A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

The Geneva Summit: Nothingburger or Watershed?

THE SAKER • JUNE 17, 2021 

The long awaited summit between Presidents Putin and Biden has finally taken place, but was it a success? Will it change anything? The answer to this question very much depends on one’s expectations. Let’s take a closer look beginning with the context.

Context of the summit

Just about the only thing which both US and Russian observers agree on is that the state of the Russian-US relations is about as bad as can be (in my personal opinion, it is even much worse than during the Cuban Missile Crisis or any other time in the Cold War). As I have mentioned many times, I believe that the AngloZionist Empire and Russia have been at war at least since 2013. Remember Obama with his “Russian economy in “in tatters”? That was the outcome Obama promised the people of the USA (Quick factcheck: the company Deloitte recently polled the CEOs of major Russian corporations and only 4% of them felt “pessimistic” about their financial perspectives as “negative”, 40% replied “same as before” and 56% replied “optimistic”). Of course, this was was not a conventional war, it was about 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. This, however, does not change the fact that this war was an existential war for both sides, one in which only one side could prevail while the other would, if not quite disappear, then at least totally lose its superpower status. This is a civilizational war, which pitted western and Russian civilizational (cultural, social and even religious) models against each other roughly along the following lines:

The US/Anglo-Zionist worldview: we are the “city upon a hill”, the beacon of light and hope for mankind. Our “manifest destiny” is to “expand the area of freedom” worldwide. We have the best armed forces in history, the strongest economy, the best everything. We are the “leaders of the free world” whose “responsibility” is to lead the world. This is not imperialism, this is the “duty” and “responsibility” placed upon us by history. Our values are universal values and must be universally accepted by all. Those refusing to join our model are authoritarian “rogue states”. Russia must accept that because she lost the Cold War and that western values have prevailed. Those who refuse to accept this are “revanchists” who want to overturn the outcome of the Cold War and rebuild the Soviet Union. The US had to expand NATO to the East to protect Europe from “Russian aggression”. Now “America” is back and, with our allies and friends, we will create a “rules based” international order which we will benevolently enforce to the immense gratitude of all of mankind.

Russian worldview:

Russia rejects any form of imperialism, for herself and for others. Russia wants a multilateral world order, based on international law and the full sovereignty of nations. Each nation should have the right to pursue its own cultural, economic, spiritual and civilizational model without being threatened, sanctioned, bombed, subverted or invaded. Russia rejects the so-called “western values” (turbocapitalism, imperialism, wokeness, multiculturalism, militant atheism, critical race theory, gender fluidity, etc.). The US is welcome to fly homo-flags on its embassies, but it has no business telling others how to live. In fact, the US has to accept two closely related realities: first, the US does not have the means to impose its ideology on the rest of the planet and, second, the rest of the planet sees the total hypocrisy of a country claiming to stand for values which itself gets to violate as much as it wants. Any comparisons are immediately dismissed with the words “but this is completely different!!!”.

Again, Russia agrees that the US is welcome to live in a post-truth, post-reality, delusion if it wants, but she also believes, and says so, that the West has no right to try to impose its pretend-values on others, especially when it constantly violates them all when convenient.

The core issue

The core belief underlying these very different worldview is extremely simple: the US sees itself as exceptional and, therefore, endowed with special rights and sees Russia as a much inferior interlocutor which needs to accept the US hegemony upon the world. In sharp contrast, Russia denies the USA any special status and demands that the US leaders accept Russia as an equal interlocutor before any meaningful dialog or cooperation could even be discussed.

I think that it would be fair to say that roughly between 2013 and 2020 both countries exerted immense efforts in a kind of a massive arms wrestling match to show that it, and not the other guy, would prevail.

For a very short while, Trump tried to get some kind of dialog going, but he was quickly and completely neutered by the Neocons and the messianic imperialists in his own camp (I think of Pompeo for example) and his efforts, however sincere, yielded absolutely nothing: Trump was not able to put an end to the war started by Obama.

Then came Biden and, at first, things looked hopeless. Seeing the massive failure of the first US-China meeting in Alaska, one could have been excused to expect a similar, or even worse, outcome from any meetings between Biden and Putin. Many (on both sides) believed that such a meeting was pointless at best since the US had painted itself into a zero-sum corner in which anything short of an exchange of insults would be seen by the US media (and the public opinion it shapes) as a “defeat”, “surrender” and possibly even “treason” by Biden. That is definitely the message conveyed by much of the US media, including Fox.

 


I want to express my total disgust with US Republicans who, for four years, were literally hounded by the US media for Trump’s alleged “caving in” to Putin or even for being a “Manchurian candidate” put in power by “Putin”. Now the Republicans are using the exact same language accusing Biden of “weakness” and for “caving in” to Putin. Truly, the Dems and the GOP are like Coke and Pepsi: different labels, same product. Worse, both the Dems and the GOP place their petty interests above the well-being of the United States and its people. I consider both parties traitors to the US and its people.


What actually happened

In spite of all the nay-sayers (on both sides!), Putin and Biden did meet. True, the meeting did not yield any spectacular results, but it would be wrong to conclude that nothing of importance happened.

First, the tone of the Biden administration towards Russia and Putin did change, remarkably so, especially after Biden’s infamous “uhu, he is a killer”. Some sanctions were lifted, the US basically gave up on trying to prevent North Stream 2 (NS2) from being completed, and a number of small steps were achieved, including:

  • An agreement to discuss cybersecurity on an expert level (something the Russians had been demanding for years, but which the USA rejected out of hand).
  • joint declaration strategic stability (more about that below)
  • An agreement to discuss outstanding issues on an expert level
  • A return of both US and Russian ambassadors to their former positions
  • A discussion on a possible prisoner swap
  • A discussion on possible future arms control agreements

Also of interest are the points which were mentioned in passing, mostly by the US side, but which were clearly not focused on. These include:

  • The Ukraine and Belarus
  • Human Rights (aka “Navalyi” & Co.)
  • Russian alleged interference in western elections
  • Russian alleged covert operations against the US
  • The alleged Russian threat to the EU or in the Arctic
  • Russian ties to China and Iran

That is the official picture. But let’s be a little more wise about this: the US and Russian delegations (about 400 people each) included some very high ranking officials, including the Russian Chief of General Staff. Neither side would have bothered with such a massive undertaking only for the purpose of exchanging threats, ultimatums or insults. And such summits are never organized unless the parties have at least a reasonable prospect of some kind of understanding (this is why the return of the ambassadors was announced before the summit!).

So what really happened here?

To answer that question, we first need to look at what did not happen.

First, it is quite clear that the language/tone of the Biden administration has dramatically changed. This was immediately noticed by the (mentally infantile) US media which attacked Biden in his press conference for not putting enough pressure on Putin. Oh sure, Biden did pay lip service to the usual russophobic nonsense the US media seems to be forever stuck on, but it is quite clear what the US legacy ziomedia did not get what it wanted: they wanted Biden to “unite the West behind the USA” and then “tell” Putin to “behave” and admit something – anything – about the Russian “wrongdoings”. Putin gave them absolutely and exactly nothing. If anything, we could say that he held up a mirror to Uncle Shmuel and that Uncle Shmuel had nothing to say to that.

Second, and for the first time in a very long while, the US did not engage in any threats or ultimatums. If anything, it was quite amazing to see Biden getting angry at an imbecile journo from CNN (I think) who asked Biden why he expected Putin to “change his behavior” when the latter admitted no wrongs. Later Biden apologized, but he was clearly frustrated with the level of imbecility of the US press media.

 


The US media truly showed its true face during both press conferences. With Putin, they asked stupid, leading questions, based on their own delusional assumptions, and Putin easily swatted down these questions by pointing out at undeniable and well-known facts. The Biden press conference was, as usual, completely sanitized with a prepared list of reporters and questions, and with no Russian journalists allowed (pluralism, free media or free speech anybody?!). The infantilized US public did not think much about this, but in the rest of the world – in Zone B if you wish – people immediately noticed the startling difference between the two leaders and between the two press conferences. It will be awfully hard for the US to speak of “freedom of speech” when its President cannot be trusted to talk to his counterpart alone (Bliken never left his side, just like Dick Cheney did for Bush Jr. or Don Regan did for Reagan in his latter years) and cannot take unscripted questions from the (supposedly) “free” media. The US media clearly wanted Biden to go to Geneva, and tell Putin “now you submit or else…” and only the completely ignorant and infantilized US public could actually take that nonsense seriously. When that did not happen, they turned on Biden and accused him of weakness for “making no threats”!


Third, and crucially, by NOT discussing silly issues but by focusing on the real, important, topics underlying the US-Russian relations, Biden de-facto admitted two things:

  1. The US policy towards Russia since 2013 has failed and
  2. Russia is an equal partner to the USA who cannot be bullied, threatened or attacked

So much for “talking to the Russians from a position of force” which ALL the western leaders mantrically promised us. In sharp contrast, the Kremlin did not have to make any threats: the recent military exercises, which truly freaked out NATO and the EU, made any posturing by Russia quite unnecessary.

I am not so naive as to believe that any of this is set in stone.

First, we know that US politicians typically meet with their Russian counterparts and say “A” only to later come back home, cave in to the war lobby, and then declare “non-A”. Trump did that, as did Kerry and many others. US diplomats are mostly ignorant political appointees and/or warmongering Neocons who simply are not intellectually equipped to deal with their Russian counterparts (James Baker was probably the last truly sophisticated US Secretary of State). Second, we all understand that Biden is really “Biden” (the man himself is just a front, real decisions are taken by the collective “Biden”), which means that while he and even Bliken can agree on something, but that by no means implies that they will stand by what they agreed on. Finally, is is objectively really hard to undo that which was done: eight years of self-defeating delusions about itself and the rest of the world have done immense damage to the United States and it would take something pretty close to a miracle to now reverse a course which at least two US administrations have so foolishly insisted on pursuing.

Yet, what Biden did and said was quite clearly very deliberate and prepared. This is not the case of a senile President losing his focus and just spewing (defeatist) nonsense. Therefore, we must conclude that there are also those in the current US (real) power configuration who decided that Biden must follow a new, different, course or, at the very least, change rhetoric. I don’t know who/what this segment of the US power configuration is, but I submit that something has happened which forced at least a part of the US ruling class to decide that Obama’s war on Russia had failed and that a different approach was needed. At least that is the optimistic view.

The pessimistic view would suggest that, just like a boxer who has thrown so many punches that he now needs to catch his breath, the leaders of the Empire just needed a short time break, to “catch their breath”, before resuming the endless cycle of petty attacks, threats and accusations against Russia.

Time will show which group is right. My money is on the pessimists (as usual).

What we can say now is this: the period 2013-2021 saw a huge decline in US power abroad and the explosion of an equally huge internal political and social crises which are still catastrophically hurting the United States (Obama and Trump were truly the weakest and worst Presidents in US history). In sharp contrast, the same 2013-2021 years saw a huge rise in Russian military, political, economic and social power. Denying this reality forever is simply not an option for the USA (even if the US media never reports about this). It appears that the Biden Administration decided to keep up the same infantile language as its predecessors for internal consumption, but decided that a change of attitude on the international front was urgently needed, if only in order to avoid taking on both Russia and China (and, possibly, Iran) at the same time. History also shows that even just talking to Russia from a presumed “position of strength” was useless at best and suicidal at worst. The history of western imperialism in China offers a more ambiguous image, but the current revival of Chinese power under Xi also suggests that the Chinese won’t cave in to their former colonial masters.

What about China?

If China was mentioned at all, it is not official. The Kremlin had already indicated in numerous statements that trying to turn China and Russia against each other was not a realistic option, so on the Russian side there were no expectations of anything changing on that issue. Besides, while China has a lot to offer Russia, the USA has literally absolutely nothing Russia would want or need. The same goes for Iran, albeit at a lesser degree. There are those in the US ruling class who believe that China is a much more dangerous enemy for the AngloZionist Empire than Russia and it is possible that these are the interests which pushed Biden into a more realistic stance. The truth is that anybody who knows anything about the Sino-Russian relationship (which the Chinese now officially call the “strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”) understands that these two countries vitally need each other. Did the US diplomats really hope that they could sway Russia to the US side? Probably not. So, at most, what they needed was a short time break or, at least, some kind of temporary stabilization of the “Russian front”.

What about the Europeans?

The Europeans are stuck in some kind of political no man’s land: some want a confrontation at all cost (3B+PU), especially since the EU stopped funding them, while others are clearly fed-up (Germany, France, Italy, etc.) with the current situation. They all realize that something has just changed, but they appear unsure as to what, why and how. And how shall the EU now treat Biden? First, while hating Trump was seen as “politically correct” by the EU ruling classes, hating Biden is quite unthinkable. Second, while Biden did “consult” with the G7 and NATO, these “consultations” yielded no meaningful result. Unlike the summit with Putin, these “preparatory summits” were just nice PR, a feel-good, “rah-rah, we are all united” kind of symbolic event. Think of it as an imperial king visiting his colonies: fun but not very important. But meeting the leader of a “gas station masquerading as a country” required the presence of 400 or so top US officials and months of preparations. Finally, the fact that “Biden” had to yield to Germany on NS2 shows that the grip of Uncle Shmuel on Germany is weakening, “another writing on the wall” which “Biden” apparently read.

So who won?

At this point I don’t think that we can say that anybody won. In fact, the existential war opposing the AngloZionist Empire to Russia is not over. At most, this will be a temporary ceasefire allowing Uncle Shmuel to catch his breath. But I think that we can also fairly conclude that Obama’s war on Russia has failed and that the Biden Administration is more in touch with reality than Obama ever was. How long this new realism will last is anybody’s guess. I don’t think we should put much stock in the idea that now a new era of peace or collaboration has begun. But maybe, just maybe, the USA will stop playing what I call a “game of nuclear chicken” with a superpower which is at least a full decade ahead in military (and civilian!) nuclear technology and delivery vehicles and a superpower which is now working as a binomial with another nuclear superpower, China.

Conclusion: the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability

This is the full text of the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability I mentioned above: (emphasis added)

We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

The language here is very important: it is the repudiation of a major US delusion which began with Ronald Regan’s “Star Wars” and which was shared by each following President: the notion that the US can win a nuclear war against Russia by technologically or economically defeating Russia. The website “Defense One” (which is hardly a “Russian disinformation outlet”) had this to say about this decades long illusion:

Biden can correct the mistakes of the past. The future of missile defense will be thoroughly studied as part of a broader nuclear posture/deterrence review that will be started in the few weeks. Mindful that less expensive offensive weapons can always be developed to overwhelm, sabotage, or destroy any conceivable defensive system, his administration can return to diplomacy, seek verifiable mutual reductions, prevent the development of new threats, and address rising concerns such as the weaponization of space and cyber threats. That would allow the transfer of funds from the weapons that don’t work to programs that will rebuild and add to America’s security.

If this is really what is happening (and we need to wait before coming to any hasty conclusions!) then this is good news. Good news for Russia which has nothing to gain from any “reloaded Cold War” with the West, good news for the Europeans which need to recover at least a modicum of agency, good news for the USA, which is bled dry and is quickly becoming a underdeveloped third world country, and good news for the entire planet which would be devastated by any nuclear war between any combination of superpowers. If this is really what happened.

For the time being, the “crazies in the basement” are still every bit as crazy as before (see here and here for a few good examples). So are the woke-freaks (see here and here). So is the homo-lobby (see here and here). They all hate Russia and Putin with a passion, and they ain’t going away anytime soon. Besides, it is not like “Biden” will do anything other than give them all a standing ovation, full support and millions of dollars to their cause: these “minorities” (more accurately: this coalition of minorities) are the ideological foundation for Biden’s entire presidency, they brought him to power and he cannot renounce them.

How long brainwashed doubleplusgoodthinking sheep will continue to “take a knee” against “systemic racism” is anybody’s guess, however.

On the external front, the US cannot give up its messianic ideology and claims of exceptionalism. This would be truly unthinkable for the vast majority of US Americans. This does not change the fact that, as I have written many times, the AngloZionist Empire and the current US political system are neither sustainable, nor reformable. Besides, empires are almost impossible to reform. That is why they usually end up collapsing. And when they do, they often try to lash out at those they blame for their own failures. This is exactly what has been going on since 2013 and this will not and, in fact, cannot change until the final – and inevitable – collapse.

There will be no friendship or even partnership between the USA and Russia for as long as the USA will continue to serve as the latest host for the parasitic AngloZionist Empire. Аs the spokesman for Putin, Peskov, just declared “So far, there are no reasons to exclude the United States from the list of unfriendly countries“.

Finally, did Putin “win”?

I would answer both yes and no. Yes, he did win in the sense that his strategy of dealing with an Empire on the warpath against Russia has been proven extremely effective. All the nay-sayers (liberal or neo-Marxists) have been accusing Putin of caving in to pretty much everything everywhere, yet it is the USA which had to eat crow, drop all its preconditions and ask for a summit. None of the many propaganda attacks against Russia (MH17, Skipal, chem weapons, Belarus, the Karabakh war, Navalnyi, doping, sports and flags, the seizure of Russian diplomatic offices, the kidnapping of Russian citizens, economic and political sanctions, threats, sabre-rattling at the borders, etc. etc. etc.) have worked or even yielded any meaningful results. In that sense, yes, Putin did win. But that existential war is not over, not for the US, not for Russia and neither it is over for China, Iran and any other country wanting true sovereignty.

In that sense, what happened in Geneva is not the beginning of the end (primarily because that beginning of the end has already long taken place, even if it was never reported in Zone A), but it is definitely a chance to change some dynamics on the international scene. The infinite arrogance of the likes of Trump and Pompeo has been replaced by a much more cautious and realistic approach, at least in superpower relations. But Putin/Russia will only have truly won once the US accepts the reality that the Empire is dead and that the USA, like all ex-empires, must now become a “normal” country (like all former empires had to). Sounds easy, but this is almost infinitely hard when imperialism is what you were born, raised, educated and conditioned to live with and when you sincerely believe that your brand of imperialism is somehow benevolent, even altruistic. Russia/Putin will only have truly won once the last empire in history finally gives way to a civilized international world order. Until then, the struggle of Russia – and all the other members of the resistance against the Empire – will continue.

Between the lines of the Biden-Putin summit

Between the lines of the Biden-Putin summit

June 17, 2021

Biden hinted US wants Russia ‘back in the fold’ but Putin won’t being leaving China’s embrace any time soon

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at AsiaTimes

Let’s start with the written word.

In Geneva, the US and Russia issued a joint statement where we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Assorted Dr. Strangeloves will cringe – but at least the world has it in writing, and may breathe a sigh of relief with this breakthrough of sorts. That doesn’t mean that a “non-agreement capable” US industrial-military complex will abide.

Moscow and Washington also committed to engage in an “integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust.” The devil in the details is in which “near future” the dialogue will progress.

A first step is that ambassadors are returning to both capitals. Putin confirmed that the Russian Foreign Ministry and the State Department will “start consultations” following the new START-3 treaty extension for five years.

Equally important was the actual Rosebud in Geneva: the Minsk protocol. That was one of the key drivers for the White House to actually request the summit to the Kremlin – and not the other way around.

The US establishment was shaken by the lightning-flash military buildup in Russian territory contiguous to Donbas – which was a response to Kiev provocations (Putin: “We conduct exercises on our territory, but we do not conduct exercises dragging equipment and weapons to the US border”).

The message was duly received. There seems to be a change of posture by the US on Ukraine – implying the Minsk protocol is back.

But that can all be – once again – shadow play. Biden said,

“We agreed to pursue diplomacy related to the Minsk agreement.”

To “pursue diplomacy” not necessarily means strictly abiding by a deal already endorsed by the UN Security Council which is being disrespected by Kiev non-stop. But at least it implies diplomacy.

A benign reading would reveal that some red lines are finally being understood. Putin did allude to it: “In general, it is clear to us what our US partners talk about, and they do understand what we say, when it comes to the ‘red lines.’ But I should say frankly that we have not gone as far as placing the emphases in detail and distribute and share something.”

So no detail – at least not yet.

Giving away the game

Talking before boarding Air Force One out of Geneva, a relaxed Joe Biden seems to have given away the game – in a trademark self-deluded way.

He said, “Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now… They are being squeezed by China. They want desperately to remain a major power.”

This reveals a curious mix between zero knowledge about the complex, always evolving Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership and outright wishful thinking (“squeezed by China”, “desperate to remain a major power”).

Russia is a de facto major power. Yet Putin’s vision of complete Russian sovereignty can only flourish in a true multipolar world coordinated by a Concert of Sovereigns: a realpolitik-based Balance of Power.

That’s in sharp contrast to the unipolarity privileged by the Hegemon, whose establishment considers any political player calling for sovereignty and multipolarity as a sworn enemy.

This cognitive dissonance certainly was not removed by what Putin, Biden and their extended teams discussed at Villa La Grange.

It’s quite enlightening to revive the arc from Anchorage to Geneva – which I have been chronicling for Asia Times for the past three months. In Alaska, China was hurled into a dingy environment and received with insults at the diplomatic table – responded in kind by the formidable Yang Jiechi. Compare it with the Hollywood-style ceremonial in Geneva.

The difference in treatment offered to China and Russia once again gives away the game.

US ruling elites are totally paralyzed by the Russia-China strategic partnership. But their ultimate nightmare is that Berlin will understand that once again they are being used as cannon fodder – which they are as it’s been clearly visible throughout the Nord Stream 2 saga.

That might eventually propel Berlin into the ultimate Eurasian alliance with Russia-China. The recently signed Atlantic Charter signals that the ideal scenario for the Anglo-Americans – shades of WWII – is to have Germany and Russia as irreconcilable opposites.

