصناعات الحربية، وفي مقدمتها المحركات النفاثة للطائرات المسيّرة والصواريخ المتطورة. يُضاف إلى ذلك الاهتمام التركي الديني والقومي بمنطقة القرم التي يشكل المسلمون حوالى 15% من سكّانها، مع ذكرياتهم السيّئة خلال الحكم السوفياتي الشيوعي، العدو العقائدي للدولة التركية، وهي وريثة الإمبراطورية العثمانية التي تعدّ العدو التاريخي للإمبراطورية الروسيّة.

مهما كانت التطورات المحتملة في الأزمة الأوكرانية وانعكاساتها على الدور التركي في منطقة البحر الأسود، بحساباتها المعقدة، لا تهمل موسكو وواشنطن (وحلفاؤهما الأوروبيون) حسابتهما الإقليمية والدولية الأخرى في منطقتي الأبيض المتوسط والأحمر، وخصوصاً مع استمرار الأزمات السورية واليمنية والصومالية والليبية، وانعكاساتها على موازين القوى في حوضي مضيقي هرمز وباب المندب وشرق الأبيض المتوسط، حيث تتواجد “إسرائيل” التي تحتل فلسطين المجاورة للأردن بأحداثه الأخيرة المفاجئة.

وهنا، تكتسب التحركات الروسية – الإيرانية – الصينية الأخيرة بعناصرها المختلفة أهمية إضافية، لأنها أزعجت وأقلقت العواصم الغربية التي وجدت نفسها مضطرة، ولو في محاولة أخيرة منها، إلى إبعاد طهران عن هذا التحالف، عبر العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بأسرع ما يمكن. 

وتعتقد واشنطن والعواصم الغربية أن ذلك قد يساعدها للتفرغ لأزمة أوكرانيا، وبعدها لقضايا مماثلة في مناطق أخرى، تهدف من خلالها إلى تضييق الحصار على روسيا في حدائقها الخلفية في آسيا الوسطى والقوقاز، حيث جورجيا وأذربيجان ذات الصلة المباشرة مع تركيا. 

وقد بات واضحاً أنها، وبكل مزاياها الجيوستراتيجية، ستكون ساحة المنافسة، وربما الصراع المستقبلي المباشر وغير المباشر بين واشنطن وموسكو، وهما تتسابقان معاً لكسب المزيد من المواقع في ساحتها، وهو ما يدعم موقف الرئيس إردوغان خارجياً، لأن حساباته باتت متداخلة في سوريا وكاراباخ مع روسيا وحليفتها إيران، كما سيدعم مشاريعه ومخططاته داخلياً للبقاء في السلطة إلى الأبد، بفضل الدعم الاقتصادي والمالي الأميركي والأوروبي. ومن دون ذلك، لا يمكنه أن يحقق شيئاً.

يبقى الرهان على فحوى المكالمة الهاتفية التي ينتظرها الرئيس التركي من الرئيس بايدن، والتي كتب من أجلها الكثيرون العديد من السيناريوهات المختلفة التي ستنعكس بنتائجها على مجمل المنافسات الأميركية – الروسية. سيرفع هذا الاحتمال سقف المساومة بين إردوغان وكلٍّ من بوتين وبايدن. ومن يدفع منهم أكثر سوف يكسب تركيا إلى جانبه أو يمنعها من التحالف مع عدوه.

حتى تلك الساعة، يبدو واضحاً أن الجميع يراهن على مضمون الصفقة التي سيقترحها الرئيس بايدن على الرئيس إردوغان، وشروط الأخير للقبول بتفاصيلها أو رفضها، وهو يدري أن الرئيس بوتين يملك بدوره ما يكفيه من الأوراق لإبقاء تركيا خارج الحلبة الأميركية، حتى لا تعود، كما كانت في سنوات الحرب الباردة، سمكة عالقة في الصنارة الأميركية. 

The second coming of Ben-Gurion

Source

April 5, 2021 – 17:44

The reasons behind capsizing the Taiwanese cargo ship “Ever Given”, on the 24th of March, have become clear.

The cargo ship capsized in the Suez Canal for more than 6 days. Failing to float the ship is not the news, or that the reasons behind the accident were a human failure. But the real news behind it is the reviving of the old-new plans that were and are still alive in the dreams of the Zionist entity which is enlivening the “Ben-Gurion Canal” project. Yes, Ben-Gurion Canal has surfaced once more.

The project aims to connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean through the Negev desert. The idea of digging a canal opposite the Suez Canal began in 1963. It is recommended in a memo submitted by Lawrence Livermore Patriot Laps in the United States of America. The memorandum was proposed as a response to the decision taken by President Gamal Abdel Nasser to nationalize the Suez Canal in 1956. 

The memorandum suggested: In order to ensure the flow of navigation in the Red Sea, an alternative canal should be opened in the Gulf of Aqaba. It will be drilled through the Negev desert, which was described as an empty area that can be dug using nuclear bombs: Firstly, the project was halted due to the radiation that nuclear bombs could cause; and secondly due to the opposition that the project would face by the Arab countries, led by Nasser.

Today, political alliances have changed the face of the region, particularly after the implementation of the Abraham Accords by several Arab countries. Therefore, a political atmosphere is compatible. Hence, serious deliberations of the project, after the Ever-Given capsizing, provide the idea that the accident was contrived. It was intended as a new window for the return of the talks over finding an alternative to the Suez Canal. 

In principle, that the accident was premeditated is a fair assumption. In an article I previously published on the Al-Ahed website, I talked about Israel’s attempt to control and expand access to the gates of the water routes to the Mediterranean through the Abraham Accords. It was not a peace agreement. Rather, it was actually an economic treaty with Morocco, the Emirates, and Sudan. Once Oman signs it, Israel will be able to control the water routes from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Persian Gulf, and finally control the Red Sea through the upcoming Ben-Gurion Canal, which will provide enormous income for Israel.

Firstly, Israel and the United States are in dire need of the project to compensate for the severe economic contraction due to the Coronavirus pandemic and unstable conditions. The treaties were signed between Israel and the Arab countries so as to guarantee Israel’s political and economic stability, and to maintain its presence in the region.  

And secondly, the project is driven by the need to restrain the rise of the economic power of China, and to hold back its ongoing project known as “One Road, One Belt”. The Chinese project aims to build a train line that starts from the provinces of China in the west towards West Asia and secure water routes around the world. It is a multi-billion-dollar investment project. For example, before the Corona pandemic, several parties in Lebanon hosted the Chinese ambassador, who explained the benefits of the project, which will employ tens of thousands of workers, employees, and specialists along the train line, which will be used mainly to transport goods between China and Europe. Therefore, the U.S. is trying to hamper the Chinese trade route by creating an alternative route to compete with. So, the new stage of struggle will witness an economic war aiming to control seaports and global trade routes.

This American-Israeli project has overlapped with joining several agreements and draft agreements. For example, the United States and the United Arab Emirates have joined the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum as observers. And starting Monday, March 29th, the Military Cooperation Agreement between Jordan and the United States will take effect, which probably aims to find an alternative place for the American forces outside Iraq and Syria.

Thirdly, preparations are underway for the implementation of the New Levant Project, which extends from Iraq to Jordan to Palestine across the Arabian Peninsula to the Sinai Desert. The project aims to create a new trade route that does not pass through Syria and Lebanon, but rather through the New Levant lands extending from the Persian Gulf in the south to the Mediterranean in the north, and through it will pass new oil and gas pipelines from Iraq to Jordan, which will replace the Tab line.

The New Levant project might forfeit Syria’s geostrategic importance for the Americans as one of the most important global and historical trade lines between the north and the south throughout history. However, the project lost its momentum at this stage because of Israel’s drive to be part of it, which forced the Iraqi government to cease working on it.

The secrecy of the canal project’s memorandum was revealed in 1994. It was waiting in the drawers for new conditions to revive it. It seems that the capsizing of the ship was the perfect plan. The capsizing oddly coincided with the signing of the 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China. The current events are evidence that the need to change alliances has become inevitable in the region. This explains the economic pressure on Syria and Lebanon and the continued decline in the price of lira in the sister countries. The Americans hoped that through sanctions they would impose conditions for reconciliations with “Israel”, impose the demarcation of borders between the Palestinian and Lebanese borders to the best interest of Israel, and prevent Hezbollah and its allies from participating in the coming government. Eventually, the U.S. would have the upper hand to prevent the Chinese route from reaching its ultimate destination to the Mediterranean Sea. However, the reasons behind Biden’s escalating tone towards China and Syria were revealed once Iran and China signed the document for cooperation. The protocol also revealed the hidden options Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke of in his speech on the 18th of March.

The developments in the region may change the course of the Syrian crisis.  The “One Belt and One Road” project will not achieve its real success until it reaches the port of Latakia, or/and the port of Tripoli, if the Lebanese desire, in exchange for the ports of Haifa and Ashkelon in Palestine. However, this cannot be achieved as long as Syria is still fighting its new independence war against America and Turkey. Yet, the coming of the Chinese dragon to Iran may mark a new era. Syria constitutes one of the main disputes between China and the United States. It seems that the withdrawal of the latter to Jordan under the new military cooperation agreement has become imposed by the new coming reality. The Americans can manage from there any new conflicts in the region or prolong the life of the crisis and thus obstruct the Chinese project without any direct clashes.

The construction of the Ben-Gurion Canal may take several years. However, the project is now put into action. Thanks to “Ever Given” capsizing, the canal building is now scheduled around May 2021. It is clear now who is the main beneficiary of this calamity, which hit one of the most important global navigation points, namely the Suez Canal.

Normalization agreements were primarily aimed to expand Israeli influence over waterways. The disastrous consequences on the region are starting to be unwrapped.  The major target is going to be Egypt. Egypt’s revenue from the Suez Canal is estimated to be 8 billion dollars. Once Ben-Gurion is activated it will drop into 4 billion dollars. Egypt cannot economically tolerate the marginalization of the role of the Suez Canal as one of the most important sources of its national income, especially after the completion of the construction of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. Confinement of the Nile water behind the water scarcity will cause the Egyptians to starve. It will have disastrous consequences on Egypt and Europe. Since the latter will receive most of the Egyptian immigrants; however, this is another story to be told.
 

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Ukraine redux: war, Russophobia and Pipelineistan

Ukraine redux: war, Russophobia and Pipelineistan

April 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war – with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let’s cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war.

On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021.

The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev’s official policy. That’s exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of “Russian aggression.” Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation.

It was this (italics mine) de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76th  Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours.

It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise “unwavering US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” That ties in with Moscow’s interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.

Controlling the narrative

Sevastopol, already when I visited in December 2018, is one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, impervious even to a NATO attack. In his decree, Zelensky specifically identifies Sevastopol as a prime target.

Once again, we’re back to 2014 post-Maidan unfinished business.

To contain Russia, the US deep state/NATO combo needs to control the Black Sea – which, for all practical purposes, is now a Russian lake. And to control the Black Sea, they need to “neutralize” Crimea.

If any extra proof was necessary, it was provided by Zelensky himself on Tuesday this week in a phone call with NATO secretary-general and docile puppet Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelensky uttered the key phrase: “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass” – which means, in practice, NATO expanding its “presence” in the Black Sea. “Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping.”

All of these crucial developments are and will continue to be invisible to global public opinion when it comes to the predominant, hegemon-controlled narrative.

The deep state/NATO combo is imprinting 24/7 that whatever happens next is due to “Russian aggression.” Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) launch a blitzkrieg against the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. (To do so against Sevastopol in Crimea would be certified mass suicide).

In the United States, Ron Paul has been one of the very few voices to state the obvious:  “According to the media branch of the US military-industrial-congressional-media complex, Russian troop movements are not a response to clear threats from a neighbor, but instead are just more ‘Russian aggression.’”

What’s implied is that Washington/Brussels don’t have a clear tactical, much less strategic game plan: only total narrative control.

And that is fueled by rabid Russophobia – masterfully deconstructed by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, one of the world’s top military analysts.

A possibly hopeful sign is that on March 31, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, talked on the phone about the proverbial “issues of mutual interest.”

Days later, a Franco-German statement came out, calling on “all parties” to de-escalate. Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg.

The problem is Merkel and Macron don’t control NATO. Yet Merkel and Macron at least are fully aware that if the US/NATO combo attacks Russian forces or Russian passport holders who live in Donbass, the devastating response will target the command centers that coordinated the attacks.

What does the hegemon want?

As part of his current Energizer bunny act, Zelensky made an extra eyebrow-raising move. This past Monday, he visited Qatar with a lofty delegation and clinched a raft of deals, not circumscribed to LNG but also including direct Kiev-Doha flights; Doha leasing or buying a Black Sea port; and strong “defense/military ties” – which could be a lovely euphemism for a possible transfer of jihadis from Libya and Syria to fight Russian infidels in Donbass.

Right on cue, Zelensly meets Turkey’s Erdogan next Monday. Erdogan’s intel services run the jihadi proxies in Idlib, and dodgy Qatari funds are still part of the picture. Arguably, the Turks are already transferring those “moderate rebels” to Ukraine. Russian intel is meticulously monitoring all this activity.

A series of informed discussions – see, for instance, here and here – is converging on what may be the top three targets for the hegemon amid all this mess, short of war: to provoke an irreparable fissure between Russia and the EU, under NATO auspices; to crash the Nord Steam 2 pipeline; and to boost profits in the weapons business for the military-industrial complex.

So the key question then is whether Moscow would be able to apply a Sun Tzu move short of being lured into a hot war in the Donbass.

On the ground, the outlook is grim. Denis Pushilin, one of the top leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, has stated that the chances of avoiding war are “extremely small.” Serbian sniper Dejan Beric – whom I met in Donetsk in 2015 and who is a certified expert on the ground – expects a Kiev attack in early May.

The extremely controversial Igor Strelkov, who may be termed an exponent of “orthodox socialism,” a sharp critic of the Kremlin’s policies who is one of the very few warlords who survived after 2014, has unequivocally stated that the only chance for peace is for the Russian army to control Ukrainian territory at least up to the Dnieper river. He stresses that a war in April is “very likely”; for Russia war “now” is better than war later; and there’s a 99% possibility that Washington will not fight for Ukraine.

On this last item at least Strelkov has a point; Washington and NATO want a war fought to the last Ukrainian.

Rostislav Ischenko, the top Russian analyst of Ukraine whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Moscow in late 2018, persuasively argues that, “the overall diplomatic, military, political, financial and economic situation powerfully requires the Kiev authorities to intensify combat operations in Donbass.

“By the way,” Ischenko added, “the Americans do not give a damn whether Ukraine will hold out for any time or whether it will be blown to pieces in an instant. They believe they stand to gain from either outcome.”

Gotta defend Europe

Let’s assume the worst in Donbass. Kiev launches its blitzkrieg. Russian intel documents everything. Moscow instantly announces it is using the full authority conferred by the UNSC to enforce the Minsk 2 ceasefire.

In what would be a matter of 8 hours or a maximum 48 hours, Russian forces smash the whole blitzkrieg apparatus to smithereens and send the Ukrainians back to their sandbox, which is approximately 75km north of the established contact zone.

In the Black Sea, incidentally, there’s no contact zone. This means Russia may send out all its advanced subs plus the surface fleet anywhere around the “Russian lake”: They are already deployed anyway.

Once again Martyanov lays down the law when he predicts, referring to a group of Russian missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau: “Crushing Ukies’ command and control system is a matter of few hours, be that near border or in the operational and strategic Uki depth. Basically speaking, the whole of the Ukrainian ‘navy’ is worth less than the salvo of 3M54 or 3M14 which will be required to sink it. I think couple of Tarantuls will be enough to finish it off in or near Odessa and then give Kiev, especially its government district, a taste of modern stand-off weapons.”

The absolutely key issue, which cannot be emphasized enough, is that Russia will not (italics mine) “invade” Ukraine. It doesn’t need to, and it doesn’t want to. What Moscow will do for sure is to support the Novorossiya people’s republics with equipment, intel, electronic warfare, control of airspace and special forces. Even a no-fly zone will not be necessary; the “message” will be clear that were a NATO fighter jet to show up near the frontline, it would be summarily shot down.

And that brings us to the open “secret” whispered only in informal dinners in Brussels, and chancelleries across Eurasia: NATO puppets do not have the balls to get into an open conflict with Russia.

One thing is to have yapping dogs like Poland, Romania, the Baltic gang and Ukraine amplified by corporate media on their “Russian aggression” script. Factually, NATO had its collective behind unceremoniously kicked in Afghanistan. It shivered when it had to fight the Serbs in the late 1990s. And in the 2010s, it did not dare fight the Damascus and Axis of Resistance forces.

When all fails, myth prevails. Enter the US Army occupying parts of Europe to “defend” it against – who else? – those pesky Russians.

That’s the rationale behind the annual US Army DEFENDER-Europe 21, now on till the end of June, mobilizing 28,000 soldiers from the US and 25 NATO allies and “partners.”

This month, men and heavy equipment pre-positioned in three US Army depots in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will be transferred to multiple “training areas” in 12 countries. Oh, the joys of travel, no lockdown in an open air exercise since everyone has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Pipelineistan uber alles

Nord Stream 2 is not a big deal for Moscow; it’s a Pipelineistan inconvenience at best. After all the Russian economy did not make a single ruble out of the not yet existent pipeline during the 2010s – and still it did fine. If NS2 is canceled, there are plans on the table to redirect the bulk of Russian gas shipments towards Eurasia, especially China.

In parallel, Berlin knows very well that canceling NS2 will be an extremely serious breach of contract – involving hundreds of billions of euros; it was Germany that requested the pipeline to be built in the first place.

Germany’s energiewende (“energy transition” policy) has been a disaster. German industrialists know very well that natural gas is the only alternative to nuclear energy. They are not exactly fond of Berlin becoming a mere hostage, condemned to buy ridiculously expensive shale gas from the hegemon – even assuming the hegemon will be able to deliver, as its fracking industry is in shambles. Merkel explaining to German public opinion why they must revert to using coal or buy shale from the US will be a sight to see.

As it stands, NATO provocations against NS2 proceed unabated – via warships and helicopters. NS2 needed a permit to work in Danish waters, and it was granted only a month ago. Even as Russian ships are not as fast in laying pipes as the previous ships from Swiss-based Allseas, which backed down, intimidated by US sanctions, the Russian Fortuna is making steady progress, as noted by analyst Petri Krohn: one kilometer a day on its best days, at least 800 meters a day. With 35 km left, that should not take more than 50 days.

Conversations with German analysts reveal a fascinating shadowplay on the energy front between Berlin and Moscow – not to mention Beijing. Compare it with Washington: EU diplomats complain there’s absolutely no one to negotiate with regarding NS2. And even assuming there would be some sort of deal, Berlin is inclined to admit Putin’s judgment is correct: the Americans are “not agreement-capable.” One just needs to look at the record.

Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.

At the same time, the situation is evolving towards a possible new alignment in the heart of the “West”: US/UK pitted against Germany/France. Some Anglosphere exceptionals are certainly more Russophobic than others.

The toxic encounter between Russophobia and Pipelineistan will not be over even if NS2 is completed. There will be more sanctions. There will be an attempt to exclude Russia from SWIFT. The proxy war in Syria will intensify. The hegemon will go no holds barred to keep creating all sorts of geopolitical harassment against Russia.

What a nice wag-the-dog op to distract domestic public opinion from massive money printing masking a looming economic collapse. As the empire crumbles, the narrative is set in stone: it’s all the fault of “Russian aggression.”

Lebanon Couldn’t Get its Maritime Gas Stolen by Israel Now Eyeing Syria’s

ARABI SOURI 

Lebanon wants Syria's gas block in the Mediterranean

Lebanon wants to take 750 square kilometers of Syria’s east Mediterranean gas blocks after it failed to retrieve its legitimate 860 square kilometers later increased to 2290 square kilometers stolen by Israel.

