Syria Slams US Meddling in the Syrian Constitution Committee Talks

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Damascus

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Damascus

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed the regime of Donald Trump for its attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries after the US State Department issued a statement to interfere in the works of the Syrian Constitution Committees deliberations in Geneva.

A spokesperson for the ministry said to the Syrian official news agency SANA ‘the dialogue is a Syrian-Syrian one and no one has the right to interfere in it or support any party under any pretext.’

The spokesperson outlined that the role of the United Nations represented by its special envoy Geir Pederson is limited to facilitating the committees’ discussions only and does not interfere in the contents.

Earlier, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Syrian delegation to the Geneva talks to discuss amendments to the Syrian constitution of impeding the talks by placing obstacles.

US state department statement interfering in Syrian constitution discussion committee
Trump Regime’s State Dept statement: https://twitter.com/statedeptspox/status/1200867358295941120

The Syrian delegation asked the Turkish delegation to set the principles on Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity before discussing less important details in the constitution, the delegation sent by the Turkish regime of the madman Erdogan rejected to set such a principle. Erdogan Regime Delegation threw a tantrum, refused to even enter the meeting hall, and issued its rejection via media, violating the agreed-upon Code of Conduct, similar to Erdogan-the-Guarantor consistent breach of the de-escalation zones in Syria.

Observers following the talks referred their rejections to the conflict of interest it would cause with their sponsor carrying out an illegal incursion of northern Syria.

Syrian constitution discussion committee meeting - Geneva

The condemnation by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was expected, firstly, it’s a blatant attempt by the US to achieve in politics and diplomatic pressure what it failed by sponsoring terrorist groups in Syria and by direct invasion, secondly, it’s the same US regime that its officials have been crying non-stop for the past 3 years over alleged Russian interference in their own ‘democratical’ system claiming that some accounts from Russia bought Facebook ads worth of around US$ 3000(!) which placed Donald Trump as the president of the USA!

It’s the same regime that spent hundreds of billions of dollars directly and through its regional slaves to topple yet another legitimate government in the region and this time in Syria, and replace the elected officials with planted puppets.

The author of this post is trying to feel sorry for the US citizens and taxpayers whose government is dealing with double-face around the world, but to be honest, I’m failing to feel sorry. It’s been endless times their government interfered in every other country around the world and they spent hundreds of millions of dollars of their hard-earned tax money on investigations of alleged Russian interference worth of 3000 dollars. No one can be that simple, that dumb, and that naive for that long period of time and for those countless times their government on behalf of them and using their resources have committed such crimes and violations of international law abroad, it’s like the US citizens themselves support these heinous acts.

“IF YOU LIKED WHAT WE DID TO THE MIDDLE EAST, YOU’LL LOVE WHAT WE’RE ABOUT TO DO TO LATIN AMERICA”

“If You Liked What We Did To The Middle East, You’ll LOVE What We’re About To Do To Latin America”

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

Latin America in the Crosshairs

Latin America has been regarded as the exclusive stomping ground of US economic interests, US military, and US intelligence services for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the point that the US public has grown to view meddling in its neighbors’ domestic politics as some sort of birthright which is still faintly rooted in the 19th century “white man’s burden” racialist policies. That the majority of Democratic Party presidential candidates supports the military coup in Bolivia, the escalating repressions in Chile, and the plundering of Brazil by the Bolsonaro regime is actually unremarkable in that regard. Such policies have long been the norm.

However, if one were to take a quick survey of recent developments in the “information battlefield” in the United States, one would be struck by the rapid elevation of Latin America as a place where direct US military action is needed. It is not just Trump who, in the aftermath of an apparently cartel-related murder of an American Mormon family in Mexico, “offered” Mexico the “help” of the US military in fighting the cartels. The latest boy-wonder of the US Establishment, “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg likewise allowed he is “open” to the idea of sending US troops to Mexico. Neither of these statements was seen as in any way controversial by the mainstream media—even though the US public is broadly anti-war and skeptical of additional international entanglements, the Washington Establishment views the sovereignty of other countries as nothing more than legal fiction.