So the main American goal in the somewhat quirky Putin-Biden photo op (Putin smirk meets Biden looking into the distance) was to trick Putin into thinking Washington wants Russia “back into the fold”, moving Moscow away from Beijing and avoiding a triple alliance with Berlin.

What about regional stability?

There were no substantial leaks from Geneva – at least not yet. We don’t know whether Lavrov and Blinken actually did much of the talking when only the four of them – plus translators – were in the library room.

At the extended meeting, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria ‘F**k the EU’ Nuland had a seat on the table. That might imply that even if US-Russia agree on nuclear stability, regional stability remains largely off the table (Putin: “What is stable in supporting a coup in Ukraine?”)

Biden vaguely referred to US and Russia possibly working together on humanitarian aid to Syria. That was code for Idlib – where NATO’s Turkey is actively supporting jihadis of the al-Nusra kind. Not a word on illegal American occupation of Syrian territory – complete with oil smuggling, and the fact that the real humanitarian crisis in Syria is a direct result of US sanctions.

None of this was asked in both pressers. A passing word on Iran, another passing word on Afghanistan, not even a mention of Gaza.

Putin, in full command of the facts and insisting on logic, was clearly accommodating, emphasizing “no hostility” and “a willingness to understand each other”. Biden, to his credit, said disagreements were not dealt with in a “hyperbolic atmosphere” and his “agenda” is not directed against Russia.

Putin went into extreme detail explaining how Russia is “restoring lost infrastructure” in the Arctic. He’s “deeply convinced” the US and Russia should cooperate in the Arctic.

On cybersecurity, he was adamant that Moscow provided all information on US requests about cyber attacks, but never receives answers from the Americans. He emphasized most cyber attacks originate in the US.

On human rights: “Guantanamo is still working, does not comply with any international law”. And “torture was used in American prisons, including in Europe.”

Very important: they did touch upon, “casually”, the vaccine wars, and the “possibility” was evoked of mutual recognition of vaccines.

For the record: US mainstream media was invited for Putin’s presser – and felt free to lodge accusatory “questions” faithful to the “rogue Kremlin behavior” script while no Russian media whatsoever was allowed on Biden’s presser.

In a nutshell: applying Kissinger’s Divide and Rule to put a spanner in the Russia-China works was D.O.A. when you’re dealing with ultra-savvy players such as Putin and Lavrov.

Putin, in his presser, said, “I have no illusions, and there can be no illusions”. Later, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked if Geneva would lead to the US being removed from Russia’s Unfriendly Nations list: “No…there are no grounds yet.”

Still, there are glimmers of hope. Stranger geopolitical things have happened. If warmongers are sidelined, 2021 might even end up as The Year of Strategic Stability.

Statements after Putin / Biden summit

June 16, 2021

Source

Statements after Putin / Biden summit

Russian-American consultations began with a restricted-format meeting that included Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

After that the talks continued in an expanded format.

Following the summit, the US – Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability was adopted.

U.S. – Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability

June 16, 2021

We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war.

The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5658


President Putin: News conference Q&A following Russia-US talks

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

I am at your service. I think there is no need for long opening remarks since everyone is familiar with the topics of discussion in general: strategic stability, cyber security, regional conflicts, and trade relations. We also covered cooperation in the Arctic. This is pretty much what we discussed.

With that, I will take your questions.

Question: Good evening,

Perhaps, you can name the topics that were discussed especially closely? In particular, Ukraine is of great interest. In what context was it touched upon, was the situation in Donbass and the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO discussed?

One more thing: before the talks, there were great expectations about the ambassadors of the two countries returning to their stations in the respective capitals. In particular, your assistant, Yury Ushakov, said that this was possible. Have these decisions been made? How did the talks go in general?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: With regard to the ambassadors returning to their stations – the US ambassador to Moscow, and the Russian ambassador to Washington, we agreed on this matter, and they will be returning to their permanent duty stations. When exactly – tomorrow or the day after tomorrow – is a purely technical issue.

We also agreed that the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation and the US State Department would begin consultations on the entire range of cooperation on the diplomatic track. There are things to discuss, and an enormous backlog [of unresolved issues] has piled up. I think both sides, including the American side, are committed to looking for solutions.

With regard to Ukraine, indeed, this issue was touched upon. I cannot say that it was done in great detail, but as far as I understood President Biden, he agreed that the Minsk agreements should be the basis for a settlement in southeastern Ukraine.

As for Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO, this issue was touched upon in passing. I suppose there is nothing to discuss in this respect.

This is how it was in general terms.

Question: Mr President, you said strategic stability was one of the topics. Could you tell us in more detail what decisions were made on this issue? Will Russia and the United States resume or start talks on strategic stability and disarmament, and, in particular, on the New START Treaty? Do they plan to start talks on extending New START, perhaps revising its parameters or signing a new treaty altogether?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: The United States and the Russian Federation bear special responsibility for global strategic stability, at least because we are the two biggest nuclear powers – in terms of the amount of ammunition and warheads, the number of delivery vehicles, the level of sophistication and quality of nuclear arms. We are aware of this responsibility.

I think it is obvious to everyone that President Biden made a responsible and, we believe, timely decision to extend New START for five years, that is, until 2024.

Of course, it would be natural to ask what next. We agreed to start interdepartmental consultations under the aegis of the US Department of State and the Foreign Ministry of Russia. Colleagues will determine at the working level the line-up of these delegations, the venues and frequency of meetings.

Question: Hi, Matthew Chance from CNN. Thank you very much for giving me this question.

First of all, could you characterise the dynamic between yourself and President Biden? Was it hostile or was it friendly?

And secondly, throughout these conversations did you commit to ceasing carrying out cyberattacks on the United States? Did you commit to stopping threatening Ukraine’s security? And did you commit to stop cracking down on the opposition in Russia?

Vladimir Putin: I will begin with a general assessment. I believe there was no hostility at all. Quite the contrary. Our meeting was, of course, a principled one, and our positions diverge on many issues, but I still think that both of us showed a willingness to understand each other and look for ways of bringing our positions closer together. The conversation was quite constructive.

As for cyber security, we have agreed to start consultations on this issue. I consider this very important.

Now about the commitments each side must make. I would like to tell you about things that are generally known, but not to the public at large. American sources – I am simply afraid to mix up the names of organisations (Mr Peskov will give them to you later) – have said that most cyberattacks in the world come from US cyberspace. Canada is second. It is followed by two Latin American countries and then the United Kingdom. As you can see, Russia is not on the list of these countries from whose cyberspace the most cyberattacks originate. This is the first point.

Now the second point. In 2020 we received 10 inquiries from the United States about cyberattacks on US facilities – as our colleagues say – from Russian cyberspace. Two more requests were made this year. Our colleagues received exhaustive responses to all of them, both in 2020 and this year.

In turn, Russia sent 45 inquiries to the relevant US agency last year and 35 inquiries in the first half of this year. We have not yet received a single response. This shows that we have a lot to work on.

The question of who, on what scale and in what area must make commitments should be resolved during negotiations. We have agreed to start such consultations. We believe that cyber security is extremely important in the world in general, for the United States in particular, and to the same extent for Russia.

For example, we are aware of the cyberattacks on the pipeline company in the United States. We are also aware of the fact that the company had to pay 5 million to the cybercriminals. According to my information, a portion of the money has been returned from the e-wallets. What do Russia’s public authorities have to do with this?

We face the same threats. For example, there was an attack on the public healthcare system of a large region in the Russian Federation. Of course, we see where the attacks are coming from, and we see that these activities are coordinated from US cyberspace. I do not think that the United States, official US authorities, are interested in this kind of manipulation. What we need to do is discard all the conspiracy theories, sit down at the expert level and start working in the interests of the United States and the Russian Federation. In principle, we have agreed to this, and Russia is willing to do so.

Give them a microphone – part of the question remained unanswered.

Remark: That’s correct and thank you very much for coming back to me, sir.

So, there were two other parts to the question. The first one is: did you commit in these meetings to stop threatening Ukraine? Remember the reason this summit was called in the first place, or the timing of it, was when Russia was building up lots of forces close to border. And the second part of the question, third part of the question was: did you commit to stopping your crackdown against the opposition groups inside Russia led by Alexei Navalny?

Vladimir Putin: I did not hear that part of the question – either it was not translated, or you just decided to ask a second question.

With regard to our obligations regarding Ukraine, we have only one obligation which is to facilitate the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. If the Ukrainian side is willing to do this, we will take this path, no questions asked.

By the way, I would like to note the following. Back in November 2020, the Ukrainian delegation presented its views about how it was planning to implement the Minsk Agreements. Please take a look at the Minsk Agreements – they are not a confidential document. They say that, first, it is necessary to submit proposals on the political integration of Donbass into the Ukrainian legal system and the Constitution. To do so, it is necessary to amend the Constitution – this is spelled out in the agreements. This is the first point. And second, the border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine along the Donbass line will begin to be occupied by the border troops of Ukraine on the day following election day – Article 9.

What has Ukraine come up with? The first step it proposed was to move Ukraine’s armed forces back to their permanent stations. What does this mean? This means Ukrainian troops would enter Donbass. This is the first point. Second, they proposed closing the border between Russia and Ukraine in this area. Third, they proposed holding elections three months after these two steps.

You do not need a legal background or any special training to understand that this has nothing to do with the Minsk Agreements. This completely contradicts the Minsk Agreements. Therefore, what kind of additional obligations can Russia assume? I think the answer is clear.

With regard to military exercises, we conduct them on our territory, just like the United States conducts many of its exercises on its territory. But we are not bringing our equipment and personnel closer to the state borders of the United States of America when we conduct our exercises. Unfortunately, this is what our US partners are doing now. So, the Russian side, not the American side, should be concerned about this, and this also needs to be discussed, and our respective positions should be clarified.

With regard to our non-systemic opposition and the citizen you mentioned, first, this person knew that he was breaking applicable Russian law. He needed to check in with the authorities as someone who was twice sentenced to a suspended prison time. Fully cognisant of what he was doing, I want to emphasise this, and disregarding this legal requirement, this gentleman went abroad for medical treatment, and the authorities did not ask him to check in while he was in treatment. As soon as he left the hospital and posted his videos online, the requirements were reinstated. He did not appear; he disregarded the law – and was put on the wanted list. He knew that going back to Russia. I believe he deliberately decided to get arrested. He did what he wanted to do. So, what is there to be discussed?

With regard to the people like him and the systemic opposition in general, unfortunately, the format of a news conference precludes a detailed discussion, but I would like to say the following. Look, I think I will not say anything complicated, it will be clear for everyone. If you find it possible to objectively convey this message to your viewers and listeners, I would be very grateful to you.

So, the United States declared Russia an enemy and an adversary. Congress did this in 2017. US legislation was amended to include provisions that the United States must maintain democratic governance rules and order in our country and support political organisations. This is in your law, US law. Now let’s ask ourselves a question: if Russia is an enemy, what kind of organisations will the United States support in Russia? I think not the ones that make the Russian Federation stronger, but the ones that hold it back, since this is the goal of the United States, something that has been announced publicly. So, these are the organisations and the people who are instrumental in the implementation of the United States’ policy on Russia.

How should we feel about this? I think it is clear: we must be wary. But we will act exclusively within the framework of Russian law.

Transcript to be continued.


Remarks by President Biden in post-summit Press Conference

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/06/16/remarks-by-president-biden-in-press-conference-4/June 16, 2021 • Speeches and Remarks

Hôtel du Parc des Eaux-Vives
Geneva, Switzerland

7:20 P.M. CEST

(There is some French bleedthrough at the start of the audio for a few moments)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s been a long day for you all.  (Laughs.)  I know it was easy getting into the — the pre-meeting.  There was no problem getting through those doors, was it — was there?

Anyway, hello, everyone.  Well, I’ve just finished the — the last meeting of this week’s long trip, the U.S.-Russian Summit.

And I know there were a lot of hype around this meeting, but it’s pretty straightforward to me — the meeting.  One, there is no substitute, as those of you who have covered me for a while know, for a face-to-face dialogue between leaders.  None.  And President Putin and I had a — share a unique responsibility to manage the relationship between two powerful and proud countries — a relationship that has to be stable and predictable.  And it should be able to — we should be able to cooperate where it’s in our mutual interests.

And where we have differences, I wanted President Putin to understand why I say what I say and why I do what I do, and how we’ll respond to specific kinds of actions that harm America’s interests.

Now, I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else; it’s for the American people: fighting COVID-19; rebuilding our economy; reestablishing our relationships around the world with our allies and friends; and protecting our people.  That’s my responsibility as President.

I also told him that no President of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have, in our view.  That’s just part of the DNA of our country.

So, human rights is going to always be on the table, I told him.  It’s not about just going after Russia when they violate human rights; it’s about who we are.  How could I be the President of the United States of America and not speak out against the violation of human rights?

I told him that, unlike other countries, including Russia, we’re uniquely a product of an idea.  You’ve heard me say this before, again and again, but I’m going to keep saying it.  What’s that idea?  We don’t derive our rights from the government; we possess them because we’re born — period.  And we yield them to a government.

And so, at the forum, I pointed out to him that that’s why we’re going raise our concerns about cases like Aleksey Navalny.  I made it clear to President Putin that we’ll continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights because that’s what we are, that’s who we are.  The idea is: “We hold these truths self-evident that all men and women…”  We haven’t lived up to it completely, but we’ve always widened the arc of commitment and included more and more people.

And I raised the case of two wrongfully imprisoned American citizens: Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.

I also raised the ability of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to operate, and the importance of a free press and freedom of speech.

I made it clear that we will not tolerate attempts to violate our democratic sovereignty or destabilize our democratic elections, and we would respond.

The bottom line is, I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by.

I also said there are areas where there’s a mutual interest for us to cooperate, for our people — Russian and American people — but also for the benefit of the world and the security of the world.  One of those areas is strategic stability.

You asked me many times what was I going to discuss with Putin.  Before I came, I told you I only negotiate with the individual.  And now I can tell you what I was intending to do all along, and that is to discuss and raise the issue of strategic stability and try to set up a mechanism whereby we dealt with it.

We discussed in detail the next steps our countries need to take on arms control measures — the steps we need to take to reduce the risk of unintended conflict.

And I’m pleased that he agreed today to launch a bilateral strategic stability dialogue — diplomatic speak for saying, get our military experts and our — our diplomats together to work on a mechanism that can lead to control of new and dangerous and sophisticated weapons that are coming on the scene now that reduce the times of response, that raise the prospects of accidental war.  And we went into some detail of what those weapons systems were.

Another area we spent a great deal of time on was cyber and cybersecurity.  I talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructure should be off limits to attack — period — by cyber or any other means.  I gave them a list, if I’m not mistaken — I don’t have it in front of me — 16 specific entities; 16 defined as critical infrastructure under U.S. policy, from the energy sector to our water systems.

Of course, the principle is one thing.  It has to be backed up by practice.  Responsible countries need to take action against criminals who conduct ransomware activities on their territory.

So we agreed to task experts in both our — both our countries to work on specific understandings about what’s off limits and to follow up on specific cases that originate in other countries — either of our countries.

There is a long list of other issues we spent time on, from the urgent need to preserve and reopen the humanitarian corridors in Syria so that we can get food — just simple food and basic necessities to people who are starving to death; how to build it and how it is in the interest of both Russia and the United States to ensure that Iran — Iran — does not acquire nuclear weapons.  We agreed to work together there because it’s as much interest — Russia’s interest as ours.  And to how we can ensure the Arctic remains a region of cooperation rather than conflict.

I caught part of President’s — Putin’s press conference, and he talked about the need for us to be able to have some kind of modus operandi where we dealt with making sure the Arctic was, in fact, a free zone.

And to how we can each contribute to the shared effort of preventing a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan.  It’s very much in — in the interest of Russia not to have a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan.

There are also areas that are more challenging.  I communicated the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

We agreed to pursue diplomacy related to the Minsk Agreement.  And I shared our concerns about Belarus.  He didn’t disagree with what happened; he just has a different perspective of what to do about it.

But I know you have a lot of questions, so let me close with this: It was important to meet in person so there can be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate.

I did what I came to do: Number one, identify areas of practical work our two countries can do to advance our mutual interests and also benefit the world.

Two, communicate directly — directly — that the United States will respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies.

And three, to clearly lay out our country’s priorities and our values so he heard it straight from me.

And I must tell you, the tone of the entire meetings — I guess it was a total of four hours — was — was good, positive.  There wasn’t any — any strident action taken.  Where we disagreed — I disagreed, stated where it was.  Where he disagreed, he stated.  But it was not done in a hyperbolic atmosphere.  That is too much of what’s been going on.

Over this last week, I believe — I hope — the United States has shown the world that we are back, standing with our Allies.  We rallied our fellow democracies to make concert — concerted commitments to take on the biggest challenges our world faces.

And now we’ve established a clear basis on how we intend to deal with Russia and the U.S.-Russia relationship.

There’s more work ahead.  I’m not suggesting that any of this is done, but we’ve gotten a lot of business done on this trip.

And before I take your questions, I want to say one last thing.  Folks, look, this is about — this about how we move from here.  This is — I listened to, again, a significant portion of what President Putin’s press conference was, and as he pointed out, this is about practical, straightforward, no-nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make.

We’ll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters.  We’ll find out whether we work to deal with everything from release of people in Russian prisons or not.  We’ll find out whether we have a cybersecurity arrangement that begins to bring some order.

Because, look, the countries that most are likely to be damaged — failure to do that — are the major countries.  For example, when I talked about the pipeline that cyber hit for $5 million — that ransomware hit in the United States, I looked at him and I said, “Well, how would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?”  He said it would matter.

This is not about just our self-interest; it’s about a mutual self-interest.

I’ll take your questions.  And as usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I’m going to call on.

So, Jonathan, Associated Press.

Q    Thank you, sir.  U.S. intelligence has said that Russia tried to interfere in the last two presidential elections, and that Russia groups are behind hacks like SolarWinds and some of the ransomware attacks you just mentioned.  Putin, in his news conference just now, accepted no responsibility for any misbehavior.  Your predecessor opted not to demand that Putin stop these disruptions.  So what is something concrete, sir, that you achieved today to prevent that from happening again?  And what were the consequences you threatened?

THE PRESIDENT:  Whether I stopped it from happening again — he knows I will take action, like we did when — this last time out.  What happened was: We, in fact, made it clear that we were not going to continue to allow this to go on.  The end result was we ended up withdrawing — they went withdrawing ambassadors, and we closed down some of their facilities in the United States, et cetera.  And he knows there are consequences.

Now, look, one of the consequences that I know — I don’t know; I shouldn’t say this; it’s unfair of me — I suspect you may all think doesn’t matter, but I’m confidence it matters to him — confident it matter to him and other world leaders of big nations: his credibility worldwide shrinks.

Let’s get this straight: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it?  What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in?  It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.

And so it’s not just what I do; it’s what the actions that other countries take — in this case, Russia — that are contrary to international norms.  It’s the price they pay.  They are not — they are not able to dictate what happens in the world.  There are other nations of significant consequence — i.e. the United States of America being one of them.

Q    Mr. President, just a quick follow on the same theme of consequences.  You said, just now, that you spoke to him a lot about human rights.  What did you say would happen if opposition leader Aleksey Navalny dies?

THE PRESIDENT:  I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.

I’ll go back to the same point: What do you think happens when he’s saying, “It’s not about hurting Navalny,” this — you know, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny — and then he dies in prison?

I pointed out to him that it matters a great deal when a country, in fact — and they asked me why I thought that it was important to continue to have problems with the President of Syria.  I said, “Because he’s in violation of an international norm.  It’s called a Chemical Weapons Treaty.  Can’t be trusted.”

It’s about trust.  It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.

Look, would you like to trade our economy for Russia’s economy?  Would you like to trade?  And, by the way, we talked about trade.  I don’t have any problem with doing business with Russia, as long as they do it based upon international norms. It’s in our interest to see the Russian people do well economically.  I don’t have a problem with that.

But if they do not act according to international norms, then guess what?  That will not — that only won’t it happen with us, it will not happen with other nations.  And he kind of talked about that — didn’t he, today? — about how the need to reach out to other countries to invest in Russia.  They won’t as long as they are convinced that, in fact, the violations —

For example, the American businessman who was in house arrest.  And I pointed out, “You want to get American business to invest?  Let him go.  Change the dynamic.”  Because American businessmen, they’re not — they’re not ready to show up.  They don’t want to hang around in Moscow.

I mean, I — look, guys, I know we make foreign policy out to be this great, great skill that somehow is, sort of, like a secret code.  Pract- — all foreign policy is, is a logical extension of personal relationships.  It’s the way human nature functions.

And understand, when you run a country that does not abide by international norms, and yet you need those international norms to be somehow managed so that you can participate in the benefits that flow from them, it hurts you.  That’s not a satisfying answer: “Biden said he’d invade Russia.”  You know, it is not — you know.  By the way, that was a joke.  That’s not true.

But my generic point is, it is — it is more complicated than that.

David Sanger.  I thought I saw David.  There he is.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  In the run-up to this discussion, there’s been a lot of talk about the two countries spilling down into a Cold War.  And I’m wondering if there was anything that you emerged from in the discussion that made you think that he —

THE PRESIDENT:  With your permission, I’m going to take my coat off.  The sun is hot.

Q    — anything that would make you think that Mr. Putin has decided to move away from his fundamental role as a disrupter, particularly a disrupter of NATO and the United States?

And if I could also just follow up on your description of how you gave him a list of critical infrastructure in the United States.  Did you lay out very clearly what it was that the penalty would be for interfering in that critical infrastructure?  Did you leave that vague?  Did he respond in any way to it?