The Lebanese minister of foreign affairs in the caretaker government said that ‘Syria and Lebanon should negotiate within the framework of international law and friendly neighborhood and the brotherly relations between the Arab countries to redraw the maritime borders between themselves.’

As a Syrian, I don’t recall the Lebanese officials use those ‘warm’ terms when dealing with Syria, especially during the past 10 years where the Lebanese governments have worked for the USA and Israel to destabilize Syria, smuggled terrorists and weapons into Syria, supported terrorist groups and provided their large media network as platforms to attack the Syrian government and the Syrian supporters of their government, and are forcing and intimidating Syrian refugees they placed in horrific conditions not to return their country; they even stole 21 billion dollars from Syrian depositors in their banks.

The Lebanese minister said that he is in constant talks with the Syrian ambassador in Lebanon to set up a proper platform and timeframe for the negotiations, he told the Lebanese state media that ‘now is the time to negotiate on drawing the maritime borders between Lebanon and Syria.’

Lebanon has been through 3 years of mediation through the United States with Israel that led to indirect talks starting last October 2020 over an initial 860 square kilometers of territorial waters that Israel is intending to explore for gas deposits. Lebanon later increased its demands asking for an area of 2290 square kilometers based on updated maps.

The talks between Lebanon and Israel reached a dead-end since the USA and Israel had no intentions to settle the issue fairly and were only demanding Israel’s conditions to be implemented, that’s one of the reasons that led Lebanese officials, especially the ones working for the Saudi ruling family, to try their luck carving out territorial waters from Syria in the north.

Their drooling over Syria’s anticipated gas deposits was triggered after Syria signed an agreement with a Russian company last month, March, to start exploring for gas deposits in Syria’s territorial waters in what is defined as Block Number 1.

So far, there is no official response from the Syrian government to the Lebanese odd ‘brotherly’ request.

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لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟ Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

مفاوضات فيينا تنتهي بنجاح.. واتفاق على استكمال المباحثات

لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟

ناصر قنديل

يتزامن في 22 أيار المقبل الموعد المعلن من إيران للانتقال الى مرحلة تخصيب لليورانيوم على درجة 40%، مع مرور ثلاثة شهور على دخول الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، والزمن القياسي بالنسبة لمهمة بحجم الملف النووي الإيراني، من موقع إدارة أميركية تدخل للتوّ الى موقع القرار وتمسك بعشرات الملفات الدولية والداخلية الضاغطة والملحّة، وهذا يعني أن انعقاد اجتماع فيينا الذي يجري تحت عنوان وضع خريطة طريق لعودة واشنطن وطهران الى التزاماتهما بموجب الاتفاق النووي، تعبير عن سرعة استثنائية بمفهوم العلاقات الدولية، مع التزام مبدئي من الطرفين الأميركي والإيراني بالاستعداد للعودة الى التزاماتهما، وخلافهما حول كيفية هذه العودة، كما قال المبعوث الأميركي الخاص للملف النووي، روبرت مالي، مع اعترافه بأن مناقشة القضايا الخلافية من خارج الاتفاق كقضية الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية والنزاعات الإقليمية، يجب أن تنتظر لما بعد العودة الى الاتفاق الأصلي. وهذا الاعتراف الأميركي يزيل أول عقبة من طريق العودة للاتفاق.

الواضح أن النقاش الدائر في فيينا لا يتصل بمبدأ العودة الأميركية عن العقوبات، ولا بمبدأ العودة الإيرانية عن تخفيض الالتزامات بموجبات الاتفاق، فمن الزاوية القانونية المبدئية يشكل الاتفاق مقايضة بين التزامين، أميركي برفع العقوبات، وإيراني بقبول ضوابط للملف النووي، ونحن اليوم أمام إعلان متبادل لترجمة هذا الاستعداد، تراجعت لأجله واشنطن عن دعوات سابقة للرئيس بايدن وفريقه تشترط للعودة إلى الاتفاق ورفع العقوبات باتفاق آخر، يضمن مزيداً من الضوابط التقنية، ويمتد لزمن أطول، ويطال تفاهمات أشمل نحو ملف الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية وملفات النزاع الإقليمي، وهذا أكبر تحول يفتح الباب للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، لأن ما تبقى يقوم على قاعدة سياسية تتصل برغبة وقدرة الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني بتسهيل المهمة على الشريك الآخر في الاتفاق. فواشنطن تطلب من طهران، كما قال مالي، مساعدتها على تسويق العودة للاتفاق أمام الداخل الأميركي، بينما تتمسك طهران بمعادلة قانونيّة قوامها، أن طهران خفضت التزاماتها رداً على الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق، ولم تنسحب من الاتفاق، بل أبقت بنداً من بنوده يجيز هذا التخفيض مقابل إخلال الأطراف الأخرى بموجباتها، ولذلك تتشدد طهران باعتبار العودة الأميركية إلى الاتفاق، وترجمتها بإلغاء كل العقوبات التي صدرت بناء على الانسحاب الأميركي، لتتم مطالبة إيران من قلب الاتفاق ووفقاً لبنوده بالعودة الى موجباتها.

في فيينا تشكلت لجان من المشاركين الدوليين مع كل من الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني نسختان من لجنتين، واحدة للالتزامات الإيرانية وواحدة للالتزامات الأميركية، لإنتاج تصوّر تفاوضيّ مع الوفد الإيراني في ملفي العودة للالتزامات والتراجع عن العقوبات، ومثله تصور تفاوضي مع الوفد الأميركي المقيم خارج قاعة الاجتماعات لملفي العودة عن العقوبات والعودة للالتزامات، والبدء بمحاولة تقريب التصورين سعياً لمنطقة وسط، والمقصود بالمنطقة الوسط هو تحديداً، ما هو حجم العقوبات الذي يمكن التفاهم مع واشنطن على رفعها قبل العودة الإيرانية إلى التزاماتها، مقابل ضمانة المشاركين الدوليين بأن إيران ستعود، وتقبله إيران للبدء بالخطوة الأولى في العودة إلى التزاماتها، وما هي المدة التي تطلبها واشنطن وتقبلها إيران لاستكمال إنهاء العقوبات، قبل أن تُقدم إيران على الخطوة الأخيرة في العودة إلى التزاماتها.

الطريق الذي فتح في فيينا محكوم أميركياً باللاعودة، وباب النهاية الوحيد له هو العودة إلى الاتفاق بأقل المخاطر والخسائر الممكنة، وفقاً لمعادلة قالها كل من وزير الخارجية الأميركية توني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي جايك سوليفان، ومضمونها السباق مع الزمن للعودة إلى الاتفاق قبل أن تمتلك إيران المقدرات اللازمة لإنتاج أول سلاح نوويّ، طالما هي خارج الاتفاق، والموعد الأميركيّ المرتقب لذلك هو نهاية شهر أيار.

فيديوات متعلقة


Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

Nasser Kandil

– Next May 22 coincides with the announced date of Iran to move to a stage of uranium enrichment at a level of 40%, with the passage of three months after the entry of US President Joe Biden to the White House, to hold dozens of international and internal files that are pressing and urgent, and this means that the Vienna meeting that is taking place under The title of laying out a road map for the return of Washington and Tehran to their obligations under the nuclear agreement is an expression of exceptional speed in the international relations, with an initial commitment on the American and Iranian parties to prepare for a return to their commitments, and their disagreement over how to do this return, as said by the US special envoy for the nuclear file, Robert Malley, admitting that outside the agreement such as Iran’s ballistic missile issue and regional conflicts, discussing issues outside the agreement, such as the Iranian ballistic missile issue and regional disputes, must wait until after the return to the original agreement. This American admission removes the first obstacle to returning to the agreement.

– It is clear that the debate in Vienna is not related to the principle of U.S. return from sanctions, nor to the principle of Iran’s return from reducing obligations under the agreement, from the initial legal point of view the agreement constitutes a trade-off between two commitments, the U.S. lifting of sanctions, and Iran accepting controls on the nuclear file, and today we are facing a mutual declaration to translate this readiness, for which Washington has retracted earlier calls for President  Biden and his team to return to the agreement and the lifting of sanctions with another agreement, guaranteeing more technical controls, extending longer, and extending broader understandings toward the Iranian ballistic missile file and regional conflict files, the biggest shift opens the door to a return to the nuclear agreement, because what remains is based on a political base related to the desire and ability of the U.S. and Iranian teams to facilitate the task over the other partner in the agreement. Washington is asking Tehran, Mali said, to help it market the return to the agreement in front of the U.S. interior, while Tehran adheres to a legal equation, that Tehran has reduced its obligations in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, and has not withdrawn from the agreement, but has kept one of its provisions authorizing this reduction in exchange for other parties violating its terms.  Tehran therefore tightens its consideration of the U.S. return to the agreement, translated into the abolition of all sanctions issued based on the U.S. withdrawal, so that Iran is asked to reverse the agreement and in accordance with its terms to return to its obligations.

– In Vienna, committees of international participants were formed with both the U.S. and Iranian teams, two versions of two committees, one for Iranian commitments and one for U.S. commitments, to produce a negotiated vision with the Iranian delegation in the return of commitments and the lifting of sanctions, as well as a negotiated vision with the U.S. delegation residing outside the meeting room to lift sanctions and return to commitments, and to begin trying to bring the two scenarios closer together in an effort to find a settlement. What is meant by the settlement is specifically, what is the size of the sanctions that can be agreed upon with Washington to lift them before Iran returns to its commitments, in exchange for the international participants ’guarantee that Iran will return, and Iran accepts it to start the first step in returning to its commitments, and what is the period that Washington demands and Iran accepts to complete End the sanctions, before Iran takes the final step in returning to its commitments

– The road opened in Vienna is doomed to  return, and the only end door to it is to return to the agreement with the least possible risks and losses, according to an equation said by U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser  Jake Sullivan, and its content is the race against time to return to the agreement before Iran has the capabilities to produce the first nuclear weapon, as long as it is outside the agreement, and the expected U.S. date is the end of May.

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China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning ” الاتفاقية مع إيران استراتيجية صينية أشمل لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط

الاتفاقية مع إيران استراتيجية صينية أشمل لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط

الكاتب: إيرييل ديفيدسون وآري سيكوريل
المصدر: ذا ناشونال إنترست
اليوم 7/4/2021

ينما تسعى بكين إلى تحقيق توازن للقوى في المنطقة لمنافسة الدول الغربية، فإن العبء يقع على عاتق إدارة بايدن لتحدي مكائد الصين في الشرق الأوسط.

وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف ونظيره الصيني وانغ يي.
وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف ونظيره الصيني وانغ يي يتبادلان وثائق الاتفاقية

كتبت إيرييل ديفيدسون بالاشتراك مع زميلها آري سيكوريل، وهما محللان وباحثان في مركز بحثي صهيوني أميركي مرتبط بـ”إسرائيل”، مقالة مشتركة في مجلة “ذا ناشونال انترست” الأميركية، يحرضان فيها واشنطن على الاتفاقية الصينية الإيرانية، إذ دعيا الولايات المتحدة إلى منع الصين من دعم خصوم الولايات المتحدة أو اكتساب نفوذ شديد على شركاء الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة.

وفي ما يلي ترجمة بتصرف للمقالة:

أعلنت الصين وإيران أخيراً عن “شراكة استراتيجية شاملة” لمدة خمسة وعشرين عاماً، تسعى إلى زيادة التعاون العسكري والدفاعي والأمني ​​بين إيران والصين، مما أثار فزع خصوم البلدين.

لا يشير الاتفاق إلى تجسيد تحالف إيران والصين، ولكنه يشير بدلاً من ذلك إلى استراتيجية صينية أوسع لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط. ومن المفارقات أن هذا يأتي في وقت ظهر فيه إجماع من الحزبين في واشنطن على أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تقلل من مشاركتها في الشرق الأوسط لمواجهة التحدي الذي تشكّله الصين الصاعدة.

يُظهر الاتفاق الإيراني الصيني أن الشرق الأوسط ساحة مهمة لمنافسة القوى العظمى الناشئة مع الصين. تحتاج الولايات المتحدة الآن إلى منع الصين من تعزيز خصوم الولايات المتحدة واكتساب نفوذ شديد على شركاء الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة.

بالنسبة للإيرانيين، لا يمكن أن يكون توقيت الاتفاق أكثر ملاءمة. إن طهران بحاجة ماسة إلى السيولة بعد أن شلت العقوبات الأميركية اقتصاد البلاد وتأمل أن يخفف الاتفاق مع الصين من سطوة العقوبات الأميركية. مع كون الصين مشترياً مفترضاً لصادرات النفط الإيرانية لعقود مقبلة عدة، فإن جهود إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن لجر طهران إلى طاولة المفاوضات ستثبت أنها أكثر صعوبة.

وفي الوقت نفسه، ستكسب الصين إمدادات النفط من إيران لتغذية اقتصادها سريع النمو، وشريكاً إقليمياً يشاركها مصلحتها في كبح الامتداد العالمي لقوة الولايات المتحدة.

وبالتالي، قد يكون التأثير الفوري للاتفاق هو قيام الصين عن غير قصد بتسهيل المزيد من التخصيب النووي الإيراني. لكن من غير المرجح أن تنتهي آثاره المزعزعة للاستقرار عند هذا الحد، لأن مصلحة الصين تمتد عبر المنطقة.

بالإضافة إلى إبرام الاتفاقية، تضمنت رحلة وزير الخارجية الصيني وانغ لي إلى الشرق الأوسط كذلك تشكيل خطة أمنية إقليمية مع المملكة العربية السعودية، ولقاء في اسطنبول مع نظيره التركي، وإعلان أن الإمارات ستنتج جرعات لقاح سينوفارم الصيني بقيمة مائتي مليون دولار. وفي الوقت نفسه، تعمل الشركات الصينية المملوكة للدولة على توسيع استثماراتها في “إسرائيل” والسعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة كجزء من “مبادرة الحزام والطريق”.

يأتي هذا النمط المتزايد من المشاركة الإقليمية الصينية، إلى جانب الوعود السخية، وإن لم تكن واقعية تماماً، بالاستثمار الأجنبي في وقت تقوم فيه الولايات المتحدة بتقليص وجودها في الشرق الأوسط وإعادة تموضعها بشكل متوازن. قد يبدأ شركاء الولايات المتحدة التقليديون، برؤية إيران تستفيد من السخاء الصيني وعلاقاتهم الخاصة بواشنطن، في النظر إلى الصين على أنها بديل جذاب بشكل متزايد.

تمثل أنشطة الصين في الشرق الأوسط خطراً على الولايات المتحدة لأن الصين تلعب في الميدان بطريقة سياسية واقعية بالكامل – فقد تدعم أعداء أميركا (على غرار إيران) أو قد تحاول استمالة حلفاء الولايات المتحدة (على غرار “إسرائيل”). بكين ليس لديها ولاءات. إنها تسعى لتقوية خصوم الولايات المتحدة أو سرقة شركائها التقليديين.

إن واشنطن ليست عاجزة عندما يتعلق الأمر باحتواء النفوذ الصيني في المنطقة. تحتاج الولايات المتحدة إلى استراتيجية مدروسة للتخفيف من سعي الصين لتحقيق نفوذ أكبر في الشرق الأوسط، استراتيجية تسعى إلى الحد من النفوذ الصيني بين شركاء الولايات المتحدة وإحباط الجهود الصينية لتقوية خصوم الولايات المتحدة. 

ويوصي الكاتبان أن تقوم هذه الاستراتيجية على:

أولاً، يجب أن تعمل واشنطن مع شركائها للحد من وصول بكين إلى البنية التحتية الحيوية والملكية الفكرية والتقنيات بين شركاء الولايات المتحدة. ونظراً لأن منظمتنا، المعهد اليهودي للأمن القومي الأميركي، قدمت أخيراً توصيات “لإسرائيل”، يجب أن يشمل ذلك تمكين الشركاء لتطوير أنظمة رقابة قوية على الاستثمار الأجنبي المباشر والصادرات، وتقديم مصادر تمويل تنافسية لشركات الشرق الأوسط المتعطشة للاستثمار.

في الوقت نفسه، يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تدرك أنها لا تستطيع منع جميع الأنشطة الاقتصادية الإقليمية الصينية. وبدلاً من ذلك، يجب أن تشجع أميركا الصين على الاستثمار في بناء البنية التحتية غير الحيوية في المنطقة وفي الشركات التي تتعامل مع التحديات المشتركة، مثل الاحتباس الحراري.

وفي التعامل مع المحاولات الصينية لبناء علاقات مع خصوم الولايات المتحدة، قد تحد العديد من التكتيكات “الناعمة” كذلك من قدرة الصين على تكوين علاقات مستقرة مع الأنظمة. على سبيل المثال، فيما يتعلق بطهران، يمكن للولايات المتحدة إطلاق مجموعة من العمليات السيبرانية والمعلوماتية والنفسية التي تركز على الكشف عن التوترات الداخلية الخاصة بين الحكومتين الصينية والإيرانية، والتي قد تشمل الإشارة إلى الإبادة الجماعية المروعة التي ارتكبتها الصين ضد السكان المسلمين الإيغور. (في شينجيانغ) ونفاق الأنظمة الإسلامية التي تتسامح مع ذلك، بحسب توصية الكاتبين.

وفي الجانب الإعلامي، انتقد عدد كبير من الأصوات الغموض والطبيعة السرية لعملية التفاوض بين الصين وإيران، ويجب على الولايات المتحدة تضخيم هذه الأصوات عبر مختلف المنافذ الدولية. ومن شأن حملة منسقة من هذا النوع أن تساعد على تقويض صدق الاتفاقية، وبالتالي تقويض قدرة كل طرف على الاعتماد على بعضه البعض على المدى الطويل.

وختم الكاتبان بالقول: بينما تسعى بكين عن عمد إلى تحقيق توازن القوى في المنطقة لمنافسة الدول الغربية ، فإن العبء يقع على عاتق إدارة بايدن لتحدي مكائد الصين في الشرق الأوسط، والتي تتراوح من التدخل مع شركاء أميركا التقليديين إلى تشجيع خصوم الولايات المتحدة. وأضاف أن الاتفاقية الأخيرة بين الصين وإيران ليست سوى غيض من فيض.

*إيريل ديفيدسون وآري سيكوريل هما محللان سياسيان بارزان في المعهد اليهودي للأمن القومي الأميركي في مركز جيمندر للدفاع والاستراتيجية.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: الميادين نت

China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning “

Source

April 6, 2021 

As Beijing deliberately pursues a balance of power in the region to rival Western countries, the onus will fall on the Biden administration to challenge China’s Middle Eastern machinations, which range from intervening with America’s traditional partners to emboldening its adversaries.

by Erielle Davidson Ari Cicurel

China and Iran recently announced a twenty-five-year “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” which seeks to increase military, defense, and security cooperation between Iran and China, to the consternation of both countries’ adversaries. 

The pact does not signal the materialization of an Iran-China alliance but instead points to a broader Chinese strategy to grow its influence in the Middle East. Ironically, this comes at a time when a bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington that the United States should reduce its engagement in the Middle East to address the challenge posed by a rising China.  

The Iran-China deal evinces that the Middle East is an important arena for the emerging great-power competition with China. The United States now needs to prevent China from strengthening U.S. adversaries and gaining predatory influence over U.S. partners in the region. 

For the Iranians, the timing of the deal could not be more apropos. Tehran is desperate for cash after U.S. sanctions have crippled the country’s economy and hopes the pact with China will cushion the blow from U.S. sanctions. With China as a supposed purchaser of Iranian oil exports for several decades to come, the Biden administration’s efforts to drag Tehran to the negotiating table will prove much harder. 

Meanwhile, China is to gain both oil to fuel its rapidly growing economy and a regional partner that shares its interest in curbing the global reach of U.S. power. 

