Top Iranian, Russian negotiators discuss JCPOA before key meeting to review ‘interim results’

By VT Editors -May 1, 2021

Press TV: The heads of the Iranian and Russian delegations to the Vienna talks have held talks ahead of a meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, commonly called the Iran nuclear deal, during which the participants are expected to review the interim results of the talks on the full restoration of the deal.

During the meeting, the two sides coordinated their stances and underlined the need to keep their positions close to one another.

The Russian side also reiterated its stance on the necessity of reviving the JCPOA and removing the United States’ sanctions on Iran.

The meeting comes hours before the participants to the JCPOA gather for a meeting to review the results of expert discussions held within three working groups that were created to resuscitate the nuclear agreement.

The ongoing talks began in the Austrian capital in early April to provide a path for all JCPOA signatories – particularly the US – to return to full compliance with the deal.

Under former US President Donald Trump, Washington turned into the first party to officially abandon its commitments after it unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and imposed the “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran thereafter, setting the current crisis in motion.

The US then pressed the other parties – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – to abide by its sanctions, threatening them with secondary sanctions if they did not.

For its part, Iran waited for an entire year before it began to reduce its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA, arguing that the move was its legal response to the US withdrawal under Articles 26 and 36 of the pact.

Ulyanov, in a series of tweets on Saturday, explained the latest developments surrounding the Vienna negotiations.

Iran “is still not ready to meet with US diplomats,” the Russian diplomat noted, while pointing out that a “useful exchange of views” took place at the meeting.

According to Ulyanov, the next official in-person meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA at the level of political directors will take place in Vienna on Saturday afternoon.

“It is necessary to summarize the interim results of negotiations on the restoration of the nuclear deal,” he added.

Iran has insisted that it will resume full compliance with its nuclear obligations only after it can verify that all US sanctions imposed after the deal went into force in early 2016 have been removed.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Director General of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Dmitry Kiselev Moscow, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Director General of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Dmitry Kiselev Moscow, April 28, 2021

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

We have available video in Russian and transcript in English.

Transcript:

Dmitry Kiselev: Our relations with the United States are really “hell”. Personally, I don’t recall them being at such a low ebb ever before. This is even worse than the Cold War times, in my opinion. Ambassadors have returned back to their home countries. What’s going to happen next? What is the possible scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: If it depended on us alone, we would gladly resume normal relations. The first possible step towards this, which I regard as obvious, is to zero out the measures restricting the work of Russian diplomats in the United States. It was as a response measure that we restricted the operations of American diplomats in Russia.

We proposed this to the Biden administration as soon as it had taken the oath and assumed office. I have mentioned the idea to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. I did not try to press it; I just said that an obvious way to normalise our relations would be to zero out the measures initiated by Barack Obama. Several weeks before leaving office, he was so annoyed he virtually slammed the door by seizing Russian property in violation of all the Vienna conventions and throwing Russian diplomats out. This has caused a chain reaction.

We patiently sat back for a long time, until the summer of 2017, before taking any response measures. The Trump administration asked us to disregard the excessive measures taken by the outgoing Obama administration. However, Donald Trump’s team failed to normalise the situation, and so we had to take reciprocal measures. But the Americans have not stopped there.

We can see that the Biden administration continues to go downhill, although US President Biden said during his conversation with President of Russia Vladimir Putin soon after his inauguration, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told me that they are thoroughly reviewing their relations with Russia, hoping that this would clarify many things. However, instead they adopted new sanctions, which triggered not simply a mirror response on our part. Our response was asymmetrical, just as we had warned them on numerous occasions. It has to do, in part, with a considerable disparity in the number of diplomats and other personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia, which is way above the number of Russian diplomats in the United States.

As for the strategic picture of our relations, I hope that Washington is aware, just as Moscow is, of our responsibility for global stability. There are not only the problems of Russia and the United States, which are complicating our citizens’ lives and their contacts, communications, businesses and humanitarian projects, but also differences that are posing a serious risk to international security in the broadest possible meaning of the word.

You remember how we responded to the outrage that took place during Joe Biden’s interview with ABC. You are also aware of how President Putin reacted to President Biden’s proposal of a meeting. We have taken a positive view of this, but we would like to understand all aspects of this initiative, which we are currently analysing.

Nothing good will come out of this, unless the United States stops acting as a sovereign, as President Putin said during his Address to the Federal Assembly, accepts the futility of any attempts to revive the unipolar world or to create an architecture where all Western countries would be subordinate to the United States and the Western camp would work together to “rally” other countries across the world against China and Russia, admits that it was for a purpose that the UN Charter sealed such principles as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and sovereign equality of states, and simply honours its commitments and starts talking with us, just as with any other country, on the basis of respect for each other and for a balance of interests, which must be established. President Putin said this clearly in his Address, pointing out that Russia is always open to broad international agreements if they suit our interests. But we will harshly respond to any attempts to cross the red line, which we ourselves will determine.

Dmitry Kiselev: Would it be realistic to expect them to become aware of this and stop acting as a sovereign? Hope is fine, but the reality is completely different.

Sergey Lavrov: I have not expressed any hope. I just mentioned the conditions on the basis of which we will be ready to talk.

Dmitry Kiselev: And what if they refuse?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be their choice. This means that we will be living in conditions of a Cold War, or even worse, as you have already mentioned. In my opinion, tension did run high during the Cold War and there were numerous high-risk conflict situations, but there was also mutual respect. I believe that this is lacking now.

There have been some schizophrenic notes in the statements made by some of the Washington officials. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said just a while ago that sanctions against Russia would be continued, that they are producing, by and large, a desired effect, and that their objective is not to “escalate” with Russia. Even I am at a loss about how to comment on this. I hope anyone can see that such statements are doing no credit to those who are upholding and promoting this policy.

Dmitry Kiselev: I had a chance to hear an opinion – perhaps even a commonplace opinion, to some extent, in certain circles – to the effect that diplomats are doing a poor job, that we are constantly digging in our heels, that our position is inflexible and non-elastic, and this is the reason why our relations are poor.

Sergey Lavrov: Are you alluding to circles inside this country?

Dmitry Kiselev: Yes, inside this country.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, I also read these things. Thankfully, this country protects freedom of speech much better than many Western countries, including the United States. I read the opposition’s online resources and newspapers, and I think that perhaps these people have a right to express their point of view that consists in the following: “If we refrained from disputing with the West, we’d have Parmesan cheese and lots more things that we are sincerely missing; but for some reason, they have cut short food purchases in the West [they do not even explain that this was done in response], they have stopped buying food and gone into import substitution, thus increasing the price of food.”

You know, this is a narrow, lopsided view taken entirely from the standpoint of creature comforts, a choice between a television set and a fridge. If they think it essential to accept US values, I would like to remind them about what US President John Kennedy, the greatest US President to my mind, once said: “Don’t think what your country can do for you. Think what you can do for your country.” This is a radical distinction from today’s liberal views, where personal wellbeing and personal feelings alone are the things that matter.

The promoters of these philosophical approaches, as I see it, are not just unaware of what our genetic code is all about, but are trying in every way to undermine it. For, apart from the desire to live well, to be well-fed, to be confident that one’s children, friends and relatives are well too, a feeling of national pride always played an equally important role in what we did throughout our one thousand years’ history. If someone thinks that these values are of no importance for him or her, as it is [politically] correct to say now, it is their choice, but I am certain that the overwhelming majority of our people have a different opinion.

Dmitry Kiselev: Are you counting on a meeting with Antony Blinken? When can this meeting be held, and will it take place at all in the foreseeable future?

Sergey Lavrov: When we were talking over the phone, I congratulated him in keeping with the diplomatic etiquette. We exchanged a few appraisals of the [current] situation. The talk was, I feel, well-meaning, calm and pragmatic. When our US colleagues have completed staffing their Department of State, we will be prepared to resume contacts – naturally, on the understanding that we will engage in a search for mutually acceptable arrangements on many problems, starting from the functioning of the diplomatic missions and ending with strategic stability and many other things. US and Russian business communities are concerned with expanding their cooperation, something that the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce has recently told us. We have concluded by stating that there will be some joint multilateral events, on whose sidelines we will be able, as chance offers, to talk. But no signals have come from the US so far. Speaking about the schedule of events, Russia will be taking over the Arctic Council chairmanship from Iceland three weeks from now. An Arctic Council ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in Reykjavík on May 20-21. If Secretary Blinken leads the US delegation, I will, of course, be prepared to talk with him, if he is interested.  Given that we will chair the Arctic Council for the next two years, I have informed our Iceland colleagues that I will attend this ministerial meeting.

Dmitry Kiselev: Is there any certainty as to who will definitely join the list of unfriendly states?

Sergey Lavrov: The Government of Russia is attending to this on instructions from President of Russia Vladimir Putin. We are participating in this work, as are other respective agencies.  I would not like to jump the gun right now.  We are reluctant to be indiscriminate and put on that list just any country that will say somewhere “something wrong” about Russia. Our decision will be based, of course, on a deep-going analysis of the situation and on whether we see opportunities to have a dialogue with that country in a different way. If we come to the conclusion that there is no chance of this, then, I think, the list will, of course, be periodically extended. But this is not a “dead” paper. As is only natural, it will be revised in tune with how our relations develop with this or that state.

Dmitry Kiselev: When will the public be able to read this list?

Sergey Lavrov: Soon, I think. The Russian Government has concrete assignments. We understand the criteria that are guiding us in this work. So, I think, the wait will not be very long now.

Dmitry Kiselev: Will the unfriendly states be banned from hiring local workforce?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be a ban on hiring any physical persons whether Russian or foreign.

Dmitry Kiselev: Is this the only measure with regard to unfriendly states or some others are in the offing?

Sergey Lavrov: At this stage, this is the concrete aim set in the executive order signed by President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Dmitry Kiselev: Donbass is another subject. Tensions have continued to escalate there since early 2021, and it appears that they have subsided a little since US President Joe Biden called President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. In my show News of the Week, I noted that US military guarantees to Ukraine had turned out to be a bluff. Nevertheless, shootouts continue, and they are using banned large-calibre weapons. It seems like this peace is not very different from war, and that the balance is highly unstable. Over 500,000 Russian citizens now live in Donbass. Will there be a war?

Sergey Lavrov: War can and should be avoided, if this depends on us and on the self-defence fighters, as far as we understand their principled approaches. I cannot speak and make guesses on behalf of the Ukrainian party and President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky because, by all indications, his main goal is to stay in power. He is ready to pay any price, such as pandering to neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals who continue to brand the Donbass self-defence fighters as terrorists. Our Western colleagues should reassess the developments that have taken place since February 2014.  None of these districts attacked the rest of Ukraine. They were branded as terrorists, and an anti-terrorist operation was launched against them and then another operation involving “joint forces.”. But we do know for sure that they have no desire to make war on representatives of the Kiev regime.

I have repeatedly told our Western colleagues, who are totally biased in their assessment of current developments, and who unconditionally defend Kiev’s actions, that Russian journalists and war correspondents working on the other side of the demarcation line show an objective picture. They work in trenches there almost without respite, and they provide daily news reports. These reports show the feelings of the people living in these territories that are cut off from the rest of Ukraine by an economic blockade, where children and civilians are being regularly killed, and where the civilian infrastructure, schools and kindergartens are being destroyed. I asked our Western colleagues why they don’t encourage their media outlets to organise the same work on the left side of the demarcation line, so that the scale of damage there can be assessed and to see which facilities have been the hardest hit.

As for the recent developments, when we openly announced the military exercises in the Southern and Western military districts – we made no secret of that, you remember the shouts about the alleged Russian build-up on the border with Ukraine. Just take a look at the terms used: we speak about drills in the Southern and Western military districts, while they say that Russia is amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. And when the drills ended and we made the relevant announcement, the West claimed maliciously that Russia had to back off, to withdraw. This is an example of wishful thinking.

This is reminiscent of the situation with the G7: every time they meet they announce that Russia will not be invited to the group. We have stated on numerous occasions that we will never re-join it, that there will not be any G8, and that this is a thing of the past. However, continued references to this subject, as well as claims that Russia has “rolled back” and has ordered its troops to “return to their barracks” shows, of course, that in this instance the West wants above all to take advantage of this situation to prove that it has the last word and the dominant place in modern international relations. This is regrettable.

The subject of a settlement in Ukraine has been discussed by President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The other day President Putin spoke about it with President of France Emmanuel Macron. The issue was also raised during a recent conversation with US President Joe Biden. The situation is clear, as I see it. The patrons of President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team refuse to make him honour the Minsk Agreements, even though they are aware of the futility of trying to use military force; they have heard the signals sent from Donetsk and Lugansk about their readiness to defend their land, their homes and their people who refuse to live by the laws being enforced by neo-Nazis.

President Putin has said clearly that we will never abandon the people of Donbass, who are standing up to the openly radical neo-Nazi regime. President Zelensky keeps saying in his interviews that there are no problems with the Russian language or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and that he is willing to discuss all these subjects with President Putin. It is a shame perhaps that a person I have always regarded as clever says that the Russian language and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have no problems in Ukraine. I have no doubt that he is very well aware of the situation. Maybe nothing at all is being reported to him, but in that case he is living in a dream world. But the West has definitely sent its signals to Zelensky.

As you have mentioned, it would be senseless to pin hopes on US military assistance. This has always been clear to everyone. If anyone entertained such illusions, such advisers are good for nothing in any government, including the government of Mr Zelensky. Regrettably, the West continues to try to convince us that the Minsk Agreements should be mitigated and the sequence of the actions set out in them changed. Zelensky says he likes the agreements, but only if it is all the other way round, that they first take full control of these territories, including the border with Russia, and only then deal with the elections, amnesty and a special status for these territories. It is clear that if they did this, if they were allowed to do this, there would be a massacre. The West is unable or unwilling to force Zelensky to comply with the Minsk Agreements strictly in accordance with the sequence set out in them, which does not permit any double interpretation and has been formulated unambiguously from the first to the last step. Control of the border is the very last step to be taken after these territories receive a special status, which must be sealed in the Constitution of Ukraine, after free elections are held there and their results are recognised as such by the OSCE.

