ISIS Resurgent in Syria and Iraq

By Stephen Lendman

Source

In late 2018 and numerous other times, Trump falsely claimed ISIS was defeated.

Last December he tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there…”

In his January State of the Union address, he falsely said: “(T)he coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100% of the territory…in Iraq and Syria.”

In July he said: “We (eliminated) 100% of the caliphate, and we’re rapidly pulling out of Syria. We’ll be out of there pretty soon” — not a message US hardliners want to hear.

He’s a geopolitical know-nothing, proved time and again, aware only of what his handlers want him to know, along with rubbish from Fox News, his favorite propaganda TV channel.

He may not know what followers of reliable independent sources, largely online, explained many times.

ISIS, al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra offshoot, and likeminded terrorist groups are US creations.

They’re recruited, armed, funded, trained, and directed by the Pentagon and CIA — using these jihadists as imperial foot soldiers in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, even the Philippines.

In a 2006 article and in his book on America’s “War on Terrorism,” Michel Chossudovsky explained the following:

“The US military-intelligence has created it own terrorist organizations. In turn, it has developed a cohesive multibillion dollar counterterrorism program (pretending) ‘to go after’ these terrorist organizations,” adding: 

“To reach its foreign policy objectives, the images of terrorism in the Iraqi war theater (and later in Syria) must remain vivid in the minds of the citizens, who are constantly reminded of the terrorist threat” — unaware of its US creation.

In 2014, Chossudovsky discussed 26 things to know about the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). Here’s some of what’s discussed:

“The US has been protecting both Al Qaeda and ISIS-ISIL-Daesh.”

“The US Airforce has consistently acted on behalf of the terrorists, bombing Syrian government forces.”

“The Islamic State (ISIS) was until 2014 called Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).”

“Al Nusra is an al Qaeda affiliate which has committed countless atrocities in Syria. It is now considered by the US (to be) the ‘Moderate Opposition,’ fighting against Syrian government forces.”

“The terrorists are described as the victims of Syrian government aggression. From the very outset, the atrocities committed by the terrorists are casually blamed on Syrian government forces.”  

“Those who recruited, trained and financed the terrorists are upheld by the ‘international community’ as the guardians of World Peace.” 

“The latter include the heads of state and heads of government of the US, Britain, France and Turkey among others. It’s called ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P).”

“The US led war against the Islamic State is a big lie.”

“Going after ‘Islamic terrorists,’ carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to ‘Protect the American Homeland’ are used to justify a military agenda.”

“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s ‘Counter-terrorism Agenda’ in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.”

There’s more vital information in the article to know about ISIS, its origin, and why it was created. Along with likeminded jihadist groups, it’s used to further US imperial interests wherever these elements are deployed.

US aggression in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere is unjustifiably justified as aiming to combat and eliminate the scourge US dark forces support — establishment media going along with the subterfuge.

State terrorism is official US/NATO/Israeli policy, waging war on nations threatening no one and defenseless Palestinians for not being Jewish.

Proxy fighters have been used by the US since the 1980s in Afghanistan and Central America.

Now they’re largely used in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia — but can show up wherever US ruling authorities, the Pentagon, and CIA want them deployed, aided by US terror-bombing of vital infrastructure and other targets.

On August 2, the US war department’s inspector general said the following:

During Q II 2019, ISIS became resurgent in Syria and Iraq, adding:

“According to the Combined Joint Task Force–OIR (CJTF-OIR), ISIS carried out assassinations, suicide attacks, abductions, and arson of crops in both Iraq and Syria.” 

“In addition, ISIS established ‘resurgent cells’ in Syria and sought to expand its command and control nodes in Iraq.”

“CJTF-OIR reported that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and US-backed (terrorists called) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were unable to sustain long-term operations against ISIS militants.” 

The report claims ISIS has up to 18,000 fighters, new ones recruited to replenish its ranks, Pentagon officials opposed to a US drawdown in Syria and Iraq.

As long as the US and its imperial partners support the scourge of ISIS, the group remains active, not defeated as Trump falsely claimed.

The same goes for other terrorist groups in the region and elsewhere. They exist because of support from the US, NATO, Turkey, Israel, the Saudis, UAE, Jordan, and other US imperial partners.

Their heavy and other weapons don’t materialize out of thin air. They’re supplied cross-border from war theaters by Western and other countries.

Their fighters are trained by the Pentagon and CIA at US regional bases, including in northern and southern Syria.

Turkey bordering Iraq and Syria gives these jihadists safe haven in its territory, letting them move back and forth freely cross-border while pretending to combat this scourge.

The August 2 US war department report was a commercial for wanting a permanent Pentagon, NATO, CIA presence in Syria and Iraq — along with more funding for militarism and warmaking.

Wherever the US shows up militarily, mass slaughter, vast destruction, human misery, and permanent occupation follow.

It’s true in all US post-9/11 war theaters, as well as in the former Yugoslavia following the Clinton co-presidency’s rape of the country in the 1990s.

Instead of a hoped for peace dividend after Soviet Russia dissolved in December 1991, endless US-led wars continue to rage in multiple theaters with no prospect for peace and stability.

Countless millions of corpses, wrecked lives, and trillions of dollars spent for aggression attest to US barbarity.

Throughout the post-WW II period from 1950 to the present day, preemptive US wars of aggression rage and continue raging against nonbelligerent nations threatening no one.

That’s what the scourge of imperial is all about.

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A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure

Global Research, August 03, 2019
Global Research 8 July 2019

Updated, July 21, 2019

In this article, we examine America’s war strategies, including its ability to launch an all out theater war against the Islamic Republic on Iran.

A follow-up article will focus on the History of US War Plans against Iran as well as the complexities underlying the Structure of Military Alliances. 

**

Under present conditions, an Iraq style all out Blitzkrieg involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval  forces is an impossibility. 

For several reasons. US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened largely as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.

The US does not have the ability to carry out such a project.

There are two main factors which determine America’s military agenda in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

1. Iran’s Military

There is the issue of Iran’s military capabilities (ground forces, navy, air force, missile defense), namely its ability to effectively resist and respond to an all out conventional war involving the deployment of US and Allied forces. Within the realm of conventional warfare,  Iran has sizeable military capabilities. Iran is to acquire Russia’s S400 state of the art air defense system.

Iran is ranked as “a major military power” in the Middle East, with an estimated 534,000 active personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It has advanced ballistic missile capabilities as well as a national defense industry. In the case of a US air attack, Iran would target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf.

2. Evolving Structure of Military Alliances

The second consideration has to do with the evolving structure of military alliances (2003-2019) which is largely to the detriment of the United States.

Several of America’s staunchest allies are sleeping with the enemy.

Countries which have borders with Iran including Turkey and Pakistan have military cooperation agreements with Iran. While this in itself excludes the possibility of a ground war, it also affects the planning of US and allied naval and air operations.

Until recently both Turkey (NATO heavyweight) and Pakistan were among America’s faithful allies, hosting US military bases.

From a broader military standpoint, Turkey is actively cooperating with both Iran and Russia. Moreover, Ankara has acquired (July 12, 2019) ahead of schedule Russia’s state of the art S-400 air defense system while de facto opting out from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system.

Needless to say the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is in crisis. Turkey’s exit from NATO is almost de facto. America can no longer rely on its staunchest allies. Moreover, US and Turkish supported militia are fighting one another in Syria.

Moreover, several NATO member states have taken a firm stance against Washington’s Iran policy:  “European allies are grappling with mounting disagreements over foreign policy and growing irritated with Washington’s arrogant leadership style.”

“The most important manifestation of growing European discontent with U.S. leadership is the move by France and other powers to create an independent, “Europeans only” defense capability” (See National Interest, May 24, 2019)

Iraq has also indicated that it will not cooperate with the US in the case of a ground war against Iran.

Under present conditions, none of Iran’s neigbouring states including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia would allow US-Allied ground forces to transit through their territory. Neither would they cooperate with the US in the conduct of an air war.

In recent developments, Azerbaijan which in the wake of the Cold War became a US ally as well as a member of NATO’s partnership for peace has changed sides. The earlier US-Azeri military cooperation agreements are virtually defunct including the post-Soviet GUAM military alliance (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).

Bilateral military and intelligence agreements between Iran and Azerbaijan were signed in December 2018. In turn, Iran collaborates extensively with Turkmenistan. With regard to Afghanistan, the internal situation with the Taliban controlling a large part of Afghan territory, would not favor a large scale deployment of US and allied ground forces on the Iran-Afghan border.


Visibly, the policy of strategic encirclement against Iran formulated in the wake of the Iraq war (2003) is no longer functional. Iran has friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which previously were within the US sphere of influence.

The US is increasingly isolated in the Middle East and does not have the support of its NATO allies

Under these conditions, a major conventional theater war by the US involving the deployment of ground forces would be suicide.

This does not mean, however, that war will not take place. In some regards, with the advances in military technologies, an Iraq-style war is obsolete.

We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads. Other diabolical forms of military intervention directed against Iran are currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon. These include:

  • various forms of “limited warfare”, ie. targeted missile attacks,
  • US and Allied support of terrorist paramilitary groups
  • so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons),
  • acts of political destabilization and color revolutions
  • false flag attacks and military threats,
  • sabotage, confiscation of financial assets, extensive economic sanctions,
  • electromagnetic and climatic warfare, environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)
  • cyberwarfare
  • chemical and biological warfare.

US Central Command Forward Headquarters Located in Enemy Territory

Another consideration has to do with the crisis within the US Command structure.