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me answer your first — well, I’ll second question, first.

I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability.  And he knows it.  He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but it’s significant.  And if, in fact, they violate these basic norms, we will respond with cyber.  He knows.

Q    In the cyber way.

THE PRESIDENT:  In the cyber way.

Number two, I — I think that the last thing he wants now is a Cold War.  Without quoting him — which I don’t think is appropriate — let me ask a rhetorical question: You got a multi-thousand-mile border with China.  China is moving ahead, hellbent on election, as they say, seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world.

You’re in a situation where your economy is struggling, you need to move it in a more aggressive way, in terms of growing it.  And you — I don’t think he’s looking for a Cold War with the United States.

I don’t think it’s about a — as I said to him, I said, “Your generation and mine are about 10 years apart.  This is not a ‘kumbaya’ moment, as you used to say back in the ’60s in the United States, like, ‘Let’s hug and love each other.’  But it’s clearly not in anybody’s interest — your country’s or mine — for us to be in a situation where we’re in a new Cold War.”  And I truly believe he thinks that — he understands that.

But that does not mean he’s ready to, quote, figuratively speaking, “lay down his arms,” and say, “Come on.”  He still, I believe, is concerned about being, quote, “encircled.”  He still is concerned that we, in fact, are looking to take him down, et cetera.  He still has those concerns, but I don’t think they are the driving force as to the kind of relationship he’s looking for with the United States.

Jennifer.  Jennifer Jacobs.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Is there a particular reason why the summit lasted only about three hours?  We know you had maybe allotted four to five hours.  Was there any reason it ran shorter?

Also, did — President Putin said that there were no threats or scare tactics issued.  Do you agree with that assessment, that there were no threats or scare tactics?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    And also, did you touch on Afghanistan and the safe withdrawal of troops?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Yes, yes, and yes.  Let me go back to the first part.

The reason it didn’t go longer is: When is the last time two heads of state have spent over two hours in direct conversation across a table, going into excruciating detail?  You may know of a time; I don’t.  I can’t think of one.

So we didn’t need, as we got through, when we brought in the larger group — our defense, our intelligence, and our foreign — well, our — my foreign minister — wasn’t the foreign minister — my Secretary of State was with me the whole time — our ambassador, et cetera.  We brought everybody in.  We had covered so much.

And so there was a summary done by him and by me of what we covered.  Lavrov and Blinken talked about what we had covered.  We raised things that required more amplification or made sure we didn’t have any misunderstandings.  And — and so it was — it was — kind of, after two hours there, we looked at each other like, “Okay, what next?”

What is going to happen next is we’re going to be able to look back — look ahead in three to six months, and say, “Did the things we agreed to sit down and try to work out, did it work?  Do we — are we closer to a major strategic stability talks and progress?  Are we further along in terms of…” — and go down the line.  That’s going to be the test.

I’m not sitting here saying because the President and I agreed that we would do these things, that all of a sudden, it’s going to work.  I’m not saying that.  What I’m saying is I think there’s a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without us giving up a single, solitary thing based on principle and/or values.

Q    There were no threats issued?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no.  No.  There were no threats.  There were — as a matter of fact, I heard he quoted my mom and quoted other people today.  There was — it was very, as we say — which will shock you, coming from me — somewhat colloquial.  And we talked about basic, basic, fundamental things.  There was a — it was — and you know how I am: I explain things based on personal basis.  “What happens if,” for example.

And so, there are no threats, just simple assertions made.  And no “Well, if you do that, then we’ll do this” — wasn’t anything I said.  It was just letting him know where I stood; what I thought we could accomplish together; and what, in fact — if it was — if there were violations of American sovereignty, what would we do.

Q    Can you share what you asked him about Afghanistan?  What was your particular request for Afghanistan and the U.S. troops?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, he asked us about Afghanistan.  He said that he hopes that we’re able to maintain some peace and security, and I said, “That has a lot to do with you.”  He indicated that he was prepared to, quote, “help” on Afghanistan — I won’t go into detail now; and help on — on Iran; and help on — and, in return, we told him what we wanted to do relative to bringing some stability and economic security or physical security to the people of Syria and Libya.

So, we had those discussions.

Yamiche.

Q    Thanks so much, Mr. President.  Did you — you say that you didn’t issue any threats.  Were there any ultimatums made when it comes to ransomware?  And how will you measure success, especially when it comes to these working groups on Russian meddling and on cybersecurity?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s going to be real easy.  They either — for example, on cybersecurity, are we going to work out where they take action against ransomware criminals on Russian territory?  They didn’t do it.  I don’t think they planned it, in this case.  And they — are they going to act?  We’ll find out.

Will we commit — what can we commit to act in terms of anything affecting violating international norms that negatively affects Russia?  What are we going to agree to do?

And so, I think we have real opportunities to — to move.  And I think that one of the things that I noticed when we had the larger meeting is that people who are very, very well-informed started thinking, “You know, this could be a real problem.”  What happens if that ransomware outfit were sitting in Florida or Maine and took action, as I said, on their — their single lifeline to their economy: oil?  That would be devastating.  And they’re like — you could see them kind of go, “Oh, we do that,” but like, “Whoa.”

So it’s in — it’s in everybody’s interest that these things be acted on.  We’ll see, though, what happens from these groups we put together.

Q    Can I ask a quick follow-up question?

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  The third one, yes.  Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, when President Putin was questioned today about human rights, he said the reason why he’s cracking down on opposition leaders is because he doesn’t want something like January 6th to happen in Russia.  And he also said he doesn’t want to see groups formed like Black Lives Matter.  What’s your response to that, please?

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  My response is kind of what I communicated — that I think that’s a — that’s a ridiculous comparison.  It’s one thing for literally criminals to break through cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable than it is for people objecting and marching on the Capitol and saying, “You are not allowing me to speak freely.  You are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D.”

And so, they’re very different criteria.

Steve.  Steve Holland, Reuters.

Q    President — sorry — President Putin said he was satisfied with the answer about your comment about him being a “killer.”  Could you give us your side on this?  What did you tell him?

THE PRESIDENT:  He’s satisfied.  Why would I bring it up again?  (Laughs.)

Q    And now that you’ve talked to him, do you believe you can trust him?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, this is not about trust; this is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.  That’s what it’s about.  So, I — virtually almost — almost anyone that I would work out an agreement with that affected the American people’s interests, I don’t say, “Well, I trust you.  No problem.”  Let’s see what happens.

You know, as that old expression goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  We’re going to know shortly.

Igor, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Q    Hello, Mr. President.  Hello, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to go on the shade?  You can’t — can you see?

Q    Thank you.  Yeah.  Yeah, yeah.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  All right.

Q    Yeah.  So, I think you know attacks in civil society and the free — free press continue inside Russia.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    For example, Radio Free Europe —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    — Radio Liberty; Voice of America; Current Time TV channel, where I work, are branded foreign agents — and several other independent media.  So, we are essentially being forced out in Russia 30 years after President Yeltsin invited us in.

My question is: After your talks with President Putin, how interested do you think he is in improving the media climate in Russia?

THE PRESIDENT:  I wouldn’t put it that way, in terms of improving the climate.  I would, in fact, put it in terms of how much interest does he have in burnishing Russia’s reputation that is not — is viewed as not being contrary to democratic principles and free speech.

That’s a judgment I cannot make.  I don’t know.  But it’s not because I think he — he is interested in changing the nature of a closed society or closed government’s actions relative to what he thinks is the right of government to do what it does; it’s a very different approach.

And, you know, there’s a couple of really good biogra- — I told him I read a couple — I read most everything he’s written and the speeches he’s made.  And — and I’ve read a couple of very good biographies, which many of you have as well.

And I think I pointed out to him that Russia had an opportunity — that brief shining moment after Gorbachev and after things began to change drastically — to actually generate a democratic government.  But what happened was it failed and there was a great, great race among Russian intellectuals to determine what form of government would they choose and how would they choose it.

And based on what I believe, Mr. Putin decided was that Russia has always been a major international power when it’s been totally united as a Russian state, not based on ideology — whether it was going back to Tsar and Commissar, straight through to the — the revolution — the Russian Revolution, and to where they are today.

And I think that it’s clear to me — and I’ve said it — that I think he decided that the way for Russia to be able to sustain itself as a great — quote, “great power” is to in fact unite the Russian people on just the strength of the government — the government controls — not necessarily ideologically, but the government.

And I think that’s the — that’s the choice that was made.  I think it — I — I’m not going to second guess whether it could have been fundamentally different.  But I do think it does not lend itself to Russia maintaining itself as one of the great powers in the world.

Q    Sir, one more question —

Q    One more on COVID — on COVID-19, Mr. President —

Q    Sir, could we ask you one more question, please, sir?  Thank you, sir.  Did military response ever come up in this conversation today?  Did you — in terms of the red lines that you laid down, is military response an option for a ransomware attack?

And President Putin had called you, in his press conference, an “experienced person.”  You famously told him he didn’t have a soul.  Do you now have a deeper understanding of him after this meeting?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. President —

Q    But on the military — military response, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, we didn’t talk about military response.

Q    In the spirit, Mr. President, of you saying that there is no substitute for face-to-face dialogue, and also with what you said at NATO that the biggest problems right now are Russia and China — you’ve spoken many times about how you have spent perhaps more time with President Xi than any other world leader.

So is there going to become a time where you might call him, old friend to old friend, and ask him to open up China to the World Health Organization investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of COVID-19?

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s get something straight.  We know each other well; we’re not old friends.  It’s just pure business.

Q    So, I guess, my question would be that you’ve said that you were going to press China.  You signed on to the G7 communiqué that said you — the G7 were calling on China to open up to let the investigators in.  But China basically says they don’t want to be interfered with anymore.  So, what happens now?

THE PRESIDENT:  The impact — the world’s attitude toward China as it develops.  China is trying very hard to project itself as a responsible and — and a very, very forthcoming nation; that they are trying very hard to talk about how they’re taking and helping the world in terms of COVID-19 and vaccines.  And they’re trying very hard.

Look, certain things you don’t have to explain to the people of the world.  They see the results.  Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?

One thing we did discuss, as I told you, in the EU and at the G7 and with NATO: What we should be doing and what I’m going to make an effort to do is rally the world to work on what is going to be the physical mechanism available to detect, early on, the next pandemic and have a mechanism by which we can respond to it and respond to it early.  It’s going to happen.  It’s going to happen.  And we need to do that.

Thank you.

Q    Any progress on the detained Americans, sir?

Q    What did Putin say about Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed?

Q    Sir, what do you say to the families of the detained Americans?

Q    President Biden, why are you so confident Russia —

THE PRESIDENT:  The families of the detained Americans, I have hope for.

Q    Say it again; we can’t hear you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I said the families of the detained Americans came up and we discussed it.  We’re going to follow through with that discussion.  I am — I am not going to walk away on that issue.

Q    Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior.  Where the hell — what do you do all the time?  When did I say I was confident?  I said —

Q    You said in the next six months you’ll be able to determine —

THE PRESIDENT:  I said — what I said was — let’s get it straight.  I said: What will change their behavior is if the rest of world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world.  I’m not confident of anything; I’m just stating a fact.

Q    But given his past behavior has not changed and, in that press conference, after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks; he downplayed human rights abuses; he even refused to say Aleksey Navalny’s name.  So how does that account to a constructive meeting, as President — President Putin framed it?

THE PRESIDENT:  If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.

Thank you.

“معهد واشنطن”: بوتين أرسل رسالة إلى بايدن باغتيال قياديي “هيئة تحرير الشام”The Washington Institute: Putin sent a message to Biden on assassination the leaders of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

**Please scroll down for the adjusted English Machine translation**

“معهد واشنطن”: بوتين أرسل رسالة إلى بايدن باغتيال قياديي “هيئة تحرير الشام”

12/06/2021

الكاتب: الميادين نت

المصدر: معهد واشنطن لسياسة الشرق الأدنى

باحث في “معهد واشنطن” يربط بين اغتيال المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” والمفاوضات بين روسيا والولايات المتحدة حول الحفاظ على المساعدات في المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الحكومة السورية.

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المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” قتل بغارة جوية سورية

كتب الباحث في “معهد واشنطن” أرون زيلين مقالاً تحليلياً اعتبر فيه أن واشنطن ليست حليفاً لـ”هيئة تحرير الشام”، لكن “عليها أن تدرك أن الضربات الروسية ضد الجماعة تهدف بشكل مباشر إلى إحباط الأهداف الأميركية في جنيف، بما في ذلك الجهود المبذولة للحفاظ على المساعدات عبر الحدود”.

وأشار زيلين إلى قتل المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” أبو خالد الشامي في قرية عبلين السورية، بالإضافة إلى مسؤولين آخرين من التنظيم البارز في محافظة إدلب، داعياً إلى “النظر إلى الحادث في سياق مفاوضات الأمم المتحدة بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا حول الحفاظ على المساعدات الإنسانية عبر الحدود في المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة (الرئيس السوري) بشار الأسد”.

وأضاف: “بقتل قادة هيئة تحرير الشام، يبدو أن فلاديمير بوتين يرسل إلى الرئيس جو بايدن رسالتين قبل اجتماعهما المقرر في 16 حزيران/ يونيو في جنيف“، وهما:

 1- أن إدلب “لا تزال تديرها جماعة إرهابية مصنّفة من قبل الولايات المتحدة، لذا فإن تقديم المساعدات الإنسانية لتلك المنطقة غير ضروري”.

2- “لا شيء تفعله واشنطن سيغيّر من حقيقة أن روسيا تمتلك كل النفوذ العسكري في سوريا وتواصل اتّباع سياساتها من موقع قوّة”.

وخلص الكاتب إلى أن على واشنطن “أن تدرك أن الضربات الروسية ضد التنظيم هي طريقة أخرى لبوتين لتأكيد أنه الشخص الأقوى على الساحة السورية”.

وتابع: “استمرار النهج الضعيف الذي ميّز السياسة الأميركية في سوريا منذ تدخّل روسيا عام 2015، لن يؤدي إلا إلى المزيد من استعراض العضلات، سواء في إدلب أو خلال اجتماعات جنيف أو قبل اتخاذ قرارات دبلوماسية رئيسية أخرى”.


Putin sent a message to Biden on assassination the leaders of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

12/06/2021

Author: Al-Mayadeen Net

Source: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

A researcher at the Washington Institute links the assassination of the military spokesman of the Liberation Of Sham to negotiations between Russia and the United States on maintaining aid in areas beyond the control of the Syrian government.

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The military spokesman for “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” was killed in a Syrian air strike

Washington Institute researcher Aaron Zelin wrote an analytical article in which he argued that Washington is not an ally  of the Levant Liberation Authority, but “must realize that Russian strikes against the group are directly aimed at thwarting U.S. targets in Geneva, including efforts to maintain cross-border aid.”

Zelin referred to the killing of the military spokesman of the “Liberation of the Levant” Abu Khalid al-Shami in the Syrian village of Ablain, as well as other officials of the prominent organization in Idlib province, calling for “looking at the incident in the context of the UN negotiations between the United States and Russia on maintaining humanitarian assistance across the border in areas beyond the control of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad.”

“By killing the leaders of the Levant Liberation Commission, Vladimir Putin appears to be sending President Joe Biden two letters before their June 16 meeting in Geneva:

1. Idlib “is still run by a terrorist group designated by the United States, so humanitarian assistance to that region is unnecessary.”

“Nothing Washington is doing will change the fact that Russia has all themilitary influence in Syria and continues to pursue its policies from a position of strength,”hesaid.

The author concluded that Washington “should realize that Russian strikes against ISIS are another way for Putin to assert that he is the most powerful person on the Syrian scene.”

“The continued weak approach that has characterized U.S. policy in Syria since Russia’s intervention in 2015 will only lead to further muscle flexing, whether in Idlib, during the Geneva meetings or before other major diplomatic decisions are taken.”

Putin: Biden’s ‘Killer’ Comment is ‘Hollywood Macho Behavior’

12/06/2021

Putin: Biden’s ‘Killer’ Comment is ‘Hollywood Macho Behavior’

By Staff- Agencies

In his first interview to a US corporate outlet since 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off his US counterpart Joe Biden’s “killer” label and called it posturing by a career establishment politician.

Speaking with NBC News’ Keir Simmons in Moscow, ahead of the June 16 summit with Biden, Putin called the “killer” comment an expression of “Hollywood macho” behavior.

“Over my tenure, I’ve gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas under all kinds of pretext, and reasons and of different caliber and fierceness and none of it surprises me,” Putin said, in a segment NBC aired on Friday evening.

He further continued: “So, as far as harsh rhetoric, I think that this is an expression of overall US culture… There are some underlying deep things in Hollywood. Macho. Which can be treated as cinematic art, but that is part of US political culture where it’s considered normal. By the way, not here, it is not considered normal here.”

It was ABC news presenter and former Democrat aide George Stephanopoulos who called Putin a “killer” during an interview in mid-March, asking Biden if he would agree.

“Mmm hmm, I do,” Biden replied. The 78-year-old then told a story about an alleged confrontation with the “soulless” Putin in 2011, which did not correspond with official records of the meeting.

When Simmons accused Putin of having critics killed, the Russian president called the question “verbal indigestion” and denied having anything to do with the deaths.

Putin pointed out that relations between Washington and Moscow are at their lowest point in years. Neither the White House nor the Kremlin expressed high hopes that the June 16 summit in Geneva would change that.

The Russian president described former US leader Donald Trump as a “colorful individual” who did not come from the establishment and “big time politics,” which is a fact whether people liked it or not. The current occupant of the White House is “radically different,” he said.

“President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics,” Putin told NBC. “That’s a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements, on behalf of the sitting US president.”

The full interview is scheduled to air on Monday, June 14.

US Drops Sanctions on Former Iranian Officials in ‘Routine’ Step

 June 11, 2021

iran flag

The Biden administration on Thursday lifted sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two Iranian companies involved in the country’s oil industry, a conciliatory gesture days before a potentially decisive round of nuclear talks in Vienna, the New York Times reported.

The administration cautioned against reading too much into the move. Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, claimed there was “absolutely no connection” between the sanctions and discussions among several world powers and Tehran.

Those talks are intended to bring the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal that attempted to limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for an end to many of the international sanctions that have squeezed the country’s economy.

In the same statements announcing that the United States had lifted some sanctions, the State and Treasury Departments also said they were imposing new ones on a dozen Iranian individuals, entities and vessels for providing financial support to the Ansarullah revolutionaries in Yemen.

A sixth round of nuclear talks is set to begin in Vienna this weekend. Robert Einhorn, an arms control expert at the Brookings Institution, said that the timing of the US announcements suggested a connection to the nuclear issue, and that it might be a signal of American flexibility.

The United States has been negotiating with Iran since April, though only indirectly, through intermediaries in Vienna, because of Tehran’s refusal to speak directly with American officials.

Biden administration officials have said for weeks that they are prepared to lift sanctions on Iran as part of a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 deal, and that the main obstacle to an agreement is whether Iran’s leadership is prepared to respond by scaling back its nuclear activities.

The 2015 deal, negotiated by the Obama administration and several other world powers, traded Western sanctions relief in return for Iran’s agreement to accept limits on — and international monitoring of — its nuclear program to ensure that it did not try to build a weapon. Iran stresses repeatedly that its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and hammered Iran with economic sanctions in what he called a campaign of “maximum pressure.” In response, Iran then began expanding its nuclear program and is now enriching uranium to levels and in quantities far beyond those allowed under the agreement.

Source: Reuters

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Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

11-06-2021

Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

By Ali Abadi

The recent developments in the Zionist entity reopen the discussion regarding the extent to which this entity is influenced by the US policy as well as the changes inside the United States.

Since Trump’s failure in the US Presidential Elections, the countdown to Benjamin Netanyahu’s downfall has started -who represents the ‘Israeli’ version of Trump’s personality- even though the former was able to reproduce his leadership via three consecutive elections, and prepared to a fourth round to fortify his position against probes in cases of corruption, and to fight the possibility of moving him away from the political scene through a rival party coalition. However, Netanyahu’s ploys didn’t survive in front of the results of the recent war with Gaza, which turned the political atmosphere inside the occupation entity to the extent that Netanyahu’s government was found responsible or losing the deterrence with Gaza, not to mention his weakness to handle the resistance and its growing might.

Herein, we should notice the relative comparison between the American and the ‘Israeli’ arenas:

On the one hand, the extravagance of America’s right wing led to dangerous division that caused an intense desire among all of Trump’s opponents [including some of the Republican party members] to get rid of him via ballot boxes, so they voted majorly against the far-right policies [represented by Trump] more than to support his rival Biden and his electoral program. And in the ‘Israeli’ arena, the right policies led to attractions from within the Zionist society, not between the left and the right, but within the right itself. A dominant agreement emerged that Netanyahu is sticking to power at any price, even if it led to a ‘civil war’, and that he is using Zionist religious parties that exchange with him the electoral services and well as the governmental benefits.

On the other hand, it happened previously that the personalities of Trump and Netanyahu have been linked to each other, in the course of unprecedented similarity in political tendencies of both sides regarding several issues. Trump’s failure in the US has motivated many ‘Israeli’ politicians to think about a way to get rid of his closest ally, Netanyahu. However, they didn’t possess the required energy to unite. Then came the recent confrontation with the Palestinians to uncover the weak structure of the entity as well as the policies of Netanyahu’s government. The decision was among several political parties to scapegoat him based on the rule of preserving the rightist policies that are threatened with the strong Palestinian uprising on the one hand, and the harmony with the American policies as much as possible on the other hand. Hence, the Zionist right settlement scheme would be saved, while Netanyahu’s attempts to shake the alliance with the US due to his objection of its return to the nuclear deal with Iran would fail.