Of course, there must also be total amnesty. Not in the way envisaged by the Poroshenko government or the current regime, which only want to approve an  amnesty on an individual basis for those who are proved to have committed no crime. This is yet another misinterpretation. The Minsk Agreements stipulate an amnesty for those who took part in fighting on both sides, without any transitional justice process, which our Western colleagues are now beginning to discuss.

I believe that the brunt of responsibility lies with the West, because only the West can make President Zelensky honour the commitments which his predecessor signed and he himself signed in Paris in December 2019 when he, the presidents of Russia and France and the Chancellor of Germany reaffirmed the absence of any alternative to the strict observance of the Minsk Agreements, and he pledged to amend the legislation and the Ukrainian Constitution to formalise the special status of Donbass on a permanent basis.

Dmitry Kiselev: Many people are wondering why Russia fails to recognise Donbass. It did recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia. There is an inner “lobby” in Russia, even among my fellow journalists, who are demanding that we recognise Donbass – the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Why are we failing in this?

Sergey Lavrov: You are right that there is an analogy with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But there is just one exception: no agreements similar to the Minsk Package of Measures were signed in those countries, when Saakashvili’s aggression against Tskhinval and the positions of peacekeepers, including Russian peacekeepers, occurred. The Medvedev-Sarkozy document was discussed there, and it implied a number of steps. But it was not signed by Georgia. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, after reaching an agreement with us in Moscow, took a plane to Tbilisi to ensure Saakashvili’s support for the document. Saakashvili signed it, but he deleted all the key provisions.  Mr Sarkozy attempted to represent this as a compromise, but everyone understood everything. It had a preamble saying that the Russian Federation and the French Republic, desirous of normalising the situation in South Caucasus, propose to Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia the following:  a ceasefire. Saakashvili crossed out the heading, leaving just the first and subsequent items. Since then, the West has been demanding that we comply with these agreements. This is just an example.

In the case of Donbass, the situation was different. The 17-hour long negotiations in Minsk involving the Normandy format leaders (President Franсois  Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Petr Poroshenko of Ukraine, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin) produced a result, which was endorsed, two days later, by the UN Security Council without any amendments or doubts that it should be implemented.

Today, the moral and international legal truth is on our side and on the side of the Donbass militias.  I think that we must not let Mr Zelensky and his entire team “off the hook,” writhing as they might. Mr Zelensky’s statement is a fine specimen (made when he had all but given up hope of turning the Minsk Agreements upside down) to the effect that they are no good, albeit necessary, because the saving of the Minsk Agreements guarantees that the sanctions against Moscow will be preserved as well. We asked the West, what they think about this. They just look aside shamefacedly and say nothing.  I think it is a shame and a disgrace, when an international legal document is held up to mockery in this manner.  The West, which has co-authored this document and supported it at the UN Security Council, is demonstrating absolute helplessness.

Dmitry Kiselev: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky cannot get a call through to President of Russia Vladimir Putin, who is not picking up the receiver. Your Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitry Kuleba, cannot get a call through to you. What does this mean? Why is this?

Sergey Lavrov: This means that they are seeking to revise the Minsk Agreements and represent Russia as a party to the conflict even in this area of their activities.

Requests that came in until recently both from my counterpart Kuleba and President Zelensky dealt with the topic of settlement in Donbass. We replied that this [topic] should be discussed not with us, but with Donetsk and Lugansk, as you agreed under the Minsk Agreements.   The agreements say in black and white that the key stages of settlement should be the subject of consultations and coordination with Donetsk and Lugansk. When they say that a “nasty situation is looming large” at the line of contact and want to talk to Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, they are barking up the wrong tree. Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in the Kremlin the other day, President Putin made it amply clear that if they wanted to talk about this, the address should be different.  If our colleagues, including President Zelensky, want to discuss how to normalise bilateral relations, they are welcome. We are always ready to talk about this.

Dmitry Kiselev: There is no reply or acceptance so far, is there?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that Mr Zelensky instructed the chief of his office, Andrey Yermak, to come to terms on the timeframes. The location is of no importance, because each day of delay means new deaths.

Incidentally, let us take the fact that people are dying and what is happening at the line of contact. Over the last couple of weeks, Kiev has been insisting quite aggressively on the need to reaffirm the ceasefire. All of its Western patrons have also been urging us to influence Donbass so that the ceasefire takes hold in earnest. Speaking on the phone with President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, President Putin reminded them of the facts. And the facts are as follows: In July 2020, the Contact Group reached what was perhaps the most serious and effective ceasefire agreement, because it contained a verification mechanism.  It implied a sequence of actions, primarily each side’s commitment not to return fire immediately on the spot but report the violation to the top command and wait for its order on how to act, to wit, whether to respond in kind or to negotiate an arrangement under the mechanisms created for commander-to-commander liaison on the ground.   This agreement, as it was implied, was translated into military orders issued by the DPR and the LPR. These orders were published. Kiev pledged to do the same, but did nothing. Instead it started fiddling with words again. Instead of performing the obligation to report each shelling attack to the top command and get orders from them, they began replacing this clear-cut arrangement with confused formulas, although they were blamed for this by Donetsk and Lugansk at all subsequent meetings, and Russian representatives in the Contact Group, too, repeatedly said as much. The same happened in the Normandy Format.  This is what Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak has been doing all these months in contacts with his French and German colleagues. The head of President Zelensky’s Office, Andrey Yermak, was representing Ukraine. I read transcripts of their talks. It was like talking to a brick wall. They were at cross purposes: the Ukrainian leaders had obviously decided that it was necessary to revive the ceasefire story. It was shameful and unseemly.

It was a great pleasure to watch the Servant of the People series, when no one suspected that its main character would follow this path in real life. But he took the wrong path. If Mr Zelensky watched the series again today and tried to fathom the convictions of the person he had impersonated so well on screen, and later compared those convictions with what he is doing now, he would, perhaps, have achieved one of the most effective transformations.  I do not know when he was himself and when he underwent a transformation. But the contrast is striking.

Dmitry Kiselev: Another subject is the Czech Republic. What was it? How are we to understand it?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot speculate on this because I do not understand intellectually what they wanted. One can watch it like a not too elegant television series.

This story is full of schizophrenic components. Czech president Milos Zeman says it should be sorted out, not denying the possibility of a subversive act by foreign agents, but suggesting taking into account the story told by the Czech leadership, including the incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babis (the then Minister of Finance, in 2014), that it was the result of negligence by the depot owners. President Zeman only suggested that consideration should be given to the case that has never been disproven over the seven years. He is accused of high treason now. President of the Senate Milos Vystrcil said that by stating the need to investigate all the leads President Zeman had disclosed a state secret. Is this not schizophrenia? A pure case, I think.

There needs to be an investigation into what was stored in the depot. The German media said that they kept antipersonnel mines prohibited by the convention signed, inter alia, by the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. A lot of questions remain.

Dmitry Kiselev: Indeed, how could it happen that a certain Bulgarian citizen supplying antipersonnel mines (by all appearances they were found there), controlled a depot in the Czech Republic which was not then under the control of the government?

Sergey Lavrov: It so happens.

Dmitry Kiselev: Maybe the Czechs would be better to start with themselves?

Sergey Lavrov: Probably. Or follow the example of Ukraine where too a vast number of armed people, weapons and ammunition are controlled not by the Ukrainian armed forces, but by “volunteer battalions.” It is a trend where the state proves its inability to ensure, if you like, its monopoly over the use of force.

Dmitry Kiselev: Ukraine is one thing but the Czech Republic is a member of the EU. It is bound by other international commitments than those of Ukraine and presents itself differently.

Sergey Lavrov: Above all, in addition to the aforementioned conventions (Ottawa Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the so-called Arms Trade Treaty, they are all parties to it), the EU has its own quite strict rules that do not encourage but rather prohibit any actions like supplies and sending forces to regions where there are conflicts.

Dmitry Kiselev: What do you think about the so-called British files? This looks like an orchestrated information campaign against Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: As before, the British continue to play a very active, serious and subversive role in relations between Russia and Europe. Britain has withdrawn from the EU but it has not slackened its activities there. On the contrary, it has been trying to exert maximum influence on the EU countries’ positions towards Moscow. This is not surprising at all.

You don’t even need to go very far back in history. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium. The inquest began in one way, and then the process was classified because it was necessary to analyse the materials of intelligence services. And then they announced the verdict, but the materials involved in the case have never been made public. As Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say, “Trust me.” I would rather side with Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify.” But they don’t allow us to verify; they only demand that we trust them.

In 2014, the Malaysian Boeing was downed. They formed a team comprising a narrow group of four countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine. They did not even invite Malaysia, the country that lost the plane. These four countries have agreed, as it has since transpired, that any information would only be revealed on the basis of consensus. Ukraine, where the disaster took place, was given the right of veto, while Malaysia was invited to join the group only six months later. The black boxes, which the self-defence forces provided to Malaysia, were analysed in London. I don’t recall them making the information public.

In 2018, there were the Skripals and the “highly likely.” Nobody knows to this day how the Skripals survived the alleged poisoning, why the police officer who worked with them did not display any symptoms of poisoning, and why the woman involved died while her partner did not get sick. There are very many questions.

In 2020, we had the case of Alexey Navalny. He was flying from Tomsk to Moscow, but the plane landed in Omsk. Nobody on board the plane or in the Omsk hospital got sick. A bottle of water [from his hotel room] was taken by Maria Pevchikh to Germany on the plane that transported Navalny – nobody knows anything. Doctors at the Charité hospital did not find any traces of poison, but they were found at the Bundeswehr. German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer demanded transparency in connection with our recent military drills in the southern and western regions of Russia. But we announced the drills beforehand, whereas the Bundeswehr, whose experts allegedly found traces of Navalny’s poisoning, is keeping information from us. Our request for the results of tests and biomaterials has been denied.

After that there was a long story involving the OPCW. It allegedly took part in collecting samples from Navalny. According to the remarkable information from Berlin, German experts were present during the collection of the samples, but OPCW experts are not mentioned at all. We are trying to sort this information out. Nobody wants to explain anything. Germany is directing us to the OPCW, which says that the request came from Germany and so we should ask them. It is a conspiracy of silence. We have seen this happen in crime movies about bandit groups operating all over the country after the war. This is regrettable.

Getting back to Britain, we can see that London is continuing its anti-Russia policy. Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore said a few days ago that Russia is “a declining power” whose allegedly “reckless behaviour” needs to be dealt with. This is inherent arrogance and a belief that they continue to rule the world. They are sending “signals” to us and propose establishing ties. In other words, they are not against communicating with us, but they are trying to discourage others from doing the same. This could be an aspiration for a monopoly of contacts and a desire to prove that they are superior to others.

Dmitry Kiselev: Speaking about decline, Britain is a perfect example of a declining empire “on which the sun never sets,” a small island in the North Sea with clouded prospects. To return to the Czech Republic, opinions within the country on the latest developments are totally inconsistent. There is no consensus, and nothing has yet been proven, but diplomats have been expelled. There has already been a result.

Sergey Lavrov: They claim that this is not the reason why our diplomats were expelled.  Two statements were made on the same day. They appeared to be interconnected. Prague is now trying to prove that there is no connection between them. They have announced that the explosions were organised by Petrov and Boshirov, the ubiquitous Russian suspects. It’s like blaming them for the sinking of the Titanic. The same day it was announced that 18 diplomats would have to leave the country. The majority of people accepted this as “punishment” for the 2014 explosions. After that, the Czech authorities said they would track down Petrov and Boshirov and issue an arrest warrant for them. As for the 18 diplomats, they identified them as spies. They expelled them because they turned out to be intelligence agents. No proof that any of these 18 diplomats are guilty of illegal activities has been provided. It is not surprising that former Czech President Vaclav Klaus said that the country’s authorities were like a tiny pooch barking at a huge dog, hoping that the big boys (the United States and Britain) would throw their weight behind them. Do you remember a time from your childhood when local bullies waited until dusk to demand 15 kopeks from a smaller kid, and if he refused they summoned the “big boys.” The logic is very similar. This is regrettable.

We never schemed against our Czech colleagues. Why would we need to blow up that warehouse? Some people say that the Russians were angry that the Bulgarian planned to send munitions to Ukraine. This is a completely schizophrenic view of the situation. This is impossible to imagine. But the machinery has been set in motion. I hope our Czech colleagues will come to their senses after all and will take a look at what they have done. If reason prevails, we will be ready to gradually rebuild the conditions for our diplomatic missions to function normally.  If not, we will make do. We know how we will be working. We don’t have to ingratiate ourselves with anyone.

Dmitry Kiselev: Working on what?

Sergey Lavrov: We know how we will be working in the Czech Republic and other countries. Pinpoint attacks are being made against Russia in the Baltics, Poland and, recently, Romania. Bucharest has added, though, that its decision was in no way connected to the EU’s position. This came as a surprise. They just decided to send that Russian diplomat back home. Why? They have not explained.

Dmitry Kiselev: It is notable that Germany has not supported the Czech Republic.

Sergey Lavrov: I have read the relevant statement by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He spoke like a responsible politician. It is not always that the German Foreign Ministry takes such a balanced and astute position. Many of its other statements have indiscriminately supported injustice, for example when Ukraine adopted sanctions against the Opposition Platform – For Life political party, its leader Viktor Medvedchuk and several of his associates, all of them Ukrainian citizens.  The German Foreign Ministry expressed its approval, saying that this was fully in keeping with OSCE principles. This is absurd.

