«إسرائيل» تصعّد حربها الناعمة هل هي مؤشر لتهدئة ام لانفجار؟

 

نوفمبر 5, 2018

د. عصام نعمان

الصراعات على أشدّها في دول غرب آسيا، من الشواطئ الشرقية للبحر المتوسط الى الشواطئ الجنوبية لبحر قزوين. احتدامُ الصراعات يجد ترجمته في الحرب الناعمة التي تلف دول الاقليم بدرجات متفاوتة من الحدّة. فهل تصعيدها وسيلة ضغط لتوليد حاجة الى التفاوض؟ أم هي مؤشر لإنفجار ينذر بسخونة غير مسبوقة؟

ثمة صراع بين تركيا وسورية في إدلب غرباً وفي الحسكة شرقاً، أمام عيون مترقّبة ومتربّصة لأميركا وروسيا، لكسب ولاء كرد سوريين تتوزّع سياسات وممارسات قياداتهم بين انحياز بعضها الى تركيا وتحالف بعضها الآخر مع أميركا وارتباط غالبية الناس بأرضهم، وبالتالي بموطنهم ودولتهم سورية.

ثمة صراع بين أميركا ومن ورائها «إسرائيل» وإيران، أمام عيون مترقبة في عالم العرب كما في روسيا ودول أوروبا وآسيا، لتأمين مصالح شتى الدول والشعوب المتضرّرة من الحرب التجارية التي تشنّها أميركا ضدّ الجميع والعقوبات التي تخصّ بها إيران أكثر من غيرها.

ثمة صراع على الحقوق والمصالح والمصائر بين «إسرائيل» ومن ورائها أميركا وسورية وقوى المقاومة اللبنانية والفلسطينية التي تدعمها إيران علناً وروسيا ضمناً أمام عيون مترقبة في العالم أجمع.

كلٌ من هذه الصراعات مرشح لمزيد من التصعيد الهادف الى تحقيق تهدئة وبالتالي تسوية سياسية أو إلى إنفجار، وبالتالي إلى انحدار من حال حربٍ ناعمة محتدمة إلى أخرى ساخنة محتملة.

أشدُّ الحروب الناعمة احتداماً وخطورة تلك التي تشنّها «إسرائيل» على الأمة عموماً، وخصوصاً على سورية وإيران وعلى قوى المقاومة العربية التي تجد نفسها في خندق واحد معهما. هذه الحرب جرى تصعيدها بإعتداء «إسرائيل» على سورية وتسبّبها بإسقاط طائرة استطلاع روسية منتصفَ شهر ايلول/ سبتمبر الماضي الأمر الذي أدّى الى قيام روسيا بترفيع قدرات الجيش السوري بتزويده منظومة دفاعٍ جوي من طراز S-300.

إذ حدّت المنظومة الدفاعية المتطورّة وآليات التحرّي والإستطلاع والتصويب الملحقة بها من هامش المناورة أمام سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي، واقترن ذلك بموقف سياسي أشدّ تصلباً، فقد اندلعت في الكيان الصهيوني مناقشة مستفيضة حول ما يمكن او يقتضي عمله لإستعادة فعالية الردع الإسرائيلي.

لعلّ أبلـغ تعبيرٍ عن المناقشة الجدّية الدائرة تجلّى في مقالتين: الاولى لـِ ايال زيسر، نائب رئيس جامعة تل ابيب، في «يسرائيل هيوم» 2018/10/28 والثانية لـِ اوفيك ريمر، الباحث في معهد دراسات الأمن القومي، «مباط عال» 2018/10/23 .

يرى زيسر، خلافاً لإدعاءات الناطقين العسكريين، ان لا عمليات لسلاح الجو الإسرائيلي في السماء السورية بعد قيام الروس بتزويد الجيش السوري منظومة S-300، وانّ روسيا لا تعتبر إيران تهديداً وانّ وجودها في سورية لا يشكّل مشكلة لها، وانّ إيران ما زالت تالياً موجودة في سورية وتتجذّر. لمواجهة هذا الواقع يدعو زيسر «إسرائيل» إلى «أن تفكر من جديد في تغيير التوجّه بالعودة الى سياسات الماضي … وأساسُها تدفيع ثمن باهظ ليس فقط للضيف إيران بل ايضاً للمضيف، أيّ بشار الأسد».

ريمر يرى أنّ حزب الله أفلح في ترسيخ معادلة ردعٍ في مواجهة «إسرائيل» بعدما نجح، باعتراف رئيس الإستخبارات العسكرية، بإقامة مشروع إنتاج صواريخ في لبنان وتحويلها الى نماذج أكثر دقة في التصويب، وبالتالي اكثر فعالية. وإذ يؤكد ريمر أنّ أسلوب الردّ الإسرائيلي في هذه المرحلة لم يؤدّ الى حمل المجتمع الدولي ولا إيران ولا لبنان على وقف مشروع حزب الله لإنتاج الصواريخ الدقيقة، فإنّ «إسرائيل» «ستضطر الى المجازفة من أجل خلق تهديد موثوق به والتلميح الى تصميمها على إزالة الخطر الاستراتيجي من خلال توجيه إنذارات تتضمّن تهديداً واضحاً بالقيام بعملية عسكرية في لبنان، أو بضربة وقائية ضدّ مواقع الإنتاج المعروفة في أراضيه مع ما يعنيه ذلك من مخاطر تصعيد يؤدّي الى مواجهة عسكرية واسعة».