The immediate impact of the deal, thus, might be China unintentionally facilitating further Iranian nuclear enrichment. But its destabilizing effects are unlikely to end there, for China’s interest extends across the region. 

In addition to concluding the pact, Chinese foreign minister Wang Li’s trip to the Middle East also included the formation of a regional security plan with Saudi Arabia, a meeting in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart, and an announcement that the UAE will produce two hundred million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine. Meanwhile, Chinese state-owned companies are expanding investments in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as part of the Belt and Road initiative.

This increasing pattern of Chinese regional engagement, coupled with generous, if not entirely realistic, promises of foreign investment comes at a time when the United States is reducing and “rebalancing” its presence in the Middle East. Traditional U.S. partners, seeing Iran benefit from Chinese largesse and their own ties to Washington cool, might begin to view China as an increasingly attractive alternative. 

China’s activities in the Middle East present a risk to the United States because China plays the field in a wholly realpolitik fashion—it may support America’s enemies (see Iran) or it may court or attempt to court U.S. allies (see Israel). Beijing has no allegiances. It seeks both to strengthen U.S. adversaries or steal its traditional partners.

Firstly, Washington should work with its partners to limit Beijing’s access to critical infrastructure, intellectual property, and technologies among U.S. partners. As our organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, recently recommended for Israel, this should include both empowering partners to develop robust oversight regimes for foreign direct investment and exports and offering competitive sources of financing for investment-hungry Middle Eastern firms.

Simultaneously, the United States should recognize it cannot block all Chinese regional economic activity and instead, should encourage China to invest in building the region’s non-critical infrastructure and in firms tackling shared challenges, like global warming. 

In dealing with Chinese attempts to build ties with U.S. adversaries, several “soft” tactics also might limit China’s ability to form stable ties with regimes. For example, vis-à-vis Tehran, the United States could launch a combination of cyber, information, and psychological operations centered on revealing privately held internal tensions between the Chinese and Iranian governments, which might include pointing out China’s horrific genocide of its Uighur population and the hypocrisy of the Muslim regimes that tolerate it. 

On the information side, a plethora of voices have criticized the ambiguity and secretive nature of the negotiating process, and the United States should amplify those voices across various international outlets. A coordinated campaign of this nature would help to undermine the sincerity of the pact and, in turn, the ability of each party to rely on each other in the long term. 

As Beijing deliberately pursues a balance of power in the region to rival Western countries, the onus will fall on the Biden administration to challenge China’s Middle Eastern machinations, which range from intervening with America’s traditional partners to emboldening U.S. adversaries. The China-Iran deal is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) and Ari Cicurel (@aricicurel) are senior policy analysts at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. 

Washington Is Misreading Russia at the World’s Peril

See the source image

April 6, 2021 

Paul Craig Roberts

On August 31, 2018, I wrote:

“So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

“I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one. Both emphazise in their highly informative writings that the court historians misrepresent wars in the interest of victors. Let’s give this a moment’s thought. Both Napoleon and Hitler stood at their apogee, their success unmitigated by any military defeat. Then they marched into Russia and were utterly destroyed. Why did they do this? They did it because their success had given them massive arogance and belief in their “exceptionalism,” the dangerous word that encapsulates Washington’s belief in its hegemony.

“The zionist neoconsevatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler.

“When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation?

“This is the question before the Russian government.”  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/31/can-war-be-avoided-and-the-planet-saved/ 

Andrei Martyanov answered on September 4, 2018: https://www.unz.com/article/russia-as-a-cat/   He argued that Washington is aware that its military power is limited and will not risk nuclear annihilation.

On April 5, 2021, the Saker has reached agreement with my point: “Russia cannot and will not retreat further, she won’t meekly declare that the Donbass or Crimea belong to the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Russia is ready, capable and willing to fight US/NATO forces if needed, including by using tactical and even strategic nukes.” https://thesaker.is/what-will-the-empire-do-to-support-the-ukronazis-open-thread-4/ 

Like myself the Saker concludes that Washington’s hubris means that “The biggest danger right now is that western politicians are completely misreading not only Putin, but all of Russia.”  

Martyanov believes that Washington’s guarantee to Ukraine is a temptest in a teacup as Washington will not really risk confronting Russia militarily.  https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com 

I wonder if Martyanov is giving Washington too much credit for awareness.  If Washington were reading the situation correctly, would the US Secretary of Defense have given Ukraine a guarantee against Russian intervention if Ukraine, now better armed by Washington, renews its assault on Donbass?  Washington wants conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the purpose of giving the guarantee is to produce conflict.  

Martyanov might be correct that Ukraine is too wary to trust the guarantee, and that Washington would not stand behind it.  But escalation can have momentum of its own. The publicized guarantee could result in extreme elements pushing the Ukrainian president into foolhardy action.  Neocons and liberal interventionists could insist Washington’s word and reputation are at stake and demand that Biden go to Ukraine’s aid.  I agree with Martyanov that it would be a war based on stupid nonsense, but these things do happen.

I only raise questions. Saker and Martyanov are better informed on these matters than I. Nevertheless, I think the risk is high that the American people are going to be very regretful that they permitted the military/security complex to use the dumbshit Democrats to prevent President Trump from normalizing relations with Russia. 

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هل انتهى الأردن نموذج 1930؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

الانقلاب الذي أصاب الحكم الأردني منذ عدة أيام، ليس عملاً عادياً يُراد منه تغيير أمير بملك كما يحدث في معظم البلدان.

الاشارة الأولى الى ان الانقلاب كان ضخماً ولم ينجح، وسكتت عنه قوى مجاورة، لم يكن أحد يعتقد أنها قادرة على الصمت، يكفي ان المتورطين هم أصحاب أحجام كبيرة وارتباطات خارجية أكثر.

يبدو أن الملك عبدالله الثاني انتبه منذ مدة قياسية الى شيء ما يدور في الأجنحة العسكرية والسياسية لمملكته بهدف إقصائه فاحتاط بانياً شبكة امان من حوله لأسباب عديدة، اولها ان الغليان يضرب المنطقة من سورية الى فلسطين مروراً بلبنان ومصر، لقد شعر أن تغييراً كبيراً يستهدف الكيان الأردني السياسي بهدف إنهاء قضية فلسطين، وهذا غير ممكن إلا بإنهاء الاردن السياسي وإيجاد حلول نهائية لنحو مليون ونصف فلسطيني مقيمين ويرتبطون بأعداد مماثلة منهم في سورية ولبنان، ما يعني أن ثلاثة ملايين فلسطيني كانوا عرضة لقبض تعويضات محترمة من جهات إسرائيلية ودولية لينتقلوا الى بلدان آسيوية وغربية. وهذا أمر سهل ليس له ما يحول دونه. فالسيسي مثلاً مستعدّ بنخوة القادر على التلاعب بقناة السويس بدمج أكثر من مليون فلسطيني مقابل مبالغ معلومة وتأييد غربي سياسي.

وكذلك بعض بلدان شمال أفريقيا المتأهبة لدمج فلسطينيين مقابل تأييد غربي سياسي لها كحال المغرب وليبيا والجزائر.

الانقلاب الأخير إذاً ليس مجرد تغيير عادي في الحكم بقدر ما أراد الذهاب نحو إنهاء القضية الفلسطينية على أساس إبعاد ملايين الفلسطينيين من الأردن وإلغاء الدور السياسي للأردن المتأسس منذ 1930 كفاصل بين فلسطين المحتلة والاردن له وظائف استيعاب المهاجرين الفلسطينيين وإقفال طرق الخليج من جزيرة العرب وفلسطين المحتلة.

فهل أراد انقلاب الامير حمزة بين الحسين تحقيق إجراءات سياسية عديدة تجري دائماً عقب كل انقلاب عسكري ام ان الذين يقفون خلفه، نحوا منحى إلغاء الاردن السياسي وانهاء القضية الفلسطينية؟

خصوصاً أن الجهود المبذولة لإنجاح الانقلاب لم تكن عادية لأنها شملت مراكب قوى كبرى في دولة عادية كالأردن، ولا يمكن لأحد ان يصدق أن الاميركيين والاسرائيليين لم يكونوا على علم بذلك ويذهبون مذهب تشجيعه؟

أما لماذا التشجيع فلإنهاء القضية الفلسطينية بإنهاء دور الأردن لأنه لم يعد مطلوباً كما كان في الثلاثينيات.

هنا يقول المتورّطون الخارجيون إن ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان أراد بقوة تأييده لـ«إسرائيل» فنحا منحى تأييدها بإنهاء قضية فلسطين وهذا لا يكون الا بإنهاء قضية فلسطين المتمركزة سياسياً وايديولوجياً وبيولوجياً في الأردن، لذلك دعم محاولة انقلاب أوهم فيها حمزة بن الحسين أنه يريد الانفتاح على اسرائيل بانقلاب أردني، لا يؤدي الى تغييرات بيولوجية عميقة، بل ينتج تحالفاً أردنياً – إسرائيلياً سعودياً.

بدوره صدّق الحمزة خصوصاً بعد تلقيه كميات كبيرة من المال معتقداً أنها دليل تأييد سعودي وغربي وإسرائيلي في آن معاً.

الهدف اذاً كما يبدو هو تحويل الأردن الى لعبة لإنهاء قضية فلسطين بالتعاون بين ثلاثي رأسه محمد بن سلمان السعودي الذي يريد بقوة حلفاً إسرائيلياً سعودياً، والعرب و«إسرائيل» بأجنحتها اليمينية واليسارية والدينية المتطرفة.

هل هذا يعني انتهاء مرحلة الدلال الأردني مع الأميركيين والإسرائيليين بعد واقعة الانقلاب الأخير؟

يبدو أن هذا الانقلاب ذهب نحو تجديد ممر النظام الأردني من طريق غربي إسرائيلي وسعودي أردني من جهة ثانية، فأصبح صعباً إحداث تغييرات بيولوجية عميقة باستثناء بعض التحسينات السياسية وهذا شيء ممكن قد يدفع اليه الأميركيون والبريطانيون.

ويبدو أن المعونات المالية للأردن الآتية من الإنجليز والسعوديين والإسرائيليين قد تشهد تطوراً كبيراً له وظائف متعددة أهمها تأكيد استمرارية النظام السياسي الأردني كحال الأنظمة العربية المماثلة.

كما أن الأميركيين أخذوا على عاتقهم تأمين دعم خليجي كبير للأردن من السعودية والإمارات والكويت ودولة الإمارات. وهذا يعني العمر المديد لأصحاب الأعمار القصيرة.

هذا ما أكده أمين سر المملكة باسم عوض الله الذي كشف أن الاردن اجتاز مرحلة جديدة برعاية أميركية سعودية إسرائيلية وأمراء أردنيين.

سياسياً، يذهب الملك الأردني عبدالله ناحية بناء تحالفات مع مصر و«إسرائيل» والإمارات ومحمد بن سلمان والغرب الاميركي والأوروبي لتأمين استقرار قوي لمملكة الأردن التي لا تنتج شيئاً وتتلقى رواتبها من الدول الأجنبية كل شهر جديد، كالعمال تماماً. أهذه دولة؟

لم تنته اذاً خدمة الأردن التاريخية مع تأمين انضباط كبير لكامل أمراء العائلة المالكة، على ان يتولى الراعي الأميركي توفير الحماية للراعي الملكي واخواته والعاملين عنده من كافة الاتجاهات مع منع الفلسطينيين من أية اتجاهات مستقلة والبقاء تحت رايات الهاشميين يصِلون سعودية محمد بن سلمان وبن غوريون وجيش العدو بقوات فلسطينيّة.

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Dealing With Demons

Dealing With Demons

April 06, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

The Lockdown

At the outbreak of the epidemic, China implemented the most comprehensive and rigorous measures ever taken. Wuhan was locked down on Jan. 23, with several other cities in Hubei Province quickly thereafter, then the entire province. (1) All public transportation was suspended. Airports, train stations, bus depots, boat and ferry docks were closed, all toll highways shut down and most roads blocked. All The subways and buses stopped running, and all people were to remain in their homes. The initial lockdown in late January involved about 20 million people, extending to about 60 million within a month, this at a time when China had only about 500 infections. The move, unprecedented in modern times and undoubtedly a difficult decision, spoke volumes about the gravity of the situation and the seriousness with which the government viewed the public health threat. China’s President Xi issued a rather stern warning at the time, that “Governments of all levels are obliged to resolutely take all preemptive measures to rein in the fast spread of the virus and be completely transparent about their local situation so that the country can unite to fight the pandemic together, and ensure that the world has a true picture of the situation. As Xi made clear, the mistakes of the past must not be repeated.”

All the evidence suggests the Chinese authorities acted effectively as soon as they realised the danger they might be facing.

Remembering the SARS troubles, they did much more. In most large centers in the country, all sports venues, theaters, museums, tourist attractions, all locations that attract crowds, were closed, as were all schools. All group tours were cancelled. Not only the city of Wuhan but virtually the entire province of Hubei was locked down, with all trains, aircraft, buses, subways, ferries, grounded and all major highways and toll booths closed. Thousands of flights and train trips were cancelled until further notice. Some cities like Shanghai and Beijing were conducting temperature tests on all roadways leading into the cities. In addition, Wuhan was building two portable hospitals of 25,000 square meters each to handle infected patients. As well, Wuhan has asked citizens to neither leave nor enter the city without a compelling reason, and all were wearing face masks.

The scale of the challenge of implementing such a blockade was immense, comparable to closing down all transport links for a city 5 times the size of Toronto or Chicago, two days before Christmas. These decisions were unprecedented, but testified to the determination of the authorities to limit the spread and damage of this new pathogen. They not only addressed the gravity of the situation but also the seriousness of consideration for the public health, unfortunate and difficult decisions since the holiday was destroyed for hundreds of millions of people. Most public entertainment was cancelled, as were tours, and many weddings as well. The damage to the economy during this most festive of all periods, was enormous. Hong Kong will suffer severely in addition to all its other troubles, since visits from Mainland Chinese typically support much of its retail economy during this period.

And already the Western media were in full China-bashing mode, (2) some claiming that lockdowns and quarantines were “a violation of human rights” and were in any case ineffective, with Mr. Pompeo of the US State Department already lamenting the “lack of transparency” in the Chinese government, and London’s Imperial College claiming infections in China were understated by a factor of ten. (3) And of course China’s friends in Langley, Virginia, were busy making posts on Weibo claiming this was “the end of the world” with everyone “on the verge of tears”, while the UK Guardian claimed “panic was spreading” in China. (4)

Within a week of Wuhan being locked down, virtually all rail and air traffic in China had been suspended, to deny the virus a means of travel. This was of course, the most awkward of times, with much of the population on the verge of traveling home for the Chinese New Year holiday. All mass-gathering areas were closed. Restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas, museums, markets, tourist resorts and many similar places were shut down to prevent gatherings, and many factories were seriously challenged by unexpected difficulties in operation due to the quarantines. The strong measures, effective though they were, inevitably inflicted pain on some parts of the Chinese economy and certainly caused inconvenience and some hardship in people’s daily lives, but the unprecedented moves yielded positive results, with new infections quickly dropping.

Using Shanghai as an example, by the end of February the city subjected all travelers from severely-affected countries to medical examination at the city’s airports to prevent imported infections. All incoming passengers who had lived or traveled in the hardest-hit countries were automatically subjected to a 14-day quarantine at home or at designated hotels. (5) (6) These passengers were not permitted to take taxis or public transport but instead were driven to designated quarantine locations by customs authorities, where community workers would be waiting for them with a team of neighborhood officials, and a doctor and a police officer would guide them to home quarantine. This large group consisted of volunteers who lived temporarily in nearby hotels, avoiding their own homes due to the risk of spreading the virus. (7)

Foreign nationals were considered in advance, and offered necessary assistance from the communities where they lived to solve their difficulties after entering the city. (8) By early March China put major restrictions on inbound air travel and effectively closed off the borders. Those without a place of residence and a permanent job in Shanghai were not permitted to enter the city by road, except for medical reasons. (9) The Central Government temporarily suspended entry into the country of foreign passport holders even with valid visas or residence permits, which was an unprecedented but necessary step to prevent imported infections. (10) (11)

Residential areas in most Chinese cities are comprised of communities that are largely self-contained, similar in some ways to gated communities in the West, making isolation and quarantine certainly easier and more effective than in the sprawling suburbs of North America. In my community in Shanghai as an example, the road leading to the community was blocked, meaning no one left and no one entered. Special permits were available for some kinds of official travel or medical needs, but in practice these were few. All businesses in the community were temporarily shuttered as were schools and gathering places. Everyone mostly remained in their homes and, when brief excursions were necessary, masks were always worn and proximity to other persons avoided.

But there was much more leadership and planning that were not visible. Immediately upon executing the community quarantine, local officials contracted with a major food supplier to continue provisions. An online mobile phone APP was designed overnight, which was used to place orders for all foods, fresh vegetables and meat. Every two or three days a delivery truck would clear the barriers and enter the community, the drivers prohibited from human contact. Each order was bagged and sealed separately and set out at the community center office where residents could collect them and pay online after delivery. A similar system was arranged for the regular supply of medications. Courier deliveries were deposited at the road barrier where residents could come one by one to collect their packages. Nothing was overlooked, and dutiful participation was more or less total. It was seen as a civic duty for community residents to remain at home, protect each other, and prevent any spreading of the virus. The local security guards proved extremely helpful. They were well-informed on all procedures, competent to take temperatures and able to make decisions. We had not a single infection.

With most residents remaining secluded in their homes, online ordering and delivery demands surged by a factor of perhaps ten, Shanghai’s supermarkets and e-commerce platforms working intensely to ensure adequate food supplies during the lockdown. (12) The surge in demand posed challenges because many food suppliers and logistics firms had already halted work during the Spring Festival, but China’s domestic supply chains are exceptional, far beyond that existing in any other nation. Each of the large suppliers quickly arranged distribution of between five and ten times their normal daily amounts, each bringing in hundreds of tonnes of food and organising community distributions. At the same time, many e-commerce platforms quickly arranged programs with manufacturers to source urgent medical supplies including masks, disinfectant and protective clothing. Most created special areas on their mobile phone APPs to enable residents to easily purchase all necessary items.

Leadership

One reason the Chinese were able to deal with the epidemic while the UK and USA stumbled in the dark is that the Chinese think, with considerable justification, that they have been under biological attack, on and off since c.1950, and were therefore prepared with well-laid plans and competent organisers to respond to such an event. As soon as the central government learned the specific nature of the outbreak, it responded massively and to a very large extent the population understood the necessity of what was asked of them and cooperated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said “The Coronavirus is a Demon, and we cannot let this demon hide.” (13) He said China was “faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread” of the virus, that “The Chinese people are engaging in a serious battle against the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia. People’s lives and health are always the first priority for the Chinese government, and the prevention and control of the epidemic is the most important task at present, so I have been directing and deploying the works myself.”

Mr. Xi gave this battle the highest priority, personally chairing a meeting of the Standing Committee where he listened to all the reports and decided immediately to set up a CPC Central Committee group to oversee the national effort, and also to send a high-level planning group to Hubei to direct the work on the ground. (14) Soon after the outbreak occurred and the pathogen identified, a Central Guiding Group appeared in Wuhan to oversee all COVID-19 efforts, to free the medical staff from administration and planning responsibilities and to ensure they were provided with all necessities. (15)

From this leadership, Wuhan’s available hospital beds increased from 5,000 to about 25,000 within ten days. It was from this that hundreds of medical teams and about 50,000 physicians were dispatched from all across China to Hubei Province. It was from this leadership that the lockdowns and quarantines emerged, and it was from this leadership that China’s fatalities were limited to little more than 4,000, most of those in Wuhan with the entire rest of the nation of 1.4 billion people being spared.

