UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

Source

George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

Analysis: Historical inevitability of ‘1979 US embassy’ event in Iraq: not now, but soon

Thursday, 02 January 2020 12:47 PM 

Supporters of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi force hold placards depicting trampled US symbols reading in Arabic “Welcome” during a protest outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 1, 2020 to condemn the US air strikes that killed 25 Hashd fighters over the weekend. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

The recent protests at the US embassy/city-state/Superman fortress of solitude in Iraq undoubtedly served notice of what the 2020s will bring for Iraq: freedom from three decades of US domination and terrorism.

The protests were shocking for many reasons. Iraq has been under the boot of the US for so long many around the world thought such resistance was impossible. Pity the poor, underestimated Iraqis: even when they did engage in civic disobedience the West sought, as usual, to give all the credit/blame to Iran. After dominating them so long, the West is incapable of seeing Iraqis as a people/culture with the power of self-determination. The endless refrain is “Iran-backed militias”, but it is Iraqis who staff those militias and who crossed into the Green Zone.

The past few days have produced much for us to comment about, but what good are such comments regarding the Iraqi context if we divorce ourselves from their past few decades?

There was a lot of debate, first provoked by the British medical journal The Lancet, about the death toll from Gulf War II, but few seem to remember the horrific death toll from Gulf War I of Bush père: 400,000 Iraqi dead, half of them civilians. Just 300 deaths combined among the anti-Iraq axis.

That’s a stunning figure which should not be forgotten, but to the “blame Iran” crowd in the West this war never happened. In fact, Gulf War I to Americans is something of a joke: the images of precision missiles going down chimneys, ecstatically broadcast in a ratings uber-bonanza for the still-new 24-hour news of CNN, helped “restore pride” to an America whose last conflict was Vietnam. The short-lived economic boom of the 1990s followed, and Gulf War I was barely an afterthought immediately.

Top cleric condemns US strikes on PMU bases, urges respect for Iraq sovereignty

Top cleric condemns US strikes on PMU bases, urges respect for Iraq sovereigntyThe drone strikes killed at least 27 individuals and wounded 51 others.

Sanctions, however, are not a ratings bonanza for CNN – the blockaded Cubans, allegedly starving North Koreans and the horrifically-sanctioned Iraqis (which ran until Gulf War II) do not provide exciting, pride-swelling, jingoism-fuelling footage. Quite the opposite, which is why the US runs no such footages; they didn’t have to ban footage of dead US soldiers for Gulf War I, but the “free press” of the US allegedly remained “free” even when they did just that for Gulf War II. One would think that in the “blame Iran” crowd one or two Americans might point out that this era of Husseinian splendor amid everyday want (and during the last era of global economic expansion) might have produced just a bit of anti-American resentment which may still linger?

Gulf War II came, but has it really gone? Is Iraq any different than a French neo-colonial subject in Africa, with foreign troops protecting the interests of foreign capital and not the welfare of the people?

Questions worth answering, but the “blame Iran” crowd only insists that the Gulf War II devastation of Iraq – maybe unparalleled since the “Korean conflict” – is the fault of non-belligerent Tehran. The destruction of infrastructure capital, the wasting/fleeing of human capital, the lives ruined by death/maiming/psychological trauma – this is all too much for a human to fully grasp, but one should not take the approach of the US and make no effort to grasp it at all.

This lack of effort at self-reflection is very typically American even within their own society – if America’s leaders will push a McCarthy-era Russophobia wave for three years just to avoid honest discussion of the failures of the Democratic Party and “democracy with American characteristics”, then why should we expect those leaders to be honest about Iraq? Why should we ask those leaders to honestly account for the murders, bombings, assassinations, strangulations and corruption they ordered for three decades?

Given the three decades of US domination and occupation, how can anyone be surprised by the recent protests targeting their embassy?

Indeed, many Iraqis, especially their young, are probably saying, “Why did it take so long to get here?”

A protester wearing the Iraqi flag stands outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 1, 2020 during a demonstration. (Photo by AFP)

Two thousand nineteen was a momentous year in the Middle East because a local nation proved for the first time in two centuries that they have technological and military parity with Western capitalist-imperialists in the war theater of the Middle East. That country is Iran, which already began proving 40 years ago that they have a political, intellectual and artistic (cinema) culture equal to or better than, and certainly more modern and “of the historical moment”, than that of the West. What we saw on these Western new year’s eve protests in Iraq is a spreading confirmation of these slow, long-running historical trends, processes and facts. 

The protests were cheered by many worldwide of course: even if the Western political and media elite has these insane anti-Iran and pro-US capitalism-imperialism blinders on, the average person does not. Many hoped the protests would turn into a new Tahrir Square, like in Egypt, but they were disbanded after only two days.

That seems like a sad development, but the people of Iraq, Iran and their allies realize that sending out a force is no good unless that force can be controlled. Egypt was not under foreign occupation, after all. Many Iraqis justifiably feel they are at war and the embassy protests were an “attack” – it was not a place to spontaneously express patriotism and see how that may or may not coalesce. 

I suggest that the protest force was sent home because the damage has been done. After all, has the Green Zone ever been so breached?

The psychological and cultural consequences of this two-day affair are nothing but positive for Iraqis and nothing but negative for Americans and their corrupt, self-interested allies.

US airlifts forces to Iraq embassy amid protests

US airlifts forces to Iraq embassy amid protestsFootage shows US military aircraft dropping off as many as 100 marines to the American Embassy in Baghdad amid angry anti-US protests.

It is thus very similar to Iran’s military victories in 2019 – shooting down a drone, stopping a British-flagged tanker: these are not enormous military victories but they are enormously symbolic. They are not the momentous result of long battles but instead herald the very beginning of new long-term forces which are increasing in inevitability every moment.

Yet again in the past year, American planners were dumbfounded, scared and did not know how to react. The US is not powerless in Iraq but for a long moment they felt that way – for a long moment Iraqis felt powerful over Americans. These are not small cultural and psychological things, given the Iraqi historical context.

On a larger level: Hussein came to power by repressing the intersection of democracy and Islam with as much bloody zeal as any Western neo-imperialist. He fought a war at the behest of the West to destroy the Iranian democratic revolution because it dared to unify these two ideas, and proved that they are not acids and bases. When Hussein insisted that Iraqi Baathists are equal to their secular Western counterparts, the West destroyed his country with a blockade and then occupation.

The role of Baathism in Iraq is up to Iraqis to decide, not me. However, its history – and for many reasons beyond their control – is not very stirring, to say the least. If a majority of Iraqis want more of an intersection between Islam and Iraqi democracy than what Baathism tolerated, they do have an example to look at – Iran. It is precisely because Iran provides this example that they are the root of all evil in the Muslim world to Western capitalist-imperialists and Islamophobes. It is not only that Iranians have created a successful society on par with the top Western nations, but the West most certainly needs a scapegoat, due to their history in the region. 

A 1979 US embassy occupation is an historical inevitability in Iraq – we thought maybe this was it, but it was not.

In pictures: Iraqis hold angry protest outside US Embassy

In pictures: Iraqis hold angry protest outside US EmbassyIraqi protesters gather outside the US Embassy in Baghdad to condemn American airstrikes on PMU bases. Here are some exclusive photos.

Perhaps Iraq is truly not ready? They have been rather debilitated for several decades, after all. Nor does Iraq have a shah to kick out first – an embassy occupation for Iraqis would seemingly be the start of their revolution, whereas in Iran the occupation came nine months after the victory of their revolution.

Iraq is not Iran, of course, but the recent events at the Baghdad embassy show that both cultures view the presence of the US in their country as a major, major source of domestic strife and problems.

The reason a US embassy occupation in Iraq is an historical inevitability is because – despite the “blame Iran” propaganda – there is no chance that the US and Iraqis can have a mutually beneficial co-existence due to:

1) the presence of American soldiers,

2) the three decades of violent war, sanctions and occupation waged by the US,

3) the network of corruption created by US capitalist-imperialist influence and ideology, which ensures only and always a subservient role for Iraq, and which purposely disempowers their full potential,

4) the very ideology, practices and culture of the Washington, which are predicated on competition, violence and corruption, which makes them fundamentally opposed to mutually-beneficial cooperation.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Iran prevails over the USA, twice, but this is far from over

Iran prevails over the USA, twice, but this is far from over

The Saker

September 26, 2019

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

An Iranian official has announced that the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero was free to leave.  Remember the Stena Impero?  This is the tanker the IRGC arrested after the Empire committed an act of piracy on the high seas and seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1.  Col Cassad posted a good summary of this info-battle, blow by blow (corrected machine translation):

  1. Britain, at the instigation of the US, seizes the Iranian tanker Grace 1 and demands from Iran guarantees that it in any case does not go to Syria.
  2. Iran, in response, captures the British tanker Stena Impero and says it will not retreat until the British releases Grace 1.  British ships that guarded merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz were warned that they would be destroyed if they interfered with the IRGC’s actions.
  3. After 2 months, Britain officially releases Grace 1, which is renamed Adrian Darya 1. It raised the Iranian flag and changed the crew.
  4. The British government says the tanker is released under Iran’s obligations not to unload the tanker at the Syrian port of Banias or anywhere else in Syria. Iran denies this.
  5. The US officially requires Britain and Gibraltar to arrest Adrian Darya 1 and not let him into Syria, as it violates the sanctions regime. Britain and Gibraltar refuse the US.
  6. Adrian Darya 1 reaches the coast of Syria and after a few days on the beam of Banias, unloads its cargo in Syria. The Iranian government says it has not made any commitments to anyone.
  7. After Adrian Darya 1 left Syria, Iran announced that it was ready to release the British tanker. The goal has been achieved.