زيسر وريمر يلتقيان، إذاً، على ضرورة قيام «إسرائيل» بتدفيع عدوّها، حزب الله، كما «المضيفَيْن»، لبنان وسورية، ثمناً باهظاً لإستضافته. فهل حكومة نتنياهو ورئيس أركان جيشها الجديد الجنرال افيف كوخافي في وارد اعتماد هذه «النصيحة» الخطيرة؟

ظاهر الحال يشير الى العكس. فنتنياهو ما زال حريصاً ومنشغلاً بالحصول على موعد للإجتماع ببوتين رغم تهرّب الرئيس الروسي منه بشكلٍ ملحوظ. غير انّ عدم اللقاء مع بوتين لا يمنع رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية من العمل والمناورة في مجالات أخرى. فقد أفاد تقرير تلفزيوني بثته قناة «حاداشوت» الاسرائيلية انّ الشبكات السيبرانية الإستراتيجية الإيرانية تعرّضت قبل أيام لهجوم بعد ساعات من كشف الدولة العبرية إشراكها الدانمارك في معلومات عن «مؤامرة» إيرانية للقضاء على معارضين إيرانيين على الأراضي الدانماركية ما أدّى الى قيام كوبنهاغن باستدعاء سفيرها في طهران.

التقرير التلفزيوني الإسرائيلي تساءل أيضاً: «هل تذكرون فيروس «سنكسنت» الذي اخترق حواسيب الكومبيوتر القطاع النووي الإيراني؟» وكان الجنرال سردار غلام زاده جلالي، رئيس وكالة الدفاع المدني في إيران، صرّح بأنّ بلاده عطّلت نسخة جديدة من «سنكسنت». وقبل ذلك، أقرّ الجنرال جلالي بأن هاتف الرئيس حسن روحاني تعرّض للتنصت وانه جرى تزويده هاتفاً لا يمكن التنصت عليه.

ترى، هل استجابت القيادة السياسية والعسكرية الإسرائيلية لدعوة زيسر وريمر الى شنّ ضربة وقائية ضدّ أعداء «إسرائيل»؟ ام هل تراها قامت بتصعيد حربها الناعمة المحسوبة على نحوٍ قابلٍ للتحويل إلى تهدئة أو إلى انفجار؟

ربما، لكن من الواضح انّ الضربة السيبرانية الاسرائيلية جاءت محدودة الفعالية بدليل انّ إيران واجهتها دونما أضرار تذكر، وإلاّ لكانت تل أبيب تغنّت بها بضجيجٍ وصخب…

وزير سابق

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The US Cyber Command has launched an offensive against Russia by Ruslan Ostashko

Via The Saker

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – APRIL 27, 2018: RUSSIA EW SYSTEMS ‘DISABLING’ U.S. EC-130 EW AIRCRAFT

South Front

By April 27, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Liwa al-Quds, the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) and other pro-government factions captured the factories area in southern Damascus and entered the districts of al-Asali and al-Qadam amid intense fighting against ISIS terrorists.

The Syrian Air Force has carried out strikes on ISIS positions in the Yarmouk refugee camp and the district of al-Hajar al-Aswad, according to local sources.

According to the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq, ISIS killed four soldiers and an officer of the SAA in al-Qadam, Tadamon and the Yarmouk camp.

Horas al-Din, a coalition of 7 al-Qaeda-linked militant groups, and the Free Syrian Army attacked the SAA position in the village of al-Hamameyat in northern Hama late on April 26. The militants temporarily captured the village but then retreated because of intense artillery shelling by the SAA. However, in this encounter the militants destroyed a Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer and an armored vehicle belonging to the SAA.

Russian and Syrian representatives to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and witnesses of the supposed April 7 chemical attack in the town of Douma held a press briefing at The Hague on April 26. According to the witnesses’ words and the presented video of an undamaged gas cylinder, the video provided by the White Helmets was a staged provocation.

OPCW technical experts have interviewed six witnesses out of seventeen arrived in The Hague.

“The others were ready too, but the experts are sticking to their own guidelines. They’ve picked six people, talked to them, and said they were ‘completely satisfied’ with their account and did not have any further questions,” Shulgin said.

The US, the UK, France and some others boycotted the event. France’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Philippe Lalliot described the event as an “obscene masquerade”.

