US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

In a controversial snub to international law, the United States signaled last week that it is moving to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. If the US does so, then it forfeits any moral authority to sanction Russia over allegations of “annexing Crimea”.

In its annual US State Department report, the section dealing with the Golan Heights reportedly refers to the contested area as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied”. The change in wording deviates from United Nations resolutions and international norm which use the term “Israeli-occupied” to designate the land Israel annexed from Syria following the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel has occupied the western part of the Golan since 1967 as a spoil from that war. In 1981, Tel Aviv formally annexed the Syrian territory. However, the UN Security Council in 1981, including the US, unanimously condemned the annexation as illegal. The resolution mandates Israel to return the land to Syria which has historical claim to the entire Golan. The area of 1,800 square kilometers is a strategic elevation overlooking the northern Jordan Valley.

If Washington confirms its recent indications of recognizing the Golan as officially part of Israel, the development would mark an egregious flouting of international law.

But what’s more, such a move totally prohibits Washington from posturing with presumed principle over the issue of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which since 2014 voluntarily became part of Russia.

Just last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated accusations against Russia of “annexing” Crimea. Pompeo insisted that US sanctions against Moscow would be maintained until Russia “returns Crimea to Ukraine”.

“The world has not forgotten the cynical lies Russia employed to justify its aggression and mask its attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory,” he said. “The United States will maintain respective sanctions against Russia until the Russian government returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.”

Last year, Pompeo’s State Department issued a ‘Crimea Declaration’ in which it was stated that, “Russia undermines a bedrock of international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force.”

Claims by Washington and the European Union of “illegal annexation” of Crimea by Russia are the central basis for five years of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. Those sanctions have contributed to ever-worsening tensions with Russia and the build-up of NATO forces along Russia’s borders.

Those claims are, however, highly contestable. The people of Crimea voted in a legally constituted referendum in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. That referendum followed an illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the US and Europe against a legally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Historically, Crimea has centuries of shared cultural heritage with Russia. Its erstwhile position within the state of Ukraine was arguably an anomaly of the Cold War and subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union.

In any case, there is scant comparison between the Golan Heights and Crimea, save, that is, for the latest hypocrisy in Washington. While Crimea and its people are arguably historically part of Russia, the Golan Heights are indisputably a sovereign part of Syria which was forcibly annexed by Israeli military occupation.

The illegality of Israel’s occupation of Golan is a matter of record under international law as stipulated in UNSC Resolution 497.

There is no such international mandate concerning Crimea. Claims of Russia’s “annexation” are simply a matter of dubious political assertion made by Washington and its European allies.

The latest move by Washington towards recognizing Golan as part of Israel – in defiance of international law – comes on the back of several other recent developments.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham made a tour of Israeli-occupied Golan last week in the company of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pointedly transported by an IDF military helicopter. Graham said following his tour that he would recommend the Trump administration to officially recognize the area as under Israeli sovereignty.

Currently, there is legislation going through both the US Senate and House of Representatives which is aimed at declaring the entire Golan as Israeli territory.

The stark shift in pro-Israeli bias in Washington under the Trump administration is consistent with the White House declaring at the end of 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Again, that move by President Trump overturned international consensus and UN resolutions which have stipulated Jerusalem to be a shared capital between Israel and a future Palestinian state, to be worked out by (defunct) peace negotiations.

Why Washington has taken up the Golan issue as a prize for Israel at this time is not precisely clear. It could be seen as the Trump administration giving a political boost to Netanyahu for next month’s elections.

There has been previous speculation that Trump is doing the bidding for a US-based oil company, Genie Oil, which is linked to his administration through his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family investments. The New Jersey company has a subsidiary in Israel, is tied to the Netanyahu government, and has long been aiming to drill the Golan for its abundant oil resources.

The Golan move could also be retribution meted out to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his country’s historic defeat of the US-backed covert war for regime change. The nearly eight-year war was also covertly backed by Israel which sponsored jihadist militia operating out of the Golan against the Syrian army. Having vanquished the US regime-change plot, thanks to crucial military support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the payback could be Washington stepping up Israeli claims to annex the Golan.

But whatever the background explanation is, the initiative by Washington to legalize the annexation of Golan by Israel is a brazen violation of international law. In doing so, the US is officially sponsoring war crimes and theft of Syria’s sovereign territory. Or as the Crimea Declaration would put it: “changing the borders of another country by force” – supposedly a “bedrock principle” that Washington continually sermonizes about to Russia.

Crimea and Golan are different issues of territorial dispute, as noted already. Nevertheless, the duplicity of Washington over Golan makes its posturing on Crimea null and void. If the Europeans meekly go along with the US move on Golan, then they too should shut their mouths and their moralizing sanctions over Crimea.


The Other Ukraine


by arras for The Saker blogThe Other Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in the Eastern Europe, which doesn’t require introduction to most readers as it was and still is filling pages of the newspapers and screens of a TVs. Courtesy of ongoing geopolitical conflict between the United States and the Russian Federation there. Some say, this is a conflict between East and West and thus suggesting that it is not just a place of competition between the world great powers, but between cultures and civilizations.

This conflict isn’t new to Ukraine. Ukraine is one of those places, where history never falls asleep it merely takes short naps. After the last nap, which we call the Cold War, history is back in Ukraine, writing new pages full of dramatic lines.

However, Ukraine has a sister. It was on the front pages of the newspapers as well not long time ago and it is also rich with dramatic history. The fate and history of both, including the most recent history, bears remarkable similarity and many parallels. Parallels that I intend to show you.

The name of the “other” Ukraine is Krajina and a reader might remember it as a place in the Balkans, which was one of the frontlines of the civil war in Yugoslavia. Krajina is a part of Croatia, but historically it was inhabited by the Serbs. The name of Ukraine in the native Slavic languages is “Ukrajina” and thus the difference in the name is just a prefix “U”. That’s not by a coincidence. Ukrajina and Krajina are the virtually same word, just pronounced slightly different in different Slavic languages. In English, it means “edge”, “margin”, “frontier” or “borderland” and that’s exactly what Ukraine and Krajina were. They were one of those places where realms, cultures, civilizations and empires converged and clashed. Seems they still are, and because of that, Ukraine and Krajina were not just ordinary frontiers, they were military frontiers. Romans used to call such places as “limes” and in the Western Medieval Europe, they were called as “march” or “mark” – ruled by “marquis” and of the same etymological origin as the word “margin”.