How did China do it? It wasn’t “China”. It was the Chinese people, their civilisation and culture. All of Chinese society was mobilised, not only the Central Government or the medical officials in Hubei, but all citizens, corporations, SOEs, foundations, instantly assessed their abilities to assist, and then acted. (16) Wuhan received timely full-scale support from the entire nation, not only to fight the battle but to recover from the effects of the war. It wasn’t only lockdowns and quarantines to cut off channels of escape for the virus. Hundreds of millions of Chinese sacrificed something of their normal lives to contain the spread of the virus, acting in unison and working together in a collective response. Westerners will never understand this.

The US media were busily trashing China for a “sluggish response” to the virus (while conveniently ignoring the three wasted months in their own country), but Americans understand only dimly (if at all) the Chinese ability for rapid execution which, to the chagrin of all Americans everywhere, is due primarily to two things – China’s political system and the socialism embedded in Chinese cultural DNA. While the English-speaking West is very much an “every man for himself” culture, the Chinese are a civilisation and act in unison as such, with the result that virtually everyone is onside in things of importance to the nation. Thus, in the absence of competing private and selfish interests, a nationwide plan can be conceived, examined, discussed, approved, and executed in a much shorter time than in a country like the US – and with full public cooperation and approval.

China’s political system is much more unified than in the West, making local governments accountable to the central government whereas in Western nations the local authorities are largely autonomous, making cooperation almost impossible. Thus, in times of emergency, bureaucratic blockage simply evaporates, and the country’s massive labor force makes speed of execution possible with no sacrifice in quality. And, with the general population widely sharing the nation’s objectives, courses of action which might be resisted in the West, are widely approved in China. Due to China’s excellent organisation, the central government has the ability to rapidly mobilise any resources it needs. Building a new hospital in ten days or a new high-speed railway in one or two years is a government-led mobilisation of Chinese society. Because China has only one political party and a complete absence of partisan infighting, the government acts as a unit with the population and, once a clear and resolute course of action is determined, virtually the entire Chinese civilisation is not only eager to participate but willing to sacrifice in order to do so, something very difficult for Westerners to imagine. Many workers interviewed on CGTN were proud to say they slept only two hours in three days on construction of the new hospitals. (17)

Martin Jacques said, “The capacity of China to deal with emergencies of this kind is far more developed and far more capable than could be achieved by any Western government. The Chinese system, the Chinese government, is superior to other governments in handling big challenges like this. And there are two reasons: First of all, the Chinese state is a very effective institution, able to think strategically and mobilise society. And the other reason is that the Chinese expect the government to take leadership on these kinds of questions and they will follow that leadership.” (18)

As the numbers of infections rose beyond the capacity of local hospitals, reaching 15,000 new patients per day at the peak, the planning group directed their attention first to the provision of additional hospital capacity, (19) so they planned, designed, and built two large new hospitals. These were not “flimsy bare-bones barracks” as described in the Western media; viewed from the interior, their appearance was identical to any fully-equipped modern hospitals. (20) (21) They were modular concrete units designed for rapid assembly, in a manner similar to setting shipping containers side by side, with full accommodation for A/C, heating, ventilation, negative pressure, abundant electricity, and more. Once assembled, these units function as a whole, and are a regular hospital with all the equipment and facilities one would normally see in any hospital. The first was built in ten days by 16,000 men, the shifts working 24 hours a day. The second hospital was larger, and completed in only 6 days. (22) To clear and level the site and lay the substructure, there were 240 pieces of construction equipment working on the same site at the same time – also 24 hours per day. The Chinese media posted time-lapse videos of the construction process, which were astonishing to watch. Such hospitals were built in several cities in Hubei Province.

Immediately upon completion of the first hospital, more than 3,000 doctors and nurses from about 300 hospitals around the country were sent to staff it. The group did much more than build hospitals. A total of 16 temporary hospitals were created by converting public venues, several existing hospitals were renovated to cater exclusively to COVID-19 patients, and more than 500 hotels, training centers and sanitaria were converted into quarantine sites. (23) One makeshift hospital in Wuhan was transformed from a sports center into a TCM treatment clinic, while many exhibition centers and gymnasiums were converted into temporary hospitals for those with mild symptoms but still requiring quarantine. (24) This Central Guiding Group played an irreplaceable role in Wuhan’s anti-virus battle.

What the world apparently fails to notice is that of China’s total deaths of 4,600, 4,500 of those (98%) were in Hubei Province. If China’s leaders had not immediately locked down the city of Wuhan and then quarantined the entire province, the death toll might well have been in the hundreds of thousands. According to a paper published in late March in the journal Science, (1) co-author Christopher Dye said, “Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by [February]. (25) China’s control measures appear to have worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission.”

Most Asian countries followed China’s example, with similar results. The US refused to do so, permitting the virus to spread freely by avoiding lockdowns and quarantines and, at the time of writing appears headed for at least 100,000 (mostly) unnecessary deaths. The American way of dealing with the epidemic was to do nothing, and throw stones at China. (26) Canada was the same: Shanghai is only two hours from Wuhan and had no time to prepare or plan, yet it had only a few hundred infections and only 7 deaths. Canada, with a population similar to Shanghai, 10,000 kms from Wuhan and with months to prepare, had more infections and fatalities than all of China combined.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. Let’s accept that a few local officials in Wuhan were reluctant to face the possibility of a major epidemic at such a crucial time and were hesitant to publicise the fact that deaths were already occurring. While that was indeed an embarrassment for China, it can be easily demonstrated that the net effect was zero because the medical detective work continued unabated and, as soon as the new pathogen was discovered, that information was made public to China and to the world. The reluctance of a few local officials to publicise a new illness caused no delay of any kind either in China or internationally, because until that point there was no information to communicate other than the fact that a few dozen people had become ill with an unusual respiratory infection. All the accusations toward China of causing the US to lose two or three months of preparation time were merely juvenile political smoke, because the Chinese authorities communicated everything they knew as soon as they knew it.

For the West, this brief hesitation was a great positive because it provided unlimited (and apparently interminable) opportunities for gleeful China-bashing, political opportunism at its finest. By contrast, the displeasure inside China was real, for both the public and the central government – who immediately fired or replaced those same local officials. As a country, China faces its mistakes openly with the public and takes immediate action. Compare this to the discovery in the US of the CIA operating the largest network of torture prisons in the history of the world. What happened? Much media whining, a fraudulent Congressional hearing, most information classified and suppressed, and the entire matter swept under the rug, removed from the media radar, and quickly forgotten. The torture prisons are still open today and only one minor person paid a trivial penalty. All involved still retained their positions, and nothing changed.

To a foreigner watching from the inside, the Chinese government and the Chinese people were courageous as they took on this formidable task. From the very beginning they put people’s lives and health first. The Central Government mobilised the entire nation, organised massive control and treatment mechanisms, and acted with openness and transparency, with most of the population making significant sacrifices without complaint.

National cohesion and coordination were admirable. All of the 50,000 front-line medical staff and many others who went to Wuhan were volunteers, 90% of them Party members who had sworn to “bear the people’s burden first and enjoy their pleasures last”. To a Western ear, that sounds suspiciously like idle propaganda, but many of these front-line staff died in that battle. It wasn’t propaganda to them. Zhang Wenhong, a prominent Party member and Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, said, “When we joined the Party, we vowed that we would always prioritise people’s interests and press forward in the face of difficulties. This is the moment we live up to the pledge. All CPC members must rush to the front line. I don’t care what you were actually thinking when you joined the party. Now it’s time to live up to what you promised. I don’t care if you personally agree or not: it’s non-negotiable.” (1) That may sound harshly authoritarian to a Westerner, but there was much compassion behind the words. Zhang said later, “The first-aid team put themselves in great danger. They are tired and need to rest. We shouldn’t take advantage of good people.” At that point, he replaced almost all the front-line medics with members from different sectors.

We Westerners cannot understand that China’s society and culture are much more compassionate than ours. The Chinese place a much higher value on the elderly than do we. In China (as in Italy), grandparents and the elderly live with the family, never tossed out into nursing homes to live and die more or less alone. When it was realised that the elderly primarily were threatened with premature and painful deaths, the Chinese put their entire economy on hold to save these people.

Dr Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO International Mission said, “In the face of a previously unknown disease, China has taken one of the most ancient approaches for infectious disease control and rolled out probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China took old-fashioned measures like the national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring. But then very quickly, as it started to evolve, the response started to change . . . So they refined the strategy as they moved forward, and this is an important aspect as we look to how we might use this going forward. WHO has been here from the start of this crisis, an epidemic, working every single day with the government of China… WHO was here from the beginning and never left.” He said further, “What struck me most was that every Chinese had a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.” WHO Director-General Tan Desai commented, “China’s speed and scale of action is rare … This is the advantage of China’s system, and the relevant experience is worthy of other countries to learn from.”

The Global Times published an editorial titled: “China’s miracles are beyond biased Western understanding”, from which I will quote here:

“The rhetoric accusing China of hiding the truth has already become a cliché. These so-called experts in the US always presume that China is wrong or unreliable, and then try hard to prove the presupposed conclusion with ambiguous evidence and perverted logic. They are used to pinning their eyes on fictional stories about China, but few are willing to learn about what is really happening in the country. For a country which has let the epidemic spin out of control despite clear warnings sent by China, China’s anti-virus fight is indeed a miracle. But for China itself, the outcome appears absolutely normal and deserved in view of the government’s strong sense of responsibility for people’s lives, the governing system’s great ability of mobilization and the Chinese people’s firm willingness to support all containment measures. Nowhere could this work as it works in China and so applying any country’s models to China makes no sense. China has been working miracles over the past decades thanks to the tremendous efforts of both the government and the people. Since reform and opening-up, China has grown to become the world’s second largest economy rapidly and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. (27)

The Lancet published an article stating that “China deserves gratitude, not criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, said Chinese researchers were providing crucial information but no one in the West was listening, and they failed to prepare. In January, The Lancet published five papers that “tell the story of what has unfolded in the Western world in the recent months. They showed a deadly virus had emerged that had no treatment and could be passed between people. We knew all of this in the last week of January but most Western countries and the United States of America wasted the whole of February and early March before they acted. That is the human tragedy of COVID-19. Thanks to the work of Chinese doctors and scientists working in international collaborations, all of this info was known in January but for reasons that are difficult to understand, the world did not pay attention. Thousands died unnecessarily as a result.” (28) Horton said further that the attacks on China made by [American] politicians were unwarranted. “I want to be on the record and thank my friends and colleagues who work in medicine and medical science in China for what they have done. As I have said, I think we owe them a great deal… they do not deserve criticism, they deserve our gratitude.” And there was more: On May 15, 2020, the Lancet published a scathing assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus epidemic in which it urged all Americans to vote President Trump out of office [for his incompetence]. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics. (29)

The main objective of China’s Government is the rejuvenation of China, in part demonstrably evidenced by the determined efforts made for the betterment and the well-being of its population, which is reflected in the credibility and high level of trust the Chinese people place in their government. These concepts don’t exist in the west. In the US, the “world’s model for everything”, a virus epidemic is seen through lenses of profiteering by large corporations, sick people not being humans in need of assistance but merely a new lucrative “market” – for those with money to pay. An American hospital is not a place for healing the sick but a kind of barnyard filled with cash cows to milk. This is one fundamental reason underlying America’s chaotic and hopeless approach to dealing with the epidemic. The Trump administration failed to help itself and refused to help even its friends, on the one hand ignoring the suffering and extreme difficulties in China and wasting its time scoring cheap political points on the world stage, happy with the loss of life and the economic damage China was suffering.

Socialism at its Finest

On April 4, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection to honor those who died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially the medical staff now seen as “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic. (30) Commemorations took place in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, and occurring on the traditional Qingming festival, when Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors. China’s State Council ordered that national flags be flown at half-staff around the country and at Chinese embassies and consulates abroad.

It was heartwarming that during the epidemic, privately-owned Chinese hotels in Wuhan voluntarily provided free rooms for medical staff needing rest. Xiao Yaxing, the private owner of a four-star hotel in the city, opened a discussion group on WeChat where he appealed to his peers from more than 40 hotels to offer rooms for doctors and nurses who were working day and night to save lives. He said that since nearly all transportation had ceased in the large city, it was difficult for the medical staff to get to hospitals from home and needed rest places and, as he said, “Many hotels in Wuhan are shut down for travelers, leaving a lot of empty rooms that we can offer for free.” (31) Yi Qingyan, a regional manager of Feizhu’s hotel business in Central China’s Hubei province, said when she heard about Xiao’s group, she asked hotel managers she knew to provide rooms for medical staff. (32)

In March, the Communist Party of China donated 5.3 billion RMB (US$750 million) to be used to “extend solicitude” to the frontline medics, those serving the worst-hit Hubei Province to be favored. (33) The money was delivered to the Ministry of Finance which was entrusted with distribution, with a stipulation that families of medical workers who died on the front line would be eligible recipients, and also that some grassroots-level officials, public security officers, community workers, volunteers and frontline journalists could have access to the funds. Further, nearly 80 million Communist Party of China members across the country donated more than 8 billion RMB for the coronavirus effort, and donations were still arriving at the time of writing. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the Republican or Democrat parties and party members had done that for New York?

Being a socially-oriented society, China also has charities but these are very different animals than those existing in the West, most especially those in North America. Chinese charities don’t spend 80% of collected funds on operating expenses and executive perquisites. In fact they normally don’t collect money at all, but instead real goods that are distributed to the beneficiaries. As one example, when Wuhan hospitals put out a call for help, the Hubei Charity Federation received more than 1 million masks and other medical supplies which were immediately distributed to the hospitals. (34) In this case, they also raised 30 million RMB in cash from the community and from citizens in other provinces, which money was immediately spent on the purchase of more supplies. Moreover, in China the public can supervise the distribution and usage of donated materials and, in the case of COVID-19, the provincial medical headquarters was available to unify the organisation and allocation of the materials to hospitals and medical treatment centers, as well as guaranteeing speedy transportation and delivery.

All of China, in many ways we would never expect, strove to express their gratitude to the medical workers whom they feel saved their nation from catastrophe. As one example, more than 500 tourist areas in China announced free admission for all medical workers during the remainder of 2020, as a way to express local citizens’ sincere gratitude to medical workers’ commitment during the outbreak. (35) Given that the virus epidemic severely damaged China’s internal tourism industry, at least for the short term, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences conducted a poll asking citizens about their travel intentions for the remainder of 2020. According to their report, Wuhan was at the top of the list for Chinese travelers, all of whom said they wanted to contribute to the economic recovery of Wuhan and Hubei following the epidemic. (36)

From late January until April, the streets of Wuhan were deserted with the entire Province of Hubei not much better, but by late May the story was very different, with people around the country emptying supermarket shelves of everything Hubei had to offer – local delicacies, noodles, ducks, crayfish, fruits, manufactured goods of every kind – all with the intention of lifting Hubei’s economy to its former level. “Buying Hubei” became a nationwide campaign with participation from ordinary citizens, officials, celebrities and corporations. (37) Hundreds of companies began live-streaming online broadcasts of Hubei products and hundreds of millions of Chinese were spending money, “not for self-indulgence, but to extend a helping hand to their fellow countrymen in hardship. The result: Tens of millions of dollars were added to the local economy; tens of thousands of businesses and jobs were saved.”

In one instance, a popular live-streaming hostess sold 150,000 lipstick sets within five minutes. In another, two TV celebrities attracted 122 million viewers and sold more than 40 million RMB of Hubei products in a two-hour program. In another session, two celebrities drew 127 million viewers and sold 61 million RMB of Hubei goods, the province’s entire supply of popular duck snacks emptied within seconds. In another livestreaming instance, 6,000 tons of crayfish, worth 220 million yuan, disappeared within minutes, and one company manager said his daily production of 20,000 packages of crayfish snacks cleared out within seconds every day. He said, “The orders just exploded”, adding that he’d never seen anything like it. (38) Alibaba sold 20 million Kgs of Hubei agricultural products to date and reportedly procured 1 billion yuan worth of crayfish and 50 million yuan worth of local oranges to sell on its platforms. (39) JD.com sold 1,400 tonnes in the first week of April alone and vowed to sell 6 billion yuan worth of Hubei products. Boosting consumption became a primary cure to resurrect the virus-hit economy in Hubei.

Many Chinese citizens said they hadn’t any medical skills to help Wuhan during the epidemic, but they could at least show their support by placing orders. That sentiment resonated so broadly across China that millions promised to “gain three jin (1.5 Kg.) of weight” for Hubei. (40) One online hostess said, “Many have described our cooperation as a show of our moral principles and sense of duty. But that is over the top. I am just doing what I’m good at to help Wuhan, to help local companies open the market with livestreaming promotion and to help them resume work quickly.”

A local Party Chief in Hubei said, “I was completely moved and warmed by the active response from consumers all over the country in placing orders for Hubei products to support us, which fully reflects our valued Chinese tradition: When one falls into difficulty, all other parties come to help.” Unfortunately, no other country could replicate this economic model since they haven’t the infrastructure or the market for something of this magnitude, and few nations have the sense of civilisation and the deep social and cultural cohesion which is the enabling force.

As well, many of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) mobilised to combat the epidemic, from emergency communications installations to providing funds to the hardest-hit areas. (41) These massive Chinese corporations are exemplary in their sense of social responsibility, some constructing low-cost housing apartment communities which they sell at cost or below, many building and supporting local schools and universities, and some providing cash to help eliminate the last traces of poverty in the country. In 2020, these firms are providing more than 3 billion RMB (about $500 million) to the poorest places and many have donated massive medical supplies and funds to these same areas. (42)

Medical Supply

When China experiences a serious public health or similar emergency, the framework exists for immediate supply for all necessities that include personnel, goods and materials, transport vehicles, to be delivered to the site. The Ministry of Transport arranged an absolute prioritisation of the transport of emergency supplies and medical staff to Wuhan, while national medical authorities coordinated the efforts of all medical supply manufacturers to identify and increase the supply of the most urgent and necessary items. (43) When Wuhan appealed to the central government for assistance and supplies, hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies were delivered each week, as were tens of thousands of additional medical staff during the crisis. (44)

Well before the end of January, extensive planning had been done to greatly increase the number of hospital beds for patients with either mild or severe symptoms and for those requiring quarantine and intensive care. The local medical authorities requisitioned and transformed 24 local hospitals into COVID-19 units. Seven hospitals were designated exclusively for COVID-19 patients with fevers higher than 37°C. The National Health Commission said, “Wuhan is actually a city with rich medical resources, having many public hospitals each with more than 3,000 beds. When we requisitioned those hospitals, they complied unconditionally.” (45) Also, the Chinese government requisitioned exhibition centers and stadiums and quickly turned them into temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients with light symptoms, quarantining them separately from patients in more severe condition. At the same time, the planning and oversight group prepared and released a medical guide to help physicians quickly diagnose conditions and design treatments, this designed specifically to contain the virus locally and prevent spreading to other parts of China or overseas. (46)

At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce was occupied in coordinating the production and supply of all other daily necessities for the residents of Wuhan and Hubei. Many food items like eggs, fish, beef and pork, were released from national reserves and arrangements were made for the increased production and distribution of fresh vegetables specifically for Wuhan, along with oversight to ensure prices remained stable or dropping rather than increasing. (47) Profiteering was virtually absent in China, with the notable exception of a few foreign firms. The MOC also ensured top priority for all vehicles carrying supplies to Wuhan, and all supply firms including even restaurants were encouraged to provide home delivery to help maintain the quarantine with a minimum of inconvenience.

