“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 04, 2020

To read this article in other versions, click: French, German, and Russian.

First published November 4, 2017. Revisions to the English Text, December 10, 2017

Author’s Note 

Since this article was first published in 2017, YouTube has decided to Censor the short video produced by South Front which is largely based on the declassified documents quoted in this article. 

US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated  at the height of World War II under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies.  

The plan to bomb 66 Soviet cities was “officially” formulated in mid-September 1945, two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan.  

Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

Flash Forward to 2020: Nuclear War is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

A one $1.2 trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing. 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 4, 2020

***

According to a secret document datedSeptember 15, 1945, “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union  with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret U.S. plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August, 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front

The secret plan dated September 15, 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War II,  at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24, 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of  a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized 5-6 weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

“On September 15, 1945 — just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War II — Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED,” which was about as high as it went during World War II. (Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op. cit)

Pentagon Plans to Destroy Dozens of Soviet Cities and the So-called Cold War

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race are acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War II and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the U.S. plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War II) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

“1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now,” the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions.” (Timeline of the Doomsday Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2017)

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War II.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities: 

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet block countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

“According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Source: National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors,  their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.  Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.  Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op. cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to Today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2, Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev were accutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4.  A one trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army  

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to U.S. crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 9, 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image right), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes”. 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

A Historical Reminder of What Defines the United States, as Told by a Former Slave. Frederick Douglas (1817-1895)

By Cynthia Chung

Global Research,https://www.globalresearch.ca/historical-reminder-united-states-told-former-slave/5717953 July 07, 2020

Strategic Culture Foundation 

5 July 2020

We live in tumultuous days… one could say “the end of an era”.

It is clear that there is a storm coming, however, the question is will it be the sort of storm that provides sustenance and relief to drought-stricken and barren lands, or will it be the sort of storm that destroys indiscriminately and leaves nothing recognizable in its wake?

There is such a heavy tension in the air, the buildup we are told of centuries of injustice, oppression and murder. It feels like the entire world’s burden has laid itself upon one culprit and that it is high time that that villain pay for past blood spilled.

That villain is the United States.

It is common to hear that this nation was created under the hubristic banner of “Freedom from Empire”, while it brutally owned slaves and committed genocide on the indigenous people. That the “Declaration of Independence” and the “U.S. Constitution” are despicable displays of the highest degree of grotesque hypocrisy, and that in reality the U.S. was to replace one system of empire with another and far worse.

These are weighty charges indeed, and nobody can deny that great crimes against humanity have been committed. However, it is important that we review this history in full, for if we lose sight of the forest, we will be losing sight of an ongoing battle that is still waging.

We will have abandoned the work of past heroes that has been left unfinished and will have replaced it with the false idol of anarchy, mistaking its ‘empty-promises of liberty’ as a mark of what constitutes a ‘true freedom’.

How can we avoid such ‘empty-promises’ and strive for ‘true freedom’?

There is no better account in addressing such a question as that of Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), a former slave who would become an advisor to Abraham Lincoln during the dark days of the Civil War and the Consul General to Haiti in his elder years.

A through-and-through TRUE American hero (1).

From Slavery to Freedom

Frederick Douglass was born in Talbot County, in the State of Maryland. Though it was impossible to know his exact date of birth, he gathers that the month of February 1817 is as accurate as possible. The name given to him by his dear mother was, in the words of Douglass “no less pretentious and long” than Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (Frederick’s mother was believed to be the only slave in the region who knew how to read).

Frederick recalls that in his youth

“I was just as well aware of the unjust, unnatural, and murderous character of slavery, when nine years old, as I am now. Without any appeals to books, to laws, or to authorities of any kind, to regard God as ‘Our Father’ condemned slavery as a crime.”

Already, by the age of nine, Frederick had set himself upon not only the idea of escape from this destitution, but was always mindful to an education wherever he could find it.

Luckily, in this unhappy state his only adult friend Miss Lucretia, (daughter of Captain Anthony the slaveholder of Frederick), arranged for Frederick, at the age of ten, to be sent away from the plantations to live in Baltimore with her husband’s brother Hugh Auld.

It was in Baltimore that Frederick would learn how to read.

Years go by and at around the age of fifteen or sixteen, Frederick is sent back to the plantations (over a family squabble), and not surprisingly is found to be wholly unfit for a life of hard-labour as an obedient slave. He is thus promptly sent to “Covey, The Negro Breaker” to lodge with for a period of one year.

For six months, Frederick was whipped and beaten on a regular basis. From the dawn of day till the complete darkness in the evening, he was kept hard at work in the fields, and was worked up to the point of his powers of endurance.

Until one day he decides finally that it is better to resist and risk the consequences than continue to live such a contemptible life as a mere brute. He decides one day to simply refuse to be treated as an animal, not to strike back but to oppose the striking.

As Frederick states

A man without force is without the essential dignity of humanity. Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, though it can pity him, and even this it cannot do long if signs of power do not arise. He only can understand the effect of this combat on my spirit, who has himself incurred something, or hazarded something, in repelling the unjust and cruel aggressions of a tyrant. Covey was a tyrant and a cowardly one withal. After resisting him, I felt as I had never felt before. It was a resurrection from the dark and pestiferous tomb of slavery, to the heaven of comparative freedom. I was no longer a servile coward, trembling under the frown of a brother worm of the dust, but my long-cowed spirit was roused to an attitude of independence. I had reached the point at which I was not afraid to die. This spirit made me a freeman in fact, though I still remained a slave in form. When a slave cannot be flogged, he is more than half free. He has a domain as broad as his own manly heart to defend, and he is really ‘a power on earth’. From this time until my escape from slavery, I was never fairly whipped. Several attempts were made, but they were always unsuccessful. Bruised I did get, but the instance I have described was the end of the brutification to which slavery had subjected me.”

The Abolitionist Cause in Light of the Preservation of the Union

“…that the fathers of the Republic neither intended the extension nor the perpetuity of slavery and that liberty is national and slavery is sectional.” – Frederick Douglass

To make a long story short, Frederick would successfully escape the South and on September 3rd 1838, arriving in New York at the age of 21, he would finally embark on a life as a free man.

It would be only four or five months living in New Bedford before Douglass would meet William Lloyd Garrison, one of the most prominent leaders of the Abolitionist movement. It did not take long for Douglass to be invited along their speaking tours to recount his story as a runaway slave from the South.

Though Douglass would owe much of his future as a great orator and writer in thanks to his Abolitionist friends who gave him a strong start in this direction and introduced him to many important figures, Douglass would eventually distance himself from the Abolitionist “scripture”.

This distancing was caused by Douglass’ later recognition that there was in fact, no “pro-slavery” character in the U.S. Constitution as Garrison had been stating.Falsifying History on Behalf Of Agendas. “US Civil War was about Money not Slavery”

Douglass states,

After a time, a careful reconsideration of the subject convinced me that there was no necessity for dissolving the union between the northern and southern states, that to seek this dissolution was not part of my duty as an abolitionist, that to abstain from voting was to refuse to exercise a legitimate and powerful means for abolishing slavery, and that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery, but, on the contrary, was in its letter and spirit an antislavery instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence as the supreme law of the land.”

During this time, Douglass would start his own anti-slavery newspaper called “The North Star”. Along with this new editorial responsibility, Douglass would no longer leave it to the “good advice” of his “more learned” Abolitionist friends, but would take the responsibility upon himself to seek out and come to know whether such assertions by the Abolitionists on the nature of the Republic were true.

 “My new circumstances compelled me to re-think the whole subject, and to study with some care not only the just and proper rules of legal interpretation, but the origin, design, nature, rights, powers, and duties of civil governments, and also the relations which human beings sustain to it. By such a course of thought and reading I was conducted to the conclusion that the Constitution of the United States – inaugurated to ‘form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty’ – could not well have been designed at the same time to maintain and perpetuate a system of rapine and murder like slavery, especially as not one word can be found in the Constitution to authorize such a belief…the Constitution of our country is our warrant for the abolition of slavery in every state of the Union…being convinced of the fact, my duty upon this point in the further conduct of my paper [The North Star] was plain.”

Abraham Lincoln would be elected as the President of the United States on March 4th, 1861. To which Douglass stated of the occasion:

It was Mr. Lincoln who told the American people at this crisis that the ‘Union could not long endure half slave and half free; that they must be all one or the other, and that the public mind could find no resting place but in the belief in the ultimate extinction of slavery.’ These were not the words of an abolitionist – branded a fanatic, and carried away by an enthusiastic devotion to the Negro – but the calm cool, deliberate utterance of a statesman, comprehensive enough to take in the welfare of the whole country…In a few simple words he had embodied the thought of the loyal nation, and indicated the character fit to lead and guide the country amid perils present and to come.

On Meeting Lincoln

“I still believed, and spoke as I believed, all over the North, that the mission of the war was the liberation of the slave, as well as the salvation of the Union…” – Frederick Douglass

With this newly discovered orientation, Douglass not only put the preservation of the Union as something necessary and expedient but, most importantly, something that could not be sacrificed in striving for the Abolitionist cause.

Douglass would be one of the first to encourage the recruitment, through his paper “The North Star”, of black soldiers to join the Union’s war against the Confederate South. The thought was that by these men joining the war, they would prove their mettle in the cause for emancipation.

These were hard days, since black soldiers were not given equal treatment nor protection in the Union army. They also risked, if captured by the South, being enslaved, a sentence in Douglass’ words “worse than death”. Douglass had been assured that equal treatment would eventually occur, but it was too slow moving in his eyes and he refused to continue recruiting black soldiers into the Union army.

It was at this point that Douglass was invited to meet with President Lincoln to discuss his concerns over the matter.

Douglass describes his first meeting with Lincoln:

I was never more quickly or more completely put at ease in the presence of a great man than in that of Abraham Lincoln…Long lines of care were already deeply written on Mr. Lincoln’s brow, and his strong face, full of earnestness, lighted up as soon as my name was mentioned…I at once felt myself in the presence of an honest man – one whom I could love, honor, and trust without reserve or doubt.

One of the points of concern Douglass discussed with the President, was on the unfair treatment of black soldiers as POWs and suggested that the North should retaliate and commit the same treatment on their Southern POWs to dissuade this unequal treatment, to which Lincoln responded,

Retaliation was a terrible remedy, and one which it was very difficult to apply – that, if once begun, there was no telling where it would end – that if he could get hold of the Confederate soldiers who had been guilty of treating colored soldiers as felons he could easily retaliate, but the thought of hanging men for a crime perpetrated by others was revolting to his feelings…Though I was not entirely satisfied with his views, I was so well satisfied with the man and with the educating tendency of the conflict I determined to go on with the recruiting.

Douglass reflects on his decision:

“It was a great thing to achieve American independence when we numbered three millions, but it was a greater thing to save this country from dismemberment and ruin when it numbered thirty millions. He alone of all our presidents was to have the opportunity to destroy slavery, and to lift into manhood millions of his countrymen hitherto held as chattels and numbered with the beasts of the field.”

The Emancipation Proclamation

“Since William the Silent, who was the soul of the mighty war for religious liberty against Spain and the Spanish Inquisition, no leader of men has been loved and trusted in such generous measures as was Abraham Lincoln.”

– Frederick Douglass

During the third year of the sanguinary Civil War, January 1st 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Douglass states of the occasion: “the formal and solemn announcement was made that thereafter the government would be found on the side of emancipation…It must be the end of all compromises with slavery – a declaration that thereafter the war was to be conducted on a new principle, with a new aim.

It was at this point that Lincoln received criticism for extending the war unnecessarily. The South was ready to make certain concessions and the North was eager to end the war. By Lincoln announcing the Emancipation Proclamation, it was thought by many to be a reckless provocation making any possibility of peace fruitless.

On this subject, Douglass would meet with Lincoln for the last time, before he would be assassinated.

The main subject on which he wished to confer with me was as to the means most desirable to be employed outside the army to induce the slaves in the rebel states to come within the deferral lines. The increasing opposition to the war, in the North, and the mad cry against it, because it was being made an abolition war, alarmed Mr. Lincoln, and made him apprehensive that a peace might be forced upon him which would leave still in slavery all who had not come within our lines. What he wanted was to make his proclamation as effective as possible in the event of such a peace…He said he was being accused of protracting the war beyond its legitimate object and failing to make peace when he might have done so to advantage. He was afraid of what might come of all these complaints, but was persuaded that no solid and lasting peace could come short of absolute submission on the part of the rebels [the South]…He saw the danger of premature peace…I was the more impressed by this benevolent consideration because he before said, in answer to the peace clamor, that his object was to save the Union, and to do so with or without slavery. What he said on this day showed a deeper moral conviction against slavery than I had ever seen before in anything spoken or written by him. I listened with the deepest interest and profoundest satisfaction, and, at his suggestion, agreed to undertake the organizing of a band of scouts, composed of colored men, whose business should be somewhat after the original plan of John Brown, to go into the rebel states, beyond the lines of our armies, and to carry the news of emancipation, and urge the slaves to come within our boundaries.

…I refer to this conversation because I think that, on Mr. Lincoln’s part, it is evidence conclusive that the proclamation, so far at least as he was concerned, was not effected merely as a [political] ‘necessity’.

President Lincoln would be selected to continue a second term and was inaugurated on March 4th, 1865. About one month after the official end of the Civil War. Lincoln would be assassinated just a mere 41 days after his second inauguration.

Douglass writes, “His first inauguration arrested the fall of the Republic, and the second was to restore it to enduring foundations.” The fact that Lincoln’s leadership was savagely cut short was a tragedy for all who understood that the true foundation of the Republic was built upon the principle “liberty for all”.

In that sad moment, when the country heard of the death of their leader who was to bring them closer to this goal, Douglass states,

“We shared in common a terrible calamity, and this ‘touch of nature made us’ more than countrymen, it made us ‘kin’.”

Reflections on the Past

It is an utmost testament to the grace and nobility of Frederick Douglass’ character that an soon as the law and spirit of slavery had been broken, he made a point to no longer harbour hate and resentment for the past wrongs committed upon himself. He recognised that humanity was indeed inherently good and would ultimately strive towards goodness if left to its natural tendency… that to punish the children of those who committed crimes before them would destroy any good that ever existed in the world.

Douglass recounts,

If any reader of this part of my life shall see in it the evidence of a want of manly resentment for wrongs inflicted by slavery upon myself and race, and by the ancestors of…[those who once owned slaves], so it must be. No man can be stronger than nature, one touch of which, we are told, makes all the world akin. I esteem myself a good, persistent hater of injustice and oppression, but my resentment ceases when they cease, and I have no heart to visit upon children the sins of their father.

I will end here with an account of Douglass when he revisits the place where he was born a “slave” and sees his former “master” Captain Auld, upon his request on his deathbed, after his escape to the North over 25 years ago:

But now that slavery was destroyed, and the slave and the master stood upon equal ground, I was not only willing to meet him, but was very glad to do so…He was to me no longer a slaveholder either in fact or in spirit, and I regarded him as I did myself, a victim of the circumstances of birth, education, law, and custom.

Our courses had been determined for us, not by us. We had both been flung, by powers that did not ask our consent, upon a mighty current of life, which we could neither resist, nor control. By this current he was a master, and I a slave, but now our lives were verging towards a point where differences disappear, where even the constancy of hate breaks down and where the clouds of pride, passion, and selfishness vanish before the brightness of infinite light.

*

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Cynthia Chung is a lecturer, writer and co-founder and editor of the Rising Tide Foundation (Montreal, Canada).

Note

(1) This paper has used Douglass’ account of American history from his writings in his autobiography “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass”, for which the full pdf version can be found here.

Featured image is from Wikimedia CommonsThe original source of this article is Strategic Culture FoundationCopyright © Cynthia ChungStrategic Culture Foundation, 2020

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE EMERGING NEW WORLD ORDER

 A

Source: New Eastern Outlook

By James O’Neill
One of the many difficulties in interpreting the statements of United States President Donald Trump is to decide what category to put his many statements (and even more prolific tweets) in.

Is it another thought bubble similar to his pronouncements on a cure for COVID-19 that was more likely to kill rather than to cure those who followed his advice? Is the latest pronouncement said with an eye to his re-election this coming November, to be discarded once that hurdle has been passed?

The answer to that question is perhaps best found by looking at his track record over the past 3 ½ years. There have been many pronouncements in the foreign policy field, but vanishingly small achievements have followed. The much-heralded nuclear deal with North Korea is one of the latest to fall by the wayside with North Korea’s president Kim announcing a resumption of nuclear testing.

Kim’s cited reason was the total absence of any concrete moves by the United States in settling their multiple outstanding issues. Kim noted, with some justification, that Trump’s negotiating technique was to demand concessions from the North Koreans which had to be fulfilled before the US would make any moves itself, such as reducing troop numbers in South Korea, or ceasing its economic warfare on the North.

It is a well-established principle that what a person does is a much more reliable indicator of future behaviour than what they say. Since becoming president, Trump has withdrawn from, or announced the United States’ intention of withdrawing from, a significant number of major treaties. These included, a by no means exhaustive list, the nuclear arms deal with Iran negotiated with the other United Nations Security Council permanent members plus Germany and European Union; the International Postal Union; the Paris climate agreement; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; UNESCO; and the Human Rights Council.

Whatever else these moves may mean; they are not the actions of a country committed to solving international problems in a multi-national format. Given this track record over the past 3+ years there is no basis for believing that they are temporary measures designed only to enhance Trump’s re-election prospects. Rather the attitude has been, “as long as you do what we want, we will stay.”

Given also the lack of any serious opposition to these moves in the US Senate or his putative presidential opposition candidate Joe Biden, it is probably safe to assume that these moves reflect a broader US approach to multilateral relations. That is, “as long as you do what we want we will stay” in any given organisation.

The reaction to unfavourable decisions by international bodies does however go further. The International Criminal Court (that the United States does not belong to) recently announced it was reopening its investigation into war crimes committed by the United States (and its allies) in Afghanistan. One might argue that this is long overdue, given that these alleged crimes have been a feature of the long 18+ years of warfare carried out on that country. This is before one even begins to contemplate the manifest lies on which the original invasion was based.

Trump’s reaction to the ICC announcement was to threaten both the organisation and its investigating staff, implying a military response if they had the temerity to indict any Americans for war crimes. The principles established in the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials are, it seems, but an historical aberration when even the investigation of what are, in reality, well documented crimes, invokes such a lawless and violent response.

It is in this context that one has to look at Trump’s sudden enthusiasm for an arms control treaty with Russia. This is the topic to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting between the United States and Russian representatives at a 22 June 2020 meeting in Vienna.

There are a number of ways to interpret the United States’ sudden enthusiasm for an agreement with Russia. The first and most obvious is that it is that the United States has realised that the modern Russian arsenal, partially detailed in President Putin’s March 2018 speech to the Russian parliament, is vastly superior to anything in the United States arsenal and that gap is unlikely to narrow, little alone close, for the foreseeable future.

The Russian (but United States resident) writer and military analyst Andre Martyanov is particularly scathing on this point, both in his books and all his website.

While that is possibly part of Trump’s motivation, this is far from being the whole explanation. One has only to look at the continuing role of the United States in Ukraine, not to mention the farcical trial of four alleged perpetrators of the shooting down of MH 17 (three Russians and one Ukrainian) to gauge a measure of United States sincerity.

Far more likely a motive is that Trump is using the meeting as part of his much wider campaign of trying to disrupt the burgeoning Russia China partnership that is going from strength to strength. Trump wants a new deal on nuclear arms that includes China, but he is silent on the other nuclear powers (Great Britain, India, France, Pakistan and Israel) all of whom have a similar or greater number of nuclear weapons than China.

China has long since passed the United States as the world’s largest economy in terms of parity purchasing power. It has formed a close and growing relationship with Russia, not only in its huge Belt and Road Initiative (with now more than 150 countries) but in a series of other organisations such as the Shanghai Corporation Organisation and ASEAN that is presenting a radically different model of economic co-operation and development than the exploitative western model that has dominated for the past 300 years.

This threat to the United States’ self-defined role as the world’s dominant power did not commence during Trump’s presidency, and the United States reaction to it will not cease with the ending of that presidency, either at the end of this year or in four years’ time. If Biden wins in November, we may be spared the endless tweets and bombastic behaviour, but it would be naïve to anticipate any significant change in United States foreign policy.