The US military is complaining that Russia allegedly jams US electronic warfare weapons and communications in Syria. According to the head of Special Operations Command, Gen. Raymond Thomas, the Russians are “disabling” even U.S. EC-130 Compass Call electronic warfare aircraft flying near the war-torn country.

When the Russian military first announced that the Syrian Air Defense Forces had shot down most of the missiles launched by the US-led bloc on April 14, some experts immediately suggested that Russia may have employed its EW systems to assist the Syrians in this task. Thomas’ words may be considered as an indirect confirmation of such a possibility.

On April 25, the Russian military provided photos showing the wreckage of the intercepted missiles thus debunking the Pentagon’s claims that all 105 launched missiles hit their targets.

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How Hezbollah Came to Dominate Information Warfare: Israeli Media

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Long time ago Hezbollah began significantly investing in propaganda, and laid the groundwork for the effective use of information warfare, which is the ability to gain an advantage over an adversary through the management of information, according to an article published by JPost.

JPost mentioned that Hezbollah operations have long been governed by the mantra,

“If you haven’t captured it on film you haven’t fought.” “The group grasped the importance of documenting its successes as early as 1994 when Hezbollah fighters and a cameraman infiltrated an Israeli military occupation compound in Lebanon and raised a flag inside the base, captured the event on film – and scored a major propaganda coup.”

“Hezbollah maintains a unit solely dedicated to psychological warfare that specializes in burnishing Hezbollah’s public image. Newspapers, social media outlets and television programming comprise Hezbollah’s information warfare portfolio. The group uses its information- related capabilities to advertise its many successes, including summer camps for children and a robust public works program.”

Hezbollah propaganda is well-honed, targeted and specific, and it emphasizes specific themes that include resistance ideology, martyrdom and establishing legitimacy through the provision of social services, according to JPost.

“The history of Hezbollah’s information warfare efforts is perhaps best told through the story of the evolution of its active media arm, Al-Manar, a satellite television station that broadcasts from Beirut and can be seen around the world. After the first broadcast of Al-Manar (The Beacon) in 1991, Hezbollah began regularly scheduled broadcasts three years later and serves a critical role as the main dissemination point for Hezbollah news and propaganda. Hezbollah’s extensive media operation also includes radio stations, print publications and a network of over 50 websites that operate in multiple languages.” “Al-Manar began trying to influence Israeli public opinion by broadcasting actual battlefield footage showing Israeli soldiers being killed and maimed.”

Equally as impressive as Hezbollah’s television and video production is its extensive use of new media and information technologies, including a major Internet presence, the Israeli paper added.

The Zionist paper pointed out that Hezbollah is constantly working to refine its technical capabilities, as evidenced by a move toward faster fiber-optic networks that can enhance the group’s data-streaming capacity and provide a stouter defense against Israeli electronic warfare capabilities.

“Hezbollah not only prevented Israeli units from jamming its networks south of the Litani River in the July 2006 war, it reportedly had equipment in place to jam Israeli radar and communications systems.”

“For operational security reasons, Hezbollah migrated to closed telephone circuits that operate independent of Lebanese government networks. During fighting in the Syrian town of Qusair in 2013, Hezbollah again showed its penchant for operations security by devising a complex system that allowed its fighters to talk freely on open radio communications without having to be too concerned about conversations being intercepted.”

Hezbollah has been a fact of life since the early 1980s and, given the group’s remarkable ability to operate in the information environment, will likely remain the most dominant and capable terrorist group in the Middle East for decades to come, JPost’s article concluded.

SourceIsraeli media

 

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Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?

By Mike Whitney

August 01, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The “Russia hacking” flap has nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with hacking. The story is basically a DNC invention that was concocted to mitigate the political fallout from the nearly 50,000 emails that WikiLeaks planned to publish on July 22, 2016, just 3 days before the Democratic National Convention. That’s what this is really all about. Russia didn’t hack anything, it’s a big diversion that was conjured up on-the-fly to keep Hillary’s bandwagon from going down in flames.

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes for a minute. She knew the deluge was coming and she knew it was going to be bad. (According to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, DNC contractor Crowdstrike claimed to find evidence of Russian malware on DNC servers just three days after WikiLeaks announced that it was about “about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.” Clearly, that was no coincidence. The plan to blame Russia was already underway.) Hillary knew that the emails were going to expose the DNC’s efforts to rig the primaries and torpedo Bernie Sanders campaign, and she knew that the media was going to have a field-day dissecting the private communications word by word on cable news or splashing them across the headlines for weeks on end. It was going to be excruciating. She knew that, they all knew that.

And how would her supporters react when they discovered that their party leaders and presidential candidate were actively involved in sabotaging the democratic process and subverting the primaries? That wasn’t going to go over well with voters in Poughkeepsie, now was it? Maybe she’d see her public approval ratings slip even more. Maybe she’d nosedive in the polls or lose the election outright, she didn’t know. No one knew. All they knew was that she was in trouble. Big trouble.