These politicians’ statements do not stand in isolation. Hollywood has long been “joined at the hip” with the US national security establishment and can be always relied upon to propagate the latest set of Washington talking points. While Russian villains remain the staple of US movies and video games, Latin America is gradually reclaiming its role as a battlefield and source of threats to the United States which it lost after 9/11. There are now at least two currently running US TV series which specifically focus on direct US interventions in Latin America. America’s favorite CIA analyst Jack Ryan (who, it should be noted, became President on the pages of Tom Clancy’s novels after the rest of the US government was conveniently eliminated by a Boeing 747 flown into the Capitol  by a suicide pilot) is now bravely thwarting Russian plots in Venezuela. Going considerably further, Last Ship’s current season actually posits the emergence of Gran Colombia, a veritable Latin American empire which launches a Pearl Harbor-style surprise air raid which destroys the just-rebuilt US Navy with the assistance of a cyber-strike. In retaliation, United States employs the full range of its conventional capabilities, starting with CIA covert operatives working with some modern equivalent of the Nicaraguan Contras whose connections to the drug cartels are not even concealed, and ending with US Marines landing on the shores of Latin American countries in order to “liberate” them from their own governments.

There are other indications US establishment is bracing for a major deterioration of the political situation “south of the border”, up to and including a major refugee crisis comparable to what Europe has experienced. While Donald Trump has been roundly condemned for his immigration policies, particularly the deportations of Latin American refugees, the construction of a major barrier on the US-Mexico border, and the efforts to transform Mexico into a holding tank for refugees seeking admission into the United States, no senior Democratic Party politician or candidate has promised to reverse these policies.

From the Shores of Tripoli to the Halls of Montezuma?

The rekindling of interest in Latin America is a logical consequences of the drift toward a global multi-polar system. It means, first, a retrenchment in the Middle East due to the demonstrated power of Russia and China which has proved sufficient to thwart not only covert US plots but also overt uses of economic and military capabilities. This power transition has meant that even long-standing US allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are adopting a multi-vector foreign policy no longer wholly centered on their relationship with the United States. It certainly does not help that the United States has proved of limited utility in resolving the many international conflicts and rivalries in that region, not only the obvious Iran-Saudi Arabia one, but also the lower-intensity Saudi Arabia—Turkey one. Since Russia is literally the only international power capable to credibly negotiate with each of these three regional rivals, its reputation as an honest broker backed up by non-trivial “hard power” has elevated its standing in the region to the detriment of the United States.

The second implication is an even closer binding of Latin American states to the United States, with the remarkably compliant Organization of American States (OAS) which has never seen a military coup it did not like, serving as the overt instrument of control. Conversely, regional organizations which have proven resistant to US control such as Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America-Trade between Peoples (ALBA-TCP) and  the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), both of which actually condemned the coup in Bolivia in strong terms, will find themselves the target of US pressure. Post-coup Bolivia’s announced departure from both of these organizations is unlikely to be an aberration, particularly since it follows on the heels of Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador’s departure from ALBA in 2018. The remaining ALBA states include Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela (in addition to several small island states), all of which are continuing targets of US regime change policies.

UNASUR also appears headed for extinction. As many as six countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, suspended their membership in 2018. Chile moreover launched PROSUR, an organization explicitly intended to target Venezuela, with the initial states invited to join the new organization being  Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Suriname, none of which can be described as pursuing policies contrary to US wishes.

Good-bye NAFTA, Hello USMC!

Trump Administration’s regional trade war that resulted in the launch of the US, Mexico, Canada (hence the “USMC” abbreviation) intended to replace the North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA) is indicative of the future US policy course. It’s doubtful few in the region failed to note the new trade pact’s abbreviation is exactly the same as that of the US Marine Corps which has a long and dark history of invasions and occupations of Latin American states. Consistent with the plot of “Last Ship”, USMC will find itself once again the final arbiter of trade arrangements in Latin America in the #MAGA era that will not end with Trump.

Economic developments in countries that have suffered right-wing regime shifts in the last few years show the direction in which Latin America will evolve. In Brazil, Boeing was allowed to acquire the commercial aircraft division of EMBRAER which hitherto was able to compete, as an independent actor, against both Boeing and Airbus even in their own home markets. The more strengthens Boeing by making it more competitive against Airbus in certain niches it lacked, and strips Brazil of a major industrial asset. Bolsonaro also aims to privatize another of Brazil’s economic “crown jewels”, the Petrobras energy firm which is all but guaranteed to fall into the hands of Washington-favored energy firms.  US interest in the lithium reserves in Bolivia and neighboring countries has also been well documented. Preventing Morales’ Bolivia from entering into a development deal with China was one of the main motives behind the coup. Like Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Moreno’s Ecuador is pursuing plans to allow oil drilling in the Amazon region.