Therein lies the greatest danger to world peace. The likely future trends arising out of the growing might of China and its relationship with Russia have recently been analysed by the imminent Russian academic Sergey Karaganov. His analysis of the developing China Russia relationship and its geopolitical implications was recently published in an Italian outlet and conveniently summarised in English by Pepe Escobar in his article “Russia Aiming to Realise Greater Eurasian Dream”.

Karaganov argues that Russia’s growing relationship with China represents a wholly new non-aligned movement centred in the greater Eurasian landmass. Unlike the British and the later United States models which depended on invasion, occupation and exploitation of the natural resources of the conquered nations, the new Eurasian model is much more likely to recognise the individual rights and aspirations of the participating nations and pursue policies of mutual benefit.

None of which is seen as other than a threat to the United States and the model it seeks to impose upon the world. Trump’s recent gestures towards Russia need to be interpreted in that light. The United States has no genuine interest in the welfare and prosperity of either Russia or China. Rather, they exist as pieces to be used in the United States version of the world chess board, manipulated to try and maintain the old model of Western, and in particular, United States dominance.

The reluctance of a growing number of European countries to subscribe to that version is more apparent by the day. Therein lies the challenge, the prospect for a better future for the countries joining the pivot to the east, and the greatest danger from a desperate United States unwilling to acknowledge that its days of dominance are rapidly disappearing.

As the Indian commentator M.K. Bhadrakumar says: “Trump’s diatribe against the ICC exposes the hypocrisy of American policies, which keeps blabbering about a rules based international order while acting with impunity whenever it chooses, for geopolitical reasons.” He cites examples and then concludes that “America under Trump has now become the rogue elephant in the international system.” That is, with respect, a perfect summation of where we are at present.

SYRIA CAESAR’S LAW: WHO DOES IT TARGET, AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT PRESIDENT ASSAD?

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

In mid-June, the US sanctions against Syria will escalate, with the enactment of “Caesar’s Law“, sanctions designed to “pursue individuals, groups, companies, and countries that deal with the Damascus government.” This law – purportedly named after a Syrian army officer who smuggled out thousands of photos of torture by the Syrian army in prisons – is designed to prevent companies and countries from opening diplomatic channels with Syria, and to prevent them from contributing to reconstruction, investment, and the provision of spare parts for the energy and aviation sectors in Syria. The sanctions also affect the Syrian central bank, freezing the assets of individuals who deal with Syria and invalidating any visa to America. Who will abide by this law, and what are its consequences for Syria, Lebanon, and the countries that stand beside Syria?

Torture is a common practice in many nations around the world. Syria practised torture (the case of Maher Arar) on behalf of the United States of America and the Bush administration. At least 54 countries (Middle Eastern and African nations but also western countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and more) supported US “extraordinary renditions” in 2001 and secret detentions under President Barack Obama. Washington thus lacks any moral authority to claim opposition to torture as a basis for its policies. Over recent decades the US has become notorious for authorising gruesome forms of torture, stripping people of their most basic rights, and generally violating human rights in defiance of the Geneva convention and above all the 1984 UN convention against torture. James Mitchell, a CIA contract psychiatrist who helped draft and apply “enhanced interrogation techniques“, disclosed several methods approved by the US administration to torture prisoners placed in detention in “black sites” outside the US, illegally but with official authorisation. Images of torture in Abu Ghraib prisons showed the world that the US use of torture and illegal methods of interrogation against detainees in Iraq. 

Thus, US sanctions on Syria cannot plausibly indicate US concern for human values and opposition to the abuse of power. Moreover, the US administration’s adherence to its own Constitution is in grave doubt, given the reaction of the security forces against demonstrators in America in response to widespread racial discrimination and racially motivated police attacks.

These new US sanctions, under the name of Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, can in no way be ascribed to some moral value, but rather to the failure by the US, Israel and several Western and Arab countries to change the regime in Syria, and their refusal to acknowledge defeat. They keep trying, and in this case, imagine that through harsh sanctions against Syria and its allies they can achieve what they have failed to accomplish through many years of war and destruction.

In the 1990s, the US imposed sanctions on Iraq (oil-for-food). Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens died as a result of US sanctions on Iraq without Saddam Hussein’s regime and his entourage being affected. Consequently, we can predict that US sanctions in general primarily affect the population and not the leaders.

The US fails to realize that it is no longer the only superpower in the world, and in the Middle East in particular. Russia has done what many thought was impossible and elbowed its way into the Levant to remain in Syria and confront NATO at the borders. China has followed as a rising economic superpower to make its way into the Middle East, mainly Iraq and Syria. Iran has already a strong presence and powerful allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine. These three countries, along with Syria, are playing a leading role in actively eliminating US hegemony in this part of the world.

In Beirut, the government cannot adopt and abide by “Caesar’s Law” and close its gates to Syria. Lebanon’s only land borders are through Syria since Israel is considered an enemy. Any national economic plan to revitalise the abundant local agriculture sector and export to Syria, Iraq or other countries in the Gulf would fail if “Caesar’s Law” were put into effect. Any regenerated industry or import/export from the Middle Eastern countries must go through the “Syrian gate”. Besides, the current Lebanese government risks falling if it implements the US sanctions. Washington is not providing any financial assistance to the Lebanese economy in crisis and clearly has no intention of offering necessary and immediate help to the crippled Lebanese economy. The US, as has become the norm, seeks to impose sanctions and conditions on the nations it targets but offers little in return to affected countries. In the case of Lebanon, its budget deficit is close to 100 billion dollars following decades of corruption and mismanagement.

The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab is, theoretically, a technocratic and non-political government. It does not consider the US an enemy but neither is it likely to follow US dictates, since it is close to the “March 8 Alliance” whose strongest members are not US friendly. Hence, the only solution for this government or any future government is to go east towards China, Russia and Iran. America will likely lose in Lebanon, with its “March 14 Alliance” allies rendered voiceless and powerless. 

There is no doubt that the Christian party within the “March 8” political group will be challenged and affected by US sanctions. These have an international relationship to look after and maintain as well as external bank accounts. Regardless, “Caesar’s Law” cannot be implemented in Lebanon, whatever the consequences of its violation.

As for Iran, it has already been subject to “maximum pressure” and harsh sanctions increasing year after year since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, for daring to reject US hegemony. Hence, it has no consideration whatsoever for the US “Caesar’s Law”. Even more, Iran is certainly not unhappy that the US blocked the return and reopening of Gulf countries’ embassies – who dare not disobey the US wishes – in Syria. Gulf companies are no longer in the field as competitors to divide shares in Iran’s reconstruction contracts related to projects in the field of industry, trade and energy. Iran has already challenged US and EU sanctions on Syria by sending oil tankers to Damascus. Also, Tehran sent five tankers to Venezuela, another country suffering from harsh US sanctions. The Gulf and European countries – US’s allies – are thus losing their opportunity to return to Syria, to be involved in its reconstruction and to regain their foothold in the Levant.

As for Russia, it has just signed a deal with the Syrian government to expand its military airport and naval bases in Tartous, Hasaka and Hmeymim. Furthermore, it is supplying Syria with modern military hardware and fulfilling the Syrian army needs to come up to full strength. It supplied Syria with squadrons of the updated MiG-29 fighters this month in a clear message to the US and its “Caesar Act” sanctions.

As for China, it is now in a “cold war” situation over US accusations that Beijing is responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19. The US is seeking to prevent Beijing from doing business with the European market, and particularly to prevent Europe from embracing China’s 5G network and technology. The US administration is also pushing Israel to curtail trade with China and to call off its billion-dollar contracts signed with China to avoid “hurting the relationship with the US”. Moreover, the Iraqi-US relationship took a severe blow when the former Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi signed off on a $20 billion “oil for reconstruction” agreement with China. Thus China, already involved in different projects in Syria, is not likely to abide by “Caesar’s Law”.

As for Syria, it will never accept starvation nor buckle under the US’s economic siege. President Bashar al-Assad is reconstructing the liberated areas under the government forces’ controls. He is rebuilding infrastructure for the Syrian population present in the homeland, excluding the areas abandoned by refugees who fled the country many of whom will not return. The Syrian government is not suffering from the absence of the five to seven million refugees in Idlib, in refugee camps outside the control of the government or in nearby bordering countries. Those refugees are financed and looked after by the international community and the United Nations. This relieves the central government of a considerable financial burden.

Consequently, Syria does not need to reconstruct the refugees’ homes or provide them with oil, electricity, schools, infrastructure and subsidies for as long as Western countries want them to stay outside Syria. The international community wants these refugees to remain away from the central government’s control and is doing everything in its power to prevent their return so as to be able to reject a future Presidential election- where Bashar al-Assad’s victory is guaranteed.

President Assad will work with Iran, Russia and China to secure his needs. Iran has defied US-European sanctions by sending oil tankers to Syria through the Straits of Gibraltar twice. Iran is building drug and medicine factories in Syria, and is also working on other projects that it shares with Russia and China. Syria is heading toward the east, not the west, since that it is the only remaining option left to it. This is the long-awaited dream of the “Axis of Resistance”. Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are looking to Asia to reverse the US-European sanctions against them and their allies in the Middle East. By imposing further unaffordable sanctions on Syria, the US is helping the Levant come out of the US sphere of influence and presence.

Iran, Russia, China and Syria are uniting as allies with an integrated project against US hegemony. There is no place for the domination of one state over another in this gathering of nations because solidarity is required to help Syria, for example, stand as a healthy and reliable country to confront the US. Their strength grows as the weakness of the US becomes more apparent, at a time when President Donald Trump is struggling domestically and his world influence is weakening. Washington is unilaterally imposing sanctions on nations and populations, forcing some allies to follow but also forcing them to consider seriously future possibilities for detaching from this burdensome “umbilical cord.”  

The US “Caesar’s Law” aims to submit and suppress the Syrian nation and people, as Washington has attempted with Iran and Venezuela, so far failing miserably. This policy can no longer be effective because the Russian – Chinese – Iranian alliance has now become important to many countries in the Middle East. The influence of this alliance now extends to the Caribbean Sea. “Caesar’s Law” will turn against its architects: “he who prepared the poison shall end up eating it.”

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

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سورية/ الشام تستعدّ لمواجهة السيناريو الأسوأ

د . بيير عازار

Docteur Pierre Azar (@drpazar1) | Twitter

في الوقت الذي لا تزال فيه الولايات المتحدة تحترق بنار المحتجين على سياسة الديكتاتور دونالد ترامب، وفي الوقت الذي عرفت فيه هذه الاحتجاجات توسّعاً لافتاً وشملت حوالي 130 مدينة أميركية؛ لجأت واشنطن إلى تصدير أزماتها الداخلية إلى الدول التي تعارض سياساتها العوجاء، وهي سعت، في هذا المجال، إلى تكثيف عقوباتها الاقتصادية على سورية/ الشام قبيل دخول قانون سيزر (قيصر) حيّز التنفيذ في السابع عشر من شهر حزيران الحالي بهدف الضغط على دمشق لقبول العروض السياسية الأميركية؛ لكنّ سورية تبدو، وفق بعض المراقبين والإعلاميين، قادرة على تحمّل وتجاوز كلذ هذه العقوبات الاقتصادية.

وكان المبعوث الأميركي إلى سورية/ الشام جيمس جيفري أعلن متباهياً، في لقاء مع مجاميع من المعارضات السورية في الخارج عبر الفيديو، أنّ العقوبات الأميركية المفروضة على البلاد السورية ساهمت في انهيار قيمة الليرة السورية، وأنّ الحكومة السورية لم تعد قادرة على إدارة سياسة اقتصادية فاعلة، ولا على تبييض الأموال في المصارف اللبنانية بسبب الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تعصف بلبنان أيضاً. وأشار جيفري إلى “أنّ الكونغرس الأميركي يقف وراء قانون سيزر، وأنّ العقوبات المشمولة بقانون حماية المدنيين السوريين ستطال أيّ نشاط اقتصادي بشكل تلقائي، وكذلك أيّ تعامل مع ايران”.

من المعلوم أنّ «قانون سيزر» يستهدف، إلى جانب الحكومة السورية، جميع الأفراد والشركات الذين يقدّمون التمويل للشعب السوري، كذلك يستهدف كمّاً من الصناعات السورية بما في ذلك تلك المتعلقة بالبنية التحتية والصيانة العسكرية وإنتاج الطاقة، وهو يتجاوز حصار سورية/ الشام إلى حصار كلّ من إيران وروسيا والصين وسائر البلدان العربية والأجنبية التي ترغب في إعادة العلاقة مع دمشق، وتشارك في ملف إعمار سورية/ الكيان الشامي.

إنّ مباهاة جيمس جيفري وعجرفته في عرضه لـ «قانون سيزر» ستسقط، لأنه سياسي منافق وكذوب على شاكلة رئيسه دونالد ترامب؛ كما أنّ «قانون سيزر» سيصطدم بصمود الشعب السوري الأسطوري وأيضاً باقتدار الجيش السوري النموذجي.

ويُضاف إلى ذلك، أنّ الرئاسة السورية كانت قد رفضت عروضاً تُقدّر بمئات المليارات من مشيخات الخليج المترهّلة للقبول بفضّ التحالف مع المقاومتين الفلسطينية واللبنانية وأيضاً إيران، وهي العروض نفسها التي حَمَلَها جيفري إلى دمشق ولم تجد آذاناً صاغية، بل اعتبرتها الشام بمثابة «إعلان حرب».

لا يحق للولايات المتحدة أنْ تحاصر الدول التي تناهض سياساتها القمعية، كما لا يحق لها أن تفرض عقوبات اقتصادية على دول حضارية مثل سورية/ الشام، لأنّ أميركا دولة مارقة وقاطعة، فهي تسرق 150 ألف برميل نفط من حقول النفط في شمال شرق سورية/ الشام، أيّ أكثر من أربعة مليارات دولار سنوياً؛ وهي تسرق كذلك 400 ألف طن من القطن سنوياً، أيّ حوالى خمسة مليارات دولار، كما تسرق أكثر من ثمانية ملايين رأس غنم من الثروة الحيوانية السورية.

وقبل سورية كان العراق – البوابة الشرقية لبلاد الشام – حيث فرضت الولايات المتحدة حصاراً جائراً بدءاً من شهر آب عام 1990 مما أدّى إلى وفاة مليون ونصف مليون طفل عراقي نتيجة الجوع ونقص الدواء الحادّ وسط ذهول دول العالم المتمدّن وتشفّي دول الخليج.

ونرى لزاماً علينا التذكير بأنّ المعارض العراقي أحمد الجلبي، الذي كان عميلاً لوزارة الدفاع الأميركية ويتقاضى منها راتباً شهرياً قدره 335 ألف دولار شهرياً، كان الأخير يفخر على الدوام بدوره في إصدار الكونغرس الأميركي» قانون تحرير العراق» عام 1998، والذي أصبح في ما بعد الأساس القانوني لغزو العراق عام 2003 ومن ثم وضع مشروع تقسيمه وتفتيته إلى دويلات طائفية وعرقية.

وعلى شاكلة «الجلبي» انبرتْ المعارضات السورية في الخارج إلى تأييد «قانون سيزر»، ولا عجب في ذلك، فهي تعمل بغالبيتها لدى مخابرات الدول الغربية حيث يقيم (بسام جعارة وجورج صبرا) نموذجاً، وأيضاً لدى المخابرات المركزية الأميركية (سهير الأتاسي ورضوان زيادة) نموذجاً آخر، والتي تُشغّلهم حسب الطلب لمحاربة الدولة السورية، وكذلك محاربة المواطن السوري حتى في لقمة عيشه، وهو الذي ناظر أيوب في الصبر على الشدائد والتحمّل الشاق على خلفية تكريس النهج الوطني والقومي وصولاً إلى البناء والإعمار من خلال التكامل الناجز بين الشعب والجيش والقيادة السورية.

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Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech On The Latest Developments / 13-3-2020

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech On The Latest Developments / 13-3-2020

Translated by Staff

Sayyed Nasrallah’s full speech on the latest developments delivered via satellite on 13-3-2020

I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you all.

Tonight, I would like to talk about several topics if time permits.

Among the urgent topics that concern everyone at this stage is the new coronavirus outbreak. This topic has become the number one concern not just for Lebanon or the people in our region but the whole world. It has become the primary concern in China, where this pandemic first broke out, in Europe, the U.S. and in countries of our region in west Asia.

I am going to talk about this topic, but I will not delve into the details. This is the task of the competent authorities such as the ministry of health, the doctors and the World Health Organization (WHO). So, I will not be repeating what they said in the past few days and weeks.

Rather, I want to set a framework for dealing with this tremendous development and define our responsibilities. First, we have to acknowledge that we in the midst of battle. Whether we are talking about Lebanon or the whole region, this is no longer a battle fought by one country. It is in fact a global war. It is a global war that is being fought by the countries and peoples of the world. It has become a priority for governments and people all over the world.

First, we must feel like we are fighting a battle. Thinking in this way is important in order for us to approach the matter and address it. There is an enemy and there are targets in this battle. The targets must confront the enemy. The experiences of the resistance, all the resistance movements and all the wars in the world, teach us that the enemy should be clearly identified. However, the problem in this battle is that the enemy is the new coronavirus. This virus is still unknown to the world. They are still researching about it, analyzing it and trying to decipher its secrets to find a cure in the form of medication, or a vaccine. This enemy is still unknow. Its dangers have become mostly clear in the past few weeks. It poses great danger. Hence, this enemy poses a great threat. How?

It threatens people’s lives. One type of enemy is the one that destroys homes, burns farms, disrupts security, and annoys your peace of mind. This enemy launches a war against you and can hurt you emotionally or psychologically. There is another type of enemy that wants to kill you and kill people. Its target range is not limited to villages, cities, countries, or even continents. It has global reach. It does not stop at a certain number of casualties – hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or millions.

Some media outlets in the U.S. are talking about very pessimistic estimates. They are talking about tens of millions, between 160 million to 225 million infected cases. These are just estimates made by some American media outlets expecting the number of infected cases in the U.S. alone to reach these figures.

Therefore, we are facing an enemy that poses a great and clear danger. We are not saying this for us to surrender, panic, or feel scared and frightened. But because we must know our enemy and the threat it poses, so we can assume our responsibilities and fight it.

In any case, it does not only threaten the economy, the academic year, or the different aspects of life. As I said, it also threatens lives.   The most important thing is to preserve people’s lives, to stay alive and healthy. People’s health is the priority. It must be the priority – as I will explain in the objectives. We can compensate for losing a school year. We can compensate for an economic downturn. We can compensate for anything else. But those who pass away, the loved ones that we lose and leave this world, they are gone. That’s it. We’ve lost them. Therefore, this is the enemy, and this is the threat.

What should be the response against this enemy and threat? What should the decision be? It should be to fight it. This is obvious. There are certain debatable axioms in our country and in many places around the world. For example, when “Israel” invaded Lebanon and occupied its lands, waters, airspace, and sovereignty, the axiom was to resist – which was controversial and debatable.

Hence, the choice should be to resist this occupying and invading enemy that has become a global pandemic. The choice should not be to surrender, despair, feel defeated or helpless, or to feel unable to do anything or make it easier. Rather, the decision must be confrontation and resistance. It should be fighting this battle with a resolute spirit and by assuming our responsibilities.

Third, when we talk about this confrontation or this responsibility, it must be general and inclusive. Let us take Lebanon for example. The responsibility in Lebanon today lies with everyone in the state, including the leaders, the government and all its ministries. It is not just the health ministry which is concerned with a certain aspect of the battle. It is the judiciary, the parliament, the army, the security forces, the municipalities, all state sectors and institutions, and everyone working for the state. The Lebanese people – young or old and in all the regions – must also shoulder their responsibilities. The non-Lebanese nationals who are residing in Lebanon including the Palestinian refugees, the displaced Syrians, and other Arab and non-Arab nationals residing in Lebanon should be a partner in this confrontation and must assume their responsibilities during this battle. 

Of course, each person should assume their own responsibility and do what is required of him. Everyone in this confrontation is required to do certain tasks. This battle is more comprehensive and requires everyone’s efforts and for every individual to shoulder his responsibility. This battle may differ from political or military battles. During a military battle, some people might fight, and thus, the onus falls from the rest. Some might fight the political battle, taking the responsibility from the rest. But in this battle, everyone is responsible. Everyone should do their part.

In a military battle, the army and the security forces are the ones fighting on the frontlines. Similarly, in the resistance’s battles, the fighters, the mujahideen, or the resistance fighters are the ones fighting on the frontlines. On the political front, political leaders and politicians are at the forefront of the confrontation. In this type of battle, the ministry of health and other similar ministries, their staff, the state-run hospitals, private hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and anyone working in the health sector in the country are the ones fighting on the frontlines. We must see them as officers, soldiers, and resistance fighters fighting along the frontlines. We must appreciate their efforts. I will return to this point later.