So she reacted exactly the way you’d expect Hillary to react, she hit the panic button. In fact, they all freaked out, everyone of them including Podesta and the rest of the DNC honchoes. Once they figured that their presidential bid could go up in smoke, they decided to act preemptively, pull out all the stops and “Go Big”.

That’s where Russia comes into the picture. The DNC brass (with help from allies at the CIA) decided to conjure up a story so fantastic that, well, it had to be true, after all, that’s what the 17 intel agencies said, right? And so did the elite media including the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. They can’t all be wrong, can they? Sure, they goofed-up on Saddam’s WMDs, and Iran’s imaginary nukes program, and Assad’s fictional chemical weapons attack, but, hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? And, besides, have I told you how evil Putin is lately and how much he reminds me of Adolph Hitler? (sarcasm)

In any event, they settled on Russia mainly because Russia had rolled back Washington’s imperial project in both Ukraine and Syria, so the media was already in full demonetization-mode and raring to go. All the DNC needed to do was utter the words “Russia meddling” and they’d be off to the races.

Does any of this sound even remotely believable? Former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern seems to think so, because he expounded a very similar scenario about a month ago in an interview on You Tube. Check it out:

Ray McGovern– “What did Hillary do? …Hillary gathered her war council together and one fellow says, “I know what we can do. We’ll blame it on the Russians.”

And someone else says, “But it wasn’t the Russians it was WikiLeaks.”

(Guy number 1 says)”Well, that’s a twofer. We hate them both equally , so we’ll say WikiLeaks is working with the Russians.”

(Ray McGovern) That was two days before the convention.

And someone else says, “What would the rationale be?”

(Guy number 2 says) “C’mon, the Russians clearly want Trump to win.”

(Number 1) “But what about the major media?”

(Number 2) “Well, the major media really want Hillary to win, so if we get the major media on board, well, we really got it wired.”

(Ray McGovern again) “And if you watch the coverage since the WikiLeaks leak, two days before the convention, the media content was not ‘how did Hillary steal the election’ but ‘How did the Russians do it?”’

(“Ray McGovern: The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped“)

He’s right, isn’t he? Hillary and Co. pulled off the whole ruse without a hitch. The media focused on the “Russia meddling” angle, and the calculating Ms. Clinton slipped away with nary a scratch. It’s amazing!

But there was one glitch to the ‘Blame Russia’ scheme. There was no hard evidence of Russian involvement. And, now, 10 months into multiple investigations of Russian hacking, there’s still no evidence. How can that be?

Well, for one thing, the FBI was never given access to the DNC computers.

Let me repeat that: In the biggest and most politically-explosive investigation in more than a decade, an investigation that has obvious national security implications– alleged cyber-espionage by a hostile foreign power, alleged collusion by high-ranking officials in the current administration, alleged treason or collusion on part of the Chief Executive, and the possible impeachment of a sitting president– the FBI has not yet secured or examined the servers that may or may not provide compelling forensic evidence of cyber-intrusion by Russia.

Why? Why would the FBI accept the analysis of some flunky organization that no one has ever heard of before (Crowdstrike) rather than use all the tools at their disposal to thoroughly investigate whether or not the hacking actually took place or not? Isn’t that their job?

Yer damn right it is. The reason the FBI never insisted on examining the DNC servers, is because they knew the story was baloney from the get go. Otherwise they would have kicked down the doors at the DNC, seized the computers through brute force, and arrested anyone who tried to stop them. Those computers are Exhibit A in the Trial of the Century. They should be under lock and key at FBI Headquarters not collecting cobwebs in the basement of the DNC-HQ. The fact that the servers have not been seized and examined just proves what a joke this whole Russia-deal really is.

You see, when a law enforcement agency like the FBI fails so conspicuously in carrying out its duties, you have to assume that other factors are involved, mainly politics. It’s all politics, right? There is no rational explanation for the FBI’s behavior other than it is following a political script that coincides with the agenda and ambitions of the DNC and other power players behind the scenes. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter summed it up perfectly in a brilliant article titled Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia. He said:

“…the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.” (“Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia“, antiwar.com)

Right on, Porter. Facts don’t matter in the Russia hacking case. They never have. The whole approach from Day 1 has been to drown the public with innuendo and baseless accusations, while the MSM Carnie barkers pretend that “Russia meddling” is already settled science and that only “Putin puppets” would ever doubt the veracity of the media’s loony claims. Got that?

But facts do matter and so does evidence. And on that score we’re in luck because McGovern’s group, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), released a blockbuster report last week that produced the first hard evidence that Russia most certainly DID NOT hack the DNC servers. It was a DNC insider. Here’s an excerpt from the VIPS article titled “Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?”

“Independent cyber-investigators have now …come up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack. They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC …was not a hack…(but) originated with a copy …by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia….

