Quo Vadis, Lebanon?

Global Research, December 03, 2019

Good bye, Lebanon, metaphorically and truly.

Good bye to a country which, many believe, actually has already ceased to exist.

For five long years I have been commuting between the Asia Pacific and the Middle East.And Beirut, for all that time, was one of my homes.

I arrived in Beirut when the situation in the region was beginning to be unbearable; when destabilized, tortured Syria commenced losing its children in large numbers. They were forced to leave their homeland, heading for Beirut and the Beqaa Valley, and in fact, to all parts of the world. I arrived when Syrian refugees were freezing to death, exploited and brutalized in ancient, godforsaken villages lost in the deep, lawless Lebanese valleys.

I was not supposed to write about it, but I did. I was not supposed to see what I saw. It was the UN’s shame, a well-hidden and well covered one, obscured by technical jargon. Refugees were not called refugees, and camps were not really officially registered as camps. What you had clearly seen with your own eyes, you were told, was actually totally something else. But it wasn’t. Eyes hardly lie.

Lebanon’s mirages, sandcastles and myths. If you live here, they surround you, suffocate you, choke you, all the time.

I arrived when the Palestinians began rebelling inside the horrific camps; hopeless, monstrous places where tens of thousands of human beings have been forced to live, for decades, without help, with hardly any rights.

And I left when the country collapsed. When the gap between the haves and have nots reached such enormous proportions, that it often began to appear that there were actually two different countries, even universes, on the same tiny geographical territory that is called Lebanon.

*

But before I left, there was an uprising.

Of course, periodically, there are rebellions here, which are misleadingly called “revolutions”. The“revolution” of 2005, of 2015, and now again, in 2019.

I worked in the center of Beirut, in the squares packed with the protesters. I tried to understand, to analyze, to find context.

And what did I witness? Huge clenched fists, those of the Serbian “Otpor”, a CIA-Serbian (extreme right-wing) ‘organization’, which forced the government of Slobodan Milosevic out of power, and which later infiltrated and destroyed genuine revolts all over the Middle East; revolts cynically called by the Western mass media – “Arab Spring”.

I actually saw many signs of Otpor, a sister group of Canvas, and when I asked protesters in Beirut whether they knew what these organizations represented, they replied that “no”, they didn’t but “they’d definitely ask their designers”.

There was a lot of waving of flags, plenty of singing, and even dancing. Rebellion Lebanese-style. One big party. Smiles, laughter, even when things get desperate.

Protesters have many grievances, and they are willing to discuss them, openly: corruption, hardship, almost non-existent social services, and hardly any future.

But do not look for any signs of ideology here, in 2019: this is not a communist, or even a socialist, rebellion, although historically, Lebanon has vibrant socialist and communist movements, both of them.

One thing is certain: protesters “do not like ‘elites’”, but you will search in vain for slogans denouncing capitalism; something that is so common in Chile and of course, in Bolivia (but not in Hong Kong, where the riots are clearly backed by the West and by some local ‘elites’).

Protesters do not like electricity blackouts, water shortages, filth accumulated everywhere because of the failed garbage collection and recycling. The protesters hate the high prices, and traffic jams.

But what do they want, really?

*

They want a “better Lebanon”. But what is that?

A Lebanon free of racism, for instance? No, I never saw any signs denouncing racism.

When I first began living here, I was horrified by the bigotry of the locals.

A driver working for one of the UN agencies, did not even try to hide his ‘beliefs’:

“The Turkish nation has improved. In the past, they only screwed Asian women, and as a result, they all looked like dogs. After they conquered the Balkans, and began screwing European women, their stock got better.” 

Arriving at Rafik Hariri International Airport, I often saw humiliated Philippine, Ethiopian, or Kenyan women, locked in crowded rooms, guarded by Lebanese security forces. They looked like slaves, treated like meat. Unhurriedly, their “owners” would come to fetch them, signing release papers, leading them away.

The abuse of domestic workers in Lebanon is horrific; torture, rape and death are common. Foreign workers are regularly committing suicide. While there is hardly any legal protection for them.

Is this going to change? Are protesters demanding a “better Lebanon” which would once and for all finish with this sort of discrimination?Again, I have never heard about such demands.

And what has been sustaining Lebanon, financially, for decades?

All over West Africa, unscrupulous, racist and brutal Lebanese businesspeople have been exploiting local folks, while plundering natural resources. The things that I heard in Ivory Coast, would shock even the most hardened readers. But are there any slogans in Beirut demanding theplunder of West Africa stop?

Another fabled source of income are the narcotics, grown and processed in the Beqaa Valley. If it were to be marijuana, who cares? But Lebanon is producing heroin and cocaine, but above all, so-called “combat drugs”, including Captagon, which is used on the battlefields of Syria and Yemen. Captagonis regularly smuggled out of the country by the Saudis, and used in jihadi operations, as I have reported.

Is this going to end? Are Lebanese protesters demanding a “better Lebanon” without drugs that are helping to kill and torture tens of thousands of innocent people, all over the region?

What are the other sources of income here? Banking, of course. Banks that operate all over the Middle East, and the Gulf.