 The Ghost of Che

The famed Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara suffered a heroic death in Bolivia, attempting to mobilize an indigenous rebellion against the post-conquistador elite. The inevitable backlash to the ever more evident US efforts to ruthlessly exploit Latin America in order to compensate for the loss of influence and business elsewhere in the world means that the United States will find itself with several insurgencies and refugee crises not halfway around the world but in its own geopolitical backyard, whose intensity will eclipse the Cold War-era struggles.  Should United States insist on pursuing its current course, it risks losing power and influence in Latin America in the same way as it did in the Middle East.

Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

By Samer al-Hajj Ali

Beirut – The martyrdom of Hussein Shalhoub and Sanaa al-Jundi might be just another terminal on the road to bringing down an entire society to its knees. It could be a “mercy shot” against a shrewd project aimed at destroying Lebanon and eliminating its pluralism and civil peace. But the project, which is designed to subjugate Lebanon and force it into taking deals, will not succeed. It will follow in the footsteps of the starvation projects undertaken by the US against the resistance community and implemented by Washington’s proxies in Lebanon and abroad.

From the chaos of stupidity and the mobs, the resistance community emerges. It is as if it has learned lessons after a weeks-long silence during which it watched and analyzed developments in Lebanon and the region. These regional developments and those unfolding in the streets of Beirut and across Lebanon cannot be separated. This is especially true when it comes to the lines of isolation, which are referred to as points of banditry by those taking advantage of the revolution. For those who lived under the “Israeli” occupation, these roadblocks brought back memories of the former security belt crossings, in particular the Beit Yahoun and Hamra ones. They also provoked those who are racing to find solutions to developments in this open battle, which has taken the economic sanctions as its banner.

“The American conspiracy has been exposed,” social activist Hussein Abbas tells al-Ahed news website. “They want to hit the environment of the resistance in Lebanon by relying on the policies of oppression and starvation after they failed to eliminate it during the decades-long wars and military operations. Today, they are rushing to impose an economic blockade on us, to starve us without paying attention to the fact that we are the followers of an Imam who died hungry and thirsty and did not surrender. His banner still flies.

‘I am the resistance, I am the farmer’

Hussein’s position was articulated through his collaboration with a group of young people in Tyre, which led to the launch of an initiative called ‘I am the Resistance, I am the Farmer’. It urges people to return to cultivating their land that they left behind due to the economic policies prevailing in Lebanon starting in the 1990s. The campaign does more than advocate. It also organizes awareness seminars and educational meetings to re-train people on the correct methods of agriculture and varieties of agriculture that can be used during these circumstances.

Abbas points out that the campaign’s follow-up committee produced many brochures, raising awareness about winter cultivars and their suitability with different soil types in the region.

While the campaign focuses on advocating the cultivation of leaf vegetables and vegetables people consume on a daily basis, Abbas puts the campaign’s capabilities at the disposal of anyone wishing to plow lands and orchards and equip them for agriculture. Volunteer agricultural engineers can provide guidance and follow-up.

While the campaign ‘I am the resistance, I am the farmer’ was launched along the coastal area of southern Lebanon, other campaigns launched by southern municipalities were paving their way to the fields, especially the threshing floors of the town of Ainata in the district of Bint Jbeil. The town’s municipality became the headquarters of a group of farmers and specialists in agriculture and the economy who prepared for a long battle against all forms of siege.

Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

‘Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance’ [Bayaderona Moqawema], is a project born out of an idea the municipality of Ainata got from the local community. It is meant to facilitate a return to the roots and the cultivation of lands that were occupied by the “Israeli” enemy and are still under a masked occupation in the form of cluster bombs, desertification and neglect. The head of the Ainata Municipality, Dr. Riad Fadlallah, points out to al-Ahed that the initiative comes at a time of stressful economic conditions marred by fears of staple food shortages.

“This has forced us to seek other sources to secure these staples and to assure our people that we stand by them,” Fadlallah explains.

“The residents suggested planting a variety of grains, mainly wheat, as the main staple of flour. But the municipal council failed to convene, so a decision was made to adopt the idea but with no financial profit,” Fadlallah tells al-Ahed. “Thus, we launched an appeal asking residents to lend their land free of charge for the project. There was a high turnout. This provided us with an incentive to complete the remainder of the main steps, including designating the land that can be used for planting and divided according to the types of agriculture required pending the start of planting season with the first rains.”