Separation

Both American and ‘Israeli’ societies suffer from not yet hidden political, ideological, and ethnic divisions. Both societies need to absorb the tension from time to time via changing the top of the pyramid. This is one issue. Another remarkable one is that ‘Israel’ didn’t succeed for long in staying away from the requirements of the American interests in the region. And without harboring hopes on a major separation between the two sides, we witness a sort of coldness in relations due to three main points over the past three decades.

First: With launching the Madrid Conference for settlement in the region in the beginning of the 1990s after the US-led war in Kuwait, when Isaac Shamir [Likud] government objected to the principle of establishing an independent Palestinian state, but the Zionist entity’s need for the US financial support to contain the Jewish migration from the Soviet Union and other places pushed ‘Israel’ to reduce its objections and conditions. Washington was able, through guaranteed loans worth billions of dollars, to tame the ‘Israeli’ policy in favor of its wider interests. Then, Shamir was displaced from the ‘Israeli’ scene, and was succeeded by Isaac Rabin [Labor Party] to lead the Oslo track which happened to become later the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Ariha. However, after the assassination of Rabin in 1995, the abilities of the most harmonized Zionist parties with the US policy declined on the level of their potential to attract, and the base of the far-right parties, which reject the issue of ‘Two-state-solution’ or freezing the settlement activity grew, especially in the aftermaths of the major migration from the previously-known Soviet Union and other places. This led to a change inside the Zionist society, in addition to the structure of its successive governments.

Second: Netanyahu’s impediment of Barack Obama’s attempts to revive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority based on freezing the settlement activity in the West Bank, and then the US signing of a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. Netanyahu objected to it publicly and inside the US congress in a famous speech. Meanwhile, the dispersion within Netanyahu’s rival ‘Israeli’ parties didn’t allow the formation of a change that suits the US regional policy.  Trump came to power in 2016 to revive Netanyahu’s hopes about change that he didn’t dream about from the part of the American orientation on other levels [such as moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds, recognizing the ‘Israeli’ sovereignty in the Golan, supporting the settlement activity in the West Bank, cutting funds of the Palestinian refugees’ UNRWA agency, shutting the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, and encouraging the ‘Israeli’ normalization with Arab states regardless to the Palestinians.] A parallel US shift took place when Trump left the nuclear deal with Iran.

Third: Biden’s rising to power in Washington, which modified the ‘Israeli’ expectations. This is not limited to some differences regarding the traditional support of ‘Israel’ between America’s Republican and Democratic parties. The truth is that a change started to be witnessed in the public American mood in which a new political generation in the US, and inside the Democratic party is more liberal than its predecessors and doesn’t grant ‘Israel’ an ultimate support. It also cannot digest the rightist ‘Israeli’ thinking to ban the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the Palestinian people’s right to live on their land within internationally recognized borders. The ‘Israeli’ narrative, which has dominated the minds of the US elite over several decades regarding the right of Jews alone to establish their national Jewish state, has turned less tempting to many Americans. Additionally, the pro-Palestinian activism on social media platforms managed to breach the pro-‘Israel’ traditional media, in which Facebook and Twitter’s restrictions couldn’t curb this activism that was crystal-clear during the latest round of ‘Israeli’ aggression. It also scored important attractions in English and other foreign language.

Moreover, the Biden administration prioritizing of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran formed a separation from Netanyahu government’s orientations. He has started hinting to moving without an agreement from Washington, a matter that is not only underestimated in the US, but also among ‘Israeli’ milieus that are worried about losing the strategic alliance with the US.

Back to the house of obedience

After this third stop, ‘Israel’ returns to the so-called American ‘house of obedience’ or to adapting with the major US interests. This return is based upon avoiding confrontation with the US policies and their regional requirements to deal with the nuclear Iran in particular, reducing tension and difference with the American administration when dealing with the flaming Palestinian issue nowadays. However, it is not necessarily at the expense of the rightist tendencies regarding the settlement scheme that is the core of the Zionist project. The official US interest intersected with the internal ‘Israeli’ parties’ interests to remove Netanyahu from the scene. The US administration will take advantage of this shift in an attempt to revive negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation’s government to delegitimize the Palestinian resistance and the Axis that supports it in the region. Washington is to offer significant motivations to the future Zionist right government, led by Naftali Bennett, to allow progress in negotiations. Hereby, new obstacles will emerge from the side of Netanyahu’s successors who publicly adopt a hardline track regarding the rights of the Palestinian people, especially regarding the evacuation of some occupied land, freezing settlement, or establishing the Palestinian state. This will later turn things to the previous empty circle on the level of negotiations.

It is worth noting that Biden’s administration is not totally free to dictate its policies on ‘Israel’, especially amid the contradictions within the US political environment and inside the democratic party itself. However, ‘Israel’s’ dire need to the US support is an existential need to bear the pressures and preserve the qualitative military superiority. This will push the next ‘Israeli’ government to reduce the public contact with the US to overcome the challenges posed in this phase.

Finally, it is important to examine the extent to which the future Zionist government would succeed in:

– Managing the internal chaos along with threats of physical killing among the right affiliates

– Managing the military confrontation with the Gaza Strip

– Managing the variations with the US administration regarding the Palestinian issue and the Iran nuclear deal

On the American level, it is important to note the US administration’s ability to:

– Pass the nuclear deal with Iran without shockwaves inside the US congress and the circles of the conservatives who are more sticking to the ‘Israeli’ interests

– Dealing with the critical Palestinian issue, militarily and politically, based on the results of the recent confrontation that raised the voice of the Palestinian resistance

نموذج الدولة المارقة: بلينكن والجولان

10-06-2021

المعتدي أحياناً يكون مسكوناً بوهم اقتناع أنه صاحب حق فهو في هذه الحالة أقل سوءاً ورداءة من الذي يعرف الحق ويعترف به ويجد أعذاراً للتنكر له. وهذا هو المنافق، وعندما يكون ممثلاً لدولة تعرف الحق وتتنكّر له، وتعترف بالقانون وتشجع على انتهاكه فتسمّى بالدولة المارقة.

استعمل الأميركيون في وصف الدولة المارقة كل خصومهم، من دون أن يتكبّدوا عناء تقديم الدليل على ذلك، لأنهم منحوا مواقفهم صفة أعلى من القانون، واعتبروا كل خلاف معهم يعني انتهاكاً للقانون وتمرّداً على أحكامه، ما يسمح بوصف مَن يقوم بذلك بالمارق.

عندما نقارن بين موقفي دونالد ترامب وخلفه جو بايدن وإدارته التي يمثلها وزير خارجيته انتوني بلينكن من قضية الجولان السوري المحتل، سنجد أننا أمام مفارقة غريبة، فترامب المتحمّس لموقف كيان الاحتلال عقائدياً يؤيد قرار الكيان بضمّ الجولان. وهذا الموقف العدواني منسجم مع صاحبه، الذي وجد في احتلال الكيان للجولان والقدس الشرقية استعادة لحقوق يعتبرها الكيان جزءاً منه ويؤيده هو في ذلك، ولا يهم ترامب أن يخالف القرارات الصادرة عن مجلس الأمن الدولي، فالقانون عنده هو ما يراه الكيان وتؤيده واشنطن، ولذلك لم يجد ترامب مانعاً من مساندة الكيان بضم الجولان والقدس الشرقية كأراضٍ تمّ احتلالها عام 67 وصدرت بصددها القرارات الدولية خصوصاً القرارين 242 و338.

يأتي بلينكن ليقول إن كيان الاحتلال يضع يده على القدس الشرقية والجولان بصفته قوة احتلال، لا يملك الشرعيّة للتصرف بها، وهو بذلك يريد أن يظهر منسجماً مع القرارات الدولية التي تدعو للانسحاب منهما، لكنه كمنافق يمثل دولة مارقة لا يجد مانعاً من القول إنه يؤيد بقاء قوات الاحتلال في الجولان وطبعاً في القدس الشرقية، باعتبار هذا البقاء حاجة أمنية للكيان.

هل يوجد في القانون الدولي والمواثيق الدبلوماسية ما يبيح احتلال أراضي الغير بالقوة بداعي الضرورات الأمنية؟ أليست كل عمليات الاحتلال التي وجد القانون الدولي لإدانتها، تجد تبريراتها من الاحتلال بمصالح أمنية أو مائية أو ما يعادلها، وقد كان القانون الدولي حاسماً برفضها وإدانتها؟

السياسة الأميركية دائماً معادية للعرب، وحقوقهم، مرّة بالتصرف كشريك عقائدي لكيان الاحتلال، وعندما تصير عقلانية تتحوّل الى دولة مارقة.

التعليق السياسي

“المونيتور”: هل عاد “حل الدولتين” إلى الأجندة الإسرائيلية؟ Is two-state solution back on Israel’s agenda?

الكاتب: مزال معلم

المصدر: المونيتور

يتعين على القيادة الإسرائيلية أن تفهم أن حل الدولتين، الذي أبعده ترامب، قد عاد إلى جدول أعمال إدارة بايدن.

نتنياهو وبلينكن خلال محادثاتهما الأخيرة في القدس المحتلة.
نتنياهو وبلينكن خلال محادثاتهما الأخيرة في القدس المحتلة.

كتبت الصحافية الإسرائيلية مزال معلم مقالة في موقع “المونيتور” الأميركي تناولت فيه عودة “حل الدولتين” إلى أجندة الإدارة الأميركية مع الرئيس جو بايدن. وقالت إن الاجتماع  الذي عقد بين رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو ووزير الخارجية الأميركي أنتوني بلينكين في القدس المحتلة في 25 أيار / مايو الجاري قد كشف عن التغييرات الكبيرة التي تحدث في المنطقة، منذ ترك الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب منصبه.

وأضافت أن الاجتماع كان جيداً جداً إذ بذل بلينكين أقصى جهده “لإظهار الصداقة الوثيقة بين الدولتين، مع التركيز على التزام الرئيس جو بايدن الطويل الأمد بحق “إسرائيل” في الدفاع عن نفسها ضد منظمة (حماس) تطلق الصواريخ على مواطنيها.. فخلال الأسبوعين الماضيين، خلال عملية “حارس الأسوار”، أثبتت تصرفات بايدن أنه يقف مع “إسرائيل”. لقد حافظ على اتصالات منتظمة وودية مع نتنياهو، في حين أن دعواته لوقف إطلاق النار كانت تتم بهدوء، وبلباقة دبلوماسية محسوبة. كما أبدى بايدن احتراماً لنتنياهو إذ لم يوجه البيت الأبيض أي تهديدات له كما حدث في أكثر من مناسبة خلال إدارة أوباما.

وقالت الكاتبة إنه برغم كل هذه الدبلوماسية الأميركية اللبقة، فإن الأسبوعين الماضيين أظهرا أن ثمة تغيرات كبيرة في المواقف الأميركية تجاه “إسرائيل”، وخاصة بشأن علاقة “إسرائيل” بالفلسطينيين. فما فعله بايدن هو إعادة المفاوضات مع الفلسطينيين، بهدف تحقيق حل الدولتين، إلى الصدارة، بعد أن تم تجميد الحل إلى أجل غير مسمى في عام 2014، بعدما شعر بايدن بأنه مضطر للتدخل نتيجة للصراع الأخير في غزة. 

وأوضحت الكاتبة أن المثال الأكثر وضوحاً على هذا التغيير هو قرار إدارة بايدن إعادة فتح القنصلية الأميركية في القدس الشرقية، والتي أغلقتها إدارة ترامب. وأبلغ بلينكين نتنياهو بهذا القرار خلال لقائهما، وجدد السياسة الجديدة خلال لقائه بالرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس في رام الله. ورأت الكاتبة أن هذا الأمر هو أكثر من عمل رمزي. فعلى مدى العقود الثلاثة الماضية، كانت القنصلية بمثابة التمثيل الدبلوماسي للولايات المتحدة لدى السلطة الفلسطينية. تم إغلاقها في تشرين الأول / أكتوبر 2018، عندما نقل ترامب السفارة الأميركية في الكيان الإسرائيلي من تل أبيب إلى القدس. وتقرر أنذاك دمج المكتبين الدبلوماسيين في القدس. ما يعنيه ذلك عملياً هو أن القنصلية، التي كانت في يوم من الأيام مسؤولة عن جميع الاتصالات مع السلطة الفلسطينية، كانت تابعة للسفير الأميركي لدى “إسرائيل”، أي فقدت القنصلية وضعها المستقل.

وأضافت أن قرار إغلاق القنصلية كان إظهار للعلاقة الدافئة بين ترامب ونتنياهو والتي أدت إلى شطب أي مساعٍ لتحقيق حل الدولتين من جدول أعمال الإدارة الأميركية. اعتبر الفلسطينيون ذلك عملاً عدوانياً وجزءاً من سياسة أوسع أظهرت تفضيلاً للمصالح الإسرائيلية على أي تطلعات قومية لديهم. لذلك، فإن إعادة إدارة بايدن فتح القنصلية في القدس الشرقية تعتبر خطوة مهمة في الجهود المبذولة لتجديد العلاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والفلسطينيين. كانت لفتة تصالحية من إدارة بايدن تجاه الرئيس عباس، الذي تعرض لموقف عدائي من ترامب.

وقالت الكاتبة إنه كان لدى بلينكن المزيد من المفاجآت للفلسطينيين. فقد أبلغ نتنياهو وعباس أن الولايات المتحدة تخطط لإرسال 75 مليون دولار إلى غزة في عام 2021 للمساعدة في إعادة بناء القطاع بعد جولة العنف الأخيرة. وخلصت إلى أن بلينكن قدم في زيارته الرسمية الأولى لـ”إسرائيل” والشرق الأوسط سياسة أميركية جديدة تجاه المنطقة تختلف بشكل ملحوظ عن سياسة الإدارة السابقة. فالتأمل في صيف  2020، عندما بدأ توقيع اتفاقات أبراهام، يظهر مدى جدية هذا التغيير حيث أن ترامب قد ألغى عاملين رئيسيين حاول الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما دفعهما إلى الأمام: الاتفاق النووي مع إيران الذي انسحبت منه الولايات المتحدة، والمحادثات بين “إسرائيل” والفلسطينيين ، والتي أزيلت عن الطاولة. وقد عاد كلاهما كمسألة بارزة على الأجندة الأميركية، حتى لو كان الأسلوب المستخدم للنهوض بهما مختلفاً.

وأضافت: كأن بلينكين أراد مخاطبة الجمهور الإسرائيلي مباشرة. كان يعلم أنهم معجبون بترامب، وكانت هذه فرصته لتعريفهم بأجندة بايدن الجديدة. فقد أراد أن يؤكد الالتزام المطلق للولايات المتحدة بالمصالح الإسرائيلية، وفي الوقت نفسه، أراد أن يبث حياة جديدة في حل الدولتين للصراع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني.

وخلال مقابلة له مع القناة 12 الأخبارية الإسرائيلية، عندما سئل عما إذا كانت هناك محاولة لإحياء عملية السلام الإسرائيلية الفلسطينية، أجاب بلينكن قائلاً: “لا نزال نؤمن بأن حل الدولتين ليس فقط أفضل طريقة، ولكنه ربما الطريقة الوحيدة للتأكد من أن إسرائيل لديها مستقبل كدولة يهودية وديمقراطية آمنة، وأن الفلسطينيين لديهم دولة يستحقونها. لذلك أعتقد أننا نريد الوصول إلى ذلك. لكن ينصب التركيز حالياً على التعامل مع العنف الأخير، ومحاولة البناء على وقف إطلاق النار، ..، ثم معرفة ما إذا كانت الظروف لاحقاً توفر بيئة أفضل للسعي لمتابعة حل الدولتين”.

وتابعت الكاتبة: لقد اعتاد الإسرائيليون على أن يكونوا مستفيدين من هدايا ترامب السخية. فقد نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، واعترف بالضم الإسرائيلي للجولان السوري وعزز معاهدات السلام مع الدول العربية “المعتدلة”. الآن، بدأ الإسرائيليون يدركون أن شيئاً جديداً ومختلفاً يجري.. لكنهم يدركون كذلك أن بايدن يختلف عن أوباما، الذي كان يعتبره العديد من الإسرائيليين مؤيداً للفلسطينيين. ينجح بايدن في تقديم نفسه كشخص يتفهم حقاً المزاج السائد في إسرائيل، ويحب إسرائيل كثيراً”.

حتى الآن، تمكن نتنياهو ، وهو سياسي متمرس، من اجتياز هذه المعضلة سالماً. على عكس تعاملاته الحادة مع أوباما، ليس لنتنياهو خلافات عامة مع بايدن حالياً. لكن كل هذه التغييرات القادمة من واشنطن تضع “إسرائيل” في حالة من عدم الاستقرار السياسي. ومن المحتمل جداً أن تنتهي فترة حكم نتنياهو الطويلة قريباً. الآن وبعد أن أصبح هناك ائتلاف إسرائيلي جديد لتأليف الحكومة، مؤلف من أحزاب من اليسار واليمين، فإن السؤال المطروح هو ما هي السياسات التي سيتبناها هذا الائتلاف في التعامل مع الفلسطينيين؟

وقالت الكاتبة إنه من المحتمل أن يكون رئيس وزراء هذه الحكومة الجديدة هو السياسي اليميني نفتالي بينيت، الذي يدعو إلى ضم المستوطنات الإسرائيلية في الضفة الغربية، بينما يدعم رئيس الوزراء البديل، يائير لابيد، حل الدولتين. فيما تعتبر أحزاب اليسار، وعلى رأسها حركة ميرتس، المستوطنات رمزاً للاحتلال الإسرائيلي. تعرض رئيس حزب ميرتس، نيتسان هورويتز، لهجوم من اليمين في آذار / مارس الماضي، عندما أعرب عن دعمه للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية في لاهاي، التي أعلنت أنها تحقق مع “إسرائيل” في جرائم حرب. في 27 أيار / مايو، قال هورويتز في مقابلة إذاعية إنه يؤيد استئناف المفاوضات بين “إسرائيل” والفلسطينيين. تكمن أهمية ذلك في أنه إذا تم تشكيل حكومة تغيير جديدة، فلن يكون هناك إجماع داخلها حول كيفية تعاملها مع الصراع الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي. كان الوضع في قطاع غزة هادئاً نسبياً عندما اتفق الطرفان على تشكيل مثل هذه الحكومة بهدف واضح هو عزل نتنياهو من منصبه. لذلك كان لديها مجال للزعم بأنها ستتجنب القضية الفلسطينية وتركز على قضايا مدنية وعسكرية أخرى. لكن الأسبوعين الماضيين أعادا الوضع الأمني ​​إلى صدارة الأجندة الإسرائيلية وأعادا إمكانية حل الدولتين إلى مركز الصدارة.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: الميادين: الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

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Is two-state solution back on Israel’s agenda?

Israel’s leadership must understand that as far as the Biden administration is concerned the two-state solution is back on the agenda.

May 27, 2021

The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jerusalem May 25 offered insight into the enormous changes taking place in the region, ever since President Donald Trump left office. 

On the one hand, it was a very good meeting. Blinken made every effort to showcase the close friendship between the two countries, with an emphasis on President Joe Biden’s longstanding commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself against a terrorist organization firing rockets on its citizens. This was more than just rhetoric, too. Over the last two weeks, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, Biden’s actions proved that he stood with Israel. He maintained regular and cordial contacts with Netanyahu, while his calls for a cease-fire were made quietly, with calculated diplomatic tact. Biden made a point of respecting Netanyahu. The White House made no threats, nor did it bully him, as happened on more than one occasion during the Obama administration.

On the other hand, despite all the elegant diplomacy, the last two weeks show that there have been enormous changes to American attitudes toward Israel, particularly when it comes to Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians.

What Biden effectively did was return negotiations with the Palestinians — with the goal of achieving a two-state solution — back to center stage, after they were frozen indefinitely in 2014. This happened when Biden felt forced to intervene as a result of the recent conflict in Gaza. What made his new policy notable was that it consisted of more than just rhetorical flourishes. It had a number of operative components, too.

The most obvious and immediate example of this is the Biden administration’s decision to reopen the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, which was shut down by the Trump administration. Blinken informed Netanyahu of this decision during their meeting, and reiterated the new policy during his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

This is, of course, much more than some symbolic act. Over the last three decades, the consulate served as the United States’ diplomatic representation to the Palestinian Authority (PA). It was shut down in October 2018, when Trump moved the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was decided at the time to merge the two diplomatic offices in Jerusalem. What this meant in practical terms was that the consulate, which was once responsible for all contact with the PA, was subordinated to the ambassador to Israel. In other words, it lost its independent status.

The decision to shut down the consulate was a highlight of the unusually warm relationship between Trump and Netanyahu. Inevitably, it led to any efforts to achieve a two-state solution being removed from the agenda. The Palestinians considered this an act of belligerence and part of a larger policy that showed preference to Israeli interests over any national aspirations they had.

That is why the reopening of the consulate is considered to be an important step forward in the effort to renew the relationship between the United States and the Palestinians. It was a conciliatory gesture to Abbas, who had been subjected to a chilly and sometimes hostile attitude from Trump.

And Blinken had even more surprises for the Palestinians. He informed both Netanyahu and Abbas that the United States plans to send $75 million to Gaza in 2021 to help rebuild the enclave after the current round of violence.

There is no doubt that in his first official visit to Israel and the Middle East, Blinken presented a new American policy toward the region, which differed markedly from that of the previous administration. Reflecting back on the summer of 2020, when the Abraham Accords began to emerge, shows how serious this change is. Trump eliminated two key factors that President Barack Obama tried to advance: a nuclear deal with Iran, from which the United States withdrew, and talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were taken off the table. Both of these are, once again, prominent points on the American agenda, even if the style used to advance them is different.