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S.” (“Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?“, CounterPunch)

Capisce? There was no hack. Someone working inside the DNC (a disgruntled employee?) –who had access to the computers, and who worked on the East Coast– copied the data onto a storage device and transferred it to WikiLeaks. That’s what you call a “leak” not a “hack”. There was no hack. Russia was not involved. The official narrative is bullshit. End of story.

Naturally, the MSM has completely ignored the VIPS report just as they ignored Sy Hersh’s brilliant article that proved that Assad DID NOT launch a chemical weapons attack in Syria. That bit of information has been locked out of the MSM coverage altogether as it doesn’t jibe with Washington’s “Assad must go” policy. So too, McGovern’s “verifiable forensic evidence” that the Russians did not hack the DNC servers will likely be consigned to the memory hole like every other inconvenient factoid that doesn’t fit with Washington’s foreign policy objectives.

The fact that the FBI has not seized the DNC computers is just one of many glaring omissions in this farcical investigation, but there are others too. Like this: Did you know that there are two eyewitnesses in the case that have not yet been questioned? That’s right, there are two people who claim to know the identity of the person who gave the stolen emails to WikiLeaks; Julian Assange and Craig Murray.

Murray, who is the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and a human rights activist, claims he met the person who took the emails from the DNC in a wooded area in Washington DC last year. In other words, Murray can settle this matter once and for all and put an end to this year-long witch-hunt that has consumed the media and Capital Hill, prevented the Congress from conducting the people’s business, and increased the probability of a conflagration with nuclear-armed Russia.

But here’s the problem: The FBI has never interviewed Murray or made any effort to interview him. It’s like he doesn’t exist. In other words, we have a credible witness who can positively identify the person who leaked the emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and set off a political firestorm that has engulfed the Capital and the country for the last year, and the FBI hasn’t interviewed him?

Will someone explain that to me, please?

That’s why I remain convinced that the Russia hacking story is pure, unalloyed bunkum. There’s not a word of truth to any of it.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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The Trump-Putin Meeting: Establishment of a Personal Relationship, “There was Positive Chemistry Between the Two”

White House Press Briefing

Global Research, July 10, 2017

On July 7  following Trump’s meeting with Putin, a US Press Briefing was held at the G20 in Hamburg.

It is important to analyze the shift in political discourse of both President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson.

The main contribution of the Trump-Putin meeting was to establish communication at a personal level.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. That Trump-Putin personal relationship is fundamental.

History tells us that political misunderstandings can lead to war.

Admittedly no significant shifts in US foreign policy have occurred: the Pentagon’s military agenda prevails. Media lies and political deceit also prevail.

Yet at the same time, discussion and diplomatic exchange have resumed –which in many regards is an important achievement.

” The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.  (Tillerson)

In this regard, a certain sanity in the international relations narrative has been restored. Ironically, Washington casually admits it’s mistakes in relation to Russia. In the words of Secretary of State Tillerson:

“So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong”(emphasis added)

Moreover, the meeting is also a slap in the face for the Deep State Neocons, the US media not to mention Hillary et al, who continue to blame Moscow for having intervened in the 2016 US presidential elections while casually portraying Trump as a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

The “Russia Did It” narrative, which borders on ridicule, no longer holds. In turn, Trump’s position has to some extent also been reinforced. Not surprisingly, the US media has slashed back at Trump accusing him of having been manipulated by Putin. According to CNN “Putin may have less of a warm diplomatic bedside manner, but he understands the art of presentation and how to set a trap.”

An important threshold has been reached

Has talking to the Kremlin rather than waging war on Russia become the “new normal” (at least at the level of political discourse)? Not yet.

Nonetheless, an important transition has taken place. Talking to the Kremlin sets a new momentum. Lest we forget, history tells us that all out war could unfold as a result of a personal political misunderstanding. Remember World War I.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 9, 2017


For the complete transcript of the Press Briefing click below

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/07/press-briefing-presidents-meetings-g20-july-7-2017

Selected quotes with notes and emphasis  

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Hi, everybody.  I just want to highlight very briefly, and then Secretary Tillerson will go on, and then afterwards we’ll both answer a few questions.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Thank you, Steve, and thanks for staying with us late these evening.

President Trump and President Putin met this afternoon for 2 hours and 15 minutes [for a longer period of time than what was initially agreed upon by the two governments] here on the sidelines of the G20.  The two leaders exchanged views on the current nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship and the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship.

They discussed important progress that was made in Syria, and I think all of you have seen some of the news that just broke regarding a de-escalation agreement and memorandum, which was agreed between the United States, Russia and Jordan, [this agreement was no doubt drafted before the Trump Putin meeting] for an important area in southwest Syria that affects Jordan’s security, but also is a very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.

This de-escalation area was agreed, it’s well-defined, agreements on who will secure this area.  A ceasefire has been entered into.  And I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria.  And as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and violence once we defeat ISIS, and to work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.

As a result, at the request of President Putin, the United States has appointed — and you’ve seen, I think, the announcement of Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker.  Ambassador Volker will draw on his decades of experience in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, both as a representative to NATO and also his time as a permanent political appointment.