This is truly an amazing series of steps, really!

The USA is the undisputed maritime hyper-power, not only because of its huge fleet, but because of its network of bases all over the planet (700-1000 depending on how you count) and, possibly even more importantly, a network of so-called “allies”, “friends”, “partners” and “willing coalition members” (aka de facto US colonies) worldwide.  In comparison, Iran is a tiny dwarf, at least in maritime terms.  But, as the US expression goes, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” which decides the outcome.

And then there is the (provisional) outcome of the Houthi strike on the Saudi oil installations.  The Saudis appeared to be pushing for war against Iran, as did Pompeo, but Trump apparently decided otherwise:

Some have focused on the fact that Trump said that it was “easy” to attack Iran.  Others have ridiculed Trump for his silly bragging about how US military gear would operate in spite of the dismal failure of both US cruise missile attacks (on Syria) and the Patriot SAMs (in the KSA).  But all that bragging is simply obligatory verbal flag-waving; this is what the current political culture in the USA demands from all politicians.  But I think that the key part of his comments is when he says that to simply attack would be “easy” (at least for him it would) but that this would not show strength.  I also notice that Trump referred to those who predicted that he would start a war and said that they were wrong about him.  Trump also acknowledged that a lot of people are happy that he does not strike (while others deplored that, of course, beginning with the entire US pseudo-liberal & pseudo-Left media and politicians).  The one exception has been, again, Tulsi Gabbard who posted this after Trump declared that the US was “locked and loaded”:

Whatever may be the case, this time again, Trump seemed to have taken a last minute decision to scrap the attack the Neocons have been dreaming about for decades.

I think that I made my opinion about Trump pretty clear, yet I also have to repeat that all these “climbdowns” by Trump are, just by themselves, a good enough reason to justify a vote for Trump.  Simply put; since Trump came to power we saw a lot of hubris, nonsense, ignorance and stupidity.  But we did NOT see a war, especially not a major one.  I will never be able to prove that, but I strongly believe that if Hillary had won, the Middle-East would have already exploded (most likely after a US attempt at imposing a no-fly zone over Syria).

We are also very lucky that, at least in this case, the rapid every four year Presidential election in the USA contributes to keep Trump (and his Neocon masters) in check: Trump probably figured out that a blockade of Venezuela or, even more so, a strike on Iran would severely compromise his chances of being re-elected, especially since neither theater offers the US any exit strategy.

Still, following these immensely embarrassing defeats, Trump and his advisors had to come up with something “manly” (which they confuse with “macho”) and make some loud statements about sending more forces to the Persian Gulf and beefing up the Saudi air defenses.  This will change nothing.  Iran is already the most over-sanctioned country on the planet and we have seen what US air defense can, and cannot do.  Truth be told, this is all about face-saving and I don’t mind any face-saving inanities as long as they make it possible to avoid a real shooting war.

Still, the closer we get to the next US election, the more Trump should not only carefully filter what he says, he would be well advised to give some clear and strict instructions to his entire Administration about what they can say and what they cannot say.  Of course, in the case of a rabid megalomaniac like Pompeo, no such “talking points” will be enough: Trump needs to fire this psychopath ASAP and appoint a real diplomat as Secretary of State.  After all, Pompeo belongs in the same padded room as Bolton.

Now if we look at the situation from the Iranian point of view, it is most interesting.  First, for context, I recommend the recent articles posted by Iranian analysts on the blog, especially the following ones:

  1. War Gaming the Persian Gulf Conflict” by Black Archer Williams
  2. Karbala, The Path of Most Resistance” by Mansoureh Tadjik
  3. Resistance report: Syrian Army takes the initiative in Idlib while Washington blames its failures on Iran again” by Aram Mirzaei

I also recommend my recent interview with Professor Marandi.

I recommend all these Iranian voices because they are so totally absent from the political discussions on the Middle-East, at least in western media.  Williams, Tadjik, Mirzaei and Marandi are very different people, they also have different point of views and focuses of interest, but when you read them you realize how confident and determined Iranians are.  I am in contact with Iranians abroad and in Iran and all of them, with no exception, share that calm determination.  It seems that, just like Russians, Iranians most certainly don’t want war, but they are ready for it.

The Iranian preferred strategy is also clear: just the way Hezbollah keeps Israel in check so will the Houthis with the KSA.  The Houthis, who are now in a very strong negotiation position, have offered to stop striking the KSA if the Saudis do likewise.  Now, the Saudis, just like the Israelis, are too weak to accept any such offer, that is paradoxical but true: if the Saudis officially took the deal, that would “seal” their defeat in the eyes of their own public opinion.  Having said that, I can’t believe that the Saudis believe their own propaganda about war against Iran.  No matter how delusional and arrogant the Saudi leaders are, surely they must realize what a war against Iran would mean for the House of Saud (although when I read this I wonder)!  It is one thing to murder defenseless Shias in the KSA, Bahrain or Yemen and quite another to take on “the country which trained Hezbollah”.

Speaking of delusional behavior, the Europeans finally did fall in line behind their AngloZionist overlords and agreed to blame Iran for the attack under what I call the “Skripal rules of evidence” aka “highly likely“.  The more things change, the more they remain the same I suppose…

It is pretty clear that all the members of the Axis of Kindness (USA, KSA, Israel) are in deep trouble on the internal front: Trump is busy with the “Zelensky vs Biden” scandal, especially now since the Dems are opening impeachment procedures, the latest elections failed to deliver the result Bibi wanted, as for the Saudis, after pushing for war they now have to settle for more sanctions and radars, hardly a winning combination.

The Saudis are too weak, clueless and obese (physically and mentally) to get anything done by themselves.  But the USA and Israel are now in a dire need to show some kind of “victory” over, well, somebody.  Anybody will do.  Thus the US have just denied visas 10 members of the Russian delegation to the United Nations (thereby violating yet another US obligation under international law, but nobody in the US cares about such minor trivialities as international law); and just to show how amazingly powerful the Empire is, the Iranian delegation to the UN received the same “punished bad boys” treatment: truly, a triumph worthy of a superpower!  Last minute update: the US is now revoking Iranian student visas and denying entry to Venezuelan diplomats.

This “war of visas” is the US equivalent of the “war on statues” the Ukrainians, Balts and the Poles have been waging to try to distract their population from the comprador policies of their governments.

As for the Israelis, I now expect the Israelis to strike some empty building in Syria (or even in Gaza!).

Conclusion: facts don’t really matter anymore, and neither does logic

Ten years ago Chris Hedges wrote a book called “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle ” and, a full decade later, this title is still an extremely accurate diagnostic.  What Hedges politely called the “end of literacy” can be observed in all its facets, listening to US political and military leaders. While most of them are, indeed, morally bankrupt and even psychopaths, it is their level of ignorance and incompetence which is the most amazing.  First, the Russians spoke of “non-agreement-capable” “partners” but eventually Putin quipped that it was hard to work with “people who confuse Austria and Australia“.  This all, by the way, applies as much to the Obama Administration as it does to the Trump Administration: their common motto could have been “illusions über alles” or something similar.  Once a political culture fully enters into the realm of illusions and delusions the end is near because no real-world problem ever gets tackled: it only gets obfuscated, denied and drowned into an ocean of triumphalist back-slapping and other forms of self-worship.

Post scriptum: the US goes crazy but Trump just might survive after all

So the Dems decided to try to impeach Trump.  While I always expected the Neocons to treat Trump as the “disposable President” which they would try to use to do all the stuff they don’t want to be blamed for directly, and then toss him away once they squeezed him for everything he could give them, I am still appalled by the nerve, the arrogance and the total dishonesty of the Dems (see my rant here).

My gut feeling is that Trump just might beat this one for the very same reason he won the first time around: because the other side is even worse (except Tulsi Gabbard, of course).

Of course, an attack on Iran would be a welcome distraction à la “wag the dog” and Trump might be tempted.  Hopefully, the Dems will self-destruct fast enough for Trump not to have to consider this.

The Saker

Iranian oil tanker previously seized in Gibraltar to dock just north of Syria

The crew of the oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, has changed its registered destination in its Automatic Identification System to Iskenderun, Turkey, a shipping source stated.

Meanwhile, a source in the Turkish port of Mersin stated on 29 August that the tanker would enter Turkish territorial waters and head toward Mersin to be unloaded there.

Iran emphasised earlier this month that it was considering sending naval ships to escort the Adrian Darya 1 tanker, formerly known as Grace 1.

After it was held for a month, a Gibraltar court ordered the release of the ship on 15 August despite a last-minute request by the US to extend its detention.

However, the authorities of Gibraltar rejected the United States’ request to extend the detainment of the tanker, citing differences in US and European sanctions against Iran.

