نصرالله يؤكّد ولا يهدّد: الحرب على لبنان مؤدّاها تدمير إسرائيل … وعلى إيران مؤدّاها اشتعال المنطقة برمّتها

أغسطس 19, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

في الذكرى الـ 13 لانتصار المقاومة في حرب إسرائيل على لبنان سنة 2006، استخلص السيد حسن نصرالله ولخّص فصول الصراع في منطقة غرب آسيا الممتدّة من شرقيّ البحر الأبيض المتوسط الى شماليّ أفغانستان في حقائق خمس:

أولاها، انّ المقاومة روح وإيمان وإرادة حياة وجهاد ومواجهة قبل ان تكون فصائل قتال ونزال، وانها بهذا المعنى أضحت محوراً يضمّ أطرافاً عدّة، متجانسة ومتماسكة، وتتميّز بفعالية سياسية وعسكرية تنبع وتتمدّد من فلسطين المحتلة إلى لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن، وصولاً إلى إيران.

ثانيتها، انّ العدو الرئيس الداهم للمقاومة، بما هي محور متماسك أو أطراف متمايزة، هو أميركا الامبراطورية التوسعية والعدوانية، وانّ إسرائيل مجرد أداة طيّعة في يدها وبأمرها.

ثالثتها، انّ حرب إسرائيل العدوانية على لبنان والمقاومة سنة 2006 كانت بأمر من أميركا، غايتها إقامة شرق أوسط جديد على حساب شعوب المنطقة وحقوقها ومصالحها ومرتجياتها، وانّ هذه الحرب توقفت ليس بسبب ضغوط غربية او عربية بل بسبب فشل الهجوم الصهيوأميركي على نحوٍ كانت تداعياته لو استمرّ تتسبّب بكوارث هائلة لـِ إسرائيل ، بشراً وحجراً وعمراناً واقتصاداً.

رابعتها، انّ أيّ حرب تشنّها إسرائيل على لبنان سيكون مؤداها تدمير الكيان الصهيوني، ذلك انّ قدرات المقاومة تضاعفت 500 مرة عمّا كانت عليه سنة 2006 لدرجة أنه بات في مقدورها تدمير كلّ ما يمكن ان تقذفه إسرائيل الى ميدان القتال من فِرق وكتائب وقوات نخبة، وانّ عملية التدمير الساحقة ستكون على الهواء ومتلفزة ليكون في مقدور الإسرائيليين والعالم أجمع مشاهدتها ومتابعتها.

خامستها، انّ ايّ حربٍ تشنّها أميركا و إسرائيل على إيران سيكون مؤداها اشتعال منطقة غرب آسيا برمتها وبالتالي تدمير أميركا وحلفائها محليّاً في المنطقة، وان الحاكمين في واشنطن وتل أبيب يعرفون هذه الحقيقة ويقدّرون أبعادها وتداعياتها وأضرارها الكارثية، وانهم نتيجةَ ذلك كله يتردّدون في شنِّ حربٍ عسكرية على إيران ويستعيضون عنها بـ حربٍ ناعمة قوامها الحصار والعقوبات الاقتصادية والفتن الطائفية.

يتفرّع من هذه الحقائق للصراع المحتدم في المنطقة مواقف ومقاربات متعددة تخدم أهداف محور المقاومة في تصدّيه الفاعل لأميركا الامبراطورية وأداتها الصهيونية.