The two leaders also acknowledged the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the United States and other countries, and agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats, both in terms of how these tools are used to in interfere with the internal affairs of countries, but also how these tools are used to threaten infrastructure, how these tools are used from a terrorism standpoint as well.

The President opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.  They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.  The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement.  President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.  

The two leaders agreed, though, that this is a substantial hindrance in the ability of us to move the Russian-U.S. relationship forward, and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of non-interference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries.  So more work to be done on that regard.

Q    Mr. Secretary, Nick Waters (ph) from Bloomberg News.  Can you tell us whether President Trump said whether there would be any consequences for Russia to the interference in the U.S. election?  Did he spell out any specific consequences that Russia would face?  And then also, on the Syria ceasefire, when does it begin?  And what makes you think the ceasefire will succeed this time when past U.S.-Russian agreements on a ceasefire have failed?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  With regard to the interference in the election, I think the President took note of actions that have been discussed by the Congress.  Most recently, additional sanctions that have been voted out of the Senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue.  But I think what the two Presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward; how do we move forward from here.  Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations.

So the question is, what do we do now?  And I think the relationship — and the President made this clear, as well — is too important, and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward — not dismissing the issue in any way, and I don’t want to leave you with that impression.  And that is why we’ve agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future, nor the affairs of others, and how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyber world and who to hold accountable.  And this is obviously an issue that’s broader than just U.S.-Russia, but certainly we see the manifestation of that threat in the events of last year.

And so I think, again, the Presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.

As to the Syria ceasefire, I would say what may be different this time, I think, is the level of commitment on the part of the Russian government.  They see the situation in Syria transitioning from the defeat of ISIS, which we are progressing rapidly, as you know.  And this is what really has led to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize Syria once the war against ISIS is won.

And Russia has the same, I think, interest that we do in having Syria become a stable place, a unified place, but ultimately a place where we can facilitate a political discussion about their future, including the future leadership of Syria.

So I think part of why we’re — and again, we’ll see what happens as to the ability to hold the ceasefire.  But I think part of what’s different is where we are relative to the whole war against ISIS, where we are in terms of the opposition’s, I think, position as to their strength within the country, and the regime itself.

In many respects, people are getting tired.  They’re getting weary of the conflict.  And I think we have an opportunity, we hope, to create the conditions in this area, and the south is I think our first show of success.  We’re hoping we can replicate that elsewhere.

MR. SPICER:  Abby.

Q    Mr. Secretary, you spoke, when you were speaking of the ceasefire, about they’re being detailed information about who would enforce it.  Can you give any more information on what conclusions were reached?  And you spoke of the future leadership of Syria.  Do you still believe that Assad has no role in their government?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  I would like to defer on the specific roles in particular of security forces on the ground, because there is — there are a couple of more meetings to occur.  This agreement, I think as you’re aware, was entered into between Jordan, the United States, and Russia.  And we are — we have a very clear picture of who will provide the security forces, but we have a few more details to work out.  And if I could, I’d like to defer on that until that is completed.

I expect that will be completed within the next — less than a week.  The talks are very active and ongoing.

And your second question again?

Q    Does the administration still believe that Assad has no role in the future government of Syria?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Yes, our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the Assad family or the Assad regime.  And we have made this clear to everyone — we’ve certainly made it clear in our discussions with Russia — that we do not think Syria can achieve international recognition in the future.  Even if they work through a successful political process, the international community simply is not going to accept a Syria led by the Assad regime.  

[Points to the insistance of Washington on regime change, Will that position be in any way modified?]

And so if Syria is to be accepted and have a secure — both a secure and economic future, it really requires that they find new leadership.  We think it will be difficult for them to attract both the humanitarian aid, as well as the reconstruction assistance that’s going to be required, because there just will be such a low level of confidence in the Assad government.  So that continues to be the view.

And as we’ve said, how Assad leaves is yet to be determined, but our view is that somewhere in that political process there will be a transition away from the Assad family.

Q    Thank you.  Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times.  On North Korea, did President Putin agree to do anything to help the U.S. to put more pressure on North Korea?  And secondly, you seem to have reached somewhat of an impasse with China in terms of getting them to put more pressure on North Korea.  How are you going to get them to go beyond what they’ve done already?  And what is President Trump going to say to President Xi on that issue tomorrow?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  We did have a pretty good exchange on North Korea.  I would say the Russians see it a little differently than we do, so we’re going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more.   

Russia does have economic activity with North Korea, but I would also hasten to add Russia’s official policy is the same as ours — a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

And so I think here, again, there is a difference in terms of view around tactics and pace, and so we will continue to work with them to see if we cannot persuade them as to the urgency that we see.