Hence, everyone must assume their responsibilities in this battle.

The next point is the objective of the battle. What will it be? Let us say we are at the heart of the battle. What is the objective of this battle that we are fighting? What are we hoping to achieve? Knowing the objective helps us know the course of action. Defining the objective helps in setting up plans and programs, knowing the manner of cooperation, and evaluating the right and wrong moves – are we heading towards achieving the objective, are we falling behind, or are we succeeding?

What should the objective be? To await medication or treatment for this pandemic. It would be excellent if Lebanese scientists and Lebanese scientific institutions were partners in this process. Until then, the objective is to contain and prevent the pandemic from spreading and to limit the loss of life. That is if we can limit the loss of life from 100 to 20. Losing 20 is better than losing 100. Reducing human losses is the priority because, as I said, we can compensate for other things like education, the academic year, the economy, trade, and industry even they are not functioning properly in Lebanon. But in any case, we can compensate for everything that has value apart from human life. The priority is to preserve people’s lives, safety, and survival. This is the objective.

This objective is divided into two parts. The first part involves preventing the spread of the virus as much as possible. The second part is the treatment of the infected cases. It is true that there is no medicine yet, but there is a possibility to treat the infected cases. Is the objective achievable? Yes, it is an achievable objective. It is neither a theoretical objective nor an impossible one. It can be achieved.

With regards to preventing the spread of the virus, theoretically, all the competent health and medical authorities, starting from WHO to everyone else say that if individuals, families, and governments, follow the prescribed measures, which you have heard about a lot – there is no need for me to repeat because I am no expert – they can limit the spread of the virus to a great extent. Hence, theoretically, it is possible. Practically, it has been done in China, and we have seen the results that were announced so far. God willing, the results maintain this trajectory. So, it is possible theoretically. And the Chinese experience says it is possible and can be done.

Regarding the second part, which is treatment and recovery of the infected cases, WHO and other health experts say recovery is possible and the percentage is high. Practically, reports show that tens of thousands of people recovered from the virus in China, thousands recovered in Iran, hundreds recovered in other places in the world. Recoveries are being announced. So, the recovery of the infected cases is possible scientifically, theoretically, realistically, and practically. Preventing the spread of the virus is also possible practically and theoretically. And as an experience, it is a fact.

Thus, the objective that we are setting for this national battle is a realistic, practical, and an achievable goal. Yes, it needs action, decisiveness, will, endurance, patience, implementation, measures, accuracy in follow-up, and assuming responsibilities.

Now, we have set the framework. We said that we are fighting a battle, and this battle is part of a global war. Today, we as Lebanese are not alone in this war. We also spoke about the enemy, its nature, and the threats and dangers it poses. We also spoke about the degree of responsibility, the objective, and the required measures that the competent authorities outlined. In the context of this battle, I must recommend and stress on several things.

The first thing we need in this battle is cooperation and solidarity. We must fight it with a human, moral, and patriotic spirit. This should be the case in all other countries. This is not only for Lebanon. The people of every country must cooperate with each other, with the state, with the government, with the security forces, with the media, and with various institutions. Everyone without exception must cooperate in this battle. The prevailing spirit must be a positive one. This battle is not the time to settle scores, target someone politically, or take revenge. I do not want to go into arguments. There have been debates over certain matters and choices in the country since the very beginning. There is no problem in having disagreements over options, but the language used was inappropriate and wrong.

I do not want to argue with anyone. I want to overcome this matter. But I would like to say that those who have political aspirations and continue to argue will not achieve any of their political objectives. It will only lead to more hatred, more grudges, more psychological fragmentation among the people in Lebanon.

What is required is positive engagement. This does not mean that we should not criticize. On the contrary, let people criticize, advise, and express their opinions in the media, to the relevant ministries, to the relevant government committees, and officials. This is normal. No one is talking about silencing voices. But approaching and addressing these cases requires a spirit of morality and humanity. Gloating should have no place here. It only expresses moral decadence. It is the negativity that leads to more losses. It also expresses moral and national decadence.

What is required is the spirit of cooperation. We should act with full responsibility. Arguments are a waste of time and pointless. We all know that there has been an ongoing debate over resistance since 1982, and we are in 2020 now. A few days ago, when a number of resistance fighters were martyred in battle, the same question arose – what are you doing in Syria? From 2011 until today, there have been letters, articles, and dialogue regarding this choice. Still, we have not reached common ground.

Hence, I don’t want to get into arguments over everything that takes place. There is no problem for anyone to criticize or give one’s opinion. But we must stay away from any language that might cause grudges, enmities, and divisions. Let us not designate the coronavirus according to ethnicity, continent, region, religion, sect, area, or political party. It is a pandemic that does not discriminate. It knows no race, border, or sect. We are fighting a battle to preserve humanity. Thus, it must be fought with a humane spirit.

The second point is to emphasize the human, moral, national, and legal responsibility when fighting this battle. Since I am a scholar of the religious sciences, my position here is different from government officials. I would like to add the religious responsibility.

Generally in Lebanon, Muslims or Christians – whether religious or not – we believe in God, the Day of Resurrection, and Judgement Day. We believe that we will be asked [about our actions]. Muslims and Christians, according to their religions, know that God Almighty commanded us in his heavenly teachings to preserve the human soul. He considered it the most valuable thing. Even in the provisions of Islamic law and jurisprudence when scholars issue precautions, they say precaution with wealth and with honor. But the highest precaution is that of the blood and soul. He asks to preserve the human soul. Preserving people’s lives and safety is at top of the top duty conclusively and decisively.

If we believe in Judgment Day … What I wanted to add today concerning this battle is that we must fear God Almighty while we are fighting it. How can this be translated into practice? Through adhering to your duty to protect yourself, your life, your safety as well as the safety of your family and the people around you. This is your religious duty, your divine duty. This is the duty of every man and woman. You will be asked about this on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever ignores this duty is committing a sin, not an ordinary sin, but one of the major sins, the kabair.

Hence, this matter does not fall in the circle of favored or recommended actions. Rather, we must absolutely abide by the instructions and measures.

All religious references and our well-known and senior references issued statements and fatwas stating that everyone must adhere and commit to the measures. They did not say it is a favored action or that you have the choice to commit or not to commit. We must commit to the recommendations issued by the concerned responsible and official health and medical authorities that are spearheading this battle, especially the authorities in the medical field. Here, we are no longer talking about the law. That is if a person did not abide by the law, the army, the security forces, or the judiciary will arrest and prosecute him. This is the court of this world.

I would like to familiarize you with the court of the Hereafter. This is everyone’s responsibility and not just the religious people. I am addressing all the people now. On Judgement Day, you will have to answer God the following: did you preserve yourselves, your lives, and the people around you? Or did you ignore and forsake yourselves and did not commit to the recommendations? Answering these questions and being judged accordingly are is going to be difficult.

Of course, we should fight this battle with this spirit of religious and divine spirit and have a sense of religious responsibility and that we will be tried in the court of God on the Day of Judgement. In this world, you can escape the prosecution of the judiciary or the security forces. There might be someone providing covering for him and protecting him.

But on Judgment Day you cannot hide or flee. There is no escape from God’s judgement and God Almighty’s government. According to our view and knowledge, I believe that this religious restraint and responsibility is one of the most powerful factors contributing to victory in this battle as it was in the resistance’s battle.

The miracle the resistance created was not due to its equipment, the number of its fighters, or its experiences. These are important and fundamental factors, but the most important factor is its knowledgeable, loving, pious, and responsible spirit that extends from this world to the Hereafter. The resistance is mindful of the time when it will have to stand before God and be asked about our occupied land, our sanctities, our honor, our riches, our waters, our dignity, and our sovereignty. This is the spirit the resistance had during battles. We should have the same spirit when we fight this battle.

What is also important is for people, especially the religious ones, not to allow themselves to be dragged into arguments. The senior religious authorities suspended Friday and communal prayers. Why? Because there is a more pressing matter at hand. We should set aside everything that opposes this important matter without any reservations and hesitation. There must not be any arguments regarding this matter.

Christian religious scholars and authorities also suspended services in churches because of this most important matter. All heavenly religions call for preserving lives. So, this is the second point.

In the third point, I will delve into some details concerning this battle. We need transparency and honesty. This should be applied in Lebanon and in other countries. I am talking about Lebanon because we are part of the battle. Any person who feels that he has been infected with this virus or shows symptoms must be transparent and honest. He should tell the truth to the concerned authorities. He must go to the hospital and get tested to know whether he has been infected or not. He also has to self-isolate at home. This is not a favored action, O people. This is a must. Reason, morals, and religion stipulate this. We should not overlook this matter or be ashamed to report that I am showing symptoms or have been infected with the virus. We should not think that being infected will affect your dignity or your political status. What is this talk?

You are committing one of the biggest sins if you conceal this because it can kill you or kill others. One of the senior religious references in the holy city of Qom even said that – of course, based on certain data and conditions – whoever infects another person and leads to his death must pay blood money of the person whose death he caused. This is how big the matter is. No one should underestimate it at the religious level.

Thus, there should be honesty and transparency. If the infected person is ashamed of coming forward. His family, mother or father, his relatives, the people he works with, or his friends should reveal his condition. In other words, the infected person should reveal his condition, and it is not permissible for those who know about his condition to cover up on him. Concealment or providing cover is not permissible. There should be absolute transparency. You should tell the infected person to head to the hospital or the laboratory or to the concerned authorities and to be tested. This should not be taken lightly.

I would like to point out something since I am following up on the situation very closely. The ministry of health has been transparent since the beginning. All that has been said about corna cases in Lebanon being withheld by the ministry of health or by Hezbollah – there are those who are accusing Hezbollah. This claim is absolutely not true. It is a lie.

The first case was uncovered by the ministry of health and the its working group. Some people revealed the identity of the victim to the media and was dealt in an inappropriate manner. The dear sister’s identity and picture were circulated. Transparency was to this extent. Whenever a case was discovered through testing or through information, it was announced on a daily basis.

And if announcing cases were delayed, it was because they were not discovered or the infected people did not declare their condition or people close to the infected did not report them. The health ministry is working in a very clear manner, and it should continue in this way. I tell them that they should continue in this manner regardless of the difficult facts. Until now, the number of infected cases is still bearable. But even if we reached a high number of infected cases or deaths – God forbid – truth should not be concealed from people. People should be told the whole truth because this helps raise the responsibility, the level of mobilization, and the level of seriousness in dealing with the situation. It is the right of the people to know. Also, by doing so, the ministry of health and other ministries would remove themselves from the blame game.

Of course, the issue of transparency and honesty today is a major problem in the world. Let us take, for example, countries that are classified as the First World and democratic countries or superpowers with their media and freedom of speech. Didn’t Britain hide the numbers? It was not transparent and honest. Every day, the British government would say that there are 5, 10, 15, and 20 cases. But yesterday, British officials announced that the number of cases is between 7000 and 10,000. There was no transparency. But in Lebanon there was. 

In America, Trump even tweeted a few days ago, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Why would you get upset, if we just have this number of infected cases? Trump mention the number of the infected in the hundreds and the number of deaths in the tens. And in the end of the tweet, he wrote: “Think about that!”

He is downplaying the matter to this extent. He says despite last year’s flu and the deaths of 37000 people, he said life and the economy went on.

Now, of course, Trump is facing a catastrophe in the US. His speech yesterday had negative repercussions, and today he is forced to make a second speech. While he downplayed the topic, Ohio governor and the state’s health director said the opposite. Of course, the govern backs her statement on CNN. I read this. You know nowadays anything that is printed or in social media might be fake. All need to be checked thoroughly. But the fact is that I watched the man on television say it. The governor said that in our state of 11 and half million people, we estimate that we have 100,000 infected cases. And in the future, we will not be able to test everybody because our medical apparatus is not prepared.

Who is the biggest liar? He is the biggest liar. The battle against the coronavirus revealed that Trump is the biggest liar on earth so is the US administration, the US vice president, and the team following up on the matter. Today, the US secretary of state cruelly and vulgarly accuses the Iranian officials of lying to their people when the fact is that since the very beginning Iranian officials transparently announced the numbers of deaths, infected, and cases in recovery. This is a point of pride for the Iranian officials.

Unfortunately, there are people gloating on the Gulf media. Shame on you. The deputy health minister, for example, or brother Dr. Velayati was infected because he was the chief of Tehran Hospital combating the virus and not because he was the chief advisor of His Eminence the Leader. It is a source of pride when officials, doctors, and concerned ministers as well as other figures stay in the country with their people and not pack up their bags and leave to safe places with their families.

In any case, Pompeo accuses the Iranian officials of lying. Echoing his accusations are Pompeo’s people in Lebanon who are accusing the ministry of health and Hezbollah of concealing the truth and lying. This is not true. Pompeo is the liar. Forget about Pompeo’s people. We said we do not want to engage in arguments.

In any case, this biggest liar, the president of the Great Satan, at the same time, says we are ready to help Iran. First of all, go and help yourself. Solve your own problem and the catastrophe you are heading towards because of your administration, intransigence, arrogance, pride, ignoring the facts, and disregard for people. You only care about the dollar, the barrel of oil, and gas.

Second, if you want to help Iran, lift the sanctions. Iran does not need your help. Just lift the sanctions even in a way that will allow it to import medicine and medical equipment.

In any case, this is one form of American hypocrisy.

The fourth point is complete commitment, O people, complete commitment to governmental procedures and measures not just those issued by the ministry of health. When the ministry of education says that schools are suspended, it means schools are closed. It does not mean that if I own a private school, I open it. When it says universities are suspended, it means universities are closed. Everyone should abide by the measures issued by the government as well as all the ministries, including the ministry of labor. When restaurants are asked to be closed within certain limits, they should be closes within those limits. All these measures must be respected and followed.

Fifth, the most important point regarding the measures related to preventing or containing the spread of the virus is halting gatherings and meetings, quarantine, and self-isolation that is staying home with one’s wife and kids. One can stay home and not go anywhere.

O brother pray home. There is no need for you to pray in the mosque or go to church. I will speak on behalf of the Muslims and the Christians. Except for those who have to go out because if they didn’t work, they will not be able to secure their daily bread, or those who have to go to work or else they will be fired. They can go out until the Lebanese government takes measures that must be followed. In any case, even though this disease is dangers, yet it is easy to combat. Despite its dangers, the way to fight it is simple and easy. You have to do the following measures: washing, disinfecting, eating, going, coming, self-isolation, and stopping the gatherings. What do you need? You need to make some decisions. What should we do?

We are bored! This is a war. You have to consider that you are living in a state of war. During the time of war, do you go on a tour? Do you go skiing? Do you go on a picnic to the river? During the war, people follow war measures. If you please, consider these as measures taken during a war. Therefore, these gatherings in mosques as well as religious, social, and political activities should be suspended. As for the martyrs’ families, there will be annual martyrdom anniversaries in the coming days. We all understand each other here. Please, do not host celebrations, meetings, gatherings in the husayniyah, even in the cases of death. God willing, there will be no martyrs falling in the line of duty. 

But assuming that a martyr fell, let us commemorate their martyrdom with the least number of mourners. The dead person is gone, may Allah have mercy on his soul. God will welcome the martyr. Let the mourning ceremony include a few people, the family members of the martyr. We have to get over the issue that the resident of a village feel that they have to show their respects to the family of the deceased and take part in the funeral procession as is the custom in our villages and countries. These are beautiful customs.

But for now, set aside this beautiful custom. It is no longer beautiful during this battle. What is beautiful is a fewer number of mourners possible. I am not telling you what is wajib [duty] or not. I am just hoping so that we can overcome this stage. With regard to this matter, I hope that people do not put pressure on other people, on themselves, and on the family of the deceased. A few days ago, I saw on social media a family of a deceased, who had earlier invited people for a mourning ceremony, announced the cancellation of the consolations. Many thanks to them and God bless them. That is excellent. In other words, the family of the deceased or the martyr’s family should do the initiative and tell people not to attend. The family should tell the people to recite the Fatiha to the deceased and pray for him, and that’s it. Thank you, and we do not need anything else from you.

Hence, these things should not be subject of compliments, customs, or traditions. All these activities should be frozen. These are details. So, the main topic is there should be no gatherings. People should self-isolate and stay away from each other. They should only go out when necessary. In some cities, people have gone to their villages. This is a good thing. But this does not mean that we went to the villages to socialize and go on tours there. No, we go to the village and stay home. The virus spreads in the villages as it does in the cities. But the spread is more dangerous in the cities because they are more populated.

The sixth point is related to the state and the people. Caring for the medical and first aid staff. We said that these are at the front line these days. Hence, it is our duty to thank all the officials who have assumed their responsibilities during this period. We extend our thanks to the minister of health, the working group of the ministry of health, the public hospitals, especially Rafic Hariri Governmental Hospital in Beirut as well as the hospital management, its doctors, and nurses. All the thanks and greetings to them because they are at the front line. We must support them morally. We pray for their safety and for everything that can help these staff.

In addition to the above, we thank the responders in all the institutions including the Red Cross, the different health committees, and the scouts. Also, I recommend, suggest, and wish that the Lebanese government consider exceptionally supporting them. For example, a few days ago there was a problem related to their budget, their salaries. It should not be delayed. Today, other expenses should be postponed. Everything should be spent for this battle. They should be given their full rights.

They should even be given something called an additional gift, an extra effort, an additional burden. The risk they are facing, the burden they are carrying, and the stress they are facing is more than that of the regular circumstances. Therefore, thanks to all of them. These staff should be supported morally, psychologically, and financially. People should make them feel appreciated. They should be thanked. People should know about the sacrifices they are making.  

I hope they follow Iran’s footsteps. I don’t know if other countries did the same. There are some people in Lebanon as soon as you mention Iran, they get repulsed. In Iran, they implemented His Eminence the Leader’s suggestion as proposed by the ministry of health. A doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, or anyone whose job entails fighting the coronavirus, would be considered a martyr if they got infected by the virus and died. This, of course, comes with moral and financial support for the martyr’s family.

I hope in Lebanon, these medical teams receive this honor since we are talking about a battle. When Lebanese army soldiers, security forces, or state employees are martyred, their families are given financial and moral compensation. Like them, these teams should also be treated in the same way.

Seven, preparing from now for the worst-case scenario:

We must now cooperate to prevent the spread. But let us suppose for some reason, the spread occurred. The ministry of health, the rest of the ministries, the institutions, and the people, should prepare for the worst-case scenario. We should prepare places. There are countries in the world, some considered developed and capable medical wise, used hotels, schools, and universities. There is no problem, even at the level of planning, to prepare places, equipment, and staff for worse situations, God forbid we headed to worse situations.

Here, I must also thank the students at the Lebanese University in the Faculty of Health as well as other colleges and universities who volunteered and donated. University students who study medicine, health, or nursing should serve as a backup for the medical staff in case we headed to a more difficult situation. The important thing is to prepare places, equipment, and medical staff for the worst-case scenarios. We should not sit and wait. I just wanted to emphasize this idea and take it to the widest extent possible.

In this context, I must say that Hezbollah has put – and already announced that – all our capabilities as well as our health and medical staff, our resistance fighters, our men and women, our human capacity, our institutions, and our material capabilities at the disposal of the government and the ministry of health to fight this battle. The Lebanese government is the leader of this battle. We are not claiming anything at all because this is a different kind of battle. We do not possess all its complete tools. The state has them. We and others can be helpful factors.

Eight, to learn lessons from the experiences of other countries – China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Iran, France, Germany, Belgium, even the Americans. What is the problem in this? We should learn from the experiences of other countries to save time and effort and not to repeat the same mistakes because time is valuable and precious. Time is of the essence in this battle. The hour, the day, two days, and three days all count.

Nine, this battle should be the absolute priority for the government, the state, the Lebanese people, the residents of Lebanon, the media, all influencers, and everyone who can make an effort. This battle must be given the highest priority.

Tenth, social solidarity. (I am running through these points quickly because they are clear.) When the government enforces measures such as closing restaurants or halting tourism, this means a lot of people will not receive salaries. This will pose another problem – we might be avoiding the coronavirus but might be facing hunger. This might disrupt the social security. Before we ask the army, the security forces, and the judiciary to shoulder their responsibilities in preventing disruption to the social security – this as the state’s capabilities are known – we should focus on the people’s responsibility of social solidarity.