Source: Sputnik

خان شيخون ترسم معادلات المنطقة

 

أغسطس 19, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– مع دخول الجيش السوري إلى خان شيخون الذي بدأت بشائره ليل أمس باعتراف الأطراف المعادية للدولة السورية بحجم الإنجاز المحقق في الميدان، تكون صفحة محورية في معادلات المنطقة قد كتبت وفقاً لمشيئة سورية والمقاومة وروسيا وإيران ببسط سلطة الدولة السورية على كامل ترابها حتى الحدود التي كانت عليها قبل أعوام. والأكيد الذي تقوله كل ساحات الاشتباك من مياه الخليج والبر اليمني مروراً بالعراق وفلسطين ولبنان أن لا مجال لتغيير في خريطة الجغرافيا العسكرية بين محوري المواجهة إلا في سورية، محور سورية وحلفائها ومقابله محور واشنطن وجماعاتها من حكام الخليج الذين يموّلون جبهة النصرة وأخواتها إلى كيان الاحتلال الذي قدّم كل مؤازرة نارية ممكنة لإشغال الجيش السوري وأصدر التهديدات لإرباك الحلفاء، وانتهاء بتركيا التي راهنت على جبهة النصرة أملاً بتشريع وجودها العسكري في محافظة إدلب كخيار وحيد.

– الأميركي الذي ألغى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران كرمى لعيون أمن كيان الاحتلال، ووضع تمركزه في سورية في كفة موازية للوجود الإيراني والمقاوم عارضاً المقايضة بينهما في كل لحظة، كان يدرك بقوة أن لا أمل من حرب يهدّد بخوضها على إيران، ومثله كان يدرك كل المحور الذي يعمل تحت مظلته أن الكلمة الفصل ستقولها معارك سورية، ومفتاح رسم معادلاتها في خان شيخون، فأمن كيان الاحتلال كشرط لتسويات حروب المنطقة يتقرّر هناك. وقد قال أنصار الله إن لا جدوى من الرهان على لعبة الشد والجذب في الخليج. وقالت إيران إن الملاحة النفطية بيدها ومستقبل الملف النووي بيدها والعقوبات لا ترهبها. وقالت المقاومة في فلسطين وفي لبنان إن لا أحد يشتري عروض التحييد لقاء الترغيب، ولا أحد يخشى التهديد، وصارت كل الأنظار تتجه نحو ما سيجري على جبهات القتال حيث الفرصة الوحيدة لإنتاج توازنات جديدة.

– راهن الأميركيون على جبهة النصرة وأخواتها، لأنهم يرون خصوصية في معركة إدلب لا تتوافر لما قبلها ما يجعل مهمة الجيش السوري برأيهم معقدة إلى حد الاستحالة، ومثلهم راهن الأتراك وراهن الإسرائيليون ومعهم حكام الخليج وفعل كل منهم ما يملك أن يفعله لجعل الرهان ممكناً. وبالمقابل كان قرار لا رهان، قرار سوري أصلاً، لكنه واثق من صدق دعم الحليف الروسي ومن ثبات إيران وقوى المقاومة معه في قراره. والقرار أن خان شيخون ستكون في عهدة الجيش السوري والحرب ستقول الكلمة الفصل، وإن العوامل الحاسمة في المعارك السابقة ستبقى حاسمة في معارك إدلب، ولا تعترف بالخصوصية إلا باعتماد تكتيكات تناسبها، لكن الدولة السورية بقوة ما تمثل من أمل للسوريين ومن موقع في خريطة القوة للحلفاء، تملك أسباب النصر.

– خان شيخون تشكل عقدة الوصل والفصل في مناطق سيطرة الجماعات الإرهابية وتحريرها فاتحة لتهاوي حجارة الدومينو عسكرياً، لكنه سياسياً سيحمل الكثير من الغييرات في سورية أولاً وفي الخليج أيضاً وفي فلسطين وفي لبنان وفي العراق، كما كل معركة فاصلة في تاريخ الحرب على سورية من القصير إلى القلمون فحلب وصولاً إلى دير الزور والبوكمال والبداية والغوطة ودرعا.

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Gibraltar releases Iran-operated tanker despite US pressure

Press TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gibraltar Chronicle

@GibChronicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

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

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

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

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

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Baeidinejad stated that all preliminary steps have been taken to ensure the tanker’s movement toward free waters and “the vessel will soon leave the Gibraltar region.”
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Iran: UK to Release Iranian Oil Tanker Soon

By Staff- Agencies

Iran revealed on Tuesday that its oil tanker Grace 1 that was seized by the UK in Gibraltar’s waters in July is going to be released in the near future.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the deputy director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran for maritime affairs, Jaleel Eslami, said the UK is going to let Iran’s supertanker go.

The UK has seized Iran’s supertanker deliberately, he deplored, adding that the documents on the settlement of the issue have already been exchanged between Iran and the UK.

“They [the UK officials] have voiced willingness for the resolution of the problem,” Eslami stated.

He said the Iranian oil tanker will soon be released and resume sailing freely with the flag of Iran.

Following Iran’s move to capture a British oil tanker that had violated the maritime law in the Strait of Hormuz, the US and the UK tried to carry out a plan for restrictions on maritime traffic in the strait, but their ploy ended in failure after it was given the cold shoulder by other countries, Eslami added.

On July 4, the British Royal Marines seized the giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar for trying to take oil to Syria.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned London that it will definitely pay the price for the illegal seizure of Grace 1 in international waters.

Gibraltar Says to Ease Standoff with Iran over Tanker Seizure

Gibraltar on Tuesday said it plans to de-escalate tensions with Iran over the seizure of Grace 1 supertanker, reinvigorating hopeful speculations that it might release the large vessel soon.

Gibraltar announced on Tuesday it was seeking to de-escalate issues arising with Iran since the detention of the Grace 1 tanker 40 days ago.

Calling seizure of Grace 1 as “lawful”, a spokesman for Gibraltar said “we continue to seek to de-escalate issues rising since the detention”, adding that the current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night.

Fars News Agency@EnglishFars

Captured-Tanker Captain: British Troops Used Excessive Force Against Unarmed Crewhttp://fna.ir/dbboh7 

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In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.

Iran condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

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British Marines Used ‘Excessive Force’ While Seizing Iranian-operated Tanker – Captain

By Staff, Agencies

The captain of an Iranian-operated supertanker that has been seized by the UK said the British marines used excessive force while detaining the vessel in the Strait of Gibraltar off Spain.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, the captain, an Indian national, said he received a radio call for police to board his ship and that he lowered the ladder at the time of the incident on July 4.

But instead of police boarding, he said, a military helicopter landed on the ship in “a very dangerous move,” and about 30 marines disembarked.

He said the marines then acted aggressively even though the crew was unarmed.

“How do you come on a ship like this with armed forces and such brute force? For what reason?” he said.

He said he identified himself as the captain, but the marines ignored him and instead had his unarmed crew kneel at gunpoint, shouting “Look forward, look forward!”

“They didn’t care whether I was master… there was no regulations… we had 28 unarmed crew. I was in a state of shock, everybody was in a state of shock,” the captain said.

The marines could have boarded the ship and simply told him he had been arrested, he said.

This is while Gibraltar police had earlier claimed that “minimum force” was used to detain the vessel.

The British naval forces seized the supertanker Grace 1 on the allegation that it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of the European Union [EU]’s unilateral sanctions on the Arab country.

Iran denied that the vessel was heading for Syria, and Spain later said that London had ordered the confiscation at the request of the United States, which has been trying to hamper Iran’s international oil sales.

Tensions escalated quickly between Tehran and London after the illegal seizure.

Later in the month, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker sailing in the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf because it refused to stop after hitting an Iranian fishing boat, a violation of international maritime rules.

Tehran has sternly cautioned London against attempting further provocation.

Britain has, however, dispatched two warships — the HMS Duncan and the HMS Montros — to the Gulf under the pretext of trying to “protect” the British ships sailing in the waters.

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Don’t Interfere in My Operation: Iran’s IRGC Tells UK Warship (+Video)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy released a video on Monday in which its forces warn a British warship escorting a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The video shows a recent operation of the IRGC Navy, in which the naval forces take control over a tanker named British Heritage.

Also, when the UK warship wants to interfere in the IRGC’s mission, the vessel receives a warning from the IRGC forces.

The British warship is the same vessel that escorted the oil tanker “Stena Impero”, which was seized by the IRGC Navy on July 19.

“British Navy Warship F-236, this is Sepah (IRGC) Navy warship; the tanker British Heritage is under my control; you are ordered not to interfere in my operation,” the IRGC commander warns the British warship in the footage.

See the Video here and here

The IRGC also released recordings of another incident on July 10.

US media reports had claimed that five armed Iranian boats attempted to seize the British tanker in the strategic strait but were driven off by a Royal Navy vessel.

CNN, citing two US officials, reported on July 10 that the Iranians ordered the British Heritage oil tanker crossing the strait to change course and stop in Iranian territorial waters nearby.

But the incident ended when the British warship, HMS Montrose, which was acting as an escort for the tanker, pointed its guns at the Iranian boats as a warning, forcing them to back off, CNN said.

The video footage came amid renewed tensions in the Persian Gulf where Iran has refused to release Stena Impero since it was seized on July 19 for violation of maritime rules.

The incident came two weeks after British marine forces boarded a supertanker laden with Iranian oil near the coast of Gibraltar.

The British Royal Marines seized the giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on July 4 for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions.

Tehran maintains that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the British envoy to Tehran several times since the capture in protest at the UK navy’s move.

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Rouhani: Foreign Forces Main Source of Tension in the Region

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that any presence of foreign forces in the Gulf will only cause even more tension in the region, amid reports that the UK and the US are pushing for a joint force to escort oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz off Iran.

Iran makes constant efforts to ensure the Sea of Oman, the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz remain safe passageways for international shipping, Rouhani said during a meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Sunday.

“The presence of foreign forces wouldn’t help the regional security, and if anything, it would actually be the main source of tension,” he added.