USCENTCOM is the theater-level Combatant Command for all operations in the broader Middle East region extending from Afghanistan to North Africa. It is the most important Combat Command of the Unified Command structure. It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It is also involved in Syria.

In the case of a war with Iran, operations in the Middle East would be coordinated by US Central Command with headquarters in Tampa, Florida in permanent liaison with its forward command headquarters in Qatar.

In late June 2019, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone President Trump “called off the swiftly planned military strikes on Iran” while intimating in his tweet that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM), confirmed the deployment of the US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters to the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, intended to “defend American forces and interests” in the region against Iran. (See Michael Welch, Persian Peril, Global Research, June 30, 2019). Sounds scary?

“The base is technically Qatari property playing host to the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.” With 11,000 US military personnel, it is described as “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet”   (Washington Times). Al-Udeid also hosts the US Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, considered to be “America’s most vital overseas air command”.

What both the media and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s forward Middle East headquarters at the al-Udeid military base close to Doha de facto “lies in enemy territory”

Since the May 2017 split of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qatar has become a staunch ally of both Iran and Turkey (which is also an ally of Iran). While they have no “official” military cooperation agreement with Iran, they share in joint ownership with Iran the largest Worldwide maritime gas fields (see map below).

The split of the GCC has led to a shift in military alliances: In May 2017 Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border. In turn Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE have blocked air transportation as well as commercial maritime shipments to Doha.

What is unfolding since May 2017 is a shift in Qatar’s trade routes with the establishment of bilateral agreements with Iran, Turkey as well as Pakistan. In this regard, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves.

The Al-Udeid base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar. Turkey is no longer an ally of the US. Turkish proxy forces in Syria are fighting US supported militia.

Turkey is now aligned with Russia and Iran. Ankara has now confirmed that it will be acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system which requires military cooperation with Moscow.

Qatar is swarming with Iranian businessmen, security personnel and experts in the oil and gas industry (with possible links to Iran intelligence?), not to mention the presence of Russian and Chinese personnel.

Question. How on earth can you launch a war on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran?

From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric underlying the official US-Qatar military relationship, The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to both the Pentagon and NATO, confirms that Qatar is now a firm ally of both Iran and Turkey:

Put simply, for Qatar to maintain its independence, Doha will have essentially no choice but to maintain its strong partnership with Turkey, which has been an important ally from the perspective of military support and food security, as well as Iran. The odds are good that Iranian-Qatari ties will continue to strengthen even if Tehran and Doha agree to disagree on certain issues … On June 15 [2019], President Hassan Rouhani emphasizedthat improving relations with Qatar is a high priority for Iranian policymakers. … Rouhani told the Qatari emir that “stability and security of regional countries are intertwined” and Qatar’s head of state, in turn, stressed that Doha seeks a stronger partnership with the Islamic Republic. (Atlantic Council, June 2019, emphasis added)

What this latest statement by the Atlantic Council suggests is while Qatar hosts USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters, Iran and Qatar are (unofficially) collaborating in the area of “security” (i e. intelligence and military cooperation).

Sloppy military planning, sloppy US foreign policy? sloppy intelligence?

Trump’s statement confirms that they are planning to launch the war against Iran from their forward US Centcom headquarters at the Al Udeid military base, located in enemy territory. Is it rhetoric or sheer stupidity?

The Split of the GCC

The split of the GCC has resulted in the creation of a so-called Iran-Turkey-Qatar axis which has contributed to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East. While Turkey has entered into a military cooperation with Russia, Pakistan is allied with China. And Pakistan has become a major partner of Qatar.

Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map above). Moreover, since the GCC split-up Kuwait is no longer aligned Saudi Arabia. It nonetheless maintains a close relationship with Washington. Kuwait hosts seven active US military facilities, the most important of which is Camp Doha.

Needless to say, the May 2017 split of the GCC has undermined Trump’s resolve to create an “Arab NATO” (overseen by Saudi Arabia) directed against Iran. This project is virtually defunct, following Egypt’s withdrawal in April 2019.

The Gulf of Oman 

With the 2017 split up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman appears to be aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf are potentially in jeopardy.

The Fifth Fleet is under the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). (NAVCENT’s area of responsibility consists of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea).

With the split up of the GCC, Oman is now aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf would potentially be in jeopardy.

The strait of Hormuz which constitutes the entry point to the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman is controlled by Iran and the Sultanate of Oman (see map, Oman territory at the tip of the Strait).

The width of the strait at one point is of the order of 39 km. All major vessels must transit through Iran and/or Oman territorial waters, under so-called customary transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

More generally, the structure of alliances is in jeopardy. The US cannot reasonably wage a full-fledged conventional theatre war on Iran without the support of its longstanding allies which are now “sleeping with the enemy”.

Trump’s Fractured “Arab NATO”. History of the Split up of the GCC. 

Amidst the collapse of  America’s sphere of influence in the Middle East, Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) consisted at the outset of his presidency in an improvised attempt to rebuild the structure of military alliances. What the Trump administration had in mind was the formation of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), or  “Arab NATO”. This US-sponsored blueprint was slated to include Egypt and Jordan together with the six member states of the GCC.

The draft of the MESA Alliance had been prepared in Washington prior to Trump’s historic May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia, meeting up with King Salman, leaders of the GCC as well as “more than 50 high-ranking officials from the Arab and Islamic worlds in an unprecedented US-Islamic summit.”

The Riyadh Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the summit on May 21, 2017, announced the intention to establish MESA in Riyadh.” (Arab News, February 19, 2019). The stated mandate of the “Arab NATO”  was to “to combat Iranian hegemony” in the Middle East.

Two days later on May 23, 2017 following this historic meeting, Saudi Arabia ordered the blockade of Qatar, called for an embargo and suspension of diplomatic relations with Doha, on the grounds that The Emir of Qatar was allegedly collaborating with Tehran.

What was the hidden agenda? No doubt it had already been decided upon in Riyadh on May 21, 2017  with the tacit approval of US officials.

The  plan was to exclude Qatar from the proposed MESA Alliance and the GCC, while maintaining the GCC intact.

What happened was a Saudi embargo on Qatar (with the unofficial approval of Washington) which resulted in the   fracture of the GCC with Oman and Kuwait siding with Qatar. In other words,  the GCC was split down the middle. Saudi Arabia was weakened and the “Arab NATO” blueprint was defunct from the very outset.


May 21, 2017: US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh

May 23, 2017: The blockade and embargo of Qatar following alleged statements by the Emir of Qatar. Was this event staged?

June 5, 2019: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt sever diplomatic relations, cut off land, air and sea transportation with Qatar  accusing it of  supporting Iran.

June 7, 2017, Turkey’s parliament pass legislation allowing Turkish troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar

January 2018, Qatar initiates talks with Russia with a view to acquiring Russia’s  S-400 air defense system.


Flash forward to mid-April 2019: Trump is back in Riyadh: This time the Saudi Monarchy was entrusted by Washington to formally launching the failed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) (first formulated in 2017) despite the fact that three of the invited GCC member states, namely Kuwait, Oman and Qatar were committed to the normalization of relations with Iran. In turn, the Egyptian government of President Sisi decided to boycott the Riyadh summit and withdraw from the “Arab NATO” proposal. Cairo also clarified its position vis a vis Tehran.  Egypt firmly objected to Trump’s plan because it “would increase tensions with Iran”.

Trump’s objective was to create an “Arab Block”. What he got in return was a truncated MESA “Arab Block” made up of a fractured GCC with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egypt withdraws.

Kuwait and Oman officially took a neutral stance.

Qatar sided with the enemy, thereby further jeopardizing America’s sphere of influence in the Persian Gulf.

An utter geopolitical failure. What kind of alliance is that.

And US Central Command’s Forward headquarters is still located in Qatar despite the fact that two years earlier on May 23, 2017, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was accused by Saudi Arabia and the UAE of collaborating with Iran.

It is unclear who gave the order to impose the embargo on Qatar. Saudi Arabia would not have taken that decision without consulting Washington. Visibly, Washington’s intent was to create an Arab NATO Alliance (An Arab Block) directed against Iran “to do the dirty work for us”.

Trump and the Emir of Qatar, UN General Assembly, October 2017, White House photo

The rest is history, the Pentagon decided to maintain US Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, which happens to be Iran’s closest ally and partner.

A foreign policy blunder? Establishing your “official” headquarters in enemy territory, while “unofficially” redeploying part of the war planes, military personnel and command functions to other locations (e.g. in Saudi Arabia)?

No press reports, no questions in the US Congress. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Trump’s war on Iran, if it were to be carried out, would be conducted from the territory of Iran’s closest ally.

An impossibility?

***

Part II of this essay focuses on the history and contradictions of US war preparations directed against Iran starting in 1995 as well as the evolution of military alliances.

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U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses*

 

July 25, 2019

U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses*

by Michael Hudson, posted by special permission on the Saker blog

* Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.

Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.

This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)

Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.

The international framework that originally seemed equitable was pro-U.S. from the outset. In 1945 this was seen as a natural result of the fact that the U.S. economy was the least war-damaged and held by far most of the world’s monetary gold. Still, the postwar trade and financial framework was ostensibly set up on fair and equitable international principles. Other countries were expected to recover and grow, creating diplomatic, financial and trade parity with each other.

But the past decade has seen U.S. diplomacy become one-sided in turning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, SWIFT bank-clearing system and world trade into an asymmetrically exploitative system. This unilateral U.S.-centered array of institutions is coming to be widely seen not only as unfair, but as blocking the progress of other countries whose growth and prosperity is seen by U.S. foreign policy as a threat to unilateral U.S. hegemony. What began as an ostensibly international order to promote peaceful prosperity has turned increasingly into an extension of U.S. nationalism, predatory rent-extraction and a more dangerous military confrontation.