In every village, in cities, in neighborhoods, families, and everywhere there are people who are well-off, wealthy people, people with money. We should help each other. There are already families, people in the villages and neighborhood who have started to offer their help a few months ago. But we urgently need this now.

I would like to address my speech to Hezbollah officials in the villages and the cities because I can ask them to commit. Officials and religious scholars in villages, towns, and cities must consider that part of their responsibilities is take care of families around them that might not have food or the most basic needs. We have to cooperate, show solidarity, and donate as much as we can. This should be part of our responsibility.

The Lebanese government should also include this matter in its agenda. It is not enough for it to ask people not to go to work or schools. There are also some people who are in a hurry for the state of emergency. I tell you from now, the Lebanese government is the one that announces the state of emergency when it sees fit. Do not put it on Hezbollah. You are free. You are the ones leading this battle. The Lebanese government, the prime minister, and the ministers are the ones leading this battle, of course, under the supervision of His Excellency the President along with the Speaker of Parliament and all state institutions.

Whenever you see that the time has come to declare a state of emergency in Lebanon, this is your responsibility, go ahead. Do not pay attention to anyone. But until that moment, when you are asking people not to go their work, you should look for an alternative or else people will be without salaries and livelihoods.

We know that a lot of people in Lebanon work on a daily basis. when they do not work, they do not have money to pay for food and bread. This issue is part of the battle. It is not just about the hospitals and the medicine. This is a complementing part of the battle. If we addressed the first part and ignored the second part, we will lose social security as well as the first part which is combating the spread.

In this context, while following up with the events in the past few days, I have seen banks in many countries declaring its readiness to help their governments. These banks have large sums of money and deposits. So, they declared their readiness to provide support and not to ask high interest rates. They offered support for governments and the health sector to enable them to face this unbridled pandemic.

I call on Lebanese banks to act responsibly. We all know that the state’s budget is in a bad state. You, the banks, have lots of money. You have been profiting and making tens of billions of dollars since 1993. Now, you must shoulder the responsibility, and of course optionally. Legally, it is the job of the government and parliament to oblige the banks. As a Lebanese citizen, I ask the Lebanese banks and tell them that you should be among the first to extend a helping hand and offer financial support for the Lebanese government and the health sector. You should also show social solidarity to people so they can endure, and eventually the country wins the battle.

I do not have many topics left. I still have to talk about the second topic and then conclude. I will talk briefly about the second topic.

The last point regarding the coronavirus, in my opinion, is the most important point. When fighting this battle, O people, O dear ones, we must be armed with faith, faith in God, glory be to Him, in Allah the Merciful, the most Gracious, the Almighty, in whoes hand is the realm of the heavens and the earth, in Allah who is competent over all things.

This faith must be strongly present in our minds, hearts, and souls as we fight this battle and all battles. We must seek refuge in God Almighty. We must pray for His help and guidance.

This battle requires patience, persistence, endurance, hope, firmness, determination, and will. We must not despair. God will give us everything. In this battle, we need guidance. We need the guidance of the scientists, the doctors, the laboratories, and the research institutions in the world. There is a possibility that we might not see any results in the coming months, or a year or two. God will guide them. He will show them. Allah is the one who will open the doors for them, the closed doors. Seeking refuge in God and having faith in him must be stronger than ever while fighting this battle. Look my brothers and sisters. The most dangerous thing in any battle, be it political or military and now medical, is when one of the warring sides becomes frightened, feels helpless, weak, and despair. Even a great army that possesses a nuclear weapon or great capabilities, when overwhelmed with the spirit of defeat, will be defeated. What is important is the core – the heart. We have to overcome everything that is causing people to be scared and frightened. Spreading fear or despair – and that we cannot do anything because this pandemic has not cure and we cannot survive it – is real disaster. It is a crime. It amounts to wrecking havoc on earth. One should pay attention to how he speaks and what he writes on social media. Terrorizing people, intimidating them, spreading lies and the spirit of defeat, despair, and weakness means that we will be defeated. We must overcome all of this.

Let us suppose we are at war or even in the face of death. Let us assume that a certain infected person was isolated and remained in the hospital for a period of time. The doctors said that age and other factors caused his death. All is good, God willing. Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die. Every soul will taste death. We will all die. His time has come. So, we do our jobs. We should not give up just because our time has come. Our religious obligation is to do all we can to preserve our lives. But let us assume that death has come, we accept God’s will and continue our lives. It is the same as the war. During the war, our homes and livelihoods were destroyed, our loved ones killed and wounded. People were displaced. Others became homeless. But we persisted. When we persist, we overcome and triumph. But if the killing, the wounds, and the destruction resulted in defeat, then we will lose everything. It is the same in this battle. Faith, here, gives us strength. Prayers, pleading to God and seeking refuge in Him – every person in his own way because the relationship with God is open. It can be in any language and style you see fit. Talk to him as if you are talking to anyone. He hears you. He knows what you are saying and what is in your mind and heart. He knows when you are honest. Thus, we need this faith, prayers, and this strong spirit.

Our resolve must not be shaken. We must be strong in facing this challenge even if the facts are difficult. In wars, they used to inform us that there were a hundred martyrs, two hundred martyrs, a thousand martyrs, five thousand martyrs, ten thousand wounded, and a hundred thousand homes destroyed. And we were not shaken. That is why we achieved victory. Today is no different. Whatever the losses that this pandemic will inflict, we must face it with strength and toughness. The strong are the ones who will stay and will achieve victory. I ask God Almighty for good health and safety for all and victory in this battle, God willing.

I will talk briefly about the last topic before the conclusion. In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding it, not because it is controversial but because it is one of the most important and biggest challenges facing the Lebanese government.

Now a press conference: Trump officially declares a national emergency and asks all sectors to join efforts – bring his tweet three or four days ago, look what he said then, and what he is saying now –and work to obtain $50 billion to fight COVID-19. He directly runs towards money!

Regarding the financial and economic issue in the country, the government Prime Minister [Hassan] Diab is thanked for accepting to take the responsibility. It held extensive meetings to develop a reform plan regarding the financial and economic situation. It announced that its priority is financial and economic rescue in the first place. It is working on this matter. Of course, the coronavirus has taken a big portion from this responsibility. The government still needs time to complete its plan because this is a difficult, complex, and not an easy matter.

Regarding Hezbollah’s position, I would like to say a couple of words and conclude.

First of all, we did not present a plan to the Lebanese government. Some writers, some politicians, and some media outlets said that the government is implementing Hezbollah’s plan or adopting Hezbollah’s plan. I am negating the issue. We did not present a plan to the Lebanese government. We have a plan. We have a vision. We have main ideas, and we have discussed during the years, especially during the past few months. But in all honesty, I tell you we did not present a plan. The Lebanese government is the one that should present a plan. It mandates a ministerial committee that meets and presents its plan. We have our opinion and ideas.  We are the same as any other political party in this country. All the political blocs in the country discuss, comment, and advice. But we are not responsible to present a plan. It is also not right for us to shoulder this kind of responsibility. There should be a plan where everyone takes part in setting, making, approving, and shouldering its responsibility. This is the first point.

And I previously called on every party, every parliamentary bloc, and every institution that has ideas to present them to the concerned ministers or the relevant ministerial committee. The prime minister’s door is open. The president’s door is open. The parliament speaker is closely following up. They can go and present their ideas. What is important to us is that the current Lebanese government take reform steps. The more these steps garner national consensus or broad national support, the more likely and the greater it is to succeed.

The second point regarding the financial and economic issue that I wanted to refer to is the issue of seeking help from international institutions, the International Monetary Fund, any country in the world, any international framework, the European Union, the Islamic Action Organization, or the Arab League, even if they were not concern about anyone. But in general, our position is very clear. There is no confusion. Unfortunately, some in Lebanon are working on it. What is the problem if the Lebanese government asked for an advice or a counseling from anyone in the world? We have no problem with it, and we did not even have any reservations about it although some say that we are reluctant about that. This is not true. This is first.

Second, we do not object to any party that wants to provide unconditional assistance to Lebanon, a soft loan, or any kind of assistance – of course within the political regulations adopted by the state. Because the headlines now read that Hezbollah is refusing foreign aid to Lebanon – it is part of the lies and the misinformation that is spread in all fields. We have no problem with any assistance, support, or loan that is unconditionally given within the approved legal constraints.

Third, we do not have a problem if the loan, aid, or plan was provided under conditions. But what are the conditions? Conditions that do not violate the Lebanese constitution. Let us assume, for example, someone said we are ready to lend you a soft loan of 50 billion dollars provided that the Palestinian refugees are resettled. This condition is against the constitution. Let any brave and strong person in Lebanon stand up and say I agree with this condition. I am just mentioning an example. I do not see a problem if the condition did not violate the constitution and the law, does not affect the Lebanese sovereignty, and achieves or at the very least does not violate the national Lebanese interest? We do not have a problem even if it was from the International Monetary Fund, any international institution, or any other place as long as the conditions do not violate the constitution, the national interests, or the government’s reform plan.

Let me give you a clearer example. It is quite a big example and they might say O Sayyed this is out of question. One of the simplest examples is that I loan you but as you to increase the value added tax or VAT on everything to 15% or 20%. I tell you from now, we in Hezbollah are against this. You can say whatever you want. Who in Lebanon can take the decision to raise the VAT to 15% or 20%, who?

We had a national unity government where most if not all the political parties were represented, and still this government could not save a couple of cents on WhatsApp. People, then, took to the streets. What government in Lebanon can take such a decision? And is it in Lebanon’s interest? Is it in the interest of the Lebanese people?

There are many other options that we have not resorted to, and this is always being discussed in the media, in the advisory committees, and in the government. There are many options that we have not tried. To reach there, we just need to make a decision. From now, we are against any assistance whether from the IMF or anyone in the world that would condition Lebanon to increase taxes on the poor and people with low income. Say whatever you want. People who agree with this option and have the courage to say it should not hide. Let them say on TV that they agree with increasing the VAT because this is the way we address the situation in the country. But we are against this option. Hence, it depends on the condition.

But if someone offered helped and demanded conditions. What are the conditions? For example, if they asked us to shut down unproductive and inactive institutions and find an alternative for the people working there, we have no problem with this. This is a demand. Or if they asked us to enact anti-corruption laws. This is a national demand. This is one of our demands, Hezbollah’s demand. If they asked to enact laws of transparency, financial accountability, and financial expenditure, if they wanted tenders and not contracts by mutual agreement, or if they wanted a real and independent judiciary, we welcome them. These are excellent conditions.

So, the situation here is not about the position alone. It is position that depends on the nature of the conditions and commitments. Our brothers said that we do not accept Lebanon to be put under IMF tutelage. This made a lot of controversy. Who in Lebanon accepts to place Lebanon under the sponsorship of the IMF?! Who accepts to place Lebanon under anyone’s sponsorship and not just the IMF’s?!

It is unacceptable that Lebanon be placed under anyone’s tutelage. It is forbidden for Lebanon to hand over its financial and economic management to anyone and for anyone to dictate policy. The Lebanese government or the Lebanese state is the one responsible for the financial and economic management. It is the decision-maker. It accepts and rejects what it wants. It implements what it wants. No one is to dictate conditions or force it on to something. This is our position. But if the IMF wanted to provide assistance and funds to Lebanon and sets conditions that do not contradict neither the constitution nor our national interests, then we have no problem with this issue.

Even yesterday, for example, because the brothers in Iran asked for assistance for a $ 5 billion assistance from the IMF to fight the coronavirus. Almost all of the news in Lebanon was arguing with Hezbollah. How come Iran asks assistance from the IMF, and you are preventing the Lebanese government from cooperating with the it? When did we stop it? Who said we are preventing that? Who said we refuse Lebanon asking help from the IMF? Our brothers said we do not accept guardianship or dictating conditions. Who accepts Lebanon to be under guardianship? Who accepts Lebanon to be dictated?

The CEDRE conference is a project that is mostly based on loans, a couple of billions of dollars. The donors conditioned reforms. We were in the government, and we did not mind it. It is a normal condition, and we agree to this condition. But if CEDRE or anyone else dictated conditions on Lebanon in return for assistance, it might cause the country to explode. Several months ago and not so long ago – we are not talking about years – the Lebanese national unity government took a decision to increase a couple of cents on WhatsApp, you saw what happened in the country. So, should we accept dictating terms of this kind?! No. As for any assistance even with logical, reasonable, and possible conditions, there is absolutely no problem with it. So, people can rest assured and this issue cease to be a point of contention.

Of course, there are other options other than the social solidarity that I mentioned earlier. Several days ago while I was following the news, banks in some Western countries offered those governments financial support to help them save commercial, industrial, and agricultural companies – that is the economic situation – from collapsing. Great! Banks in Lebanon are one of the options. Now, these banks have protectors, it’s fine. You are telling us to present our ideas. Well, one of the options is the Lebanese banks. I don’t want to mention a precise number to avoid discussions. I asked and checked. They told me that banks in Lebanon made at least tens of billions of dollars from getting loans, debts, treasury bonds, etc. Tens of billions of dollars. You increased your capital, took money abroad, and helped other people get money out. This money was coming out of the Lebanese people’s pocket.

Now, you took this illegally or legally, halal or haram, is another discussion. But this is the reality, today. I am not forcing you. I am merely advising you. A few months ago, when I spoke about this matter, media outlets backed by the banks, accused me of threatening the banks. I did not threaten the banks. I said something different. I will repeat and say. When Lebanon came under occupation, Lebanese families sent their children to fight. Some were martyred and others wounded. Some of the wounded are now disabled. People’s homes were destroyed. Some people made sacrifices to bring back Lebanon’s freedom, sovereignty, dignity, and security. Some people sacrificed their most precious possessions.

Today the challenge is not occupation. The challenge is an economic collapse. And you have billions of dollars. So, go ahead. Help and sacrifice the way those families sacrificed their most valuable possessions. What is more valuable than money? What is money? The human life, the children, the beloved, the husband, the wife and family are more precious than money.

In order to preserve this country’s freedom, sovereignty, dignity, security, survival, resources including the oil and gas that will be extracted, which you, the banks, as well as others will benefit from, the Lebanese people sacrificed their blood. Now, the real challenge facing Lebanon is not the occupation because it is an existing threat and it has a solution. But the real challenge is the financial and economic situation.

What does Trump tell them? You are going to pay. To the banks, you have to do the initiative. You have to shoulder your responsibilities. But first and foremost, you have to have a sense humanity and shoulder national responsibility. You have to make the initiative and not argue. You have to tell the offer assistance to the prime minister like the rest of the banks in the world did. These are respectable banks. Gather yourselves and head to the prime minister and tell him we, the banks, in light of the current situation, will make a contribution to the Lebanese state in this amount – whether to prevent financial collapse or in the fight against COVID-19.

You should take this step. This is your humane, moral, patriotic and religious responsibility – if you are people of religion and you care about religious legitimacy and reason. You must shoulder this responsibility.

I would like to conclude with the regional situation – the events taking place in Syria and Yemen. There is no time left because the coronavirus topic took up all the time. But I will say a few words regarding the event that took place in Iraq because we cannot overlook it. The US aggression last night against the military camps, sites, and civilian installations for the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police, and the Popular Mobilization Units, which is an official body, as well as civilian facilities such as the airport being built in Karbala, which is a civilian facility and not a military base.

What the Americans did last night was violation of Iraq’s sovereignty of Iraq regardless of any agreements, even if they relied on agreements. Who told them that they can bomb and destroy? If they wanted to use Iraq’s airspace, they need permission from the Iraqi government. The Americans crossed all lines. They acted arrogantly, insolently, angrily, foolishly, and blindly. Usually foolishness and blindness lead to the abyss.

The crime committed by the American occupation forces yesterday in Iraq, certainly began to receive the appropriate responses and will receive more appropriate responses from the Iraqis, the Iraqi government, the Iraqi parliament, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi parties, and the Iraqi resistance – this dear and honorable people who refuses to live under the humiliation and arrogance of these tyrants, oppressors, and demons.

We ask God for mercy for all their martyrs. God willing, Iraq and the people of Iraq, with their faith, steadfastness, and resistance will be able overcome this serious and new challenge.

God willing, everyone remains healthy and safe. Through prayers, effort, work, honesty, sincerity, and togetherness, we will overcome this difficult stage, and we will emerge from this war triumphant and our heads up with the help and grace of God Almighty.

Peace and the mercy of God be upon you.

IT’S WEIRD: IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER SLAMS U.S. OFFER OF ‘HELP’ WITH COVID-19

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote near his office in Tehran. Image source: Reuters

South Front

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote near his office in Tehran. Image source: Reuters

Iran’s Supreme Leader has slammed the U.S. offer of “help” with the coronavirus outbreak in the country, questioning Washington’s real intentions.

In a televised address on March 22, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the offer of help is weird. The Supreme leader also criticized Washington’s management of the pandemic, touching on speculations that the virus was developed by the U.S. itself.

“Americans have said several times that ‘we are ready to help with treatment and medicine; just ask us and we will help’. This is one of the weirdest things which they tell us to ask them,” the Leader said, adding “Firstly, you have a shortage yourself and this is what American officials say. Secondly, you are accused of producing the virus. I do not know how true this accusation is, but when such an accusation is made, which wise person will ask for your help?”

The Supreme Leader went on to call U.S. officials “mendacious, deceitful, shameless and greedy,” describing them as “all kinds of charlatans who speak like charlatans.”

Iran is witnessing a widespread of the coronavirus with more than 21,000 reported cases. The deadly virus has claimed the lives of 1,683 Iranians, so far.

The U.S. offer to “help” Iran with the pandemic appears to be a propaganda move. While Washington was offering its “help,” it was actively increasing sanctions on the Islamic country.

Earlier this week, the U.S. sanctioned nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, for engaging in “significant transactions” to trade in Iran’s petrochemicals. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will maintain its maximum-pressure campaign to choke off Tehran’s ability to export its oil.

These measures show that the U.S. maybe trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran by employing the disaster in its “maximum pressure” campaign.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Analyst: Trump’s Offer Hypocritical, Iran Continues to Battle Coronavirus

Analyst: Trump’s Offer Hypocritical, Iran Continues to Battle Coronavirus

By Nour Rida – Tehran

Harsh US sanctions continue to be imposed on Iran despite the World Health Organization declaring that Coronavirus is a pandemic. Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic has proved to be resilient in face of challenges, and has ongoing attempts to find a cure for the COVID-19 virus sweeping across the globe.

On March 1, it was revealed that a major IRGC Iranian research center was developing drugs as well as a vaccine for Coronavirus to boost the government’s efforts to battle the outbreak. Chancellor of the Baqiyatallah Medical Sciences University [BMSU] said three research teams at the academic center were working on treatments for Coronavirus, adding that one of the groups had already come up with a drug that could be used to cure the illness.

Also on March 11, a ceremony in Tehran featured unveiling of a first model of a domestically-manufactured thermal imaging camera, produced by Iran, an electronics company run by the Defense Ministry. The infra-red device was comparable to foreign products when it comes to precision in diagnosing fever, the company said, while the authorities attending the ceremony said the camera would enter the mass-production stage in near future.

The next day, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei has issued an edict to Iran’s top general, emphasizing the need for the establishment of a “health and treatment base” to prevent further spread of an ongoing Coronavirus epidemic in the country.

According to activist and political analyst Setareh Sadeghi, “this is a chance for Iran to develop its own needs and to develop a solution to its problem like always.”

Iran is well known for being able to be self-sufficient despite sanctions and pressure. The World Health Organization hailed Iran for its performance in dealing with the epidemic. WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Richard Bernan lauded Iran’s preventive measures to fight against Corona virus, and called on the regional states to use the country’s experience in its nationwide campaign against the epidemic.

However, at the time when people are dying of Coronavirus as it spreads very fast there are things that Iran urgently needs and there is no enough time to develop the needs or medicine.

“I think sanctions have made it very difficult for medical supplies to reach ordinary Iranians and it is not only during the COVID-19 phase even before. But now, since the Coronavirus is a pandemic it is affecting a large population of Iranians and its clearer with the current situation how the sanctions are affecting the health sector,” noted The University of Tehran Phd candidate in American studies.

The commentator went on to say “For example, I know that for patients with cancer, many of the medicines needed have become very scarce and almost impossible to find. When you do find a medicine it is very expensive due to the dramatic increase in prices. The same is true with the Coronavirus because many of the patients with COVID-19 have a background of medical needs and diseases and that is why it has even become difficult for them to fight the disease otherwise there are many people who are recovering from it.”