The latter part of January was the most difficult time for the hospitals and medical staff in Wuhan, receiving some 15,000 new fever patients per day, with all resources stretched to the limit and overworked medical staff struggling to save patients’ lives when the mortality rate was initially around 10%, truly a dark moment. “It was only when the entire country mobilised all possible medical resources to aid Wuhan that the grim situation was turned and the mortality rate began to drop.” (48) But, unlike most other nations, China “has unique institutional advantages when it comes to social mobilization”. One of these advantages enabled the national health authorities to organise, collect, and send altogether nearly 50,000 medical staff from all over the country to Wuhan, while other medical officials oversaw the organisational tasks of converting public hospitals into designated COVID-19 units to greatly expand the availability of necessary hospital beds. (49)

The pressure for urgent treatment was such that it was only on February 15 that the world’s first autopsy on a COVID-19 patient was conducted, six weeks after the pathogen was first identified. It was then that the doctors discovered that the virus attacked not only the lungs, but also other organs such as the heart and kidneys as well as the circulatory system, thus altering the treatment methods but also inflicting even more pressure on the overworked medical staff. Still, it was then that Chinese physicians began the use of blood plasma from recovered patients as well as the nearly universal application of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was these discoveries and treatments that almost instantly halved the mortality rate, especially from the more severe infections, and speeded up the recovery time. The Western media completely ignored this aspect, but it was widely proven that TCM was perhaps the primary factor in reducing the mortality rate by boosting the patients’ immune systems.

By the end of March, the crisis in Wuhan was abating while the demand for medical supplies was increasing exponentially worldwide, with most relevant factories in China running 24 hours a day while simultaneously trying to maintain quality and source raw materials internationally. There was a great deal of organisation behind the scenes to coordinate the manufacture as well as to expand domestic and international transport channels which were greatly suffering due to the collapse of the airline transport industry and the resultant lack of cargo space. The logistical hurdles were enormous in all categories, and a great part of China’s commercial society leaped into the fray in a sincere effort to assist what was now a worldwide pandemic. Chinese auto manufacturers, idle due to the pandemic, retooled within a week and began manufacturing masks, hazmat suits and other supplies by the billions. The international demand was such that more than 12,000 companies in China began producing masks and ventilators, bringing the total to well over 50,000 such firms with about one-third of them being certified exporters. (50)

Thanks to their media who were too busy bashing China to understand the events unfolding, Westerners hadn’t a clue about either the overwhelming demand for medical supplies nor the urgency of those demands. One company alone, Beijing Aeonmed, which makes ventilators, were kept running 24\7 but were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of simultaneous overseas orders from nearly 50 countries. (51) And they weren’t alone, which accounts for the large number of other manufacturers retooling in an attempt to assist other nations then living Wuhan’s experience, in many cases, such as the US, with little or no central government support.

The situation was so dire that many countries, notably Italy, and many cities, notably New York, were so lacking in supplies they were openly stating their medical staff were every day being forced to decide who would live and who would die. It was in this context that Chinese firms, entirely on their own initiative, absorbed the expense of retooling, of arranging specially-chartered aircraft and trains to bring back their staff, of sourcing raw materials, then diving head-first into a new industry to help combat a worldwide pandemic the extent and mortality of which were still largely unknown. And it was in this context that the US media spent all their time denigrating “China” for “sluggish and insufficient” effort, for the usual “lack of transparency”, and blowing out of all proportion the few complaints of unsatisfactory quality. In this context where auto manufacturers and packagers of canned salmon are suddenly manufacturing surgical masks and hazmat suits, we can be genuinely astonished the quality was as good as it was.

While China was still not out of the woods, the Chinese government was doing its best to donate supplies to needy countries all around the world, but local demand was still high and commercial export demand was rising exponentially, far more than China’s combined potential supply. As an example, on one weekend alone, France ordered one billion masks which required 56 cargo flights to transport them, to say nothing of the manufacturing logistics. Part of the problem was that the majority of air cargo is carried in scheduled flights on passenger planes but, with the collapse of the airline industry, there were no passenger planes. In order to accommodate the dire international need, China Eastern Airlines stripped overnight all the seats from their passenger aircraft and loaded them with N95 masks for France – as they did for other nations.

This kind of adjustment to circumstances, to my best knowledge, occurs in no other country on earth. The Chinese, being faced with apparently impossible demands, simply rise to the challenge, find a solution, and immediately execute it. “Just like the response to the epidemic itself, China is really making a nationwide effort to ensure medical supplies to support in the global battle against the coronavirus pandemic.” SF Express, one of China’s prominent express firms, opened new routes including to New York, and delivered nearly 1,000 tonnes of medical supplies to more than 50 countries, with many other Chinese airlines and express firms doing about the same. (52)

There was yet more to the leadership, planning and organising that were not apparent to anyone in the West. The Chinese government, while dealing with all other domestic and international pressures from the pandemic, also remembered its students who were studying abroad and distributed over 11 million face masks and 500,000 health kits with disinfection supplies and health protection manuals, to Chinese students studying abroad. (53) These shipments bypassed the local governments, being delivered to the Chinese embassies and consulates for distribution directly to the students.

It wasn’t only medical supplies but also medical staff transfers that were arranged by China’s central government, to help the country deal with the epidemic. One of the government’s first acts was to select about 500 of the top experts from the military’s medical universities, those with prior experience with SARS and MERS, and with Ebola, and send them to Wuhan to help lead the battle. There were many other such teams, composed of experts in respiratory health, infectious diseases, hospital infection control and the establishing and managing of intensive care units, who were dispatched to the Wuhan hospitals with large numbers of virus-related pneumonia patients. Zhou Xianzhi, President of Air Force Medical University, said “We sent our best staff in various clinical departments. They have rich experience in battling contagious diseases. Some of them took part in major missions such as the battle against SARS and the fight against Ebola in Africa, as well as earthquake rescues.” These were volunteers who canceled their plan to spend the Chinese Lunar New Year with their families, most saying they felt “extremely honored” to join this national mission. (54) As well, immediately upon the discovery of the effectiveness of TCM’s ability to moderate serious infections, a team of 122 TCM specialists was sent to Wuhan from Shanghai with treatment plans already prepared for the combined application of Western and Chinese medicines. (55)

Quality Concerns

“As China mounted a nationwide effort to produce desperately needed medical supplies, concerns over the quality of some Chinese-made equipment have been raised, and some foreign media outlets and politicians have even attempted to hype up recent incidents to smear China’s manufacturing sector and its intention to help other countries.” (56) The Financial Times cited examples of the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey “rejecting” Chinese-made face masks and testing kits, others going so far as to claim Chinese masks could make people sick and even kill them.

There were a few instances of unsuitable products having been sold but, on examination of the eventual details, it appears the media reports were consciously hyped and much overblown, in every case blaming “China” for the products of one manufacturer and the actions a few incompetent or unscrupulous agents, most of whom were not Chinese. The overall quality environment was actually much too complicated to permit understanding within the scope of brief media sound bytes. While there were risks of quality issues in manufacturing, the use of improper procurement channels and fluctuating foreign regulations and standards were responsible for much of the trouble. A further issue was that in two or three prominent cases the purchasers had no experience in applying delicate medical tests or even in the storage and handling of such. To compound the problem even further, the virus proved to lend itself more readily to testing at later stages of progression.

China’s Global Times did a creditable job of investigating the entire medical supply process, interviewing manufacturers and distributors, industry insiders and end users, and concluded that the vast majority of Chinese-made medical equipment was well up to standard, with most of the noise resulting primarily from the US heavily politicising China’s role in the supply process and secondly from much deliberate misinformation on the part of the American media.

In one publicised case, Dutch authorities ordered a recall of 600,000 face masks (57) for lack of ability to filter out a full 95% of airborne particles. An executive at the Chinese manufacturer stated that the world experienced such a shortage of appropriate meltblown fabric that it had become increasingly difficult to exceed 70% (instead of 95%), almost all of this fabric being imported from Switzerland and Turkey. The fault, such as it was, was not due to low-quality manufacturing in China but to degraded production ability of companies in Switzerland and Turkey who provided the raw materials. Nevertheless, “China” took the full blame on the chin. The mask quality issue became even more preposterous since the Netherlands and Belgium had already made clear that those China-made masks obtained by local agents were “commercial products made for non-medical use”, in other words sanding or paint-spraying masks and such. (58)

Having said that, it is true Chinese authorities discovered some companies engaged in the illegal production and sale of masks and other medical products and, though they did respond with an immediate and aggressive crack-down, some of that product did indeed reach foreign markets. The government conducted more than a dozen sweeps throughout the nation and heavily publicised the product confiscations and fines issued to deter such practices.

But the issues were much wider-ranging than this. China’s national government established lists of companies qualified to manufacture various medical supplies for use against the coronavirus, and strongly recommended purchases be made from only those firms and only through officially-recommended channels. However, from the urgency of need and occasional panic, many agents, buyers, and foreign end users ignored the Chinese government with predictable results in quality standards. As well, the EU generally was so eager for supplies they waived formal requirements and permitted the importation of products prior to those gaining regulatory approval. As the Global Times noted in their report, the Dutch officials in the above example “refused to disclose the source or channel” of the masks they later deemed unsuitable, many such purchases having been made through channels unauthorised and unverified by the Chinese government. But “China” still took the blame.

The Global Times reported, “Though local medical authorities and Chinese embassies have explained the misunderstanding and misuse of the test kits, media coverage of life-saving Chinese products has turned a blind eye to these clarifications, revealing some countries’ unfriendly motives. I think the quality issue reported by some media has been politicized. They can’t prove the reported testing kits have quality issues, because the use and transport [of the kits] may influence their stability and sensitivity,” an employee at test kit provider Beijing Beier Bioengineering told the Global Times. Medical workers unfamiliar with the products may have some difficulties, which could affect the accuracy of their results. The Beier employee added that Chinese medical staff also had issues when using the test kits in the early stages of the outbreak and any confusion was resolved after technical training.” (59)

There were also instances of testing kits facing claims of insensitivity or inaccuracy. Spain withdrew about 8,000 such tests, and the Western media created much noise about claims from the Czech Republic of inaccurate or insensitive tests. However, in the Czech case, their officials simply had no understanding of proper methods of application. The manufacturer finally prepared instruction videos illustrating and explaining the precise methods of administering the tests, after which the results were perfectly acceptable. This occurred more than once, and even test kits manufactured by companies not yet on the approved list had the same successful result when proper methods were employed. It occurred surprisingly often in Western countries that the medical staff eventually admitted they had never administered such tests and had no clear idea of proper procedure, and in many cases simply did not follow the instructions.

A major part of the overall quality problem was that foreign companies and governments were too eager to fill their large and increasing demand for supplies and, rather than wait in a queue at a recognised factory, would hire their own private agents in attempts to short-circuit the process, agents who, to satisfy their anxious customers, would often resort to unapproved manufacturers in the hope their actions would not later be discovered. The result was that “China” took this blame on the chin as well, with the great assistance of the politicised Western media.

As one illustrative example of the media presentation of issues with medical supplies, a UK Telegraph article said “Government seeks refund for millions of coronavirus antibody tests”, (60) stating they were “too unreliable to be used by the public.” According to the Telegraph, the UK government ordered 3.5 million such tests “mainly from Chinese manufacturers”, then noting that an additional 17.5 million had been purchased from firms in the US and UK, with none being found sufficiently reliable. But by that time, China’s 10% of the purchases had taken the media hit for the entire lot. But once the media smoke cleared and “China” had sufficiently been tarred and denigrated yet again, the UK government health officials admitted that the tests developed in China were created and designed primarily for use with patients “with a very large viral load”, in other words those more severely infected, and not intended for patients suffering only mild symptoms from minor infections. The difficulty with the UK tests was not a quality problem from “China” but UK physicians hoping for tests with a wider detection range. This was a bit like purchasing a “vehicle” then being disappointed it was unable to function as both sports car and dump truck, hardly the fault of the manufacturer. And finally, in the article’s penultimate paragraph, the Telegraph remembered to report that the UK government was not actually demanding refunds but was negotiating with the manufacturers to increase the sensitivity of the tests. In the end, much ado about nothing.

Fox News joined the parade by yelling “CHINA CASHES IN OFF CORONAVIRUS, SELLING SPAIN $467 MILLION IN SUPPLIES, SOME OF THEM SUBSTANDARD”. Spain purchased 950 ventilators, 5.5 million test kits, 11 million gloves and 500 million masks. The ‘substandard’ part was 9,000 quick-test kits (out of 5.5 million) that lacked the sensitivity Spain wanted. (61)

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro accused China of shipping “low-quality and even counterfeit” antibody testing kits to the US and of “profiteering” from the outbreak. (62) The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that Navarro’s remarks were “groundless and extremely irresponsible,” stating that China had exported tens of millions of COVID-19 tests, which had won wide acclaim from the international community, and the country had not received any feedback from the US purchasers and users on quality problems. (63) (64)

By the end of April of 2020, Chinese firms had exported tens of millions of testing kits in addition to billions of masks and thousands of tonnes of other supplies to nearly 200 countries, all of which were widely praised by the international community. Barbara Woodward, British ambassador to China, expressed her deep appreciation and satisfaction with the products and speed of response, and many other nations were effuse in their gratitude for both commercial shipments and donations from China. (65) Chinese firms shipped enormous volumes of all nature of medical supplies to the US with not a word of complaint from US purchasers or users regarding the quality of test kits and other products. But also not a single word of praise or appreciation from the Americans. Instead, the US hospitals were silent while the US government and the media were replete with non-stop smears for months.

In all the confusion, the US media failed to notice that the US itself led the world competition for defective medical products. As of the middle of February, 2020, AFP was reporting that even small countries like South Korea had performed hundreds of thousands of tests while the US was below about 8,000, the reason being that all the tests produced by the CDC and American companies were flawed and useless. (66) (67) (68) The kits would produce opposite results on the same patient at the same time, or clearly miss serious infections while declaring infections in clean patients. The CDC eventually had to instruct all hospitals and clinics to discard the tests as unusable. (69) Again, in early to mid-April, the US media were reporting the CDC was still unable to produce usable tests, this time because the test kits themselves were contaminated with the coronavirus for which they were to be testing. This was attributed to “a glaring scientific breakdown” at the CDC’s central lab. (70) (71)

To make matters worse, the CDC shipped those faulty tests not only across the country but sold them to 34 countries around the world, and no evidence emerged anywhere to suggest the CDC informed those other nations of the uselessness of their tests. To my knowledge, the UK was the only nation to discover this – at their own expense. (72) To say that the exported CDC tests were unusable would be quite an understatement. President John Magufuli of Tanzania complained that various fruits, a goat and a quail tested positive for coronavirus using the American tests. (73)

It appears the US ‘national stockpile’ was not an improvement on the CDC. (74) In early April, the media were reporting that many states received medical masks that were rotten, with an expiry date in 2010, and that 150 ventilators (at $30,000 each) sent to Los Angeles were broken, defective, and missing parts. (75) (76) (77) But, no problem. ABC News and other US media including US military channels ran dozens of articles titled, “Have a clean T-shirt? That’s all you need to make this mask.” (78)

And in late April, the UK Telegraph was reporting that the UK NHS staff “had been given flawed coronavirus tests” but, kindly, no mention that the US CDC had supplied them. (79) And even the criticism was muted: the tests were described as “less reliable than first thought because of ‘degraded’ performance”, and that they produced “discordant results”, and “have been found to be flawed and should no longer be relied on”. (80) Health Minister Helen Whately admitted “Some of the early tests were evaluated and the evaluation was that they weren’t effective enough” saying that all patients would be called in for a second test, and that this was a “normal process” when testing for a new illness. (81) No slander, no vitriol, no condemnation. Instead, the Brits and their media were quick to note that all tests have a margin of error accuracy which depends on the skill with which they are administered – among other factors. If only they had been so kind and understanding to China.

Shanghai Dasheng is one of the world’s largest manufacturers (and the world gold standard) of N95 face masks and one of the few certified to make US NIOSH-approved N95s. The company deals directly with medical purchasers only, and states on its website: “We do not have any distributors, dealers or branch factories. Beware of counterfeits.” But some masks (that were clearly fake since they were models the company did not export) bearing this company’s name appeared in the US, apparently purchased through unknown third parties. (82) This was interesting. When someone illegally copies an American product, the culprits (usually purported to be Chinese) are roundly condemned for violating a chastely innocent American company and at least six of the Ten Commandments. But then this is China and things are apparently different here. In the above news report, the American Press wrote: “AP could not independently verify if [Dasheng] are making their own counterfeits”. Charming.

Let’s Look at Death Rates

At the end of the epidemic, China reported 4,645 coronavirus deaths while the US total of 90,000 fatalities was still climbing rapidly. The death rates per 100,000 of population were 26.0 for the US and 0.33 for China. We can legitimately ask why China’s numbers appear so much lower than those of the US and of much of Europe, but we don’t need to follow US President Trump’s approach to repeatedly ask on national television, “Does anybody really believe these figures?”, (83) insinuating that China deliberately underreported its fatalities.

There are many reasons for China’s relatively low infection and death rates. First, if two countries have the same death toll, the death per 100,000 people for the country with a larger population will be lower; China’s population is nearly four times that of the US. Secondly, due to the immediate lockdown of Wuhan and Hubei, almost all of China’s fatalities were restricted to that one area: of China’s 4,645 deaths, 4512 (97%) were in Hubei with the entire remainder of the country having little more than 100 deaths. The statistical result was that Wuhan’s rate was 35.2, Hubei’s 7.6, and China’s 0.33, comparable to 26 for the US. Further, all provinces and major cities executed their own version of lockdown and quarantine, literally preventing the virus from entering even if it should escape Hubei. China’s measures broke the transmission chain and contained the contagion within Hubei Province. The tough measures in Wuhan bought the rest of China time to prepare and execute their own restrictions, and China bought the rest of the world at least two and probably three months in which to prepare for the epidemic. Looking at the statistics below, you can see which countries followed China’s example and which did not.

Still on the above scale for the US, New York was at 140.0, New Jersey at 107.0, Connecticut at 85 and Massachusetts at 75, while some states were near zero. (84) Comparably within China, and due to the aggressive quarantines, Shanghai was at 0.02 and Beijing similar. Turning to Europe (on the same scale of death rate per 100,000), Belgium was hit very hard with 76, with Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Sweden and the Netherlands ranging down from around 60.0 to about 35.0. (85)

The TV presentation made by Mr. Trump and Dr. Brix selected a metric that placed the US well down on the fatality list and displayed a carefully-selected list of countries that appeared to place China on Mars. A lie of omission is still a lie, but this disparity requires context for understanding, so let’s look at Asia.

First, here is the original list presented by Trump and Brix, updated to the date of writing:

COVID-USA Mortality per 100,000 population

Belgium – 76.2

Spain – 59.7

UK – 51.2

Italy – 49.9

France – 42.3

Sweden – 37.7

Netherlands – 32.7

USA – 27.8

Switzerland – 21.9

Canada – 16.1

China – 0.33

Now, let’s look at Asia:

Philippines – 0.83

Japan – 0.61

South Korea – 0.52

Indonesia – 0.44

Australia – 0.40

Malaysia – 0.40

Singapore – 0.38

China – 0.33

Hong Kong – 0.06

Taiwan – 0.03

Macao – 0.00

India – 0.23

Bangladesh – 0.21

Thailand – 0.08

Myanmar – 0.01

Vietnam – 0.00

It should be clear from this that there is nothing unusual in China’s numbers, and thus it would seem if China were lying as Mr. Trump suggested, that would mean all of Asia was lying. In fact, there was no evidence of any sort to suggest countries were deliberately understating infections or fatalities – except for the US itself.

Foreign Help

When COVID-19 first erupted in China, several countries immediately came to China’s aid with scarce and badly-needed medical supplies. South Korea was one example, and in return, as the situation worsened in South Korea, the Chinese government sent large amounts of medical supplies and more than 20 local governments in China donated masks, protective clothing, goggles, test kits, thermometers and other materials. The situation was similar with Pakistan, who sent aircraft loaded with medical supplies, the Chinese government later returning the favor with large volumes of supplies and assistance in building a quarantine hospital. (86) Many provinces and cities in China independently donated masks to Islamabad and Karachi.