Therefore, what Heiko Maas said the other day is a responsible political statement. It has not smoothed over differences but pointed out the importance of maintaining dialogue and looking for agreements, since we live side by side.

Dmitry Kiselev: Recently in China, you said we needed to look for alternatives to the SWIFT international payment system, and Russia was preparing for this. Is there a specific timeframe, and what stage of the preparations are we at?

Sergey Lavrov: Many have already spoken about this. This is happening because in recent years, the West has been looking for more ways of infringing on Russia’s legitimate interests. Now they are openly mentioning the possibility of disconnecting our country from SWIFT. Responsible politicians just have to think of ways to play it safe.

In addition to these statements, the United States is increasingly abusing the role of the dollar in the international monetary system, using certain countries’ dependence on dollar settlements to limit their competitive opportunities – China and other states they dislike. China, Russia, and Turkey are now looking for opportunities to reduce their dependence on the dollar by switching to alternative currencies, or even better – by making settlements in their national currencies. The responsible agencies, including in our country, are thinking about how to prevent damage to the economy and the financial system if some hotheads actually disconnect us from SWIFT. Russia launched a national payment card system a few years ago; MIR cards have been in use in Russia since then. The system is already developing ties with its foreign counterparts, as similar cards are being issued in China and Japan. It is also building ties with the internationally accepted payment card Maestro.

As regards the SWIFT system, specifically, the Central Bank of Russia recently introduced and continued to develop a system for the transfer of financial messages. It is quite popular. I think we need to support and strengthen this in every possible way to ensure we do not depend on anyone. Let me emphasise that we are not trying to self-isolate. We want to be part of the international community. Part of a community where justice and democracy work. We have discussed the problems of democracy with the West. But once they are asked to come to an agreement, to declare that democracy should triumph in international relations, too, they lose their enthusiasm. They are full of lectures on internal democratic processes, but when it comes to the international arena, we get raised eyebrows. Here, allegedly, there are established ‘practices’ that ‘Russia and China are trying to implement’ (it’s about this). But in reality, Moscow and Beijing only want to preserve the principles of the UN Charter, according to which everyone is equal and must seek agreement.

One needs to have a safety net in terms of payment systems and transfer of financial messages. We have one. I hope it will grow stronger and be able to provide a guarantee if suddenly, contrary to our desire to cooperate with everyone, the West discriminates against Russia, abusing its current position in the international economic and monetary systems, in this situation, we really cannot afford to depend on anyone.

Dmitry Kiselev: So the Central Bank’s system for transfer of financial messages is the budding alternative to SWIFT?

Sergey Lavrov: I am not an expert. I don’t know how reliably and effectively it provides a full warranty. But the groundwork is already there. I am confident that the Government and the Central Bank must do everything to make it reliable and guarantee us complete independence and protection from more damage that might be inflicted on us.

Dmitry Kiselev: In a conversation with your Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, you proposed an initiative to create a coalition of countries affected by illegal sanctions. To what extent has this project progressed? What countries could join it?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not put it like that. We have been working at the UN for a long time to end the practice of unilateral illegitimate sanctions such as embargoes, blockades and other restrictions. We have been working for a number of decades to lift the embargo the United States declared on Cuba. The respective resolution is supported by more than 190 votes annually, with only the United States and one small island nation voting against it.

However, since this practice of unilateral restrictions began to be widely used (started by Barack Obama, expanded by Donald Trump, and applied to this day), a large group of countries voted in the UN to establish the position of Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights and their impact on the civilian population and the socioeconomic situation in a particular country. Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan is a citizen of Belarus. This institution, created by the UN General Assembly, is working and circulating reports. I think it is a very useful step.

Another specific course of action is now being developed in New York to the same end, as you mentioned, to counter illegal unilateral measures. It is a group in support of the UN Charter. Nothing revolutionary – just in response to our Western colleagues forming flagrantly non-universal groups.

US President Joe Biden has put forth the idea of ​​holding a Summit for Democracy. Naturally, the Americans will recruit the participants and will judge who is worthy to be called a democracy and who is not.

Also, in recent years, our French and German colleagues have being making calls to ensure freedom of the media through the Alliance for Multilateralism, a group they announced outside the framework of universal institutions. They rallied more than thirty states under its banners even though there is UNESCO, where the same topic is discussed by everyone.

Or, there was an appeal in support of international humanitarian law. Law is universal. It is the responsibility of the UN bodies. But again, they recruited about 50 states.

Such appeals have nothing to do with universal bodies, but they cover the agenda that is discussed at a universal level. They place that agenda into a framework where they are more comfortable negotiating with those who obey, and then they present it as the ultimate truth.

This movement against illegitimate unilateral actions is much broader than just sanctions.

Dmitry Kiselev: Can this movement be formalised by membership?

Sergey Lavrov: The membership is in the UN. This is the difference: we are not creating anything against anyone. In the Asia-Pacific region, we would like to leave everything as it is. ASEAN has its partners, while anyone else can join security discussions. The logic of the West acts against this. They are implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy with its declared goal of containing China and isolating Russia.

The same is happening at the UN. They create various partnerships on topics that need to be discussed as part of the UN agenda. We insist that everyone must fulfil their obligations under the UN Charter, not scatter the global agenda across their compartments, only to present it later as the international community’s opinion.

Dmitry Kiselev: A recent update: the Americans confirmed they had made efforts to prevent Brazil from buying the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Brazil indeed refused, even though the coronavirus situation in that country is simply awful. What is your assessment?

Sergey Lavrov: This does not surprise me. The Americans are not even embarrassed to do things like that; they are not hiding it.

When former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to Africa, he openly and publicly called on his colleagues at a press conference to cut off trade with Russia and China because these countries pursue selfish goals. Right, the United States trades with African states for the sole benefit of their peoples, of course.

As for the vaccine issue, a protest movement kicked off in Brazil against that decision. If the Americans have admitted they were behind it, that means they are true to their logic and believe everything is possible and permitted, and they can now openly dictate their will.

Not so long ago, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of a new type of world war, and that Russia and China were using vaccines as a weapon and means of propaganda. That rhetoric is now receding. Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, is already seriously talking about the possibility of using the Russian vaccine.

We are not going to force anyone. I think life itself will set things straight. Vladimir Vysotsky said: “I always try to find the good in people. They will show the bad themselves.”

Dmitry Kiselev: A year ago, in an interview with our agency in the midst of the pandemic, you said you missed football. Are you back to sport yet?

Sergey Lavrov: In fact, I am. I did miss playing for a couple of weeks. We took a break and kept it low-key. But later, when we realised what precautions we could take, the games resumed. We play every Sunday.

واشنطن تعترف بمخاطر المُضي بخطة إسقاط لبنان

ناصر قنديل

منذ إعلان وزير خارجية فرنسا برونو لومير أمام وزراء مالية دول قمة العشرين تحذيره من الخلط بين مساعي مساعدة لبنان على التعافي الاقتصادي مع المواجهة التي تخوضها واشنطن مع طهران في مطلع العام 2020، وواشنطن ماضية في سياسات الضغوط القصوى وصولاً لإسقاط لبنان أملاً بأن تسقط بعض الشظايا على رأس حزب الله. وكانت تصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو ومعاونيه، تتركز في كل شاردة وواردة عن لبنان، تحت عنوان أن حزب الله سبب مشكلتكم أيها اللبنانيون، ومن دون مواجهة حزب الله لن يخرج لبنان من أي أزمة وسيصل إلى الانهيار، وليس خافياً كلام الرئيس الفرنسي ايمانويل ماكرون عن الدور التعطيلي لمبادرته الذي لعبته العقوبات الأميركيّة.

  مع تولي الرئيس جو بايدن وإعطائه الأولويّة للعودة للاتفاق النوويّ مع إيران، لم يتغير الخطاب الأميركي نحو لبنان، رغم التبدّل في الخطاب التحليليّ لأوضاع المنطقة الذي بدأ يتحدّث عن تغيير في السياسات سيلي التوصل لتفاهم يعيد الحياة إلى الاتفاق النووي، انطلاقاً من أن الضغوط الأميركية على حلفاء إيران كان جزءاً من كل، ومع انتفاء مبررات هذه الضغوط، لا قيمة لأن تسعى واشنطن لإسقاط لبنان أملاً بالضغط على حزب الله، وهي تمنح إيران ودائع محجوزة بمليارات الدولارات، تعلم أن بعضاً منها سيذهب لدعم إيران لحركات المقاومة وفي طليعتها حزب الله.

في قلب التصعيد بالخطاب الأميركي القائم على السعي للمضي قدماً بسياسة إسقاط لبنان، حذّر الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، من غباء هذا الطرح، لأن بلوغ لبنان حافة الانهيار، سيصيب فئات وشرائح ومؤسسات، تهتم أميركا لبقائها معافاة، بينما ستكون المقاومة وبيئتها المستهدفين بالخطة الأميركية آخر مَن يتأثر بهذه الضغوط، وتحدثت تحليلات كثيرة عن مخاطر العبث الأميركي، كان بينها التحذيرات الأوروبية والفرنسية خصوصاً من مخاطر توجّه موجات من النازحين السوريين نحو أوروبا تحت ضغط الجوع والفقر، والتحذيرات المشابهة من تفكك المؤسسات العسكرية والأمنية تحت تأثير انهيار القيمة الشرائية للرواتب من جهة، ونمو التشكيلات المتطرفة في بيئات الفقر، في ظل كلفة محدودة للاستثمار الأمنيّ في بلد تنهار عملته الوطنية، ومخاطر نشوء إمارة لتنظيم داعش في شمال لبنان، لكن واشنطن بقيت تصمّ آذانها عن كل هذه التحذيرات.

المقال الذي نشرته صحيفة ذي هيل بقلم مسؤول قوة المهام الأميركية الخاصة للبنان إدوارد غابرييل، يوم أمس، يشكل أول اعتراف أميركي بمخاطر المضي في السياسات السابقة، فيتحدث عن مخاطر نشوء دولة فاشلة في المشرق بصفته مساساً بالأمن القومي الأميركي، ويشير إلى خطر انهيار المؤسسة العسكرية اللبنانية، التي تشكل استثماراً أميركياً ناجحاً، لا يجوز التخلي عنه، ويتحدث بصراحة عن كون حزب الله أول المستفيدين من الأزمة بعدما تهيأ لتحصين بيئته الحاضنة بوجه مخاطرها، وليس آخر الخاسرين فقط، ليخلص إلى دعوة المعنيين في إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن لاتخاذ مبادرات تسرع الدفع باتجاه ولادة حكومة جديدة، والتأكيد أن هذه الحكومة ستلقى الدعم المناسب لدى صندوق النقد الدولي لمساعدة لبنان على الخروج من الأزمة، وتأمين حزمة مساعدات لمنع سقوط لبنان الى حين ولادة الحكومة التي يمكن أن تتأخر الى ما بعد الانتخابات في العام المقبل، التي يحدّدها غابرييل موعداً لانطلاق خطة المساعدة الشاملة.

الكلام الأميركي الجديد، يفتح الباب لاتصالات أميركية فرنسية وأميركية روسية لبلورة مبادرات سياسية، لن تكون السعودية وإيران بعيدتين عنها، لتفحص إمكانية حل المشكلة الحكومية، بعد تبلور صورة المشهد الإقليمي وحدود التسويات الممكنة في الملفات الساخنة خلال الصيف، وربما يكون خيار تأمين شبكة أمان الحد الأدنى حتى الانتخابات المقبلة أحد الفرضيات المطروحة على الطاولة، كما خيار الانتخابات المبكرة، علماً أن تذليل العقبات امام تشكيل الحكومة سيبقى احتمالاً كبيراً إذا كانت مناخات التسوية هي السائدة في المنطقة.

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إردوغان وبايدن والأرمن.. ليته لم يتصل! Erdogan, Biden, and the Armenians… If Only He Hadn’t Called!

! Erdogan, Biden, and the Armenians… If Only He Hadn’t Called!

ARABI SOURI 

US Vice President Biden with Turkish Madman Erdogan April 2016
حسني محلي

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

Five years ago, and specifically, on April 23, 2016, Recep Tayyip Erdogan received then US Vice President Joe Biden in his office in Sultan Abdul Hamid’s palace and sat him on the golden royal chair, noting that he was 80 minutes late after he was in a private lunch with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whom Erdogan “expelled” a month later after this occasion.

Five years after this meeting, President Biden, 3 months after his election, surprised his Turkish counterpart by calling yesterday (24 April), which carried with it many annoying and even humiliating meanings for him. The White House said “Biden called him to tell him that he would describe what the Armenians were subjected to in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide and ethnic cleansing,” which he did on Saturday evening.

US President also promised Erdogan to have “a lengthy and expanded” meeting on the sidelines of the Atlantic summit in Brussels next June, during which all issues of concern to Turkish-American relations in all their aspects will be discussed; bilateral, regional, and international, which may require many hours of discussion due to the heated nature of these issues, including the Russian “S-400” missiles, the relationship with Moscow, the situation in the Black Sea, the Turkish role in NATO, and its details include the Syrian crisis and American support for the Kurds, the situation in Iraq and the Turkish role in it, the Turkish-Iranian relations, the Turkish role in the region, democracy, and human rights in Turkey…

The former Turkish ambassador to Washington, Shukri Al-Akdag, expected “a difficult stage in Turkish-American relations during the coming period,” and pointed out that “Biden has not yet received the credentials of the new (Turkish) ambassador, Murat Morjan, and he has been waiting for him for 6 weeks.” The two countries are at the last turning point in their history, all because of President Erdogan’s wrong policies regionally, internationally, and internally.