Dual standards and contradictions are crystal clear in the American rhetoric towards Iran. As Iran urged lifting unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on the country, which have greatly hampered the Islamic Republic’s fight against the new Coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s administration totally neglected that.

On Sunday Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif in a tweet said the US President Donald Trump is “maliciously tightening US illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it”.

All Trump did was repeat an offer made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo On February 28, when he claimed that the United States has offered to help with the Coronavirus response in Iran. Trump allegedly said he was ready to help Iran with its outbreak of novel Coronavirus if the country asked for assistance. Alongside Trump’s proposal, Britain, France and Germany offered Iran a package of material and financial support to combat the rapid spread of Coronavirus on March 3 and pledged 5 million euros in aid.

On this note, the analyst assured that “Trump’s offer of help is very ridiculous and I am happy Iran turned it down. If the US was genuine in wanting to offer help to Iran they could have at least lifted sanctions off medical supplies and food or at least financial transfer for medical supplies.”

Iranian officials have turned down the offer, calling it a “political-psychological game” and even accused the United States of having launched a “bio-terror attack” against Iran which caused the Coronavirus outbreak.

Sadeghi also believed that “Trump’s offer is so fake and dishonest and the Iranians do not accept it. If the US can find a way to send us a package to aid with the Coronavirus, why not lift the sanctions? I do not understand how you can impose sanctions on medical supplies of a nation and then at the same time offer to send them medical aid or help. This is so hypocritical and any common sense would absolutely reject such an offer.”

Banning banking and financial transfers also constitute a problem. Sadeghi underscored that “Medical supplies have also become very difficult for Iran to purchase from other countries because of the sanctions and this includes also financial transfers. So Iran would buy its medical equipment and supplies from other countries but because of the financial transactions and transfer have become almost impossible for Iranians.”

She added “It is very cruel at this time when the world is trying to fight the Coronavirus, Iranians have to struggle with increasing difficulties due to the sanctions; Iranian hospitals suffer from shortage of equipment and medicine and cannot get it from anywhere due to the transfer limitations.”

In February, a new Swiss payment mechanism known as Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement to allow food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to be sent to Iran without stumbling over US sanctions officially took effect with but on Wednesday Mousavi said the US sanctions have “practically blocked the way and have not let Iran’s financial resources in other countries enter Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement”.

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US Hypocrisy Reigns As War in Yemen Intensifies

By Staff, American Conservative

The US has spent five years helping Saudi Arabia commit war crimes and slaughter civilians in an aggressive war against Yemen. Washington’s subservience to the Saudi royal family, whose regime shares few interests and even fewer values with America, has made the US complicit in tens of thousands of needless deaths.

The Trump administration recently demonstrated a particularly toxic mix of hypocrisy and sanctimony regarding Yemen. The Pentagon complained that naval seizures by American patrols working on behalf of the Saudis had captured blasting caps for improvised explosive devices and components of anti-tank, anti-ship, and anti-aircraft missiles. The latter, called 358s, are known as “loitering” missiles, containing two different motors and avoiding normal defensive measures. An unnamed Pentagon official complained to the New York Times that the 358s could down American helicopters and tilt-wing Ospreys – though why that matters is unclear, since Washington supposedly is not running combat missions in Yemen.

Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, charged: “They are illicitly smuggled for a purpose and that purpose is to spread lethal assistance to the Houthis…, there’s not a plausible explanation on how these weapons got on to a vessel in Yemen without the sanction of the Iranian government.”

With no hint of irony, he complained that Tehran had been arming the Houthi Ansarullah Revolutionaries since the war’s start – when Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen – and had thereby prolonged the fighting. That is, Iran’s assistance enabled the Yemenis to defend themselves from their much richer and better armed adversary, which was supplied and otherwise aided by the US.

For decades, Washington has allowed Saudi Arabia to essentially hire out the American military as royal bodyguard. The Kingdom is an absolute monarchy without even a hint of religious or political liberty – indeed, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman [MBS], to whom the president and administration officials routinely genuflect, has reduced to nothing the minimal space that previously existed in his country for dissent. His most brazen act, in October 2018, was the murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi.

The United Arab Emirates is not quite so bad, at least if graded on a curve. Abu Dhabi, which has sharply downgraded its involvement in the conflict, has also long committed bombing carnage. Moreover, reports Amnesty International, the UAE imprisoned Yemenis and practiced “detention at gunpoint, torture with electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging from the ceiling, sexual humiliation, prolonged solitary confinement, squalid conditions, inadequate food and water.”

Washington has sold billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft and munitions to Riyadh and the UAE. The Pentagon also provides intelligence assistance to the Saudis in choosing their Yemeni targets, which itself raises serious questions since the royals appear to have intentionally struck civilians. For years, the US military has also refueled Saudi aircraft engaged in bombing Yemen sites, including apartments, hospitals, weddings, funerals, school buses, and commercial sites. 

Of course, Riyadh’s culpability and cant are greater than Washington’s. American officials are aiding and abetting murder; Saudi officials are engaging in it. Riyadh announced that it had recently intercepted missile attacks on Saudi cities. Saudi spokesman Turki al-Malki piously complained: “They were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of international humanitarian law…”

Unsurprisingly, Malki failed to mention that he represents one of the world’s richest nations, which attacked one of the poorest. Yemen has long been convulsed by internal conflict. The latest round of fighting had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia. They invaded to restore to power a ruler they believed they could control. To the Saudi royals, everything is about the Saudi royals, irrespective of the cost to anyone else.

As for Malki’s complaint about attacks on Saudi cities, humanitarian groups agree that Riyadh has killed thousands of Yemenis. Two thirds to three quarters of all civilian casualties and property damage have resulted from Saudi and Emirati air attacks. Almost the entire Yemeni population faces death, hunger, poverty, and/or disease, the nation’s commercial, health, residential, and transportation infrastructure having been intentionally destroyed.

Last year, the United Nations warned, “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world. Nearly four years of conflict and severe economic decline are driving the country to the brink of famine and exacerbating needs in all sectors.” The UN then estimated that some 24 million people, an astounding 80 percent of the population, needed international assistance. More than 14 million were in “acute need.” The cholera epidemic afflicted a million people. All of these resulted from Riyadh’s invasion.

Another perverse result of Washington’s support for Saudi tyranny has been the unintended transfer of US weapons to Islamist radicals. The Coalition, as the Saudi-Emirati axis styled itself in 2015, has allied with Islamists, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long the most feared national affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s transnational group. According to the Associated Press, the Saudis and Emiratis “cut secret deals with al-Qaeda fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash.” Militias supported by the Coalition “actively recruit al-Qaeda militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters.”

Equally serious, the Saudis and Emiratis have armed militias, sometimes with American weapons. Amnesty International charged that “the UAE has become a major conduit for armored vehicles, mortar systems, rifles, pistols, and machine guns – which are being illicitly diverted to unaccountable militias accused of war crimes and other serious violations.” The Pentagon recently complained about Iran allegedly transferring missiles to the Ansarullah, yet Riyadh provided antitank missiles to local al-Qaeda forces. Explained CNN, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi “have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape.”

The Gulf matters much less to America these days: the “Israeli” entity is a regional superpower and the oil markets have diversified. The US has no intrinsic security interest in Yemen. AQAP is a concern, but it is the Saudis and Emiratis who have allied with Takfiri radicals. The conflict is a humanitarian tragedy, but on that score Washington is fighting on the wrong side, on behalf of the brutal aggressor.

The administration should end America’s participation in such an unjust, unnecessary war. That would encourage Riyadh to accelerate discussions with the Ansarullah in search of a diplomatic settlement. But America’s policy also shouldn’t depend on the Saudi position. The shock is not that Iran aided the Yemenis; it’s that Washington is supporting the corrupt, repressive Saudi

واشنطن وبكين وموسكو.. لحظة محورية في تاريخ لبنان

 

تشرين ثاني 19 2019

نور الدين إسكندر

الأحداث المُستمرِّة التي يشهدها لبنان تطرح تساؤلات حول انعكاساتها ونتائجها، بالإضافة إلى أدوار القوى الفاعِلة فيها، بعد كلام مسؤولين أميركيين يتضمَّن توجيهاً للبنانيين يمسّ السِلم الداخلي ويحرِّضهم بعضهم ضدّ بعض.

السفير الأميركي السابق لدى لبنان جيفري فيلتمان

كلام السفير الأميركي السابق لدى لبنان جيفري فيلتمان أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام لم يمر مرور الكِرام في بيروت. الدعم العَلَني والتوجيهي الذي تحدَّث به فيلتمان للحراك الشعبي الذي تشهده الشوارع اللبنانية أشَّر إلى مصلحةٍ أميركيةٍ أكيدة في توجيه هذا الحراك ليستهدف المقاومة اللبنانية، وهي أحد أهم عوامِل قوَّة لبنان في مواجهة العدو الإسرائيلي الذي لم يتوقَّف يوماً عن انتهاك السيادة اللبنانية براً وبحراً وجواً، وصولاً إلى سرقة أجزاءٍ أساسيةٍ من المساحات البحرية التي تختزن كمياتٍ كبيرةٍ من الغاز الطبيعي الذي يتطلَّع لبنان إلى استخراجه، والذي يُمكن أن يشكِّل بارِقة أملٍ للبنانيين للخروج من نفق الأزمات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والمالية المُتلاحِقة.

وبعدما نَحَت الاحتجاجات اللبنانية نحو المُطالبة بمُكافَحة الفساد والإصلاح وتغيير المسؤولين في السلطة، شهد الشارع وشاشات التلفزة ظهور فاعلين، أفراداً ومجموعات، أرادوا استغلال زُخُم الحراك لتوجيهه ضد المقاومة. خلال أسابيع مرَّت كان الجَدَل قائِماً في لبنان حول مدى عفويّة هذا التحرك الشعبي، وسط تبايُن بين رأيين أساسيين. يقول الأول إن الناس نزلت إلى الشارع بعفويّة وبعيداً عن نوايا الاستهداف السياسي، فيما يقول الآخر إن الحَراك بدأ عفوياً، ثم تدخّلت فيه قوى حزبية أساسية مُتحالِفة مع واشنطن، وقامت بتوجيه التضاهرات للتصويب على المقاومة وحلفائها، وفي طليعتهم رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون وزعيم أكبر كتلة نيابية جبران باسيل.

تصريحات مُتتابِعة خرجت من مسؤولين أميركيين، أبرزهم وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو، أكَّدت دعم واشنطن للاحتجاجات بصورةٍ كاملةٍ، باعتباره تحرّكاً شعبياً “ضد نفوذ إيران في لبنان”، بالإضافة إلى اعتبار التظاهُرات الشعبية التي يشهدها العراق في الوقت نفسه موجَّهة أيضاً ضد “النفوذ الإيراني في العراق”.

تصريحات فيلتمان كانت أكثر وضوحاً، وأشدّ وطأةً على المُتظاهرين الصادقين في مطالبهم الإصلاحية. هؤلاء وجدوا أن تحرَّكهم ضد الفساد قد وُضِع في سياق الاستهداف الأميركي لهم ولمكامِن قوَّتهم المُتمثّلة في المقاومة، التي يحفظون لها فضل تحرير الأرض من الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، ثم تحرير وحماية البلاد من تنظيمات الإرهاب التكفيري التي وصلت إلى القرى اللبنانية الحدودية مع سوريا، واحتلَّت مساحات واسعة من الأراضي الحدودية بين البلدين، وقدَّمت المقاومة في سبيل ذلك عدداً كبيراً من الشهداء والجرحى بالإضافة إلى جهودٍ وأموالٍ كثيرة.

تهديدات بومبيو خلال زيارته إلى لبنان في آذار/ مارس الماضي، وإحاطة فيلتمان التي قدَّمها أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام، يندرجان في سياقٍ واحدٍ، وهو إرادة أميركية شَرِهة لاستهداف المقاومة في لبنان، وتعطيل نتائج الانتخابات النيابية التي أفضت إلى فوز المقاومة وحلفائها بأغلبيةٍ برلمانيةٍ وعلى أساسها تشكَّلت حكومة بأغلبيةٍ مُماثِلة.

الخارجية الأميركية تقول إنها “تقف بفخرٍ إلى جانب التظاهُرات” الشعبية في لبنان، والتي بحسب الوزارة تتحرَّك في “وجه نفوذ إيران في بيروت”. ورأس الدبوماسية الأميركية كان هدَّد اللبنانيين خلال زيارة الربيع التي قام بها إلى بيروت بدفع الثمن إذا لم يواجه مسؤولوه حزب الله.

لكن فيلتمان قدَّم شرحاً مُستفيضاً حول تطلّعات بلاده في لبنان، مؤكِّداً بدايةً ما قاله بومبيو: إما السير وفق إرادة واشنطن ومواجهة المقاومة، أو مواجهة الانهيار المالي، والاهتزازات الاجتماعية، وربما تكبّد قلاقل أمنية كنتيجةٍ لكل هذا التراجُع الاقتصادي.

وفي جلسةٍ للجنة الفرعية للشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا والإرهاب الدولي في الكونغرس بعنوان “ما هو التالي للبنان؟ دراسة الآثار المُترتِّبة على الاحتجاجات القائِمة”، عَرَضَ فيلتمان رؤيته لِما وصفه بـ”اللحظة المحورية في تاريخ لبنان”.

السفير السابق لدى لبنان، الذي اكتسب خبرةً كبيرةً في الشأن اللبناني من خلال عمله في بيروت ولاحقاً في الإدارة المعنية بشؤون الشرق الأوسط في الخارجية الأميركية، اعتبر أن لبنان قاعدة مُتقدِّمة للنفوذ الإيراني تهدِّد مصالح واشنطن هنا. وقارَب فيلتمان الملف اللبناني مُحفِّزاً أعضاء الكونغرس للوقوف بوجه احتمال احتلال روسيا والصين للفراغ الذي قد تتركه أميركا في لبنان في حال لم تدعم التظاهُرات، قائلاً إن “لبنان مكان للمُنافَسة الاستراتيجية العالمية، وإذا تنازلنا عن الأرض، سيملأ الآخرون الفراغ بسعادة”.

الرئيسان الروسي واللبناني في الكرملين (آذار/مارس 2019)

الصين وروسيا مكان أميركا في لبنان

حاجة لبنان الماسَّة إلى المساعدات الاقتصادية، خصوصاً الجزء المُتعلِّق بالبنية التحتية، رأى فيه فيلتمان مجالاً جاذِباً لقوى مُنافِسة لواشنطن تمتلك التكنولوجيا المُتطوِّرة، كالصين مثلاً، لمُساعدة لبنان على إنشاء بنيةٍ تحتيةٍ مُتطوّرةٍ في قطاع الاتصالات، عوضاً عن الدور الأميركي. ومن هنا، اعتبر أن “لبنان الصغير” يمتلك تأثيراً كبيراً على المصالح الأميركية.

وحذَّر فيلتمان أعضاء الكونغرس من خطر قدرات حزب الله على أمن الحليفة “إسرائيل”. ومن جانبٍ آخر من مُداخلته، حاول إحداث شِقاقٍ بين المقاومة والجيش اللبناني، الذي عزا له الفضل في ضرب الجماعات الإرهابية بصورةٍ “مُثيرة للإعجاب”. ووضع حزب الله في الخانة نفسها مع الجماعات الإرهابية المُتطرِّفة التي قاتلها الحزب نفسه كتفاً إلى كتف مع الجيش الذي يشكر فيلتمان دوره، في معركة شهدت تعاوناً ميدانياً بين الطرفين.

وحاول السفير الأميركي السابق إخافة النواب الأميركيين بسؤالٍ يطال مستقبل قطاع الطاقة اللبناني قائلاً: “ماذا لو استغلَّت روسيا موانئ لبنان الثلاثة ومخزونات الهيدروكربون البحرية؟ ستفوز في شرق وجنوب المتوسّط، على حسابنا”. بل ذهب أبعد من ذلك إلى التحدّث باسم دول الخليج العربية ودول الغرب الأخرى حين أشار إلى أن المُستثمرين الغربيين والخليجيين لن يأتوا إلى لبنان إذا ظلَّ اللبنانيون راضين عن كونهم جزءاً من المحور الإيراني – السوري.

محاولات فيلتمان لإقناع النواب الأميركيين بدعم الحراك في لبنان أتبعها بالتأكيد على ضرورة إبعاد بلاده عن دائرة تركيز الناشطين في الاحتجاجات، حتى لا يتحوَّل الضغط من القوى التي تريد واشنطن التصويب عليها إلى واشنطن نفسها.

تظاهرة بالقرب من السفارة الأميركية في عوكر

تصويب البوصلة: لا للتدخّل الأميركي

هذا التدخّل الأميركي كان مكشوفاً ومُتابَعاً من قِبَل مجموعات تشارك في الحراك اللبناني، والتي نظَّمت تظاهرة أمام السفارة الأميركية شمال بيروت الأحد الماضي تنديداً بدور واشنطن في تعميق الأزمة الاقتصادية، والضغط على اللبنانيين ومحاولة الإيقاع في ما بينهم، وخلق مواجهاتٍ بين أبناء الوطن الواحد. وأكَّد المُتظاهرون ضد تدخّلات واشنطن أن هذه الأخيرة تُساهِم في تعميق الأزمة الاقتصادية، وتضييق الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على لبنان واللبنانيين، ورفعوا شعاراتٍ تُحمِّل واشنطن مسؤولية تحريض الشعب والجيش في لبنان على حزب الله في محاولة ابتزازٍ واضحةٍ بربط الدعم الأميركي للجيش والدعم الدولي لاقتصاد لبنان، بعَزْلِ الحزب ورفض سياساته داخل الحكومة، وخصوصاً المُتعلِّقة بخيار المقاومة.

لقد أعاد هؤلاء المُتظاهرون أمام السفارة تصويب بوصلة الحراك باتجاه المُسبِّب الحقيقي لمُشكلات لبنان الأمنية والاقتصادية، فواشنطن هي الداعِم الأول لـ”إسرائيل” عدو لبنان التاريخي، ومحتلة أرضه، وهي التي تنفِّذ حصاراً على اللبنانيين في الاغتراب من أجل منع أعمالهم ومشروعاتهم الاقتصادية من الازدهار، مُتذرِّعةً بمحاولتها منع وصول الأموال إلى المقاومة. ومن أجل ذلك، رَفَعَ المُتظاهرون أيضاً أمام السفارة الأميركية عَلَم فلسطين، وأحرقوا علميّ “إسرائيل” وأميركا، واضعين الأمور في نصابها الحقيقي.

وإلى جانب التحرّك الشعبي في عوكر، كانت لافِتة مشاركة ناشطين آخرين افتراضياً على مواقع التواصُل في وسومٍ أبرزها #فيلتمان_سفير_الفتنة و#tojeffreyfeltman  ليوجِّهوا رسائلهم ومواقفهم طالبين من الإدارة الأميركية الكفَّ عن استغلال تحرّكهم من أجل الإصلاح، في سياق مصالحها التي تتعارض مع مصالح اللبنانيين. وفي هذا التحرّك حماية لأهداف الحراك المُحقَّة، التي يرى هؤلاء في المقاومة طرفاً موثوقاً لتحقيقها.

واشنطن وبكين وموسكو.. لحظة محورية في تاريخ لبنان

الصين وروسيا: عين على لبنان

لم تلعب كلٌ من الصين وروسيا أدواراً كبرى في السياسة اللبنانية كما فعلت القوى الغربية الأوروبية ثم الأميركية منذ نشوء لبنان كدولة مستقلة. ويمكن هنا استثناء دور روسيا المحدود في مرحلة الحرب الباردة من خلال الأحزاب اليسارية.

غير أن السنوات الأخيرة شهدت نشاطاً لافتاً لسفيري الدولتين لدى بيروت على مختلف الصعد. فسفير موسكو ألكسندر زاسبيكن شخصية معروفة جداً عند اللبنانيين، وهو كثير الظهور عبر وسائل الإعلام المحلية، ويعطي على الدوام آراء بلاده في كل الأمور المهمة التي تحدث في لبنان. ويمكن اعتبار حركته السياسية والثقافية داخل المجتمع اللبناني فاعلة.