China was sending supplies and assistance to other countries long before it fully recovered from its own difficulties. President Xi Jinping stressed on multiple occasions that public health security was a common challenge faced by humanity, and all countries should join hands to tackle it. China saw itself as perhaps the only country in the world able to help smaller nations in various states of medical emergency. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her gratitude in a videotaped speech broadcast throughout Europe, and Chinese citizens abroad had sound reason to be proud of their nation. Zhang Yujie, a Chinese student in France, said, “The rescue efforts of our motherland make me want to cry”. (87)

As soon as circumstances at home permitted, China began shipping its medical supplies all over the world. This was not so easy as might appear, since much global air cargo is carried on scheduled passenger flights but, since the airline industry collapsed due to the virus, these flights all but disappeared. (88) China Southern Airlines, the country’s largest air carrier, quickly converted hundreds of passenger aircraft to freight usage and, by late April, was sending nearly 200 international cargo flights weekly to support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (89)

China also shared hundreds of documents on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and its diagnosis and treatment, with groups in more than 100 countries, followed by multiple technical exchanges that included personal discussions and teleconferencing. (90) In a short space of time, China released seven different editions of a guideline on diagnosis and treatment of the disease and six editions of a prevention and control plan for the disease, both of which have been translated into dozens of languages.

China’s telecom giant Huawei donated countless millions of masks and other items to most countries where it has staff and does business. When the US cancelled all medical supply exports to Canada in April, the country’s supply shortage became desperate so Huawei quietly shipped millions of masks, plus goggles, gloves, and other protective equipment to Canada to help front-line medical workers to cope. (91) But Canada refused to publicly acknowledge the gifts. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau merely told the media that Canada would be receiving a shipment of millions of masks from “unnamed countries and companies”, and the British Columbia government who were the prime beneficiary of the supplies were so mean-spirited as to tell the Canadian media, “The province has many supply sources . . . We don’t share details about our suppliers.” Others in Canada went so far as to accuse Huawei of “political generosity”, and Trudeau even made a point of saying that donations of medical supplies from foreign companies “will not change how the government views those companies going forward”. Touching.

China’s Fosun Group donated a large batch of medical supplies to Portugal, including 1 million face masks and 200,000 test kits, as did many other Chinese companies. The Fosun Foundation in Shanghai donated large batches of face masks hospitals in Italy, and coordinated with other companies and foundations in more than 10 shipments of medical supplies to countries that included Italy, Japan, Britain and France. (92) The Chinese automaker Geely donated large amounts of medical supplies to 14 countries including Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belarus and Britain. Chinese privately-owned firms and SOEs built and supplied complete COVID-19 testing labs, constructed or renovated hospitals in many countries. China’s BGI Group built two testing labs in Serbia – in 12 days, and donated all the core equipment and instruments. (93) China State Construction Engineering offered free renovation service for a hospital in Ethiopia, transforming regular wards into virus facilities. (94) (95)

Many Chinese foundations donated medical supplies to support smaller countries. The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation donated 7.5 million face masks, 485,000 test kits and 100,000 sets of protective clothing, as well as ventilators and thermometers to 23 countries that included Azerbaijan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. (96) The Jack Ma Foundation also donated a large amount of medical supplies to 54 African countries. (97) China’s northwest Gansu Province, probably China’s poorest province, donated two consignments including tens of thousands of face masks and protective suits to Zimbabwe, added to large donations of medical supplies from other Chinese foundations. (98) Various entities in China, including corporations, social agencies and the Chinese government, donated many air shipments of supplies to Iran, including test kits and respirators, these being especially important since US economic sanctions prevented Iran from possessing the foreign currency to purchase medical supplies abroad. (99) China also sent several teams of medical experts to Iran, to help assess the situation and provide guidance and assistance.

Even small Chinese associations were active in their assistance. Chinese Community Groups in the UK raised money and collected medical supplies from more than 100 local Chinese communities and Chinese people in the UK, donating tens of thousands of medical gowns, surgical masks, and other items. The China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and the Bank of China donated 20 ventilators and nearly 2 million pieces of PPE to local English hospitals. (100) (101)

In March, when the virus was abating in China but increasing in Italy, China sent large teams of medical experts from many provinces and hospitals as well as China’s CDC on specially-chartered flights, with specialists in respiratory, intensive care, infectious disease, hospital infection control, traditional Chinese medicine and nursing. (102) Donated medical supplies included test kits, masks, protective clothing and ventilators. Chinese medical specialists shared China’s diagnosis and treatment plans with countries around the world, held video conferences with health experts from many countries and international organisations, and dispatched medical expert groups to Iran, Iraq, and Italy. (103) By early April, China had already sent more than 300 charter flights carrying medical professionals and emergency supplies to support global anti-epidemic efforts, the flights carrying more than 110 medical specialists, and nearly 5,000 tonnes of medical supplies to about 50 countries, as well as a special flight to Ghana carrying nearly 40 tonnes of medical supplies for Africa. (104) These supplies include ventilators, N95 face masks, protective clothing, gloves and other medical devices and protective equipment.

Altogether, the Chinese government and various states, local governments, corporations and foundations made many hundreds of chartered mercy flights. Several dozen countries after declaring a state of emergency, contacted China with urgent requests for medical supplies, testing equipment and protective gear, China responding in each case even when it was still under immense pressure to contain the epidemic at home and medical materials were still in short supply. These nations included the Philippines, (105) Greece, (106) (107) (108) Serbia, Iran, Kuwait and Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Italy, (109) the Philippines, Serbia, France, Spain (110), Greece, Peru, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bosnian Serb Republic, Iran, Spain, Britain, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic. (111) The EU President and their European Commissioner for Crisis Management said, The EU and China have been working together since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. We are grateful for China’s support and we need each other’s support in times of need.” In many cases, smaller nations had no idea of the procurement process for medical supplies, and the Chinese national government lent assistance to assure proper purchase and timely delivery.

China also provided an enormous amount of assistance to the US, all of which also went unnoticed by the America press. Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory scientist, held multiple video-link teaching sessions with intensive care specialists from Harvard’s Medical School, explaining the clinical manifestations and difficulties involved in treating severe and critical novel coronavirus patients. (112) As well, the nation’s leading Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts shared with US counterparts their diagnosis and treatment experience that proved effective in Wuhan. (113) The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said Chinese experts “spared no effort to share their experience”.

In response to a US government cry for assistance in March, China airlifted a massive amount of vital medical supplies from Shanghai to the US, including 12 million gloves, 130,000 N-95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units and 36,000 thermometers. (114) The assistance increased rapidly. In one week of April alone, there were 75 cargo flights from Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen to New York and Los Angeles, each carrying around 80 tonnes of supplies. By the middle of April, China had provided the US with more than 2.5 billion masks plus nearly 5,000 ventilators and many other needed items. While the US government and media were busy stigmatising China with unreasonable and unjustified accusations, Beijing was taking practical steps to help the US fight its epidemic. (115)

There were also a great many private donations made directly to US hospitals or states by various Chinese companies, foundations, provinces, and social groups. The Wanxiang Group, a Chinese multinational manufacturer in Hangzhou, donated 1.1 million face masks and 50,000 protective masks to 12 US states. (116) China’s Fujian Province, which was Oregon’s sister state, donated 50,000 medical face masks for distribution to frontline workers, in addition to 12,000 masks provided personally by Ambassador Wang Donghua, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, as a gift to the people of Oregon. (117)

However, the treatment of China in the US Media was nothing short of reprehensible, the press and airwaves filled for months with a ceaseless flood of denigrating rubbish with the result that Pew polls showed that more than two-thirds of Americans held a negative or strongly negative view of China – which was unquestionably the intent of the media assault. Martin Jacques said in a live interview in Beijing that the American behavior was “Absolutely disgraceful.” He said, “Too many Western politicians and the Western media responded to what was a grave medical health crisis in China in a way that was completely lacking in compassion and simply used as a stick to beat China. And in doing so also explicitly or implicitly, they encouraged a certain kind of racism against the Chinese, not just the Chinese in China, but Chinese everywhere.” (118)

Some in the West, led by the US, heavily politicised China’s assistance to other nations, claiming China’s acts were done with murky motives and sinister geopolitical intent. The efforts of the Chinese government to help others were categorised as attempts to vie for global influence by vacuuming up America’s allies with bribes. And, since the global pandemic was “all China’s fault”, those donations were merely gestures of atonement camouflaged as charity, and thus should be taken “without appreciation or even acknowledgement” – which is what the US and Canada managed to do. “Unfortunately, even as COVID-19 accelerates inside our country, the Trump administration seems to view diplomacy as a bludgeon to score points against adversaries and alienate friends rather than an essential tool for helping to protect Americans,” wrote Brett McGurk, a senior diplomat. (119)

The Chinese people generally were not very sympathetic to the US, many comparing America’s confused and corrupted efforts with China’s leadership. One post that received hundreds of millions of views said, “It took China two months to defeat the coronavirus, while it took the coronavirus two months to defeat the US.” Another comment read, “US President Donald Trump said the number will go down to zero. Trump is right. The number will go down to zero when all people die.” (120) Similar topics equally drew 250 or 300 million views. One Weibo post received 150 million views almost immediately when suggesting President Trump responded only after 1 million citizens became infected.

Today’s urban Chinese are much less naive about international affairs, and were quite aware of the Zionist-American hate propaganda that was filling Western airwaves and sheets of print, and of the resulting racism and hatred being generated toward China and the Chinese people, many of them having been victims of abuse in the US. They were also aware of the vast efforts made by their own nation to not only protect the lives of Chinese citizens but of the truly enormous contributions their government, corporations and societies had made to helping other nations while the US helped no one and even denied vital supplies to other countries. (121)

From this, Chinese public sentiment toward the US was by no means as light-hearted or gentle as the comments above might suggest. The enormity of anti-China hate literature during the past decade was producing sentiments suggesting, “Send the supplies to Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and let the Americans learn a lesson.” I had a long conversation with a senior Chinese executive who told me of operating his factory 24/7 and pushing his staff to work 12-hour days to produce vital medical supplies for the US while partially sacrificing his commitments to China. After being exposed to the outrageous denigration of China in the US media, he said he would never again take any action to assist Americans. His final comment to me: “After this, I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on the US if it were on fire.”


Notes

(1) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(2)https://guardian.ng/news/china-locks-down-two-cities-to-curb-virus-outbreak/

(3) https://news.yahoo.com/china-warns-virus-could-mutate-spread-death-toll-030352863.html

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/coronavirus-panic-spreads-in-china-with-three-cities-in-lockdown

(5) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/10/WS5e66fd23a31012821727dcaf.html

(6) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003043372/

(7) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2001260649/

(8) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2003124131/

(9) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002192363/

(10) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/28/WS5e7e9310a310128217282a28.html

(11) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183923.shtml

(12) https://www.shine.cn/biz/economy/2001300922/

(13) https://www.rt.com/news/479403-china-xi-coronavirus-demon/

(14) http://www.qstheory.cn/zhuanqu/bkjx/2020-04/28/c_1125917119.htm

(15) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004297248/

(16) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0420/c90000-9681452.html

(17) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-01-23/Wuhan-to-build-special-hospital-in-six-days-to-receive-patients-NuQ9ulvAo8/index.html

(18) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(19) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129477#Medical-leader-calls-makeshift-hospitals-a-success

(20) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/24/chinese-city-wuhan-plans-to-build-coronavirus-hospital-in-six-days

(21) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-s-coronavirus-hospital-built-10-days-opens-its-doors-n1128531

(22)https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-china-can-build-a-coronavirus-hospital-in-10-days-11580397751

(23) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004287119/

(24) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0311/c90000-9666866.html

(25) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(26) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684857.html

(27) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185403.shtml

(28) https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-02/West-suffering-because-it-failed-to-listen-to-China-Lancet-editor-Q9g3yHGFfq/index.html

(29) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/15/medical-journal-lancet-urges-americans-vote-trump-coronavirus/

(30) https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-honors-virus-victims-minutes-reflection-69972806

(31) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0125/c90000-9651777.html

(32) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2bb430a310128217273341.html

(33) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184030.shtml

(34) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/119530

(35) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202002/17/WS5e4a3f38a3101282172781a9.html

(36) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129138#Wuhan-tops-travelers’-wish-lists-in-2020

(37) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(38) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(39) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185533.shtml

(40) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(41) http://english.www.gov.cn/news/topnews/202003/07/content_WS5e6338a8c6d0c201c2cbdbce.html

(42) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b76faa3101282172732ab.html

(43) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138733811.htm

(44) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1177867.shtml

(45) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138734351.htm

(46) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(47) https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b8102a3101282172732c0.html

(48) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0506/c90000-9687191.html

(49) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/16/c_138789227.htm

(50) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(51) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(52) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(53) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/02/c_138941573.htm

(54) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2001250569/

(55)https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002152114/

(56) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(57) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(58) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/126796#China-bashing-syndrome-makes-coronavirus-pandemic-deadlier

(59) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184530.shtml

(60) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/06/government-seeks-refund-millions-coronavirus-antibody-tests/

(61) https://www.foxnews.com/world/netherlands-becomes-latest-country-to-reject-china-made-coronavirus-test-kits-gear

(62) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/29/content_75987996.htm

(63) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-china-idUSKCN2292S8

(64) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129146

(65) https://peoplesdaily.pdnews.cn/2020/04/30/world/washington-rebuked-for-smear-over-testing-kits-148227.html

(66) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/health/coronavirus-test-kits-cdc.html

(67) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-tests-new-york-us-cases-kits-trump-cdc-results-a9365921.html

(68) https://news.yahoo.com/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-205948746.html

(69) https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-across-country-official/5703909

(70) https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/18/coronavirus-tests-delayed-by-covid-19-contamination-at-cdc-lab.html

(71) https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/contamination-at-cdc-lab-delayed-rollout-of-coronavirus-tests/2020/04/18/fd7d3824-7139-11ea-aa80-c2470c6b2034_story.html

(72) https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid19-coronavirus-united-states-faulty-test-kits-12429566

(73) https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/africa/covid-19-pawpaw-and-goat-test-positive-for-virus-president-magufuli/ar-BB13AJWO

(74) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/governors-plead-for-medical-equipment-from-federal-stockpile-plagued-by-shortages-and-confusion/2020/03/31/18aadda0-728d-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

(75) https://nypost.com/2020/04/04/states-receive-masks-with-dry-rot-broken-ventilators/

(76) https://apnews.com/2b1c7d508dbee187aba31b675f8c5685

(77) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-received-broken-ventilators-from-federal-government-governor-gavin-newsom-says/

(78) https://abcnews.go.com/

(79) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/21/public-health-england-admits-coronavirus-tests-used-send-nhs/

(80) https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/nhs-staff-offered-new-covid-19-tests-after-initial-checks-found-to-be-flawed/ar-BB131rbF

(81) https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-coronavirus-nhs-staff-called-21905571

(82) https://apnews.com/850d9e6834fc71967af6d3dda65ad874

(83) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(84) https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/

(85) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003124144/

(86) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(87) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(88) https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/update-china-southern-sends-185-cargo-flights-weekly-to-support-global-covid-19-fight/ar-BB13df1B

(89) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186745.shtml

(90) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(91) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202004/09/WS5e8e772ba310e232631a4e08.html

(92) http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202005/08/WS5eb4d906a310a8b24115437d.html

(93) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200422-pdo07.htm

(94) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684957.html

(95) https://newsghana.com.gh/chinese-enterprises-lend-a-big-hand-to-africa-to-combat-covid-19/

(96) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003295304/

(97) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(98) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0507/c90000-9687490.html

(99) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0321/c90000-9670897.html

(100) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186348.shtml

(101) https://times-publications.com/2020/04/22/2333/uk-trade-and-business/

(102) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003255022/

(103) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(104) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/07/content_75903130.htm

(105) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/21/c_138901763.htm

(106) http://china.org.cn/world/2020-03/22/content_75844594.htm

(107) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/22/c_138904576.htm

(108) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183326.shtml

(109) http://www.ecns.cn/news/society/2020-04-07/detail-ifzvcazm8251455.shtml

(110) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0504/c90000-9686744.html

(111) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(112) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(113) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/20/WS5e740a2ca31012821728094e.html

(114) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-30/First-aircraft-carrying-medical-supplies-from-China-arrives-in-U-S–Ph2wcnA0Ok/index.html

(115) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186786.shtml

(116) http://www.china.org.cn/world/2020-05/06/content_76010588.htm

(117) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0429/c90000-9685576.html

(118) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(119) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/calls-global-cooperation-us-china-fight-leading-coronavirus/story?id=69898820

(120) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1187121.shtml

(121) The US government (primarily FEMA and/or the CIA, in conjunction with Israel’s Mossad) were widely accused by France, Germany, and other nations of repeatedly hijacking – on airport tarmacs – shipments of medical supplies destined for other countries. These actions were simultaneous with FEMA’s seizures of medical supplies from hospitals and importers all across the US, and there appeared to be substantial evidence much of these supplies were sent to Israel – while US hospitals were bleeding. There isn’t space to follow the story here, but you can follow this set of links below to research the subject.


(1) https://www.rt.com/news/484743-cuba-covid19-us-blockade/

(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/opinion/cuba-coronavirus-trump.html

(3) https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/cuba-u-s-embargo-blocks-coronavirus-aid-shipment-from-asia-1.4881479

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/global-battle-coronavirus-equipment-masks-tests

(5) https://germany.timesofnews.com/breaking-news/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada

(6) https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

(7) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(8) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(9) https://www.rtl.fr/actu/debats-societe/masques-detournes-les-americains-sortent-le-cash-il-faut-se-battre-dit-jean-rottner-sur-rtl-7800346680

(10) https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/coronavirus-l-amerique-relance-la-guerre-des-masques-20200402

(11) https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/coronavirus-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains_fr_5e84eb13c5b6f55ebf47271a

(12)https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/coronavirus-medical-supplies-countries_in_5e873034c5b63e06281ccebd

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(13) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(14) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185063.shtml

(15) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186406.shtml

(16) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-fedex-exclusive-idUSKCN1SX1RZ

(17) https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2020/04/03/des-masques-pour-le-quebec-detournes

(18) https://nationalpost.com/news/what-happened-when-five-million-medical-masks-for-canadas-covid-19-fight-were-hijacked-at-an-airport-in-china?video_autoplay=true

(19)https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(20) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(21) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/19/flight-carrying-vital-ppe-supplies-nhs-delayed-turkey/

(22) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/18/ministers-plead-overseas-counterparts-allow-shipments-ppe-shortage/

(23) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/06/exclusive-gowns-delayed-ppe-shipment-turkey-impounded-failing/

(24) https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/turkey-aid-covid19-coronavirus-erdogan-satterfield-sweden.html

(25) https://apnews.com/b940aca2ab2d0c31af2826da9c30d222

(26) https://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-the-Face-Masks-Stolen-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-Corona-Virus-Coronavirus-Covid-19-200410-528.html

(27) https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/not-an-ideal-solution-maryland-national-guard-members-advised-to-make-their-own-cloth-masks/ar-BB12eKEL

(28) https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/04/24/army-researchers-say-this-is-the-best-material-for-a-homemade-face-mask-theyve-found-so-far/

(29) https://twitter.com/TsahiDabush/status/1247601103006502914

(30) https://urmedium.com/c/presstv/12226

(31) While American health workers beg for PPE, Trump just shipped a million masks to the Israeli army. https://t.co/2sVFLMteo9 — Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) April 8, 2020

(32) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Department-of-Defense-give-1-million-masks-to-IDF-for-coronavirus-use-623976

(33) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200408-presstv01.htm

(34) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Mossad-bought-10-million-coronavirus-masks-last-week-622890

(35) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(36) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-coronavirus-effort-said-to-be-hampered-by-inexperienced-volunteers/2020/05/05/6166ef0c-8e1c-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html

(37) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(38) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-short-ppe/story?id=70093430

(39) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/kushner-backed-program-charters-flights-medical-supplies-behalf/story?id=70291872

(40) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white-house-wind-coronavirus-task-force-trump-shifts/story?id=70518706

(41)https://apnews.com/8cd84c260cb6d951ac57a6248542a44f


PT — PT — LARRY ROMANOFF — LIDAR COM DEMÓNIOS — April 03, 2021 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)SP — SP — LARRY ROMANOFF — TRATAR CON DEMONIOS — December 03, 2020 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)

Kiev’s Forces Are Primed For Attack If They Can Overcome Their Own Minefields

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

Open and wide-scale hostilities appear unavoidable in Eastern Ukraine.