The remarks come as both the UK and the US are leading two sharply different plans for patrols in the Gulf.

Washington has been pushing for a scheme whereby nations protect their own ships but partake in joint operations to monitor the waterways to prevent incidents.

The administration of US President Donald Trump claims that the patrols are needed to protect the ships from threats it says are coming from Iran, following several mysterious attacks that damaged oil tankers and cargo ships in the Sea of Oman over the past weeks.

The US and some of its allies have blamed Iran for the attacks, a claim Tehran has vehemently denied. Iranian officials have warned countries in the region to watch out for false flags by “foreign players.”

The UK, on the other hand, has been trying to put together a European force to protect vessels moving through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker this month for attempting to flee the scene of a collision with an Iranian fishing boat in violation of international rules.

Tensions flared up between London and Tehran after the UK navy seized Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar, claiming that it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s sanctions against Damascus.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani told Bin Alawi that London’s move was illegal and would prove “costly” for them.

Rouhani asserted that Iran continues to stand against any breaches of law that endangers the safety of shipping in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

He argued that all of the regional issues were connected and, therefore, every government in the region needed to help maintain peace and stability there.

Reconstructing Syria and paving the way for Syrian refugees to return, ending the Saudi-led war on Yemen and stopping ongoing “Israeli” crimes against the people of Palestine were some of the key issues that he said had to be resolved.

Rouhani reiterated that Tehran has never started tensions in the region, unlike the American officials, whom he accused of causing frictions with their “delusions” and their decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bin Alawi, for his part, said Oman and Iran needed to overcome all challenges and help keep the region secure.

He emphasized that without Iran it was not possible to keep the region safe.

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Britain Foolishly Granted Iran the Control Over Strait of Hormuz

 

Strait of Hormuz - Iran's Dominance

Strait of Hormuz – Iran’s Dominance

Ironically it was the dumb foolish childish act of piracy by the British ‘Royal Navy’ of the Iranian shipment and ship that gave Iran the tools it needed to stretch its muscles in the Strait of Hormuz.

Later rejecting to defuse the problem by negotiations and instead of releasing the ship, Britain escalated the conflict by announcing it’s extending the piracy another 30 days the day on the day it was supposed to release the ship as per the agreement through direct negotiations with Iranian officials. Iran didn’t need more than to claim the rights to police the Strait of Hormuz and stop and inspect ships crossing through the Strait, and if needed it can confiscate any ship which it suspects is either a British ship, or carry British goods, or carrying any shipment t that Iran deems threatening to their national security, or to the national security of the Persian / Arabian Gulf.

We’re not discussing here the illegality of the British act of piracy applying its national laws on international shipping lines, nor we’re discussing the draconian western complete embargo on the Syrian people, we’re just looking at the consequences of the British act of piracy in Gibraltar (Jabal Tariq, if you may, named after the Islamic leader Tariq Bin Ziyad who introduced Islam to Spain)water passage on the power that should control the Strait of Hormuz.

Panama registered Grace 1 oil tanker carrying crude oil en route to Syria seized by Britain Pirates near occupied Gibraltar
Panama registered Grace 1 oil tanker carrying crude oil en route to Syria seized by Britain Pirates near occupied Gibraltar

The Iranian logic: If the strait of Gibraltar falls under the British responsibly to secure as per the British allegations, when that strait leads to so many nations in the Mediterranean and through it to further many others, on the justification that a British protectorate shores one side of that Strait, then that should also apply to the Strait of Hormuz, and that’s exactly what gave Iran the right to claim the security and passage through the Strait of Hormuz which controls the passage from and to smaller number of, and much smaller in size, countries, especially that Iran shoes a lot more of Strait of Hormuz than what British protectorate shores in Gibraltar.

What made the matter more complicated for the British officials is not only their arrogance and reviving old imperial dreams, hated around the world, but their own delusion that the USA would stand up for them when it failed every single other stooge it used in its long history of foreign interventions.

What solidified Iran’s position and claims is the yet another foolish act of European leading countries strong solidarity with Britain and their ill-calculated condemnation of Iranian confiscation of the British tanker. If they have instead taken a more balanced and more lawful position in this conflict they would have been able to play a positive rule in defusing the tensions, moreover, in saving the ugly face of Britain.

The British regime of Elizabeth the Second in blindly following the instructions of their US ally have embarrassed themselves to the extent that their top ‘defense’ officials during a high tension conflict with adversary nations had to confess they are under-budgeted, under-prepared, and incapable of protecting their own ships after filling the international arena with empty threats and bragging. Their ally, the United States of America, mostly known to dump their allies in moments of truths, served them well by further adding salt over the British humiliation wounds by stating their unwillingness to protect other countries’ ships leaving Britain very much naked in the woods.

Shipping Choke Points around the World - Straits of Hormuz, Gibraltar, and Malacca

Click on image for larger size – Map credit: The Geography of Transport Systems site

Though such precedent, if applied around the world might help countries like China control the vital water passages in their region, and other countries as well, it might be seen by countries with officials more dumb than the British like Turkey claiming control of the two water passages it shores The Bosporus and The Dardanelles and think of stopping Russian ships passing through using this new precedent. Although the Turkish president Erdogan and his advising team are known not to be of any smartness, especially in foreign policy, they wouldn’t dare to carry out such a foolish act the British did, Russia is at their doorsteps and the USA will be the first to dump them, as usual.

This British behavior has set the precedent of controlling vital water passages around the globe. Britain, in case people would forget, is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and on its shoulders relies the protection of free shipping lines around the world not promoting piracy of ships, and further worse, conducting piracy themselves.

The only way out of this conflict is the US, UK, and their allies to come to the Iranian terms in this matter and start negotiating their way out after the Iranians through their patience over ignorant arrogant international bullies managed to outsmart the self-proclaimed fake ‘International Community’.

NEAR EAST IS SIZZLING AS IRAN RATCHETS UP THE PRESSURE

عدوان “إسرائيلي” على تل الحارة بريف درعا والاضرار مادية

Syrian anti-missile defenses light up the sky as they pursue Zionist rockets fired at Tal Al-Haarra.

 / 

NEAR EAST IS SIZZLING AS IRAN RATCHETS UP THE PRESSURE

Tal Al-Haarra:  In northwestern Der’ah Province, this town was the site of another unprovoked Zionist attack resulting in no casualties and minor material damage.  The Zionist Apartheid State declared it was attacking Iranian-backed militias at the town.  According to my source in Damascus, the Zionist rockets hit nothing more than a few agricultural silos and an empty military truck.

PERSIAN GULF:

https://i0.wp.com/www.freeworldmaps.net/middleeast/persiangulf/persian-gulf-map.jpg?resize=700%2C546&ssl=1

The British, notorious for their love of piracy and the personalities who left their mark on the history of swashbuckling and murder on the high seas, once again could not help but obey their genetic tendencies toward taking other nations’ assets, seizing their loot and converting the possessions of others for their own personal enrichment.  And, once again, the same story is being told.

An Iranian-flagged ship, a supertanker, to be more accurate, had to travel around Africa and through the Straits of Gibraltar, in order to deliver much-needed oil to Syria.  The oil is not needed for military purposes.  Instead, it is to be used by the citizenry for ordinary purposes.  Most of the oil was to be stored for use during winter.  That was the plan.  The payment for the oil was to be made by Iraq.

The supertanker was so large it could not go through the Suez Canal and had to take a circuitous route in order to make its delivery to Syria.

The British had the ship seized in international waters or through an international waterway by their marines despite the fact that the U.K. was pretending to oppose the U.S. position on Iran’s nuclear deal.  The British, ever the hypocrites, publicly denounced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear pact, while, at the same time, cooperating with the Americans in undoing it from top to bottom.  This writer believes that the British view the present state of affairs as unhealthy for the NATO alliance and want desperately to get back in America’s good graces.  This is because, the Turk-gene-infested blackguard, Boris Johnson, is planning a “no-deal Brexit” in October which will devastate the British economy while hoping that good U.S. relations will tamp down the misery he is going to bring to his people in Old Blighty.

Amazingly, the foreign minister of Spain, made a statement that completely supports my position.  He said that the British order to seize the Grace 1 was due to pressure from the Americans and not as the British announced publicly, to wit, that no oil could be shipped to Syria due to EU sanctions against that country.  That is the same EU which the Brits are trying to throw under the bus with Brexit!!  In addition to all this silliness is the time-worn fact that Iranian ships have been regularly delivering oil to Syria for years without interference from the oh-so-legalistic English.  It appears now that the Brits want out of the Iranian nuclear deal and need to do something to assuage American suspicions about the possibility of rancor in relations between the two imperialistic powers.

Well, Iran took the next step by gradually ticking up the pressure back on both conniving nations.  Not only was an American drone shot down in the Gulf at the Straits of Hormuz, but, Tehran ordered the seizure of a British-flagged vessel named the Stena Impero with its largely non-British crew.   .

Image result for robert newton as long john silver

Robert Newton, in his immortal performance as Long John Silver, exemplifies the love the British have for the criminals and psychopaths they have spewed upon the high seas.  While Long John Silver was written up by Robert Louis Stevenson (Scottish) as a lovable scoundrel, he remains a symbol of the misery the Brits have brought to maritime life.    