Erdogan, who spoke highly of his intimate relations with Biden when he said on December 9 last year, “Biden visited me at my house when I was sick,” seems to have forgotten or ignored when he said about him in December 2019 that he is “tyrannical and must be disposed of democratically through supporting the opposition.”

On October 3, 2014, (Biden) said on Turkey, Erdogan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, “It supported all jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIS and Al-Nusra, to get rid of President Assad, and spent millions of dollars, and transferred weapons and foreign terrorists to Syria.”

In all cases, and while awaiting the Atlantic summit in Brussels on June 14, everyone knows that President Erdogan will face many difficult and complex challenges in the entirety of his regional and international calculations, due to his contradictions, which seem to have brought Turkey to the end of the dark road. A good example of this is Washington’s decision to exclude it from the F-35 project, due to its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, without this being sufficient to win the favor of Moscow, which said a day after this decision: “Russia will reconsider its military relations with Ankara if it continues to send its drones to Ukraine.”

Erdogan’s efforts to reconcile with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, and later “Israel”, constitute another example of these contradictions that President Erdogan is preparing to exploit in his upcoming and decisive meeting with Biden. The former Turkish ambassador to Washington, Namiq Tan, expecting this meeting “to put points on the letters in the future of Turkish-American relations, in all its political, military, and economic aspects, this will require Erdogan to accept or reject the requests and conditions of Biden, who knows the extent of the strategic importance of Turkey.

The statements of the two Turkish ambassadors, Al-Akdag and Tan, clearly reflect how important the next few days are for Erdogan, who has only to close all the files that will be on the table during his meeting with Biden. This will require him to clarify the image of the relationship with his friend, President Putin, with all its implications for Turkish-Russian coordination and cooperation in Syria in the first place, because Washington has its own calculations there, and in particular its support for the Kurds, despite Turkey’s deep concern about that.

The prevailing opinion in Turkey is that Erdogan tends to accept most of the conditions and demands of President Biden, who will not be late in supporting Ankara to get it out of its serious economic and financial crisis, as getting out of this crisis will help the Turkish president to address all his internal problems and get rid of the opposition pressures that he will easily overcome if Washington flooded him with its dollars that would tickle the feelings of the Turkish citizen, without being indifferent to what Erdogan offered or would offer in terms of concessions to the strategic ally Washington.

Turkey has been for many years a “fish in its hook that cannot be easily disposed of,” and the saying here is by former US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and the ultimate decision by President Biden, and Erdogan before him, because he has not yet determined the course of his regional and international policies, beginning with Iran, with their implications on all regional issues, the most important of which is Syria, Iran, and Yemen, due to the concerns of “Israel” in it, and finally with Russia, which Biden wanted to try his luck with it in Ukraine, in which its response was firm, decisive and clear.

In all cases, and whatever the content and duration of the possible meeting between Erdogan and Biden on June 14, the recognizing of the Armenian genocide by the latter will worry Ankara, with or without Erdogan, as his recognition of this genocide, which 28 countries have recognized so far, maybe followed by the demands of the Armenians for monetary compensation for their property in Turkey, after they were expelled from it at and during the First World War.

Although these potential demands are reminiscent of Israel’s demand for material compensation from the Arab countries that the Jews left after the “establishment of the Hebrew state” in 1948, some expect Tel Aviv and the Jewish lobbies in Washington to impede the Armenian demands, so that they continue to exploit emotional sentiment and global human solidarity with the victims of the Nazi genocide of the Jews at and during the First World War.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=4BrfZmXy7L

Others expect Tel Aviv and the Jewish lobbies to provoke the Armenians in the issue of compensation, as this would be a card that would help Tel Aviv in its attempts to pressure Ankara to force it to reconcile or keep it away from any hostile approach to it, with the continuation of Turkish contradictions in this area, especially after the so-called “Spring” Arabi”.

Despite the threat and menacing that President Erdogan issued, on more than one occasion, against “Israel” and Netanyahu, Ankara did not use the right of veto against “Israel” joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and opening an Israeli representation at NATO headquarters.

The file of the Marmara ship case was also closed in exchange for 20 million dollars donated by Tel Aviv to the families of the victims, at a time when trade exchange between the two countries reached record numbers, with the continued flow of Azerbaijani and Iraqi oil from Turkish ports to Israel.

There is no doubt that President Biden attaches special importance to these issues in Washington’s regional policies, regardless of the shape and size of the apathy with Netanyahu, given that “Israel” is a distinct American product that Washington does not want anyone to say it is corrupt and not consumable anymore, provided that the recognition of the genocide is an emotional issue with a weak displaced people without diminishing regional and international calculations, especially after the recent displacement they were subjected to from Syria and Iraq, without any indifference from Biden and Macron, who tweeted today to say: “We will not forget you!”

إردوغان وبايدن والأرمن.. ليته لم يتصل!

حسني محلي

الرأي السائد في تركيا أن يتجه إردوغان للقبول بمعظم شروط بايدن ومطالبه، والذي لن يتأخر حينها في دعم أنقرة لإخراجها من أزمتها الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة.

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

المصدر: الميادين نت

24 نيسان 2021

السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع
السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع “مرحلة صعبة في العلاقات التركية – الأميركية خلال المرحلة القادمة”.

قبل 5 سنوات، وتحديداً في 23 نيسان/أبريل 2016، استقبل رجب طيب إردوغان نائب الرئيس الأميركي آنذاك، جو بايدن، في مكتبه في قصر السلطان عبد الحميد، وأجلسه على الكرسي السلطاني المذهّب، علماً أنه تأخر عن موعده 80 دقيقة، بعد أن كان في حفل غداء خاص مع رئيس الوزراء أحمد داود أوغلو، الذي “طرده” إردوغان بعد شهر من هذه المناسبة. 

بعد هذا اللقاء بخمس سنوات، فاجأ الرئيس بايدن، وبعد 3 أشهر من انتخابه، نظيره التركي باتصاله الهاتفي أمس، والذي حمل في طياته الكثير من المعاني المزعجة، وحتى المهينة بالنسبة إليه، فقد ذكر البيت الأبيض “إن بايدن اتصل به ليقول له إنه سيصف ما تعرض له الأرمن في العام 1915 على يد الدولة العثمانية بالإبادة الجماعية والتطهير العرقي”، وهو ما فعله مساء السبت. 

كما وعد الرئيس الأميركي إردوغان بلقاء “مطول وموسع” على هامش القمة الأطلسية في بروكسل في حزيران/يونيو القادم، يتم خلاله بحث مجمل القضايا التي تهم العلاقات التركية – الأميركية بكل جوانبها؛ الثنائية والإقليمية والدولية، وهو ما قد يحتاج إلى ساعات طويلة من النقاش بسبب سخونة هذه القضايا، ومنها صواريخ “أس-400” الروسية، والعلاقة مع موسكو، والوضع في البحر الأسود، والدور التركي في الحلف الأطلسي وتفاصيله تشمل الأزمة السورية، والدعم الأميركي للكرد، والوضع في العراق والتحركات التركية فيه، والعلاقات التركية – الإيرانية، والدور التركي في المنطقة، والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان في تركيا…

السفير التركي السابق في واشنطن، شكري الأكداغ، توقع “مرحلة صعبة في العلاقات التركية – الأميركية خلال المرحلة القادمة”، وأشار إلى “عدم استلام بايدن حتى الآن أوراق اعتماد السفير الجديد مراد مرجان، وهو ينتظره منذ 6 أسابيع”، وقال: “العلاقات بين البلدين في المنعطف الأخير من تاريخها. كل ذلك بسبب سياسات الرئيس إردوغان الخاطئة إقليمياً ودولياً وداخلياً”.

إردوغان الذي تغنى بعلاقاته الحميمة مع بايدن عندما قال في 9 كانون الأول/ديسمبر العام الماضي: “بايدن زارني في منزلي عندما كنت مريضاً”، يبدو أنه نسي أو تناسى عندما قال عنه في كانون الأول/ديسمبر 2019 إنه “استبدادي ويجب التخلص منه ديمقراطياً عبر دعم المعارضة”.

وقد قال في 3 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 2014 عن تركيا إردوغان والسعودية والإمارات “إنها دعمت كل الجماعات الجهادية الإرهابية، بما فيها داعش والنصرة، للتخلص من الرئيس الأسد، وصرفت الملايين من الدولارات، ونقلت الأسلحة والإرهابيين الأجانب إلى سوريا”.

 في جميع الحالات، ومع انتظار القمة الأطلسية في بروكسل في 14 حزيران/يونيو، يعرف الجميع أن الرئيس إردوغان سيواجه الكثير من التحديات الصعبة والمعقدة في مجمل حساباته الإقليمية والدولية، بسبب تناقضاته التي يبدو واضحاً أنها أوصلت تركيا إلى نهاية الطريق المظلم. خير مثال على ذلك هو قرار واشنطن استبعادها من مشروع طائرات “أف-35″، بسبب شرائها صواريخ “أس-400” الروسية، من دون أن يكون ذلك كافياً لكسب ود موسكو، التي قالت بعد يوم من هذا القرار “إن روسيا ستعيد النظر في علاقاتها العسكرية مع أنقرة إذا استمرت في إرسال طائراتها المسيرة إلى أوكرانيا”.

مساعي إردوغان للمصالحة مع السعودية ومصر والإمارات، ولاحقاً “إسرائيل”، تشكل مثالاً آخر على هذه التناقضات التي يستعد الرئيس إردوغان لاستغلالها في لقائه القادم والحاسم مع بايدن، فالسفير التركي الأسبق في واشنطن نامق، توقع لهذا اللقاء “أن يضع النقاط على الحروف في مستقبل العلاقات التركية – الأميركية بكل جوانبها السياسية والعسكرية والاقتصادية، وهو ما سيتطلب من إردوغان قبول أو رفض طلبات وشروط بايدن الذي يعرف مدى الأهمية الاستراتيجية لتركيا”.

أقوال السفيرين التركيين الأكداغ وتان تعكس بوضوح مدى أهمية الأيام القليلة القادمة بالنسبة إلى إردوغان، الذي ما عليه إلا أن يغلق مجمل الملفات التي ستكون على الطاولة خلال لقائه مع بايدن. وسيتطلب ذلك منه توضيح صورة العلاقة مع صديقه الرئيس بوتين بكل انعكاساتها على التنسيق والتعاون التركي – الروسي في سوريا في الدرجة الأولى، لما لواشنطن من حسابات خاصة بها هناك، وبشكل خاص دعمها للكرد، على الرغم من القلق التركي البالغ من ذلك.

الرأي السائد في تركيا أن يتجه إردوغان للقبول بمعظم شروط الرئيس بايدن ومطالبه، والذي لن يتأخر حينها في دعم أنقرة لإخراجها من أزمتها الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة، فالخروج من هذه الأزمة سيساعد الرئيس التركي على معالجة مجمل مشاكله الداخلية والتخلص من ضغوط المعارضة التي سيتغلب عليها بسهولة إذا أغرقته واشنطن بدولاراتها التي ستدغدغ مشاعر المواطن التركي، من دون أن يبالي بما قدمه أو سيقدمه إردوغان من تنازلات للحليف الاستراتيجي واشنطن.

لقد كانت تركيا لسنوات طويلة “سمكة في صنارتها لا يمكن التخلص منها بسهولة”، والقول هنا لوزير الخارجية الأميركي الأسبق جون فوستر دالاس، والقرار في نهاية المطاف للرئيس بايدن، وقبله إردوغان، لأنه لم يحدد بعد مسار سياساته الإقليمية والدولية، بداية مع إيران، بانعكاساتها على مجمل القضايا الإقليمية، وأهمها سوريا وإيران واليمن، لاهتمامات “إسرائيل” بها، ونهايةً مع روسيا، التي أراد بايدن أن يجرب حظه معها في أوكرانيا، فكان الرد منها حازماً وحاسماً وواضحاً.

 في جميع الحالات، ومهما كان مضمون اللقاء المحتمل بين إردوغان وبايدن في 14 حزيران/يونيو القادم ومدته، فإن الإبادة الأرمنية التي أقرها الأخير ستقلق بال أنقرة، بإردوغان أو من دونه، فاعترافه بهذه الإبادة التي اعترفت بها حتى الآن 28 دولة قد يلحق بها مطالب الأرمن بالتعويض المادي لممتلكاتهم في تركيا، بعد أن طردوا منها إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها.

ورغم أن هذه المطالب المحتملة تذكّر بمطالبة “إسرائيل” بتعويضات مادية من الدول العربية التي غادرها اليهود بعد “قيام الدولة العبرية” في العام 1948، فالبعض يتوقع لتل أبيب واللوبيات اليهودية في واشنطن أن تعرقل المطالب الأرمنية، حتى تستمر في استغلال الشعور العاطفي والتضامن الإنساني العالمي مع ضحايا الإبادة النازية لليهود إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها.

ويتوقع آخرون لتل أبيب واللوبيات اليهودية أن تستفز الأرمن في موضوع التعويضات، ليكون ذلك ورقة تساعد تل أبيب في محاولاتها للضغط على أنقرة لإجبارها على المصالحة أو إبعادها عن أي نهج معادٍ لها، مع استمرار التناقضات التركية في هذا المجال، وخصوصاً بعد ما يسمى بـ”الربيع العربي”. 

وعلى الرغم من التهديد والوعيد الذي أطلقه الرئيس إردوغان، وفي أكثر من مناسبة، ضد “إسرائيل” ونتنياهو، لم تستخدم أنقرة حق الفيتو ضد انضمام “إسرائيل” إلى منظمة التعاون والتنمية الاقتصادية (OECD) وفتح ممثلية إسرائيلية في مقر الحلف الأطلسي.