ويركّز زاسبيكن في حركته على تظهير موقف بلاده الداعِم لوحدة لبنان، ولعلاقات متقدّمة مع بلاده، كما يقتضي دور السفراء تماماً. وفي هذا السياق استجابت روسيا في أكثر من مناسبة لطلب اللبنانيين المساعدة، خصوصاً على المستوى العسكري لناحية تقديم مساعدات للجيش اللبناني وتوريد بعض الأسلحة له. لكن الخلافات السياسية بين اللبنانيين وما ساد في لبنان عن رفض أميركي لتعاون الحكومة اللبنانية مع موسكو، عرقلا هذا التعاون المشترك إلى حدٍ كبير.

وبموازاة ذلك، تحاول روسيا تفعيل دورها في لبنان، مُستفيدةً من وَهْج حضورها في الأزمة السورية، وتمكّنها من تحقيق مكاسب سياسية وانتصار عسكري هناك. وذلك من خلال دخولها اليوم على خط الأزمة اللبنانية ولكن بخفَر. حيث أكدت موسكو ضرورة تشكيل حكومة تستجيب لتطلّعات اللبنانيين، ولكن من خلال مشاركة الأطراف السياسية في هذه الحكومة، وليس الذهاب إلى حكومة تكنوقراط تطالب بها القوى الحليفة لأميركا، وتقف خلفهم واشنطن في مطلبهم هذا.

أما الصين التي ينشط 400 من عسكرييها في قوات حفظ السلام في جنوب لبنان “يونيفيل”، فإنها غير بعيدة عن الموقف الروسي، لكنها تركّز على الشق الاقتصادي، وتقدّم عروضاً منذ سنوات للمؤسّسات الرسمية اللبنانية في هذا الإطار، مثل إعلان استعدادها لتشييد سكك حديدية، ومشروعات بنى تحتية تفيد لبنان في التحوّل إلى مساحة انطلاق للأعمال التي ستقود إعادة إعمار سوريا.

وقد عبّرت رسالتا كل من الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، والرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ، إلى الرئيس اللبناني ميشال عون في مناسبة عيد الاستقلال في 22 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المنصرم، عن إرادة الدولتين في تعزيز العلاقات مع لبنان. ففيما ركّز بوتين على “أن العلاقات الدبلوماسية الروسية– اللبنانية لطالما ارتدت طابع الصداقة البناّءة”، مؤكّداً قناعته بأن الجهود المشتركة ستواصل تطوير التعاون الثنائي في مختلف، مُجدّداً دعم بلاده المتواصل لسيادة لبنان واستقلاله ووحدة أراضيه”، ذهب الرئيس الصيني إلى التركيز على الناحية الاقتصادية، مؤكّداً “مواصلة الدعم الصيني جهود لبنان في صون سيادة الدولة والحفاظ على الاستقرار الاجتماعي ودفع التنمية الاقتصادية قدماً”.

غير أن هذين الدورين المتحفّزين لتطوير أدائهما على الساحة اللبنانية في لحظة تاريخية تشهدها البلاد، يُجابهان بتوجّسٍ أميركيٍ وصل إلى حد التعبير عن نفسه علناً في كلام فيلتمان أمام الكونغرس، الذي حسم جدلاً بين المُحتجين على الأرض حول حقيقة الدور الأميركي في توجيه الحراك الشعبي ضد حزب الله وحلفائه من جهة، ومنعاً لحلول موسكو وبكين في مساحة الفراغ التي يمكن أن تنشأ في حال أدّت التحرّكات الشعبية إلى نتيجة مُعاكِسة للرغبات الأميركية.

من هنا، فإن الحراك الشعبي اللبناني بكل فئاته يقف اليوم أمام مجموعة من المسؤوليات الكبيرة التي لا تقتصر على واجبه في تقديم رؤيته المتكاملة لمستقبل البلاد على المستويات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية والدولتية، إنما تمتد إلى واجبه في تقديم رؤى تتعلّق بأمن البلاد أمام المخاطر الخارجية المُحدِقة، والمطامع الدولية المُتناقِضة إزاء مستقبل لبنان، خصوصاً وأن ظهور الثروة الغازيّة والنفطية في المياه الإقليمية اللبنانية زاد من اهتمام القوى الدولية بهذه الدولة الصغيرة.

لذلك، فإن التسليم جدلاً بأن وزراء تكنوقراط في حكومة مستقلّة عن الأحزاب السياسية يمكن لهم أن يقدّموا أداءً مستقلاً عن ضغط التوازنات السياسية اللبنانية الدقيقة، وهي مسألة محطّ شكٍ كبير لدى كثيرين، فهل يمكن لهذا النوع من الوزراء أن يواجه إرادات خارجية لدولٍ كبرى وطاغية على المستوى الدولي؟ لا يزال قسم كبير من الشعب اللبناني يجزم بعدم إمكانية تحقّق ذلك.

المصدر : الميادين نت

ISIS LEADER AL-BAGHDADI WAS KILLED IN US OPERATION IN SYRIA’S IDLIB: REPORTS

ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Was Killed In US Operation In Syria's Idlib: Reports

Al-Baghdadi

27.10.2019

South Front

It seems that every ‘successful US President’ should defeat own ‘Terrorist #1’.

Late on October 26, eight unidentified military helicopters carried out a series of strikes on positions in the outskirt of the town of Barisha in the Syrian province of Idlib. The town is located near near Turkish border. Early on October 27, Prpesident Donald Trump announced that “something very big” had happened.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Something very big has just happened!

135K people are talking about this

Mainstream media outlets citing anonymous military and intelligence sources already reported that the incident was a successful US operation to eliminate ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

FOX News (source):

The Islamic State group leader who reportedly had a $25 million bounty on his head is believed to have been killed in Syria.

A “high value ISIS target” — believed to be Islamic State mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — was killed by U.S.-led forces in Idlib, a well-placed military source told Fox News on Saturday night.

Soon after, the White House issued a statement that major news would be announced there at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Newsweek directly claims that al-Baghdadi was killed (source):

The United States military has conducted a special operations raid targeting one of its most high-value targets, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), Newsweek has learned. President Donald Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.

Amid reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over the Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of the top-secret operation in the last bastion of the country’s Islamist-dominated opposition, a faction that has clashed with ISIS in recent years.

A U.S. Army official briefed on the results of the operation told Newsweek that Baghdadi was killed in the raid, and the Defense Department told the White House they have “high confidence” that the high-value target killed was Baghdadi, but further verification is pending DNA and biometric testing. The senior Pentagon official said there was a brief firefight when U.S. forces entered the compound in Idlib’s Barisha village and that Baghdadi then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. Family members were present. According to Pentagon sources, no children were harmed in the raid but two Baghdadi wives were killed after detonating their own explosive vests.

Local Idlib sources report that at least 7 people, including a child and 3 women, were killed in the developments in Barisha. This goes contrary to claims by US media alleging that no civilians were killed.

Séamus Malekafzali but he’s spooky this time@Seamus_Malek

First daylight video from the site in northern Idlib of the massive military op supposedly to kill Baghdadi. The place has just been absolutely leveled.

Embedded video

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Ryan O’Farrell@ryanmofarrell

Speculating, but an interesting compound built on the western outskirts of Barisha, Idlib last spring, especially the bottom building https://goo.gl/maps/VbdE25FtXRntYMBP8 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
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Other reports speculate that:

  • the strikes in Barisha to destroy al-Baghdadi’s compound and prevent it from turning into a place of worship for various radicals and ISIS supporters;
  • Turkey was not informed about the operation because President Erdogan is no more a US ‘reliable partner’. It’s hard to suppose how this is even possible because of the localtion of the supposed operation;
  • Turkey provided the US with intelligence

As expected the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces already claimed  that the supposed operation against al-Baghdadi became possible thanks to their assistance to the US-led coalition. This is an ordinary behavior for the Kurdish group that likes to prentend that it’s responsible for a total defeat of ISIS.

Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي

@MazloumAbdi

Successful& historical operation due to a joint intelligence work with the United States of America.

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During the past few years, mainstream media outlets repeatedly claimed that al-Baghdadi was eliminated in Syria or Iraq. All these reports appeared  to be fake news.

If the current claim is different and the US-led coalition really eliminated  the ISIS leader, this will be an important development contributing for a further ISIS collapse.

  • The elimination of al-Baghdadi would be an important PR victory for the Trump administration that would use this factor to justify its Middle East foreign policy inside the US ahead of the Presidential Election 2020. So, Trump will get another chance to claim that his administration defeated ISIS.
  • The elimination of al-Baghdadi, if it realy happened, in Idlib province reveals all the hypocrisy of Western diplomats and journalists that have fiercely opposed ani-terror efforts of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance in the very same area.

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DONALD TRUMP: ‘FUTURE BELONGS TO PATRIOTS NOT GLOBALISTS’

Donald Trump: 'Future Belongs To Patriots Not Globalists'

South Front

On September 24, US President Donald Trump made his third address to the United Nations. Many said that the adress was ‘ordinary’ for Trump. Some parts of the adress are inspiring, while others raise concerns.

Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly (full transcript):

Madam President, Mr. Secretary General, world leaders, ambassadors, and distinguished delegates:

One year ago, I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall. I addressed the threats facing our world, and I presented a vision to achieve a brighter future for all of humanity. Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we have made.

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America is so thrilled. [Laughter] I did not expect that reaction, but that’s okay. [Applause] America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we have added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low.

Comment: Mr. Trump is right and his ill-wishers cannot deny this. It is important to note that the successes of the US economy took place amid the decline of the global economy. The economic strategy of the Trump administration was designed to support the US national industry and demonstrated own effectiveness. The US nation is lucky that in the current condition the US leader is patriot Trump rather than some creature of the global capital.

African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all achieved their lowest levels ever recorded. We have added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs. We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We have started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security. We have secured record funding for our military, $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.

We are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere. We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace. Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth. That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.

Comment: Since the very start of the presidency, Mr. Trump has demonstrated that for him such words are not just a colorful rhetoric needed to cover destructive US actions towards other states. However, the life is not rainbows and unicorns. Washington has been demonstrating double standards in its foreign policy for a very long time.

From Warsaw to Brussels to Tokyo to Singapore, it has been my highest honor to represent the United States abroad. I have forged close relationships and friendships and strong partnerships with the leaders of many nations in this room.

Our approach has always yielded incredible change. With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace. In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face-to-face with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. We had highly productive conversations and meetings. We agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Since that meeting, we have seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined a short time ago. The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped. Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home, to lay at rest in American soil. I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs. I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment, a moment that is actually far greater than people would understand—far great. But for, also, their support and the critical support that we will all need going forward, a special thanks for President Moon of South Korea, the Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and President Xi of China.

In the Middle East, our new approach is yielding great strides and very historic change. Following my trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks, and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen, and they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.

Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children. For that reason, the United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a regional strategic alliance so that Middle Eastern nations can advance prosperity, stability, and security across their home region.

Comment: These remarks once again demonstrate that the US president is supporter of the traditional system of the international relations. At the same time, the colorful phrase about the right of “the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children” is used to hide anti-Iranian intentions and efforts to create and strengthen an anti-Iranian coalition that would include Jordan and Egypt. The goal of this coalition would be to counter Iranian influence and in some cases even to meddle the Iranian internal political situation.

Thanks to the United States military, and our partnership with many of your nations, I am pleased to report that the bloodthirsty killers known as isis have been driven out from the territory they once held in Iraq and Syria. We will continue to work with friends and allies to deny radical Islamic terrorists funding, territory, or support or any means of infiltrating our borders.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations–led peace process to be reinvigorated. But rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

Comment: Mr. Trump demonstrates a dramatic shift of the US position towards the conflict in Syria. He does not repeat the ‘Assad must go’ mantra and says that the conflict should be settled through “political solutions”. The President also avoids to mention the supposed US support to the Syrian opposition. Even, the cornerstone of the US public agenda in the Syrian conflict, “chemical weapons”, is used just as a warning in for the case if such weapons “are deployed”. This stance is in contrary to the stance of the Obama administration and the Trump administration during its first two years.

I commend the people of Jordan and other neighboring countries for hosting refugees from this very brutal civil war. As we see in Jordan, the most compassionate policy is to place refugees as close to their homes as possible, to ease their eventual return to be part of the rebuilding process. This approach also stretches finite resources to help far more people, increasing the impact of every dollar spent.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that is fueled and financed in the corrupt dictatorship in Iran. Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and disruption. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war. Not good. Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the regime’s agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose nuclear sanctions.

The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the year since the deal has been reached, the military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen. The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. Last month, we began reimposing hard-hitting nuclear sanctions that have been lifted under the Iran deal. Additional sanctions will resume November 5, and more will follow. We are working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially. We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America” and that threatens Israel with annihilation to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We just cannot do it. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.

This year, we took another significant step forward in the Middle East in recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital. I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts. America’s policy of principled realism means that we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong, over the years, time and time again.

Comment: These remarks were expected. They were based on Trump’s vision of Israel as the key US ally in the Middle east. However, attempts to link the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem with the commitment to the “future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians” are surprising. It is unclear how the peace and stability could be achieved through these actions. Nonetheless, Trump once again demonstrated himself as the supporter of hard realpolitik principles and direct actions.

This is true, not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity. We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer. For decades, the United States opened its economy, the largest by far on Earth, with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders. Yet other countries did not grant us free and reciprocal access to their markets in return. Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries, and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year. For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals. Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement.

Comment: The strengthening of protectionism policies is generally consistent with Trump’s economic doctrine. Trump focuses on the revision of unfair, “broken and bad” trade deals. If Trump is re-elected, further protectionist measures in the field of the US foreign trade should be expected.

Just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand-new U.S.-Korea trade deal. This is just the beginning. Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based.

Comment: The fact that the World Trade Organization does not work is an open secret. The organization de-facto does not pursues goals declared during its creation. Trump is right that the WTO violates “every single principle on which the organization is based.” It is important to note that the WTO gained its current form thanks to actions and policy of the previous US administrations, which were shaped by supporters of the globalists. These very powers were interested in the current state of the WTO. However, the US president that demonstrates different approaches, focusing on protectionism, the national economic development and the rationale nationalism, is not interested in such a state of the WTO.

While the United States and many other nations played by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engaged in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property. The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs, and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO. We have racked up $13 trillion in trade deficits over the last two decades.

But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will no longer allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens. The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods, for a total so far of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend President Xi, but I have made clear that our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.

As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interests. I spoke before this body last year and warned that the UN Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human-rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends. Our ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, laid out a clear agenda for reform, but despite reported and repeated warnings, no action at all was taken. So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council and we will not return until real reform is enacted.

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process.

Comment: Trump once again declares his vision of the United States as an independent sovereign state, which should be governed exclusively by the people of the United States through democratic procedures. He rejects the globalism and demonstrates that he is well aware of the nature and specifics of the processes that take place in a number of international bodies – for example, in the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court. He names the forces that dominate these organizations – the global bureaucracy and the associated global capital – the globalists aiming to establish the so-called New World Order. Trump makes it clear that he is a fierce opponent of this concept.

WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER AMERICA’S SOVEREIGNTY TO AN UNELECTED, UNACCOUNTABLE GLOBAL BUREAUCRACY. AMERICA IS GOVERNED BY AMERICANS. WE REJECT THE IDEOLOGY OF GLOBALISM, AND WE EMBRACE THE DOCTRINE OF PATRIOTISM. AROUND THE WORLD, RESPONSIBLE NATIONS MUST DEFEND AGAINST THREATS TO SOVEREIGNTY NOT JUST FROM GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, BUT ALSO FROM NEW FORMS OF COERCION AND DOMINATION.

Comment: These words are the culmination and the very essence of the address. Globalists will not forgive this. The next US presidential race is expected to be even tenser than the previous one. Trump could be described as a controversial person. But in this very case, he seems to be an island of sanity and a clear vision surrounded by oligarchic clans advocating globalism and the New World Order.

In America, we believe in energy security for ourselves and for our allies. We have become the largest energy producer anywhere on the face of the Earth. The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal, and natural gas. OPEC and OPEC nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good. We want them to stop raising prices; we want them to start lowering prices. They must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer. Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers. It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs. The United States has recently strengthened our laws to better screen foreign investments in our country for national-security threats. We welcome cooperation with countries in this region and around the world that wish to do the same. You need to do it for your own protection.

The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane. It is a horrible thing that is going on, at levels that nobody has ever seen before. It is very, very cruel. Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations and hurts hardworking citizens and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs can we break the cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same, which we are doing. That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new Global Compact on Migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body, unaccountable to our own citizens. Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.

Comment: Trump’s United States would continue demonstrate the rationale protectionism and isolationism and defend the right of the nation to decide what kind of future it wants for itself.

Currently, we are witnessing a human tragedy as an example in Venezuela. More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors. Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth. Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty. Virtually everywhere, socialism or communism has been tried. It has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone. In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Today, we are announcing additional sanctions against the repressive regime, targeting Maduro’s inner circle and close advisers.

We are grateful for all of the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families. The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world by far of foreign aid. But few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance. That will be headed up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart. Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. We expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.

The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget.

Comment: The US president just mocked international bodies in his unique style. He declared support to their actions, but said that he would not give them money.

This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden. We are working to shift more of our funding from assessed contributions to voluntary so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success. Only when we each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the United Nations’ highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.

Looking around this hall, where so much history has transpired, we think of the many before us who have come here to address the challenges of their nations and of their times. Our thoughts turn to the same question that ran through all of their speeches and resolutions, through every word and every hope. It is the question of, what kind of world will we leave for our children and what kind of nations they will inherit. The dreams that fill this hall today are as diverse as the people who have stood at this podium, and as varied as the countries represented right here, in this body, are. It really is something. It really is great, great history.

There is India, a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class. There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the crown prince are pursuing bold new reforms. There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land. In Poland, the great people are standing up for their independence, their security, and their sovereignty.

Comment: The list of ‘successful and democratic’ nations named by Mr. Trump is especially interesting and funny. He said that India is “a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class”. But he somehow forgot to mention that India is the state with one of the highest levels of social inequality. In fact, India is in the list because it’s the main regional competitor of China, the US is draining brains from the Indian nation, and India is a prospective market for the US industry, mainly the military industrial complex.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are the united Middle Eastern family of the traditional US allies. Their economies are incorporated into the US economy.

As to Poland, this state is currently one of the main political and economic competitors of Germany within the EU and thus the US ally. At the same time, Washington sees Poland as a deterrent force against Russia. Besides this, Poland has been acting as an agent working in interests of the Anglo-Saxon world in Europe.

Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures, and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy, and of a home. The whole world is richer. Humanity is better because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, each shining brightly in its part of the world. In each one, we see also promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.

As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be. In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. We prize the culture that sustains our liberty, a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and, above all, we love our country. Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland, the passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs and magnificent works of art.

Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it—to build with it, to draw on its ancient wisdom, and to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better. To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all. When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.

Together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. Let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations.

Comment: These are great words. Nonetheless, we kindly ask Mr. Trump to reveal the list of nations that would have a right able to achieve this “future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride”, according to his vision.

Forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just. Forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the nations of the world. Thank you very much.

***

In the end, it is also interesting to note that Mr. Trump has almost fully ignored the so-called ‘Russian threat’ in his address. He mentioned Russia once when talked about the US interests in the European energy market and the German-Russian relations. However, there was no criticism aimed against Russia in general. Furthermore, the US President fully ignored the Ukraine question demonstrating his real stance towards the conflict.

Over the past days, the Trump administration has sent signals that it is not going to fund Ukraine just because it’s allegedly engaged in the “war with Russia”. Furthermore, Washington demonstrates that it is not interested in the further escalation of the situation in the region.

West’s “Fake News” Begins to Backfire

Source

September 5, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Western special interests have used the term “fake news” as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google’s various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of “fake news” to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called “fake news.”

A Bangkok Post article titled, “Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown,” would report:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.

The article also makes mention of the Thai government’s plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting “fake-news.”

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem “fake news” or “coordinated, disingenuous behaviour,” but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand’s information space at the Thai government’s and the Thai people’s expense.


Genuine Cooperation and Non-Interference Requires Thai Leverage 

Google’s adherence to Chinese conditions for operating within Chinese territory resulted not from Google’s good will, but from China’s sufficient leverage over the tech-giant. China maintains its own tech corporations which dominate China’s information space. China’s Baidu is an equivalent to Google. Weibo is a Chinese equivalent to Twitter. And RenRen is a Chinese version of Facebook. All three dominate their respective target markets within China.

China doesn’t need Google. Google needs China. And because of this leverage, China is able to bend Google to conform to its conditions while operating within China. At any time China can remove what little of Google’s business remains there because of this fact.