Deterioration of international diplomacy into a more nakedly explicit pro-U.S. financial, trade and military aggression was implicit in the way in which economic diplomacy was shaped when the United Nations, IMF and World Bank were shaped mainly by U.S. economic strategists. Their economic belligerence is driving countries to withdraw from the global financial and trade order that has been turned into a New Cold War vehicle to impose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Nationalistic reactions are consolidating into new economic and political alliances from Europe to Asia.

We are still mired in the Oil War that escalated in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which quickly spread to Libya and Syria. American foreign policy has long been based largely on control of oil. This has led the United States to oppose the Paris accords to stem global warming. Its aim is to give U.S. officials the power to impose energy sanctions forcing other countries to “freeze in the dark” if they do not follow U.S. leadership.

To expand its oil monopoly, America is pressuring Europe to oppose the Nordstream II gas pipeline from Russia, claiming that this would make Germany and other countries dependent on Russia instead of on U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). Likewise, American oil diplomacy has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil exports, until such time as a regime change opens up that country’s oil reserves to U.S., French, British and other allied oil majors.

U.S. control of dollarized money and credit is critical to this hegemony. As Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles told a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 9, 2019: “An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have against Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.”[1]

The U.S. aim is to keep the dollar as the transactions currency for world trade, savings, central bank reserves and international lending. This monopoly status enables the U.S. Treasury and State Department to disrupt the financial payments system and trade for countries with which the United States is at economic or outright military war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly responded by describing how “the degeneration of the universalist globalization model [is] turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws… of one country.”[2] That is the trajectory on which this deterioration of formerly open international trade and finance is now moving. It has been building up for a decade. On June 5, 2009, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited this same disruptive U.S. dynamic at work in the wake of the U.S. junk mortgage and bank fraud crisis.

Those whose job it was to forecast events … were not ready for the depth of the crisis and turned out to be too rigid, unwieldy and slow in their response. The international financial organisations – and I think we need to state this up front and not try to hide it – were not up to their responsibilities, as has been said quite unambiguously at a number of major international events such as the two recent G20 summits of the world’s largest economies.

Furthermore, we have had confirmation that our pre-crisis analysis of global economic trends and the global economic system were correct. The artificially maintained uni-polar system and preservation of monopolies in key global economic sectors are root causes of the crisis. One big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks – these are all factors that led to an overall drop in the quality of regulation and the economic justification of assessments made, including assessments of macroeconomic policy. As a result, there was no avoiding a global crisis.[3]

That crisis is what is now causing today’s break in global trade and payments.

Warfare on many fronts, with Dollarization being the main arena

Dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991 did not bring the disarmament that was widely expected. U.S. leadership celebrated the Soviet demise as signaling the end of foreign opposition to U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism and even as the End of History. NATO expanded to encircle Russia and sponsored “color revolutions” from Georgia to Ukraine, while carving up former Yugoslavia into small statelets. American diplomacy created a foreign legion of Wahabi fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in support of Saudi Arabian extremism and Israeli expansionism.

The United States is waging war for control of oil against Venezuela, where a military coup failed a few years ago, as did the 2018-19 stunt to recognize an unelected pro-American puppet regime. The Honduran coup under President Obama was more successful in overthrowing an elected president advocating land reform, continuing the tradition dating back to 1954 when the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s Arbenz regime.

U.S. officials bear a special hatred for countries that they have injured, ranging from Guatemala in 1954 to Iran, whose regime it overthrew to install the Shah as military dictator. Claiming to promote “democracy,” U.S. diplomacy has redefined the word to mean pro-American, and opposing land reform, national ownership of raw materials and public subsidy of foreign agriculture or industry as an “undemocratic” attack on “free markets,” meaning markets controlled by U.S. financial interests and absentee owners of land, natural resources and banks.

A major byproduct of warfare has always been refugees, and today’s wave fleeing ISIS, Al Qaeda and other U.S.-backed Near Eastern proxies is flooding Europe. A similar wave is fleeing the dictatorial regimes backed by the United States from Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and neighboring countries. The refugee crisis has become a major factor leading to the resurgence of nationalist parties throughout Europe and for the white nationalism of Donald Trump in the United States.

Dollarization as the vehicle for U.S. nationalism

The Dollar Standard – U.S. Treasury debt to foreigners held by the world’s central banks – has replaced the gold-exchange standard for the world’s central bank reserves to settle payments imbalances among themselves. This has enabled the United States to uniquely run balance-of-payments deficits for nearly seventy years, despite the fact that these Treasury IOUs have little visible likelihood of being repaid except under arrangements where U.S. rent-seeking and outright financial tribute from other enables it to liquidate its official foreign debt.

The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.

The U.S. response is to impose regime change on countries that prefer gold or other foreign currencies to dollars for their exchange reserves. A case in point is the overthrow of Libya’s Kaddafi after he sought to base his nation’s international reserves on gold. His liquidation stands as a military warning to other countries.

Thanks to the fact that payments-surplus economies invest their dollar inflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit finances its domestic budget deficit. This foreign central-bank recycling of U.S. overseas military spending into purchases of U.S. Treasury securities gives the United States a free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens.

Trump is forcing other countries to create an alternative to the Dollar Standard

The fact that Donald Trump’s economic policies are proving ineffective in restoring American manufacturing is creating rising nationalist pressure to exploit foreigners by arbitrary tariffs without regard for international law, and to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic meddling to disrupt regimes that pursue policies that U.S. diplomats do not like.

There is a parallel here with Rome in the late 1st century BC. It stripped its provinces to pay for its military deficit, the grain dole and land redistribution at the expense of Italian cities and Asia Minor. This created foreign opposition to drive Rome out. The U.S. economy is similar to Rome’s: extractive rather than productive, based mainly on land rents and money-interest. As the domestic market is impoverished, U.S. politicians are seeking to take from abroad what no longer is being produced at home.

What is so ironic – and so self-defeating of America’s free global ride – is that Trump’s simplistic aim of lowering the dollar’s exchange rate to make U.S. exports more price-competitive. He imagines commodity trade to be the entire balance of payments, as if there were no military spending, not to mention lending and investment. To lower the dollar’s exchange rate, he is demanding that China’s central bank and those of other countries stop supporting the dollar by recycling the dollars they receive for their exports into holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.

This tunnel vision leaves out of account the fact that the trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.

Trump’s infrastructure ideology is a Public-Private Partnership characterized by high-cost financialization demanding high monopoly rents to cover its interest charges, stock dividends and management fees. This neoliberal policy raises the cost of living for the U.S. labor force, making it uncompetitive. The United States is unable to produce more at any price right now, because its has spent the past half-century dismantling its infrastructure, closing down its part suppliers and outsourcing its industrial technology.

The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.

Unable to recover dominance in manufacturing, the United States is concentrating on rent-extracting sectors that it hopes monopolize, headed by information technology and military production. On the industrial front, it threatens disrupt China and other mixed economies by imposing trade and financial sanctions.

The great gamble is whether these other countries will defend themselves by joining in alliances enabling them to bypass the U.S. economy. American strategists imagine their country to be the world’s essential economy, without whose market other countries must suffer depression. The Trump Administration thinks that There Is No Alternative (TINA) for other countries except for their own financial systems to rely on U.S. dollar credit.

To protect themselves from U.S. sanctions, countries would have to avoid using the dollar, and hence U.S. banks. This would require creation of a non-dollarized financial system for use among themselves, including their own alternative to the SWIFT bank clearing system. Table 1 lists some possible related defenses against U.S. nationalistic diplomacy.

As noted above, what also is ironic in President Trump’s accusation of China and other countries of artificially manipulating their exchange rate against the dollar (by recycling their trade and payments surpluses into Treasury securities to hold down their currency’s dollar valuation) involves dismantling the Treasury-bill standard. The main way that foreign economies have stabilized their exchange rate since 1971 has indeed been to recycle their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities. Letting their currency’s value rise would threaten their export competitiveness against their rivals, although not necessarily benefit the United States.

Ending this practice leaves countries with the main way to protect their currencies from rising against the dollar is to reduce dollar inflows by blocking U.S. lending to domestic borrowers. They may levy floating tariffs proportioned to the dollar’s declining value. The U.S. has a long history since the 1920s of raising its tariffs against currencies that are depreciating: the American Selling Price (ASP) system. Other countries can impose their own floating tariffs against U.S. goods.

Trade dependency as an aim of the World Bank, IMF and US AID

The world today faces a problem much like what it faced on the eve of World War II. Like Germany then, the United States now poses the main threat of war, and equally destructive neoliberal economic regimes imposing austerity, economic shrinkage and depopulation. U.S. diplomats are threatening to destroy regimes and entire economies that seek to remain independent of this system, by trade and financial sanctions backed by direct military force.

Dedollarization will require creation of multilateral alternatives to U.S. “front” institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and other agencies in which the United States holds veto power to block any alternative policies deemed not to let it “win.” U.S. trade policy through the World Bank and U.S. foreign aid agencies aims at promoting dependency on U.S. food exports and other key commodities, while hiring U.S. engineering firms to build up export infrastructure to subsidize U.S. and other natural-resource investors.[4] The financing is mainly in dollars, providing risk-free bonds to U.S. and other financial institutions. The resulting commercial and financial “interdependency” has led to a situation in which a sudden interruption of supply would disrupt foreign economies by causing a breakdown in their chain of payments and production. The effect is to lock client countries into dependency on the U.S. economy and its diplomacy, euphemized as “promoting growth and development.”