 كما أغلقت ملف قضية سفينة مرمرة مقابل 20 مليون دولار تبرعت بها تل أبيب لعائلات الضحايا، في الوقت الذي سجل التبادل التجاري بين البلدين أرقاماً قياسية، مع استمرار تدفق النفط الأذربيجاني والعراقي من الموانئ التركية إلى “إسرائيل”.

لا شك في أن الرئيس بايدن يولي هذه القضايا أهمية خاصة في سياسات واشنطن الإقليمية، مهما كان شكل الفتور مع نتنياهو وحجمه، باعتبار أن “إسرائيل” صناعة أميركية مميزة لا تريد واشنطن لأحد أن يقول عنها إنها فاسدة وغير قابلة للاستهلاك بعد الآن، على أن يبقى الاعتراف بالإبادة موضوعاً عاطفياً مع شعب مشرد ضعيف من دون أن يقلل ذلك من الحسابات الإقليمية والدولية، وخصوصاً بعد ما تعرضوا له من تهجير أخير من سوريا والعراق، من دون أي مبالاة من بايدن وماكرون الذي غرد اليوم ليقول: “لن ننساكم!”.

What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

April 23, 2021

The Saker

There is, amongst some, a strong sense of relief: Defense Minister Shoigu has declared that the formations deployed by Russia to western Russia will now return to their regular bases.  Of course, the Ukrainians claim that they “deterred a Russian attack” while the Russians say that “the West got the message”.  Is that so and, if yes, who is right?

Well, I think that we can dismiss the Ukie nonsense out of hand.  Nobody out there, except the Ukrainians themselves, seriously believe that Russia “blinked”, if only because destroying the entire Ukrainian military would take Russia less than a week.  In fact, the Ukrainians know that very well, they just won’t admit it.

Notice that while the Ukrainians claim that they deterred Russia, Russia does not claim to have deterred the Ukrainians, instead Russia declared that the Russian bear roared loud enough to deter the united West.  Right there we have an important clue as to what has really happened.

I, however, submit that the causes which triggered the initial Ukrainian move to bring a large armored force right to the line of contact are still here.  In other words, nothing has been resolved.

What happened is this: in response to the threat from both the Ukrainians and US/NATO, Russia simply demonstrated her ability to quickly concentrate a truly huge force (2 Armies and 2 Airborne Divisions) along her border.  She also redeployed the Caspian Flotilla into the Black Sea, brought in large landing ships and, generally, “flexed her military muscles” in order to convey a clear message to the Ukrainians, the Europeans and the US:

  • To the Ukrainians: attack the Donbass and you will die, as for the Ukraine, it will break apart into several new successor states.
  • To the EU: if a war starts, you will even lose the very little agency you have left and your economy will not be competitive against the USA.
  • To the USA: if a war starts, you will face a stark choice: lose face or start a full-scale war against Russia.

Yes, so far, this strategy has proved very effective.  The Ukrainians were clearly terrified and the EU showed no enthusiasm for that war (except the UK, which risks very little, and the Poles who specialize in stupid historical decisions).  As for “Biden”, he realized that a full scale war against Russia was suicidal.

So are we now out of the danger zone?

Absolutely not.  There is still one thing the West is determined to achieve: to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian.  For the US Neocons, to see the two Slavic brothers kill each other is old dream come true.  Furthermore, the US still needs to bring the EU down to its economic knees to force it to buy energy, services and goods from the USA.  Last, but not least, the Ukraine has lost any appeal it might have had for the USA: the only thing which the Ukraine can still offer is to be a thorn in Russia’s side.

And then, there is the “Ze” regime in Kiev: not viable, not reformable, the Ukraine is has been comprehensively deindustrialized and now the Ukrainians are dying in huge numbers from the COVID pandemic: Banderastan is the ultimate failed state, worse than many African ones, in fact.

Yes, “Ze” was told by his masters to “cool it” and, so far, he has obeyed, but that solves exactly none of his problems.  Worse, there are a lot of well-armed Ukronazi deathsquads who still have the means to create some kind of incident which would reignite the whole thing again.  Also, it is worth remembering that the Brits and the Ukies both have a proven record of successful covert operations, which by definition include false flags.

In other words, nothing has really changed.  Yes, right now, Uncle Shmuel is trying to find out what his options are, and he will come up with a corrected plan (remember, Neocons are stupid, yes, but they are also clever in a short term, “horizontal” way).  Right now “Biden” is licking his wounds from the embarrassing faceplant with the attempt to kill Lukashenko and the (frankly silly) nonsense coming out of the Czech Republic.  There are some signs that at least the Germans realize what is really going on and who is truly trying to screw them over (while most of the German political class is corrupt to the bone, some German politicians are sensitive to the mood of the German business community).

Simply put: all we are observing today is a short term reprieve, nothing more.

The Russians know that, and it is safe to say that while some of their forces will demonstratively retreat, others will stay.  More importantly, now that this operational redeployment of key formations has been rehearsed, very publicly, the Russians have shown the US/NATO that Russia can deal with any military threat (in contrast, it would take NATO months to bring a big enough force to eastern Europe to represent a credible threat).

Finally, Ze has made a rather ridiculous speech telling Putin that they should meet.  Putin’s response was perfect: you want to meet with me to discuss our bilateral relations (which, incidentally, you have destroyed) – sure.  No problem.  But if you want to discuss the Donbass, you have to engage in direct talks with the LDNR, as the Minsk Agreement and the Steinmeier formula, which you have signed, stipulate.  In other words, back to square one.

This is a situation of not one, but two “thorns”: the Ukronazi Banderastan is definitely a thorn in the side of Russia, while the LDNR is a thorn in the side of Banderastan.  Make a guess, which side can put up with its thorn longer than the other side?

Many have forgotten it, but in a moment of anger, Poroshenko did tell Putin “take the Donbass if you want it!”, and Putin declined.  Since then, the Russians have shown over and over again that they do NOT want the Donbass.  At most, they might have to take it to save it from genocide, but even in this case the Russians have no intentions of invading the rest of the Ukraine only to have to deal with 1) Ukronazi insurgencies and 2) rebuilding this failed state from its current zero all the way back.  And that is the worst Russian threat not only for the Ukraine, but for all of Europe: Russia does NOT want, or need, the Ukraine and Russia won’t take it over, even in case of a full-scale war.  At most, Russia will repeat what she did in the 08.08.08 war: defang the Nazi regime by obliterating the Ukrainian military, and then let the regime naturally collapse.

Anyway, I will write a more detailed analysis of this situation next week, but right now I submit that all that is happened is a limited and temporary deescalation, not any kind of return to even semi-normality (and the Ukies are still murdering LDNR civilians every day, including with heavy weapons).

So, what do you think?  Back to sanity, or only a reprieve?

The Saker

Iran will not nibble on US temporary sanctions relief bait

The US is in no credible position to demand new conditions for re-entering th JCPOA, which could just as easily be walked out on again

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 23, 2021

Spokesman: Temporary agreement not on agenda of Vienna talks, Iran does not want lengthy negotiations

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: Iran is clearly putting the US in the dog house in terms of being the country that walked out on the deal and imposed sanctions. The US is in no credible position to demand new conditions for re-entering the JCPOA, which could just as easily be walked out on again.

In a way, Iran is fighting for any country that makes a deal with the US now or in the future. In the future, what would be the penalty for any US administration that walks out on deals after five years of negotiation?

Do other nations think by any means that if the US were successful in getting the Iran deal renegotiated, that other countries would attempt to do the same using the US model?

Trump’s trouncing of the deal has put future US negotiations in the maybe category, as the Republicans just recently held that they would not feel bound to any agreement that the Biden administration made in international diplomacy.

But the clock is ticking for the US, because if a deal is not made by the end of May, the Iranian people may feel it is time to vote in a more hard line government and let it have a try, after the moderates have been unsuccessful.

We are also vulnerable to other malefactors wrecking the deal with the tried and true false flag terror attack, one big enough to shut the talks down on the spot. The potential perpetrators of such an event are on a short list, and Israel is at the top, compliments of its past history.

Bibi is fighting for his political life and would do anything in his power to save his hide. He is already trying to break the Israeli election log jam of not being able to form a government by pushing for a straight up election on Prime Minister, as the polls currently show him winning it.

A desperate Bibi is a dangerous one, even with Gantz as Defense Minister, as that could change quickly if a new government was formed. We are all twisting in the wind now, until some grownups take over the insane asylum… Jim W. Dean ]

First published … April 22, 2021

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry says achieving a temporary agreement on how to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers has never been on the agenda of the ongoing talks between Tehran and other signatories to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Saeed Khatibzadeh made the remarks in an online Q&A session on Thursday, when asked about the main topics under discussion during JCPOA negotiations, which took place in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

“There has never been a discussion on a temporary agreement, but what has been discussed is full compliance of the United States with the JCPOA, the method used to verify [US compliance] and then retracting Iran’s remedial steps on the JCPOA,” he said.

Khatibzadeh added that there are still many differences on important issues, including the order of steps that must be taken, removal of all sanctions and verification of measures taken, but “I think that all parties have shown enough goodwill to move forward in Vienna.”

Asked whether participants in Vienna talks are compiling a new agreement parallel to the original one, he said, “The JCPOA was negotiated once and no new talks will be held on its contents.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman then added that a main concern not only for Iran, but also for other signatories to the JCPOA, is how to make sure that the United States will not  breach any future promises.

“This is a concern not only for Iran, but for the entire P4+1, because when the US left the JCPOA, it not only pressured Iran, but also mounted pressure on European countries to end their presence in Iran. Therefore, all parties are now seeking guarantees” that this will not happen again, Khatibzadeh said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized that the background of US breaching its commitments has made verification of the utmost importance and “it is quite natural for Iran to want to painstakingly verify measures taken by the US.”

“This is why we emphasize that it is them (American) who must return to full [JCPOA] compliance first. We must verify this and make sure that they are not playing with words and will not try to undermine Iran’s foreign relations and trade,” Khatibzadeh added.

The spokesman further stated that just in the same way that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stressed the importance of objective verification of Iran’s measures, Iran for its part, will not accept that sanctions would be removed only on paper.

“Therefore, Iran wants to verify the removal of sanctions in practice and see that sanctions have been really removed in various fields, including financial transactions, banking, oil sale, insurance, transportation and any other area related to the US commitments.”

The Foreign Ministry spokesman further noted that “Iran is in no hurry in [Vienna] negotiations, but at the same time, does not want to get involved in lengthy and attritional talks.”

Khatibzadeh’s remarks came after an informed source told Press TV that Iran does not accept the sequential lifting of sanctions in the ongoing talks on the revival of 2015 nuclear deal and the bans must be removed altogether.

The source said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would by no means settle for the suspension, easing or extending waiver of sanctions and that the bans should entirely be removed.

The informed source told Press TV that a one-week verification of lifting anti-Iran bans is not possible and it takes between three and six months to verify the lifting of sanctions.

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, left the JCPOA in May 2018 and restored the economic sanctions that the accord had lifted in addition to imposing new non-nuclear ones. Tehran returned the non-commitment of the US to the deal with remedial nuclear measures that it is entitled to take under the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36.

After a change of administration in the US, new President Joe Biden has claimed that Washington is ready to rejoin the deal.

The Islamic Republic has insisted that it would only stop its adherence to the JCPOA paragraph once the US lifted all the sanctions in one step and after Iran has verified that the sanctions relief has actually taken place.

The US so far failed to meet Iran’s condition. The diplomatic process began in Vienne on April 6 aimed at ending the dispute over the JCPOA.

BIOGRAPHY

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

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

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

April 19, 2021

Amazing news over the week-end: President Lukashenko has declared that Biden gave the order to kill him in a coup organized by the CIA.  Now, we all know that Lukashenko says all sorts of things, many of them false or plain silly.  Except that the Russian FSB has confirmed it all!  According to the Russians, a joint operation of the (Bielorussian) KGB and the Russian FSB has uncovered the plot early on and the Russians monitored the full operation until they had enough evidence to arrest all the plotters.  Not only do the Russians have videos of their meetings, they also intercepted their Zoom videoconferences (Zoom users, use Jitsi instead!).

So far so good.  But it gets better!

Unlike the US/UK and others, the Russian FSB did not say that they were “confident” that it was “highly likely” that this operation took place.  They released all the footage of a meeting of the plotters in Moscow which confirms it all (I don’t have the time to translate that footage, but I am confident that somebody will – if you come across an English language translation, please post it in the comments section below!).

One not familiar with such operations might be baffled over why this meeting took place in Moscow and not in Warsaw or Riga.  There are several reasons for that:

  • There is a practically open border between Belarus and Russia, which form “а unified state”, and there is nothing easier for the (supposed) Bielorussian traitors (from the military) to jump in a car and get to Moscow.
  • Using Warsaw or Riga would dramatically reduce what the CIA calls “plausible deniability” for the US and NATO.
  • Yes, meeting in Moscow was still stupid, but no more stupid than the failed US coup to do to Maduro when the US did exactly what they tried to do to Lukashenko.  The fact that both operations failed is par for the course for the (mostly clueless) CIA.
  • The main plotter, a very well-known anti-Lukashenko activist, is a double national Bielorussian and US American and for him to move to Minsk for that meeting would be very dangerous.
  • Last, but not least, the Bielorussian KGB operates in a very tightly controlled Bielorussian society whereas Russian is an open and liberal society, so one could have (mistakenly) thought that a meeting in Moscow would have been a better idea.

Interesting story, no?