Ukraine was a borderland between Russia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Crimean Khanate which itself was a remnant of the mighty Mongol Empire and at that time, it was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. Today Poland and Lithuania might seem like small countries compared to Russia while Crimean Khanate doesn’t even exist, but back in medieval and early modern era these were powerful realms vying for control over the whole region of the Eastern Europe. Krajina together with the similar region called Vojvodina on the other hand was a borderland between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. These places, were such powerful states, even religions and civilizations met weren’t the most peaceful ones and not very well suited for long prosperous life. They were in the state of almost perpetual conflict and war, because even if realms were in formal peace, irregular forces and local chieftains and feudal lords carried raids across the border seeking plunder or revenge, often with the silent consent of their sovereigns. Today we call it a hybrid war and plausible deniability. For that reason, such military frontiers had special status and were organized according to the military rather than civilian principles. Their purpose was to serve as a buffer zone, which was supposed to shield deeper inland territories from enemy attacks and raids and as a staging place for own attacks and raids against the enemy. Traditionally military settlers who had special status populated such territories. These settlers were typically freemen, as opposed to serfs in more secure territories and were exempt of taxes. Instead, they were obliged to carry military service on the border. Being half soldiers, half farmers, these men weren’t the best trained, equipped and disciplined comparing to the regular troops, but they were always available on the spot and required little or no pay as they supported themselves from their land which they supplemented with plunder from lands of the enemy.

These military settlers were often recruited from refugees. In the case of Ukraine, these were the peasants fleeing wars between Russia and Mongol Golden Horde in the east on the one hand and on the other advancing feudalization of Russia itself, which saw farmers being forced in to serfdom in the increasing numbers. Refugees were fleeing to the areas away from the main conflict and out of the reach of the central authorities. Here they begun to organize in to small communities and as soon as the situation in the central parts of Russia was consolidated and Russia has emerged victorious from the wars with Golden Horde and its successor khanates, these communities came in to attention of the Russian authorities who begun to utilize them as military settlers, giving them lands and tax exemption in return for the military service. Thus famous Cossacks were born. The word Kazak, which is Russian for Cossack, is of Turkic, not Slavic origin, and it is assumed to be originally describing nomadic mercenaries hired by the Russian princes to fight in their wars. Later it was used to describe men for hire, both in civilian and military roles and that is likely how it was originally applied to the people we now know as Cossacks.

It should be noted however that modern Ukraine is not identical to historical Ukraine. Historical Ukraine was much smaller compared to modern Ukraine and it never was official name of some administrative region with definitive borders. Not until the creation of the modern Ukraine at the end of the First World War. This term was vaguely applied to the lands that were bordering Russia, Poland-Lithuania and Crimean Khanate, border that kept changing with the fortunes in wars. Moreover, Russia did not had just one Ukraine, there were several ukraines and “little” ukraines (ukrajinka) all along Russia’s sensitive borders. There were ukraines in the west, on the territory of contemporary Belarus, there were ukraines in the south near Caucasus Mountains and there were ukrainas in the Eastern Siberia. Only in the north where Russia shared a border with polar bears, Russia did not have ukraine. However, as Russia kept growing in power, securing its borders or expanding them further, most of the other historical ukraines disappeared and the one that was left longest became The Ukraine. Consequently, Cossacks did not exist only in Ukraine, there were and in some cases still are other Cossacks. Cossacks on the rivers Volga and Don, Siberian Cossacks and Terek Cossacks in the Caucasus to name the most notable ones. Russians were not the only ones who recognized usefulness of Cossacks either, Poles and Tatars were actively using them as well. Cossacks themselves were keen on exploiting conflicts between those powers to extract political and economic advantages for themselves.

Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina cum adjacentibus Provinciis-General Draving of the Deserted Fields, vulgarly known as Ukraine together with its neighbouring Provinces by French cartographer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan (1600-1673), note that North is down and South is up): source: Wikipedia

Military settlers in Krajina on the other hand were recruited mostly from Serbs, Vlachs (Romanians) and Croats fleeing Ottoman Turks who conquered Constantinople, capital of the East Roman Empire (also known as Byzantium) and defeated the kingdom of Serbia and the fragments of Bulgarian empire in the Balkans and were aggressively pushing north towards the Central Europe engaging with Hungarians and Austrians. That’s how Krajina got its Serbian population. Just like in Russia, historical Krajina does not necessarily copy the borders of what is considered Krajina in Croatia today. And just like in Russia, there are other krajinas elsewhere in Balkans. Bosanska Krajina near Banja Luka, Timocka Krajina between Serbia and Bulgaria, to name a few. In 1881, with the danger of Ottoman incursions all but disappearing, Austrian Emperors dissolved Krajina as an administrative region and incorporated it in to the kingdom of Croatia.

Map of the Krajina (in red) cca 1800:source: Wikipedia

While Cossacks are widely known as famous horsemen, a few people know that Krajina, and neighboring regions of Balkans are where the other most famous light cavalry of Europe comes from. Not less famous Hussars. Hussars were originally irregular cavalry from Balkans. Hungarian kings and Austrian emperors who employed them in their armies introduced them to the Western Europe, where they were quickly copied and adopted by the other armies for their effectiveness. With the advent of firearms, European knights in their shining expensive armors, riding heavy warhorses were gradually withdrawn from the battlefields as European armies begun to appreciate less heavily armed cavalry in their place, which substituted speed and agility for direct protection and ambushes and flanking for charges in to the enemy front lines. And that’s where experience of combating Turks and Tatars of Asia who always preferred lighter cavalry came in handy. Through centuries of constant fighting, Cossacks and Hussars adapted themselves to the fighting methods of their opponents and adopted many elements of their equipment and tactics. Not everybody though served in the cavalry and contrary to popular belief, most Cossacks served as infantrymen. Horse, especially saddle horse back in those days was something that only the wealthiest Cossacks could afford.