U.S. neoliberal policy via the IMF imposes austerity and opposes debt writedowns. Its economic model pretends that debtor countries can pay any volume of dollar debt simply by reducing wages to squeeze more income out of the labor force to pay foreign creditors. This ignores the fact that solving the domestic “budget problem” by taxing local revenue still faces the “transfer problem” of converting it into dollars or other hard currencies in which most international debt is denominated. The result is that the IMF’s “stabilization” programs actually destabilize and impoverish countries forced into following its advice.

IMF loans support pro-U.S. regimes such as Ukraine, and subsidize capital flight by supporting local currencies long enough to enable U.S. client oligarchies to flee their currencies at a pre-devaluation exchange rate for the dollar. When the local currency finally is allowed to collapse, debtor countries are advised to impose anti-labor austerity. This globalizes the class war of capital against labor while keeping debtor countries on a short U.S. financial leash.

U.S. diplomacy is capped by trade sanctions to disrupt economies that break away from U.S. aims. Sanctions are a form of economic sabotage, as lethal as outright military warfare in establishing U.S. control over foreign economies. The threat is to impoverish civilian populations, in the belief that this will lead them to replace their governments with pro-American regimes promising to restore prosperity by selling off their domestic infrastructure to U.S. and other multinational investors.

US Warfare on Many Fronts —————————————————————— Dedollarization defense

Military warfare (the Near East, Asia)NATO and bilateral treaty (Saudi, ISIS, Al Qaida). color revolutions and proxy wars. Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and pressure for Europe to withdraw from NATO unless the U.S. alleviates its New Cold War threats.
Dollarization is monetary warfare. The US Treasury-bill standard finances the mainly military U.S. balance-of-payments deficit. SWIFT threatens to isolate Iran and Russia Dedollarization will refrain from foreign central banks financing U.S. overseas military spending by keeping their savings in dollars.Creation of alternative payments clearing system.
The IMF finances US client regimes and seeks to isolate those not following US policy. An alternative global financial organization, such as Europe’s INSTEX to circumvent US anti-Iran sanctions, and Russo-China alternative to SWIFT.
Creditor policy forcing austerity on debtor economies, forcing them to privatize and sell off their public domain to pay debts. An international court empowered to write down debts to the ability to pay, based on the original principles that were to guide the BIS in 1931.
The World Bank finances trade dependency on US food exports and opposes national food self-sufficiency. An alternative development organization based on food self-sufficiency. Annulment of World Bank and IMF debt as “odious debt.”
Unilateral US trade war based on levy of US protectionist tariffs, quotas and sanctions, Countervailing sanctions, and creation of an alternative to the WTO or a strengthened organization free of US control.
Cyber War, spycraft via US internet platforms, and Stuxnet sabotage. Work with Huawei and other alternatives to US internet options.
Class War: austerity program for labor MMT, taxation of rentier income and capital gains.
Neoliberal monetarist doctrine of privatization and creditor-oriented rules Promotion of a mixed economy with public infrastructure as a factor of production.
US patent policy seeks monopoly rents. Non-recognition of predatory monopoly patents.
Investment control Deprivatization and buyoutsof US assets abroad.
International law and diplomacy The U.S. as the world’s “exceptional nation,” not subject to international laws or even to its own treaty agreements.Veto power in any organization it joins. The basic principle that the U.S. is not subject to any foreign say over its laws and policies.

Global Problems caused by US Policy ——————————-  Response to U.S. Disruptive Policy

U.S. refuses to join international agreements to reduce carbon emissions, Global Warming and Extreme Weather.U.S. diplomacy is based on control of oil to make other countries dependent on U.S. energy dominance. Trade and tax sanctions against U.S. exporters and banks. Taxes on U.S. tax avoidance by the oil industry’s “flags of convenience” (convenient for tax avoidance).Taxation or isolation of U.S. exports based on high-carbon production.
Attempt to monopolize new G5 Internet technology, Sanctioning of Huawei, insistence on US priority in high-tech. Rejection of patents on basic IT, medicine and other basic human needs.
Patent laws in pharmaceuticals, etc. Taxation of monopoly rents.

There are alternatives, on many fronts

Militarily, today’s leading alternative to NATO expansionism is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Europe following France’s example under Charles de Gaulle and withdrawing. After all, there is no real threat of military invasion today in Europe. No nation can occupy another without an enormous military draft and such heavy personnel losses that domestic protests would unseat the government waging such a war. The U.S. anti-war movement in the 1960s signaled the end of the military draft, not only in the United States but in nearly all democratic countries. (Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and North Korea are exceptions.)

The enormous spending on armaments for a kind of war unlikely to be fought is not really military, but simply to provide profits to the military industrial complex. The arms are not really to be used. They are simply to be bought, and ultimately scrapped. The danger, of course, is that these not-for-use arms actually might be used, if only to create a need for new profitable production.

Likewise, foreign holdings of dollars are not really to be spent on purchases of U.S. exports or investments. They are like fine-wine collectibles, for saving rather than for drinking. The alternative to such dollarized holdings is to create a mutual use of national currencies, and a domestic bank-clearing payments system as an alternative to SWIFT. Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela already are said to be developing a crypto-currency payments to circumvent U.S. sanctions and hence financial control.

In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.”[5] In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is “fair” trade.

An alternative to the WTO (or removal of its veto privilege given to the U.S. bloc) is needed to cope with U.S. neoliberal ideology and, most recently, the U.S. travesty claiming “national security” exemption to free-trade treaties, impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and on European countries that circumvent sanctions on Iran or threaten to buy oil from Russia via the Nordstream II pipeline instead of high-cost liquified “freedom gas” from the United States.

In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.

To save debt-strapped economies suffering Greek-style austerity, the world needs to replace neoliberal economic theory with an analytic logic for debt writedowns based on the ability to pay. The guiding principle of the needed development-oriented logic of international law should be that no nation should be obliged to pay foreign creditors by having to sell of the public domain and rent-extraction rights to foreign creditors. The defining character of nationhood should be the fiscal right to tax natural resource rents and financial returns, and to create its own monetary system.

The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court. To be effective, it needs enforcement power for its judgments and penalties, capped by the ability to bring charges of war crimes in the tradition of the Nuremberg tribunal. U.S. to such a court, combined with its military buildup now threatening World War III, suggests a new alignment of countries akin to the Non-Aligned Nations movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-aligned in this case means freedom from U.S. diplomatic control or threats.

Such institutions require a more realistic economic theory and philosophy of operations to replace the neoliberal logic for anti-government privatization, anti-labor austerity, and opposition to domestic budget deficits and debt writedowns. Today’s neoliberal doctrine counts financial late fees and rising housing prices as adding to “real output” (GDP), but deems public investment as deadweight spending, not a contribution to output. The aim of such logic is to convince governments to pay their foreign creditors by selling off their public infrastructure and other assets in the public domain.

Just as the “capacity to pay” principle was the foundation stone of the Bank for International Settlements in 1931, a similar basis is needed to measure today’s ability to pay debts and hence to write down bad loans that have been made without a corresponding ability of debtors to pay. Without such an institution and body of analysis, the IMF’s neoliberal principle of imposing economic depression and falling living standards to pay U.S. and other foreign creditors will impose global poverty.

The above proposals provide an alternative to the U.S. “exceptionalist” refusal to join any international organization that has a say over its affairs. Other countries must be willing to turn the tables and isolate U.S. banks, U.S. exporters, and to avoid using U.S. dollars and routing payments via U.S. banks. To protect their ability to create a countervailing power requires an international court and its sponsoring organization.

Summary

The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism. Their danger to world peace and prosperity threatens a reversion to the pre-World War II colonialism, ruling by client elites along lines similar to the 2014 Ukrainian coup by neo-Nazi groups sponsored by the U.S. State Department and National Endowment for Democracy. Such control recalls the dictators that U.S. diplomacy established throughout Latin America in the 1950s. Today’s ethnic terrorism by U.S.-sponsored Wahabi-Saudi Islam recalls the behavior of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Global warming is the second major existentialist threat. Blocking attempts to reverse it is a bedrock of American foreign policy, because it is based on control of oil. So the military, refugee and global warming threats are interconnected.

The U.S. military poses the greatest immediate danger. Today’s warfare is fundamentally changed from what it used to be. Prior to the 1970s, nations conquering others had to invade and occupy them with armies recruited by a military draft. But no democracy in today’s world can revive such a draft without triggering widespread refusal to fight, voting the government out of power. The only way the United States – or other countries – can fight other nations is to bomb them. And as noted above, economic sanctions have as destructive an effect on civilian populations in countries deemed to be U.S. adversaries as overt warfare. The United States can sponsor political coups (as in Honduras and Pinochet’s Chile), but cannot occupy. It is unwilling to rebuild, to say nothing of taking responsibility for the waves of refugees that our bombing and sanctions are causing from Latin America to the Near East.

U.S. ideologues view their nation’s coercive military expansion and political subversion and neoliberal economic policy of privatization and financialization as an irreversible victory signaling the End of History. To the rest of the world it is a threat to human survival.

The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentier class and its clients, eir debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.