Also, if you wonder whether it is credible that the FSB saved Lukashenko – I will remind you that it was the Russians who saved Erdogan from a US-backed coup which was also supposed to include Erdogan’s murder (the Turks practically admitted it publicly several times).

But it gets even better!

As soon as the accusation of a CIA plan to murder Lukashenko in a coup came out, they did what they always do: denied it against all evidence and created a huge distraction: the US colony known as the “Czech Republic” declared that the explosion of a weapons depot in the Czech Republic in 2014 was a Russian sabotage involving…   … wait for it… … drum roll…. the very same Petrov and Boshirov whom the UK accused of poisoning the Skripals!

Friends, the Czechs released this story withing ONE HOUR of the Bielorussian news!  One hour, seriously!

The Czechs immediately expelled 18 Russian diplomats and the Russian reciprocated by expelling 20 Czech diplomats leaving only 5 in Moscow.  So if we use the English expression about the “shitting hitting the fan”, then it would also be fair to refer to the Czechs as “shit shields” for the Empire 🙂

By the way, the official Czech investigation in 2014 concluded that the explosion was caused by negligence, not sabotage but, really, who cares?  After all, look at these accusations, all as unproven and as silly as this one: (partial list in no special order)

  • Russian invaded the Donbass
  • Russia shot down MH-17
  • Russia tried to poison the Skripals
  • Russia murdered Berezovskii
  • Russia tried to poison Litvenenko
  • Russia tried to poison Navalnyi
  • Russia murdered Boris Nemtsov
  • Russia murdered Politkovskaia
  • Russia tried to poison Yushchenko
  • Russia interfered in two US elections
  • Russia hacked the DNC computers
  • Russia paid Afghans to kill US soliders
  • The Russian shot down the aircraft of the Polish president over Smolensk
  • The Russian tried to organize a coup in Montenegro
  • The Russians organized the movement for an independent Catalonia

To repeat, none, NONE of these accusations were ever proven or even substantiated.  ALL of these accusations are solely based on the putatively undeniable credibility of the western special services.

And, of course, the western “Russia experts” all fully endorsed this nonsense (hey, that is what these so-called “experts” are paid to do; as somebody who once was a member of the IISS, I know these “experts” and their “expertise” well enough – I even resigned from the IISS in protest over its total subservience to US anti-Russian narratives).

And people who call themselves “democrats” and people capable of critical thought buy all this shit with no doubts whatsoever, none.  They don’t even see how pathetic and clueless they really are…

So the Czechs (and their US masters) are running a well rehearsed and “safe” track because they all know that the western audience is fully accustomed to hear the following:

We accuse Russia of X, we say that our special services have evidence, but we won’t present any; as for the western media, they will, of course, trust the western special services, because they are “democratic” and, therefore, “trustworthy” (Iraq anybody?!).

Another trick, which the Czechs used in this case, is this: on the first day announce urbi et orbi that “we will soon release all the incontrovertible evidence we have” and then simply declare it classified because it is important not to show the Russians the evidence of their own, putatively Russian, operation.  As for the western press, they, of course, simply forget about that and go onto the the next Russia bashing story.

It is simple, but with the kind of sheep the western regimes deal with, it is also effective.

Finally, when truly desperate, you can count on the MI6 run Bellincat to get their “evidence”, I kid you not, from the social media on the Internet.

And, again, the western sheep “eat it all up”, with appetite and gusto!  Sic transit gloria mundi indeed!

Still, accusing the self same two putative GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov shows how desperate the Czechs were too cook up some story literally overnight.  Now they look stupid beyond any conceivable explanations for such a massive and, frankly, hilarious faceplant.

Will the people of the Czech Republic now revolt in outrage against the sheer idiocy of their leaders?  Nah, of course not.  After all, we are living in a post-truth (and, I would argue, post-logical) world where the only thing which matters is to follow the SS motto of “my honor is fidelity” and blind obedience to the masters of the day.

What about the US in all this?  Would “Biden” really be crazy enough to try to murder a foreign leader?

Well, as I like to say, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, right?  How many foreign leaders has the CIA actually murdered and how many did she only try, and fail, to murder?  (Note: somebody ought to compare the number of foreign leaders murdered by the US and the USSR.  I am sure that the comparison would be both shocking and very telling).  How about the official (White House admitted) murder of General Soleimani?  Was that operation not far more dangerous than to use locals to try to assassinate a weakened and embattled leader like Lukashenko?

So, you tell me: true story of “Russian disinformation”?

The Saker

PS: in case you wonder, the Russians are laughing hysterically and scratching their heads wondering what in the world happened to a once civilized western society.

PPS: by the way, the Russian FSB also arrested the Ukie consul in Saint Petersburg at the moment when he was receiving classified information from what he thought was an agent.  He will be expelled.  It was a great week end for the FSB – there will be lost of medals handed out for this good work.

UPDATE1:  Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry’s chief spokeswoman has now officially confirmed it all on Russian TV.

UPDATE2: The Kremlin just confirmed the Putin and Biden discussed this topic during their telephone conference.

UPDATE3: Got to love the western media, not a word about the coup, all about the Czech fairy tale.

U.S. POLICY CHANGES FASTER THAN THE WEATHER

 16.04.2021 

South Front

Video: Biden's Phone Call To Putin. US Policy Changes Faster than the  Weather - Global Research
Video here

You can read this article in German. LINK

Hopes and expectations for a partial normalization between Moscow, Washington and Kiev stepping off the warpath were brief and flickered only for a moment before being entirely extinguished.

On April 13, U.S. President Joe Biden held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House statement on the matter was positive, optimistic even, saying that the two discussed a number of regional and global issues.

They agreed to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues.

They spoke about Ukraine, and how Russia needs to put forward effort to de-escalate the situation.

In response, Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures.

The counterparts agreed to meet for talks a month after the diplomatic crisis sparked by Biden’s claims that Putin was a “killer.”

The situation seemed to be largely defused, proven by the fact that the United States decided not to deploy two of its warships to the Black Sea and, in fact, recalled them.

Immediately after that, the Biden Administration turned around, with the US President signing an executive order sanctioning Russia, and recalling 10 ambassadors.

He declared a national emergency over Russia’s alleged threat and all aspirations of normalization quickly evaporated.

The US Secretary of State immediately said that he was “pleasantly surprised” by the position of all 30 NATO states against Russia’s presumed aggression against Ukraine.

In addition, Russian ambassadors were summoned to the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Poland.

It was a united front, two complete shifts in rhetoric within a single day.

The same day, Biden had a short speech, expressing hope of establishing a rapport with Russia.

It was a very cliché text, and he quickly bolted afterwards.

He answered two questions, including one regarding Nord Stream 2.

He simply ran out of text and left, solidifying any “conspiracies” regarding whether he’s actually in control of his own ship.

As a result of the instability in US politics, Russia said that it was considering to ditch the US dollar.

No other Biden Putin meetings are likely to take place, mostly due to the incredible hypocrisy shown within a single day.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine appears to be heading towards deterioration.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the “Army is ready” and that the situation was under control, albeit there were “certain issues.”

While Moscow’s attention was focused on Washington, Turkey reportedly sent its troops to Ukraine.

According to Turkish media, Ankara’s specialists arrived to train Ukrainian soldiers in operating the Bayraktar TB2 drones.

April 15th may come down in modern history as the day a new war began, be it hot or cold.

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Russian official statements about counter-actions to US sanctions

Russian official statements about counter-actions to US sanctions

16 April 202119:28

Foreign Ministry statement on measures in response to hostile US actions

The latest attack by the Biden administration against our country cannot go unanswered. It seems Washington is unwilling to accept that there is no room for unilateral dictates in the new geopolitical reality. Meanwhile, the bankrupt scenarios for deterring Moscow that the US myopically continues to pursue only promise to further degrade Russian-US relations.

In this context, the appeals from across the ocean to refrain from escalation and essentially accept this attempt to talk to us from a position of strength sound hypocritical. We have repeatedly warned and demonstrated in practice that sanctions and any other pressure will never succeed and will only have dire consequences for those who dare attempt such provocations.

We will introduce the following countermeasures in response to anti-Russian sanctions in the near future:

  •  Employees of US diplomatic missions will be expelled on a reciprocal basis in numbers proportional to the actions taken by the US authorities against Russian diplomats.
  • Incidentally, we noted how quickly Warsaw played up to the US administration by demanding the departure of three Russian diplomats from Poland. In turn, five Polish diplomats will be expelled from Russia.
  •  The US Embassy’s practice of using short-term trips by State Department staff to support the functioning of diplomatic missions will be restricted. The issuance of visas to them will be reduced to a minimum: up to 10 people per year on a reciprocal basis.
  •  In strict conformity with the Vienna conventions on diplomatic relations and Russian law, including the Labour Code, measures will be taken to discontinue completely the practice of US diplomatic missions employing citizens of the Russian Federation and third countries as administrative and technical staff.
  •  The bilateral 1992 memorandum of understanding on open ground is declared invalid due to systematic violations of rules for trips in the Russian Federation by employees of US diplomatic missions.
  •  Plans are in place to halt the activities in the Russian Federation of American foundations and NGOs controlled by the Department of State and other US government agencies. These consistent, long-term efforts will be brought to an end, all the more so since the United States shows no intention of scaling back its systematic subversive efforts underpinned by a wide array of laws.
  •  Obviously, this very tense situation objectively requires the ambassadors of our countries to be in their respective capitals to analyse developments and hold consultations.

These steps represent just a fraction of the capabilities at our disposal. Unfortunately, US statements threatening to introduce new forms of punishment show that Washington is not willing to listen and does not appreciate the restraint that we have displayed despite the tensions that have been purposefully fuelled since the presidency of Barack Obama.

Recall that after a large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats in December 2016 and the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the US, we did not take any response measures for seven months. We responded only when Russia was declared a US adversary legislatively in August 2017.

In general, compared to the Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, the US Embassy in Moscow operates in better conditions, enjoying a numerical advantage and actively benefitting from the work of Russian citizens hired in-country. This form of disparity frees up “titular” diplomats to interfere in our domestic affairs, which is one of the main tenets of Washington’s foreign policy doctrine.

Incidentally, soon the Foreign Ministry will publish on its website the names of eight incumbent and former high-ranking US officials and other figures involved in drafting and implementing anti-Russia policy. They will be permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation. This is our equivalent response to the sanctions against Russian officials that the US blacklisted last month.

Now is the time for the United States to show common sense and pull back from this confrontational course. Otherwise, the US will face a host of painful decisions, for instance, an order for US diplomatic missions to reduce personnel in Russia to 300 people. This will establish real parity at bilateral foreign offices because the US quota of 455 employees still includes the 155 people sent to the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. However, this has nothing to do with our bilateral mission.

There are also other options. Of course, we realise that we are limited in our ability to squeeze the Americans economically as they have us. However, we have some resources in this respect and they will also be used if Washington chooses to follow the path of spiraling sanctions.

None of this is our choice. We would like to avoid further escalation with the US. We are ready to engage in calm and professional dialogue with the US in order to find ways of normalising bilateral ties. However, the reality is that we hear one thing from Washington but see something completely different in practice. There must be no doubt – not a single round of sanctions will go unanswered.

We have obviously heard President Joe Biden express interest in stable, constructive and predictable relations with Russia, including a proposed Russian-US summit. When this offer was made, it was received positively and is now being considered in the context of concrete developments.

Press release on a ban on entry of certain US citizens into the Russian Federation

In response to the sanctions against Russian officials imposed by the US administration on March 2 of this year, the following incumbent and former US high-ranking officials and figures complicit in pursuing the anti-Russia policy, are denied entry to the Russian Federation:

  1. Merrick Brian Garland, United States Attorney General;
  2. Michael D. Carvajal, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons;
  3. Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, United States Secretary of Homeland Security;
  4. Susan Elizabeth Rice, Director of the United States Domestic Policy Council, former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations and National Security Advisor;
  5. Christopher Asher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
  6. Avril Danica Haines, Director of US National Intelligence.

In addition, entry is denied to John Robert Bolton, former National Security Advisor to the United States President, former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Robert James Woolsey Jr., former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

In view of the unprecedented complications in Russia-US relations provoked by Washington, it was decided to deviate from the usual practice of not making public the response measures taken by the Russian side.

Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

April 15, 2021

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation — in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; to engage in and facilitate malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies and partners; to foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; to pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; to undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states — constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.  I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1.  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(a)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General:
(i)    to operate or have operated in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or any other sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State;
(ii)   to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, any of the following for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation:
(A)  malicious cyber-enabled activities;
(B)  interference in a United States or other foreign government election;
(C)  actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad;
(D)  transnational corruption;
(E)  assassination, murder, or other unlawful killing of, or infliction of other bodily harm against, a United States person or a citizen or national of a United States ally or partner;
(F)  activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners; or
(G)  deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or the use of physical assets;
(iii)  to be or have been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of:
(A)  the Government of the Russian Federation;
(B)  an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(C)  an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(iv)   to be a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of the Russian Federation;
(v)    to be a spouse or adult child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (a)(ii) or (iii) of this section;
(vi)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
(A)  any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(B)  any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(vii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, a government whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to chapter V of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations or another Executive Order, and to be:
(i)    a citizen or national of the Russian Federation;
(ii)   an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches); or
(iii)  a person ordinarily resident in the Russian Federation.
(c)  any person determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in or attempted to engage in, cutting or disrupting gas or energy supplies to Europe, the Caucasus, or Asia, and to be:
(i)   an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation; or
(ii)  an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches).
(d)  The prohibitions in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
Sec. 2.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:
(a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 3.  (a)  The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of noncitizens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.
(b)  The Secretary of State shall implement this authority as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish.
(c)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this order as it applies to the entry of noncitizens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
(d)  Such persons shall be treated by this section in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
Sec. 4.  (a)  Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 5.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 6.  For the purposes of this order:
(a)  the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(b)  the term “Government of the Russian Federation” means the Government of the Russian Federation, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, and any person owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of the Russian Federation;
(c)  the term “noncitizen” means any person who is not a citizen or noncitizen national of the United States;
(d)  the term “person” means an individual or entity; and
(e)  the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury.  All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9.  Nothing in this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof.
Sec. 10.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 11.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 15, 2021.