Hungarian hussar in the 16th century. Woodcut by Jost Amman:source: Wikipedia

When Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires collapsed in the flames of the Balkan Wars and the First World War, which had aroused from the conflict over the Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia joined Yugoslavia, a new state that supposed to unite all the Slavic people of the Balkans. Krajina ceased to be a province on the edge and it seemed that history there would slow down. Nevertheless, history just took a nap. On April 1941, German army invaded Yugoslavia under Adolf Hitler’s orders and Yugoslavia quickly fell apart. In Croatia, with the support of the Germans, puppet state with the pro-German fascist political party of Ustashe in power was established. Ethnic cleansing campaign and persecution of Serbs and other minorities followed, and lasted until the defeat of Nazi Germany in the WWII. The exact number of Serbs who perished in those repressions is unknown, estimates vary between 300,000 and 500,000. About 50,000 alone died in one of the concentration camps in Jasenovac.

With the National Socialist Germany and their allies defeated, Yugoslavia was reinstated under the leadership of the Communist party and a war hero Josip Bros Tito. Whereas survived Nazi collaborators found a shelter under the wings of the US and British secret services in the West Germany, Canada, USA and Australia. Unlike Nazi scientists, they did not possess any great knowledge or technical skills, but experience of political repression and anti-guerrilla warfare were of the value for the CIA in the upcoming Cold War. The end justifies the means. Interestingly enough, Ustashe from Balkans found themselves thriving at the same centers and under generous tutelage of the same secret services of the same governments as Nazi collaborators from Ukraine – the infamous UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and its political leaders like Stephan Bandera. In some instances, political and cultural institutions of the Ustashe and UPA were located on the same streets, sometimes even inside the same buildings of Western cities like Munich. Just like Ustashe, the WWII records of UPA are full of the ethnic cleansings, mass murders and war crimes against civilian population that did not fit UPA’s racial and ethnic standards. Now they were to be sustained like bacteria of a biological weapon on a Petri dish in CIA laboratories, waiting for their time.

Ironically, their time did not come during the Cold War, even when there were some failed attempts to utilize them. Their time came with the end of the Cold War and fall of the Communist rule in the Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The easiest way to destroy multinational country is to start ethnic conflicts between the peoples of a country itself and let them destroy it themselves. Under Tito, who himself was from mixed Croat-Slovenian family, stability was maintained between the various ethnic groups dwelling in Yugoslavia, but that balance was fragile and rested to a large extend on the authority of Tito himself. With his death, the institutions of the state and the way Yugoslavia was constructed came for a test.

Yugoslavia was constructed as a federation in such a way, as to prevent any one of the constituent nations from dominating the state. Serbs were always the most numerous and therefore strongest nationality in Yugoslavia and other nationalities, particularly Croats and Slovenians feared that Serbs would dominate the state. Not without a good reason either as interwar Yugoslavia indeed ended up being dominated by the Serbs and their elite. To prevent that, in post war Yugoslavia, Serbia was divided in to four parts: republics of Serbia and Montenegro and autonomous regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina. Later three had significant non-Serbian ethnic minorities. That accomplished the goal of creating a balance between the powers of national republics inside Yugoslavia, but it inevitably created feeling of injustice among the Serbs. It was only Serbia which was divided and weakened in such a way, neither Croatia, nor Bosnia or Macedonia were divided even if they too had regions with ethnic minorities present. Serbs in Krajina were an example and Bosnia was heterogeneous to such extent, that it was sometimes nicknamed as Little Yugoslavia.

After period of unsuccessful Communist experimenting with creating single Yugoslav supranational identity, which would replace individual nationalities, Tito and his Communists went the other way and in the new constitution of 1974 tried to placate nationalist sentiments by bestowing more power on to the republics and strengthening autonomy of the regions. In Voivodina, Montenegro and Kosovo that led to an increasing cultural, economic and political pressure against Serbs who became convinced that system inside Yugoslavia works at their expense and they are loosing. In Kosovo where Albanian population was steadily increasing due to immigration from Albania and higher birth rates, issue was especially sensitive because Serbs consider Kosovo to be historical cradle of their civilization.

But any attempts to change the situation by the Serbs, inevitably led to the reaction in the other republics creating endless spiral of increasing suspicion and tensions between the republics. With the economy and central institutions weakened by the gradual decline in the power of the Communists and change of the political and economic situation in the whole of Eastern Europe, it required only a gentle push from the outside to spark ethnic conflict. That’s were Ustashe and other similar groups been held in the reserve during the Cold War in the West were finally put to a good use. Under disguise of democracy and freedom of speech, they were re-imported back in to their countries of origin along with the literature and propaganda created around their ideologies in the Cold War exile thanks to the generous US and German sponsorship. Money from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries played similar role in the Muslim communities of Yugoslavia.

Eventually it brought yields. Spinning in spasms, in 1990 Yugoslavia has arrived at the cliff when constitutional crisis completely paralyzed federal institutions, including Communist party itself. Republics were fighting each other. The only significant federal institution left willing to defend Yugoslavia was its army. However, army required an order from politicians to start acting, and there was no one to issue it. Yugoslavia was going to dissolve. The only question was how and when.

Anybody remotely familiar with Yugoslavia, knew, that if it would be done in unilateral uncontrolled manner, it would lead to a war. Only in Slovenia, the administrative borders were identical to the ethnic borders. The rest of Yugoslavia had ethnic minorities living all over the place. This was also well known in Washington and Berlin. Despite, or may be because of it, Washington and Berlin chose exactly this option even against the warnings from other European capitals. Berlin was the first to recognize independent Slovenian and Croatian states and hence British diplomats unofficially named the war that begun immediately in Croatia as “Gensher’s war“, after German foreign minister at that time Hans-Dietrich Gensher.

Single picture that explains civil war in Yugoslavia:source: Wikipedia

When Croatian government declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Serbs of Krajina in response declared their own independence from Croatia. All peoples have equal rights for independence. Right? Wrong. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” to paraphrase George Orwell and his famous book. Everybody likes to be independent himself, but not when others want to be independence at his expense. Croats are no different and independence of Republic of Serbian Krajina, which is how Serbs named their new country, was met with more than a strong disapproval in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. A conflict flared almost immediately and it set off bloody civil war that engulfed other parts of Yugoslavia, eventually ending its existence.