For smaller nations like Thailand, tech-giants like Google face little to no competition. They are able to exert influence over Thailand’s information space with virtual impunity. The Thai government may “ask” for cooperation, but lacking any indigenous alternative, requests for cooperation lack the sufficient leverage necessary to receive it in full.

Thailand’s latest plans will likely backfire if not linked to serious efforts to establish Thai versions of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms operated by foreign tech giants currently dominating Thailand’s information space.

Such efforts have been hinted at.  In 2017 there were talks between the Thai and Russian governments regarding Russian assistance to develop local Thai alternatives to US-based social media platforms.

So far, no tangible progress has been made. But should concrete plans be rolled out alongside requests that foreign tech giants concede control of Thai information space to the Thai government, the threat of local alternatives displacing foreign social media platforms just as they did in China or Russia could give Bangkok the leverage it needs to have its requests met.

The West’s Surreal Hypocrisy 

In the wake of Thailand’s announcement  to fight “fake news,” Western media platforms began decrying the proposed plans.

The Diplomat’s article, “‘Fake News’ and Thailand’s Information Wars,” would attempt to claim:  

Identifying what is considered “fake news” has become a political weapon for authoritarian consolidation after the 2014 military coup. The regime has relentlessly accused its critics of spreading false information while claiming that it is the only official source of true facts.

The author, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, appears entirely unaware the term “fake news” was first coined in the West specifically for this purpose and the tech-giants Thailand proposes to lean on to enforce its own definition of “fake news” have already scoured their networks of tens of thousands of accounts in a politically-motivated censorship campaign propped up by claims of fighting “fake news.”

Janjira also complains that the Thai government’s proposal puts first and foremost US-backed political parties like Future Forward at risk. She never mentions Future Forward is a political proxy of foreign interests and glosses over its links to political parties guilty of mass murder, street violence and terrorism. She also attempts to imply US designs for primacy over Asia is a threat imagined by Thailand’s current government and its supporters despite a half century of US policy papers, US-led wars and standing armies placed in the region proving just how real this threat is.

If a campaign aimed at confronting “fake news” was ever really needed, it is for parties like Future Forward, the foreign special interests it works for and the networks of violence and terrorism it works with.

As Asia Rises, Western Influence in Physical and Information Space will Wane

Thailand is not alone. Other nations across Southeast Asia have already passed laws regarding what they define as “fake news,” much of which targets US-funded media platforms seeking to influence regional public perception, policy and economic decisions.

Reuters in its article, “Thailand asks tech firms to set up centers against ‘fake news’ in Southeast Asia,” would note:

Other Southeast Asian governments have also recently made efforts to exert more control over online content and taken a tough stance against misinformation. 

Singapore passed an anti-fake news bill in May, forcing online media platforms to correct or remove content the government considers to be false. 

Vietnam said its cybersecurity law, which was passed last year and banned posting anti-government information online, would guard against fake news. 

Whether or not Thailand’s current plans succeed, what is certain is that the balance of power in the region is shifting. Nations once powerless to compete against US economic, political, military and information supremacy are now moving individually and in unison to chip away at US hegemony in the region.

Thailand will eventually develop its own alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google and others which will not only be a benefit to Thai national security, but also to the Thai economy. Much of Thailand’s nearly 70 million strong population is online (including 46 million on Facebook alone) and keeping the money generated by their online activity inside Thailand’s borders can only be a positive thing.

It’s not a matter of if but of when US-based tech giants lose their grip on information space abroad. The only question that remains is how much damage they’ll be able to do in each respective country, including Thailand, before that grip loosens.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

May 17, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for the Saker Blog

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

America’s self-imagined custodianship of human rights and freedom epitomize problems associated with fake prophesies. That Americans now rally behind the latest battle-cry of the Republic, ‘Make America Great Again’, indicate that they are indifferent to the fact that their country has been barnstorming across the globe these past six decades killing vast numbers of innocent people with the objective of creating a pre-eminently militaristic empire to strategically control the skies, oceans, their market-share plus control of space. In implementing these belligerent objectives, the US has repeatedly unleashed auto-da fes to destroy many countries across the globe who failed to fall in line.

Foremostly, America’s firebrand passage through Muslim countries clearly illustrate how a neophyte culture with racist baggage can implode the nation’s reputation, leaving it bereft of respect and credibility. This now appears to be what is happening in America. The two-tiered (or three) aspect of this enterprise requires closer examination.

It would appear that ‘greatness’ in the American context amounts to nothing more than upholding vulgar white-middle-class racist values as the measure of excellence, with fake ‘principled’ notions of cultural superiority leading the chase. When the dogs-of-war were unleashed to wreak havoc, pillage and plunder on the habitats of millions of hapless people across the globe, the silence of so-called conscionable America was deafening.

Violence had become an American staple and the voice of the Peace Movement is all but mute. It’s now impossible to ignore the fact that the three tiers of state, the top tier, the middle tier and the lower tier…the three classes…collude in a program whose singular use of power expresses an unwavering desire to ride the gravy train to the hilt and devil take the hindmost.

These three classes, battle hardened and indifferent to the chaos caused by their bloodthirsty military have been blindsided by their own government. There is the sense that the flag… the stars-and-strips…has become the nation’s birth certificate and each person’s birth certificate a little bit of a collective ‘stars and stripes’ denouement that entitles them to extrajudicial considerations and the right to be proud of their dubious record. However, finding one’s niche in this hierarchal edifice is another matter altogether.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are missives of choice for the middle class in matters relating to America’s monopolistic capitalist system. Predatory incursions into foreign countries resulting in bloodshed are routinely explained away in false-flag gibberish or in some other fashion to justify the actions of the government. This business of doing business attitude exists to negate everything else and the middle-class appear to have no qualms with this scenario. The sub-text here being, as God’s own people they believe that they have the right to expect ‘mana-from-heaven’ to rain down upon them from all quarters of the globe.

For the working class however, tweeting along with the paymaster appears to be an act of convenience. But when the music stops, as it most certainly will, the birthright question (all men are equal) will inevitable come into contention again when the issue of inequality needs to be confronted. However, the next generation may be more strident should they once again find themselves being herded back into a holding-pen position to await casino-capitalism’s next ‘flurry’ at the roulette table.

But irony of ironies, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal etc. are merely institutions that employ smoke and mirror tactics to conceal the nastiness of a two-tiered (or three) system that entails subjecting the public to a game of musical chairs, whose prime objective is to unseat a competitor each time Wall Street chooses to play its favourite game of ‘pass-the-stock-market-parcel’…the one designed to consolidate wealth in fewer hands each time it is played.

Musical chairs, also known as Trip to Jerusalem, is a game of elimination involving players, chairs, and music, with one fewer chair than players. When the music stops whichever player fails to sit on a chair is eliminated, with a chair then being removed and the process repeated until only one player remains. Alas! The origins of the game are unknown. On the other hand, we may safely assume that Karl Marx or Antonio Gramsci are not its authors.

So, the questions we need to ask here are, have Americans taken to wearing masks to hide their lack of conscience, like their President wears his hairpiece… do their masks, like Donald’s hairpiece, only make an appearance when orchestrating auto-da fes, or when administering sanctions designed to economically incinerate…or starve… apostates?

Or should we defer to another Donald…Donald Rumsfeld…for insights into America’s moral stature. “We don’t know what we don’t know. There are too many unknowns too many factors that we may not have yet considered,” said he. Which, when translated might mean, ‘Life is like a game of musical chairs and America has the right to take occupancy of the limited number of chairs available or our armed forces will be forced to use terror to procure knowable ends that are ultimately unknowable but desirable because they make us feel great.’

Narratives fed to the public by special interest groups come as hybridised versions of Hollywood cypher-speak-gibberish and are passed off as truths to the public for the purpose of indoctrinating them. A continuous repetition of false declamatory statements praising American exceptionality pour from the media to reinforce fake news. If there were a Noble Peace prize for hypocrisy, it would surely go to America.

America, the so-called leader of the so-called free world is awash with fallacious narratives that are put in place by corporate entities to implement a two-tiered (or three) system that strives to gain support in the public domain by using fearmongering tactics to implement its propaganda in every way possible. Fake narratives ceaselessly eat into public consciousness while cleverly concealing their real purpose, which is full spectrum Mafioso dominance. Think of the numerous corporate ploughshares that have insidiously penetrated a country near you!

As we now live in a technological age that has provided humans with the ability to engage in nuclear Armageddon, we can’t help but notice how worse-case scenarios abound. Some even suggest that evolution has run out of steam. Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine (MAD) is a minefield without canaries and we, in the lower tiers, are left painfully aware of our impotence on discovering that we are without a voice in the decision- making process. We are required to seal our lips and accept the reality that nuclear buttons now hang over our heads like the sword of Damocles.

We are constantly reminded that states exist, super and otherwise, their nuclear dogs-of-war straining on the leash in readiness should lines be crossed. We are repeatedly reminded of the fact that it is now possible to cause enormous casualties and destruction to civilian populations anywhere in the world by simply pressing a button from thousands of miles away.

We can no longer feel free because we can no longer free ourselves from the shadow of Dr. Strangelove. The more bloated the military budget becomes, the deeper we sink into gloom upon realizing how our anxiety increases exponentially with increases to the military budget.

Knowing that unknown knowns have consigned us to carceral spaces where modern-day Caesars busy themselves toying with their nuclear buttons, suggests that the middle and working classes have become prisoners in an ill-defined reality. The knowledge that capitalism engenders fear through its ‘security’ narrative has now become the problem. The ideology that keeps capitalism frothing at the mouth has produced its own evil doppelganger…a pedagogic Promethean pariah responsible for global degradation, its power ever more lethal in a world that has learned to fear its score card.

Four in ten Americans sometimes face what economists call “material hardship,” struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and housing, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Even middle-class families routinely struggle financially and are occasionally unable to pay their bills and more and more ordinary citizen are beginning to feel that they no longer have a part to play in a secular agenda that has become the property of the military establishment.

So, the problem now is that civilians seem unable to deal with facts. A shut-the-fuck-up mentality now exists to banish issues that relate to questions relating to social criteria and the people who write and whistle-blow the inequities of their government. People are relentlessly exposed to facts, but as civilians, are incapable of dealing with them. Facts appear on electronic screens ad nauseam to reveal how citizens have become captive to a static reality that uses fearmongering as a way of castrating public dissent. Facts that indicate that only the elite have skin in the game are everywhere in evidence.

At the Colosseum level…the elite level…the grand referee in the orange hairpiece keeps tweeting dealership gibberish while the classes in the lower tiers are expected to remain on standby to applaud this kind of hubris. Many are amused but few are chosen…unless you are an exponent of the rules of Republican Likud or are Likud Democrats building separation walls to keep Zion in and Allah out, per medium of a nasty game of musical chairs…a la currency wars!

Secondary development is fine, but at what cost to that primary narrative within us that depends on freedom of expression? It is ironic that many of the ‘learned’ amongst us strategically position themselves between the people and the elites, thereby limiting the potential for development within the masses. Traditionally, the policy of our rulers…shepherds… was to herd the ‘sheeple’ into the shepherd’s fold, lest he or she escape the soporific effects of propaganda or holy writ. To our great dismay, most of our teachers to this day do little other that look in the rear-view mirror for inspiration.

Justifications for releasing the ‘Dogs of War’ on civilians who can’t defend themselves are inevitable meaningless. For example, the American-Zionist agenda which manufactures fear for the purpose of manufacturing enemies for the purpose of manufacturing wars, has of itself become a war on truth. Sadly, the reason why investigative reporting became so highly selective is that in the US, truth had lost its place in the established media. The fact of the matter is, white-middle-class Americans respond with pique when confronted with criticism of their values. Sadly, exposing the injustices perpetrated on Muslims, Palestinians or Black People is a matter of little concern…a poignant example of what happens to complacent people when they turn away from the truth.

What William Kristol and Robert Kagan proposed when helping to draft the ‘Project for the New American Century’, was a manufactured narrative that led the average citizen to believe that their security depended on elites who could explain the threats they were exposed to…a win-win solution designed to keep them believing that they needed the protection of elites. And what the elites were telling them was that the military establishment was a bulwark against chaos, and the destruction of their state and the possibility that they might become subservient to non-white people.

The West, having created a bifurcated paradigm called democracy sold it to the public as a vector capable of promoting the verity of good governance. But unfortunately, as all paradigms contain bias, the model in question went to great lengths to conceal the presence of the schism within. An upper tier and a lower tier came into existence, whereby the resolution of conflicts was subject to the veto powers of the upper tier. Soon the upper tier set about training minds in the lower-tier to shepherd the resources of the state in ways that benefited the upper-tier. Sadly, over time, the upper tier became more interested in the subject of fiscal welfare (for themselves) rather than pursuing outcomes that could serve the interests of the entire polity.

The bifurcated concept of democracy as propounded by our learned founding-fathers was from the beginning a sleight of hand operating in deference to proprietorial principles enabling the architects of the system to retain control of their plan by fostering the notion that their vector of choice, democracy, could deliver justice for all.

In the US, a tiny number of people cream off virtually all the wealth. Ever since the first Cold War, the ‘sheeple’ have been led to believe that an external threat to their security existed and that it could only be managed by the ruling elite. Spending money to secure the two-tiered realm would require the creation of a global military force capable of warding off threats to American hegemony.

In recent times, emotions pertaining to loss of kudos led to acrimonious debate within the US. Insisting that the Western alliance would work better if individual members paid a bigger share of the costs involved in maintaining NATO came to the fore. This policing agency, the tip of the economic iceberg that was put in place to secure right-of-passage for US hegemony in the first instance, was now upping the ante…the cost of missiles had increased. To date, the dust may have settled, but the opprobrium (phlegm) released by Emperor continues to rile the ruled.

In middle America…the beltway…the media, academia and the entertainment industry share a quasi-moral narrative which floats like an iceberg in an inland sea. This inland sea has a mirror-like surface which reflects the vanity of its citizenry who need to bathe in the unholy waters of hubris. For the upper and middle classes, focusing on America’s military might enables them to revel in unadulterated vainglory. Hubris within the upper class had reached a point where debasement of human values became the norm. Celebrations of inhouse grandiosity suggesting that inverted middle-class American perspectives had passed their use-by-date.

And as the wealth of the nation continued its rise upwards, the lower tier showed signs that something had become unsustainable. The top-heaviness of the unequal economic order had begun to impact unfavourably on the lower tier. From the anonymity of the sheep-pen, the so-called sheeple people had discovered a flaw in that aphorism which stated, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. They discovered that these perspectives were held by pedagogic Prometheans peering into histories rear-view mirrors. They were teachers who would never experience the thrill that came with grassroot activity or feel passions that could change the course of history.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Hyper-Hypocrisy of The West about ISIS

Hyper-Hypocrisy of The West about ISIS

ERIC ZUESSE | 19.03.2019 | WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

Hyper-Hypocrisy of The West about ISIS

During the period of 17 September to 11 December of 2016, the United States and its allies carried out a massive operation to move ISIS’s surviving jihadists who were in the oil-producing Iraqi region of Mosul, into the Syrian oil-producing region of Deir Ezzor and Palmyra. This was done so that those oil-stealing-and-selling jihadists in Iraq would now be stealing Syria’s oil and would thereby increase the likelihood of overthrowing Syria’s long-existing non-sectarian Government. The US and its allies would then replace that Government by one which would be controlled by the fundamentalist Sunni Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, the long-time leading oil-power, and which family are America’s main foreign ally. The Sauds are crucial to maintaining the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The US aristocracy rely upon them.

Now that ISIS is being defeated by Syria’s Government (and by its allies Russia and Iran) in Syria, the United States and its allies are trying to find other governments that will take them in as refugees. It’s part of a deal the US regime reached with ISIS.

The issue of what to do with the thousands of surviving but (temporarily) defeated ISIS members — and with their spouses and children — has raised hypocrisy to perhaps the highest level in all of history. Its background needs to be understood if one wants to understand the sources of that enormous hypocrisy. Here’s this background:

When Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, it greatly disturbed the US regime, which therefore started on 12 October 2015 to air-drop weapons into that area so as to help the jihadists to shoot down Russia’s jets, which were bombing ISIS. America’s Fox News Channel headlined “US military airdrops 50 tons of ammo for Syrian fighters, after training mission ends”. The US didn’t start bombing ISIS in Syria until 16 November 2015, and the US Government’s excuse for not having bombed them earlier was “This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike.” They pretended that it was done out of compassion — not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS’s success in taking over territory in Syria.

And then on 26 February 2019, Syria’s government news-agency reported that the US had sent to the US Federal Reserve 40+ tons of gold that ISIS had accumulated from selling, on the international black markets, oil from Syria’s oil-producing region around Deir Ezzor — Syria’s oil stolen by ISIS and the proceeds now being stolen yet again by the US regime — and this gold now being sent to the US (On March 8th I reported the further background and context of that US theft from Syria.) The US regime had offered to ISIS-members who were in Syria’s oil-producing region a choice either to become captured and killed by Syria’s Government, or else for them to give to the US that gold, and the option which was selected by the jihadists was to give the gold to the US, which is therefore now trying to find other countries to send the jihadists to as ‘refugees’ (since Syria certainly doesn’t want them, and neither does the US regime). The US regime is honoring its commitments to those ‘former’ ISIS members and their families, to assist them to find countries which will accept those people as ‘refugees’. Sweden, being very liberal (meaning ideologically very confused), happens to be one of these countries, and is actually considering and debating whether to allow them in.

Zero Hedge is perhaps the keenest news-site for exposing The West’s rampant hypocrisies (and so all of The West’s propagandistic ’news’-sites hate it and call it ‘fake news’ even though it actually is more reliably accurate than the mainstream ones themselves are); and, on March 10th, it pointed out that Sweden was in a flurry over whether to accept, as refugees, ISIS jihadists who have escaped, and their spouses and children. Zero Hedge truthfully pointed out that,

Sweden’s new government, which was finally formed in January after months of delay, is introducing policies that will lead to more immigration into Sweden — despite the main governing party, the Social Democrats, having run for office on a promise to tighten immigration policies.
The right to family reunion for those people granted asylum in Sweden who do not have refugee status is being reintroduced — a measure that is estimated to bring at least 8,400 more immigrants to Sweden in the coming three years. According to the Minister of Migration, Morgan Johansson, this measure will “strengthen integration,” although he has not explained how.
“I think it is a very good humanitarian measure; 90 percent [of those expected to come] are women and children who have lived for a long time in refugee camps, [and] who can now be reunited with their father or husband in Sweden”, Johansson said.

This is supposed to be ‘democracy’?

However, that article, as noted at Zero Hedge, was written by Judith Bergman, of the Gatestone Institute. Sometimes, even such vicious propaganda-organizations, as that, produce authentic news, and here was such an instance. (It’s yet another reason why arguing ad-hominem, instead of strictly — that is, 100% — ad-rem, is essential to avoid, in order to determine truth and reject lies. That was a truthful article. Though Bergman wrote for a hate-mongering anti-Muslim site, the reporting in it was honest and factual. So, here’s some ad-hominem background to it, not as a part of the argument in this particular case — regarding Sweden’s debate over whether to accept former ISIS members as refugees — but instead as context explaining how this truth came to be published by the hate-mongering Gatestone:)

The Gatestone Institute is a rabidly pro-Israeli-Jews, and rabidly anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim operation, which was founded and is run by the heir and grand-daughter, Nina Rosenwald, of the biggest early (1895) investor in Sears Roebuck & Co., Julius Rosenwald. He died in 1932. His heir and son was Nina’s father, and in 1939 he“was one of three founding members of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA).[12] [Nina] Rosenwald’s mother, a professional violinist, was a refugee from both the Russian Revolution and Nazi Germany.[9].” Nina, being not very bright, was never able to rid herself of the prejudices her parents felt against Palestinians and generally against Muslims (since Israel’s main supremacism is against Muslims, because Israel’s ruling ethnicity, Jews, have been stealing land from Muslims). Nina identifies herself as “a human rights activist”. (As was said at the start here, this issue “has raised hypocrisy to perhaps the highest level in all of history.”) She had, in fact, hired John Bolton as Gatestone’s Chairman; and, for his service as that, during June 2017 to March 2018 (when he became hired as Trump’s National Security Advisor), Bolton received $310,000. So, Bill Berkowitz headlined on 27 September 2018 “Meet Nina Rosenwald, the Sears Heiress Seeding Islamophobia at Home and Abroad”, and he brought together and linked to the great reporting by Max Blumenthal and by Lee Fang, documenting the Gatestone Institute’s rabid global hate-mongering for Israel.