كيف حققت إيران
انتصارها الدبلوماسيّ؟ How did Iran achieve its diplomatic victory?

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

كيف حققت إيرانانتصارها الدبلوماسيّ؟

9/4/2021

ناصر قنديل

انتهت اللجان التقنيّة في فيينا من القسم الأول من التحضيرات لمسودة العودة الأميركيّة عن العقوبات ومسودة العودة الإيرانية للالتزامات، وتستأنف اللجان مهامها الأسبوع المقبل. ووفقاً للمبعوث الروسي الى فيينا، فإن تقدماً كبيراً تم تحقيقه على طريق النجاح بالعودة الى الاتفاق النووي، فالسؤال الأول هو على أي قاعدة تتم هذه العودة؟ وهل هي تتم في منطقة وسط بين طهران وواشنطن، أم بتراجع إيراني طلباً للتفاهم، أم يتنازل أميركي واضح لحساب الشروط الإيرانية؟ ولرؤية الجواب نستعيد مواقف الطرفين من القضايا الرئيسيّة التي ظهرت حولها نتائج بائنة خلال الأيام الماضية، حيث أصرت واشنطن على ربط العودة للاتفاق بتوسيع نطاقه النووي ومداه الزمني من جهة، وبالتفاهم على البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني والملفات الإقليميّة من جهة ثانية، كما قال وزير الخارجية الأميركية توني بلينكن مراراً، وتحدّث الرئيس جو بايدن أكثر من مرة، وبالمقابل أصرّت إيران على اعتبار أن الأمر الوحيد المطروح للبحث هو سبل العودة إلى الاتفاق كما وقع عام 2015، وبالتوازي حاولت واشنطن أن يكون التفاوض مباشراً بين الفريقين، ثم ارتضت دعوة أوروبيّة لحضور اجتماع الـ 5+1 كإطار لهذا التفاوض مع إيران، ثم قالت لا مانع من أن يكون هذا الاجتماع إطاراً لتفاوض غير مباشر، أما الأمر الثالث الذي كان عنواناً لتجاذب علني بين العاصمتين فكان يتصل بتحديد مَن يبدأ الخطوة الأولى، كما قال المبعوث الأميركيّ الخاص بالملف النووي الإيراني روبرت مالي، حيث كانت واشنطن تقول إن على إيران العودة لالتزاماتها أولاً وتردّ طهران بأن على واشنطن رفع العقوبات أولاً.

في فيينا صدرت مواقف من المبعوث الأميركيّ روبرت مالي الذي كان يمثل إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن في المفاوضات مع الجانب الأوروبيّ والجانب الروسي كوسيطين للتفاوض مع إيران، تقول رداً على المحور الأول إن واشنطن وافقت على العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ بصيغته الموقعة عام 2015، والتخلّي عن اشتراط البحث بتعديله كمضمون ومدة زمنية، وكذلك التخلّي عن إدماج الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية والملفات الإقليمية، بملف التفاوض، بما يعني بوضوح لا لبس فيه القبول بالسقف الذي رسمته طهران وتمسكت به؛ أما في المحور الثاني فقد كان واضحاً ان إيران رفضت كل تفاوض مباشر أو غير مباشر، ورفضت بالتالي اعتبار واشنطن عضواً في صيغة الـ 5+1 التي صارت بعد الانسحاب الأميركي 4+1، واشتراط إلغاء العقوبات لاعتبار عودة واشنطن لعضوية الـ 5+1 قائمة، ورضخت واشنطن لقبول الشرط الإيراني فجلس المبعوث الأميركي في غرفته ينتظر نتائج المحادثات الجارية في قاعة التفاوض، بعدما أصرّ الوفد الإيراني على نزع العلم الأميركي من القاعة. أما في المحور الثالث فقد كان واضحاً ما تطلبه واشنطن مقابل ما تطلبه طهران، حيث كل منهما تدعو الأخرى للبدء بالخطوة الأولى، وقد صرّح الناطق بلسان الخارجية الأميركية نيد برايس بوضوح أن واشنطن ارتضت أن تبدأ هي بالخطوة الأولى برفع العقوبات، وتسعى لتجزئة هذه العودة وتحديد حجم الخطوة الأولى التي ستقوم بها لضمان القبول الإيراني، لأن واشنطن كما قال برايس تريد ضمان امتثال إيران لالتزاماتها، ولو كان المطلوب لذلك رفع العقوبات التي لا تتّسق مع الاتفاق النووي الموقع عام 2015.

الذين يستغربون ما يجري من حلفاء واشنطن ويقولون بدأنا نشعر أن إيران هي الدولة العظمى وليست اميركا، تقول التحليلات الأميركية إن إيران التي كانت متحمّسة للعودة إلى الاتفاق أو للإلتزام الأوروبي بالمتاجرة والمعاملات المصرفية مع إيران في السنة الأولى بعد الانسحاب الأميركي، لأن الاقتصاد الإيراني تفاعل مع الاتفاق واستثمر مليارات الدولارات في مشاريع انفتاحية سياحية وعقارية ومصرفية، واحتاج سنتين لاحتواء التحولات اللازمة، لم يعد كذلك بعدما قطع شوطاً كبيراً على خط البناء الذاتي للاقتصاد المغلق على الغرب ويخشى ان تؤدي العودة إلى الاتفاق إلى عودة الانفلاش الانفتاحي ومخاطرة عودة أميركية جديدة للعقوبات بعد أربع سنوات، بينما بدأت إيران تتلمّس عناصر القوة في فرص التكامل الاقتصادي الآسيويّ خصوصاً عبر اتفاقها مع كل من الصين وروسيا وجيرانها. وبالتوازي تقول تحليلات أخرى إن إيران تسارع الخطى في تخصيب اليورانيوم وتخزين المخصب، وتفضل إكمال مسارها لامتلاك ما يكفي من مقدرات إنتاج سلاح نوويّ ولو لم تقم بإنتاج هذا السلاح، وثمة تحليلات ثالثة تقول إن الانتخابات الرئاسية الإيرانية التي يسيطر المحافظون على مسارها، ستعني في حال حدوثها من دون توقيع العودة إلى الاتفاق أن لا عودة بعدها، وأن لا تيار إصلاحياً ستقوم له قائمة بعدها، ولتقاطع هذه التحليلات يستنتج الخبراء الأميركيون أن على واشنطن أن تلهث وراء طهران للعودة الى الاتفاق، وتدفع فواتير هذه العودة قبل نهاية شهر أيار المقبل، وتسأل ما دامت الحرب غير ممكنة، وبديل الاتفاق هو العقوبات، فماذا جلبت العقوبات في عهد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب وقد بلغت حدّها الأقصى؟ ويجيبون أن مهلة امتلاك إيران لمقدرات إنتاج سلاح نووي تراجعت من سنة الى عدة أسابيع، وأن مدى الصواريخ الإيرانية زاد من 3000 كلم الى 7000 كلم، وأن انتصارات سورية تمّت في زمن العقوبات وعهد ترامب ومثلها الصواريخ الدقيقة لحزب الله، ومثلهما التحوّل النوعيّ في قدرات أنصار الله الذين يسيطرون اليوم على أمن الطاقة وأمن الخليج.

هكذا قضي الأمر الذي فيه تستفتيان.


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How did Iran achieve its diplomatic victory?

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Nasser Kandil

– Technical committees in Vienna have completed the first part of preparations for the U.S. return draft on sanctions and Iran’s return of commitments, and the committees will resume their duties next week. According to the Russian envoy to Vienna, significant progress has been made on the road to returning to the nuclear agreement. The first question is on what basis does this return will take place? Is it taking place in a middle area between Tehran and Washington, or is it an Iranian retreat to seek understanding, or a clear American concession to Iranian conditions? To find out the answer, we will reclaim the positions of the two sides during the past few days. Washington insisted on linking its return to the agreement to expanding its nuclear scope and timeframe on the one hand, and Iranian missile program and regional files on the other hand, as US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said repeatedly, and President Joe Biden spoke more than once. Iran insisted that the only matter on the discussion table for is how to return to the agreement as signed in 2015. Washington tried to have direct negotiations between the two sides, then accepted a European invitation to attend the P5+1 meeting as a framework for this negotiation with Iran, then accepted indirect negotiation. The third issue was open conflict between the two capitals, was determining who would initiate the first step. The US envoy, Robert Malley, said, as Washington used to say, that Iran should return to its obligations first and Tehran said Washington should lift sanctions first.

– In Vienna, positions were issued by U.S. envoy Robert Mali, who represented President Joe  Biden’s administration in negotiations with the European side and the Russian side as mediators for negotiations with Iran, saying in response to the first axis that Washington had agreed to return to the nuclear deal as signed in 2015, abandoning the requirement to consider amending it as content and duration, as well as abandoning the integration of Iranian ballistic missiles and regional files, with a negotiating file, which clearly means unequivocal acceptance of Tehran’s ceiling. In the second axis, it was clear that Iran had rejected any direct or indirect negotiation, and therefore refused to consider Washington as a member of the P5+1 formula that became after the U.S. withdrawal P4+1, the requirement to cancel sanctions to consider Washington’s return to the P5+1 list, and Washington relented to accept the Iranian condition, and the U.S. envoy sat in his room awaiting the results of the ongoing talks in the negotiating room, after the Iranian delegation insisted on removing the U.S. flag from the room. On the third issue, both Washington Tehran, where calling on each other to start the first step, and U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price has made it clear that Washington has agreed to begin the first step of lifting sanctions, and is seeking to fragment this return and determine the size of the first step it will take to ensure Iranian acceptance, because Washington, as Price said, wants to ensure Iran’s compliance with its obligations, even if sanctions that are inconsistent with the 2015 nuclear deal are required.

– Those who are surprised by what is happening from Washington’s allies and say we have begun to feel that Iran is the superpower and not America. American analyzes say that Iran in the first year after the American withdrawal was eager to return to the agreement or to the European commitment to trade with Iran, because the Iranian economy interacted with the agreement and invested billions of dollars in open tourism, real estate, and banking projects, and it took two years to contain the necessary transformations. Iran is no longer like this after a long way in the line of self-construction of the economy closed to the West and is afraid that returning to the agreement will lead to an open fracture and that America will re-enact sanctions after four years, while Iran began betting on the opportunities for Asian economic integration through its agreement with China. Russia and other neighbors. In parallel, other analyses say that Iran is accelerating its pace in enriching uranium and storing enrichment, and prefers to complete its path to have enough capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon and if it does not produce this weapon. There are third analyses that say that the Iranian presidential elections, which are controlled by the conservatives, will mean that if it happen without signing the agreement, it will eliminate the chance for the reform movement to continue. From the intersection of these analyses, the American experts conclude that Washington should chase behind Tehran to return to the agreement, and pay the bills for this return before the end of next May, and they ask as long as the war is not possible, and the alternative to the agreement is sanctions, so what did the sanctions that reached their maximum in the former President’s era brought? They answer that the period for Iran’s possession of the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon decreased from one year to several weeks, and that the range of Iranian missiles increased from 3,000 km to 7,000 km, and that Syrian victories took place during the sanctions and Trump era, as well as the precision missiles for Hezbollah, and the same was the qualitative change in the capabilities of Ansar Allah, who control energy security and Gulf security today.

– The game is almost over.


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Sino-US Dialogue in Alaska: Outcomes.

Sino-US Dialogue in Alaska: Outcomes.

March 23, 2021

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

The first direct, high-level dialogue, under Joe Biden Administration, was held on 18-189 March 2021 in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the dialogue.

After welcoming the Chinese guests, Secretary of state Mr. Blinken accused China of many issues, including Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threatens the rules-based order that maintains global stability.

Director Yang responded that “What China and the international community follow or uphold is the United Nations-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, not what is advocated by a small number of countries of the so-called rules-based international order. And the United States has its style — United States-style democracy –and China has the Chinese-style democracy. It is not just up to the American people, but also the people of the World, to evaluate how the United States has advanced its own democracy. After decades of reform and opening up in China’s case, we have come a long way in various fields. In particular, we have engaged in tireless efforts to contribute to the peace and development of the World and to upholding the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter.”

“The wars in this World are launched by some other countries, which have resulted in massive casualties. But for China, what we have asked for, for other countries, is to follow a path of peaceful development, which is the purpose of our foreign policy. We do not believe in invading through the use of force, in toppling other regimes through various means, or massacring other countries’ people because all of those would only cause turmoil and instability in this World. And at the end of the day, all of those would not serve the United States well. So we believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the World. Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States, and they have various views regarding the government of the United States. In China, according to opinion polls, China’s leaders have the wide support of the Chinese people. So no attempt to — the opinion polls conducted in the United States show that China’s leaders have the support of the Chinese people. No attempt to smear China’s social system would get anywhere. Facts have shown that such practices would only lead the Chinese people to rally more closely around the Communist Party of China and work steadily towards the goals that we have set for ourselves.”

“Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan are an inalienable part of China’s territory. China is firmly opposed to U.S. interference in China’s internal affairs. We have expressed our staunch opposition to such interference, and we will take firm actions in response. On human rights, we hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well. The United States has also said that countries can’t rely on force in today’s World to resolve the challenges we face. And it is a failure to use various means to topple the so-called authoritarian states. And the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter. It did not come up only recently. So we do hope that for our two countries, it’s important that we manage our respective affairs well instead of deflecting the blame on somebody else in this World. We’ve had a confrontation in the past, and the result did not serve the United States well. China will pull through and has pulled through such confrontation.”