And, of course, “foreign aid”. Aid which is supposed to “help the immigrants”, as well as the poor Lebanese who are “suffering from the waves of refugees”, arrivingfrom countries destabilized by the West. These funds regularly disappear, fully or partially”,into the deep pockets of the Lebanese elites, who make sure to generate profits no matter what: when the refugees keep arriving, and even when they leave.

Before I departed, I spent one week wandering all around Beirut, day and night, searching foranswers, looking for signs that the protesters were really determined to change the country. Not just for themselves, but for everyone in Lebanon, and for the entire Arab world.

I encountered too many abstract slogans, most of them of Western origin. Not even a trace of Syrian Pan-Arabism. Nothing that would even remotely resemble internationalism. This was clearly a “European-style” rebellion.

*

As always, the Lebanese security forces were intimidating me and many others.

Coming to Martyr’s Square, at night, I only pointed the lens of my camera in the direction of a group of lazy, cynical looking soldiers, and it propelled them immediately into action. They tried to force me to delete the images, to apologize. I did not budge. I had no problem photographing police in Hong Kong, or in Paris, Chile or other places. And I have had enough, after 5 years here, of these inept and arrogant brutes.

But here, the armed forces are “unique”; not much is expected from them. It is Hezbollah which comes to the rescue of Lebanon whenever it is attacked by Israel. Hezbollah fighters are well trained, and they are disciplined. While the Lebanese army (and its various “forces”) is manned by those who cannot find a decent job. If it protects somebody or something, it is the Lebanese regime, sustained by the West and Saudi Arabia.

I refused to hand over my phones and cameras to them.

Arrest me,” I offered, extending both my hands.

They did not. It would be too much effort, and paperwork.

Later, the protesters hugged me:

“It is great that you did not surrender your material to them. You see, if it was us, the Lebanese, they would beat us up, and smash our cameras.” 

A lady protester added:

“You never know what they are hiding, but they are hiding something, always. Perhaps they did not want the world to see how lazy they are. They stand here, in clusters, doing nothing, chatting. Then, when they get tired of doing nothing, they mobilize and attack us. They are unpredictable.”

A couple of months ago, during the short conflict between Israel and Lebanon (Israeli drone attack and Hezbollah retaliation), I managed to drive to the border, as I had on several previous occasions.

Almost the entire defense of Lebanon has been resting on the shoulders of Hezbollah, with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) troops, consisting of Indonesian, South Korean, Italian, Ghanaian and others forces, patrolling the frontier in armored vehicles, and providing mostly psychological deterrence from the large fortified bases, including the one at Naqoura.

Lebanese armed forces have very little ability to defend their country. That includes the Lebanese Air Force, which mainly counts on things that could be described as toy airplanes, with converted Cessna models.

Now, theLebanese army and police are facing and confronting their own people, protecting the regime in Beirut, as well as foreign, mainly Western and Saudi, interests.

*

But back to the main question which is, surprisingly, very rarely asked by the Western mass media outlets: “What do Lebanese people really want? What is the goal of the uprising?”

Rebellion began on October 17, against proposed tax on WhatsApp calls. It soon turned into call for resignation of the entire government; call for total overhaul of the Lebanese system. Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, resigned. Others stayed, but country has been paralyzed for weeks.

Some Lebanese call what is happening on the streets of Beirut, Tripoli and other cities, an “October Revolution”, but in reality, this uprising has very little to do with the iconic Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

However, one positive thing is that many Lebanese people are now calling for direct democracy, and for a people’s parliament.

Alessandra Bajec recently wrote for The New Arab newspaper:

“Protests and strikes are not the only nationwide thing dominating Lebanon. Open discussions held by groups of citizens is the latest phenomenon happening on the streets of Lebanon. 

A series of open discussions led by a variety of groups of citizens are held daily around Lebanon helping to feed the hearts and minds of the revolutionary movement since the start of the country’s so-called “October Revolution”. 

I witnessed those gatherings in Beirut. It is an impressive idea, in a way far more advanced than what has been observed in Europe, during the recent protests in France and elsewhere.

It is clear that Lebanese rebels have had enough of the sectarian politics, of savage capitalism (although, this is not being pronounced as such), and of the endemic corruption.

For decades, after the devastating Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), thecountry remained bitterly divided. Again, it is actually something that is not supposed to be discussed, even mentioned, but allegiances in this nation of (officially) 4.4 million, have been commonly pledged toreligious leaders and movements, and not to the state.

David Morrison wrote in Labor & Trade Union Review:

“Lebanon’s political system has a uniquely confessional character, which has its origin in the National Pact of 1943.  Under this unwritten Pact, the President of the Republic must be a Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the President (Speaker) of the Parliament a Shiite Muslim. 

What is more, 50% of the 128 seats in the Parliament are allocated to Christians, and 50% to Muslims, and these allocations are further sub-divided for Christian and Muslim sects.  In total, seats are allocated to each of 18 sects.  Nationally, the 64 Christian seats are allocated as follows: Maronite 34, Greek Orthodox 14, Greek Catholic 8, Armenian Orthodox 5, Armenian Catholic 1, Protestant 1 and Others 1; and the 64 Muslim seats are allocated as follows: Sunni 27, Shiite 27, Druze 8 and Alawite 2. 