It looked like Blinken wanted to address the Israeli people directly. He knew that they were enamored with Trump, and this was his chance to introduce them to the new Biden agenda. On the one hand, he wanted to highlight the absolute nature of the US commitment to Israeli interests, while at the same time, he wanted to breathe new life into the two-state solution to the conflict.

Before leaving Israel for Egypt and Jordan, Blinken gave an exclusive primetime interview to Israel’s main news broadcast on Channel 12. When asked if there would be an attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he responded, “We continue to believe very strongly that a two-state solution is not just the best way, but probably the only way to really assure that going forward Israel has a future as a secure Jewish and democratic state, and the Palestinians have a state to which they’re entitled. So I think we want to get to that. But right now, the focus is on dealing with the aftermath, the recent violence, trying to build on the cease-fire, address the immediate needs and concerns, and then see if over time the conditions are such that there’s a better environment for trying to pursue a two-state solution.”

Israelis had gotten used to being the beneficiaries of Trump’s generous gifts. He moved the embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and fostered peace treaties with moderate Arab states. Now, Israelis are beginning to realize that something new and different was happening.

At the same time, however, they also recognize that Biden is unlike Obama, who was considered by many Israelis to be decidedly pro-Palestinian. Biden succeeds in presenting himself as someone who really understands the mood in Israel, and who loves Israel dearly.

So far, Netanyahu, an experienced politician, managed to get through this baptism by fire unscathed. In contrast to his heated dealings with Obama, Netanyahu had no public disputes for the moment with Biden.

All these changes coming from Washington catch Israel in a state of political instability. It is very possible that Netanyahu’s long term in office will soon end. Now that a new coalition made up of parties from the left and the right is on the table yet again, the question being raised is what policies it will adopt in dealing with the Palestinians.

The prime minister of this new government would probably be Yamina party Chairman Naftali Bennett, who advocates the annexation of Israeli West Bank settlements, while the alternative prime minister, Yair Lapid, supports a two-state solution. Furthermore, the left-wing parties, headed by Meretz, consider the settlements to be a symbol of the Israeli occupation, with all the corruption this engenders. Meretz party Chairman Nitzan Horowitz came under attack from the right last March, when he expressed support for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which announced that it was investigating Israel for war crimes. On May 27, Horowitz said in a radio interview that he supports renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The significance of this is that if a new government of change is, in fact, formed, there would be no consensus on how it will handle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The situation in the Gaza Strip was relatively quiet when the parties agreed to form such a government with the express purpose of removing Netanyahu from office. It therefore had the leeway to claim that it would avoid the Palestinian question and focus on other civil and military issues. The last two weeks have restored the security situation to the top of the national agenda and returned the possibility of a two-state solution to center stage.

 



It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi world

May 31, 2021

It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi world

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers carve the post-unilateral order

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It’s the Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi show – all over again. These are the two players running an up and coming geopolitical entente, on behalf of their bosses Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

Last week, Yang Jiechi – the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee – visited Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow. That was part of the 16thround of China-Russia strategic security consultations.

What’s intriguing is that Yang-Patrushev happened between the Blinken-Lavrov meeting on the sidelines of the Arctic Council summit in Reykjavik, and the upcoming and highest-ranking Putin-Biden in Geneva on June 16 (possibly at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1985).

The Western spin before Putin-Biden is that it might herald some sort of reset back to “predictability” and “stability” in currently extra-turbulent US-Russia relations.

That’s wishful thinking. Putin, Patrushev and Lavrov harbor no illusions. Especially when in the G7 in London, in early May, the Western focus was on Russia’s “malign activities” as well as China’s “coercive economic policies.”

Russian and Chinese analysts, in informal conversations, tend to agree that Geneva will be yet another instance of good old Kissingerian divide and rule, complete with a few seducing tactics to lure Moscow away from Beijing, an attempt to bide some time and probing openings for laying out geopolitical traps. Old foxes such as Yang and Patrushev are more than aware of the game in play.

What’s particularly relevant is that Yang-Patrushev laid the groundwork for an upcoming Putin visit to Xi in Beijing not long after Putin-Biden in Geneva – to further coordinate geopolitically, once again, the “comprehensive strategic partnership”, in their mutually recognized terminology.

The visit might take place on July 1, the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – or on July 16, the 20thanniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship.

So Putin-Biden is the starter; Putin-Xi is the main course.

That Putin-Luka tea for two

Beyond the Russian president’s “outburst of emotions” comment defending his Belarusian counterpart’s action, the Putin-Lukashenko tea for two in Sochi yielded an extra piece of the puzzle concerning the RyanAir emergency landing in Minsk– starring a blogger from Belarus who is alleged to have lent his services to the ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi-ridden Azov battalion, which fought against the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Ukrainian Donbass in 2014.

Lukashenko told Putin he had “brought along some documents so you can understand what is going on.” Nothing has been leaked regarding the contents of these documents, but it’s possible they may be incandescent – related to the fact that sanctions were imposed by the EU against Belavia Airlines even though the carrier had nothing to do with the RyanAir saga – and potentially capable of being brought up in the context of Putin-Biden in Geneva.

The Big Picture is always Eurasia versus the Atlanticist West. As much as Washington will keep pushing Europe – and Japan – to decouple from both China and Russia, Cold War 2.0 on two simultaneous fronts has very few takers.

Rational players see that the 21st century combined scientific, economic and military power of a Russia-China strategic partnership would be a whole new ball game in terms of global reach compared with the former USSR/Iron Curtain era.

And when it comes to appealing to the Global South, and the new iterations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), emphasis on an international order upholding the UN Charter and the rule of international law is definitely sexier than a much-vaunted “rules-based international order” where only the hegemon sets the rules.

In parallel to Moscow’s lack of illusions about the new Washington dispensation, the same applies to Beijing – especially after the latest outburst by Kurt Campbell, the former Obama-Biden 1.0 assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific who is now back as the head of Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council under Obama-Biden 3.0.

Campbell is the actual father of the ‘pivot to Asia’ concept when he was at the State Department in the early 2010s – although as I pointed out during the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State who claimed Mothership of the pivot to Asia in an October 2011 essay.

At a gig promoted by Stanford University last week, Campbell said, “The period that was broadly described as engagement [with China] has come to an end.” After all, the “pivot to Asia” never really died, as there has been a clear Trump-Biden continuum.

Campbell obfuscated by talking about a “new set of strategic parameters” and the need to confront China by working with “allies, partners and friends”. Nonsense: this is all about the militarization of the Indo-Pacific.

That’s what Biden himself reiterated during his first address to a joint session of the US Congress, when he boasted about telling Xi that the US will “maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific” just as it does with NATO in Europe.

The Iranian factor

On a different but parallel track with Yang-Patrushev, Iran may be on the cusp of a momentous directional change. We may see it as part of a progressive strengthening of the Arc of Resistance – which links Iran, the People’s Mobilization Units in Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and now a more unified Palestine.

The proxy war on Syria was a tragic, massive fail on every aspect. It did not deliver secular Syria to a bunch of takfiris (aka “moderate rebels”). It did not prevent the expansion of Iran’s sphere of influence.  It did not derail the Southwest Asia branch of the New Silk Roads. It did not destroy Hezbollah.

“Assad must go”? Dream on; he was reelected with 95% of Syrian votes, with a 78% turnout.

As for the upcoming Iranian presidential election on June 18 – only two days after Putin-Biden – it takes place when arguably the nuclear deal revival drama being enacted in Vienna will have reached an endgame. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that the deadline for a deal expires today, May 31.

The impasse is clear. In Vienna, through its EU interlocutors, Washington has agreed to lift sanctions on Iranian oil, petrochemicals and the central bank, but refuses to remove them on individuals such as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

At the same time, in Tehran, something very intriguing happened with Ali Larijani, former Parliament speaker, an ambitious member of a quite prominent family but discarded by the Guardian Council when it chose candidates to run for President. Larijani immediately accepted the ruling. As I was told by Tehran insiders, that happened with no friction because he received a detailed explanation of something much bigger: the new game in town.

As it stands, the one positioned as the nearly inevitable winner on June 18 seems to be Ebrahim Raeisi, up to now the chief justice – and close to the Revolutionary Guards. There’s a very strong possibility that he will ask the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to leave Iran – and that means the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as we knew it, with unforeseen consequences. (From the Revolutionary Guards’ point of view, the JCPOA is already dead).

An extra factor is that Iran is currently suffering from severe drought – when summer has not even arrived. The power grid will be under tremendous pressure. The dams are empty – so it’s impossible to rely on hydroelectric power. There’s serious popular discontent regarding the fact that Team Rouhani for eight years prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear power. One of Raeisi’s first acts may be to command the immediate construction of a nuclear power plant.

We don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowin’ when it comes to the top three “existential threats” to the declining hegemon – Russia, China and Iran. What’s clear is that none of the good old methods deployed to maintain the subjugation of the vassals is working – at least when confronted by real sovereign powers.

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in a fog of sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers like Yang Jiechi and Nikolai Patrushev relentlessly carve the post-unilateral order.

Good News and Bad News: Biden Punts on Russia and Takes Some Heat on Afghanistan

See the source image
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 27, 2021

The Establishment Foreign Policy has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until a political reliable government is established there.

Possibly the best news to come out of the past week has been the announcement of a possibly Egyptian mediated cease fire between Israel and Gaza late last Thursday. The fighting killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, versus twelve Israelis including two children and also did major damage to schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure in Gaza. It is being widely presumed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the plug on the “Guardians of the Walls” offensive because of concerns that Israeli Army brutality was inflicting serious damage on the hitherto favorable perception of the Jewish state in the United States. As U.S. support of Israeli initiatives for both the money and political cover that Washington provides is essential to the Netanyahu long term plan to annex nearly all of the West Bank, it would have seemed prudent to take one’s foot off the pedal until the expected next round of fighting.

Though it has not been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that President Joe Biden might have offered a considerable sweetener to Netanyahu to nudge the Israeli leader towards the cease fire. It appears to have come in the form of an offer to help pay for and assist the reconstruction of Gaza with one apparent condition, that Hamas effectively completely disarm by getting rid of all its missiles. Presumably U.S. or United Nations inspectors would make sure the job were done right, would share what they learn about Gaza’s tunnel system with Israeli intelligence, and the IDF in turn would find it much easier going the next time it chooses to attack. As usual, the American taxpayer would be victimized to undo the damage in paying for a significant part of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction tab.

But in terms of benefiting actual American interests, there has also been the Biden Administration decision to lift the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump on the contractors who have been working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. The Trump Administration, driven by its gaggle of neocon advisers, had declared that the pipeline was a “national security threat” and initiated sanctions on all parties involved, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while also appointing a special envoy to put pressure on the German government to renege on the deal. The pipeline was and is good business for Moscow and also for Berlin since the Russian gas is cheaper than other available supplies. It will cost $11 billion to complete, is over 95% finished and will reportedly create at least 10,000 jobs.

It initially looked as if Biden would continue the Trump policy. As recently as mid-March Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it was a bad deal because “this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.” He said he would do “whatever he can to stop [its] completion” and also warned that companies working on the pipeline must cease work immediately or face more “harsh” U.S. sanctions. Most of the companies were and are Western European and nominally NATO allies of the U.S. and Nord Stream 2 and while it appeared likely that the project would be completed for good economic reasons, the German government was reportedly undecided, afraid to confront Biden.

Washington was angered, at least in part, because it wanted to sell more expensive American gas to the Germans. Biden surprisingly has decided to abandon the bad Trump policy, which, inter alia also has given fuel to European anti-U.S. sentiment while serving unnecessarily to increase tension with Russia. The move was welcomed both in Germany and in Russia. The German Foreign Minister noted that it was a sign that Washington is now willing to work with its “partners.” It is an all too rare “win” for American foreign policy.

Now for the bad news. President Joe Biden has recently received an unexpected gift in the form of a letter signed by 126 retired admirals and generals stating that he is not qualified to hold office because of his health and because the 2020 election process was flawed. It also raises a number of specific foreign and national security policy issues, including the threat from China, the border crisis and increased censorship. One might expect that the letter originated in a circle of disgruntled Trump supporters and could therefore be ignored, but many of signatories are not known to be Republican Party supporters. Given that, the agenda just might be more complicated and its timing suggests that it might be linked to the United States proceeding with its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What might be referred to as the Establishment Foreign Policy as opposed to what sometimes goes on in the State Department and White House has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable and political reliable government in Kabul is completed. And to be sure there are many dissidents in Congress who see leaving Kabul as yet another avoidable defeat for the United States. Given all of that, several previous attempts by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. troops were successfully undermined by critics and eventually abandoned. Biden, however, appears to be sticking to his pledge to depart fully by September 11th and many tons of military equipment are currently being removed from the country.

This has produced multiple attacks on the intention to leave Afghanistan effectively in the hands of the Taliban. A humanitarian pitch has included stories on how women will suffer, being deprived of schooling and opportunity if and when the Taliban return to power. That claim is unfortunately true but the continued presence of a couple of thousand American soldiers at bases in a country as large and infrastructure deficient as Afghanistan will not reverse attitudes that are as much cultural and religious as political.

And the pressure on Biden to reverse the decision is growing. On May 25th, for example, the Center on National Security at Fordham Law in New York hosted a discussion panel looking into “Departure from Afghanistan: Envisioning a Responsible Withdrawal.” The panel’s conclusions were to say the least mixed and have already been used by critics of the Biden decision.

Pressure is also coming from Congress, even from lawmakers who would normally support the White House. “This has some eerie resemblances” [to Vietnam], Representative Gerald E. Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, said pointedly at a “heated” hearing last week at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He recalled the unexpectedly rapid collapse of security in Saigon in 1975 as U.S. forces evacuated the last of the personnel from the American embassy, lifting employees from the roof of the building with helicopters. He added that “It seems the American game is to cut its losses and leave and hope for the best — not our problem. The problem is because of this engagement, just like Vietnam, we’re leaving behind hundreds of thousands of Afghans who relied on us, trusted us, for security.”

And if more resistance to the plan were needed, it came last week from George W. Bush, best noted for his disastrous invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush had no end game to extricate the U.S. from either intervention and the results of the improvised policies that have continued now for nearly twenty years are clearly evident. Bush said in a Fox News interview “I’ve always warned that no U.S. presence in Afghanistan will create a vacuum, and into that vacuum is likely to come people who treat women as second class citizens… One of the great successes of the liberation of Afghanistan and the removal of al-Qaeda’s safe haven was that women and girls began to flourish in the country… We all benefit when women and girls are empowered to realize their full potential and become contributing members of society. And Laura and I will always stand behind them… I’m also deeply concerned about the sacrifices of our soldiers, and our intelligence community, will be forgotten…”

Bush also said that Iran is very dangerous for “world peace” because it is targeting Israel, revealing yet again that he, like the Bourbon kings of France, has not learned anything since leaving office. In any event, the comments by Bush, the pushback in Congress, the holding of academic conferences on leaving Afghanistan as well as the letter from retired senior military officers just might be part of the same plan to force Biden into extending the timetable or even revoking the orders for U.S. departure from Kabul. And it just might succeed. That would be very bad news indeed.

Also by this author

President Bashar Al Assad Won Re-election with 95.1% of the Total Votes

ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad and First Lady Asmaa Assad

President Bashar Assad won the presidential election race with a whopping 95.1% of the total voters, contender Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai came second with 3.3%, and Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah came 3rd with 1.5%.

The Speaker of the Syrian Parliament announced the results which he received in turn from the Constitutional Court shortly before midnight, Damascus local time, in a televised broadcast, and he detailed:

The total number of eligible voters in the country and in the diaspora reached 18,107,109 voters.

The total number of voters who cast their votes: 14,239,140 voters, an overwhelming outcome of 78.64%.

The total number of votes incumbent President Bashar Assad received: 13,540,860, that’s 95.1%.

Total number Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai received: 470,276 votes, that’s 3.3%.

Total number Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah received: 213,968 votes, that’s 1.5%.

There were massive rallies all over the country flooding the streets of every city in support of President Assad starting from the 16th of the month when the campaign started, the Syrians packed all the cities waiting for the results while in joy as they consider this the main milestone in their victory over the US-waged war of terror and war of attrition over a whole decade.

President Assad’s reelection was anticipated, the Syrian people are people of pride and they honor their heroes who fight for them and despise those who have betrayed them. A high outcome of the voters for the elections was also expected but not at the levels we’ve followed in all the cities across the country, save the Al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib which is run by the Turkey-sponsored Nusra Front (aka Al Qaeda Levant) and parts of northeastern Syria under the control of the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists.

The enemies of Syria in the USA, EU, Gulfies, Israel, Al Qaeda and the Kurdish SDF terrorists have declared their intentions not to recognize the Syrian Presidential election citing different reasons and that was before the elections took place, their recognition is not required by the Syrian constitution.

One of the main masterminds behind the terrorist war against Syria wrote in an article after watching the Syrians yesterday interacting with the election all over the country, President Assad and the first lady voting in Duma, which followed the Syrians abroad flocking in large numbers to the Syrian diplomatic and consular missions abroad showing their support to President Assad, the former US ambassador to Syria and head of terrorist groups Robert S. Ford wrote: ‘The US policy in Syria failed.’ Let’s hope the White House junta of Joe Biden will realize the lesson and fix its policies, the sooner the better for them.

President Bashar Assad is now the Syrian president for the coming 7 years, the US officials and their Western European stooges, the Gulfies, and other enemies of humanity can howl to the moon now, they can also start with their u-turn from their evil and criminal policies that led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed, maimed, displaced, and impoverished. The NATO and stooges officials can also start rebuilding proper bridges back to Syria and come humble filled with the humiliation of the defeated in one of the worst global wars of terror waged by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries against a single small country.

Congratulations to the victors of the war, the Syrian people now under the leadership of Bashar Assad will write a better chapter of history, a brighter one, and a chapter full of pride and honor.

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Washington’s Crisis Over Jerusalem

By VT Editors -May 25, 2021

Bassam Abu Sharif

President Biden was not much interested in what is going on in Jerusalem, and the crimes committed against its people and the worshipers among them in the first two qiblah, and the third of the Two Holy Mosques, the prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace. None of his assistants reported the news as it was, and none of his advisors mentioned it. To the horrors of the Israeli occupation, and the consequences of these atrocities.

And the situation remained like this until the vice-chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Congress raised his voice to criticize what Israel is doing and committing in Jerusalem. Then Biden raised his ears to hear well what was being said and discovered that a terrible thing was going on in Jerusalem, and that Israel was committing a big mistake that could lead to scourge, so the communications began. American official sources said that from that moment, until the ceasefire, American officials contacted Israeli officials as they had never done before. President Biden set his goal of a ceasefire and left his employees arranging that, and he extended the deadline, and gave Israel more. From time to time he was confident that Israel would not be affected and would eliminate “terrorism,” as he put it.

An American official says that the number of telephone calls reached 80, which is an unusual number, and this number of calls were not included in the habit of making this number of calls on one topic, but the reason is that a crisis was growing due to Netanyahu’s position rejecting the cease-fire …Biden realized after he gathered his advisers and senior officers that Israel was heading towards a ground war, and that this would greatly weaken Israel, and he would throw on Washington’s shoulders the establishment of an air bridge to support Israel in a ground war against a people in Gaza, even if the target was terrorist organizations, and Biden ordered an end to the war. To save Israel and save America from being plunged into a war on the land of Palestine at a time when Biden withdraws his forces from Afghanistan despite the violent clashes between the Taliban and the “American” Afghan government. Biden is certain that things have changed even inside Congress and the United States. Mass demonstrations have taken place in support of the Palestinians, and condemnation In Israel, even if the New York demonstration represented the reality when the supporters of Palestine clashed with their demonstration of supporters of Israel with their demonstration.

Netanyahu thanked Biden and Biden announced that he had spoken with Netanyahu (and what Biden was reported came in two installments) in front of the President of South Korea. Biden announced that he supports Israel, and will not give up America’s commitment to its security because, but he also said that he will not change the military support program for Israel, and both of these matters Addressed to a number of members of Congress from his “party” Democrats, who demanded Biden to stop an arms deal to Israel due to its destruction of towers and residential homes, and although he did not speak about what he meant by the two-state solution, he confirmed his support for this solution, and that it is the only one, but he immediately added that this must be done. It means that Mahmoud Abbas remains president of the Authority, and he separated in his words between Gaza and the West Bank !!

As for Jerusalem, he mentioned it in his talk about the necessity of coexistence with equality and democracy, and peace between the Arabs of Israel and the Jews, including the Arabs of Jerusalem, meaning that despite his words and his contacts with President Mahmoud Abbas he insisted on considering Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ruled by Israel, and this is what he does not accept. Abu Mazen .

 From the above, it appears that there are parties trying to hide the crimes of Israel, and one of the officials who conveyed to Biden the news of the destruction of the towers of evacuation and al-Jawhara said that the video did not reach them from the CIA or the US State Department, but rather from activists on social media platforms, and that the scene was horrific. The Chairman of the Associated Press is conducting an international investigation, and President Biden asked to raise this matter, as it is a direct attack on an American institution whose offices were known to Israel in that tower. There are parties working for Israel in the White House, and there is a president who supports Zionism, and we should only expect some reviews. Like paying the United Nations to send urgent aid, as for allocating funds to rebuild Gaza, this is a matter that Biden will have upon his terms upon implementation, and among these conditions is not to hand over any money to Hamas, but rather to Abu Mazen, and Washington will ask all countries that have announced collection campaigns to return the building not to hand over the money. Hamas, but these expected actions will not be the title of the battle.As we received information, President Mahmoud Abbas demanded firmly to stop the attacks in Jerusalem, to cancel the siege of Sheikh Jarrah, and to immediately start comprehensive negotiations to end the occupation. Here is the entrance to the Palestinian side and to keep the situation going.