Kiev is on the war path, with the “unwavering” support of the US and NATO.

Over April 5th, and going into April 6th, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) continued their usual activities of deploying more troops to the demarcation line.

Russia is also transferring forces to the border with Ukraine and in the Crimea.

In total, over the last 24 hours 7 separate ceasefire violations were recorded, each including a high number of shots and shells.

Two UAF soldiers were killed.

Near the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the UAF has several armored personnel carriers deployed at the village of Schstastye.

Still, the LPR said its militia was fully prepared to deal with any Ukrainian provocation, as according to them 60% of Kiev’s military hardware was entirely non-operational.

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported that its militia had thwarted an attempt by a Ukrainian sabotage group to conduct reconnaissance near the borders of the Republic in the area of the village of Shumy near Horlivka.

Incidents of Ukrainian servicemen being blown up by their own mines continue.

Russia, for its part, is making further deployments, as footage showed that Nona-S self-propelled howitzers were being delivered towards the potential frontline.

It is also deploying the units of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division, commonly known as the Pskov paratroopers.

Ukraine is continually blaming Russia for the concentration of forces, while it keeps shelling both the DPR and LPR.

It is negotiating with its allies, speaking with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others.

NATO’s military attaché and its advisers are expected to arrive on the front line in Ukraine and provide their military expertise in the potential upcoming hostilities.

The active movement of military transport aircraft between NATO countries and the Ukraine continues.

The United States and its allies continue to saturate the Ukrainian army with military equipment, including UAVs, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems, MANPADS and other modern high-precision systems.

Meanwhile, the US carried out a typical diplomatic maneuver when a war may break out.

It said it would hold discussions with Moscow, as that is the precise form of support Kiev is likely to receive in the case that open hostilities take place.

The toolkit includes a willingness to partake in the discussion, and sending Washington’s hopes and prayers.

War between Russia and Ukraine seems to be highly likely.

Many military-political experts claim that the current situation can only be resolved by a military conflict.

Some of them declare a war now is preferable to a war later for Russia.



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Nasrallah: US’ top priority is preventing a China-Russia-Iran alliance

Source

Nasrallah: US’ top priority is preventing a China-Russia-Iran alliance

April 05, 2021

Description:

In a recent televised speech, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the Biden administration’s top priority today was to prevent the formation of a major alliance or axis between China, Russia, and Iran.

Nasrallah also claimed that the United States and Israel were today in a state of decline, while the Iran-led ‘Axis of Resistance’ was on an upward trajectory.

The ‘Axis of Resistance’ broadly refers to a strategic anti-Israel/anti-US imperialist alliance composed of, but not limited to, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, Yemen’s Ansarullah, and various Palestinian armed factions.

Source: Spot Shot (YouTube)

Date: 4 April, 2021

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here )

Transcript:

Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah:

Of course, the Israelis too – (staying on) the Israeli file – the Israelis these days, I mean in the past few weeks and months, almost every day, despite the (many military/security) manoeuvres, they (nevertheless) express very publicly their concerns and worries over the fact that the Axis of Resistance is developing, that it is developing its capabilities. On the other hand, yes indeed, the Resistance (Axis) is working on the development and accumulation of its capabilities. This means that their worry has (real) foundations, (the Israelis) are not making up (this sense) of worry and concern.

Today, the Axis of Resistance is not silent, it is not an axis experiencing stagnation. On the contrary (my) honourable brothers, the Axis of Resistance has (successfully) passed – in these past 10 years – through the worst, most dangerous phase of its life and history. This is evident in what happened in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq (these past 10 years), as well as (what happened in) the entire region, and in the severe embargo and maximum sanctions (campaign) on Iran and so on.

Indeed, this axis is facing these threats with increased work, hard work, diligent work, away from any type of showing-off (i.e. fruitless muscle-flexing). (The goal of all this work) is to accumulate the capabilities and power (of the Resistance Axis), (capabilities) that will decisively decide the future.

I would like to conclude with the following words; I wish to depict the international and regional scene, and share some advice too, advice to (some in) Lebanon and to the region as a whole, not only to the Lebanese. Today, there is definitely a (particular) scene in the world, and I will be brief here, as I have already taken a lot of time and I have only got a few more minutes according to the brothers. They gave me limited time, otherwise, these days I’m taking much time – I’m delivering long speeches.

There are significant international developments (occurring today), and it is clear that the top priority of the US administration is China and Russia. China as an economic force that can become the top economic force in the world, which Biden says will not happen (as long as) he is around. Russia, of course, is not an economic threat. They rather view it more from the military, political and security angles, in addition to competition (with it) on the global (level).

There are ongoing American efforts to prevent the formation of a coalition, front, axis, or something of this nature, whereby Iran stands besides China and Russia. For this reason, they are seeking to address the nuclear file issue with Iran, with an emphasis on diplomacy. Of course, the emphasis on diplomacy here is not an American act of kindness; it is a testament to the power of Iran. By the way, Iran’s position on this issue is powerful and firm. What (Iran) did not give to Trump under the maximum sanctions (campaign) and daily war threats, it will not give (Biden) today while it stands on the verge of (successfully) overcoming the embargo and sanctions phase.

So, these are the priorities of the Americans, they are trying to work out how to deal with the files of the (Middle East) region in one way or another; let’s go to Yemen and see how we can extinguish the Yemen war, or let’s go to Afghanistan and see how we can clean up the situation in Afghanistan. (This is what is on their mind), but their approach is not clear yet, because they have not taken final decisions (on these high-level matters), according to the information (we currently have).

Regardless of what some analysts say, concerning Syria and Lebanon, it is obvious that the (the American side) is distracted from Palestine. What I want to say – through this quick analysis – to the friends of America in our region, and to whoever is betting on the American administration in our region, I say to them that (America’s) priorities – or in other words, there are new developments that they need to take into consideration.

The first development is that the new American priorities are not (related to) our region, except for what relates to Israel. Their priorities now are Russia, China, and how to resolve the issue with Iran. Thus, if you want to resolve your crises, end your wars, solve your problems, improve your situation and achieve compromises, if you are waiting for the Americans to achieve all of this, then the wait will be very long.

Secondly, America is no longer the America that you know. There is a new term that his eminence Imam Khamenei presented last year, and he had placed a lot of emphasis on it. I hereby call for reflection on (this term) so that we don’t take it as a mere headline or form of political rhetoric: “The decline of America”. America is in decline. In the words of some literature, it can be described as (on a) “descending arc”. America is now in a state of fall; in a state of descent.

America’s upcoming challenges today, most of them are related to internal problems, regarding the Corona Virus; the economic situation and its consequences; the white race (and race-related issues), fanaticism, infighting and associated dangers. America has never experienced internal dangers the likes of which it is facing today. This requires a prolonged discussion, but there is a (certain) outlook (on this issue which I will share later).

Of course, when we talk strategically, we are not talking about one year, or two, three, four or five – we are talking about a trajectory. The trajectory of the US is a trajectory of decline, descent, and downfall. Whereas the trajectory of the Axis of Resistance in the region, (with its) states, movements, and peoples, is an upward trajectory.

Priorities will (thus) be different. Therefore, I hereby call on you all, as states, peoples, regimes, movements, peoples, sects, groups, and whatever else: let us not wait for America, let us not wait for the (rest of the) world. Let us not wait for international developments. Let us hold dialogue on the regional and national (levels). Let us hold dialogue among all the states of the region, and dialogue among the peoples of the region, in order to resolve our problems and crises.

Let us not put off until tomorrow what we can do today, as the present day is better for you than tomorrow. I believe that all those who belong to the Axis of Resistance, as a result of the honesty, sincerity, and concern (they have) for their homelands, they are ready to reach certain resolutions, solutions, and compromises that would allow us to overcome all these difficult phases. This is the horizon that we see before us.

Of course, in light of this international and regional shift, Israel, just like its master, is on a path of decline. It is on “the descending arc”. The earnest wish of his eminence, (the late) Sheikh Ahmad Zein, that which the brothers spoke about before me, this wish is strong and vibrant. God willing, some of us – at the very least – will enter (the city of) al-Quds and pray in al-Quds, God willing. This is the horizon which we can see.


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What will the Empire do to support the Ukronazis (OPEN THREAD #4)?

What will the Empire do to support the Ukronazis (OPEN THREAD #4)?

April 05, 2021

Dear friends,

There is a lot of speculation about what the consolidated West (aka the AngloZionist Empire) will do to protect its Ukronazi proxies.  Here are my, bulletpoint style ideas (in no particular order):

  1. The West has already decided that Russia is the aggressor and Banderastan the victim of the Russian aggression.  Even if the Ukies launch a massive artillery and armor attack on the LDNR (or even Crimea), the West will claim with a straight face that the evil Russkies attacked the innocent Ukrainians.
  2. I do not expect any NATO country to actually commit forces to to attack the Russian forces.  At most, the Poles (who else?!) to move a mostly symbolic force into the western Ukraine (Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk).
  3. However, the USA is not only weak, it is fantastically incompetent, ignorant and arrogant: a lot of high level western officials have declared that the USA/NATO will not “allow” Russia to threaten or attack the Ukraine.  To me, this tells me that there are those who believe that if the US/NATO actually do engage Russian forces Russia will “blink”, and cower down in fear.  Clearly, these people have never read a history book.
  4. I am convinced that if the US/NATO attack Russian forces, the Russians will counter-attack not only the actual forces which attacked Russia, but also the command centers which gave this US/NATO command centers which gave the order to attack and coordinated it.
  5. The biggest danger right now is that western politicians are completely misreading not only Putin, but all of Russia.  They are missing the key point: Russia cannot and will not retreat further, she won’t meekly declare that the Donbass or Crimea belong to the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Russia is ready, capable and willing to fight US/NATO forces if needed, including by using tactical and even strategic nukes.
  6. The Kremlin fully understands that the role of Poland in the NATO pact is one of a small but very loud attack dog: if the Poles really move into western Ukraine then this will only be if the US tells them to do so.  There is a saying in Russian “Поляки не вояки” meaning “the Poles ain’t no soldiers”: they always and only attack when their enemy of the moment is weak and disorganized (that is why Churchill call Poland the “greedy hyena of Europe”).  However, I fully expect Polish (and US, UK) “advisors” to be assisting the Ukronazi forces during their attack on the LDNR.  As for the supposed Russia’s fellow Orthodox “brothers” like Bulgaria or Romania, they will do what they always did in the past: join any anti-Russian coalition.  The good news is that their militaries are as bad as the Polish one (ready for parades, not ready for real warfare).  Also, the Black Sea is, in military terms, a “Russian lake”.  So these small countries will huff and puff, but won’t do anything stupid.
  7. Propaganda wise, it is clear that irrespective of what Russia decides to do, she will be completely demonized.  The current level of anti-Russian hatred in the West is now equal to, or even higher, than before the Nazi attack on Russia during WWII.  Check out the following illustrations of this reality:

The US elites totally in agreement about Russia which they now want to contain and then destroy.  As for the US puppet-states in the EU, they have zero personal agency.  So what would be the goals of the “Biden” Admin?

  1. Create a clash between Russia and the EU which would give meaning to NATO, justify the deployment of more US forces in Europe which, in turn, will further strengthen the already strong US grip on the EU’s collective throat.
  2. By crashing NS2 (which will happen as soon as the conflict goes “hot” in the Donbass), the US will make the EU not only far more dependent on the US, but also much less competitive: instead of buying cheap high quality gas from Russia, the EU will purchase the more expensive and worse quality gas from the US.
  3. Armament programs will go through the roof and the US MIC will make a fortune (by selling grotesquely overpriced) weapons to itself and to its European “allies”.

So the big questions are:

  1. Can Russia deter the US by reacting below the threshold of an open military clash?  My personal reply is that it is still possible but, sadly, this is becoming less and less likely with every passing day.
  2. Does that mean that this conflict can turn into WWIII with nukes and all?  My personal reply is that that this scenario is becoming more and more likely with every passing day.

Bottom line: thank you again, “Biden” -voting Dem doubleplusgoodthinkers! Thanks to you only 100+ days into the new admin we are back on the edge of a nuclear precipice!  In the words of Putin “you did not listen to us then, listen to us now!”.  But, of course you won’t.  Nothing short of a nuclear mushroom will wake you up from your delusions…  If that happens, only blame yourselves!

So these are my thoughts for the day.

Now I invite you to share yours!

Kind regards

The Saker

Picture of the 5 year old murdered by the Ukronazis

April 05, 2021

This is a picture of Vladik, the kid murdered by the Ukie Nazis over the week end.

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America
Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

April 05, 2021

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine – one of the most prominent mouthpieces of US imperialism – , and signed by, among others, Marcus Hicks, former commander of the US Special Operations Command in Africa during the period 2017-2019, defends the idea that the increased competition between the great powers ignites a red alert that the United States should turn its attention to the African continent.

The main motivator of this concern would be the urgent need to limit the “malign influence” of the hegemon’s two major strategic rivals: Russia and China.

Citing the increased Sino-Russian presence on the African continent, in which Russia alone would have already established military agreements with at least 19 countries, and China, installed in 2017 its first international military base in Djibout.

It is worth noting, that although the Foreign Affairs article mentions that there was an ebb in the American presence during Donald Trump’s administration, in reality, and in a long-term look, since 2001 American foreign policy has turned more aggressively to Africa, and this posture has even been an incentive for a greater presence of other actors of the interstate system in that continent.

The American presence in Africa, justified by the excuse of fighting transnational terrorism, was therefore the trigger for an increase in the presence of other interstate actors, and consequently, of the imperialist competition that in this pandemic 2021 gains even more dramatic contours.

Although this article is specifically a defense of the American presence in Africa, it serves as a warning of how the American establishment is positioning itself in face of a phenomenon that has deepened considerably in recent years: the new imperialist race.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the role of South America in this complex power game.

Taking into consideration that the increase in competitive pressure in the world system has been accelerating considerably since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has gained imperial contours after September 11, and has unveiled itself as, in fact, in a scenario of almost war with the advent of the pandemic, it is possible to deduce that the recent events in certain parts of South America definitely place it as a battleground of the current powers’ wider dispute for global hegemony.

Symptoms of this competitive phenomenon could be seen recently in insinuations that the Chinese are carrying out naval maneuvers in Argentinean waters (when in fact it was the Americans who in fact carried out exercises near the Brazilian coast), as well as in the intensification of the diplomatic crisis between Venezuela and Guyana.

There are many fracture points in South America, and perhaps the most visible and dangerous one lies over the Esequibo zone, a Guyanese territory of 159,000 square kilometers never recognized by Caracas.

In early March, Guyana accused Venezuela of having violated its airspace with the use of two Sukhoi SU 30 drones, of Russian origin. Caracas promptly refuted the accusations as false.

Repudiated by the Secretary of State for Falklands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, more recently, the publication of the new British defense plan – ratifying the decision to maintain a permanent military presence in the Falkland Islands – brought concerns to Buenos Aires.

The presence of foreign powers in South American territory is clear, and in light of the significant increase of competitive pressure in the world system – which has been gradually taking place since the disproportionate display of American military power against a defenseless Iraq in 1991 – the theory of the Expanding Universe is confirmed year after year, and in an increasingly dramatic way.

Contradicting the idea that a unipolar system, and therefore led and conducted by a single hegemon, would lead to Kant’s “perpetual peace,” the theory of the Expanding Universe supports the thesis that the global power game tends to reproduce itself ad infinitum as a continuously expanding, anarchic, and directionless universe.

Thus, it doesn’t matter whether the dispute is bipolar or multipolar: whoever is at the top of the system tends to expand his power even further – even if he is not necessarily being challenged at the moment, as is the case in the period right after the Soviet collapse, when the United States reigned absolute over the rest of the world.

The factual (and cruel) reality that comes to confirm the theory of the Expanding Universe could not fit into a more appropriate outfit than that of the present moment.

Just as 9/11 served as the perfect excuse for the expansion of the United States’ global power (in this specific case against an imaginary enemy – since the usual enemy, Russia, was temporarily out of the game), the Covid-19 pandemic serves today as a ladder for an unprecedented increase in competitive pressure in the interstate system.

Following this reasoning, and contrary to what Atlanticist analysts are saying, the pandemic crisis would be favoring only one country: the United States of America.

Not only because Silicon Valley technology companies have never profited as much as they do now, but the awakening of sovereigntist and militarist instincts brought about by the pandemic chaos has made possible the realization of the only fundamental and untouchable consensus of the currently divided US elites: the permanent and continuous reproduction and expansion of their military industrial complex. This expansion would be nothing more than the viability of the so-called Full Spectrum Dominance contained in the DOD Joint Vision 2020, published in the year 2000.

In this context, South America comes to play a new role in the global geopolitical chessboard, a role that the long period as a zone of peace under Anglo-Saxon influence would have softened.

With the increased competitive pressure caused by the pandemic event, which in other terms could be seen as the hegemon’s reaction to the entrance of new competitors in the system, came an increase or shock in the demand for energy resources.

In this scenario, we could exemplify the perspective of an expressive growth in the global demand for oil for the next 30 years, with China and India alone representing approximately 50% of all demand.

Considering that South America today can be considered the region with the largest oil (Venezuela) and Lithium (Bolivia) reserves on the planet – not to mention the Amazon forest and fresh water reserves (Brazil) – and in light of this global energy order in formation and dispute, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the new imperialist race between the great powers in the beginning of this century would be gradually turning to the region.

This situation is a wake-up call for a country in the region that is currently experiencing the greatest identity crisis in its entire history: Brazil.

Fractured internally since before the pandemic, the South American giant has never found itself so pressured and isolated internationally.

The systemic chaos that began with the Color Revolution of June 2013, and which has been deepening year after year until culminating in the election of Jair Bolsonaro (puppet president emerging from the white coup orchestrated by the consortium between the Armed Forces High Command and the U.S. government), finally goes into full short circuit after the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.

Since then the growing discontent of sectors of the local economic elites with the disastrous management of the health crisis by the current government ruled by the military junta is visible.

Threatened by external sanctions from all sides, the country that has surpassed the mark of 300,000 deaths, is experiencing an internal fracture unprecedented in its history.

Something little remembered, but already in October 2019, Portuguese-speaking writers Mia Couto and José Eduardo Agualusa, on a visit to Brazil, said they were impressed by the climate of local political animosity, comparing the South American giant to African countries like Mozambique and Angola during the pre-civil war period.

At the same time that military police officers in Rio de Janeiro organize marches dressed in suggestive black shirts in defense of President Jair Bolsonaro, military police officers in the state of Bahia are threatening to cause chaos with a riot against the local governor (Rui Costa, from the Workers’ Party, an opponent of Bolsonaro).

Amid escalating tensions, the arm-wrestling between government and parliament is intensifying, and in particular with regard to two issues of geopolitical relevance: 5G and the Sputnik V vaccine.

Even if it is not clear from the stories reported by the hegemonic Brazilian press, it is visible that the Bolsonaro government deliberately acts as a representative of US interests in Brazil.

The difficulties created for the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the constant threat of exclusion of the Chinese technology giant Huawei from the great 5G auction in the country, reflect the current role of Brazil as a battleground of the great expansionist dispute of the world system in this beginning of the century.

The social fracture, and the deepening divide within the local elites expose the serious risk of a country that could spiral out of control at any moment.