I think with respect to China, what our experience with China has been — and I’ve said this to others — it’s been a bit uneven.  China has taken significant action, and then I think for a lot of different reasons, they paused and didn’t take additional action.  They then have taken some steps, and then they paused.  And I think in our own view there are a lot of, perhaps, explanations for why those pauses occur.  But we’ve remained very closely engaged with China, both through our dialogues that have occurred face-to-face, but also on the telephone.  We speak very frequently with them about the situation in North Korea.

So there’s a clear understanding between the two of us of our intent.  And I think the sanctions action that was taken here just in last week to 10 days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea by directly going after entities doing business with North Korea, regardless of where they may be located.  We’ve continued to make that clear to China that we would prefer they take the action themselves.  And we’re still calling upon them to do that.

So I would say our engagement is unchanged with China, and our expectations are unchanged.

Q    And you haven’t given up hope?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  No, we have not given up hope.  When you’re in an approach like we’re using — and I call it the peaceful pressure campaign.  A lot of people like to characterize it otherwise, but this is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution.  Because if this fails, we don’t have very many good options left.  And so it is a peaceful pressure campaign, and it’s one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure.  And it takes a little time to let these things happen.  You enact the pressure; it takes a little while for that to work its way through.

So it is going to require some level of patience as we move this along, but when we talk about our strategic patience ending, what we mean is we’re not going to just sit idly by, and we’re going to follow this all the way to its conclusion.

Q    Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, I have issue — you just mentioned on the DPRK.  We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system.  So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system?  And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue?  Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The subject of THAAD did not come up in the meeting with President Putin.

In terms of the progress of North Korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics — how to deal with this.  President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze.

If we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in North Korea, this has been done before.  And every time it was done, North Korea went ahead and proceeded with its program.

The problem with freezing now — if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability.  And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin.  And so we’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program?  That’s what we want to talk about.  We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today.  Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  And the national security advisor’s office.

As to the nature of the 2 hours and 15 minutes, first let me characterize — the meeting was very constructive.  The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  It’s a really important relationship.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.

It is a very complicated relationship today because there are so many issues on the table.  And one of the reasons it took a long time, I think, is because once they met and got acquainted with one another fairly quickly, there was so much to talk about — all these issues.  Just about everything got touched on to one degree or another.  And I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop.  Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door.  And I think they even — they sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn’t work either.  (Laughter.)

But I think — what I’ve described to you, the 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was an extraordinarily important meeting.  I mean, there’s just — there’s so much for us to talk about.  And it was a good start.  Now, I will tell you we spent a very, very lengthy period on Syria, with a great amount of detailed exchange on the agreement we had concluded today — it was announced — but also where we go, and trying to get much greater clarity around how we see this playing out and how Russia sees it playing out, and where do we share a common view and where do we have a difference, and do we have the same objectives in mind.

And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same.  How we get there, we each have a view.  But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences.  So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach. [a strong statement by US Secretary of State]

So there was a substantial amount of time spent on Syria, just because we’ve had so much activity going on with it.
 
Q    Thank you very much.  Mr. Secretary, can you say if the President was unequivocal in his view that Russia did interfere in the election?  Did he offer to produce any evidence or to convince Mr. Putin?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The Russians have asked for proof and evidence.  I’ll leave that to the intelligence community to address the answer to that question.  And again, I think the President, at this point, he pressed him and then felt like at this point let’s talk about how do we go forward.  And I think that was the right place to spend our time, rather than spending a lot of time having a disagreement that everybody knows we have a disagreement.

MR. SPICER:  Thank you, guys, very much.  Have a great evening.

END
7:41 P.M. CET

Related 

Too Much Exceptionalism Hath Made the US Elites Mad

Source

 What kind of person really wants to see relations between the world’s biggest nuclear armed countries deteriorate? Who wants to see the situation between the US and Russia, which has become at least as dangerous as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, get even worse? Or to put it another way, who would not welcome a genuine dialogue between the leaders of these two great countries? The answer to these questions is of course those who have completely lost their ability to reason.

Given the unprecedented propaganda and irrational absurdities coming out of the US over the past year or so, not even the most optimistic of people could have had very high hopes for the Trump-Putin meeting at the G20 Summit on Friday. The toxic atmosphere in the US, plus the fact that Donald Trump seemed to have capitulated to the Deep State within weeks of his inauguration, meant that any real thawing in relations was highly unlikely.

Yet as it turned out, the meeting was far better than even the biggest pessimist could have imagined. Scheduled to speak for just 30 minutes — which itself was a bad joke, given the urgent need for the leaders of these two nations to have serious and constant communication — they actually went on for over two hours and apparently cordially discussed a broad range of issues.

For any normal person, this would be seen as A VERY GOOD THING. But of course there are many who regard it as A VERY BAD THING.

For instance, on the idea of forming a joint Cyber Security unit so that each country could have a guarantee that the other would not “hack” the others’ election, the plan was met with derision in the US. Senator Marco Rubio, for instance, suggested that such an initiative would be like partnering with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons.