“We want to fight desertification, the high cost of living and the possibility of grain shortages,” Fadlallah adds.

“We will turn the threat into opportunity. And we will go back to our roots represented by agriculture with the help of our people, for those who have been accustomed to giving blood will surely give you land to cultivate, let alone material support. This is an incentive to move forward with this project.”

Sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture

Amid the threats and opportunities, Ainata has the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is supposed to be the “mother of the boy” in every sense when it comes to agriculture in Lebanon. Hussein al-Saqqa, director of the Agriculture Department in the Nabatieh governorate, believes the town to be a pioneer, since people used to grow on its plantations and eat from its animal products, such as chickens. Today our villages are full of land that is not being utilized. It sits empty all the time. If each person took care of his land and cultivated it, he will be able to secure his annual provisions and save from the household income.

Al-Saqqa calls on people to return to the land for food security. But he also points out that the ministry stands by the experience and the farmers in Lebanon as it has always done through the projects it launched, the projects it took part in with donors or the projects submitted to it by the municipalities.

Ainata’s initiative was soon adopted by surrounding villages and towns, which are fully aware of how to resist and overcome difficult circumstances. Some municipalities have been working for years on a comprehensive development plan with agriculture as a central tool.

The Federation of Jabal Aamel Municipalities is one of those. It did not hesitate in the past to support this sector. It did so through summer agricultural projects, which distribute seedlings free of charge to farmers and other people. It also did it through the launch of projects of thyme and aromatic plants, laying hens and bees, reviving the cultivation of figs and cactus and taking care of olive groves, tobacco and others in various towns and villages.

Ali Taher Yassin, the president of the federation reveals that the union today is introducing to its annual program the cultivation of different types of grains, including wheat. Both types of wheat are being introduced – the kind used for provisions like Burghul and Freek, and the kind used for flour.

“The agricultural department in the federation is preparing a detailed study that will be completed in the coming days to launch the process of planting grain and wheat in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and securing seeds that will contribute to increasing production and achieving economic feasibility,” Yassin said hoping for help from the people and farmers by raising interest in this topic.

Yassin points out that the federation and its municipalities have been able to increase local agricultural production by over 40% in the last ten years. It does not only provide provisions that the people need, but it also maintains health and food security through the consumption of controlled and disease-free organic product.

Yassin concludes by pointing out that while some supporting bodies and organizations stopped their aid to the municipalities, we declare our readiness to provide everything necessary in this regard. Let the whole world see that this nation which triumphed through its resistance with the least available means, will reaffirm its capability to achieve self-sufficiency, again with the least available means.

While the state of readiness is raised before we enter the rainy season, and before the phase of sowing the land with grain begins, the agricultural services center in the town of At Tiri – affiliated to the Federation of Bint Jbeil – continued to distribute wheat seeds for making flour to farmers in various municipalities. By next summer, they will be flour-producing municipalities and seeking self-sufficiency. This will save resistance communities from waiting in queues at bakeries in search for breadcrumbs that the US and its puppets in and outside of Lebanon are trying to take away from those who gave glory to the Cedar country with their blood and did not kneel.

Related News

 

US ‘Regime Changes’: The Historical Record

Global Research, November 29, 2019

First published on February 5, 2019

As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US ‘regime changes’ throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019

During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.

In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.

In the 1990’s US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.

Image on the right: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2005 (Source: Public Domain)

The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led ‘regime changes’ over the following two decades.

Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.

The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.

The Venezuela experience with ‘regime change’ speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and ‘legitimated’ by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.

US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).

Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon — but that is also their weakness.

Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective

Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.

The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.

US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.

Image below: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the advocate of the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état that installed the right-wing dictatorship (Source: Public Domain)

The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.

Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.

In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.

The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.

In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority.Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.

Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratc socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.

Chile’s democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.

It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela’s President Maduro.

Contradictory Puppet-Building

Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.

The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).

Cuba’s defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership’s decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.

In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.

Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.

After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.

The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).

Morales 20060113 02.jpg

In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.

Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse “aid agencies’ and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.

The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.

Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.

The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).

The progressive social welfare – neo-liberal regimes entered in crises and were ousted by a US backed puppet regime (Macri) in 2015 which proceeded to reverse reforms, privatize the economy and subordinate the state to US bankers and speculators.