Outcomes:

China availing this opportunity has conveyed that China will not accept U.S. supremacy and will not accept dictation. China will not allow any country to interfere in its domestic issues. Generally speaking, the Chinese are well-mannered, polite, submissive, and friendly people. It seems that the U.S. has crossed all the limits where China have to take a firm and blunt stand and express their point of view so clearly. It is up to the U.S. administration to analyze the Chinese response and do their homework before meeting them again.

The World has conceived well that the U.S. can not sustain its hegemony anymore. It is no longer a unipolar world, and the U.S. is no longer a unique superpower. The U.S. needs to understand the emerging geopolitics and have to accept realities. It might need to share power with other rising nations and respect them. The U.S. must keep in mind the existence of other emerging nations’ potential while making any decision.

It is an established fact that the U.S., after enjoying the global leadership role for seven decades, may not sustain this status anymore. The U.S. is on the decline and, with every passing day, may decline further. Whereas China is a rising power and, with the passage of each day, may grow further. The time is on the Chinese side. If Americans are wise, they might give up confronting China and extend cooperation to be the beneficiary of Chinse rise. There exists enormous goodwill about America among the general public in China.

The American claim of promoting democracy and the law-based rule is no more trusted as the Americans are a supporter of all dictators in the oil-rich Gulf countries in the Middle-East. The U.S. was behind the toppling of the democratically elected legitimate Government of Mr. Adil Morsey in Egypt. Again, it was the U.S. who was among the first nations to support the dictator General Sissi in Egypt. American history is full of supporting dictators around the globe. Regarding law-based rule, it is just a joke. It was the U.S. that destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.

Under the Trump Administration, America was deteriorated in respect of human rights violations, hate among various ethnicities in America. And official discriminatory laws were introduced against Muslims; immigration laws were biased. The pandemic was mismanaged, the economy was collapsed. President Trump harmed America so severely that it might take several decades to recover such losses. President Trump has offended some of his close allies too.

President Joe Biden’s remarks about President Putin were misconceived and may spoil the geopolitics further. More tensions between Russia and the U.S. are predictable visibly. It may cement China-Russia relations further.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Welcome to shocked and awed 21st century geopolitics

Welcome to shocked and awed 21st century geopolitics

March 23, 2021

With a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the hegemon, we now have a brand new geopolitical chessboard

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

It took 18 years after Shock and Awe unleashed on Iraq for the Hegemon to be mercilessly shocked and awed by a virtually simultaneous, diplomatic Russia-China one-two.

How this is a real game-changing moment cannot be emphasized enough; 21st century geopolitics will never be the same again.

Yet it was the Hegemon who first crossed the diplomatic Rubicon. The handlers behind hologram Joe “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” Biden had whispered in his earpiece to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as a soulless “killer” in the middle of a softball interview.

Not even at the height of the Cold War the superpowers resorted to ad hominem attacks. The result of such an astonishing blunder was to regiment virtually the whole Russian population behind Putin – because that was perceived as an attack against the Russian state.

Then came Putin’s cool, calm, collected – and quite diplomatic – response, which needs to be carefully pondered. These sharp as a dagger words are arguably the most devastatingly powerful five minutes in the history of post-truth international relations.

In For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska, we forecasted what could take place in the US-China 2+2 summit at a shabby hotel in Anchorage, with cheap bowls of instant noodles thrown in as extra bonus.

China’s millennial diplomatic protocol establishes that discussions start around common ground – which are then extolled as being more important than disagreements between negotiating parties. That’s at the heart of the concept of “no loss of face”. Only afterwards the parties discuss their differences.

Yet it was totally predictable that a bunch of amateurish, tactless and clueless Americans would smash those basic diplomatic rules to show “strength” to their home crowd, distilling the proverbial litany on Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, “genocide” of Uighurs.

Oh dear. There was not a single State Dept. hack with minimal knowledge of East Asia to warn the amateurs you don’t mess with the formidable head of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the CCP’s Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, with impunity.

Visibly startled, but controlling his exasperation, Yang Jiechi struck back. And the rhetorical shots were heard around the whole Global South.

They had to include a basic lesson in manners: “If you want to deal with us properly, let’s have some mutual respect and do things the right way”. But what stood out was a stinging, concise diagnostic blending history and politics:

The United States is not qualified to talk to China in a condescending manner. The Chinese people will not accept that. It must be based on mutual respect to deal with China, and history will prove that those who seek to strangle China will suffer in the end.

And all that translated in real time by young, attractive and ultra-skilled Zhang Jing – who inevitably became an overnight superstar in China, reaping an astonishing 400 million plus hits on Weibo.

The incompetence of the “diplomatic” arm of the Biden-Harris administration beggars belief. Using a basic Sun Tzu maneuver, Yang Jiechi turned the tables and voiced the predominant sentiment of the overwhelming majority of the planet. Stuff your unilateral “rules-based order”. We, the nations of the world, privilege the UN charter and the primacy of international law.

So this is what the Russia-China one-two achieved almost instantaneously: from now on, the Hegemon should be treated, all across the Global South with, at best, disdain.

An inevitable historical process

Pre-Alaska, the Americans went on a charming offensive in Japan and South Korea for “consultations”. That’s irrelevant. What matters is post-Alaska, and the crucial Sergey Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting of Foreign Ministers in Guilin.

Lavrov, always unflappable, clarified in an interview with Chinese media how the Russia-China strategic partnership sees the current US diplomatic train wreck:

As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values ​​that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.

The inevitable consequence is that Russia-China must “consolidate our independence: “The United States has declared limiting the advance of technology in Russia and China as its goal. So, we must reduce our exposure to sanctions by strengthening our technological independence and switching to settlements in national and international currencies other than the dollar. We need to move away from using Western-controlled international payment systems.”

Russia-China have clearly identified, as Lavrov pointed out, how the “Western partners” are “promoting their ideology-driven agenda aimed at preserving their dominance by holding back progress in other countries. Their policies run counter to the objective international developments and, as they used to say at some point, are on the wrong side of history. The historical process will come into its own, no matter what happens.”

As a stark presentation of an inevitable “historical process”, it doesn’t get more crystal clear than that. And predictably, it didn’t take time for the “Western partners” to fall back into – what else – their same old sanction bag of tricks.

Here we go again: a US, UK, EU, Canada “alliance” sanctioning selected Chinese officials because, in Blinken’s words, “the PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

The EU, UK, and Canada didn’t have the guts to sanction a key player: Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo, who’s a Politburo member. The Chinese response would have been – economically – devastating.

Still, Beijing counterpunched with its own sanctions – targeting, crucially, the German far-right evangelical nut posing as “scholar” who produced the bulk of the completely debunked “proof” of a million Uighurs held in concentration camps.

Once again, the “Western partners” are impermeable to logic. Adding to the already appalling state of EU-Russia relations, Brussels chooses to also antagonize China based on a single fake dossier, playing right into the Hegemon’s not exactly secret Divide and Rule agenda.

Mission (nearly) accomplished: Brussels diplomats tell me the EU Parliament is all but set to refuse to ratify the China-EU trade deal painstakingly negotiated by Merkel and Macron. The consequences will be immense.

So Blinken will have reasons to be cheerful when he meets assorted eurocrats and NATO bureaucrats this week, ahead of the NATO summit.

One has to applaud the gall of the “Western partners”. It’s 18 years since Shock and Awe – the start of the bombing, invasion and destruction of Iraq. It’s 10 years since the start of the total destruction of Libya by NATO and its GCC minions, with Obama-Biden “leading from behind”. It’s 10 years since the start of the savage destruction of Syria by proxy – complete with jihadis disguised as “moderate rebels”.

Yet now the “Western partners” are so mortified by the plight of Muslims in Western China.

At least there are some cracks within the EU illusionist circus. Last week, the French Armed Forces Joint Reflection Circle (CRI) – in fact an independent think tank of former high officers – wrote a startling open letter to cardboard NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg de facto accusing him of behaving as an American stooge with the implementation of NATO 2030 plan. The French officers drew the correct conclusion: the US/NATO combo is the main cause of appalling relations with Russia.

These Ides of March

Meanwhile, sanctions hysteria advance like a runaway train. Biden-Harris has already threatened to impose extra sanctions on Chinese oil imports from Iran. And there’s more in the pipeline – on manufacturing, technology, 5G, supply chains, semiconductors.

And yet nobody is trembling in their boots. Right on cue with Russia-China, Iran has stepped up the game, with Ayatollah Khamenei issuing the guidelines for Tehran’s return to the JCPOA.

1. The US regime is in no position to make new demands or changes regarding the nuclear deal.

2. The US is weaker today than when the JCPOA was signed.

3. Iran is in a stronger position now. If anyone can impose new demands it’s Iran and not the US.

And with that we have a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the Hegemon.

In our latest conversation/interview, to be released soon in a video + transcript package, Michael Hudson – arguably the world’s top economist – hit the heart of the matter:

The fight against China, the fear of China is that you can’t do to China, what you did to Russia. America would love for there to be a Yeltsin figure in China to say, let’s just give all of the railroads that you’ve built, the high-speed rail, let’s give the wealth, let’s give all the factories to individuals and let the individuals run everything and, then we’ll lend them the money, or we’ll buy them out and then we can control them financially. And China’s not letting that happen. And Russia stopped that from happening. And the fury in the West is that somehow, the American financial system is unable to take over foreign resources, foreign agriculture. It is left only with military means of grabbing them as we are seeing in the near East. And you’re seeing in the Ukraine right now.

To be continued. As it stands, we should all make sure that the Ides of March – the 2021 version – have already configured a brand new geopolitical chessboard. The Russia-China Double Helix on high-speed rail has left the station – and there’s no turning back.

Biden’s ‘Greater Middle East’ Peace Push Lacks Any Meaningful Progress

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Biden

The reason for this is that the US refuses to learn from its mistakes contrary to its post-Trump rhetoric, which has resulted in scant progress being made in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.

The Biden Administration isn’t serious about bringing peace to the four countries in the so-called “Greater Middle East” whose suffering the US is responsible for. Whether it’s his over-hyped policy pivot in Yemen, the stalled peace processes in Afghanistan and Syria, or the seemingly forgotten war in Libya, the new American leader appears to be all talk and no real action, at least for the time being. The reason for this is that the US refuses to learn from its mistakes contrary to its post-Trump rhetoric, which has resulted in scant progress being made on any of those four fronts. What follows is a brief review of the current situation in each of those countries, after which some policy suggestions will be shared for jump-starting those peace processes.

Yemen

Biden’s decision to suspend all US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen was a positive move, but his subsequent ceasefire proposal failed to live up to expectations. It doesn’t fully lift the blockade that’s responsible for what the United Nations previously described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. This suggests that his administration is playing a Machiavellian game with the Ansarullah (“Houthi”) rebels whereby the threat of famine is being weaponized as a means of politically pressuring them into unilateral concessions. Instead of being treated as an equally legitimate party to the peace process like the Biden Administration officially regards them as after lifting their prior terrorist designation, they’re treated as a junior one.

Afghanistan

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad appeared to follow in the diplomatic footsteps of his Russian counterpart, Zamir Kabulov, by recently suggesting the creation of an interim government that includes the Taliban. Despite being officially designated as a terrorist organization, world powers have pragmatically engaged with the group over the years in an effort to support the country’s fledgling peace process. No political solution is possible without the Taliban’s participation. The problem, however, is that the Biden Administration is under internal pressure not to complete former President Trump’s previously promised military withdrawal by this May, which risks undermining last year’s peace accord with the Taliban and thus prolonging the war.

Syria

Out of the four examined conflicts, the US is the least serious about bringing peace to Syria, which it no longer even tries to hide. It bombed the country last month on the pretext of targeting allegedly Iranian-affiliated militias that it blamed for attacking American forces in Iraq. The US also continues to tighten its brutal sanctions regime against Syria with the intent of forcing its democratically elected and legitimate leadership into submission. There are also credible reports from official Syrian, Russian, and Iranian sources that the US’ illegal occupation forces support terrorists. The US hasn’t learned anything despite the disastrous war that it’s waged there through hybrid means over the past decade. Its present policy is therefore doomed to fail.

Libya

Most of the world seems to have forgotten about this conflict, but a ceasefire was surprisingly agreed to late last year between its main warring sides: the UN-recognized government in Tripoli and the rebellious Tobruk-based administration in the east most prominently represented by General Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army. This in turn led to the creation of an interim government that’ll preside over the country until elections this December. All of this sounds good on paper, but the problem is that Libya has already been down a similar path before but with no success. That’s because its internal divisions are exacerbated through the involvement of foreign forces, but such external actors aren’t negotiating between themselves to pursuit of peace.

Policy Suggestions

In the order that they were mentioned, here’s what the Biden Administration must do in order to jump-start the peace processes in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya:

* Demand the full and immediate lifting of the Saudi-led blockade on Yemen without any preconditions in order to satisfy the Yemeni people’s humanitarian needs and influence the Ansarullah to agree to a ceasefire;

* Respect last year’s peace agreement by withdrawing all US forces from Afghanistan by this May in parallel with accelerating the creation of an interim government with the Taliban to facilitate a forthcoming ceasefire;

* Respect the outcome of this spring’s presidential elections that will likely lead to President Assad’s re-election and use that as the long-overdue pretext for entering into talks with Damascus without preconditions;

* and convene international talks between the US, France, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and the UAE with the intent of coordinating each major external party’s post-war vision ahead of meaningful intra-Libyan peace talks.

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