This is a particularly funny retort for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Syrian government’s stockpile of chemical weapons was destroyed by a team of US Army civilians and contractors aboard a US vessel, the Cape Ray, in 2013-14. Secondly, the US still has a stockpile of around 3,000 tons of chemical weapons, despite being a signatory to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which committed it to the destruction of their entire stockpile of chemical weapons within ten years. The complete destruction of the entire arsenal is now due to be completed around the year 2023. And thirdly, the country that leads the world in cyber-spying, monitoring, election interference and regime change by a wide margin is … none other than the country in which Mr Rubio is a senator. Let’s file his remarks in that fat ‘ole bin marked “Hypocrisy”.

Yet Mr Rubio’s remarks pale into insignificance to those uttered by Nikki Haley, the country’s second most important “diplomat”. Here’s what this “diplomat” had to say after her boss’s boss’s apparently cordial and constructive meeting with Mr Putin:

“We can’t trust Russia, and we won’t ever trust Russia. But you keep those that you don’t trust closer so that you can always keep an eye on them and keep them in check.”

Think about that. Let it sink in. After a period of the worst relations between the two countries since — well since ever — the US President finally got to sit down and talk to his Russian counterpart, and by all accounts it went well. Which would be a cause for any normal person to be thankful. And yet just hours after it finished, the US’s second highest “diplomat” blabs her mouth off that the US will never trust Russia! I shudder to think that when looking for a diplomat, Mr Trump saw Mrs Haley as the best person to represent his country.

It would be pointless to go through all the inanities uttered by the stenographers in the so-called free media. Suffice it to say that predictably, rather than welcoming the potential for a relaxation of tensions, they spent their time chiding Mr Trump for “being soft”, for apparently “being played”, and of Mr Putin “winning”. What is WRONG with these people? Why does everything have to be about winning and losing? Can they not envisage discussions where grown-up people discuss differences and try to work towards resolution without it being about ‘who comes out on top’? Apparently they cannot, for reasons I’ll come to in a moment.

And of course they continued to display the effects of the debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder they’ve been suffering from for almost a year, which compels them to talk incessantly about “hacking” and “meddling”, but without ever asking a single challenging question, such as:

  • Did the 17 intelligence agencies really all agree with a high level of certainty that Russia hacked the election? (Answer: no)
  • Did the FBI actually examine the DNC servers? (Answer: no)
  • Who actually did examine the DNC servers (Crowdstrike) and do they have a reliable track record of such things? (Answer: no)
  • Was there any hard evidence presented of Russian hacking in the January 6th DIA report? (Answer: no)
  • Has the US ever interfered in the elections of other countries, including Russia’s? (Answer: yes — multiple times)

Words almost fail me. Faced with a choice between the two leaders striking up a rapport and finding some common ground, or the two of them squaring up to each other in a confrontation that would only increase tensions and push us closer to a potential nuclear confrontation, many (if not most) leading US politicians, plus their media lackeys, preferred the second option.

Last year, as the United States for the second time broke an agreement that they had signed with Russia to separate the so-called moderate rebels from groups like al-Nusra, the Russian Foreign Minister described the US administration using a word meaning “not agreement capable”. But it now looks far worse than that. It is not just that the US administration is “not capable” of agreement, it appears to be “not rational-thought capable”. Almost the entirety of Congress and the media seem to think that any détente between Mr Trump and Mr Putin, between the US and Russia, between the two biggest nuclear armed countries on the planet is tantamount to treason.

It is abundantly clear that the political and media elites in the United States are out of control. They have long since left the land of rationality, and have driven over the cliff where they are now floundering in the air of unreason before going splat on the rock of total insanity. They have so imbibed the heresy that the United States is “Exceptional” and “Indispensable” that they are now “not rational-thought capable”. They are incapable of conceiving of an agreement which does not either maintain or increase US hegemony. They are incapable of conceiving of talks with another country where their opposite numbers are treated as anything other than subservient. They are incapable of welcoming a thawing of relations between the leaders of two countries that have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the lives of millions.

And because of their madness, they are driving the US and Russia towards confrontation. Don’t believe it? The Russians do. Here’s what one of their top generals, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, said back in April:

“The [US] missile defense system considerably shifts the balance of offensive weapons, allowing the planning of a more efficient pre-emptive strike. Russian military experts believe that the US hopes to gain the capability to strike any region of the world, including Russia and China, with nuclear-tipped missiles with impunity.”

Do you understand what he’s saying and how serious this all is? Unless the leaders of these countries talk to each other, as equals, with a view to reaching tangible agreements, and without their own bureaucracies and media back at home doing all they can to prevent this from happening, then the Russians will continue to view US plans as heading inexorably towards having the capability to launch a pre-emptive strike, with any response neutralised. Only someone that has let the ideology of exceptionalism blind them to what this really means, could fail to welcome the baby steps towards détente that were seen in Hamburg.

In short, too much exceptionalism hath made the US elites mad. They must be stopped.

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