لعلّ أهم هذه المواقف إلتزام أطراف محور المقاومة عدم اللجوء الى الحرب في تصدّيهم المتواصل والفاعل للعدو الصهيوأميركي إلاّ في حال الدفاع عن النفس. في هذا السياق، تركّز أطراف محور المقاومة على مقاربات ثلاث:

الأولى، بناء القدرات على جميع المستويات، لا سيما العسكرية منها، وتوخّي الإبداع في هذا المضمار. إيران تمتلك، مثلاً، عدداً من الصواريخ الباليستية بعيدة المدى لا تصل الى إسرائيل فحسب بل الى أوروبا أيضا الأمر الذي يضع قواعد أميركا في غرب آسيا وما يتعدّاها شرقاً وغرباً في مرمى صواريخها المدمّرة. حزب الله بات يمتلك معامل تصنيع للصواريخ، ولديه من الصواريخ الدقيقة ما يمكّنه من تدمير منطقة غوش دان الممتدة بين تل أبيب يافا وحيفا حيث يحتشد أكثر من نصف عدد السكان اليهود في الكيان الصهيوني، وتتركّز فيها المعامل والصناعات الثقيلة والمطارات والموانئ وطرق المواصلات والمرافق الحيوية. فصائل المقاومة في قطاع غزة واليمن أصبح في مقدورها تصنيع الصواريخ والطائرات المسيّرة المتعددة الأغراض.

الثانية، القيام بعمليات ذات طابع عملاني وإعلامي بالغ التأثير كإسقاط طائرة التجسّس الأميركية المتطورة في مضيق هرمز، وإعطاب ناقلتي نفط في ميناء الفجيرة، واحتجاز ناقلة نفط بريطانية رداً على احتجاز ناقلة نفط في جبل طارق تعمل لحساب إيران. وإعلان حزب الله عزمه على تدمير منشآت إسرائيل النفطية في البحر المتوسط في حال إقدامها على منع لبنان من استثمار مكامن النفط والغاز البحرية في المنطقة عينها.

الثالثة، الحرص على تمتين الجبهة الداخلية في الأقطار العربية وإيران لمنع الخصوم من استغلال واقعها التعددي لافتعال فتن طائفية وحروب أهلية وذلك باعتماد سياسة الوحدة الوطنية والتوصل الى صيغ للشراكة والمشاركة في السلطة لكفالة الأمن والاستقرار.

في ضوء هذه الحقائق والمقاربات يبدو السيد حسن نصرالله جدّياً وجاداً في دعوته الى منع أميركا وأداتها الصهيونية من شنّ الحرب على أطراف محور المقاومة. وعليه، ومع التحفظ حيال تصرفات حكومتي أميركا و إسرائيل العدوانيتين، يمكن استشراف وضع المنطقة في المستقبل المنظور بأنه مزيد من الشيء نفسـه على محورين:

ثمة مواظبة عدوانية صهيوأميركية شديدة في قطاع غزة وسورية والعراق واليمن وإيران، وبشراسة محسوبة ضدّ لبنان، مع ميل الى تقليص العدوان تدريجياً على اليمن، والى ضبط التحرّش بإيران، والى تنظيم التعاون بين أميركا وتركيا لإضعاف سورية في محاولة فاضحة، لكن متعثرة، لتقسيمها.

ثمة مواظبة محسوبة وجدّية ومتواصلة لبناء القدرات على مختلف المستويات في دول محور المقاومة وأطرافها، والحرص على التصدّي الفاعل بوسائل متعدّدة عالية المردود لأميركا الامبراطورية وأداتها الصهونية في سياق استراتيجية يُراد لها ان تتنامى وتتكامل لإجلاء أميركا ونفوذها من منطقة غرب آسيا.

… الصراع حامٍ وطويل.

وزير سابق

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Punishing the World With Sanctions

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Philip Giraldi
August 15, 2019

Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2nd, Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order “prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit… except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products.” The ban also includes “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance… by international financial institutions,” meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington’s lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing “reliable assurance” that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin’s involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship’s cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington’s raisons d’etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as “serious aggression,” and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela’s basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be “negative consequences.” Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump’s rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations’ leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia’s government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the “Russian threat” and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

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Gibraltar releases Iran-operated tanker despite US pressure

Press TV

Thu Aug 15, 2019 02:40PM [Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019 04:35PM ]

This file photo taken on July 20, 2019, shows Gibraltar defense police officers guarding the Iranian-operated oil tanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored after being seized last month by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar, southern Spain. (Photo by Reuters)

This file photo taken on July 20, 2019, shows Gibraltar defense police officers guarding the Iranian-operated oil tanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored after being seized last month by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar, southern Spain. (Photo by Reuters)

Gibraltar’s government has released an Iranian-operated supertanker, which was seized by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4, despite pressure from the United States for the vessel’s continued detainment.

“Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions,” Reuters quoted the Gibraltar Chronicle as reporting on Thursday.

According to the report, the chief justice of Gibraltar’s supreme court, Anthony Dudley, said there was no US application currently before the court.

Chief Justice Anthony Dudley said that since Iran had guaranteed in writing that the destination of the Grace 1 would not be a country “subject to European Union sanctions… there are no longer reasonable grounds to suspect that the detention of the Vessel is required.”

Spain’s Foreign Ministry reported after the incident that the UK had seized the vessel at the request of the US, which has been trying to trouble Iran’s international oil vessels as part of its campaign of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.

Gibraltar Chronicle

@GibChronicle

Authorities in have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1m barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

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Earlier on Thursday, Gibraltar said that the US had applied to seize the Iranian-operated oil tanker after British media reported that the vessel’s release was imminent following a set of diplomatic exchanges between Tehran and London.

“The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered,” the Gibraltar government said in a statement.

It added that the “matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) today.”

A diplomatic dispute broke out between Iran and the UK on July 4, when Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

However, reports show the confiscation took place upon a call by the US.

Tehran rejected London’s claim that the tanker was heading to Syria, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said Tuesday that Britain was expected to soon free Grace 1, after the two sides exchanged certain documents to pave the way for the supertanker’s release.

Iran’s FM: Trump’s piracy attempt indicates his contempt for law

Soon after the report emerged about the release of the Iranian-operated tanker, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter noting that the seizure of the tanker proved the Trump administration’s contempt for the law.

“This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin’s contempt for the law,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its —including depriving cancer patients of medicine— the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.

This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin’s contempt for the law.

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Zarif added that the US effort to prevent release of the Iranian tanker was aimed at abusing “the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.”

He said this vain attempt followed the US failure in achieving its anti-Iranian goals through economic terrorism.

‘US faced humiliating defeat in its effort to prevent tanker’s release’

Following the decision by the Gibraltar court, Iran’s Ambassador to UK Hamid Baeidinejad said in a tweet on his official Twitter page that the decision by the officials of Gibraltar put an end to 40 days of illegal seizure of the tanker, which carries the Iranian oil.

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

لحظاتی پیش با تصمیم مقامات جبل الطارق و تایید دادگاه، نفتکش حامل نفت ایران از توقیف غیرقانونی آزاد گردید.کشورمان درتمامی۴۰ روز گذشته بامشارکت نهادهای ذیربط داخلی تحت مدیریت وزارت خارجه گفتگوهای مستمری در سطح سیاسی،حقوقی و فنی با طرف انگلیسی برای رفع این اقدام غیرقانونی انجام داد.

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“Up to the last minute, the United States tried in vain to prevent the release of the tanker, but was faced with a humiliating defeat,” Iran’s UK envoy added.

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

آمریکا با تلاشهای مذبوحانه ی آخرین لحظه ی خود قصد داشت مانع رفع توقیف نفتکش شود که با شکست تحقیرآمیزی مواجه شد.
با تلاشهای روزهای گذشته تمام مقدمات و تمهیدات فنی لازم برای حرکت نفتکش به دریای آزاد نیز تامین شده است و کشتی بزودی منطقه ی جبل الطارق را ترک خواهد نمود.

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Baeidinejad stated that all preliminary steps have been taken to ensure the tanker’s movement toward free waters and “the vessel will soon leave the Gibraltar region.”
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Sayyed Nasrallah to Iran’s Zarif: US, Defeated by Popular Resistance Group, Stands Helpless in Face of Islamic Republic

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Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah sent a cable to the Iranian foreign minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, expressing solidarity with him in face of the US sanctions and hailing his powerful stances in face of the world’s tyrants, mainly the US administration, in all international forums.