The news that the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) has sent a letter to Mr. Joe Biden, and to his Special Climate Secretary John Kerry, requesting a direct channel of communication – and away from the Brazilian government – to deal with issues related to the Amazon, opens a very serious alert about something that, for those who know history, would not be new.

Bearing in mind that geopolitical competition between the great powers is usually concentrated in fracture zones of the world system, history teaches us that fractured societies – and weakened states – tend to become the object of divisive games in the hands of the great powers.

With all due respect to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – so mistreated and threatened by the current government – but the moment calls for a deep reflection on this.

The Iran-China pact is a huge blow for Western imperialists who want war in Asia (2/2)

Friday, 02 April 2021 5:44 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 April 2021 5:44 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Iran-China pact is a huge blow for Western imperialists who want war in Asia (2/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.


By Ramin Mazaheri
and cross-posted with the Saker

In the first part of this article, titled Nixon ‘opened’ China, but only superpower China could ‘open’ Iran, I discussed the historic role reversal: it’s the position of the superpower China which now counts the most, and not the attitude of the United States.

The 25-year Iran-China pact is actually an undercounting as it is essentially — to quote China’s foreign minister — “permanent.” Western media foolishly sees Iran and China as different as apples and bowling balls, and thus they are only taking their first timid step towards understanding how Tehran and Beijing have already broken through the finish line tape.

It’s easy to examine the consternation of the BBC or The New York Times, but I thought it would be interesting to analyze the take of perhaps the top oil trade media, OilPrice, via their article The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets. Part one of this article addressed their take — more consternation, predictably — but it’s necessary to ask: why are even supposedly neutral, objective, rational and profit-oriented business media so bewildered and lost in their analyses of post-1979 Iran and post-1949 China?

The problem for them is that I may be able to grasp an argument based on economics and politics, but it’s hard for me to understand viewing historical developments solely via a lens of fear, paranoia and — above all — a zero-sum view of business, politics and human life. What OilPrice’s article ultimately relies on — like so many others of its ilk — is a hardened intolerance for other non-Western (some today may say “non-White”) cultures.

That type of a fundamentally-emotional and anti-intellectual mindset may motivate many pro-imperialists in Western high finance but they do not motivate Iran and China, two countries whose essentially socialist basis is light-years ahead of the tribalist “identity politics” foolishly held as the ultimate achievement of Western liberal democracy. 

This is not a knee-jerk “snowflake” argument — simply look at the starting point of OilPrice and I’m sure you’ll see it is not an unusual foundation for Western media analyses (regardless of the skin tone of the journalist) of Iran: The author immediately claimed in his very first paragraph that Iranians have a “radical view of non-believers,” which is such a radically right-wing view of Iran that it is barely worth an eye roll, much less serious consideration. All that needs to be said is that it’s possible that the author does not know any Christians or Jews, nor does the author have any sincere familiarity with these two fundaments of Islamic thought. Certainly, he has kept far away from Muslims because what he is describing is not anywhere close to the mainstream view held by Muslims in Iran or any other nation where Muslims practice. It’s also a scare tactic, certainly, but the author himself is seemingly scared out of his logic — this is not Iran’s or Islam’s fault, of course. 

But what kind of tolerance should be expected from this longtime oil man who, when he looks at the fabulous civilizations of Iran and China, sees only one thing: people who oppose the United States. For the author Iran and China are unmotivated by anything positive, human or redeeming, but instead solely by antipathy towards the United States. Yet whether one reads trade publications like OilPrice or broader Western business publications like The EconomistThe Financial Times or Les Echos, this arrogant, fearful and ultimately hostile ideology is blatantly repeated over and over.

Contrarily, Iranian and Chinese businessmen simply wonder why the West refuses to do mutually-beneficial, productive, long-term business? But good, fair business is not what capitalism is — capitalism’s surpluses primarily rely on the savings provided by imperialist plunder, and then the subsequent masking of this reality of stolen resources, stolen wages and thwarted lives and cultures with a tin mass media halo. This is not a radical view of “capitalism with Western characteristics,” but an increasingly accepted view even within the 21st century West.

And this is why it is not surprising that this article on Sino-Iranian bilateral relations takes a lengthy turn into fear mongering over a Chinese take-back of Taiwan. We must remember that this trade publication puts selling oil (at as high a price as possible) above all else — above fair politics, above tolerance of the cultures of other people, above fair business — therefore, OilPrice is always all-too happy to hysterically fearmonger if it can raise the price of oil a buck.

The article mentions the recent and shockingly historic first Joe Biden-era China-US bilateral summit, where China responded to unprecedented diplomatic insults with an unprecedented, lengthy and entirely correct defense of the modern triumvirate I referred to as the “Allies of Sovereignty” — Iran, China and Russia.

Referring to that momentous resetting is entirely correct, but what is not correct is how the author makes the totally spurious claim quite openly that China’s stockpiling of oil — an act which he acknowledged earlier was something that, “it just makes sense for it build inventories” — was actually in preparation for an invasion of Taiwan as early as 2025?

We need to remember when reading their “objective” analyses that this is just what Western business media does: war, for imperialist countries, is a major money-making industry and thus OilPrice and their money-grubbing brethren demonize, stoke fear and cheerlead for policies which are as violent, as expensive and as destructive as possible. Nothing personal — it’s just business media.

This is why readers should remember that the conclusions of such articles are always so predictable: “…the likelihood of some type of oil shortage is becoming increasingly likely,” i.e. the price of oil should be higher than what it is now — which is all that OilPrice really cares about — because geopolitically the world is “a tinder box, that only needs a spark”.

It really isn’t.

As a result of this mutually-beneficial deal China and Iran are way, way, way more stable for the next 25 years.

That’s a good thing, but Western business media is looking for profit and not for good things.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) elbow bumps with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after the signing of a historic partnership agreement in Tehran on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Zarif: Iran-China deal based on win-win approach in pursuit of shared interests

 West’s weaponization of Iran-China deal to foment war has no chance of succeeding

Iran didn’t give up “too much” because they place their demand for sovereign independence over the best possible business deal — thus they simply must accept paying a premium. The “Allies of Sovereignty” is only three nations, after all. We’ve been living in a pro-globalization world for three decades, and the lack of civic pride makes Iran’s determination even more costly, monetarily.

China has established the indispensable node for its Belt and Road Initiative, from a foreign policy/foreign economic policy perspective, and from a domestic perspective it has assured itself enough energy independence to keep growing as it chooses for the next quarter century.

Is a mutual defense pact between the two next? Frankly, Iran doesn’t need it.

There is zero chance of another Western-orchestrated invasion of Iran, following the victory of the Sacred Defense against Iraq and its Western (and Soviet) axis. Iran has very basic military needs because they aren’t trying to invade anyone, after all. They have achieved military parity in the only arena which matters — its own borders — and a US invasion of Iran would be Vietnam on steroids. There have already been enormous nationwide “no war with Iran” protests in the US — after the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in 2020. 

Frankly, China doesn’t need it. Even if they did retake Taiwan the US would blink even faster than they did with Syria. Anyway, the international community has clearly sided with China since 1971 — Taiwan is not a country, nor are they in the United Nations, nor can they even join any UN sub-organizations. Taiwan is a province of China, even if the US thinks it is like the Cuban exile parts of southern Florida — i.e., a permanent place for fascists who lost their civil war to congregate and plot to stall political modernity and peace. Fearmongering about bloody invasion is just a way to sell more guns and oil, and now also a way to distract from this Sino-Iranian victory. It’s absurd: since WWII the West has lost in North Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria but mighty China should be worried?

The pact is what it openly claims it is: a multi-decade diplomatic, military and economic pact of peaceful cooperation. So on its own, it promotes peace. And indirectly, the pact is a major step towards peace and security for the world — from Western aggression. Take on one and you inevitably take on the other, and taking on either would lead to disaster for the Western aggressors. The world can’t allow that, and the world can only embrace the peacemaking Iran-China deal.

China’s “opening” of Iran is historically significant in so many ways to count, including the peaceful stability it helps ensure for the world via drawing two ethnically and religiously different parts of Asia closer together: As I detailed in Part 1 of this article, it is so very excitingly “woke” and modern. In broader terms of human history, its greatest significance is: it’s a victory for socialist democracy and a huge, glaring failure for liberal democracy.

The JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear energy program would never have stopped this Iran-China alliance — Iran would never go fully into the Western camp for at least as long as the rest of the Muslim world is under the West’s thumb — but it could have at least partially counterbalanced it. Now the West is in an even worse bargaining position than before, but who wants the terrible preconditions the West demands for cooperation, and then who even expects the West to actually keep their word? They don’t do diplomacy – they do international piracy, still.

Iran waited a very long time to pick a camp, and yet they have still retained an amount of independence which almost no other nation its size can dream of today. However, as always, to write that China is being welcomed as saviors or without skepticism by Iranians would be a hilarious overstatement. What Iranians cherish most is their independence, and this is enshrined in its political and economic structures post-1979.

Iranian civil servants have chosen a wise path, and it can never be said that they did not genuinely offer the West a diplomatic path. Now their duty is to properly administer the bounty of this cooperation in a way which the Iranian people approve of. The Iranian media will be watching closely, as always.

China’s “opening” of Iran isn’t a threat to Iran, to China nor to any other non- or anti-imperialist nation. It’s only a threat to those who idealize an aristocratic past, or a soulless and ineffectual technocratic present, and to those who insist that Iran and China revert to being as unstable, despondent and unpeaceful as they were prior to their modern, socialist-inspired revolutions. 

To such offers Iran and China have permanently responded: “No deal.”

Lastly, this article repeatedly stressed the incredibly animating ideological components at play in this historic international decision. It’s a shame that so many analysts completely disregard modern mankind’s longstanding ideological debates about capitalist or socialist economic practice, the cultural effects of imperialism, and what should be truly classified as “progressive” or “reactionary” politics. There isn’t a new international order, but there is clearly a second international order now on offer — it should be openly compared and contrasted.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

China and Russia Launch a ‘Global Resistance Economy’

Former British diplomat, founder and director of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum.

Alastair Crooke

Apri l 5, 2021

The U.S. will ignore the message from Anchorage. It is already testing China over Taiwan, and is preparing an escalation in Ukraine, to test Russia.

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (c. 500 BCE) advises that: “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands; yet the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself … Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will; and does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him”. This is the essence of the Chinese resistance economy – a strategy which has been fully unveiled in the wake of the Anchorage talks; talks that silenced any lingering thoughts in Beijing that America might somehow find some modus vivendi with Beijing in its headlong pursuit of primacy over China.

Although earlier there had been tantalising glimpses of déshabillé, the full reveal to China’s tough stance and rhetoric has only been permitted now – post-Anchorage – and the talks’ confirmation that the U.S. intends to block China’s ascent.

If it is assumed that this ‘resistance’ initiative constitutes some tit-for-tat ‘jab’ at Washington – through sinking Biden’s Iran ambitions, as revenge for America loudly crying ‘war crimes’ (‘genocide’ in Xingjian) – then we miss wholly its full import. The scope of the Iran pact by far transcends trade and investment, as one commentator in the Chinese state media made plain: “As it stands, this deal (the Iran pact) will totally upend the prevailing geopolitical landscape in the West Asian region that has for so long been subject to U.S. hegemony”.

So here is the essence to ‘a clever combatant moving to impose his will’ – there is no need for China or Russia or Iran to go to war to do this; they just implement ‘it’. They can do ‘it’ – quite simply. They don’t need a revolution to do it, because they have no vested interest in fighting America.

What is ‘it’? It is not just a trade and investment pact with Tehran; neither is it simply allies helping each other. The ‘resistance’ lies precisely with the way they’re trying to help each other. It is a mode of economic development. It represents the notion that any rent-yielding resource – banking, land, natural resources and natural infrastructure monopolies – should be in the public domain to provide basic needs to everybody – freely.

The alternative way simply is to privatise these ‘public goods’ (as in the West), where they are provided at a financialized maximum cost – including interest rates, dividends, management fees, and corporate manipulations for financial gain.

‘It’ is then a truly different economic approach. To give one example: New York’s Second Avenue Subway extension cost $6 billion, or $2 billion per mile – the most expensive urban mass transit ever built. The average cost of underground subway lines outside the U.S. is $350 million a mile, or a sixth of New York’s cost.

How does this ‘it’ change everything? Well, just imagine for a moment: the biggest element in anyone’s budget today is housing at 40%, which simply reflects high house prices, based on a debt-fuelled market. Instead, imagine that proportion at 10% (as in China). Suppose too, you have low-cost public education. Well then, you are rid of education-led debt, and its interest cost. Suppose you have public healthcare, and low priced transport infrastructure. Then you would have the capacity to spend – It becomes a low-cost economy, and consequently it would grow.

Another example: The cost of hiring R&D staff in China is a third to half the comparable cost in the U.S., so China’s tech spend is closer to $1 trillion a year (in terms of purchasing power parity), whereas the U.S. spends just 0.6% of GDP, or about $130 billion, on federal R&D.

At one level therefore, this ‘it’ is a strategic challenge to the western eco-system. In one corner, the debt-driven, hyper-financialised, yet stagnant economies of Europe and the EU – in which strategic direction and economic ‘winners and losers’ are set by the Big Oligarchs, and in which the 60% struggle, and 0.1% thrive. And, in the far corner, a very mixed economy in which the Party sets a strategic course for state enterprises, whilst others are encouraged to innovate, and to be entrepreneurial in the mould of a state-directed economy (albeit, with Taoist and Confucian characteristics).

Socialism versus capitalism? No, it is a long time since the U.S. was a capitalist economy; it’s hardly even a market economy today. It has become, more and more, a rentier economy since leaving the gold standard (in 1971). This forced U.S. exit from the ‘gold window’ facilitated the U.S. via the resultant global demand for U.S. debt instruments, (Treasury bonds), to finance itself for free (from out of the entire world’s economic surplus). The Washington Consensus ensured additionally that the inflows of dollars to Wall Street from around the globe would never be subject capital controls, nor would states be able to create their own currency, but would have to borrow in dollars from the World Bank and the IMF.

And that essentially meant borrowing from the Pentagon and the State Department in U.S. dollars, who ultimately were the system ‘enforcers’, as Professor Hudson notes. The shift in the U.S. financial system to being an entity that that prioritises ‘real’ assets, such as mortgages and real estate that offer a certain ‘rent’, rather than to invest directly in speculative business ventures, also means that debt jubilees are verboten. (The Greeks can recount the experience of what that entails, in grim detail).

The point is that – at the economic plane – the U.S., hyper-financialised sphere is fast shrinking, as China, Russia and much of the ‘World Island’ turn to trading in their own currencies (and do not buy U.S. Treasuries). In a ‘war’ of economic systems, America therefore starts on the back foot.

Halford Mackinder argued a century ago that control of the ‘Heartland’, which stretched from the Volga to the Yangtze, would control the ‘World Island’, which was his term for all Europe, Asia and Africa. Over a century later, Mackinder’s theory resonates as the two leading nations behind the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) transform this into a system of inter-relations from one Eurasian end to another. It is not so new, of course. It is simply the revival of the ancient trade-based economy of the Eurasian heartland, which finally was collapsed in the 17th century.

Alastair Macleod notes that commentators usually fail to understand ‘why’ this flourishing in West Asia is happening: “It is not due to military superiority, but down to simple economics. While the U.S. economy suffers a post-lockdown inflationary outcome and an existential crisis for the dollar – China’s economy will boom on the back of increasing domestic consumption … and increasing exports, the consequence of America’s stimulation of consumer demand and a soaring budget deficit”.

There, explicitly said, is Sun Tzu’s point! “Opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself”. There is in Washington (and to an extent in Europe too), a faction entertaining a pathological emotional desire for war with Russia, largely stemming from a conviction that the Tzars (and later Stalin), were anti-Semitic. Their emotion is one of hatred and anger, yet it is they who largely are responsible for bringing Russia and China together. This, and America’s proclivity to sanction the world, has given China and Russia their opportunity.

The underlying point however, is that – even for the EU – the Rimland periphery is less important than Mackinder’s World Island. There was a time when British and then American primacy outweighed its importance – but this may no longer be true. What is actualising here is the greatest challenge yet mounted to American economic power and technological supremacy.

Yet this economic Realpolitik is but half the story to China and Russia’s launch of a ‘global resistance economy’. It has a parallel geo-political frame, too.

It is to this latter aspect, most probably, that the Chinese official referred when he said that the Iran deal would “totally upend the prevailing geopolitical landscape in the West Asian region that has for so long been subject to U.S. hegemony”. Note that he did not say that it would upend Iran’s relations with U.S. or Europe – he said the whole region. He implied too, that China’s initiatives would free West Asia from American hegemony. How so?

In an interview last week, FM Wang Yi outlined Beijing’s approach to the West Asian region:

“The Middle East was a highland of brilliant civilizations in human history. Yet, due to protracted conflicts and turmoil in the more recent history, the region descended into a security lowland … For the region to emerge from chaos and enjoy stability, it must break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry, and independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities. It must stay impervious to external pressure and interference, and follow an inclusive and reconciliatory approach to build a security architecture that accommodates the legitimate concerns of all sides … Against this backdrop, China wishes to propose a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East:

“Firstly, advocating mutual respect … Both sides should uphold the international norm of non-interference in others’ internal affairs … it is particularly important for China and Arab states to stand together against slandering, defamation, interference and pressurizing in the name of human rights … [the EU should take note]

“Second, upholding equity and justice, opposing unilateralism, and defending international justice … China will encourage the Security Council to fully deliberate on the question of Palestine to reaffirm the two-state solution … We should uphold the UN-centred international system, as well as the international order underpinned by international law – and jointly promote a new type of international relations. We should share governance experience … and oppose arrogance and prejudice.

“Third, achieving non-proliferation … Parties need to … discuss and formulate the roadmap and timeframe for the United States and Iran to resume compliance with the JCPOA. The pressing task is for the U.S. to take substantive measures to lift its unilateral sanctions on Iran, and long-arm jurisdiction on third parties, and for Iran to resume reciprocal compliance with its nuclear commitments. At the same time, the international community should support efforts by regional countries in establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

“Fourth, jointly fostering collective security … We propose holding in China a multilateral dialogue conference for regional security in the Gulf (Persian Gulf) …

“And fifthly, accelerating development cooperation …”.

Well, China has spectacularly made its entrance in the Middle East, and is challenging the U.S. with a resistance agenda. FM Wang, when he met with Ali Larijani, special adviser to the Supreme Leader Khamenei, framed it all in a single sentence: “Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries, and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call”. This single comment encapsulates the new ‘wolf warrior’ ethos: states should stick with their autonomy and sovereignty. China is advocating a sovereigntist multilateralism to shake off “the western yoke”.

Wang did not confine this political message to Iran. He had just said the same in Saudi Arabia, before arriving in Tehran. It was well received in Riyadh. In economic development terms, China earlier had linked Turkey and Pakistan into the ‘corridor’ plan – and now Iran.

How will the U.S. react? It will ignore the message from Anchorage. It will likely press on. It is already testing China over Taiwan, and is preparing an escalation in Ukraine, to test Russia.

For the EU, the Chinese entry into global politics is more problematic. It was trying to leverage its own ‘strategic autonomy’ by erecting European values as the gateway to inclusion into its market and trade partnership. China effectively is telling the world to reject any such hegemonic imposition of alien values and rights.

The EU is stranded in the midst. Unlike the U.S., it is precluded from printing the money with which to resurrect its virus-blighted economy. It desperately needs trade and investment. Its biggest trading partner, and its tech well-spring, however, has just told the EU (as the U.S.), to give up on its moralising discourse. At the same time, Europe’s ‘security partner’ has just demanded the opposite – that the EU strengthens it. What’s to be done? Sit back, and watch … (with fingers crossed that no one does something extremely stupid).

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