When declaring independence, the most important thing isn’t who has the right for independence and who does not, the most important thing is who supports it. And here Serbs of Krajina were placed at a disadvantage because they were supported only by small Serbia, which itself was having plenty of problems inside, while Croats were supported by several world’s most powerful countries – USA, Germany and the entire NATO alliance. Serbs held for several years, but at the end fight was just too uneven. It ended when Croatian forces supported by the USA and Germany overrun Serbian lines manned mostly by local militiamen on August 1995 and proceeded to ethnically cleanse Krajina of its Serbian inhabitants for good. Up to 1500 of them lost their lives, 2/3 of that number were civilians and up to 200,000 had to flee to Serbia and Bosnia. It was one of the two places in former Yugoslavia, where an entire historical region was ethnically cleansed of its population during the civil war. The other region being ethnically cleansed of Serbs was Kosovo, also with the support of the USA and it’s allies. The irony that is still carefully hidden from the public by the politicians and journalists in Washington, London and Berlin who worked tirelessly to convince people in their countries that those are Serbs who perpetrate crime of ethnic cleansing and had to be stopped by noble and smart bombs, enriched with uranium. Everyone else were portrayed as victims. It was a deliberate lie. Even supposed plan of ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo by the Serbs, named “Operation Horseshoe” which served as a pretext for bombing of Serbia itself by the NATO forces, was after the war exposed as entirely fabricated by the German secret service BND with the help of Bulgarian government. To be sure, there were plenty of cases of local ethnic cleansing, perpetrated by all sides of the civil war, Serbian one including, but not on the scale of the entire historical regions like Krajina or Kosovo. Nevertheless, ethnic cleansing wasn’t the real reason for the intervention, the real reason was that USA, Germany and EU wanted Yugoslavia to be gone and Serbs in Krajina and Kosovo stood in their way. Yugoslavia was too large to be incorporated in to the EU and NATO, one has to join the EU and NATO as weak as possible and under the conditions favoring those who are in charge of the EU and NATO. Conditions that demand political, economic and cultural subordination and transfer of the control over national resources and markets to the global corporations. Corporations of the global Empire. Therefore, Serbs of Krajina and Kosovo had to go. All of them. Yugoslavia had to be broken in to small pieces and pieces then digested by the Empire one by one until the whole Balkans had “proper” democracy, endorsed “proper” values and values were “protected” by the US military base or two. Divide et impera, Romans used to say.

The conflict in Ukraine is driven by exactly the same motives and reasons and using the same old methods and the same propaganda tricks. Timed bombs in the form of the arbitrary changes of the administrative borders made by the ruling Communist elite blew up during break up of the USSR too, as well as their policies of creating new Soviet people. Former Nazi collaborationist were also used to instigate ethnic hatred. Place Soviet Union instead of the Yugoslavia, Russians instead of Serbs, Ukraine instead of Croatia, Donbas and Crimea instead of Krajina and Kosovo and the story is almost identical. Ukraine and Krajina share similar history once again. Almost. With the exception that the Soviet Union was much larger than Yugoslavia, Russia is much larger than Serbia, and Russia has powerful allies in the world of its own. A victim turned out to be too big and vital and the Empire appears to suffer major digestive problems as a result. Will Ukraine end up sharing the fate of its sister after all?

Or will Ukraine turn out to be one mouthful too many? One thing is certain, history did not stop. History has no end. Prophets of the Empire has been proven wrong.

arras‘s mini-bio: HIC SVNT LEONES

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails


Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

It may seem oxymoronic, but President Trump is living proof that lunatics can think big. Not content with “only” threatening regime change in Venezuela, the American leader is expanding his mission to rid the Western hemisphere of socialism, with Cuba and Nicaragua next in line for US “salvation”.

In a particularly unhinged speech last weekend in Miami, Florida, Trump declared Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura a “Cuban puppet” and “failed dictator”. Trump denounced socialism with a verve that has not been heard from a US president since the depth of the Cold War more than 30 years ago.

“In Venezuela, and across the Western hemisphere, socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn,” said Trump inferring the “Troika of Tyranny” that his national security advisor John Bolton – another lunatic – previously coined to describe Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The Miami Herald reported Trump’s speech as a “harbinger” for regime change in the three Latin American countries.

Trump’s claim of “democracy being reborn” is a bit hard to take at a time when this president is declaring state-of-emergency powers at home to push through his faltering border wall “vanity project”. Dozens of US states are suing Trump for “presidential over-reach of executive powers”. Constitutional scholars are warning of an incipient shift to fascism under Trump.

For Trump to then proclaim he is spearheading freedom and liberty for the entire Western hemisphere is a foreboding sign that his megalomania is spectacularly out of control.

The prospects of the US military fighting a war in Venezuela, let alone Cuba and Nicaragua as well, are in the realms of impossible fantasy. But with this Commander-in-Chief the fantasy is being entertained.

Trump in his Miami speech delivered a mafia-like ultimatum to the Venezuelan military. Either it supports the US-anointed minor opposition figure Juan Guaido who declared himself “acting president” of Venezuela almost a month ago, or the armed forces face obliteration, said Trump.

With the tone of an organized crime boss, Trump warned that Venezuela’s defense forces were “risking their lives” by supporting the “failed dictatorship” of “former” President Maduro. “If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” added Trump.

In response, President Maduro slammed Trump for his “Nazi-like speech” and for daring to threaten his country’s military with annihilation if it does not submit.

The criminality of the occupant in the American White House is astounding. The brazen threat of aggression against another nation – as well as implicitly against Cuba and Nicaragua – is on par with the fascism of the 1930s leading up to World War II.

The flying in of US military cargo planes to Colombia and Brazil purportedly laden with food aid for Venezuela is a flagrant cover for mounting an armed incursion. In close coordination with the CIA-groomed opposition figure Juan Guaido, the US is contriving a deadline of this weekend for the aid supplies to be allowed entrance into Venezuela.

President Maduro is refusing to permit the US material into his country. Venezuela’s armed forces are resolutely in support of the government in Caracas and therefore can be counted on to block any attempt to force the US aid across the borders from Colombia and Brazil. The impasse may, however, provide pretext for US military intervention.

The impending crisis whipped up by Trump with Venezuela seems insane. The South American country may be in economic turmoil, but it is hardly a humanitarian catastrophe meriting such drama. Besides the turmoil has largely been instigated by Washington slapping sanctions and asset freezes on Venezuela’s lifeline oil economy. If the US were to lift its illegal sanctions on the country then much of the chaos would subside.

For the Trump administration to declare a minor opposition figure as the “recognized president” of Venezuela is an audacious violation of international law and norms. Shamefully, several European states have sought to legitimize Washington’s subversion in Venezuela.