So that we do not fall into any dilemma or disagreement, we see that the decisions of Fatah youth to continue to confront the attacks of the occupation army in Jerusalem, and the settlers in the West Bank, is the right way, meaning that the cease-fire in Gaza is not valid in the West Bank. Within two days the West Bank has given casualties of the wounded. It parallels the wounded for five days in Gaza, and gave martyrs parallels, and the issue is not a comparison, but an indication of the momentum of the West Bank, the distribution of sites and they are the occupation soldiers, and the absence of weapons in the hands of the citizens, and a day may come when the security men will join the people, but even this will not fulfill the required defense In self-defense, our defense of ourselves is by guarding our land and our families, expelling settlers, besieging them, clashing with them, and controlling their sites.

Netanyahu will make the mistake of escalation, because that will place the burden of responsibility on a long border line between Jordan and the occupying enemy.

Palestinian writer and politician

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff.

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Over 500 Democratic staffers (zero GOP) urge Joe Biden to ‘hold Israel accountable’

Open letter comes amid a deepening split in Democratic ranks between progressives and more centrist figures

By VT Editors -May 24, 20211496

Joe Biden has come under increasing pressure to take a firmer stance against Israel after the recent conflict in which more than 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

VT: As the exclusive video below goes viral around the world, Israel’s friends in Washington with the exception of the GOP, are dissolving away as is the support Israel has always received from an American Jewish community now in shock watching this horrific child murder…done as though it were something Israeli police do all the time…

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/G6SIyALy911r/

Guardian: More than 500 Democratic party staffers and alumni ofJoe Biden’s 2020 campaign have signed an open letter calling for the US president to do more to protect Palestinians and hold Israel accountable for its actions in and over Gaza, where a ceasefire currently holds.

The move comes amid a deepening split in Democratic ranks, between some vocal members of its progressive wing – such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez – and more centrist figures including Biden who have taken a consistently pro-Israel stance.

Biden has come under increasing pressure to take a firmer stance against Israel after the recent conflict in which more than 230 Palestinians were killed and dozens of buildings leveled in Gaza, while 12 Israelis died from rockets fired by Hamas.

The letter will add to that push and also reflects a more subtle turning point in broader US public opinion, which has become more critical of Israel.

The signatories write that they “commend [Biden’s] efforts to broker a ceasefire. Yet, we also cannot unsee the horrific violence that unfolded in recent weeks in Israel/Palestine, and we implore you to continue using the power of your office to hold Israel accountable for its actions and lay the groundwork for justice and lasting peace.”

The letter adds: “The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out … we remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes.”

While condemning violence on both sides, the letter singles out Israel for more blame due to its greater military power and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian communities and blockade against Gaza.  read more…

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/24/joe-biden-israel-palestine-letter-democratic-staffers

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

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من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

ابراهيم الأمين

الإثنين 10 أيار 2021

لن يكون بمقدور اللبنانيين تغيير عاداتهم بصورة جدية. لا في الكلام ولا في الأكل ولا في التصرف ولا حتى بالتفكير. إلى الآن، لا يزال كثيرون يكرّرون عبارات من نوع «لن يتركونا نغرق» أو «الجميع بحاجة إلى لبنان» أو «لبنان رسالة يحتاجها العالم» أو «كلفة انهيار لبنان على العالم أكبر من كلفة إنقاذه»، إلى آخره من النظريات التي تعكس فهماً بالمقلوب لما يجري في العالم من حولنا. ومن يتمسّك بهذا المنطق، يهدف عملياً إلى أمرين:

الأول، عدم رغبته بتعديل طريقة تفكيره أو التصرف وفق منطق حياة جديد.

الثاني، استمرار لعبة التعمية على الحقائق القوية التي قامت بفعل المعارك الكونية في منطقتنا طوال العقد الماضي.

يأتي وزير خارجية فرنسا إلى بيروت، ونشهد استنفاراً سياسياً وإعلامياً وخلافه، لكن أحداً من كلّ الذين تابعوا الزيارة أثناء التحضير لها وبعد حصولها، أو الذين شاركوا في الاجتماعات معه، لا يقدر على أن يعطينا عبارة وحيدة مفيدة. وبدل محاولة فهم خلفية الزيارة وواقع الرجل نفسه، وحجم نفوذ وقوة تأثير بلاده، ننشغل في التأويل والتحليل، الذي يُراد له أن ينتهي على شكل أن في لبنان كتلة تغيير قوية تمثل «الغالبية الصامتة» وهي جاهزة لتسلّم البلاد، بانتخابات أو من دونها…

هو نوع من الهزل. ولكن، من دون أن يبدو الكلام عن مشكلتنا استهتاراً بموقع اللبنانيين الحالي، من الضروري تكرار ما يجب أن يُقال حول حاجة البلاد إلى خارج يساعد على معالجة أزماتها السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية. وهذا بحدّ ذاته أمر يعيدنا إلى المربع الأول، حيث الجد مكان المزاح، وحيث حقيقة أن ما يجري في الإقليم، له أثره الأول على الصنف الحالي من أزماتنا. وبالتالي، ينبغي السؤال عن طبيعة القوى الإقليمية والدولية الأكثر تأثيراً في لبنان.

خلال العقد الأخير، ثمة دول لم تعدل بوصة في آلات قياسها للأزمة اللبنانية. لم تغير لا في استراتيجيتها ولا في أهدافها ولا في تحالفاتها ولا في برامج عملها، وأبرز هذه الدول، هي سوريا وإيران وإسرائيل وتركيا. لكن الدول الأخرى باشرت بإدخال تعديلات على استراتيجياتها. هي دول تقودها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وتساعدها بريطانيا، وأبرز عناصرها السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر. علماً أننا ما زلنا في مرحلة قياس الدور الجديد لدول انضمّت إلى ساحتنا ودورها الذي يزداد فعالية مع الوقت، مثل روسيا أولاً والصين ثانياً.

المحور الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة دخل مرحلة إعادة النظر في أمور كثيرة، نتيجة المقاصة المنطقية التي أجرتها دوله في ضوء ما حصل في العقد الأخير. هذا لا يعني أن العالم سيتغير، لكن الأكيد أن تغييرات كبيرة ستطرأ على قواعد اللعبة، وأن بلداناً مثل لبنان، ستتأثر كثيراً بهذه التغييرات. وهنا يصبح السؤال مشروعاً: كيف سيتعامل اللبنانيون مع هذه التغييرات، هل سيصبحون أكثر واقعية ويتخلّون عن البهورات والبهلوانيات والادعاءات والتبجح، وهل بينهم من يبادر إلى تحمل مسؤولية أفعاله في السنوات الماضية، فيبادر إلى الانسحاب أو إعادة التموضع، أو أننا – وهذا هو الأرجح – سنكون أمام فصل جديد من المكابرة والإنكار، الذي يترك أثره على المناخ العام للبلاد، ويقلّل فرص استفادة لبنان من المتغيرات الحاصلة من حولنا.

يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة


يقول دبلوماسي مخضرم يشارك في وساطات دولية، إن مشكلة قسم غير قليل من اللبنانيين، أنه لم يفهم طبيعة التغيير الذي حصل في العقد الأخير حول دور الدول المتوسطة والدول الكبرى. ويشرح كيف أن خطط الإدارات الأميركية الأخيرة، وخصوصاً مع دونالد ترامب، دفعت نحو تعزيز دور الدول ذات الحضور الإقليمي الكبير، وعدم رهن الأمور بحسابات الدول الكبرى. ويشرح من جهة ثانية، أن النفوذ يمكن ممارسته من قِبل دول لا تملك بالضرورة وضعية اقتصادية كبيرة مثل الدول الكبرى، ويعطي على ذلك مثال الدور السوري التاريخي في لبنان، والذي لطالما كان أكثر فعالية وأكثر قوة حتى من الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا. وإن هذا الأمر يتكرّر في السنوات الأخيرة مع دول مثل تركيا وإيران، وإن السعودية نفسها، عدّلت في سياستها وتركت موقع «الحياد النسبي» لتقترب من «موقع المبادر» كونها شعرت بالقدرة على لعب دور أكبر، وهو دور جرّبت دول أقل قوة ممارسته في ساحات المنطقة مثل الإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر، بينما ابتعدت عن المشهد دول ذات حجم كبير مثل مصر.

وإذا ما جرت مقاربة الوضع اللبناني الحالي، يمكن باختصار التثبت من عنصرَين، واحد يتعلّق بطبيعة المشكلة الاقتصادية القائمة، حيث يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة. وعنصر آخر يتصل بالتعقيدات السياسية والتوترات الأمنية والعسكرية، خصوصاً بعد الأزمة السورية وما يجري في العراق، وهذا يعني، أن القوى القادرة على ممارسة نفوذ، هي القوة المؤهلة لذلك بفعل حضورها ودورها. وكل ذلك، يقول لنا بأن اللبنانيين مجبرون على النظر من حولهم، والتدقيق في نوعية التغييرات القائمة، وأن يقوموا بالحسابات وفق معادلات رياضية سليمة، حتى ولو كانت النتائج غير مناسبة لبعضهم.

لا داعي لإهمال العناصر الداخلية للأزمة، لكن من الضروري محاولة معرفة ما يجري حولنا:

أين أصبحت المفاوضات الإيرانية – الأميركية؟ وما هي نتائج جولات الاتصالات الإيرانية – السعودية؟ وماذا جرى بين سوريا وكل من السعودية وقطر والإمارات ومصر؟ وماذا تخطّط تركيا بشأن سوريا أيضاً؟ وماذا عن التطورات داخل التيارات الإسلامية صاحبة الدور الأكبر خلال العقد الأخير في لبنان وسوريا والمنطقة؟

 آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس    [2]: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

على غرار عمل العصابات التي يدعو بعضها بعضاً الى «التهدئة» في حالة وصول ضباط جدد الى مواقع المسؤولية في القوى الأمنية، سارع الفريق الخاص بوليّ العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان الى استراتيجية «خفض الرأس» بمجرد إقرار الرئيس الاميركي السابق دونالد ترامب بنتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الاميركية. تصرّف «الدب الداشر» وفريقه على أن الجميع ملزم بمراقبة خطوات إدارة جو بايدن الجديدة تجاه المنطقة. وكل الكلام الذي سمعوه عن رغبة في تغيير طريقة التعامل مع السعودية، لم يجعله في موقع الخائف من تطورات كبيرة ونوعية. وبوشر الإعداد لفريق جديد يتولى إطلاق حملة علاقات عامة مع مفاصل الإدارة الجديدة، والتقصّي من الموظفين الدائمين في الإدارة عن المؤشرات المقلقة. وظل الجميع في حالة انتظار، الى أن تم إبلاغهم، مطلع شباط الماضي، نيّة ساكن البيت الأبيض الجديد، البعث برسالة عامة تصيب السعودية، لكنها تستهدف تقديم شعارات جديدة. وكما يبرع الديموقراطيون، قرروا إعلاء شأن صورة أميركا الحامية للقيم وحقوق الانسان. وهي حيلة لا تزال تنطلي على كثيرين في العالم. لكن محمد بن سلمان فهم أن الرسالة تتعلق بتصفية جمال خاشقجي. وكل ما قام به هو البعث برسالة «تنبيه» الى من يهمه الأمر في واشنطن، من أن الذهاب بعيداً في خطوات ضد حكمه، ينذر بانقلاب كبير في العلاقات السعودية – الاميركية، وأنه مستعد لهذه المغامرة.

كلّف وليّ العهد السعودي شقيقه خالد بمتابعة الملف، حتى تاريخ صدور التقرير الخاص بالاستخبارات الأميركية بشأن قتل خاشقجي، والذي فهمه آل سلمان على أنه «إدانة لولي العهد من دون إصدار حكم يوجب خطوات تنفيذية». لكن الملك دعا أولاده والمقربين من العائلة الى اجتماعات متفرقة، كان أبرزها بين محمد وخالد، حيث تم التفاهم على إعداد استراتيجية قصيرة المدى تستهدف «استرضاء الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة». هذه الوجهة كانت لها حساباتها الإضافية، وهو ما عاد خالد نفسه وأبلغه الى من يهمه الأمر داخل المملكة وخارجها، موجزاً الخطة السياسية الجديدة بعناصر محددة:

أولاً: إن العائلة الحاكمة ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي. واتخذت خطوات داخلية هدفت الى إفهام المعارضين أو الطامحين إلى أدوار جديدة أن الأمر لن يحصل ولو كانت كلفته كبيرة.

ثانياً: إن الرياض مستعدة لإعادة النظر في برامج سياساتها العامة في المنطقة، من دون تنازل يجعلها ضعيفة وينعكس على الحكم داخلياً. وفي حال كانت واشنطن قد اتخذت قراراها النهائي بالعودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وتهدئة الجبهات في الشرق الأوسط، فإن السعودية نفسها لا ترى مانعاً في القيام بالخطوات نفسها. وهي مستعدة للبدء فوراً بمحادثات مع إيران لتهدئة الأمور معها.

ثالثاً: إعداد استراتيجية لإنهاء الحرب في اليمن وفق تصور يمنح المملكة أثماناً كبيرة على صعيد تركيبة الوضع السياسي اللاحق، وإظهار الرغبة في التوصل الى اتفاق ولو كان على حساب بعض حلفائهم اليمنيين، وخصوصاً أتباع الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

رابعاً: عدم تنفيذ الخطوات التي كانت منتظرة في شأن التطبيع مع إسرائيل، والتفاهم مع تل أبيب على الأمر، من زاوية أن إقدام الرياض على خطوة من هذا النوع سيزيد من مستوى التوتر مع إيران ومع قوى أخرى، وسيعقّّد مهمة وقف حرب اليمن، عدا عن كون المناخ العام في العالم العربي لم يكن شديد الترحيب بالتطبيع، رغم كل الجهود التي مارستها الحكومات ووسائل إعلامها.

شرعت قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!


خامساً: الذهاب الى استراتيجية تعاون جديدة في العالم العربي تتطلب رفع مستوى التنسيق مع العراق، واستئناف التواصل مع سوريا، ودرس خيار التحالف الذي يجمع السعودية بمصر ودول عربية أخرى، وتطبيع العلاقات مع قطر وسلطنة عمان بما يخفف من التوتر داخل الجزيرة العربية.

استراتيجية فريق ابن سلمان راقت وسطاء كثراً في المنطقة، ولا سيما رئيس الحكومة العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي، الذي يحظى برعاية لدوره الإقليمي من قبل بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وهو يملك أصلاً الصلات المناسبة مع إيران وقوى بارزة في محور المقاومة. ودور الكاظمي سمح للسعودية بحركة تعفيها من منح أي أوراق لخصومها الخليجيين، ولا سيما الدوحة ومسقط، ثم أنها لم تقرر تبدلاً جوهرياً في اتجاه بناء علاقة من نوع مختلف مع تركيا، وإنْ كانت تحدثت عن أنها ساعدت مصر والإمارات العربية المتحدة في معركتهما ضد تيار «الإخوان المسلمين». وهو ما عاد خالد بن سلمان وعرضه في اجتماع عمل تفصيلي عقد في الرياض مع أحد مساعدي مصطفى الكاظمي، تحضيراً للخطوات اللاحقة.

قال السعوديون إنهم مستعدون للاجتماع فوراً بالإيرانيين، وهم يفضّلون بغداد مكاناً للاجتماع، وليس لديهم جدول أعمال محدد، لأن الاجتماع الأول هدفه كسر الجليد، وإعادة التواصل المباشر، والإعداد لجولات جديدة تستهدف عرض كل نقاط الخلاف والتوتر بين الجانبين. وطلب ابن سلمان من الكاظمي أن يكون الاجتماع الأول على مستوى القيادات الأمنية، وإن حضره موظفون كبار في وزارة الخارجية، وهو ما وافقت عليه طهران. وعندما توجّه الوفدان الى بغداد، كان الكاظمي في استقبالهما، مرحِّباً ومُبدياً الاستعداد لكل ما يسهّل التحاور والتوصل الى تفاهم، قبل أن ينسحب من القاعة تاركاً مندوبه الرفيع المستوى يشارك في الاجتماع الذي شابه بعض التوتر إزاء مداخلات متبادلة، حمّل فيه كل طرف الجانب الآخر مسؤولية التدهور في العلاقات الثنائية وفي أوضاع المنطقة، قبل أن يعود الجميع الى الاستماع الى جدول أعمال إيراني تراوح بين استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية بالتدرّج وصولاً الى كيفية إدارة موسم الحج. لكن الجميع كان يعرف أن الأمر لا يتعلق بهذه البنود الآن، بل بملفّين رئيسّين: الأول، هو مستقبل علاقات دول الخليج مع إسرائيل، والثاني هو ملف حرب اليمن.

للمرة الأولى، كان السعوديون يتحدثون بلغة لا تنسجم مع كل سياساتهم المعلنة أو المطبّقة، إذ أكدوا أن «خادم الحرمين الشريفين لن يقيم علاقات مع إسرائيل من دون حلّ يؤمّن دولة للفلسطينيين تكون عاصمتها القدس». وأضافوا «أن السعودية لا تستهدف أمن الآخرين في أيّ خطوة تقوم بها»، ليطلبوا مباشرة تدخلاً إيرانياً مباشراً لأجل «ردع الحوثيين وإقناعهم بقبول مبادرة الرياض لوقف الحرب في اليمن».

لم يخرج الجميع من الاجتماع برضى كامل، لكنّ الكاظمي كان يتوقع الأسوأ لو أن التوتر تحكم في المفاوضين، وهو يعرف أن اللقاء سيكون تمهيداً لجولات جديدة بمستويات رفيعة أكثر، وخصوصا أنه كان قد أطلق مسارات عديدة للتفاوض مع إيران، بينها مع مصر والأردن وكذلك مع الإمارات العربية المتحدة، التي حاولت إظهار التمايز في ملفات عديدة، من بينها ملف سوريا، لجهة أنها قادرة على لعب دور كبير بمساعدة مصر في إقناع السعودية بالعودة الى العلاقات مع دمشق، والدفع نحو معالجة موقع سوريا في الجامعة العربية، والبدء بمشروع تفاوض مع الأميركيين والأوروبيين لأجل تأمين قرار يرفع الغطاء عن عملية إعادة إعمار سوريا.

مضمون الاجتماعات نقله كل طرف الى حلفائه. صحيح أن السعودية ليست مضطرة الى إبلاغ مصر أو الإمارات بكامل التفاصيل، لكنها حرصت على إبلاغ الأميركيين، علماً بأن مسؤولاً كبيراً في الرياض قال إن واشنطن ستكون قد اطّلعت من الكاظمي على كل ما يحصل. لكنّ إيران بادرت الى إبلاغ حلفائها من دول وقوى بارزة، في سوريا ولبنان والعراق واليمن، بمضمون المحادثات. كذلك جرى إطلاع قوى فلسطينية على الأمر. وكان واضحاً للجميع أن السعودية ترحّب بقوة بتخفيض مستوى التوتر، لكنها كانت تعرف مسبّقاً أن الخطوة السعودية لا تعكس مبادرة حقيقية بقدر ما تعكس «رغبة» في مواكبة التغييرات الجارية بسبب استئناف المفاوضات حول الاتفاق النووي مع الولايات المتحدة والغرب. ومع ذلك، فإن الإيرانيين الذين أبدوا استعداداً للمساعدة في معالجة أزمة اليمن، كانوا أكثر صراحة في إشارتهم الى أن الأمر يتطلب مفاوضات مباشرة مع أنصار الله، وكل تقدير بأن طهران تقدر أن تفرض على صنعاء خيارات هو مجرد وهم.

ومع ذلك، فإن الجانب السعودي عاد وكرر في اتصالات إضافية، كما فعلت دول أوروبية، ضرورة أن تبادر طهران الى الضغط على أنصار الله. وفي زيارة وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف لمسقط ضمن جولته الخليجية، عقد اجتماع عمل مطوّل مع ممثل أنصار الله في المفاوضات الخارجية، محمد عبد السلام، وبدا أن ظريف معني بشرح وجهات النظر التي تتطلب «لجوء أنصار الله الى تدوير الزوايا» في المفاوضات التي بدأت ثم تعطّلت مع الموفد الأميركي. ومع أن ظريف لم يكن يطلب مباشرة أو يحاول فرض وجهة نظر معينة، إلا أن عبد السلام كان شديد الوضوح في التعبير عن موقف «أنصار الله» لناحية أن وقف الحرب يعني وقفاً شاملاً لكل الحرب وليس لبعض العمليات العسكرية، وأن العودة إلى المفاوضات رهن بتجاوب الطرف الأميركي – السعودي مع المطالب الإنسانية الخاصة برفع الحصار عن المطار والموانئ والمعابر الحدودية لليمن مع جواره. حتى إن عبد السلام كان شديد الصراحة في قوله إن قوات الجيش واللجان الشعبية قادرة على حسم معركة مأرب سريعاً والدخول الى المدينة، لكن الأمر لا يتعلق بحسابات عسكرية، بل بحسابات الواقع الأهلي، وإن تجميد الهجوم الكبير يرتبط بالجانب الإنساني، وهو أكثر ما يمكن أن تقدمه صنعاء بانتظار جواب واشنطن والرياض على مقترح العلاجات الإنسانية.