But, in this particular case (the article by Judith Bergman), there was no deceit, because nothing in her reporting violated Nina Rosenwald’s biggest hatred, hatred of Muslims — so, these truths were acceptable to Rosenwald. Bergman’s article happened to be truthful Israeli propaganda. (After all: some propaganda is truthful.)

The Israeli regime won’t have any credibility whatsoever unless it condemns Sweden’s compassion for jihadists and for the wives and children of jihadists. Israel’s Minister of Justice had endorsed exterminating all Palestinians, but that rationale — sheer bigotry — for opposing them, isn’t suitable for foreign consumption, and so it was almost immediately disappeared from its public posting (shown there at that link). If Israel can’t pretend to be against Muslims on account of jihadists, then Israel’s barbaric treatment of its Palestinians won’t make any sense at all to the many fools (mainly in America, Israel’s chief patron) who support Israel (such as the Rosenwalds do). The US regime hides the barbarous reality of Israel, but that reality isn’t blacked-out quite as much in the rest of the world; so, Israel can’t afford to be publicly silent regarding jihadists, even in cases where the US regime would prefer such silence. Obviously, the US regime wants Sweden to accept those ‘former’ ISIS members (because the US regime aims to conquer Russia and all nations — such as Syria — that are allied with Russia, and uses ISIS, Al Qaeda, and nazis, as “boots-on-the-ground” mercenaries, in order to do that), and so this ISIS-as-refugees issue is one on which the American regime and the Israeli regime happen to disagree.

Bergman closed her article by describing the Swedish Government’s efforts to be compassionate toward jihadists while the Swedish Government also provides an appearance of caring for the safety of non-jihadist (the vast majority of) Swedes:

On a positive note, however, at the end of February, the Swedish government presented plans to introduce legislation that would criminalize membership of a terrorist organization. This new law would enable the prosecuting of returning ISIS fighters who cannot be connected to a specific crime, but who were proven to have been part of a terrorist organization. Critics have pointed out that it has taken years for the government to take steps to criminalize membership of terror organizations.

Sweden is hypocritically ‘neutral’, but actually a vassal nation of the United States. Sweden is being pushed by its master, the US regime, to accept some of the people the US Government had been protecting in order for the US to become enabled to take over Syria and to deliver it to the US aristocracy’s chief ally the Sauds; and, so, the Swedish Government is now trying to square this circle, in order to satisfy everyone at least somewhat. This split loyalty (between the imperial master, and the domestic public) is what’s called ‘democracy’, nowadays. The master pulls one way, the public are confused or undecided, and the US regime’s other main Middle Eastern ally, Israel, is pulling in the exact opposite direction, on this particular matter. This is how international affairs actually are being decided. The various aristocracies come to an agreement on how to proceed. The respective publics are virtually ignored, except as fronts for their PR. That’s today’s international order, just as has been the case for thousands of years: it is agreements that are reached between aristocracies.

Back in September of 2018, the US regime was backed by the United Nations in opposing Russia’s and Syria’s plan simply to slaughter all of the tens of thousands of Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists (and their families), whom the Syrian Government had exiled to Idlib, Syria’s most pro-jihadist province, and who were being collected there with the intention to destroy them all at the very end of the war — finally to finish them off there. Both Syria’s Government and Russia’s Government wanted simply to destroy them en-masse, at the war’s end. However, because of the success of that US-based (and also U.N.-backed) international propaganda campaign arguing that bombing them would be ‘inhumane’, those jihadists survive, and will probably also be moved to other nations. Sweden could become one such nation, if they decide to take in not only ‘former’ ISIS but ‘former’ Al Qaeda, as ’refugees’. The US has protected both of those groups, against Syria’s Government.

Hypocrisy exists when people don’t care enough about their values so as to think carefully through to decide what values — if any — they actually hold, and what their actual priorities are. Fools like that are the meat upon which their aristocrats constantly feast, producing, as the aristocracy’s excrements, bigots (such as jihadists, and such as the majority of Israelis — and such as people who accept those bigots). Without those fools, aristocrats would need to actually earn a living, instead of merely to live off the fat (the fools) of the land and thereby producing this waste-matter, bigots, who make things difficult for everybody else, including for any decent people who might happen to exist in the given receiving nation (such as in Sweden).

The origin of The West’s hypocrisies that claim to be supporting “human rights” and “democracy” around the world, while actually invading or overthrowing target-governments, go back at least as far as Cecil Rhodes in the late 1800s, and the rationale that’s given of it is entirely fraudulent. It is the difference between, on the one hand, an authentic revolution, which can sometimes produce a democracy, versus, on the other hand, a coup or else an invasion, neither of which can, nor is actually designed to, produce a democracy. But the PR has to say the reason for an invasion or coup or sanctions (such as against Venezuela or Iran or Syria or Libya or Iraq or Ukraine) is to promote ‘human rights’ or ‘democracy’ or ‘oppose corruption’ in the given target-country that’s to be, basically, destroyed. Suckers are necessary, in order for this fraud — the actual aristocratic control of international relations — to succeed. And that’s how the system works. It works by that combination, of liars and fools.

Rukban Concentration Camp: US Ugly Face Recreates SS

Source

March 11, 2019

rukban

Rukban Camp, where US occupier forces recreate SS crimes. Photo, courtesy SANA.

US occupier forces again show their ugly political face in recreating the SS at al Rukban Camp in Syria, holding approximately 40,000 Internally Displaced Persons hostages, despite the opening of two humanitarian corridors for their safe passage. US temp ‘diplomat’ Jonathan Cook made this threat at the UN on 30 January — and though the US never keeps its promises, it always keeps its threats.

Plans to dismantle the Rukban concentration camp were reported last October. The existence of this open air prison received massive western coverage in November, when the US finally permitted a convoy of 78 trucks filled with humanitarian aid, to safely enter. The source of the anti-Syria colonialist propaganda was “Terrorist Barbie,” al Qaeda’s press liaison, who omitted the facts of joint SAA, UN, & SARC convoys previously being bombed during each attempt to bring food and medicine during a 10 month period.

Rukban
Rukban Concentration Camp for Syrian Displaced Refugees

SANA reports on the current war criminal activity against Syrians in Rukban, using diplomatic euphemisms:

“Damascus, SANA_ The United States continues to adopt hypocrisy and misleading methods in its international policies, especially in the humanitarian issue.

“It has appointed itself a policeman for the world to put lists of states that violate human rights while it should be on the top of this list due to  its black history in violating the peoples’ rights and trading with the tragedy of thousands of people around the world.

“The issue of thousands of displaced Syrians trapped in al-Rukban camp in al-Tanf area on the Syrian-Jordanian border for nearly five years is one of the humanitarian catastrophes that the United States alone is responsible for .

“It has been blocking  the exit of civilians held as hostages by terrorist groups and preventing them from returning to their homes in the state-controlled safe areas which have been cleared of terrorism by the Syrian army.

“US forces prevent displaced from exiting the camp, while militants are forcibly holding them inside, demanding large sums of money in US dollars to let them out.

“This openly uncovers the claims of Washington and its allies about their keenness on protecting civilians and divulges their support for the terrorist groups which control the camp, treat the people inside the camp as hostages, and put hands on the relief aid sent to the displaced.

“Days ago, The Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees on Repatriation of displaced Syrians confirmed that situation of the besieged civilians in al Rukban Camp remains disastrous.

“They emphasized that Washington should take steps to disband the camp and pull its forces out of the area.

“The committees said in a joint statement that the US-backed terrorist organizations have been forcibly keeping thousands of  civilians for 1773 days, adding that the situation in the camp remains disastrous and its residents have to survive in the most difficult conditions, facing militant violence on a daily basis

“The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, asserted that ‘the US forces prevented the buses prepared by Syria and Russia to reach al Rukban camp to evacuate the Syrian civilians, denouncing this behavior.’

“The Syrian government, in cooperation with its allies and international humanitarian organizations, did its best  to secure the return of the displaced and provide them with basic services.

“On February 19, Syria, in cooperation with Russia, opened two humanitarian corridors in the towns of Jaleeb and Jabal Al-Ghorab on the outskirts of al-Tanf, but the US occupation forces foiled the operation and prevented vehicles from reaching the camp to transport those willing to leave.

“The ministry said in a statement that despite these measures, however, the exit of from al Rukban camp remains complicated. The US side prevents buses from evacuating the displaced people and refuses to ensure safety of the humanitarian convoys within the 55-km radius around its base in al-Tanf.

“It called on the international community not to believe Washington false claims, open its eyes to the situation in the camp and to believe only facts and real deeds instead of pure words by the U.S. side.

‘“We have repeatedly pointed to the hypocrisy of the American side, which declares its commitment to recognize humanitarian values, but at the same time does nothing to implement them.’

“The ministry refuted  allegation of the representative of ‘International Coalition’ Command that no obstacles were set to the free movement of displaced persons while the First Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Alex Hawke, outlined a number of conditions for departure from the camp.

“The fate of thousands of displaced Syrians remains suspended and controlled by terrorists backed by US forces deployed in the camp area and by the political blackmail practiced by Washington without taking into account the humanitarian situation for those people.”

To hell with the overly polite language; the “International Coalition” launched by Obama and accelerated by Trump is a gang of fascist war criminals. Most are signatories to the Geneva Treaties on International Law, which these perpetrators of genocide flaunt with impunity.

rukban
rukban

Let us be earsplitting with our screams for accuracy: The US is illegally in Syria, as unlawful as were the Nazis in Poland, Hungary, The Netherlands, et al. US occupation forces keeping Syrians imprisoned in al Rukban are recreating the brutal actions of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (“Protection Squadron” [!!!]), better known as the “SS.”

US strikes in Syria may be lawful if Syria consents to the use of force in their territory.  If Syria does not consent, the strikes would violate international law, unless the US demonstrates that the strikes were taken in self-defense.  — Sarah Knuckey, international lawyer and Professor at Columbia Law School

Do not expect the UN to condemn these crimes against the Syrians held hostage in Rukban. The UN is run by the P3 mafioso clique, and is silent on atrocities — including against their own personnel, including when Turkey was shelling the UN-OPCW as it was removing Syria’s chemical weapons, in 2013.

The UN “is a place to demolish peace and security, to destabilize societies.” It has averted its gaze as its own General Assembly breaches its Charter. It supports terrorism in Syria, and it repugnant imperialist fashion, it has attempted to sabotage return of Syrian refugees from the diaspora.

Back in 2017, UNHCR head Andrej Mahecic ‘warned’ the almost 500,000 returning Syrians that it was not yet safe (for some of the most putrid of the UN’s neocolonialist arrogance against Syria, read Syria Newsreports on terrorist-lover and criminal liar, de Mistura).

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Arms sales to Middle East increase dramatically, research shows

Saudi Arabia’s arms purchases grew by 192 percent over 2014-2018 (AFP)

By 

in

New York, United States

Arms flows to the Middle East grew by 87 percent in the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday.

The defence think tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer between 2014-18, with a growth of 192 percent compared to the preceding five years.

Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also ranked in the top 10 list of global arms buyers.

The report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye.

“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” said Wezeman.

The growth in Middle Eastern imports was, in part, driven by the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, said Wezeman.

It was also driven by tensions and a regional arms race, he added.

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The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel are readying for a potential conflict with Iran, said the 12-page report. Since 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others have rowed with Qatar in a rift, which, at times, looked like it could turn violent.

Between 2014-18, Saudi received 94 combat jets fitted with cruise missiles and other guided weapons from the US and Britain.

Over the next five years, it is set to get 98 more jets, 83 tanks and defensive missile systems from the US, 737 armoured vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain, and Ukrainian short-range ballistic missiles.

Between 2014-18, the UAE received missile defence systems, short-range ballistic missiles and some 1,700 armoured personnel carriers from the US as well as three corvettes from France, the report says.

Qatari imports grew by 225 percent over the period, including German tanks, French combat aircraft and Chinese short-range ballistic missiles. It is set to receive 93 combat aircraft from the US, France and Britain and four frigates from Italy.

Iran, which is under a UN arms embargo, accounted for just 0.9 percent of Middle Eastern imports.

For Wezeman, “the gap is widening” between Iran and its foes across the Gulf, which have more advanced weapons.

US remains top arms seller

The US has kept its position as the world’s top arms seller. Its exports grew by 29 percent these past five years, with more than half of its shipments (52 percent) going to customers in the Middle East.

British sales grew by 5.9 percent over the same period. A total of 59 percent of UK arms deliveries went to the Middle East — most of it combat aircraft destined for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Arming governments in the turbulent Middle East is increasingly controversial in the West, said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control specialist with Amnesty International, a UK-based rights watchdog.

He pointed to cases where sales are merited – such as re-tooling Iraq’s army after it lost much of its hardware and territory during the so-called Islamic State (IS) group’s surprise attack in 2014.

But, more often, western arms end up being used in human rights abuses, he added, pointing to Egypt’s crackdown on opponents, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

He blasted the “hypocrisy” of western governments not following their own rules by continuing to supply authoritarian leaders who commit wartime abuses or violations against their own people.

“A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS,” Wilcken told MEE.

A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS

– Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International

“In Yemen, totally unaccountable militias are being armed and supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is setting the scene for a future period of instability and human rights violations.”

The problem has not gone unnoticed in western capitals.

In the US, lawmakers in both houses have passed resolutions to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition, though US President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the document if it reaches his desk.

In Britain, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a ban on arms exports to Saudi. Last month, a parliamentary committee concluded that the UK was on “the wrong side of the law” by arming Riyadh.

In October, Amnesty released a report about French-built armoured vehicles being used by Egyptian government forces to “disperse protests and crush dissent” in crackdowns between 2012-2015.

Germany, however, has taken a stand. This week, it extended until the end of March a unilateral freeze on arms supplies to Saudi over its war in Yemen and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This has caused a rift with Britain and France, its partners in European defence projects, as it puts a question mark over orders, including a $13.1bn deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh.

Jeff Abramson, a scholar at the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group, said the US should follow Germany’s example.

“Instead of being challenged, the US continues to claim a larger share of an expanding global arms market,” Abramson told MEE.

“As such, the US should take the lead in promoting responsible behavior, rather than encouraging trade to repressive and irresponsible regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

Other findings

The report made other interesting findings.

These past five years, Turkey has increased exports of armoured vehicles, missiles and other gear by 170 percent, becoming the world’s 14th most important arms exporter and the second biggest in the Middle East, after Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among Turkey’s top three importers of weapons in the past five years, despite Ankara being at odds with its customers over Khashoggi and the blockade on Qatar.

Continuing to buy arms from Turkey may be a bid by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to keep ties with Ankara on track despite the rift, said Wezeman.

Also, Algeria increased its arms imports by 55 percent over the past five years, with shipments from Russia, China, Germany and elsewhere.

This made it the world’s fifth biggest arms importer despite only having a $168bn economy.

Algeria buys arms for military prestige, to tackle militants from neighbouring Libya and because of its “long-standing rivalry with Morocco”, said Wezeman.

Sipri measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals. The volume of deliveries to each country tend to fluctuate, so it presents data in five-year periods that a give a more stable indication of trends.

This Thanksgiving, Americans Should be Not be Thankful That Their Government is Arming Terrorists in Syria

By Adam Garrie
Source

The United States public holiday of Thanksgiving is among the most peculiar of celebrations as it commemorates a brief moment of peace when native Americans of the Wampanoag people fed English colonists who were unfamiliar with many of the foodstuffs of what is now the north-eastern United States. This moment of good will however did not last long as European colonists eventually built a new nation on the blood of native American peoples who were slaughtered, imprisoned and forcibly relocated to the hinterlands of North America.

In spite of this very unhappy ending, the modern American feast of Thanksgiving has become a largely secular holiday where Americans celebrate that which they have to be thankful for. Among other things, the people of the United States should be thankful for the fact that the most stable nation in western Eurasia, the Republic of Turkey is a long standing ally that continues to seek healthy relations with the United States even as under the leadership of the fiercely independent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey like many other nations seeks to embrace a multipolar win-win approach towards geopolitical relations. This means that while Turkey has warm relations with Russia, China and Iran, Turkey equally seeks continued healthy relations with the United States, European Union and other fellow NATO members.

As a secular democracy with a renewed emphasis on religious freedom, most Americans would feel uniquely safe in Turkey which is something that cannot be said of most of Turkey’s neighbours. And yet in spite of the fact that Turkey has been a loyal ally of the United States throughout its modern history, Washington continues to forge a battlefield alliance with one of the world’s most notorious terror groups that since the late 1970s has killed 40,000 people in Turkey, many of whom were civilians.

The PKK terror group does not share the kinds of values that ordinary Americans would feel comfortable with. Operating with a mafioso mentality, the group is notorious not only for attacking, murdering and disfiguring policemen, soldiers and civilians but they are also guilty of harassing, pillaging and murdering those of an ethnic Kurdish background they deviously claim to defend. By contrast, one can be of an ethnic Kurdish background and a full Turkish citizen without facing any form of legal prejudice. This contrasts sharply with the rights of African-Americans in the United States prior to 1964 where various southern states enacting so-called Jim Crow laws which deprived black American citizens of their most basic rights.

Like most responsible nations, the United States lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation and yet in Syria, the United States military continues to arm, fund and fight beside the PKK’s Syrian branch – the YPG. Beyond simply being a supreme insult to a long time NATO ally, the short term thinking behind allying with a violent terror group will come back to haunt the US in one form or another as any alliance with terrorism ultimately becomes a pact with the Devil that is not easy to crawl out from under. Already, local Arabs in the north-east of Syria are beginning to rebel against the pseudo-regime of YPG/PKK terrorists that under US supervision have occupied parts of northern Syria, thus turning historic Arab majority regions into a gangsters’ nest of ethnic cleansing that has seen both Arab and non-Kurdish minority populations suffer under the whip hand of ethno-centric terrorist extremists.

Is the United States really so desperate for an ally in Syria that it is willing to retain an always ill-conceived alliance with a group that has committed acts of violence against not only Turkomen but against Muslim Arabs and the Christian minorities of the region? Is the US proud of arming a group that has launched mortars into Turkey from Syrian soil after the US cleared a path for YPG/PKK occupation of some of Syria’s most strategic northern cities and towns?

If the US government is thankful for this, surely the American people ought to be thankful for a dose of reality that might lead them to openly challenge their government’s alliance with YPG/PKK terrorism in the same way that Turkey’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has led many Americans to question their governments position vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia. For all that Saudi Arabia is, it is still a state. By contrast, the PKK is a terror group according to the American government itself and yet that same American government is fighting with the PKK in Syria.

If Americans learned anything from the horrors of 9/11, it should have been that there is no such thing as an acceptable terrorist group. There are no “good terrorists and bad terrorists”. All terrorists are in fact bad or in the words of George W. Bush “evil doers”. A group that uses remote detonation devices, mortars, violent armed assaults, bondage, extraction, torture, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, blackmail and the sale of narcotics to achieve its vague political aims cannot have a single saving grace. And yet by allying with the YPG/PKK in Syria, the US is effectively saying that the disgusting and criminal methods used by the terror organisation are somehow appropriate or even desirable. This becomes all the more tragic when one realises that the PKK threatens the security of a sovereign state that is not an enemy but a long time partner of the United States.

The war in Syria has been a polarising one for many people across many lands, but just as most level headed people draw a line when it comes to supporting groups like Daesh (aka ISIS), the same red line applies or at least must apply to supporting the PKK in all its forms. This is why news that the US has set up observation postsin north-eastern Syria to ostensibly separate Turkish forces from the YPG/PKK, feels duplicitous than transparent. While the US claims that these observation posts will help American forces to keep the YPG/PKK out of Turkey, the reality is that these observation posts will ensure the survival of a terror group that should be mutually neutralised by both Turkish and American forces in order to ensure long term regional peace not just for Turkey but also for Syria and Iraq.

Turkey is an invaluable partner as multiple nations ranging from China and Qatar, Russia to Sudan, Pakistan to Malaysia have come to realise. As one of modern Turkey’s long term allies, rather than offer thanks for the stabilising presence of Turkey in an otherwise fraught region, the US government is squandering this alliance on the altar of violent terrorism and squandering good will among the vast majority of Syrian Arabs in the process.

Just as Turkey would never fund anti-US terror groups operating in Mexico, nor should the United States fund an anti-Turkish terror group operating in Syria. If Americans want to express thanks to a steadfast ally in the multi-layered wars against terrorism, the best thing they could do is to publicly express their outrage at their government’s support for a YPG/PKK terror group that does not belong in the 21st century.

 

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