“When the US administration announced imposing sanctions on you personally, my brethren and I mulled sending a solidarity cable to you; however, we decided to delay it till August 14 which marks the anniversary of Hezbollah divine victory over US ‘Israel’ in 2006 war.”

Sayyed Nasrallah told Zarif that 2006 war was decided and planned by the US administration and carried out by the Israeli army which was chosen because it was considered as the most powerful army in the region.

John Bolton, US Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council at that time, told An Arab official that the war would never be halted before crushing Hezbollah, according to Sayyed Nasrallah’s cable which added that Bolton, at the end of the war, told the same official that if the war had continued, ‘Israel’ would face a catastrophe.

Sayyed Nasrallah wondered how US, defeated by a popular resistance group, would be in face of a major regional country, adding that Bolton (Trump’s National Security Adviser) who is threatening to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran, has never made any achievement throughout his life.

Hezbollah leader hailed the Iranian top diplomat’s powerful stances, which stick to right and truth, in face of the world’s tyrants, mainly the US administration, in all international forums, describing it as the greatest jihad.

“They wanted to besiege, relegate and terrify you, but you have gained a stronger presence, more powerful influence and higher status, and so you will remain, if God wills, defending the oppressed and vulnerable as well as the resistance fighters”

God bless you! Sayyed Nasrallah closed his cable to Dr. Zarif.

 

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations (Translated by Al-Manar English Website

 

Iran’s Zarif Congratulates Lebanon’s People & Resistance on Anniversary of 2006 Victory over ‘Israel’ 

August 14, 2019

zarif

Thirteen years after the victory over the usurper “Israeli” entity in the July 2006 war, Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated Lebanon’s leadership, people, Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance on the anniversary of the 33-day war.

In marking the occasion, Zarif told Al-Ahed News that the victory exposed the “truth” about “Israel”.

“The Lebanese people and the Islamic Resistance have proved to the world the truth that the Zionist entity can be defeated. No matter how much this entity wants to wage wars, set fires and shed the blood of the people in this region, it cannot,” Tehran’s top diplomat said in a joint interview with Al-Ahed and Al-Nour Radio.

“This victory was a victory for the entire region, international rights and proper international relations,” Zarif added.

“The people of the region and the world owe it to the resistance of the Lebanese people, the Islamic Resistance and Hezbollah who confronted the arrogance of the Zionist entity. They also confronted the terrorism of the Takfiri group Daesh. They resisted this terrorist and Takfiri threat which was a scourge for the world,” the senior Iranian official explained.

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How pervasive is Saudi penetration of western political systems?

Padraig McGrath, political analyst

When the Royal Marines seized the Iranian-owned Grace 1 supertanker off Gibraltar on July 4th, then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hailed the seizure as a sign that Iran had “no place to hide.” On July 19th, when the Iranian government retaliated by authorizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to seize the Swedish-owned, British-registered tanker Stena Impero in Hormuz, Hunt described it as an act of “state-piracy.”

Now, at first glance, this looks like just another tedious example of the blatant double-standards which we’ve come to expect from western politicians in relation to non-vassal states, and it is certainly that. This is not the first article in which I have drawn attention to Hunt’s tendency to practice blatant double-standards such as these. However, it has subsequently transpired that Jeremy Hunt’s recent campaign for the leadership of the British Conservative Party was largely financed by a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. The South African banker and philanthropist Ken Costa has been described in some quarters as Bin Salman’s “point-man” in the UK.

Or bagman, if you prefer.

It is unsurprising, then, that Hunt publicly bats for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) at every available opportunity, for example in deflecting criticism regarding the Saudi role in the precipitation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and also in consistently demonstrating hostility toward Iran.

On August 7th, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. They are reported to have discussed ways of countering what they see as Iranian attempts to “destabilize” world-oil markets, with Al-Falih indicating that KSA favours the policy of increasing oil-production to moderate any surges in the world-price of crude.