After two years in power, the puppet regime faltered, the economy spiraled downward and another cycle of repression and mass protest emerged. The US puppet regime’s rule is tenuous, the populace fills the streets, while the Pentagon sharpens its knives and prepares puppets to replace their current client regime.

Conclusion

The US has not succeeded in consolidating regime changes among the large countries with mass organizations and military supporters.

Washington has succeeded in overthrowing popular – national regimes in Brazil, and Argentina. However, over time puppet regimes have been reversed.

While the US resorts to largely a single ‘track’ (military coups and invasions) in overwhelming smaller and more vulnerable popular governments, it relies on ‘multiple tracks’ strategy with regard to large and more formidable countries.

In the former cases, usually a call to the military or the dispatch of the marines is enough to snuff an electoral democracy.

In the latter case, the US relies on a multi-proxy strategy which includes a mass media blitz, labeling democrats as dictatorships, extremists, corrupt, security threats, etc.

As the tension mounts, regional client and European states are organized to back the local puppets.

Phony “Presidents” are crowned by the US President whose index finger counters the vote of millions of voters. Street demonstrations and violence paid and organized by the CIA destabilize the economy; business elites boycott and paralyze production and distribution… Millions are spent in bribing judges and military officials.

If the regime change can be accomplished by local military satraps, the US refrains from direct military intervention.

Regime changes among larger and wealthier countries have between one or two decades duration. However, the switch to an electoral puppet regime may consolidate imperial power over a longer period – as was the case of Chile.

Where there is powerful popular support for a democratic regime, the US will provide the ideological and military support for a large-scale massacre, as was the case in Argentina.

The coming showdown in Venezuela will be a case of a bloody regime change as the US will have to murder hundreds of thousands to destroy the millions who have life-long and deep commitments to their social gains , their loyalty to the nation and their dignity.

In contrast the bourgeoisie, and their followers among political traitors, will seek revenge and resort to the vilest forms of violence in order to strip the poor of their social advances and their memories of freedom and dignity.

It is no wonder that the Venezuela masses are girding for a prolonged and decisive struggle: everything can be won or lost in this final confrontation with the Empire and its puppets.

*

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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from Images.com/Corbis

Who laughs finally laughs a lot من يضحك أخيرا يضحك كثيرا

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Iran’s ‘only crime is we decided not to fold’

Foreign Minister Zarif sketches Iran-US relations for diplomats, former presidents and analysts

Global Research, November 26, 2019

Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan delivered a searing account of Iran-US relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former Presidents and analysts.

Zarif was the main speaker in a panel titled “The New Concept of Nuclear Disarmament.” Keeping to a frantic schedule, he rushed in and out of the round table to squeeze in a private conversation with Kazakh First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

During the panel, moderator Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, managed to keep a Pentagon analyst’s questioning of Zafir from turning into a shouting match.

Previously, I had extensively discussed with Syed Rasoul Mousavi, minister for West Asia at the Iran Foreign Ministry, myriad details on Iran’s stance everywhere from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. I was at the James Bond-ish round table of the Astana Club, as I moderated two other panels, one on multipolar Eurasia and the post-INF environment and another on Central Asia (the subject of further columns).

Zarif’s intervention was extremely forceful. He stressed how Iran “complied with every agreement and it got nothing;” how “our people believe we have not gained from being part of” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; how inflation is out of control; how the value of the rial dropped 70% “because of ‘coercive measures’ – not sanctions because they are illegal.”

He spoke without notes, exhibiting absolute mastery of the inextricable swamp that is US-Iran relations. It turned out, in the end, to be a bombshell. Here are highlights.

Zarif’s story began back during 1968 negotiations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,  with the stance of the “Non-Aligned Movement to accept its provisions only if at a later date” – which happened to be 2020 – “there would be nuclear disarmament.” Out of 180 non-aligned countries, “90 countries co-sponsored the indefinite extension of the NPT.”

Moving to the state of play now, he mentioned how the United States and France are “relying on nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, which is disastrous for the entire world.” Iran on the other hand “is a country that believes nuclear weapons should never be owned by any country,” due to “strategic calculations based on our religious beliefs.”

Zarif stressed how “from 2003 to 2012 Iran was under the most severe UN sanctions that have ever be imposed on any country that did not have nuclear weapons. The sanctions that were imposed on Iran from 2009 to 2012 were greater than the sanctions that were imposed on North Korea, which had nuclear weapons.”