  1. Billy Bambrough, “Bitcoin Threatens To ‘Take Power’ From The U.S. Federal Reserve,” Forbes, May 15, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2019/05/15/a-u-s-congressman-is-so-scared-of-bitcoin-and-crypto-he-wants-it-banned/#36b2700b6405. 
  2. Vladimir Putin, keynote address to the Economic Forum, June 5-6 2019. Putin went on to warn of “a policy of completely unlimited economic egoism and a forced breakdown.” This fragmenting of the global economic space “is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.” 
  3. Address to St Petersburg International Economic Forum’s Plenary Session, St Petersburg, Kremlin.ru, June 5, 2009, from Johnson’s Russia List, June 8, 2009, #8, 
  4. https://www.rt.com/business/464013-china-russia-cryptocurrency-dollar-dethrone/. Already in the late 1950s the Forgash Plan proposed a World Bank for Economic Acceleration. Designed by Terence McCarthy and sponsored by Florida Senator Morris Forgash, the bank would have been a more truly development-oriented institution to guide foreign development to create balanced economies self-sufficient in food and other essentials. The proposal was opposed by U.S. interests on the ground that countries pursuing land reform tended to be anti-American. More to the point, they would have avoided trade and financial dependency on U.S. suppliers and banks, and hence on U.S. trade and financial sanctions to prevent them from following policies at odds with U.S. diplomatic demands.  
  5. Don Weinland, “WTO rules against US in tariff dispute with China,” Financial Times, July 17, 2019. 

 

Iran Imposes Its Rule of Engagement: “An Eye for an Eye”

Source

The Straits of Hormuz

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Iran has meticulously selected its political steps and military targets in recent months, both in the Gulf and the international arena. Its partial and gradual withdrawal – tactical yet lawful -from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal, is following a determined path. Its clear objective is to corner the US President and his European allies, and indeed Iran seems aiming for a final withdrawal from the JCPOA. Also, despite the effect the US sanctions are having on the Iranian economy – and despite Iran’s determination to reject US hegemony – Iranian officials have publicly put on hold a Russian offer to support its oil sales.

In Iran, sources confirm that “China rejected the US sanctions and Russia offered to sell one million barrels daily for Iran, and to replace the European financial system with another if needed. But why would Iran make it easy on those who signed the deal (Europe)? If the European countries are divided and not in a position to honour the deal why did they sign it in the first place? Iran will pull out gradually, as stated in the nuclear agreement, up to a complete withdrawal. Iran is experiencing a recession (Trump is expected to be re-elected, which will prolong it), but is not in poverty, and is far from being on its knees economically and politically”.

Despite the harsh US sanctions, Iran is sending unusual and paradoxical signs, playing down the effect of the economic crisis and showing how less than relevant the Trump administration’s measures are: it has frozen the Russian offer designed to ease its financial burden by selling one million barrels of oil daily, and by stepping in to replace the European financial system. The only plausible interpretation is that Iran is determined to pull out of the nuclear deal if possible without invoking worldwide sanctions. In parallel, its military steps continue at a calculated pace.

IRGC Navy speed boats circling the British-flag tanker Stena Impero to slow it down before boarding it by Special Forces.

None of the several military objectives that have been hit in recent months was a casual or impulsive response, starting from the al-Fujeira sabotage, followed by the drone attacks on Aramco pumping stations, and ending with the damage to a Japanese tanker. The first action was not officially claimed by Iran. The second was claimed by the Houthis in Yemen. The third was against a Japanese tanker and the attacker is still at large, officially unknown.

However, Iran came out in public to announce its downing of the US surveillance drone and its capture of a British tanker in the Gulf of Oman. The ship was forced to sail into the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Every single reaction by Iran’s opponents was envisaged and calculated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the preparation of these attacks was perfectly planned and equally well executed. However, this doesn’t mean Iran did not take into consideration a possible war scenario where missiles could potentially fly in all directions. Iran is harassing, engaging, and even playing with Trump and Netanyahu’s threats of war, walking on the edge of the abyss.

Most Iranian leaders are repeating the clear message: no one will export oil if we can’t. It is also telling neighbouring countries that any attempt to export their oil by bypassing the Straits of Hormuz will be thwarted, hence the attacks on al-Fujeirah (the Emirates) and Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Both were potential substitutes, ways to export Middle Eastern oil without going through the Iranian controlled straits.

Iran chose to down an unmanned drone, where it could have downed a US spy aircraft with 38 officers onboard. The same US President- who was embarrassed by the lack of reaction to the downing of the drone – had to thank Iran for not shooting down the spy plane with the US personnel on board. That was a masterly planned decision: cool thinking by the IRGC leadership in the face of tough alternatives.

Trump could justify his failure to react by the lack of human victims; he was certainly aware that any military friction could blow up his chances of re-election: a factor very carefully calculated by Iran. Limited war is not an option available to Trump.

Moreover, after the UK Royal Marines landed by helicopter on the Iranian super tanker “Grace 1” to capture it – despite the fact that neither Iran nor Syria are part of the EU, and thus they are not legitimate targets for the sanctions to be applied and validated in this case – Iran first gave a chance to the French envoy Emmanuel Bonne to find an exit to the crisis. When the UK decided to keep “Grace 1” for another month, hours later Iranian IRGC special Forces captured – using the “cut and paste” style of boarding- the British tanker “Stena Impero”, a UK ship, just at the moment when that government was at its weakest, and the UK Prime Minister was bailing out. Again, very thoughtfully planned, and a well-calculated risk.

The US pushed the UK to move against Iran but stood idly by,watching the humiliationof the former “British Empire” which indirectly dominated Iran during the Shah era and before the Imam Khomeini came to power in 1979.

Iran took the UK tanker from the Gulf of Oman and offered a mediocre pretext, equal to the British one when capturing “Grace 1” in Gibraltar. Iran is telling the British that no war confrontation took place and no human losses are registered so far even if the Middle East is in the middle of a war-like situation with the US economic war on Iran.

So far, not one victim has been recorded, notwithstanding the massive and important events that involved several sabotage operations, the downing of one of the most sophisticated and expensive US drones, the capture of two tankers, and a warning to a US spy plane which escaped Iranian missiles by a hair’s breadth.

Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered the IRGC to continue developing its missile programme and injected billions of dollars into it. The leader criticised both President Hassan Rouhani and the Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif for leading the country to a deal with the US and the EU when both are partners to each other and cannot be trusted. Therefore, the only exit seems the direction Iran is taking, particularly since Europe remains divided. The UK is heading towards selecting a Trump-like leader, Boris Johnson, the US President’s favourite candidate. The UK is in a critical situation where the “no-deal British exit” (hard Brexit) from the European community will weaken the country and isolate it- and certainly Trump will not bother to rescue it.

Iran is exposing its policy now: an eye for an eye. It is as prepared for war as much as US; prepared for the “absolute worst” as Trump has said. The US is building up its military capability by re-opening its air base in Saudi Arabia (Prince Sultan desert base) – the same base that the US used for its war against Saddam Hussein in 1990. Iran is active with its allies, Palestinian groups, the Lebanese Hezbollah, various Iraqi groups and Yemeni allies to provide these with enough missiles to sustain a long war if need be, yet without obviously provoking it.

Iran wil continue its war in the shadows, and will continue harassing the western countries, disregarding the Arab states so that its war is not turned in a sectarian direction. Middle Eastern peoples are watching the dangerous bickering and can see Iran’s finger is on the trigger. It is gripping it firmly, without no hesitation to fire when appropriate, and regardless of who is the opponent or opponents.

The USl most likely will have to wait and think carefully about its next move, particularly the building up of a maritime security coalition to patrol the Gulf and protect ships during the six hours needed for the transit of the Straits of Hormuz. The more western military presence there is in the vicinity of Iran, the richer the bank of objectives and targets offered to the IRGC, and the easier it becomes for Tehran to select its choice of target – in case of war – without launching long-range missiles against US bases established in the Middle East or any other long-distance target.

Washington won’t go to war if the outcome is not clear at least for itself. And, with Iran, no outcome can be predicted with certainty. Iran is aware of this US weakness, and is playing with it. It is showing that the West, for all its bulky muscles, is fragile and even vulnerable.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

The Peoples’ Will is Stronger Than the US Arrogance

ST

The Peoples’ Will is Stronger Than the US Arrogance

The game of destructive chaos in the region is the only policy pursued by the United States for years in the belief that it serves its interests without realizing that this policy which it calls “creative”, undermines security and stability in the region and the world, as well as the US’s interests.

Today, this unproductive policy dips into the depths of the maze that has placed itself in the neck of its glass. In the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this policy tries to impose alternative means of settlement away from the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, away from the two-state solution and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, the first of which is the right of return.

As if the case in Washington is a business deal and not rights of an oppressed people. The US struggled at the Bahrain conference and then at the Bahrain workshop to accomplish what it calls the “deal of the century”, or in a clear sense the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and putting the poisons of American economy into the honey of the so-called peace. The same applies to its escalating policy in the Arab Gulf to ignite new wars that generate thousands of billions of dollars from the vast open-monarchies treasury.

In Syria, Washington is pursuing its destructive colonialist approach under the pretext of fighting the alleged terrorism and maintaining the security of its tools on the Syrian territory as (Qasad)militia that has committed the worst crimes against civilians returning from Baguoz after being destroyed by the American coalition under the pretext of bombing the extremists (Da’ish).

Washington is doing every conceivable effort to calm down the Israeli entity over its alleged security trying to legitimize its settlements and whitewash its occupation of the Arab territories, once by facilitating its direct aggression and once by granting it the alleged sovereignty over the occupied Golan and Jerusalem. The US exercises all this aggression without realizing that the peoples’ will of the region is stronger than all its arrogance.

The “deal of the century” has showed the real size of Washington, just a tool in the hands of the Zionist lobby, seeking to recruit billions to impose a “political solution” on the size of the Zionist entity. Both Trump and Netanyahu will give nothing to the Palestinian people and their bloody history and illegitimate settlement are present, recalling the occupation of Jerusalem, ignoring international laws and agreements, and the Zionist entity’s persistence in building settlements. The main objective is to swallow Palestine, erase its borders from the map, expel its people and end the file of the right of return for all Palestinians.