Look folks, Russia can easily provide Syria with all the diesel fuel it needs to mechanize the army.  But, there isn’t a lot of movement today regarding Idlib and Syria has sufficient reserves for the military.  The sole purpose of halting an Iranian tanker heading to Syria is to make Syrian citizens unhappy in the hope they will rise up and oust Dr. Assad.  It’s the same old story being told in Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea and, even, Russia.  And, yet, it appears Mr. Maduro, Daniel Ortega Saavedra, Kim Jong Un and the redoubtable Vladimir Putin are still in power.  Old tactics that are well understood by all, including Dr. Assad.

The only hope is that Trump’s own distaste for foreign entanglements will eventually triumph over the rabid machinations of chicken-hawk John Bolton and the Evangelistic duo, Pence and Pompeo.  If Iran were to sink a ship or hurt an American, Trump would be faced with his first true overseas challenge.  The Zionists will goad him into war and will promise to help in declawing Iran.  And so will the British who also have a lust for spilling blood around the world.  It is only the anxiety Trump feels over tying his country up in another foreign war that will save the nuclear deal and save the area of the Persian Gulf from irreparable destruction.

Iran must now step up and deliver the blow that will make Trump quiver.

Iran allegedly test fires ballistic missile amid increased tensions with US, UK: media

Source

Iran has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile on Friday, Fox News television channel reported citing an unnamed senior official in the US administration.

According to Fox News, Shahab-3 ballistic missile was launched in the early hours on July 25 from the southern part of Iran and, after covering a distance of about 960 kilometers (600 miles) to the north of Iran, it landed in a desert not far from Tehran.

“We are aware of reports of a projectile launched from Iran, and have no further comment at this time,” the television channel cited its high-ranking source in the administration as saying on Thursday.

The reported ballistic missile launch comes in the wake of the recently strained relations between Tehran and the West.

The situation exacerbated on July 19, when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite military force of the Islamic Republic, seized the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for “the violations of international maritime regulations.”

According to the IRGC, the tanker was escorted towards the shore for further investigation.

Source: TASS

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Iran Imposes Its Rule of Engagement: “An Eye for an Eye”

Source

The Straits of Hormuz

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Iran has meticulously selected its political steps and military targets in recent months, both in the Gulf and the international arena. Its partial and gradual withdrawal – tactical yet lawful -from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal, is following a determined path. Its clear objective is to corner the US President and his European allies, and indeed Iran seems aiming for a final withdrawal from the JCPOA. Also, despite the effect the US sanctions are having on the Iranian economy – and despite Iran’s determination to reject US hegemony – Iranian officials have publicly put on hold a Russian offer to support its oil sales.

In Iran, sources confirm that “China rejected the US sanctions and Russia offered to sell one million barrels daily for Iran, and to replace the European financial system with another if needed. But why would Iran make it easy on those who signed the deal (Europe)? If the European countries are divided and not in a position to honour the deal why did they sign it in the first place? Iran will pull out gradually, as stated in the nuclear agreement, up to a complete withdrawal. Iran is experiencing a recession (Trump is expected to be re-elected, which will prolong it), but is not in poverty, and is far from being on its knees economically and politically”.

Despite the harsh US sanctions, Iran is sending unusual and paradoxical signs, playing down the effect of the economic crisis and showing how less than relevant the Trump administration’s measures are: it has frozen the Russian offer designed to ease its financial burden by selling one million barrels of oil daily, and by stepping in to replace the European financial system. The only plausible interpretation is that Iran is determined to pull out of the nuclear deal if possible without invoking worldwide sanctions. In parallel, its military steps continue at a calculated pace.

IRGC Navy speed boats circling the British-flag tanker Stena Impero to slow it down before boarding it by Special Forces.

None of the several military objectives that have been hit in recent months was a casual or impulsive response, starting from the al-Fujeira sabotage, followed by the drone attacks on Aramco pumping stations, and ending with the damage to a Japanese tanker. The first action was not officially claimed by Iran. The second was claimed by the Houthis in Yemen. The third was against a Japanese tanker and the attacker is still at large, officially unknown.

However, Iran came out in public to announce its downing of the US surveillance drone and its capture of a British tanker in the Gulf of Oman. The ship was forced to sail into the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Every single reaction by Iran’s opponents was envisaged and calculated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the preparation of these attacks was perfectly planned and equally well executed. However, this doesn’t mean Iran did not take into consideration a possible war scenario where missiles could potentially fly in all directions. Iran is harassing, engaging, and even playing with Trump and Netanyahu’s threats of war, walking on the edge of the abyss.

Most Iranian leaders are repeating the clear message: no one will export oil if we can’t. It is also telling neighbouring countries that any attempt to export their oil by bypassing the Straits of Hormuz will be thwarted, hence the attacks on al-Fujeirah (the Emirates) and Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Both were potential substitutes, ways to export Middle Eastern oil without going through the Iranian controlled straits.

Iran chose to down an unmanned drone, where it could have downed a US spy aircraft with 38 officers onboard. The same US President- who was embarrassed by the lack of reaction to the downing of the drone – had to thank Iran for not shooting down the spy plane with the US personnel on board. That was a masterly planned decision: cool thinking by the IRGC leadership in the face of tough alternatives.

Trump could justify his failure to react by the lack of human victims; he was certainly aware that any military friction could blow up his chances of re-election: a factor very carefully calculated by Iran. Limited war is not an option available to Trump.

Moreover, after the UK Royal Marines landed by helicopter on the Iranian super tanker “Grace 1” to capture it – despite the fact that neither Iran nor Syria are part of the EU, and thus they are not legitimate targets for the sanctions to be applied and validated in this case – Iran first gave a chance to the French envoy Emmanuel Bonne to find an exit to the crisis. When the UK decided to keep “Grace 1” for another month, hours later Iranian IRGC special Forces captured – using the “cut and paste” style of boarding- the British tanker “Stena Impero”, a UK ship, just at the moment when that government was at its weakest, and the UK Prime Minister was bailing out. Again, very thoughtfully planned, and a well-calculated risk.

The US pushed the UK to move against Iran but stood idly by,watching the humiliationof the former “British Empire” which indirectly dominated Iran during the Shah era and before the Imam Khomeini came to power in 1979.

Iran took the UK tanker from the Gulf of Oman and offered a mediocre pretext, equal to the British one when capturing “Grace 1” in Gibraltar. Iran is telling the British that no war confrontation took place and no human losses are registered so far even if the Middle East is in the middle of a war-like situation with the US economic war on Iran.

So far, not one victim has been recorded, notwithstanding the massive and important events that involved several sabotage operations, the downing of one of the most sophisticated and expensive US drones, the capture of two tankers, and a warning to a US spy plane which escaped Iranian missiles by a hair’s breadth.

Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered the IRGC to continue developing its missile programme and injected billions of dollars into it. The leader criticised both President Hassan Rouhani and the Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif for leading the country to a deal with the US and the EU when both are partners to each other and cannot be trusted. Therefore, the only exit seems the direction Iran is taking, particularly since Europe remains divided. The UK is heading towards selecting a Trump-like leader, Boris Johnson, the US President’s favourite candidate. The UK is in a critical situation where the “no-deal British exit” (hard Brexit) from the European community will weaken the country and isolate it- and certainly Trump will not bother to rescue it.

Iran is exposing its policy now: an eye for an eye. It is as prepared for war as much as US; prepared for the “absolute worst” as Trump has said. The US is building up its military capability by re-opening its air base in Saudi Arabia (Prince Sultan desert base) – the same base that the US used for its war against Saddam Hussein in 1990. Iran is active with its allies, Palestinian groups, the Lebanese Hezbollah, various Iraqi groups and Yemeni allies to provide these with enough missiles to sustain a long war if need be, yet without obviously provoking it.

Iran wil continue its war in the shadows, and will continue harassing the western countries, disregarding the Arab states so that its war is not turned in a sectarian direction. Middle Eastern peoples are watching the dangerous bickering and can see Iran’s finger is on the trigger. It is gripping it firmly, without no hesitation to fire when appropriate, and regardless of who is the opponent or opponents.

The USl most likely will have to wait and think carefully about its next move, particularly the building up of a maritime security coalition to patrol the Gulf and protect ships during the six hours needed for the transit of the Straits of Hormuz. The more western military presence there is in the vicinity of Iran, the richer the bank of objectives and targets offered to the IRGC, and the easier it becomes for Tehran to select its choice of target – in case of war – without launching long-range missiles against US bases established in the Middle East or any other long-distance target.

Washington won’t go to war if the outcome is not clear at least for itself. And, with Iran, no outcome can be predicted with certainty. Iran is aware of this US weakness, and is playing with it. It is showing that the West, for all its bulky muscles, is fragile and even vulnerable.

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

إيران في المواجهة… تفرض قواعد اشتباك ومعادلات ردع فاعلة

يوليو 23, 2019

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

ظنّ الغرب بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي انّ الساحة الدولية خلت له وأنه أيّ الغرب بشكل عام وأميركا بشكل خاص لهم الحق بأن يقيّدوا العالم بأوامرهم وقوانينهم وبما يفرضونه من قواعد سلوك أو قواعد اشتباك. وتصرّف الغرب بقيادة أميركية بذهنية «الأمر لنا وعلى العالم الطاعة». وبهذا «المنطق الذي يرفضه منطق العدالة والسيادة والاستقلال الوطني»، بهذا المنطق خاضت أميركا وأحلافها القائمة او التي ركبت غبّ الطلب خاضت منذ العام 1990 أربع حروب الكويت أفغانستان – العراق لبنان وألزمت مجلس الأمن إما بتفويضها ابتداء أو بالتسليم لاحقاً بالأمر الواقع الذي أنتجته حروبها العدوانية.