Discussing the negotiations for the JCPOA that started in 2012, Zarif noted that Iran had started from the premise that “we should be able to develop as much nuclear energy as we wanted” while the US had started under the premise that Iran should never have any centrifuges.” That was the “zero-enrichment” option.

Zarif, in public, always comes back to the point that “in every zero-sum game everybody loses.” He admits the JCPOA is “a difficult agreement. It’s not a perfect agreement. It has elements I don’t like and it has elements the United Stares does not like.” In the end, “we reached the semblance of a balance.”

Zarif offered a quite enlightening parallel between the NPT and the JCPOA:

“The NPT was based on three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Basically the disarmament part of NPT is all but dead, non-proliferation is barely surviving and peaceful use of nuclear energy is under serious threat,” he observed.

Meanwhile,

“JCPOA was based on two pillars: economic normalization of Iran, which is reflected in Security Council resolution 2231, and – at the same time – Iran observing certain limits on nuclear development.”

Crucially, Zarif stressed there is nothing “sunset” about these limits, as Washington argues: “We will be committed to not producing nuclear weapons forever.”

All about distrust

Then came Trump’s fateful May 2018 decision:

“When President Trump decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism.”

Referring to a common narrative that describes him and John Kerry as obsessed with sacrificing everything to get a deal, Zarif said:

“We negotiated this deal based on distrust. That’s why you have a mechanism for disputes.”

Still, “the commitments of the EU and the commitments of the United States are independent. Unfortunately the EU believed they could procrastinate. Now we are at a situation where Iran is receiving no benefit, nobody is implementing their part of the bargain, only Russia and China are fulfilling partially their commitments, because the United States even prevents them from fully fulfilling their commitments. France proposed last year to provide $15 billion to Iran for the oil we could sell from August to December. The United States prevented the European Union even from addressing this.”

The bottom line, then, is that “other members of the JCPOA are in fact not implementing their commitments.” The solution “is very easy. Go back to the non-zero sum. Go back to implementing your commitments. Iran agreed that it would negotiate from Day One.”

Zarif made the prediction that

“if the Europeans still believe that they can take us to the Security Council and snap back resolutions they’re dead wrong. Because that is a remedy if there was a violation of the JCPOA. There was no violation of the JCPOA. We took these actions in response to European and American non-compliance. This is one of the few diplomatic achievements of the last many decades. We simply need to make sure that the two pillars exist: that there is a semblance of balance.”

This led him to a possible ray of light among so much doom and gloom:

“If what was promised to Iran in terms of economic normalization is delivered, even partially, we are prepared to show good faith and come back to the implementation of the JCPOA. If it’s not, then unfortunately we will continue this path, which is a path of zero-sum, a path leading to a loss for everybody, but a path that we have no other choice but to follow.”

Time for HOPE

Zarif identifies three major problems in our current geopolitical madness: a “zero-sum mentality on international relations that doesn’t work anymore;” winning by excluding others (“We need to establish dialogue, we need to establish cooperation”); and “the belief that the more arms we purchase, the more security we can bring to our people.”

He was adamant that there’s a possibility of implementing “a new paradigm of cooperation in our region,” referring to Nazarbayev’s efforts: a real Eurasian model of security. But that, Zarif explained, “requires a neighborhood policy. We need to look at our neighbors as our friends, as our partners, as people without whom we cannot have security. We cannot have security in Iran if Afghanistan is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Iraq is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Syria is in turmoil. You cannot have security in Kazakhstan if the Persian Gulf region is in turmoil.”

He noted that, based on just such thinking, “resident Rouhani this year, in the UN General Assembly, offered a new approach to security in the Persian Gulf region, called HOPE, which is the acronym for Hormuz Peace Initiative – or Hormuz Peace Endeavor so we can have the HOPE abbreviation.”

HOPE, explained Zarif, “is based on international law, respect of territorial integrity; based on accepting a series of principles and a series of confidence building measures; and we can build on it as you [addressing Nazarbayev] built on it in Eurasia and Central Asia. We are proud to be a part of the Eurasia Economic Union, we are neighbors in the Caspian, we have concluded last year, with your leadership, the legal convention of the Caspian Sea, these are important development that happened on the northern part of Iran. We need to repeat them in the southern part of Iran, with the same mentality that we can’t exclude our neighbors. We are either doomed or privileged to live together for the rest of our lives. We are bound by geography. We are bound by tradition, culture, religion and history.” To succeed, “we need to change our mindset.”