Of course, subverting the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro has the all-important prize of allowing US capital to get its hands on Venezuela’s colossal oil wealth.

Another motive is to eradicate any “threat of good example” in Uncle Sam’s presumed backyard. If Venezuela can be subjugated, then the Trump administration has Nicaragua and Cuba next in its cross-hairs for regime change. There is also the benefit of suppressing any political opposition domestically within the US, with a campaign against socialism in the Western hemisphere used to smear emerging socialists at home.

Still another motive for Trump is to desperately find a patriotic purpose with which to mobilize his support base. Despite his blustering campaign promises, Trump has delivered very little to his voters over the past two years. With his 2020 re-election bid in sight, Trump’s faltering border wall project is perhaps the most embarrassing failure. Not able to deliver on his “vanity project”, Trump is casting around for an alternative cause célèbre.

“Fighting socialism” in Venezuela and elsewhere in the Western hemisphere is Trump’s next star-turn. But how absurd can it get? Trump is presenting himself as more messianic than Cold War hawks in Washington during past decades when they could at least plausibly invoke Soviet expansionism as a propaganda threat.

Trump’s lunatic demagoguery is going big – off the rails.

Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground


February 18, 2019

Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Scott and captioned by Leo.

The annual Security Conference, traditionally hosted by Germany in Munich, this time was not attended by neither the leader of Russia nor by the head of the United States. The latter was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence, who tried to convince the audience that America is strong. This came out not very convincing.

It has been 12 years since Vladimir Putin delivered his famous “Munich speech.” It was dubbed the starting point for a new “Cold War” between Russia and the West. A year and a half later an “Olympic war” commenced and ended with bringing Georgia to its senses despite it being pumped up by the “most advanced” American weapons. And going on further, everything following was deepening of the conflict.

Now, after 12 years, we can sum up some results. The first and the main result: a “unipolar world” has been destroyed. Flown in from Washington, the Vice President of the United States, of course, puffed up his cheeks. But his demands weren’t concerning Russia, but the European vassals of America, who reacted to Pence’s demands without usual enthusiasm. Here’s what was written on this by my friend and colleague Ivan Danilov.

“By and large, on the Munich stage, the world was shown a completely different America, its new image only seen so far by very few people: it’s an image of a Hegemon affronted by the entire world, which is experiencing mental suffering from the fact that its desires are no longer fulfilled like before. Pence presented Germany in particular and the European Union as a whole a fairly large list of grievances that cause irritation in Washington. Vice President of the US criticized the Nord Stream 2 and virtually accused Germany that support for this project, Berlin contributes to the increasing dependency of the EU on Russia.’We cannot protect the West if our allies depend on the East,’ he said. The European Union was required to immediately abandon attempts to circumvent American sanctions against Iran and possibly join them.”

The fact that Pence did not want to talk about cooperation, and demanded submission, has been noticed even by the American media. The New York Times wrote  that the Vice President of the United States “focused on the list of requirements for American allies.”

How exactly these same allies took Pence’s demands is clearly demonstrated in the title of the German magazine Spiegel: Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz Trumps Bauchrednerpuppe. l

“America is not the leader, it is losing ground,” the newspaper writes in response to Pence’s words that ‘the US has become the leader of the free world.’ If we translate from politically correct into Russian, the German journalists actually declared that the “king of democracy” is naked.

The Russian delegation, that had enough of the slogan “America is the strongest,” was adding fuel to the fire. This is what Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said:

“The West, with its self-conceit, self-aggrandizement, and its belief in the infallibility of its own approaches to civilization, world development, values, should stop and think for a moment: if you value your world order so much, can you increase the risks of your existence for the sake of the pursuit of ephemeral establishment of a universal, God forbid, New Order for the rest of the world?”

It sounds sarcastic and in its form and in its content. Actually, our delegation headed by Sergey Lavrov, focused on shaking the “Euro-Atlantic unity” in Munich. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister sarcastically pointed to the duality of the behavior of representatives of the EU. They were publicly stigmatizing Moscow, but in private whined about the fact that they needed the normalization of relations with Russia.

“Apparently, while this has not happened, they somehow have to be guided by their mutual responsibility and follow the course, which is fixed in the European Union under the pressure of an aggressive Russophobic minority. But we patiently explain our readiness to resume relations on an equal basis to the extent and with such speed in which it will be convenient to our partners.”

That is, the second result of the “Cold War 2.0” can be formulated as follows: “the US sustainable sovereignty over the EU is no more.” Sergey Lavrov used constructive terms to describe the situation:

“The common European house needs major repairs. The tasks are really large-scale. They can only be effectively addressed together, on a universal basis.”

The participants of the conference who listened to these words burst into thunderous applause. They only applauded more to Angela Merkel, while Mike Pence did not receive any applause at all.

*Clip plays*

I thank you for your attention, and I’m ready to answer your questions.

*Loud applause*

Finally, about the third result of the Cold War 2.0. It’s the fact that the plan to strangle Russia with the notorious “isolation” failed. Moreover, as admitted by the same Lavrov before leaving for Moscow, Russian diplomats would not mind a bit of “isolation.”

“We would even like to see some isolation, because the negotiations went back-to-back for more than two dozen meetings. Our entire delegation worked without a break.”

What is 12 years on the historical scale? Nothing. To destroy in such a short period of time all that the United States has built up over the decades since the creation of NATO and to the peak of its power at the beginning of the XXI century – is something remarkable. It will take another 12 years to compare the “overhaul” of the world order with the situation today. Do you have any predictions about what our country will achieve by February 2031?

الحرب الباردة من سورية إلى العالم!

فبراير 14, 2019

د. وفيق ابراهيم

التغيّرُ في امتلاك عناصر القوة بين القوى العالمية يتجلى سريعاً في انبثاق صراعات عنيفة بينها للسيطرة على مناطق ضعيفة تختزن موارد طاقة هامة او مواقع استراتيجية أو حاجة دائمة للاستهلاك.

الشرق الأوسط يجسّد حصرياً اجتماع هذه العناصر في دوله، فيما يعكس الصراع على البلقان وأوروبا إرادة أميركية بمحاصرة روسيا ومنعها من التحوّل الى اتحاد سوفياتي جديد، إلا أنّ دولاً مثل اندونيسيا وباكستان تجسد بالنسبة للدول المتقدّمة نماذج قوية لاستهلاك السلع الرخيصة إنما في إطار سكاني واسع جداً.