اما إيران التي أطلقت في ظلّ ثورتها الإسلامية نظرية «الاستقلال الفعلي المحصّن بالقوة القادرة على حمايته« فقد تصدّت للمنطق الاستعماري الأميركي ورفضت الخضوع لمقتضياته، وجاهرت برفضها له وتمسّكها بحقها في السيادة والاستقلال الوطني، ليس هذا فقط، بل وأيضاً جاهرت بنصرة القضايا العادلة ومدّ يد العون للمظلومين ضحايا الغزو الاستعماري بوجوهه المتعدّدة والتي يشكل الاستعمار الاحتلالي التهجيري الذي تمارسه «إسرائيل» في فلسطين، الوجه الأبشع والأكثر ظلماً في ممارسات الاستعمار.

ولأنّ إيران رفضت ان تنصاع للاستعمار بأيّ صيغة من صيغ الإذعان التي أعدّها لها فقد اتخذ القرار الغربي بإسقاطها وشنّت عليها الحرب في الأشهر الأولى لنجاح ثورتها وإقامة دولتها الإسلامية… ولما فشلت الحرب في تحقيق أهدافها اعتمد الغرب الاستعماري سياسة الاحتواء والمحاصرة أسلوباً لمواجهتها.

وبالتالي فإنّ إيران الاستقلالية هذه وضعت بين شرّين: شرّ الاستتباع والهيمنة كما هي حال جوارها في دول الخليج، وشرّ التضييق والحصار للتركيع عبر ما يسمّى العقوبات، وبينهما اختارت إيران الشرّ الأدنى لأنها توقن «انّ جوع مع كرامة وسيادة أفضل من عبودية وتبعية مع وعد بالتساهل الاقتصادي». ومع هذا الاختيار حوّلت التحدي الى فرصة استغلتها من أجل تنمية اقتصادها سعياً لتحقيق الاكتفاء الذاتي الممكن.

استطاعت إيران ان تصمد طيلة الأربعين عاماً الماضية الى ان وصلت اليوم لموقع بالغ الحرج والخطورة حيث فرض عليها اختيار جديد، يخيّرها بين التنازل عن حقوقها استجابة لقرار أميركي ينتهك هذه الحقوق، او المواجهة المفتوحة مع ما يمكن ان تتطوّر فيه وصولاً الى الحرب. اختبار بدأه ترامب بالخروج من الاتفاق النووي وأكده موقف أوروبي متخاذل عن حماية هذا الاتفاق.

تدرك إيران انّ الخضوع للرئيس الأميركي ترامب في مطالبه يعني بكلّ بساطة التنكّر للثورة وتغيير طبيعة النظام الاستقلالي والعودة الى مقاعد الدول التي تفرض أميركا هيمنتها عليها، اما المواجهة فإنها مع مخاطرها تختزن آمالاً كبيرة بتحقيق النجاح وتثبيت المواقع الاستقلالية، ولهذا اختارت إيران ان تتمسك بحقوقها واستقلالها وان تعدّ لكلّ احتمال مقتضياته، وهذا القرار هو الأساس الذي تبني عليه إيران كلّ سياستها.

ويبدو انّ أميركا صُدمت بالقرار الإيراني فراحت تهوّل على إيران بالحرب وعملت على تشكيل أحلاف دولية للعدوان عليها بدءاً بـ «حلف الناتو العربي» واجتماع وارسو الذي دعت اليه للتحشيد ضدّ إيران، وصولاً الى فكرة الحلف البحري في الخليج لمحاصرة إيران، ثم شرعت بتحريك ونقل قوات عسكرية الى السعودية للإيحاء بأنّ الخيار العسكري لمواجهة إيران هو خيار جدي وقريب…

كلّ هذا لم يرعب إيران ولم يهزّ ثقتها بنفسها لا بل تعاملت مع المستجدات بموقف أذهل أميركا وحلفاءها حيث كان إسقاط إيران لطائرة التجسّس الأميركية ثم كان احتجازها لباخرة بريطانية انتهكت مقابل الشاطئ الإيراني قواعد الملاحة الدولية ثم كان اعتقال 17 جاسوس أميركي في إيران ومحاكمتهم…

قامت يران بكلّ ذلك في إطار تنفيذ استراتيجية دفاعية تثبت فيها أنها صحيح لا تسعى الى الحرب ولكنها أيضاً لا تتهيّب المواجهة إذا فرضت عليها، ولهذا أعدّت إيران نفسها للدفاع وأطلقت مع حلفائها «استراتيجية الحرب المفتوحة والمواجهة الشاملة على كلّ الجبهات» وحضرت نفسها للأكثر سوءاً. ما جعل أميركا تدرك انّ لعبتها على حافة الفشل والانهيار الأمر الذي جعلها تتراجع قليلاً وتأمر بريطانيا بفعل شيء ما ضدّ إيران فاستجابت ونفذت عملية قرصنة ضدّ باخرة نفط إيرانية كانت تعبر مضيق جبل طارق. وارتكبت بذلك عملاً غير مشروع ومخالف لأحكام القانون الدولي العام بما فيه أحكام الملاحة الدولية ويصنّف بأنه عدوان على إيران بكلّ المعايير.

تصوّرت أميركا وبريطانيا أنهما ستلويان ذراع إيران وتجبرانها على وقف تصدير نفطها، لكن الردّ الإيراني جاء معاكساً للتوقع الانكلوسكسوني، ردّ حصل على وفقاً لمبدأ «السن بالسن والعين بالعين والبادئ أظلم«، وترجم باحتجاز الباخرة البريطانية التي كاث تعبر مضيق هرمز.

انّ احتجاز إيران للباخرة البريطانية بعد أيام من إسقاط طائرة التجسّس الأميركية فوق النطاق الإقليمي الإيراني يشكل خطوة نوعيه في المواجهة من شأنها ان تفرض إيقاعها على الكثير من العلاقات الدولية التي يكون الغرب طرفاً فيها. وفيها من الدلالات فوق ما كان يتوقع او يتخيّل أحد من ساسة الغرب عامة وأميركا وبريطانيا خاصة دلالات يمكن ذكر بعضها كالتالي:

1 ـ رسم الفعل الإيراني قواعد اشتباك جديدة في العلاقة مع الخصوم والأعداء، قواعد قائمة على «الردّ المناسب في الوقت المناسب وبالطريقة المناسبة»، ينفذ تطبيقاً لقاعدة أساسية في قانون الحرب هي «قاعدة التناسب والضرورة». فإيران وفقاً لهذا المبدأ لا تعتدي ولا تبادر الى عمل ميداني إنْ لم يكن مسبوقاً بعدوان عليها، كما انّ إيران لن تسكت عن أيّ عدوان يستهدفها.

2 ـ أسقطت إيران الهيبة الأميركية والبريطانية وهذا أمر بالغ الخطورة بالنسبة لاثنتين من مجموعة المنتصرين في الحرب العالمية الثانية. وأكدت أنها لا تخشى ما هم عليه من قوّة، وبأن عليهم اعتماد الحسابات الدقيقة في مواجهتها وإلا كانت الخسارة المؤكدة.

3 ـ أكدت إيران انها عصية على الحرب النفسية وأنها واثقة من قدراتها الدفاعية الذاتية وإنها أيضاً مطمئنة لتحالفاتها الإقليمية والدولية. وأنها لا تتهيّب مواجهة عسكرية مع انها لا تسعى اليها.

4 ـ أكدت إيران احترامها للقانون الدولي وفقاً للتفسير الموضوعي الصحيح، وترفض أيّ تفسير منحرف وعدواني على حقوق الغير.

5 ـ أرست إيران معادلة ردع متبادل فاعل في مواجهة الخارج عامة وأميركا ومن يتبعها خاصة، معادلة جديدة تقوم مكان مبدأ الردع الأحادي الذي تفرضه أميركا في العالم وتمنع أحداً من الدول من مواجهتها حتى ولو كانت المواجهة دفاعاً عن النفس.

انّ مفاعيل ما تقوم به إيران يتعدّى إطار العلاقة البينية مع أميركا وبريطانيا ويتمدّد ليصبغ العلاقات الدولية كلها وليفرض نمطاً جديداً فيها قائماً على الثقة بالنفس وكسر قيود الهيبة الغربية التي بها فرض الاستعمار إرادته وبها أخضعت الدول وبها سرقت أموال الشعوب وحقوقهم، وعندما تكسر الهيبة تلك ستخلع أنياب الغرب وسيظهر مدى عجز دوله عسكرياً عن القبض على قرارات الشعوب والدول. وعندها سيفتح الطريق واسعاً أمام من يريد الحرية الحقيقية والاستقلال الفعلي الناجز والتمتع الكامل بثرواته.

وبكلمة أخرى نقول انّ إيران اليوم ترسم مشهداً دولياً استراتيجياً هاماً يتعدّى القول بمعادلة الطائرة بالطائرة والباخرة بالباخرة وهي تواجه معسكر الاستعمار بالأصالة عن نفسها والنيابة عن أحرار العالم ومظلوميه، وهنا تكمن أهمية المواجهة التي ستكشف انّ الخوف من الغرب كان قائماً على وهم وخيال أكثر منه على حقيقة وواقع، فالغرب لا يملك الجيوش التي تمكّنه من السيطرة على الكرة الأرضية لكن ضعف الآخر وعدم أخلاقية الغرب مكّنه من السيطرة، والآن تقوم إيران بكسر هذه الهيبة وتشجع الآخرين على المواجهة بعد الإعداد الصحيح لها وامتلاك الثقة بالنفس… وليعلم الجميع انّ الغرب سيحجم عن الحرب عندما يلمس انّ الآخر مستعدّ لها وقادر على خوضها… كما هي حال إيران ومحور المقاومة اليوم… وبهذا نفهم ما قاله بومبيو لبريطانيا «احموا سفنكم بأنفسكم فلسنا مستعدّين للحرب مع إيران».