Well, when the US withdraws from the JCPOA as a pretext for unilaterally imposing new sanctions on Iranian oil, “destabilization” is inevitable, but there wouldn’t be any point in making that argument to someone to whom it was not already self-evident.

It turns out that Perry also has a lot of Saudi grit under his fingernails. The US Senate House Oversight Committee has just published a report which is extremely critical of Perry’s role in advocacy for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Attempts have been made by IP3, an energy-consulting firm, to persuade the US Department of Energy to facilitate the sale without requiring the Saudis to sign a Section 123 agreement, which would be a commitment regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons?

Not that these dubious Saudi entanglements mark the Trump administration in particular, of course. Enormous Saudi funding for the Clinton Foundation prior to 2016 was well documented. During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, US arms-sales to Saudi Arabia increased by 97%, including a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighters to KSA, and her 2016 campaign-manager John Podesta’s consulting firm was paid $140,000 per month to lobby on behalf of the KSA government. The Clinton Foundation itself also received about $10 billion in donations from the Saudi government while Clinton was Secretary of State.

And let’s not even talk about the Bush family’s history with the Saudis.

So we see, then, that the level of penetration which the Saudi government has achieved in the west’s political systems transcends both nationalities and ideological boundaries. British and American hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is usually analyzed as being primarily ideologically driven. This interpretation is certainly valid on a number of levels.

The Iranian Islamic revolution has been one of the most stunningly resilient and successful anti-colonial movements in history, and therefore many imperial strategists see it as an imperative that the Islamic revolution must be crushed, not simply in order for Iran’s immense natural resources to be looted as they were before 1979, but also for the same strategic-ideological reasons that the western geo-strategic perspective has historically seen it as an imperative that all revolutionary societies be crushed.

Furthermore, we can discern a deeper ideological confluence between Saudi Wahhabism and liberal universalism, currently the Occident’s dominant (but rapidly decaying) ideological paradigm. Both are rooted in 18th century excessively transcendental thought, in an explicitly ahistorical, anti-historical or post-historical way of thinking. Both explicitly reject historical comparison or collective historical experience as a normative basis for the evaluation of social, political, ideological or ethical questions.

While the French philosophes of the 18th century sought to ground their worldview in something which they called “pure reason,” unburdened by any considerations of historical embeddedness or context (a form of philosophical naiveté thankfully not shared by any of the most notable figures in the German enlightenment), Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab sought to rediscover a “pure” version of Islam, unburdened by the allegorical Koranic hermeneutics of sophisticated Persian intellectuals.

In an Inforos column on August 1st, my colleague Sarah Abed argued that the United States’ ultimate objective in Iran remains regime-change, hence the willingness to use any spurious pretext whatsoever in order to re-impose sanctions. She argues that there is a strategy of continuing to economically pressure the Iranian state until it collapses in its current form.

I certainly agree with this analysis, but in breaking down the various motivating factors behind it, our broadly justified emphasis on ideological and geo-strategic issues sometimes blinds us to the role of straightforward corruption and influence-peddling in the process. Saudi financial power has led to a situation wherein KSA exerts very arguably more influence on the foreign policies of western governments than any other foreign entity.

Paranoid liberal fantasies about the Kremlin’s influence in subverting the internal political processes of western countries used to make us laugh, but by now they are simply tedious, and paranoid fantasies about pervasive Israeli influence are almost as tedious. We overlook the point that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arguably more raw bribery-power than any other nation-state.

Source: InfoBrics

The U.S. has the best Congress and White House that money can buy

Philip Giraldi
August 8, 2019

Think tanks sprout like weeds in Washington. The latest is the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is engaged in a pre-launch launch and is attracting some media coverage all across the political spectrum. The Institute is named after the sixth US President John Quincy Adams, who famously made a speech while Secretary of State in which he cautioned that while the United States of America would always be sympathetic to the attempts of other countries to fight against dominance by the imperial European powers, “she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

The Quincy Institute self-defines as a foundation dedicated to a responsible and restrained foreign policy with the stated intention of “mov[ing] US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.” It is seeking to fund an annual budget of $5-6 million, enough to employ twenty or more staffers.