«العائلة الحاكمة السعودية ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي»


هناك أمور كثيرة تتعلق بالمفاوضات السعودية – الإيرانية وما يجري من اتصالات بشأن اليمن، لكن الخطوة السعودية التالية كانت في توسيع دائرة «خفض التوتر»، وهنا دارت من جديد محركات الوسطاء العرب من أكثر من جهة، ترتيباً لأول تواصل نوعي مع القيادة السورية. وفي دمشق، لم يكن الرئيس بشار الأسد في غفلة عمّا يجري في العالم، وعمّا يجري من حول سوريا على وجه التحديد. وهو أوصى العاملين في فريقه بأن سوريا لم تبدأ الحرب ضد أحد، وهي ليست مستعدة لمراعاة أحد في أمور استراتيجية، لكنها مستعدة للانفتاح الذي يفيد سوريا أولاً، ويفيد العرب ثانياً. ولذلك كان الفريق السوري المكلف باستقبال وفد سعودي في دمشق مجهّزاً بأجوبة مُعدّة حول الأسئلة المتوقعة من الجانب السعودي، الذي بادر الى محاولة تبرئة نفسه من أصل الحرب على سوريا، وأن الأمر يتعلق بالأوضاع التي سادت المنطقة والعالم، وأن الرياض مستعدة لاستئناف العلاقات مع دمشق، ولكن لديها أسئلة مباشرة تحتاج الى إجابات عنها، وهي تتركز على مستقبل الوضع السياسي الداخلي في سوريا، وإمكان التوصّل الى اتفاق يتيح تأليف حكومة جديدة بمشاركة قوى بارزة في المعارضة، والإشارة الى وجود آليات عمل لدى السعودية ودول أخرى تتيح المشاركة في إعادة إعمار سوريا من دون انتظار أيّ قرار دولي بما خصّ العقوبات. لكنّ وجه الموفد السعودي صار مختلفاً عندما سأل نظيره السوري: هل تفكرون في ترك التحالف مع إيران وحزب الله وإخراج قواتهما من سوريا والذهاب نحو تحالف عربي يواجه تركيا؟

لم يكن السعوديون يتوقعون جواباً مختلفا عمّا سمعوه سابقاً، إذ كرر المسؤول السوري الترحيب بالحوار، لكنه شدّد على أن دمشق لا تحتاج الى حوارات سرية وعلاقات من تحت الطاولة، بل الى خطوات مباشرة وواضحة في شأن استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية وغيره ذلك. أما بشأن العلاقة مع إيران وحزب الله، فكان الموقف السوري شديد البساطة والوضوح: «عندما جئتم جميعاً ودعمتم حرب تدمير سوريا وإسقاط الدولة والنظام، كانت إيران وحزب الله إلى جانبنا، وليس لهذين الطرفين أيّ تدخّل في ما نقرّره بشأن الوضع الداخلي أو استراتيجية علاقاتنا مع الخارج، لكنّهم ليسوا مجرّد أصدقاء أو حلفاء في معركة، بل هم أكثر من ذلك بكثير».
بالمناسبة، والى أن يقرّر أحد الطرفين الإعلان، فإن ما يحاول البعض التكتّم عليه هو شروع قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!

غداً: فيينا، وحيرة أميركا إزاء إيران

The American Cyber Stasi Will Suppress All Digital Dissent In Biden’s Dystopia

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The American Cyber Stasi Will Suppress All Digital Dissent In Biden

CNN’s recent report that the US’ security services are considering contracting the services of so-called “researchers” as a legal workaround for spying on average Americans confirms that Biden’s dystopian hellhole is rapidly moving in the direction of establishing a “Cyber Stasi” for suppressing all digital dissent against the Democrats as they continuing consolidating their de facto one-party rule of the country.

The dystopian hellhole that I predicted would become a fait accompli following Biden’s confirmation as President by the Electoral College is quickly becoming a reality after CNN’s recent report that the US’ security services are considering contracting the services of so-called “researchers” as a legal workaround for spying on average Americans. According to the outlet, these ostensibly independent contractors would be charged with infiltrating the social media circles of white supremacists and other supposedly terrorist-inclined domestic forces within the country. The report claims that the intent is to “help provide a broad picture of who was perpetuating the ‘narratives’ of concern”, after which “the FBI could theoretically use that pool of information to focus on specific individuals if there is enough evidence of a potential crime to legally do so”.

In other words, the US’ security services essentially want to establish a “Cyber Stasi” of “fellow” citizens who spy on one another and produce purported “evidence” of “potential crimes” for “justifying” the FBI’s “legal” investigations. CNN quoted an unnamed senior intelligence official who asked, “What do you do about ideology that’s leading to violence? Do you have to wait until it leads to violence?”, thereby hinting that this initiative might likely be exploited to stop so-called “pre-crime”, or crimes before they occur. Put another way, even those average Americans who practice their constitutionally enshrined right to the freedom of speech to peacefully dissent against the Democrats’ consolidation of their de facto one-party rule of the country might find themselves targeted by the security services depending on how the contracted “researchers” spin their words.

It should be remembered that even Americans’ constitutionally enshrined right to the freedom of assembly is nowadays under scrutiny depending on the stated reason behind their planned peaceful protests if they dare to propose gathering in opposition to last year’s alleged voter fraud for example. The events of 6 January were exploited as a game-changer by the security services in order to restrict Americans’ freedoms. It’s neither here nor there whether one sincerely believes that the election was stolen since the purpose in pointing these double standards out is to prove that average Americans are being politically discriminated against with the implied threat of legal intimidation when it comes to exercising their constitutional rights about “politically incorrect” issues of concern to them.

Although the reported purpose of the “Cyber Stasi” is to preemptively thwart emerging domestic terrorist plots, it can’t be discounted that the combination of political Russophobia and “mission creep” will combine to create additional objectives such as stopping the spread of so-called “Russian disinformation” throughout society. That phrase is actually just a euphemism for “politically incorrect” facts and interpretations thereof that contradict the Democrats’ official narrative of events, being intentionally vague enough to function as an umbrella under which to cover practically every alternative understanding possible. With this in mind, those average Americans who dare to share something “politically incorrect” – even in private chats amidst the presence of “deep state” infiltrators (“researchers” employed as “Cyber Stasi”) – might be targeted by the FBI.

The end effect is that the US’ security services might succeed in suppressing most expressions of digital dissent in the coming future. They’re inspired to do so by the ruling administration which wants to impose a syncretic system of economic leftism and social fascism onto the country. It’s not “communist” in the sense that the economic vision is more akin to state capitalism than traditional Marxism, but the social impact will certainly mirror that of East Germany during its darkest days of Stasi rule, though that’s precisely why many critics casually describe it as “communist” despite that not being economically correct (at least not yet). The US’ “researcher”-contracted “Cyber Stasi” will have a chilling effect how Americans interact with one another from here on out, all in order for Biden’s dystopian hellhole to avoid the fate of its predecessor, East Germany.

NEO – Is Vietnam gravitating toward a Russian orbit now?

Is Vietnam gravitating toward a Russian orbit now?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -May 1, 2021

by Phil Butler, …with New Eastern Outloook, Moscow, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Phil Butler gives us an update on the trending Russia-Vietnam relationship in practical terms, a topic that gets almost no publicity inside the US, and why VT enjoys its cross publishing relationship with NEO.

There is too much going on to keep one’s eye on, particularly in far away places with different languages and the myriad of evolving geopolitical situations. The strength of VT has always been the depth and breadth of its people.

The new twist coming on like gang busters is consolidated pandemic planning, covering everything from monitoring for an early warning on the next outbreak, and where the response can still allow for a functioning economy.

The old school malevolent actors have had their wings clipped in that the old divide and conquer tools are outmoded, as they can be spotted a mile away from over use.

Notice how little publicity the result of the Covid economic damage has been in the US, buried under trillions of new debt, which neither China nor Russia have. They are still in the black.

Look at the respective leaderships the above countries had at the time, with the US having “Mr. Fakin It” at the helm, who could never get himself out of TV host mode.

Biden is still an unknown foreign policy player, in some respects. The Republicans will be painting him for as weak as they can, which could push him to be more aggressive than needed.

To date he is betting all his marbles on the domestic economy, to create a contrast with the Trump clown show we have endured, to leadership with decades of experience in how government works… Jim W. Dean ]

Moscow

First published … May 01, 2021

Given Russia’s significant shift eastward, news of new cooperation with Vietnam and other southeast Asian nations bears watching. President Putin’s recent call with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong over Sputnik V shipments highlights moves by Moscow to engage the region.

Vietnam began vaccinating citizens using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The second registered vaccine is Sputnik V. The initial batch was just handed over by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev to Vietnam for free.

But vaccines are not the only new cooperation signaling closer Moscow-Hanoi relations. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin only recently announced so-called multifaceted initiatives aimed at creating a closer strategic partnership.

Moscow is now forging forward with bilateral cooperation between the two countries on trade, economically and investment-wise. A good example is a recent move for cooperation between Vietnam and Russia in artificial intelligence (AI).

A recent online conference organized by Vietnam Software & IT services (VINASA), Russoft, and other vested interests focused on leading-edge AI technologies to discuss the future.

Another critical aspect of this Russia-Hanoi synergy is the apparent uptick in policy leveraging from Washington in the region. The west is trying desperately to counter China, and particularly in the South China Sea, and Hanoi plays a vital role in this.

This becomes apparent reading the narrative from sources like Rand Corporation, where political scientist Bonny Lin used Vietnam’s play to dampen China’s response on the issue using a Russian oil rig as a chip.

But these kinds of moves to appease the west seem to be fewer in numbers recently, which could indicate a more significant shift. Experts say Vietnam’s “mediation diplomacy,” if this is indeed their hand, may fall apart over the Myanmar test.

Vietnam has done a stellar job of taking advantage of being the chair of ASEAN and its new UN Security Council seat. Regional and world attention is now focused on Hanoi’s every move. But, the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea issue Vietnam leads the discussion on will not be the long-term policy point past 2022.

Western think tank narratives try to pit Vietnam against China for obvious reasons. But the long term will see the dominance of the Chinese regionally expand.

It’s a bit comedic how outlets like Voice of America try to dictate Vietnamese policy and intentions. This story, headlined “Vietnam Advancing Ties With Russia to Hedge Against China, US,” says what the US State Department wants everyone to think if that is not obvious.

Russia is not bartering arms and oil for clout, as VOA summarily insists. Hanoi is seeking a much more comprehensive pact with Moscow than western analysts and policymakers let on.

This report via Phnom Penh Post relays Mr. Putin’s conversation with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, which covered specific measures to foster their cooperation in security, defense, energy, oil and gas, economy, trade, education, training, and tourism.

At the end of their talk, the Vietnamese party chief invited President Putin to officially visit Vietnam to attend the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Year in Russia and the Russia Year in Vietnam. Putin accepted the invitation, naturally.

Finally, all over Vietnam news, we find reports of Russia-Vietnam mutual trade strategies for agricultural products with export potentialities like meat, wheat, fertilizer, milk in the Russian market. At the same time, business and political sources tell of Vietnam exporting seafood, coffee, tea, black pepper, fruit, rubber, etc. in the Vietnamese market.

So, one has to moderate the narratives coming from US State Department and western corporate media, versus the more logical and meaningful discussions, talked about in Russia or Vietnam. Only in this way, does the big shift in the Southeast Asia region come fulling into view.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing EditorJ

im W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

مفاوضات فيينا: بين التراجع الأميركي والقلق الصهيوني وتوازن القوى الجديد The Vienna Negotiations: Between American Retreat, Zionist Anxiety, and the New Balance of Power

* Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation *


مفاوضات فيينا: بين التراجع الأميركي والقلق الصهيوني وتوازن القوى الجديد


 حسن حردان

ارتفع منسوب القلق في كيان العدو الصهيوني، مع توارد الأنباء عن قرب توصل مفاوضات فيينا الى اتفاق على العودة المتزامنة من قبل الولايات المتحدة والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي كما نص عليه عام 2015، وهي الصيغة التي يجري وضع اللمسات الأخيرة عليها وتقضي بأن تقوم واشنطن برفع كلّ العقوبات عن إيران والعودة إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق وتأكد طهران من هذا الالتزام، وفي المقابل تقوم إيران بالعودة عن خطواتها التي اتخذتها بالتخلي عن التزاماتها بموجب الاتفاق، انْ لناحية وقف التخصيب بنسبة 60 بالمئة والعودة إلى التزام نسبة 3,67 بالمئة، أو لناحية السماح لمفتشي وكالة الطاقة الدولية بالعودة الى ممارسة عملهم في مراقبة البرنامج النووي.

هذا التطور أحدث صدمة وقلقاً داخل كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني، وأثار انقساماً في اجتماع الكابينيت، المجلس الوزاري المصغر، حول طريقة التعامل مع هذا التطور الذي اعتبر «إسرائيلياً» بأنه يشكل تنازلاً أميركياً أمام إيران، يلحق الضرر بـ «إسرائيل» وحلفائها من بعض الحكومات العربية… ولهذا حذّرت مجموعة كبيرة من المسؤولين السابقين في الاستخبارات «الإسرائيلية» والجيش وهيئات إنفاذ القانون، بايدن من التسرّع في إبرام اتفاق نووي مع إيران.

المجموعة التي ضمّت 2000 مسؤول رفيع المستوى، قالت في رسالة إلى بايدن، إنّ «التسرّع في التفاوض مع إيران يعرّض «إسرائيل» وحلفاءها العرب الجدد للخطر بشكل مباشر».

وأفاد موقع «واشنطن فري بيكون» أنّ الرسالة التي صاغها «منتدى الدفاع والأمن الإسرائيلي»، تُعدّ إشارة واضحة على أنّ «إسرائيل» وحلفاءها العرب في المنطقة متحدون في معارضة جهود إدارة بايدن للانضمام مرة أخرى إلى الاتفاق النووي. واعتبروا أنّ الاتفاق النووي الإيراني معيب ويعد تهديداً مباشراً للاستقرار الإقليمي…

لكن الأسئلة التي تطرح في هذا السياق هي:

أولاً، لماذا قرّرت واشنطن العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي كما وقع عام 2015 طالما انه يشكل ضرراً لحلفاء أميركا في المنطقة وفي المقدمة الكيان الصهيوني؟

وثانياً، لماذا يعتبر المسؤولون الصهاينة عودة العمل بالاتفاق النووي يلحق ضرراً بالكيان الصهيوني وحلفائه من الأنظمة العربية؟

وثالثاً، ما هي النتائج التي ستترتب على التوصل لهذا الاتفاق وفق الشروط الإيرانية؟

أ ـ انّ قرار إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي وقبول شروط إيران برفع كامل العقوبات بالتزامن مع عودة طهران للالتزام بالمثل بنصوص الاتفاق، حسب الأنباء الواردة من مفاوضات فيينا، لم يكن ليتمّ لو كان لدى الإدارة خيارات أخرى أفضل… بل انّ واشنطن تقدم على التراجع أمام ايران، حسب ما يرشح من مفاوضات فيينا، نتيجة انسداد الخيارات الأخرى أمامها ووصولها إلى قناعة بأنّ خيار العودة إلى الاتفاق وعدم الاستمرار في محاولات الضغط لتعديله أو تجزئة رفع العقوبات المفروضة على إيران، إنما يشكل أقلّ الخيارات سوءاً بالنسبة للسياسة الأميركية… لماذا؟

لأنّ خيار مواصلة سياسة الحصار والعقوبات لم يعد يجدي نفعاً بعد أن نجحت إيران في إجهاض أهداف الحصار، من خلال :اعتماد سياسات اقتصادية تنموية عزّزت…ـ الاكتفاء الذاتي… وإقامة علاقات اقتصادية مع دول ترفض سياسة الهيمنة الأميركية، لا سيما روسيا والصين، والتي كان آخرها الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية بين طهران وبكين والتي شكلت ضربة موجعة لسياسة الهيمنة الأميركية وأسقطت الحصار الأميركي على إيران بالضربة القاضية كونها أمّنت لإيران تصدير نفطها بكميات كبيرة ومنتظَمة على مدى 25 سنة واستثمارات صينية في شتى المجالات تناهز الـ 450 مليار دولار، هذا إلى جانب توطيد علاقات التنسيق والتعاون الاقتصادي والأمني مع روسيا وإقامة علاقات اقتصادية مع دول جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى لا سيما، دول جوار بحر قزوين مما أدّى إلى تحرّر إيران من تأثير العلاقات مع الغرب، وأوجد بدائل جديدة تجعل طهران قادرة على تأمين احتياجاتها وتصدير منتجاتها من دون الخضوع للابتزاز الذي تمارسه الدول الغربية…

أما الخيار العسكري فإنّ إدارة بايدن تدرك جيداً بأنه محفوف بالمخاطر الكبيرة على الوجود والمصالح الأميركية في المنطقة وعلى أمن الكيان الصهيوني… بسبب القدرات العسكرية الرادعة التي تملكها إيران وحلفائها في محور المقاومة…

في حين انّ خيار الحرب الأمنية غير المباشرة لتعطيل البرنامج النووي الإيراني لإضعاف موقف طهران وفرض الشروط عليها، لم يحقق أهدافه، بل أدّى إلى نتائج عكسية، حيث ردّت إيران على الهجوم الصهيوني التخريبي الذي استهدف مفاعل «نطنز»، بالعمل سريعاً على وضع جيل جديد متطوّر من أجهزة الطرد المركزي بدلاً من الأجهزة التي تضرّرت، ورفع نسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم من 20 بالمئة إلى 60 بالمئة مما عكس جاهزية إيران للمواجهة ونجاحها في تطوير قدراتها النووية وامتلاكها الاحتياطات اللازمة للتصدي لأيّ استهدافات أمنية للبرنامج النووي… وكان من الطبيعي أن يؤدّي هذا النجاح الإيراني إلى تعزيز موقف إيران ورفع سقف وشروط التفاوض من قبلها مع مجموعة 4  + 1 من ناحية، وانسداد أيّ أفق أمام واشنطن لتحسين شروط عودتها إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي من ناحية ثانية… وبالتالي اضطرارها إلى التراجع وإبداء المرونة أمام إيران بالتخلي عن الرهان لتعديل شروط العودة للاتفاق والقبول بالعودة المتزامنة غير المشروطة المقرونة برفع العقوبات دفعة واحدة كما تطالب طهران…

ب ـ انّ قلق المسؤولين الصهانية من عودة واشنطن إلى الاتفاق النووي بالشروط التي ترضى إيران، إنما مردّه إلى جملة أسباب:

السبب الأول، إدراك تل أبيب بأنّ الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية ستحقق انتصاراً جديداً في معركتها لتكريس استقلالها والحفاظ على برنامجها النووي والحصول على المنافع الاقتصادية التي ينص عليها الاتفاق من دون إدخال أيّ تعديلات على الاتفاق سعت إليها حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو دون جدوى.. وهذا يعني أنّ إيران الثورة ستصبح في وضع أقوى داخلياً وخارجياً حيث سيتحسّن الوضع الاقتصادي الإيراني بشكل كبير وينعكس ذلك بتحسين قيمة العملة الإيرانية وبالتالي تحسّن الوضعين الاجتماعي والمعيشي للشعب الإيراني الأمر الذي يزيد من التفافه حول قيادته، ويضعف الجهات المرتبطة بالخارج التي كانت تسعى الى استغلال الضائقة الاقتصادية نتيجة الحصار لتأليب الناس ضدّ نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية… ومن الطبيعي انّ تَحسّن الوضع الاقتصادي ومستوى معيشة الشعب سوف ينعكس بتعزيز موقف إيران السياسي واستطراداً دورها على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية…

السبب الثاني، إدراك المسؤولين الصهيانية أنّ تنامي قوة إيران الاقتصادية واستعادتها لوارداتها النفطية، والاستثمارات الخارجية التي ستحصل في إيران، وارتفاع معدلات النمو في الاقتصاد والدخل على حدّ سواء، سوف تمكن إيران من زيادة قدراتها على دعم حلفائها في محور المقاومة، مما يقوّي من قدراتهم في مواجهة قوى الإرهاب المدعومة أميركياً، ومن الاحتلال الصهيوني…

السبب الثالث، قلق الصهاينة من التحوّل الذي ستحدثه عودة واشنطن إلى الاتفاق النووي بالشروط الإيرانية، على صعيد موازين القوى الإقليمية، في مصلحة المحور المناهض للهيمنة الأميركية، على حساب المحور الموالي لهذه الهيمنة والذي يضمّ الكيان الصهيوني وحلفاءه من الأنظمة الرجعية التابعة والتي بات يرتبط بعضها باتفاقيات مع كيان العدو… مما يضعف هذه الأنظمة ويجعلها مضطرة إلى التوقف عن مواصلة سياسة العداء لإيران والبحث عن سبل تطبيع العلاقات معها، وفي هذا السياق يمكن وضع الأنباء التي تحدّثت عن بدء حوار سعودي إيراني برعاية عراقية.. والذي تزامن مع الأنباء عن قرب التوصل إلى اتفاق في فيبنا لإعادة العمل بالاتفاق النووي… وتفاقم المأزق السعودي في اليمن بفعل نجاح المقاومة اليمنية في مواصلة توجيه ضربات موجعة القواعد والمنشآت الحيوية العسكرية والنفطية في قلب المملكة.