Age of hegemony gone

It all comes down to the main reason US foreign policy just can’t get enough of Iran demonization. Zarif has no doubts:

“There is still an arms embargo against Iran on the way. But we are capable of shooting down a US drone spying in our territory. We are trying simply to be independent. We never said we will annihilate Israel. Somebody said Israel will be annihilated. We never said we will do it.”

It was, Zarif said, Benjamin Netanyahu who took ownership of that threat, saying,

“I was the only one against the JCPOA.” Netanyahu “managed to destroy the JCPOA. What is the problem? The problem is we decided not to fold. That is our only crime. We had a revolution against a government that was supported by the United States, imposed on our country by the United States, [that] tortured our people with the help of the United States, and never received a single human rights condemnation, and now people are worried why they say ‘Death to America’? We say death to these policies, because they have brought nothing but this farce. What did they bring to us? If somebody came to the United States, removed your president, imposed a dictator who killed your people, wouldn’t you say death to that country?”

Zarif inevitably had to evoke Mike Pompeo:

“Today the Secretary of State of the United States says publicly: ‘If Iran wants to eat, it has to obey the United States.’ This is a war crime. Starvation is a crime against humanity. It’s a newspeak headline. If Iran wants its people to eat, it has to follow what he said. He says, ‘Death to the entire Iranian people.’”

By then the atmosphere across the huge round table was electric. One could hear a pin drop – or, rather, the mini sonic booms coming from high up in the shallow dome via the system devised by star architect Norman Foster, heating the high-performance glass to melt the snow.

Zarif went all in:

“What did we do the United States? What did we do to Israel? Did we make their people starve? Who is making our people starve? Just tell me. Who is violating the nuclear agreement? Because they did not like Obama? Is that a reason to destroy the world, just because you don’t like a president?”

Iran’s only crime, he said, “is that we decided to be our own boss. And that crime – we are proud of it. And we will continue to be. Because we have seven millennia of civilization. We had an empire that ruled the world, and the life of that empire was probably seven times the entire life of the United States. So – with all due respect to the United States empire; I owe my education to the United States – we don’t believe that the United States is an empire that will last. The age of empires is long gone. The age of hegemony is long gone. We now have to live in a world without hegemony. – regional hegemony or global hegemony.”

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan last week. Photo: Asia Times / Pepe Escobar

اتصالات روسية فرنسية مشجعة: لا مصلحة دولية في انهيار لبنان.. و إن انهار!

  • اتصالات روسية فرنسية مشجعة: لا مصلحة دولية في انهيار لبنان.. و إن انهار!

 من المؤكد أن ما يشهده العراق ولبنان، على الرغم من أحقية الحراك المطلبي، قد دخل مرحلة التسييس المعلن مع الأحداث العابرة التي شهدتها شوارع إيران، والتي سرعان ما نجح المسؤولون الإيرانيون في احتوائها، في مؤشر على معرفة مسبقة بالسياق العام لخيارات المحور المقابل في هذه المرحلة في المنطقة.

مرّ خبر ارتفاع سعر السندات اللبنانية بالدولار في الساعات القليلة الأخيرة مرور الكرام.

ربط بعض الاقتصاديين الموضوع بتصريح الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب باستعداد الولايات المتحدة للعمل مع حكومة لبنانية جديدة. يُدرك الضالعون في السياسة الدولية و صُنّاع القرار أن ارتفاع قيمة السندات في توقيت كهذا لا يتم من دون موافقة دولية، وأنه إشارة محددة إلى جهات داخلية في لبنان.

في الواقع، شهدت الأيام القليلة الماضية، حراكًا دوليًا جادًا على خط الأزمة اللبنانية، بل قُل “المسألة اللبنانية”، ذلك أنّ النقاش بات في مستقبل التركيبة اللبنانية لا في أزمتها الراهنة فقط.

بعد مرور أكثر من 38 يومًا على الحراك الشعبي، يفرض العامل الاقتصادي نفسه على حسابات جميع الأطراف المعنية محليًا ودوليًا. الجولة الميدانية بين المناطق اللبنانية تُبرز مشهدية ستكون شديدة التأثير في الأيام المقبلة في حال استمرار الإخفاق السياسي في اجتراع الحلول، ففي حين تظهر بوضوح تبعات الأزمة الاقتصادية شمالا وفي الوسط، فإن ضاحية بيروت الجنوبية وجنوب لبنان يشهدان استقرارًا ملحوظًا سببه قيام الجهة السياسية النافذة في هاتين المنطقتين؛ أي حزب الله، بإتخاذ خطوات غير ملحوظة لضمان سير الحياة بشكل شبه طبيعي.