أستاذ جامعي ـ باحث استراتيجي

هرمز مقابل جبل طارق… ومثله

يوليو 22, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لا نعلم إذا كان البريطانيون قد انتبهوا أم لم ينتبهوا إلى أهمية ما وفروه لإيران في معركتها التاريخية حول السيادة والقوة في مضيق هرمز، الذي يمثل مفصل الاستراتيجية الإيرانية في الإفادة من ميزات الجغرافيا الدولية الاقتصادية والعسكرية التي تعرف كيف تدير معادلاتها. فالخطوة الرعناء لبريطانيا في إيقاف الناقلة الإيرانية في مضيق جبل طارق، لا تستقيم إلا إذا تصرفت لندن على أساس أن الدولة التي تملك السيادة البرية على طرف المضيق تملك الحق بتفتيش السفن التي تتجاوزه وفقاً لمفهوم المرور العابر قانونياً، أي المرور باتجاه مقصد نهائي آخر، دون التوغل في المياه الداخلية للدولة المشاطئة، بينما المواجهة التي تخوضها واشنطن مع إيران حول المرور العابر في مضيق هرمز تنطلق من إنكار أي حقوق للدول المشاطئة للمضيق في التعامل مع «المرور العابر».

– الخطوة الإيرانية التي استهدفت الناقلة البريطانية أخذت وقتاً قبل أن تعتمد إيران تنفيذها رغم السهولة التكتيكية لعملية التنفيذ، لأن إيران كانت تحسب المداخل والمخارج للعملية. فالأصل بالنسبة للأميركي عندما ورط بريطانيا في عملية السيطرة على الناقلة الإيرانية، كان وضع إيران أمام موقف محرج، بين ردّ يتضمن المخاطرة بخسارة وقوف بريطانيا ضمن ثلاثي أوروبي مساند للاتفاق النووي، يضم بريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا، وهو ما لا تريده إيران رغم عدم رضاها عن حدود الاستجابة الأوروبية لموجبات الاتفاق النووي تجارياً ومالياً، ورغم إدراكها لكون بريطانيا تشكل أضعف الحلقات الأوروبية في التمسك بالاتفاق، لكن طهران تدرك الخطة الأميركية التي تنطلق من استشعار الفشل بعزل إيران، ومن الشعور بالضيق لكون واشنطن لا تزال وحدها خارج الاتفاق، من أصل الخمسة زائداً واحداً، وتسعى عبر إخراج بريطانيا، أن تخطو الخطوة الأولى قبل الانتقال للتركيز على شريك آخر، صولاً لإسقاط الشركاء الأوروبيين، ووضع إيران أمام معادلة تضعها طهران في حسابها كاحتمال وارد طالما قررت البدء بخطوات إجرائية للخروج من الاتفاق النووي، لكنها لا تسعى لتقديمها خدمة مجانية لواشنطن.

– بالمقابل تدرك طهران أن ترك التصرف البريطاني دون ردّ رادع سيعني فتح الباب للتمادي في التعامل مع إيران من موقع التطاول على حقوقها القانونية، في ميادين كثيرة من مجالات التجارة العالمية، لذلك رسمت طهران معادلة مبتكرة لتعاملها مع بريطانيا، فتركت لندن تخوض المعركة السياسية والقانونية والدبلوماسية لتأكيد أن عملية إيقاف الناقلة الإيرانية عمل قانوني، استناداً إلى بدء سيادة الدولة المشاطئة للمضيق، وبعدما اكتملت المرحلة قامت إيران بما يترجم هذا المبدأ من موقعها على مضيق هرمز، بحجز الناقلة البرطانية، وهو شأن مختلف عن تهديدات إيران السابقة بإقفال المضيق، وطورت إيران المفهوم القانوني بالإعلان عبر مجلس الشورى عزمها عن فرض رسوم مرور في مضيق هرمز، والأمر ليس بالعائد المالي للمرور، وهو في كل حال ليس بسيطاً، بل في كون تسديد الرسوم سيعني التوقف عند نقطة جمارك إيرانية بما يعنيه ذلك من حق التفتيش، والتحقيق وربما التوقيف، وما يعنيه عموماً من تثبيت حق الإمساك بالعبور من المضيق.

– لم تتأخر إيران بعد ذلك عن منح بريطانيا الجواب الإيجابي على قبول مساعٍ عمانية للوساطة من أجل حل النزاع، وما قد يتضمنه من صيغة لمقايضة الناقلتين الإيرانية والبريطانية، وضمان متبادل لحرية عبور الناقلات البريطانية في مضيق هرمز مقابل حرية عبور الناقلات الإيرانية في مضيق جبل طارق، ويكون على واشنطن بذلك البحث عن طرق أخرى لمواجهة إيران، طرق لا تمنح إيران فرص تحويل التحدي إلى فرصة، كما قالت أغلب الطرق الأميركية حتى الآن، فمعادلة هرمز مقابل جبل طارق ومثله، لم تكن ورادة في الحسابات الإيرانية الذكية لو لم تقدّمها لها الحسابات الأميركية الغبية.

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British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

July 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Had Iran openly hijacked a vessel of any nation, for any reason, plying through waters anywhere on Earth, the US and its allies would immediately cite it as a provocation toward war.

In fact, even without evidence, suspiciously timed attacks carried out last month on tankers passing through the Persian Gulf were cited by Washington and London as a pretext for increased pressure on Tehran despite the attacks appearing staged by the West itself.

Now in a display once again illustrating just who the actual menace is to global peace and stability, the British have openly – even proudly – hijacked a ship carrying Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria.

The Guardian’s article, “Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria,” would report:

Royal Marines have helped seize an Iranian supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar, escalating tensions between the UK and Tehran as the agreement aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear programme unravels.

A detachment of nearly 30 British troops working with the Gibraltarian police intercepted the vessel, believed to be carrying 2m barrels of oil, in a dramatic manoeuvre Spain said had been conducted at the request of the US.

The article would quote the British ambassador to Iran who claimed:

[The UK] welcomes this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities.

As to why the UK believed it was justified to hijack the Iranian tanker – the article would cite “sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad” the UK and EU placed on Syria – which are in themselves illegal and an act of war.

Stealing Ships from Stolen Land to Enforce Illegal Sanctions 

The UK’s presence in Gibraltar itself is a point of contention between London and Madrid.

Spain does not recognize British claims over the tiny piece of land located at the furthest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The British presence is one of its many holdovers from its imperialist past. The British presence gives the UK a choke point over the Strait of Gibraltar and all shipping passing through it.

The fact that the British are using the disputed territory of Gibraltar to hijack ships or that the London Guardian is trying to depict it as an operation undertaken while “working with the Gibraltarian police” – when the “Gibraltarian police” are nothing more than functionaries representing London itself – provide a clear illustration of how foreign policy, media, and crimes against international law are being coordinated, justified, and sold to the public by Washington and London.

While Iran has regularly threatened to impede shipping through the Stait of Hormuz in retaliation to Western military aggression – it has never acted upon these threats – reserving them as a means of last resort.

The British and Americans – on the other hand – have literally implicated themselves in disrupting “freedom of navigation.” 

The US and UK both pose as international arbiters and underwriters of what they call “the freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas. They regularly accuse nations like China of impeding such “freedom” in the South China Sea – using these accusations as an excuse to build up a military presence off China’s shores – thousands of miles from their own shores.

They have also regularly cited Iran’s “threats” to shipping through the Strait of Hormuz as another reason Iran should be further pressured, sanctioned, and its government ultimately removed from power.

Yet by hijacking Iranian ships, or likewise intercepting North Korean vessels, or the ships of any nation based on sanctions unilaterally and illegally imposed by Washington, London, and Brussels implicates the West themselves as the primary threat to the very “freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas they claim to uphold.

Provoking War 

From Western policy think tanks to policymakers and politicians themselves – the West has all but admitted it is trying to goad Iran into war.

Sanctions, Western-sponsored terrorism aimed at Iranian territory itself, and provocations – like the recent hijacking of an Iranian tanker – all aimed at Tehran – are moves seeking to trigger a response from Iran that will justify even wider Western economic sanctions and military aggression.

And if Iran fails to provide such a provocation, one might be staged and blamed on Iran anyway.

These are the actions of outlaw nations presiding over a fading international order – one fading specifically because it is so transparently unjust, lopsided, and disruptive toward global stability. It has persisted for so long solely through the maxim of “might makes right.”

The British stealing ships from stolen land to enforce illegal sanctions is a vulgar display of “might makes right,” but one that may possibility be reaching its expiration.

The countervailing multipolar order emerging across Eurasia has an opportunity to oppose this flagrant provocation – not merely on Iran’s behalf – but to erode the impunity that will allow the US and UK to target the ships of other nations in a similar fashion if afforded impunity to do so to Iran now.

For Tehran, it will need to continue exhibiting “maximum patience” while enduring Washington and London’s “maximum pressure” campaign – avoiding the traps both have laid out for Tehran as they attempt to bait the nation into war and change their failing fortunes in the Middle East and around the globe.