The current international developments against a background of the fires ignited by the policy of American arrogance indicate that many of the adverse results will return to the Trump administration whose poles are floundering between escalation once, reducing tension and begging dialogue and negotiation at other times to contain the accumulation of failures in the face of a lot of files and international issues that Washington wanted to rotate the corners in the direction that serves the agenda of domination that it wants to impose on the world.

With this American failure, the Trump administration is now making every effort to please the American interior ahead of the upcoming presidential election bazaar. Despite the counterproductive results of the Bahrain Workshop and the clear message that the policy of dictation, threats and intimidation, the “deal of the century “will not be translated into reality, even if the Arabs drowned to their ears in free normalization projects with the Zionist enemy.

Even though Trump, who implicitly admitted to the failure of the conspiracy of the era before disclosing its political side, continues striking the chord of illusion, and he himself wishes the implementation of the “deal of the century” in his presidential term, or it will never get because the wills of the axis resistance countries are much stronger than the military arsenals of Trump, and the bluster of the Arab- Zionists.

Sharif Al -Khatib
Editor-in-Chief
sharifalkh@gmail.com

 

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

Source

July 13, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

It appears that the information revolution is redefining cultural aspirations at a time when mass production has become a concave-convex supernova offering everybody (in theory) the right to ‘have everything’, regardless of the cost to fellow beings or to nature itself.

In the West, free enterprise had become an object lesson in short-sightedness and purblind avarice, suggesting that it’s time to revisit an age-old conundrum; the conflict between capitalist expediency and enlightened social wellbeing. Having successfully focused consumers on the many ways in which self-gratification can be experienced, the consumer-economy, committed to seducing the somnambulant among us, while turning a blind eye to the damage that comes with gauche and expedient ways of can-do-ness, suggest that collectively, we in the West have become befuddled pilgrims in a vainglorious journey to nowhere.

In the West we live in a world where militarism and the production of arms has come to represent the pulse of capitalism. The journey that began at the tribal level has moved through a succession of capitalist incarnations to become the singular purpose of investment-capital and a business model in every respect. As it was never intended to be an exercise in creating homogeneous wellbeing…socialism… this model remains as the one best suited to the elites who manage money. Not surprisingly, the rest is history as they say. The story of capitalism’s right-of-passage towards its colonial adventures and onwards into its imperial hegemonic phase is one of bloody-mindedness.

Until recently in the West, it was the growth of personal wealth and middle-classness that underpinned the reality of ‘collective-individualism’…an oxymoronic capitalist state of mind that encourages wealth accumulation. Skills effecting upward mobility were highly sought after. The desire to embrace cultural norms that defined progress as freedom to enjoy lifestyles enhanced by copious amounts of disposal income, soon became everyone’s dream.

So, when the economy lost it’s bearing in the heat of the bizarre excesses leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, ‘collective-individualism’ was left to pick up the pieces. Struggling with the legacy of a febrile narrative that served the interests of Wall Street, middle-classness lost some of its shine. The market had spoken, the individual was merely a unit in a bourse that had little time for niceties or human fallibility. Banking had become a low feeder-operation where the devil would take the hindmost.

It was the banking crisis of 2008 that revealed how ‘collective-individualism’ had become merely an adjunct of Wall Street’s insidiously covert private-banking system. Having cocooned itself in the system, the banking establishment managed to present itself as the face of liberal democracy…albeit pseudo… for the purpose of gratifying its own insatiable appetite. As a result of the 2008 debacle, fake-expertise-babble was required to disguise the signs of senescence now appearing in a banking system sliding toward obsolescence.

With the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in China, the monumental task of moving countless tens of millions of people out of poverty was commenced and the results have been spectacular. Along with this operation came the realization that proportionality should be the linchpin for securing the principles of collective enterprise. The words Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong spoke in 1927 at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” were replaced by notions of incremental change occurring for the betterment of the entire community.

Using the resources of the state to improve the wellbeing of the many would mechanically elevate the population to a level of heightened social order. By any measure, a great awakening had occurred…an age-old trading culture had reassembled its resources in order to find common cause. Through the medium of central planning, the path toward achieving internal hegemony reappeared in a distinctly Confucian way.

With an agenda designed to eliminate poverty by utilising the collective potential of the state to solve problems, statistics suggest that a modicum of proportionality has already been achieved within China’s sovereign territories and that plans are on track to achieve what the revolution sent out to do. Namely, a way of floating all its boats…one billion and a quarter of them…on the rising tide of a renascent imagination collectively focused on technological ascendancy.

Alert to the potential within the Chinese tech garden to achieve yet another Spring and Autumn period, the core interchangeable elements of Confucianism, collectivism and hegemony militate to emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

History shows us that the Chinese city of Guangzhou (Early Modern Guangzhou) represented the reference point that enable one to understand the changing context of Sino-foreign economic and cultural relations in the nineteenth century. A great trading city that would ultimately reconstitute itself as a commercial centre for maritime exports and debut as post-modern Guangzhou. It was always the city that identified China as a maritime trader surfing the waves of silk road opportunities. Unlike most European nations, its expansionism was benign. It never went into the business of exporting armaments or colonizing the natives along its trade routes.

From the traditional trading posts in Quanzhou and Guangzhou, to the modern treaty ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shanghai, to the contemporary metropolis Hong Kong and Taiwan and special economic zones in Shenzhen and Pudong, southern coastal cities in the last five hundred years and beyond have connected China to the outside world and the global economy. Throughout this time, China never sought to colonise its neighbours or occupy continents or countries across the globe…trading remained its modus operandi…and besides, Confucius the thinker, never confused occupation or dominance with the Chinese notion of hegemony!

Conversely, the colonial West’s predilection for gunboat diplomacy and stand-over tactics produced an entirely different trading model. With the advent of the industrial revolution in Europe, sorties of the ‘dalek’ kind…robotic incursions into exotic lands for the purpose of procuring the resources and territories belonging to people of colour became the norm.

It was as though the industrial revolution had spawned a concept of superiority that ultimately resulted in the white race distilling a notion of its own exceptionality that would justify its own work-ethic as proof of its right to exploit people whose appearance did not please their albino imagination. In the succeeding centuries, the march of the ‘daleks’ would in effect enslave, slaughter and exploit non-white peoples with impunity, all the while deluding themselves that their actions were progressive…a code word for exploitation…and justifiably, the ‘white-man’s-burden’…a program adopted in support of their assumption that the non-white peoples were inferior.

In time, institutional racism would achieve the kind of value an asset might have in a bourse. The concept of democracy would be privatised in accordance with the wishes of those who were there to do the thinking for all those of a lesser stripe. Patriotism would become a mantra of majestic proportions in the West to assure white people that they were on the winning side of history. Proof of same would be diligently manufactured. Strangely, Western powers who imagined they owned ‘democracy’ felt the need to garrison the globe with 800 military bases, fearing that those ‘others’ may have sovereign economic models of their own they might wish to develop.

In fact, disproportionality had reached such levels of lethality that the doyens of liberal democracy became citizens of cloud-cuckoo-land in possession of a foreign policy committed to kneecapping…sanctioning… other nation’s economies if they didn’t do what they were told to do. China in moving to re-embrace the “maritime silk road” once again, soon became the fly in the competitive ointment. Westerners, as heirs to the traditional colonial trading-throne decided that carrying a big ballistic stick was the only way to do business. Alarmed at seeing how China could engage in trade without threatening its clients, it chose the American way of doing business. In true American style, the military budget was given a massive blow job.

In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defence production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged. Eisenhower had no need of a crystal ball to see where the emerging disproportionality would lead his country to. His fear, rightly, was that disproportionality of this kind would ultimately obfuscate the principles of the Democratic Republic of America.

Had he lived to see the colossal damage his country wrought on the Middle East he would have understood that a permanent armaments industry must do what a permanent armaments industry must do…use and sell what they produced in order to justify their budget.

What Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as a permanent armaments industry could equally be applied to the permanent propaganda industry that has overtaken America. Together, these two industries have created a narrative for Americans to reassure them that a system based on might, is right for them. By every measure, the fourth estate and the fourth-of-July have synthetized into a narrative that is big on self-adulation.

On the occasion of the most recent fourth-of-July parade, the presence of Apache attack helicopters, ballistic missiles, M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and F-22 Raptors were assembled to reinforce the notion that corporate-capitalist-democracy existed to deliver a patriotic narrative capable of turning the key that could unlock the potential of the American psyche and find greatness by shoving its hardware and unique ideas of identity into the face of all and sundry.

As the fourth of this and that got under way, it became ever more evident that America’s unique identity possesses an internal form of hegemony seeking greatness through strictly military means. After military might was chosen as the path to dominance and greatness, America developed external hegemonic programs to curtail un-American activities such as Iranian Mullahs imagining that they can export oil to whomever they choose to, or China and Russia talking multilateralism, or Venezuela resisting imperial vassalage…or just about anything that moved, squeaked, farted or failed to avow the American way of doing business. Non-compliance would be met with sanctions or military invasion.

On the occasion of the recent fourth-of-July celebrations, Donald Trump (dealer extraordinary) stood before the statue of Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate his ability to wind up the patriotic narrative; he spoke thusly; “As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” said he, “ Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told…The Story of America.”

But strangest of all were the ‘daleks’ flying overhead and the steel-clad ‘daleks’ rumbling past on terra firma for the purpose of bonding the vast gathering of patriotic stalwarts in hegemonic unity. The crowd, agog with admiration for the men and women flying overhead in their wonderful flying machines were proud to witness the “The American Story” in all its first-hand glory. Most noticeably, they were indifferent to the fact that the things they found admirable in this show of strength were designed to annihilate people. They were no less enamoured of the wet pointy cone bits of the ballistic missiles…glistening like killer-candy… as they were rained upon.