من المؤكد أن ما يشهده العراق ولبنان، على الرغم من أحقية الحراك المطلبي، قد دخل مرحلة التسييس المعلن مع الأحداث العابرة التي شهدتها شوارع إيران، والتي سرعان ما نجح المسؤولون الإيرانيون في احتوائها، في مؤشر على معرفة مسبقة بالسياق العام لخيارات المحور المقابل في هذه المرحلة في المنطقة.

لكن ما يهمنا من المشهد اللبناني الشديد التعقيد هي مؤشرات ومعطيات ترسم معالم مسار الأحداث على المدى البعيد.

كان لافتًا عودة معظم القنوات الإعلامية اللبنانية إلى شبكة برامجها المعتادة والاكتفاء بالنقل المباشر بين البرامج المعتادة عند الحاجة. بغض النظر عما اذا كان ذلك نتيجةً لقرار أم أنه انعكاس لنبض الشارع، فإن الإعلام اللبناني يعكس أيضًا نبض الاتصالات السياسية. وغاب أهل الحراك المستقلين عن المنابر الإعلامية لصالح وجوه أكثر ارتباطا برؤى سياسية.

في هذه الاثناء، كانت الاتصالات الاميركية – الفرنسية وتلك الروسية – الفرنسية قد بدأت في بلورة أفكار معقولة. بالنسبة للموقف الأميركية، ليس لبنان في صدارة الأولويات بالتأكيد، ومن يتولى متابعة الملف اللبناني في واشنطن هم شخصيات معروفة باهتمامها بلبنان من منطلق شخصي. ولعلّ ما نُقل عن “دايفيد شينكر” من باريس عن تقدم الفرنسيين في لبنان والتسليم بقدرتهم على التواصل مع مختلف الأفرقاء يعكس حقيقة الموقف الأميركي غير القادر على أن يقدم حلًا في ظل خصامه السياسي مع شريحة واسعة من اللبنانيين، ونظرة هذه الشريحة بريبة إلى أي مقترح أميركي. في حين أن هذه الشريحة نفسها لا تجد إشكالية في استقبال الموفدين الفرنسيين وتبادل الآراء معهم، وإن كان الموقف الفرنسي ليس مجانيًا بطبيعة الحال، وهو ينطلق من مصلحة فرنسية خالصة، ولكنه يبقى أقل حدة من أي موقف دولي أخر.

وفي هذا السياق، لا يرفض الفرنسيون فكرة حكومة ينخرط فيها حزب الله، وهو ما يتقاطع مع الموقف الروسي أيضًا الحاضر بفعالية، إثر اتصالات بين موسكو وطهران، مدفوعة بحرص روسي على مشاريع الغاز قبالة السواحل اللبنانية والسورية. وهو ما يتطلب استقراراً في لبنان.

ما الذي يفسّر تمسّك الرئيس سعد الحريري بموقفه إذا؟ لدى الحريري اعتبارات ترتبط بحسابات شعبية بعد أن اخترق الحراك بعمق الشرائح المناصرة له، خاصة في طرابلس وبيروت. كما أن الموقف السعودي – الإماراتي من مشاركة حزب الله في الحكومة لا يزال على حاله بالرفض الكامل. وبالتالي فإن أي حل دولي قد لا يعني بالضرورة انخراط الحريري شخصياً به، وإن كان من الطبيعي أن يشمل تياره.

هل يعني هذا أن الحل بات قريباً؟ الجواب هو لا.

قد لا يكن اللاعبون الدوليون قادرين على اللحاق بقطار الانهيار الاقتصادي في لبنان. وهذا الانهيار المرتقب هو سبب إطالة الأزمة في المرحلة المقبلة، لكن الغطاء الدولي يظلّ عاملاً هامًا في ضبط الأمور والبناء عليه لتحقيق تسوية واسعة تجيب على مطالب الحراك المحقة، و تشمل إجراء انتخابات نيابية مبكرة بعد الاتفاق على حكومة مؤقتة.

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