يمكن الى جانب الشرق الأوسط اضافة فنزويلا في أميركا اللاتينية التي تملك الاحتياطي النفطي الأوّل في العالم مع إطلالة كبيرة على بحر الكاريبي وسكان يزيدون عن الثلاثين مليوناً الى جانب نظام سياسي أرهقه الأميركيون لرفضه الانصياع لرغباتهم الاقتصادية وسياساتهم الدولية، فلم يتمكّن من تطوير البلاد، فنزويلا هذه ذات السياسة المعادية للاستعمار والوطنية تمتلك نظاماً اقتصادياً محدوداً وتمنعها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية من بيع أكثر من 2 مليون برميل نفط يومياً مقابل ستة ملايين برميل للكويت التي لا يزيد عدد سكانها عن المليون نسمة، وأكثر من 11 مليون برميل للسعودية ذات العشرين مليون نسمة.

ضمن هذا الإطار، تصدّت الدولة السورية للمخطط الأميركي الذي أراد تفتيتها الى كانتونات للإمساك بكامل الشرق الأوسط مستفيداً من تراجع الدور الروسي في ذلك الوقت قبل 2010 وجنوح الصينيّين الى الاختباء خلف تمددهم الاقتصادي.

لذلك فأهمية سورية أنها بدأت بالتصدي لهذا المشروع المعولَم بقواها الذاتية فيما كانت روسيا تقاتل من أجل منع خنقها بالسقوط الأوكراني في السلة الأميركية.

طرفان اثنان وجدا في الميدان السوري الفرصة النموذجية لمجابهة العداء الأميركي لهما مع ضرورة الدفاع عن سورية لمنع سقوط الشرق الأوسط بأبعاده: القضية الفلسطينية وإيران وموارد الطاقة.

الدولة الاولى هي إيران التي أسهمت في تدمير الإرهاب بالتعاون مع الدولة السورية وروسيا وحزب الله، وتمكنت أيضاً من رفع مستوى مناعتها في مقاومة الحصار الأميركي الخليجي ـ «الإسرائيلي» المضروب عليها. إيران اليوم وعلى الرغم من هذه الحصارات والمقاطعات تتحوّل دولة إقليمية مرهوبة الجانب لديها تحالفات عريضة ما يجعلها عرضة لمخططات أميركية خليجية «إسرائيلية» تستهدفها بشكل دائم، لذلك فإنّ هذه الجمهورية الإسلامية تحتلّ اليوم رأس قائمة الدول ذات النفوذ الإقليمي الذي يهدّد بشكل جدّي السيطرة الأميركية على العالم الإسلامي.

لجهة الدولة الثانية فهي روسيا التي كانت تعاني من صراعها المنهك مع الأميركيين قرب حدودها في أوكرانيا والقرم وبحر أزوف، فاغتنمت فرصة صمود سورية بدولتها وشعبها وجيشها وانخرطت في قتال الإرهاب المدعوم علناً من الأميركيين والخليجيين و»الإسرائيليين» في قلب دمشق.

هنا لا بدّ من التأكيد انّ القياس الروسي لا يحتمل أنصاف الحلول، فإما ان يبقى الكرملين في غفوة تاريخية سببها انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي 1989 واما ان تعود روسيا جزءاً من القرار الدولي فتكسر الأحادية الأميركية وتناصفها، وربما تفتح الباب للصين والهند وأوروبا في تقاسمات جديدة لمعادلة القرار الدولي، ما يؤدّي الى اعتداله بسبب طبيعة المنافسات بين قوى كثيرة.

انّ نجاح الروس بتدمير الإرهاب الى جانب الجيش السوري وحزب الله وإيران، ادّى الى تراجع المشروع الأميركي في سورية تحديداً بالتوازي مع صعود دور سوري أصبح قُبلة أنظار الدول المستضعفة والمهدّدة من هذا النفوذ الأميركي ما منح روسيا آفاقاً جديدة تتموضع فيها اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً لوقف العربدة الأميركية.

هذا الانتصار في سورية هو الذي أسهم إذاً في تأجيج حرب باردة لكن بداياتها تشبه الصراعات الدولية في مرحلة ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية وذلك بمحاولات الفريق الأميركي الغربي السعودي «الإسرائيلي» للسيطرة على موارد الطاقة في مواجهة مكشوفة مع فريق روسي إيراني سوري صيني يحاول الدفاع عن إمكاناته فيها، وحماية دول حليفة لديها موارد هائلة منها وتريد واشنطن الإمساك بها.

في قراءة سريعة يتضح أنّ روسيا وإيران تسيطران على المركزين الاول والثاني في إنتاج الغاز واحتياطاته مقابل الموقع الثالث لقطر إلى جانب إمكانات مصرية وسورية كبيرة في هذا الصدد.

وهذا يكشف انّ محور الغاز الروسي الإيراني هو الأقوى على مستوى إنتاج الغاز والنفط لقرن كامل لأنه متحالف مع العراق ذي الإمكانات الضخمة وكذلك مع سورية الواعدة في هذا المجال.

هذا الانتصار في سورية أتاح لمدى إقليمي ودولي واسع الوثوق في الروس على رأسها تركيا الأطلسية التي أصبحت تُنسّقُ سياسياً مع موسكو وتشتري منها صواريخ «أس 400»، وكذلك مصر والسعودية والعراق، حتى انّ اليمنيين من أنصار الله المتضرّرين من تأييد موسكو للدور السعودي في بلادهم يواصلون إرسال وفود الى موسكو لفتح علاقات واسعة معها.

في المقابل يسعى الأميركيون لتدمير الدور الروسي الصاعد باختلاق حروب وأحلاف وتحشيد على شاكلة الحصار والمقاطعات ومؤتمر وارسو العربي ـ «الإسرائيلي»، والتخطيط للإمساك بفنزويلا التي تمتلك 18 في المئة من احتياطي النفط العالمي وموارد تعدينية هائلة من ضمنها كميات كبيرة من الذهب، لذلك اخترعت واشنطن معارضات فنزويلية وتباشر دعمها عسكرياً لإسقاط نظام الرئيس مادورو مقابل إصرار روسي على حماية الدولة الفنزويلية الشرعية.