The Quincy Institute claims correctly that many of the other organizations dealing with national security and international affairs inside the Beltway are either agenda driven or neoconservative dominated, often meaning that they in practice support serial interventionism, sometimes including broad tolerance or even encouragement of war as a first option when dealing with adversaries. These are policies that are currently playing out unsuccessfully vis-à-vis Venezuela, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The Quincies promise to be different in an attempt to change the Washington foreign policy consensus, which some have referred to as the Blob, and they have indeed collected a very respectable group of genuine “realist” experts and thoughtful pundits, including Professor Andrew Bacevich, National Iranian American Council founder Trita Parsi and investigative journalist Jim Lobe. But the truly interesting aspect of their organization is its funding. Its most prominent contributors are left of center George Soros and right of center and libertarian leaning Charles Koch. That is what is attracting the attention coming from media outlets like The Nation on the progressive side and Foreign Policy from the conservatives. That donors will demand their pound of flesh is precisely the problem with the Quincy vision as money drives the political process in the United States while also fueling the Establishment’s military-industrial-congressional complex that dominates the national security/foreign policy discussion.

There will be inevitably considerable ideological space between people who are progressive-antiwar and those who call themselves “realists” that will have to be carefully bridged lest the group begin to break down in squabbling over “principles.” Some progressives of the Barack Obama variety will almost certainly push for the inclusion of Samantha Power R2P types who will use abuses in foreign countries to argue for the US continuing to play a “policeman for the world” role on humanitarian grounds. And there will inevitably be major issues that Quincy will be afraid to confront, including the significant role played by Israel and its friends in driving America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Nevertheless, the Quincy Institute is certainly correct in its assessment that there is significant war-weariness among the American public, particularly among returning veterans, and there is considerable sentiment supporting a White House change of course in its national security policy. But it errs in thinking that America’s corrupted legislators will respond at any point prior to their beginning to fail in reelection bids based on that issue, which has to be considered unlikely. Witness the current Democratic Party debates in which Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate who is even daring to talk about America’s disastrous and endless wars, suggesting that the Blob assessment that the issue is relatively unimportant may be correct.

Money talks. Where else in the developed world but the United States can a multi-billionaire like Sheldon Adelson legally and in the open spend a few tens of millions of dollars, which is for him pocket change, to effectively buy an entire political party on behalf of a foreign nation? What will the Quincies do when George Soros, notorious for his sometimes disastrous support of so-called humanitarian “regime change” intervention to expand “democracy movements” as part his vision of a liberal world order, calls up the Executive Director and suggests that he would like to see a little more pushing of whatever is needed to build democracy in Belarus? Soros, who has doubled his spending for political action in this election cycle, is not doing so for altruistic reasons. And he might reasonably argue that one of the four major projects planned by the Quincy Institute, headed by investigative journalist Eli Clifton, is called “Democratizing Foreign Policy.”

Why are US militarism and interventionism important issues? They are beyond important – and would be better described as potentially life or death both for the United States and for the many nations with which it interacts. And there is also the price to pay by every American domestically, with the terrible and unnecessary waste of national resources as well human capital driving American ever deeper into a hole that it might never be able to emerge from.

As Quincy is the newcomer on K Street, it is important to recognize what the plethora of foundations and institutes in Washington actually do in any given week. To be sure, they produce a steady stream of white papers, press releases, and op-eds that normally only their partisan supporters bother to read or consider. They buttonhole and talk to congressmen or staffers whenever they can, most often the staffers. And the only ones really listening among legislators are the ones who are finding what they hear congenial and useful for establishing a credible framework for policy decisions that have nothing to do with the strengths of the arguments being made or “realism.” The only realism for a congress-critter in the heartland is having a defense plant providing jobs in his district.