ج ـ انّ إنجاز الاتفاق بالشروط الإيرانية المدعومة روسياً وصينياً، سوف يكرّس المعادلات الجديدة على الصعيد العالمي، والتي تأتي نتيجة فشل الحروب الأميركية في تحقيق أهدافها لناحية إضعاف إيران وإسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية والقضاء على قوى المقاومة وإعادة إخضاع العراق للهيمنة الأميركية، وصولاً إلى عزل إيران والعمل على تطويعها، ومحاصرة روسيا والصين، وإحباط تطلعاتهما لإقامة نظام دولي متعدّد الأقطاب…

انّ إخفاق الحروب الأميركية وفشل أهدافها المذكورة، أدّى إلى خروج دول وقوى محور المقاومة أكثر قوّة وقدرة، والى تعزيز قوة إيران السند الأساسي لهذا المحور، وعودة روسيا بقوة إلى الساحة الدولية كلاعب أساسي انطلاقاً من انتصار سورية ومساهمتها في هذا الانتصار في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية الكونية التي شنّتها أميركا بوساطة جيوش الإرهاب القاعدي والداعشي…

 انّ هذا التحوّل سوف يجعل الكيان الصهيوني محاصراً ببيئة استراتيجية جديدة من محور المقاومة الممتدّ من لبنان مروراً بسورية والعراق وغزة واليمن وصولاً إلى إيران، فيما الولايات المتحدة الداعم الأول للكيان الصهيوني تتراجع هيمنتها في المنطقة وعلى الصعيد الدولي ولم تعد قادرة على شنّ حروب جديدة فيما هي تنسحب مهزومة من أفغانستان بعد أطول حرب خاضتها… واستطراداً فإنّ هذا التحوّل سوف ينعكس بتعزيز موقف روسيا والصين في السعي الى إقامة نظام عالمي جديد يقوم على التعددية القطبية بديلاً عن نظام الهيمنة الأميركي الأحادي القطب.. الذي لم يعد ينسجم مع موازين القوى الجديدة في العالم…


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The Vienna Negotiations: Between American Retreat, Zionist Anxiety, and the New Balance of Power

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Hassan Hardan

The level of concern in the Zionist entity has risen, with reports that the Vienna negotiations have reached an agreement on the simultaneous return by the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran to compliance with the nuclear agreement as stipulated in 2015, a formula that is being finalized and requires Washington to lift all sanctions on Iran and return to compliance In return, Iran is backing away from its steps to abandon its commitments under the agreement, with a 60 percent suspension of enrichment and a return to a 3.67 percent commitment, or allowing IAEA inspectors to return to their work monitoring the nuclear program.

This development caused shock and anxiety within the Zionist occupation entity, and sparked a split in the meeting of the cabinet, the mini-ministerial council, on how to deal with this development, which considered “Israeli” as a U.S. concession to Iran, hurting Israel and its Arab allies. That’s why a large group of former Israeli intelligence, military and law enforcement officials warned Biden not to rush into a nuclear deal with Iran.

The group of 2,000 senior officials said in a letter to Biden that “rushing to negotiate with Iran directly puts Israel and its new Arab allies at risk.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the letter, drafted by the Israel Defense and Security Forum, is a clear indication that Israel and its Arab allies in the region are united in opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the nuclear deal. They considered the Iran nuclear deal flawed and a direct threat to regional stability…

But the questions asked in this contextare:

First, why did Washington decide to return to the nuclear deal as it signed in 2015 as long as it is harmful to America’s allies in the region and at the forefront of the Zionist entity?

Secondly, why do Zionist officials consider the return of the nuclear agreement to harm the Zionist entity and its Arab regime allies?

Thirdly, what are the consequences of reaching this agreement in accordance with Iranian conditions?

A: U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to return to the nuclear deal and accept Iran’s terms of lifting all sanctions in conjunction with Tehran’s return to similar compliance with the terms of the agreement, according to reports from the Vienna negotiations, would not have been possible if the administration had other better options… Washington is even pushing back against Iran, as nominated from the Vienna negotiations, as a result of the blockage of other options before it and its conviction that the option of returning to the agreement and not continuing to try to pressure it to amend it or fragment the lifting of sanctions against Iran is the least bad option for U.S. policy… But why?

Because the option of continuing the policy of embargoes and sanctions no longer works after Iran succeeded in aborting the objectives of the embargo, by: Adoption of economic and development policies that have strengthened…- self-sufficiency, and the establishment of economic relations with countries that reject the policy of American hegemony, especially Russia and China, the latest of which was the strategic agreement between Tehran and Beijing, which constituted a painful blow to the US policy of hegemony and brought down the American blockade on Iran by a knockout because it has secured Iran to export its oil in large and regular quantities over a period of 25 years, and Chinese investments in various fields amounted to about 450 billion dollars, in addition to strengthening coordination relations and economic and security cooperation with Russia and establishing economic relations with the countries of the Central Asian republics, particularly the Caspian neighbors, which led to Iran’s liberation from the influence of relations with the West, and created new alternatives that would make Tehran able to secure its needs and export its products without being subject to blackmail by Western countries…

As for the military option, the Biden administration is well aware that it is too risky for U.S. presence and interests in the region and for the security of the Zionist entity, because of the deterrent military capabilities of Iran and its allies, while the option of indirect security war to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to weaken Tehran’s position and impose conditions on it, did not achieve its objectives, but backfired, as Iran responded to the Zionist sabotage attack on the Natanz reactor, working quickly to develop a new generation of centrifuges instead of damaged devices, and raising uranium enrichment from 20 percent to 60 percent, reflecting Iran’s readiness to confront and its success in developing its nuclear capabilities and having the necessary precautions to counter any security targets of the nuclear program. It was only natural that this Iranian success would strengthen Iran’s position and raise the ceiling and conditions of its negotiations with the 4+1 group on the one hand, and block any horizon for Washington to improve the terms of its return to compliance with the nuclear agreement on the other. Thus, it has to back down and show flexibility for Iran to give up the bet to amend the terms of the return of the agreement and accept the simultaneous unconditional return coupled with the lifting of sanctions at once, as Tehran demands.

B:. The concern of Zionist officials about Washington’s return to the nuclear deal on the terms that satisfy Iran is due to a number of reasons:

The first reason is Tel Aviv’s realization that the Islamic Republic of Iran will achieve a new victory in its battle to consolidate its independence, maintain its nuclear program and obtain the economic benefits provided for by the agreement without any amendments to the agreement. This means that Iran revolution will become in a stronger situation internally and externally where the Iranian economic situation will improve significantly and this is reflected in the improvement of the value of the Iranian currency and thus improve the social and living situation of the Iranian people, which increases its rallying around his leadership, and weakens those associated abroad who were seeking to exploit the economic hardship as a result of the embargo to turn people against the regime of the Islamic Republic… It is natural that the improvement of the economic situation and the standard of living of the people will be reflected in strengthening Iran’s political position and increasing its role on the regional and international arenas.

The second reason, Zionist officials realize that Iran’s growing economic strength and recovery of its oil imports, foreign investment in Iran, and high growth rates in both the economy and income, will enable Iran to increase its capabilities to support its allies in the axis of resistance, strengthening their capabilities in the face of U.S.-backed terrorist forces, and the Zionist occupation…

The third reason, the Zionists are concerned about the transformation that Washington’s return to the nuclear agreement on Iranian terms will bring, in terms of regional power balances, in the interest of the anti-American axis, at the expense of the axis loyal to this hegemony, which includes the Zionist entity and its reactionary allies, some of which are now linked to agreements with the enemy entity… Weakening these regimes will forces them to stop hostility and look for ways to normalize relations with Iran, and in this context the news of the start of a Saudi-Iranian dialogue under Iraqi auspices which coincided with the news that an agreement was reached in Vienna to reintroduce the nuclear agreement. Moreover the Saudi impasse in Yemen has been exacerbated by the success of the Yemeni resistance in continuing to strike vital military and oil bases and facilities in the heart of the kingdom.

C:. Achieving of the agreement on Iranian terms backed by Russia and China will perpetuate the new equations globally, as a result of the failure of the U.S. wars to achieve their goals in terms of weakening Iran, overthrowing the Syrian national state, eliminating the forces of resistance and re-subjecting Iraq to American hegemony, leading to isolating Iran, the main support of resistance axis, and besieging Russia and China, and thwarting their aspirations to establish a multipolar international order.

The failure of the American wars and the failure of their aforementioned goals led to the strengthening Iran, and the emergence of the countries and forces of the axis of resistance more powerful and capable, and to the strong return of Russia to the international arena as a key player based on the victory of Syria and its contribution to this victory in the face of the global terrorist war that America launched it through the armies of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorism

This transformation will make the Zionist entity besieged by a new strategic environment from the axis of resistance extending from Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen to Iran, while the United States, the first supporter of the Zionist entity, is retreating its hegemony in the region and internationally and is no longer able to wage new wars as it withdraws defeated from Afghanistan after the longest war it has fought… Furthermore, this shift will be reflected in strengthening Russia and China’s position in seeking a new multipolar world order as an alternative to America’s unipolar hegemony.


Related

Will the allies have to die for Kiev?

Thierry Meyssan Political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in English – Before Our Very Eyes, Fake Wars and Big Lies: From 9/11 to Donald Trump, Progressive Press, 2019.

by Thierry Meyssan

The Ukrainian population is divided between a part of European culture and another of Russian culture.

This singularity offers Washington a playground against Moscow. For several weeks now, the drums have been beating, sounding war.

But none of the allies want to die for Kiev or sacrifice themselves to Russia.

VOLTAIRE NETWORK | PARIS (FRANCE) | 20 APRIL 2021

The US armed forces

Joe Biden has always been the “Pentagon’s man”.

1- The Anglo-Saxons have a hereditary enemy: the Russians. For them, Russians are despicable people, destined since Otto I (10th century) to be nothing but slaves, as their name indicates (‘Slavic’ means both ethnicity and slave). In the 20th century, they were against the USSR, allegedly because it was communist, and are now against Russia without knowing why.

2- Second adversary, enemies they have created for themselves by waging an “endless war” against them since September 11, 2001: the populations of the wider Middle East, whose state organisation they are systematically destroying, whether they are allies or adversaries, in order to “send them back to the stone age” and exploit the riches of their region (Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy).

3- Third adversary: China, whose economic development threatens to relegate them to second place. In their eyes, they have no other choice than war. This is at least what their political scientists think, and they even speak of the “Thucydides trap” in reference to the war that Sparta waged against Athens, frightened by its flight [1].

4 – The issues of Iran and North Korea are far behind the first three.

Joe Biden’s Interim National Security Strategy [2] or their Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community [3] keep repeating this from different angles.

Fighting three wars at once is extremely difficult. The Pentagon is currently looking at how to prioritise these. It will report in June. There is absolute secrecy about the commission that is doing this assessment. No one even knows who the members are. Yet without delay, the Biden administration is focusing on Russia.

Whether we are independent or subservient to the “American Empire”, we must stop trying to avoid seeing. The United States of America has no other objective than to destroy Russian culture, Arab state structures, and – eventually – the Chinese economy. This has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate defence of their people.

There is no other way to explain why the United States spends astronomical sums on its military that bear no relation to the budgets of those it describes as its “friends” or “enemies”. According to the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the US military budget is at least equal to the sum of the budgets of the other 15 most armed

states [4].

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Military budgets of the 15 largest states (in billions of US dollars).Source: Institute for Strategic Studies

Issues for confrontation with Russia

The US is concerned about Russia’s recovery. After experiencing a sharp drop in life expectancy between 1988 and 1994 (5 years less), it has recovered, then largely surpassed that of the Soviet era (12 years more), although its healthy life expectancy remains one of the lowest in Europe. Their economy is diversifying, particularly in agriculture, but remains dependent on energy exports. Their army has been renewed, their military-industrial complex is more efficient than the Pentagon’s, and it has acquired experience in Syria.

For Washington, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline threatens to free Western Europe from its dependence on US oil. While the attachment of Crimea to the Russian Federation, and even that of Donbass, is at least partially a blow to Ukraine’s dependence on the American Empire (Crimea and Donbass are not of Western culture). Finally, the Russian military presence in Syria is slowing down the project of political destruction of all the peoples of this region.

“When you want to drown your dog, you say it has rabies”

It was undoubtedly President Biden who opened the hostilities by calling the Russian president a “killer”. The two powers had never exchanged insults, even in the Gulag era. His interlocutor replied politely and offered to discuss the matter publicly, which he refused.

The United States has a short-term view of the world. They do not see themselves as responsible for their legacy. According to them, the evil Russians have amassed more than 100,000 troops in the vicinity of Ukraine and are preparing to invade it, as the Soviets did in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. But then it was not Russia, but the USSR; not the Putin doctrine, but the Brezhnev doctrine; and Leonid Brezhnev himself was not Russian, but Ukrainian.

The Russians, on the contrary, have a long-term view of the world. In their view, the barbaric Americans challenged the balance of power with the attacks of 11 September 2001. Immediately afterwards, on December 13, 2001, President Bush announced the withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty. The United States then brought into NATO, one by one, almost all the former members of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR in violation of their promise at the time of the dissolution of the latter. This policy was confirmed by the Bucharest Declaration in 2008 [5].

Everyone knows the peculiarity of Ukraine: Western culture in the West, Russian culture in the East. For about fifteen years, the country was politically frozen, until Washington organised a pseudo-revolution and put its puppets, in this case neo-Nazis, in power [6]. Moscow reacted quickly enough for Crimea to declare its independence and join the Russian Federation, but it hesitated for the Donbass. Since then, it has been handing out Russian passports to all the inhabitants of this Ukrainian region for which it is the only hope.

The Biden administration

President Biden was known, when he was a senator, for introducing legislation in the Senate that was devised by the Pentagon. When he became president, he surrounded himself with neo-conservative figures. We cannot repeat it enough: the neo-conservatives were Trotskyite militants who were recruited by Republican President Ronald Reagan. Since then, they have always remained in power, except during the parenthesis of Jacksonian President Donald Trump, switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party and back again.

During the colourful Maïdan ’revolution’ (2013-14), Joe Biden, then vice-president, took up the cause of the neo-Nazis who were agents of Nato’s stay-behind networks [7] He ran the operation with one of the then assistant secretaries of state, Victoria Nuland (whose husband, Robert Kagan, is a founder of the Project for a New American Century, the fundraising arm of Republican George W. Bush). President Biden decided to make her the deputy to his new Secretary of State. She relied on the then US ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, now posted in Athens, Greece. As for President Biden’s new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, he is both judge and jury because his mother is of Ukrainian origin. Although he was raised in Paris by his mother’s second husband, te lawyer Samuel Pisar (advisor to President Kennedy), he is also a neo-conservative.

Preparing for the confrontation with Russia

In mid-March 2021, the United States and its Nato partners organised the Defender-Europe 21 manoeuvres. These will continue until June. This is a repeat of the mega-exercise Defender-Europe 20, which was reduced and shortened due to the Covid-19 epidemic. It is a huge deployment of men and equipment to simulate a confrontation with Russia. These manoeuvres are joined by a nuclear bomber exercise in Greece, attended by the aforementioned Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

On March 25, President Volodymyr Zelensky published the new Ukrainian Security Strategy [8], three weeks after President Joe Biden published the US one.

Responding to Nato, Russia undertook its own manoeuvres on its western border, including its border with Ukraine. It was even sending additional troops to Crimea and as far as Transnistria.

On 1 April, the US Secretary of Defense called his Ukrainian counterpart about a possible increase in tension with Russia [9]. President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement saying he was monitoring Russian moves that could be provocative [10].

On 2 April, the United Kingdom organised a meeting of the British-Ukrainian Defence and Foreign Ministries, under the responsibility of British Minister Ben Wallace [11] (who was very active in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict [12]).

On April 2, President Joe Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart to assure him of his support against Russia. According to the Atlantic Council, he announced his decision to give him a hundred combat aircraft (F-15, F-16 and E-2C) currently based at Davis-Monthan air base [13].

On April 4, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Democrat Adam Smith, negotiated with Ukrainian parliamentarians to provide large subsidies to the Ukrainian army in exchange for the Ukrainian commitment to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline [14]

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Discreet return trip to Qatar by President Zelensky and the head of the Ukroboronprom arms factories on April 5, 2021.

On April 5, President Volodymyr Zelensky paid a visit to Qatar. The official purpose was to develop trade relations. Qatar is the main supplier of weapons to the jihadists and, according to our information, the question of possible financing of fighters was discussed. The director general of the military manufacturer Ukroboronprom, Yuriy Gusev, was on the trip. It was he who had supplied weapons to Daesh on order from Qatar [15].

On April 6, Lithuania, which in the past protected the western part of Ukraine in its own empire, enquired about the military situation [16]

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President Zelensky receives the Chairman of the Nato Military Committee on April 7, 2021.

On 6 and 7 April, British General Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, visited Ukraine to clarify the reforms necessary for the country to join Nato [17].

On 9 April, in accordance with the Montreux Convention, the Pentagon informed Turkey of its intention to transit warships through the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.

After discussing weapons and money with Sheikh Tamin in Qatar, President Zelinski came to talk about men with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on 10 April 2021.

On April 10, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul as part of regular consultations between the two nations [18]. In view of the Qatari endorsement, Nato member Turkey immediately began recruiting international jihadists in Syria to fight in the Ukrainian Donbass. Turkish military instructors were also sent to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, the headquarters of the International Islamist Brigade [19], created by President Erdoğan and his then Ukrainian counterpart with Tatars loyal to Washington against Russia.

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Logically, the Russian Federation was amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. So its partners in the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) questioned it about its manoeuvres. The Russian side only answered evasively. The Vienna Document (1999) obliges OSCE members to provide each other with all information on the movements of their troops and equipment. But we know that the Russians do not operate like the West. They never inform their people or their partners during an operation, only when their deployments are over.

Two days later, the G7 issued a statement expressing concern about Russian movements, but ignoring those of Nato and Turkey. It welcomed Ukraine’s restraint and called on Russia to “stop its provocations” [20].

On April 13, on the occasion of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting with the Ukraine/NATO Commission, the United States pulled out all the stops. All the allies – none of whom wanted to die because the Ukrainians could not get a divorce – were invited to support Kiev and denounce Russia’s “escalation” [21]. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held extensive talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kouleba [22]. War was inexorably on the way.

Suddenly, President Joe Biden lightened the mood by phoning his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. He proposed a summit meeting, whereas Putin had dismissed the proposal for a public debate when he had insulted him [23]. After this initiative, war seemed avoidable.

On April 14, Antony Blinken, however, summoned his main allies (Germany, France, Italy and the UK) to mobilize them [24]

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.President Biden clarified his position on Russia on April 15, 2021.

On April 15, President Joe Biden gave his vision of the conflict, expelled ten Russian diplomats [25] He imposed sanctions on Russia, which was accused not only of rigging elections to get President Donald Trump elected, but also of offering bounties for the assassination of US soldiers in Afghanistan and of attacking federal computer systems using SolarWinds software.

Predictably, Russia expelled a similar number of US diplomats. In addition, it set a trap for a Ukrainian diplomat, who was caught in the act of espionage with classified documents in his hand.

Continuing on his path, President Volodymyr Zelensky went to meet his French and German counterparts, President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel. While deploring the Russian escalation and reaffirming their moral support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, they were evasive about what would happen next. In the end, if the United States and Russia are to meet and discuss, it is a bit early to die for Kiev.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation

Roger Lagassé

[1Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Graham Allison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2017).

[2Interim National Security Guidance, White House, March 3, 2021. “President Biden’s National Security Strategy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 9 April 2021.

[3Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, Director of National Intelligence, April 9, 2021.

[4The Military Balance 2021, Institute for Strategic Studies, Routledge (2021).

[5] “Bucharest Summit Declaration”, Nato, April 3, 2008.

[6] “Who are the Nazis in the Ukrainian government?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 3 March 2014.

[7NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, Daniele Ganser, Routledge (2005).

[8] Presidential Order 121/2021.

[9] “Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Call With Ukrainian Minister of Defence Andrii Taran”, US Department of Defense, April 2, 2021.

[10] “Zelensky on Russian troops near border: Ukraine is ready for any provocations”, Ukrinform, April 2, 2021.

[11] “UK defense secretary initiates talks with Taran due to escalation in eastern Ukraine”, Ukrinform, April 2, 2021.

[12] “Nagorno-Karabakh: victory of London and Ankara, defeat of Soros and the Armenians”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 24 November 2020.

[13] “U.S. Should Provide Lend-Lease Type of Aid Package for Ukraine to Help it Upgrade its Air Force – Atlantic Council”, Defense Express, April 7, 2021.

[14] “Arakhamiya, Congressman Smith discuss expanding military support for Ukraine”, Ukrinform, March 5, 2021.

[15] “Qatar and Ukraine come to deliver Pechora-2D to ISIS”, by Andrey Fomin, Oriental Review (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 22 November 2015.

[16] “Ukrainian, Latvian defense ministers discuss security situation on Ukraine’s borders”, Ukrinform, April 7, 2021.

[17] “NATO Military Committee Chairman visits Ukraine”, NATO, April 6, 2021.

[18] “Turkey recruiting jihadists to send them to Ukraine ”, Voltaire Network, 18 April 2021.

[19] « L’Ukraine et la Turquie créent une Brigade internationale islamique contre la Russie », par Thierry Meyssan, Télévision nationale syrienne , Réseau Voltaire, 12 août 2015.

[20] “G7 Foreign Ministers statement on Ukraine”, Voltaire Network, 12 April 2021.

[21] “NATO-Ukraine Commission addresses security situation in and around Ukraine”, NATO , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[22] “Meeting of Antony Blinken and Dmytro Kouleba”, USA (Department of State) , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[23] “Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Call with Vladimir Putin”, USA (White House) , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[24] “Main allies meeting on Ukraine”, United States (Department of State) , Voltaire Network, 14 April 2021.

[25] “Remarks on Russia”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Voltaire Network, 15 April 2021.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article212801.html

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