أليس الميدان السوري هو الذي منح الروس فرصة حرب باردة بنظام «القيادة من الخلف» لاستعادة دورهم الدولي وإسقاط «أحادية الكاوبوي الأرعن».

هي سورية إذاً التي تشجع العراق على التمرّد على وصاية الأميركيين وتتحالف مع حزب الله لتحرير لبنان واليمن، لأنّ النصر على الأميركيين في قلب الشرق إنما يشجع الدول الخائفة على تأمين مظلة دولية وإقليمية جديدة يقيها عدواناً أميركياً متأهّباً، وهكذا تشكل سورية الساحة التي أطلقت نظام التمرّد على الأميركيين، هذا التمرّد الذي يسهم في تشكيل أُطر حرب باردة روسية أميركية ما كانت ممكنة لولا العودة الروسية الى الشرق الأوسط وأميركا اللاتينية ومناطق أخرى في أفريقيا وآسيا.

لولا السادس من شباط

فبراير 5, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– ثمة أيام في تاريخ الشعوب تتحوّل تاريخاً ملهماً، وذكرى تستحق الإحياء لما يرتبط بها من تحولات، لكن نادراً ما يحتوي يوم واحد في تاريخين مختلفين ما احتواه يوم السادس من شباط، في عامي 1984 و2006، وفي المرتين يصحّ فيه القول، لولا السادس من شباط لما كنا هنا، ومخطئ من يعتقد أن الثاني كان ممكناً بدون الأول، أو مًن يعتقد أن الأول يحقق وصاياه وأهدافه بدون الثاني، ومخطئ أكثر من يتوهم أو يحب أن يعتقد أنه يمكن وضع أحد التاريخين بوجه الآخر.

– ببساطة شديدة، وقد كان لي شرف المساهمة المتواضعة في التاريخين، السادس من شباط 1984 هو تاريخ الانتفاضة التي أسقطت عهد الهيمنة الأميركية على لبنان وتوجها رحيل المارينز، وأنتجت إسقاط العصر الإسرائيلي بإطاحة اتفاق السابع عشر من أيار، وربطت بيروت بالجنوب، وبيروت بدمشق، فتنفّست المقاومة هواءها العربي وتمددت واشتد عودها، وصارت هي بتلك القوة التي صنعت التحرير تلو التحرير بفرض الانسحاب من صيدا في أيامها الأولى، وتلاه الانسحاب من الزهراني وصولاً إلى أطراف الشريط الحدودي المحتل منذ العام 1978، وهناك كان تفاهم نيسان وولادة قوة الدرع، والتأسيس للتحرير في العام 2000 والنصر التاريخي في تموز 2006.

– المقاومة التي تعملقت في السادس من شباط 1984 هي المقاومة التي شاركت بصناعة السادس من شباط 2006 القائم على معادلتي الوحدة الوطنية وحفظ المقاومة، وهما الوصيتان اللتان رسم أفقهما السادس من شباط بنسخته الأولى، التي وضعت المدماك الأساس لاتفاق الطائف، عبر مسلسل التسويات الذي بدأ بتفاهمات جنيف ولوزان عام 1984 ومر بالاتفاق الثلاثي عام 1985 لتكون النهاية باتفاق الطائف عام 1989 الذي أنهى الحرب وفتح طريق السلم الأهلي وإعادة بناء الدولة.

– لمن يهمهم التحدث بالأسماء والتفاصيل، من المهم التذكير أن انتفاضة السادس من شباط 1984 أسست لإعادة النظر بدور الجيش اللبناني، الذي حوله نظام الهيمنة الأميركية والسيطرة الإسرائيلية جزءاً من الحرب الأهلية، فكانت إعادة توحيده بقيادة العميد ميشال عون آنذاك بتعيينه قائداً للجيش بإقتراح من الوزير نبيه بري آنذاك، وهو العماد ميشال عون الذي كان المرشح الأبرز على مفكرة الوزير نبيه بري في نهاية الثمانينيات في مقابل مشروع التمديد للرئيس أمين الجميل يومها.

– في السادس من شباط 2006 التقت المقاومة بشحص الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، مع التيار الشعبي المسيحي الأبرز بقيادة العماد ميشال عون، فقطع الطريق على حصار المقاومة، وسقطت مشاريع الفتن الأهلية، وجاءت حرب تموز 2006 مصداقاً على صوابية الخيار وعظيم الإنجاز، ولا تزال، حيث تحقق ما فات انتفاضة السادس من شباط بغياب الشريك المسيحي الذي يمنحها صفة الثورة المكتملة، فبقيت ثورة لم تنته، حتى جاء السادس من شباط 2006 لإكمال ما بشرت به ودعت إليه، من وحدة.

– معنى التكامل بين المحطتين اللتين تحتلان اليوم ذاته في السادس من شباط، ليس في في كون إحداهما تتمة للأخرى فقط، بل في إدراك أطراف المعادلة التي ترتبط بهذا اليوم بالحاجة للتكامل بدلاً من التنافس بين المحطتين، فيدرك قادة وجمهور التيار الوطني الحر أن ما أنجزوه مع حزب الله في 2006 تأسّس في الإنجاز الذي قاده الرئيس نبيه بري عام 1984، ويدرك قادة وجمهور حركة أمل أن ما أنجزوه في عام 1984 توّجه إنجاز حزب الله مع التيار الوطني الحر في 2006 وجاءت حرب تموز لتظهر عمق معناه، ويدرك الفريقان أن ارتباط كل منهما من طرف بعلاقة لا فكاك فيها مع حزب الله يلزمهما بالتساؤل عن المعنى من البقاء بالمناداة بصيغة حليف الحليف، بينما تحويل الثنائيتين إلى ثلاثية يفتح مساراً تاريخياً جديداً لسادس من شباط ثالث تتكامل فيه معاني التحرير والعلاقة بسورية وحفظ المقاومة والإصلاح والتغيير.

– من موقعي المتواضع وبحدود ما أعلم أقول اللهم أشهد أني قد بلغت.

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Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase


Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

Cold War 2.0 has hit South America with a bang – pitting the US and expected minions against the four key pillars of in-progress Eurasia integration: Russia, China, Iran and Turkey.

It’s the oil, stupid. But there’s way more than meets the (oily) eye.

Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of Exceptionalistan; oil trading bypassing the US dollar or US-controlled exchanges.