The British – still a thorn in the side of global peace and stability despite losing most of its empire – presents us with a preview of what to expect from America even long after it fades as sole global hegemon. Learning to put the UK’s recent provocations in check now will help develop the tools necessary to put in check its future provocations – and those the US will find itself also depending on more and more often in the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Press Tv

1

Fri Jul 19, 2019 05:59PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

(This item is being updated.)

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement issued on Friday evening that its naval forces have seized British tanker ship, ‘Stena Impero’, for violating maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.

“UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.

The statement said the ship has been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control has been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.

A statement by Stena Impero shipping firm said there are 23 crew onboard the UK ship, adding that there has been no report on any harm or injury to the crew members since the vessel came under detention by the Iranian forces.

Media reports said the tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Al-Jobail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was detained by the IRGC.

Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office in Hurmuzgan province said he filed a request for the seizure of the British tanker by the IRGCN after reports on its risky moves that made the vessel prone to accident.

Meantime, sources told FNA that “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the South, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the Northern pass.

In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

The attorney general announced on Friday that Gibraltar’s supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain’s Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court’s decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar’s official described as “constructive” talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of “piracy”.

“They commit crimes and make it appear legal. The Islamic Republic and devout agents of the system will not leave such vicious acts without a response and they will respond in a proper opportunity and place,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

On Thursday, naval forces of the IRGC seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement by the public relations office of the IRGC Navy’s first zone. The foreign vessel was smuggling a million liters of fuel from Iran and was seized in Iranian waters South of Lark island.

Yet, a statement issued by the IRGC on Thursday denied that any other foreign ship had been seized during the last week as claimed by the western media.

The statement reiterated that the ship had been seized for “smuggling fuel from Iran”, and no other reason.

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

 

IRAN SEIZES BRITISH TANKER IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

South Front

19.07.2019

Iran Seizes British Tanker In Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Guards said in a press release that the tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

حرس الثورة يعلن أن الناقلة البريطانية لم تراع قوانين الملاحة البحرية

Stena Impero’s operator Clyde-based Northern Marine Group (NMG) confirmed in an offical statement that the tanker was taken over by force. The group said that 23 seafarers were aboard the tanker when it was captured.

“At approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the NMG’s statement reads.

In its first response to the Iranian move, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that it is looking for further information on the incident.

Stena Impero was likely captured by the IRGC as a response to the UK seizure of Iran’s supertanker, Grace 1, off the shores of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Senior Iranian officials, including the country’s Supreme Leader, had warned the UK that Iran will not tolerate such moves.

More on this topic:

Idiots Driving World to War

A view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019
Finian Cunningham
10620

Like a person going up in an escalator while asserting they are going down, the British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has a bizarre way of trying to assure Iran that war is not on the cards.

Hunt, who is vying to become Britain’s new prime minister, stated on camera that “he wants to de-escalate” the danger of a military confrontation with Iran over mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf.

That was only days after he vowed to dramatically increase Britain’s military spending and in particular, boost the country’s naval firepower  – citing Iran as the main threat to British commercial shipping interests.

It also follows news that London has ordered a second warship to patrol the Persian Gulf. Earlier this week a British Royal Navy frigate reportedly challenged Iranian military vessels (three small boats) after they allegedly tried to impede a British oil tanker entering the narrow Strait of Hormuz. Iran vehemently denied any such interference by its boats and claimed that Britain and the US were engaging in a provocation.

Given that the Pentagon has announced plans to send an international coalition of warships to the Gulf “over the next two weeks”, under the guise of protecting commercial shipping from alleged Iranian threats, it must certainly look to Iran like the “war escalator” is speeding upwards.

Hunt has previously asserted that British forces would join in any American military attack on Iran. The resonance of past Anglo-American skullduggery against Iran is no doubt palpable to most Iranians.

There seems little doubt that Hunt is playing the “hard military man” card in his grubby contest with Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister. Conservative Party members are due to vote later this month on who is to replace the hapless Theresa May.

Bumbling Boris is the favourite to win the party race. But Hunt is making a last-gasp bid to rally the rank-and-file with seeming credentials of being a “tough leader”.

This week he wrote in a newspaper oped: “As the son of a naval officer, I know a little of the sacrifices of these individuals and of their families back home.”

He then promised that, if elected prime minister, he would ramp up military spending by 25 per cent, or by £15 billion, over the next five years. He claimed the tensions in the Gulf with Iran are “proof” that Britain needs to overhaul its maritime forces.

That exorbitant indulgence of military spending will likely wreak havoc on public services and prolong years of economic austerity on ordinary Britons. But such is the ambition of Hunt to get into 10 Downing Street, it’s a devastating price he seems willing to make British citizens pay.

However, more damning is Hunt’s reckless gamble from inflaming tensions with Iran. Sending more naval forces to the Gulf at a time of knife-edge fears about a war breaking out is ludicrous, if not criminally irresponsible.

Over the past two months, there have already been numerous incidents of alleged sabotage on shipping in the strategically important Gulf which the US has blamed on Iran. An American spy drone was shot down on June 20 by the Iranians after it allegedly violated Iran’s airspace. That incident nearly resulted in, reportedly, Trump ordering airstrikes.

The seizure last week by British commandoes of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar has added to fraught nerves in the region. More so because Tehran contends that seizure to be an illegal “act of piracy” orchestrated by Washington and London. The refusal by Britain to release the cargo of two million barrels of oil – based on dubious claims of enforcing EU sanctions against Syria – would also seem to be a calculated insult to provoke Iran.

From Iran’s point of view, the British are permitted to hijack oil ships, but whenever its patrol boats even as much as approach a British tanker near its territorial waters, then London and Washington are crying “foul”. The flagrant hypocrisy is in itself another provocative goading.

Let’s be clear: the Buffoonish Boris Johnson would be equally as deplorable as the Silly Hunt. Both of them are unscrupulous sycophants to America’s President Trump and his crazed warmongering towards Iran.

Russia has warned that the escalating tensions in the Gulf could spark a catastrophic war. Potentially a war in the tinderbox region could lead to World War III.

Lamentably, Britain’s shambolic politics and its venal politicians are playing with fire in their pathetic plans for personal self-aggrandizement of power.

Hunt’s double-think posturing of “escalating to de-escalate” is a sure sign that this Tory toff should not be heading to Downing Street, but rather to a padded cell. Johnson could also qualify for a cell next door.

The backdrop to resolving the current madness for endangering global peace seems blindingly obvious. Washington needs to abide by the 2015 international nuclear treaty with Iran, lift the sanctions crushing the Iranian economy, and remove all warships from the Persian Gulf.

As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this week, there would be no need for the US or Britain to “protect shipping” in the Gulf if these two states simply respected international law and norms of diplomacy.

It is insane and gut-wrenchingly tragic that world peace is being jeopardized by idiots like Hunt, Johnson and their puppet master in Washington. The only long-term solution is for the whole rotten political class in Britain, and the US, to be thrown out by popular revolt.

Views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Member of Iranian Parliament’s Foreign Policy Commission: We’ll Force the West to Back Down

Mokhtar Haddad

Tehran – The announcement by the Islamic Republic of Iran to increase its uranium enrichment rate beyond 3.67% has triggered various reactions worldwide.

Al-Ahed News sat down with the second deputy chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Mohammad Javad Jamali Nobandegani to discuss the issue.

Nobandegani explained that “a few years ago Iran signed an agreement on joint action with the P5+1.”

“The parties to this agreement were supposed to implement the commitments agreed upon. The Islamic Republic fulfilled all of its commitments in this regard. The world was supposed to see a new atmosphere. But the United States under [US] President [Donald] Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran and did not fulfill its commitments. The European side was content to say that this is a good agreement and Iran must remain committed to it. Instead of practical measures, they only talked and did nothing,” he added.

“After Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal more than a year ago, the Europeans promised Iran that within a few weeks they would fulfill their obligations in the framework of 11 items, including buying oil, lifting sanctions on petrochemical companies and paying money to Iran’s accounts,” Nobandegani said. “They, unfortunately, turned out to be wasting time.”

According to the Iranian MP, Brussels and Washington are playing the good cop, bad cop routine.

“It appears that there is an undeclared agreement between the Europeans and the Americans, in which they divided the roles so that Iran does not enjoy the potentially positive benefits of the nuclear agreement, and we are seeing it today,”

Nobandegani opined.

“As a result of this behavior, we recently decided to implement articles 26 and 36 of the nuclear accord,”

Nobandegani stated.

“But unfortunately today, we see some of these countries are still behaving badly. In this context, we saw Britain’s recent act of piracy in Gibraltar … This European behavior is an escape forward. “

“Everyone in the Islamic Republic, including the political parties, the political movements, the three authorities and the Iranian people today have one voice that this Western behavior must be confronted with all force. Just as the West cannot undermine the will and steadfastness of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its people, Iran has proved that it can return to its previous nuclear activities,” Nobandegani stressed.

“Iran’s steadfastness, will and resistance will force the West and the Americans to back down,” he warned. “Iran will continue to wait for a positive reaction from the Europeans so that it can determine the best course of action.”

Nobandegani concluded by saying that the

“Europeans must prove that their decisions are independent of the US, and they know the importance and impact of the nuclear agreement at the international level.”

“If this agreement interests them as they claim, they should pay the price even if sanctions are imposed on some European companies.”

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