All in all, “The Story of America” reverberates across the globe as the story of meaty stealth. Its true colours were made available for all to see, or for anyone with the nous to join the dots… message delivered; American style hegemony is great for boys with schizoaffective disorders and the lethal toys that find them.

As America-the-circus moves into election mode its military arrive here in Australia to set up a military base in Darwin. As few…if any…of their political clowns will broach the subject of their lethal foreign policy, why should anyone in their right mind welcome one of their bases here? As for now, better we wait until Uncle Sam creates a peace bureau and sends an emissary of a different stripe to us.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Nasrallah: US-backed Axis Defeated, We Have Enough Missiles to Redraw the Map of the Middle East

 

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Transcript:

[…] Another element indicating (the improbability of a war against Iran) is the field data, and I mean the (triple) Summit which I have just mentioned. And we are now entering the (4th section of my speech devoted to the triple) Arab Summit (in Mecca on May 30-June 1). The Summit was convened in emergency. Why? There are two reasons, two clear reasons that are mentioned in the (final) statements (of the Summit).

The first reason… The first reason… I remember that during the first days of the war of aggression against Yemen, His Eminence the (Supreme) Leader, Sayed [Khamenei], said that the young (fighters) of Yemen would rub the Al-Saud’s noses in dirt. Some days ago, the Saudi (army) bit the dust (once again). That’s what happened.

The first reason (for the improbability of war against Iran), that I mentioned earlier, is that Saudi Arabia has recognized the fact that there was no way out against the missiles of the Yemeni army and Popular Defense Committees, which they call the ‘Houthi’ missiles, and against their drones, and my proof is what happened in Yanbu’ (strikes of a Yemeni drone against oil installations in Saudi Arabia). It is a failure, a complete disaster. On the technical, military, security levels, and on every other level, it is a colossal failure. And it is a great success for our Yemeni brothers.

And that’s why in the joint statement at the conclusion of the Arab Summit, from the first line, points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 only speak of Houthis, Houthis and yet again Houthis, as well as Iran. This clearly shows how much the issue of our Yemeni brothers is present and is the main cause for convening this triple Summit.

The second reason (indicating the improbability of a war against Iran) is that the Saudi regime and its allies understood with certainty that there will be no US war against Iran. You are dreaming (O Saudis), you spend your money for nothing and you incite for war to no avail. Trump will not fight for you, while it was your greatest hope. The last thing the Saudis had left was this hope (on which they have staked everything). Is there anything they can do? Do the Saud have alternatives (to prevail)? Who will go to war against Iran? The Saud themselves? While in Yemen, according to the information of the Saudis themselves, these young Yemeni fighters who have no army, no huge capacities, who are besieged, isolated, hungry, sick, whatever you want, but Saudi Arabia fails, is defeated and broken against them! And you (the Saudis) would go to war against (such a formidable power as) Iran? Who (will dare attack Iran)? Will they hire Netanyahu to launch a war against Iran? Let him first take care of his own problems (electoral and with Israeli justice)!

It’s the end of the road (for the Saud)! All their plans and hopes rested, in recent weeks, on Trump, on Trump’s incitement (to war), on Bolton, on Pompeo and all their fellow evil men in b or p, who were threatening to attack Iran and devastate this country. But it’s over. All their hopes were dashed.

That is why this Summit was convened in Mecca, as I said, to call the Arab and Muslim worlds and the Gulf countries for help. ‘Hasten therefore (to our help), O Arabs’ (cried the Al-Saud dynasty)! I wrote here… Where is this paper?… I wrote (a summary about it)… “Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart…” For who is responsible for the crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council? Saudi Arabia! “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit) to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart, of the Arabs it has crushed…” Is there a single Arab country left where Saudi Arabia has not created discord and division? And until now, up to this very day, there are Arab countries torn with civil wars, and Saudi Arabia is (the main) responsible. And there are Arab countries under threat of falling into civil wars (Algeria, Sudan…), and we must look (for the hand of) Saudi Arabia (behind it). “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart), of the Arabs it has crushed and of the Muslims among whom it has spread the sedition of takfir.”

See Pakistan: Saudi Arabia wants to become stronger by getting the support of this country, while it propagated its takfiri ideology there among the Taliban, who created innumerable problems for the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people. Today, Saudi Arabia is calling on all these countries to save it (and get it out of the Yemeni quagmire).

First, regarding the Summit… I will conclude my remarks with a few words. Regarding the (Mecca) Summit, such is the context that explains it. It is a call for help, a cry for help, an intercessory request… You know it’s Ramadan (where all wishes can be fulfilled), so the Saudis make prayers, express wishes, cajole (the Arab governments) so that they’d fulfill their wishes, because of their failure and powerlessness, and because their hopes were dashed. The opposite Axis (United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia) isn’t in any case in a position of strength. It is in a position of weakness and failure, desperate, greatly confused and completely discouraged. This is the truth.

Second, let us consider the Joint Statement issued after the Summit. We see that it is composed of 10 points, which speak only of Iran and the “Houthis”, as they call them, but in the end of this Statement, as we commemorate the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), at the very end of this Statement, really the last two lines, we read: “And about the Palestinian cause, the main cause of the Arabs, the Summit has confirmed its commitment to the resolutions of the 29th Arab Summit (of April 2018) in Dhahran (Saudi Arabia), or Al-Quds Summit, and the resolutions of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis (in March 2019).” Period. They did not even devote two lines to Palestine! They gave it only a line and a half of their final Statement! That’s the importance of Palestine for the Arab Summit. I do not even know if they actually talked about it (during their discussions), I just read the final Statement.

And about the Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, there is a really funny thing, the 4th point. Listen to the 4th point (of the final Statement) of the Summit of the Council of the Gulf Cooperation: “Confirms the strength, harmony and resolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the unity of its members around a common line to face these threats.” And they say that while they are besieging Qatar! They have been besieging the State and the people of Qatar for over a year! It’s really hilarious, Uncle! By God, some people really don’t realize that they have become the laughing stock of the world! The whole world mocks them, demeans and humiliates them!

Another point about the Arab Summit, we have a duty to praise the position expressed by Iraq and the President of the Republic of Iraq. It’s a remarkable position, courageous and excellent. What a shame that the rest of the Arab Presidents, Kings and Emirs did not talk the same way! And the Iraqi delegation has not said that they wanted to wage war against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or anyone, nothing like it! They spoke in a balanced manner (without taking sides with Iran nor Saudi Arabia). You could do the same thing (and display a conciliatory neutrality). What prevented you from doing so, O Arabs? What a pity that (the participants of this) Summit, in spite of the failure, powerlessness and confusion (of Saudi Arabia), and the economic exploitation of the situation by the United States, have not talked in conciliatory terms about Iran, when Iran itself, a few days ago, said via its delegates that they were ready to talk with the Gulf states, and conclude pacts of non-aggression with them! Why did they not adopt the same open and conciliatory diplomatic language? If they had done so, their money, their safety, their security, their interests and even their dignity would not be violated by Trump morning and evening.

On the Arab Summit, I have one more thing to say: as a Lebanese party who participate in the government of Lebanon, we (Hezbollah) consider that the position of the official Lebanese delegation to the Arab Summit contradicts the Ministerial Declaration (of the Hariri government) and violates the commitments and promises of the Lebanese government, who received the confidence of the Parliament on the basis of this Declaration. Where is the promised neutrality, O official Lebanese delegation to the holy city of Mecca? You could have said… It was not even required that you take a position similar to that of Iraq. You could simply have said that the Lebanese government was committed to neutrality (in regional conflicts) and that such a stance was required in the national interest of Lebanon, which had to remain neutral, as it had done in previous Summits.

That is why we reject this position (expressed by the Lebanese delegation), which we consider unacceptable and condemn because it does not represent Lebanon. It represents only the members of the delegation (as individuals) or the political parties they belong to. It is impossible that this be the official position of Lebanon, a position which publishes a Statement with 10 paragraphs condemning Iran and only dedicates a line and a half to Palestine, the whole Statement expressing support for an Axis (US-Saudi-Israeli) against another (the Axis of Resistance).

Of course, the Future party could have made a statement of their own supporting eloquently the Final Statement of this Summit held in Holy Mecca, it is their natural right. We wouldn’t mind at all because (it is common knowledge) that we have opposite stances (on regional issues). We have already said that neutrality is not required of political forces. And we are the first not being neutral (and strongly and publicly announcing our stances against the US, Israel, the Saud…). But we agreed that the Lebanese government would remain neutral. The Lebanese State must remain neutral (because it is composed of both pro-American and pro-Iranian forces). And what happened in Mecca is contrary to the commitments and promises (made by the Future Alliance heading the government), and to Lebanon’s national interest.

This brings me to the last point (of my speech). (I’m sorry) for being so long, on this night of Ramadan, but it is a sensitive issue whose mention cannot be postponed. Regarding the delimitation of the (land and sea) borders (between Lebanon and Israel), as I have said repeatedly, as a Resistance, we have no problem and we comply with the decisions of the State. And for all that is happening at the borders, we leave everything in the hands of the State, whether what is happening is good or bad, right or wrong. Regarding the demarcation of our land and sea borders, we will respect all the decisions of State, (and we do not have a say).