Remember Iraq. Remember Libya. Yet Iran is also doing it. Turkey is doing it. Russia is – partially – on the way. And China will eventually trade all its energy in petroyuan.

With Venezuela adopting the petro crypto-currency and the sovereign bolivar, already last year the Trump administration had sanctioned Caracas off the international financial system.

No wonder Caracas is supported by China, Russia and Iran. They are the real hardcore troika – not psycho-killer John Bolton’s cartoonish “troika of tyranny” – fighting against the Trump administration’s energy dominance strategy, which consists essentially in aiming at the total lock down of oil trading in petrodollars, forever.

Venezuela is a key cog in the machine. Psycho killer Bolton admitted it on the record; “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” It’s not a matter of just letting ExxonMobil take over Venezuela’s massive oil reserves – the largest on the planet. The key is to monopolize their exploitation in US dollars, benefitting a few Big Oil billionaires.

Once again, the curse of natural resources is in play. Venezuela must not be allowed to profit from its wealth on its own terms; thus, Exceptionalistan has ruled that the Venezuelan state must be shattered.

In the end, this is all about economic war. Cue to the US Treasury Department imposing new sanctions on PDVSA that amount to a de facto oil embargo against Venezuela.

Economic war redux

By now it’s firmly established what happened in Caracas was not a color revolution but an old-school US-promoted regime change coup using local comprador elites, installing as “interim president” an unknown quantity, Juan Guaido, with his Obama choirboy looks masking extreme right-wing credentials.

Everyone remembers “Assad must go”. The first stage in the Syrian color revolution was the instigation of civil war, followed by a war by proxy via multinational jihadi mercenaries. As Thierry Meyssan has noted, the role of the Arab League then is performed by the OAS now. And the role of Friends of Syria – now lying in the dustbin of history – is now performed by the Lima group, the club of Washington’s vassals. Instead of al-Nusra “moderate rebels”, we may have Colombian – or assorted Emirati-trained – “moderate rebel” mercenaries.

Contrary to Western corporate media fake news, the latest elections in Venezuela were absolutely legitimate. There was no way to tamper with the made in Taiwan electronic voting machines. The ruling Socialist Party got 70 percent of the votes; the opposition, with many parties boycotting it, got 30 percent. A serious delegation of the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) was adamant; the election reflected “peacefully and without problems, the will of Venezuelan citizens”.

The American embargo may be vicious. In parallel, Maduro’s government may have been supremely incompetent in not diversifying the economy and investing in food self-sufficiency. Major food importers, speculating like there’s no tomorrow, are making a killing. Still, reliable sources in Caracas tell that the barrios – the popular neighborhoods – remain largely peaceful.

In a country where a full tank of gas still costs less than a can of Coke, there’s no question the chronic shortages of food and medicines in local clinics have forced at least two million people to leave Venezuela. But the key enforcing factor is the US embargo.

The UN rapporteur to Venezuela, expert on international law, and former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council, Alfred de Zayas, goes straight to the point; much more than engaging in the proverbial demonization of Maduro, Washington is waging “economic war” against a whole nation.

It’s enlightening to see how the “Venezuelan people” see the charade. In a poll conducted by Hinterlaces even before the Trump administration coup/regime change wet dream, 86% of Venezuelans said they were against any sort of US intervention, military or not,

And 81% of Venezuelans said they were against US sanctions. So much for “benign” foreign interference on behalf of “democracy” and “human rights”.

The Russia-China factor

Analyses by informed observers such as Eva Golinger and most of all, the Mision Verdad collective are extremely helpful. What’s certain, in true Empire of Chaos mode, is that the American playbook, beyond the embargo and sabotage, is to foment civil war.

Dodgy “armed groups” have been active in the Caracas barrios, acting in the dead of night and amplifying “social unrest” on social media. Still, Guaido holds absolutely no power inside the country. His only chance of success is if he manages to install a parallel government – cashing in on the oil revenue and having Washington arrest government members on trumped-up charges.

Irrespective of neocon wet dreams, adults at the Pentagon should know that an invasion of Venezuela may indeed metastasize into a tropical Vietnam quagmire. The Brazilian strongman in waiting, vice-president and retired general Hamilton Mourao, already said there will be no military intervention.

Psycho killer Bolton’s by now infamous notepad stunt about “5,000 troops to Colombia”, is a joke; these would have no chance against the arguably 15,000 Cubans who are in charge of security for the Maduro government; Cubans have demonstrated historically they are not in the business of handing over power.

It all comes back to what China and Russia may do. China is Venezuela’s largest creditor. Maduro was received by Xi Jinping last year in Beijing, getting an extra $5 billion in loans and signing at least 20 bilateral agreements.

President Putin offered his full support to Maduro over the phone, diplomatically stressing that “destructive interference from abroad blatantly violates basic norms of international law.”

By January 2016, oil was as low as $35 a barrel; a disaster to Venezuela’s coffers. Maduro then decided to transfer 49.9% of the state ownership in PDVSA’s US subsidiary, Citgo, to Russian Rosneft for a mere $1.5 billion loan. This had to send a wave of red lights across the Beltway; those “evil” Russians were now part owners of Venezuela’s prime asset.

Late last year, still in need of more funds, Maduro opened gold mining in Venezuela to Russian mining companies. And there’s more; nickel, diamonds, iron ore, aluminum, bauxite, all coveted by Russia, China – and the US. As for $1.3 billion of Venezuela’s own gold, forget about repatriating it from the Bank of England.

And then, last December, came the straw that broke the Deep State’s back; the friendship flight of two Russian nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers. How dare they? In our own backyard?

The Trump administration’s energy masterplan may be indeed to annex Venezuela to a parallel “North American-South American Petroleum Exporting Countries” (NASAPEC) cartel, capable of rivaling the OPEC+ love story between Russia and the House of Saud.

But even if that came to fruition, and adding a possible, joint US-Qatar LNG alliance, there’s no guarantee that would be enough to assure petrodollar – and petrogas – preeminence in the long run.

Eurasia energy integration will mostly bypass the petrodollar; this is at the very heart of both the BRICS and SCO strategy. From Nord Stream 2 to Turk Stream, Russia is locking down a long-term energy partnership with Europe. And petroyuan dominance is just a matter of time. Moscow knows it. Tehran knows it. Ankara knows it. Riyadh knows it.

So what about plan B, neocons? Ready for your tropical Vietnam?

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