And, to be sure, the institutes and foundations also have a more visible public presence. Every day somewhere in Washington there are numerous panel discussions and meetings debating the issues deemed to be of critical importance. The gatherings are attended primarily by the already converted, are rarely reported in any of the mainstream media, and they exist not to explain or resolve issues but rather to make sure their constituents continue to regard the participants as respectable, responsible and effective so as not to interrupt the flow of donor money.

US foreign policy largely operates within narrow limits that are essentially defined by powerful and very well-funded interest groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but the real lobbying of Congress and the White House on those issues takes place out of sight, not in public gatherings, and it is backed up by money. AIPAC, for example, alone spends more than $80 million dollars per year and has 200 employees.

So, the Quincy Institute intention to broaden the discussion of the current foreign policy to include opponents and critics of interventionism should be welcomed with some caveats. It is a wonderful idea already explored by others but nevertheless pretty much yet another shot in the dark that will accomplish little or nothing beyond providing jobs for some college kids and feel good moments for the anointed inner circle. And the shot itself is aimed in the wrong direction. The real issue is not foreign policy per se at all. It is getting the corrupting force of enormous quantities of PAC money completely removed from American politics. America has the best Congress and White House that anyone’s money can buy. The Quincy Institute’s call for restraint in foreign policy, for all its earnestness, will not change that bit of “realism” one bit.

The Hormuz Affair: Why Europe Abstained from the US Naval Mission in the Gulf?

As tensions in the Gulf heightened in recent months, the United States pressured its European allies to participate in its initiative regarding the Gulf.

Almost a third of all oil exports pass through the strait, which is located between Iran and Oman.

Washington proposed the mission earlier this month, alleging it was trying to get a coalition together to offer military escorts to commercial ships in the Gulf.

Speaking on the issue, Strategic Expert Dr. Adel Khalife shed light on the rationale behind the European nonparticipation in the international maritime mission set up by the US to provide – as it claims – maritime security.

As to why the most European countries refused to participate in the US-led flotilla in the Gulf, Dr. Khalife said that, “When the United States proposed the formation of a military coalition force to protect navigation of cargo ships in and around the strait of Hormuz, it had in mind the participation of as states involved in this crisis.”

He went on to say that, “In the meantime, Europeans countries were cautious regarding their participation in the coalition, especially France and Germany. Unlike the United Kingdom which regular follows the US and ‘Israel’ which is much interested in striking Iran”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Khalife explains that by forming this maritime coalition, “the US is trying to weaken Iran and reduce its influence”, saying that it was complying with the desires of the international community”.

Dr. Khalife explained that the US “urged the NATO and its European allies to pressure Iran and have Arabs pay, but all its attempts were fruitless.”

As to why only the UK and the “Israeli” entity participated in the maritime coalition, Dr. Khalife said, “the US was unable to persuade other countries. The Europeans prefer to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran”.

Despite US sanctions and threats on Iran, as well as the downing of an American drone by Tehran and the seizing of a British ship, Dr. Khalife shed light on the “US’ inability to reduce Iran’s influence or supervision over the strait of Hormuz; especially when it turned out that nobody wants to engage in a war, in the light of Iran’s military and political power in comparison to the helplessness of Arab states – who only provide the funds for such a coalition”.

Regarding the skirmish over oil tankers, “the Iranian response was strict and firm. Iran proved it was not afraid of escalating the situation in the region,” Dr. Khalife said, suggesting that “the most obvious solution is to return to negotiations without any conditions, as Iran wants”.

Given the facts aforementioned, it is decisive to say that Iran has gained momentum. “Iran has face the US in its utmost power, diminishing American influence in the world, specifically in the Gulf region,” Dr. Khalife said.

To this extent, “some Arab countries tried reaching out to Iran”, Dr. Khalife said, adding that “the US tried to suppress Iran, but the latter continued exporting oil outside its boundaries – asserting Iran’s regional power.”

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