And by making these statements, I do not exaggerate. Some brothers think that my words are conciliatory but do not coincide with reality, but no, I tell the strict truth when I say that we in Hezbollah trust the Lebanese officials who are in charge of this issue, and who are committed to upholding all Lebanon’s rights to land and water, in terms of maritime (space), oil and gas (resources present in the Mediterranean). We have (full) confidence in them, and that’s why we do not intervene in this issue. So much for the positive points, for I will now turn to a very different point.

On this issue, what are the United States striving to achieve through (their envoy) Mr. [David] Satterfield and his ilk? The USA are very strong to exploit all things, and exploit (all situations) in an evil way (in their interests and to our detriment). Since Lebanon needs a rapid delineation of borders, especially at sea, to (be able to exploit) oil and gas (resources at sea), and since Lebanon needs a calm situation in order to get financial loans —for we speak mainly about loans, not grants—, in this context, the United States come to… I hope that all the Lebanese will listen to me.

The United States wants to exploit the (indirect) negotiations (between Lebanon and Israel) on the demarcation of land and maritime borders to solve another adjacent, unrelated problem in the sole interest of Israel, and that Israel has been unable to resolve for years, namely precision missiles and the manufacture of precision missiles.

For over two years, (we have been contacted constantly by) ambassadors, embassies, foreign intelligence services, including those countries that consider us officially as terrorists, it does not bother them. They asked us the following questions, or (rather) addressed us the following messages: you have precision missiles, and this is something that Israel will not tolerate, and when Israel will learn their place (of storage), they will bomb them. That’s the message that we kept receiving for over two years. That’s (the first point).

The second point was the accusation that we’d have precision missile factories in Lebanon, which is (allegedly) a red line for Israel that will not be tolerated, and the warning that if Israel gets to know their location, they will bomb them. We hid this matter to the public for two years so as not to worry anyone, and to settle this matter behind the scenes. But some things happened during this week that lead me to speak out today because I think this whole issue will soon be discussed in the media, this topic being debated today in wider circles. I prefer to publicly state our position on this issue, rather than let the (State) officials being responsible for sending messages or answering questions (about this topic), and it is better that these answers come directly from me so that the United States, Israel and others receive them distinctly. (That’s better), isn’t it? That’s why I mention it.

Regarding the first point, the precision missiles issue, we are people who always tell the truth, we never lie. We can of course not reveal the truth without lying, or tell only part of the truth, but we never lie. That’s why when they asked us (if we had precision missiles), we answered that yes, we had precision missiles, and then you remember that two years ago, the tenth day (of ‘Ashura), I announced quite clearly that we have precision missiles able to hit all the targets required in the Zionist entity.

And today, on this (International) Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem),on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of this Day, I say to the world that yes, we have in Lebanon enough precision missiles to change the face of the region and (upset) all equations!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]

But I say nothing new. That’s what I said for ‘Ashura two years ago. And to all those who have asked us, we said yes, we had precision missiles. And to all those who said or transmitted messages (Israeli threats), we said that there was no problem… It’s been 1, 2 and 3 years that these messages circulate, and that our response has been given and reached Israel: any time they tried to intimidate us by speaking of Israel, of red lines, of unacceptable things, of bombing, of (a violent) reaction, etc., our answer was clear, and I then repeated it publicly (in an interview) with Al-Mayadeen TV and then in a live speech. And I’ll repeat it again: we said that against any aggression, any Israeli strike against any target related to the Resistance in Lebanon, be it missiles or anything else, Hezbollah will retaliate immediately, directly and with (great) force!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
And that’s why for 1 year, 2 years and 3 years now, they never bombed (Lebanon). And even more, Israel is going to the UN to (complain) that under the Al-Ahed football stadium, there would be missiles, and at such other place as well, (and then the UN) asks the government to verify if missiles are present at a given location, etc. It is not out of manners or decency that Israel does not strike our missiles. It is because we are strong that they don’t dare to do so (because they fear our retaliation), and that we will respond to any aggression by a similar attack, if not more!
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
The issue of precision missiles was therefore over (with a dead end for Israel). No one can do anything against it. So the issue has been upgraded with the accusation of possession of precision missile factories (in Lebanon). A few months ago, a (Lebanese) official said that the United States had contacted him to tell him this and this. I replied: “My dear official —I do not say anything specific to protect his identity—, this information is false. We do not have —and I speak with complete frankness— we have no precision missile factory in Lebanon.” He asked if the Iranians had such factories in Lebanon. I told him that the Iranians had no factory in Lebanon, be it for precision missiles or other missiles, or anything at all.So far —I say so far, until tonight, until this International Day of Al-Quds—, there are no precision missile factories (in Lebanon). So the Americans left and came back later (with new charges), saying that there were such factories in such and such place, until what they said recently, namely that the process of delimitation of maritime borders was obstructed by the fact that in such region, there were precision missile factories. Again, several Lebanese officials asked me about it, and I said that it was not true. In this region, there are military facilities, supplies and equipment of Hezbollah, but no precision missile factory. That’s all.What is my point? These (false accusations) have been accompanied by various threats. I will not say what the threats were because there is no reason for me to reveal them, but several threats were made, so that Lebanon settles this issue (precision missile factories) and destroys such and such installations, razes them to the ground and terminates them. But my dear (US) friends, do you know who you are dealing with? In what world do you live (to believe that your threats can frighten Hezbollah)? It is absolutely inconceivable for us.In addition, we, in Hezbollah, are more trustworthy and reliable than the Americans and their predecessors, and more trustworthy and reliable than the Israelis and their predecessors. When I tell you that there is no precision missile factories, this means that there is none. And if there were such factories, I would have said this evening on TV that there are such factories, as I’ll prove it in a moment.I will explain my problem with this question and conclude my speech. My problem is that… That’s why I did not want to discuss this issue only with Lebanese officials, but I wish that we all (Lebanese) take part in it. The very discussion of such issues with the United States, merely allowing them to ask us about (our weapons), this door should be in my opinion closed. It is not their business, they have no right to inquire about our weapons. The US does not have any right to meddle in it. Whether there are precision missile factories in Lebanon or not, it is not their business. Israel, which is right next to us, manufactures missiles, warplanes, tanks, nuclear and chemical weapons. Let them go there and make the same requests! As for us, it is our right —and that’s what I want to add this evening—, it is our absolute right to possess any type of weapons to defend our country. And it is our absolute right to manufacture any type of weapons, because to have weapons, there are only three possibilities: either you buy them, or someone gives them to you, or you manufacture them.In Gaza, what do they do? They make them. In Yemen, what do they do? They make them. But the Saudi mentality is unable to conceive that Yemenis can manufacture their own missiles and drones (and they accuse Iran of supplying them). What do you want me to do about it? In Iran, what are they doing? They manufacture their own weapons! And we absolutely have the right to do the same. I affirm that the United States do not have the right to debate with us on this right. That’s the first point. How does it concern you? Whether we have such factories or not, it’s none of your business. I assure you that there are no such factories yet, but you have no right to ask me at the first place! Whether there are such factories or not, mind your own business! We have every right to have all the weapons that allow us to defend our country, whether we buy them, they are given to us or we manufacture them. That’s the first point.

Second, if the United States continue to bring this issue, I tell them this: we have all the technical and human capacity, thanks to our youth, to manufacture precision missiles, and we are perfectly able to import in Lebanon all the equipment required to open such factories. I declare tonight that if the United States continue to bring up this issue, let the whole world know that we will open precision missile factories in Lebanon!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
So far, we have no such factories (in Lebanon), but if they continue to bring up this issue, they will convince us to do so! Then, the government talks about many problems of the Lebanese industry. Today, one of the greatest evils in the world is arms sales… Why are you laughing, I’m serious! We are able to manufacture precision missiles and sell them to the world, and thus help the Lebanese Treasury. Is that okay with you?This is why I advise Satterfield to stay calm and do the job he is asked to do (without encroaching on our business), since he claims to be there to help… But who does he (really want to) help? Because you know that in general, the United States are not intermediaries. They are only there to lobby and defend the interests of Israel, and God help our Lebanese brothers responsible for these negotiations. Let Satterfield close this file and not waste his time in (idle) threats, and stop exerting himself. He should stop exerting himself (in vain).This is our natural right (to have all the weapons required), we will remain attached thereto, and threats lead to nothing with us. These threats are not new, but date back to 2 or 3 years. I have answered them, and I do not want to have to repeat myself, okay? Be it now, before or after, our position remains the same.In conclusion, O my dear and noble brothers, on this Day of Al-Quds, on this 40th year of the celebration of this Day, our (Resistance) Axis is in a position of strength, as is our front (the battlefield). It is true that in recent years we have made many sacrifices, but by the grace of the blood of martyrs, we got out of all these sacrifices stronger and more present. And it is full of strength, determination, faith and confidence that I tell you all that we can defeat the Deal of the Century and make it fail, and at the forefront the Palestinian people: when Palestinians are unanimous in their sovereign position, as I called it, about the Deal of the Century and the Conference in Bahrain (which are condemned by all factions), nobody can impose anything, neither to Palestinians nor to the region.When the Syrian people refuse to cede the Golan, Golan will never become Israel’s, even if Trump redraws maps and signs below, as announced by Netanyahu yesterday. Let them sign anything they want, do what they want, and say whatever they want, (it will be futile). If we stay present in the field, on all battlefields, if we remain attached to our rights, and above all, before, after and with everything, if we trust in God and in His promise of victory, if we believe in Him, in our peoples, in our generation, in our men, in our women, in our brains and in our minds and willpower, the future belongs to Al-Quds, and not to Trump or to all the insignificant midgets who work for Trump.Peace be upon the soul of the great Khomeini, who founded this Day, happy (al-Quds) holiday, and may God grant you victory and glory.

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

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