So, in total Christians have 50% of the seats, and the Sunni and Shiite communities just over 20% each. 

There was no provision in the National Pact for altering these allocations to reflect demographic changes.  And there is still none today.  These allocations may have corresponded to the proportion of each sect in the electorate at one time, but they certainly don’t today.  But it’s impossible to say with any precision what they should be, since there hasn’t been a national census since 1932.  This is a very sensitive issue within Lebanon, an issue that has the potential to trigger civil conflict.” 

Naturally, this sclerotic and stale system of secretive divides and coalitions, led to outrageous corruption. Religious and family clans managed to amass tremendous wealth, while enjoying almost absolute impunity.

Discussing sensitive political issues with various Lebanese protesters and activists in 2015 (“You Stink” movement), as well as during the recent uprising of 2019, I came to the clear understanding that most of the educated protesters (and Lebanon is without any doubt one of the most educated nations in the Arab world), have been totally rejecting the sectarian system. In fact, they were thoroughly disgusted with it.

As early as in 2015, one of the main demands was to “unite Lebanon”; to make sure that it gets governed by people elected based on their virtues and excellence, instead of religious beliefs.

Particularly young people have had enough of those escapes to Cyprus (in order to get married), if a couple belonged to two different religions, or if one or both individuals had no religion at all. They were revolted by the fact that their child could no be registered in their own country, if there was no official Lebanese marriage certificate.

And most of the people I spoke to, understood that the shocking lack of transparency on which the Lebanese regime has been thriving, only serves those very few extremely rich individuals and families. The economy of the country is shattered, debt is at 150% GDP, basically unserviceable, and the divide between the rich and poor, monstrous. For millions, leaving the country became the only option. But luxury marinas are full of lavish yachts, while Maserati sport cars and Range Rover SUVs are parked all over the capital, in front of luxury restaurants and bars.

The Lebanese revolutionaries are organizing open discussions, but that is not all – they want a totally new political system.

The problem is, they are not sure, which one.

But, they are certain that by holding open forums and public meetings,they will, eventually, find out what precisely it is they want.

Alessandra Bajec continues witha description of direct-democracy groups:

Rachad Samaha, a social activist and core member of the free discussions group adds, “We were talking among ourselves about how we could be more involved in the revolution… not just by joining protests, but through helping to bring people together to discuss issues that we are all fighting against. We can then reach some common ground.” 

Centering such group discussions over the need to change the current political system, and put an end to sectarianism, and possible ways to fix the country’s rapidly declining economy has been the leading drive for prompting exchanges of views between people from within the largest protest movement. 

The major matters of national concern voiced by citizens taking part in the talks include the accelerating economic crisis, the embezzlement of public funds, the decades-long ruling political elites who are being held responsible for the deepening crisis, and the confessional system, where power is divided among sects and has created patronage networks and clientelism at the detriment of the population.” 

All this is true. But this is Lebanon, the Middle East, where nothing is really simple.

Here, the West has a tremendous influence, and so do the best allies of Washington in the region, the Saudis. All this money ‘wasted’, all that eye-closing, simply ought to have guaranteed certain allegiances.

Under the surface, the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all after Iran, and Iran is allied with Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is the only true and powerful social force in Lebanon, where almost everything public has been already privatized, or stolen, or both.

Hezbollah is also the only true protection that Lebanon has, against Israel. While the West does not want anyone to be protected against Israel.

Predictably, Hezbollah is on the “terrorist list” of the United States, and on the lists of several of its allies.

Hezbollah had a strategic alliance with the previous government of Hariri, who resigned several weeks ago (and Hezbollah was warning against pushing for the collapse of the government, and even tried to clear the roadblocks erected by the protesters).

Now, what will really happen if the protesters win? Who will be benefiting? What if the old regime collapses; what if there is no more Hezbollah, and no more protection against the “Southern Neighbor”?

*

What kind of Lebanon can replace this present, terribly inefficient, even brutal and corrupt state?

If you are in Achrafieh neighborhood, the richest place in Lebanon, where the old Christian money resides, you would be told, by many, things that you would most likely not want to hear.

You’d be “explained” that Lebanon was supposed to be a Christian country, that the French created it as the only Christian state in the Middle East. You would hear Palestinians being insulted, horribly, and you would see posters of extreme-right-wing political leaders.

Once, there, I had a haircut, and an old barber parted with me, by raising his right hand into the air, and shouting: “Heil Hitler!” (After that, I quickly switched to a Syrian barber).

A neighbor once told me:

“French imperialism? Oh, but we would love to have the French back! That would be brilliant, to be colonized by them, again, no?” 

It was not a joke. He meant it. Each and every word, that he uttered.

These things are not supposed to be written about, at least not in the mainstream press. But this is not the mainstream press, and I believe that without understanding these nuances, it is impossible to understand Lebanon, and what could happen if the revolution wins.

Who is singing and dancing at the center of Beirut? Who is demanding for the resignation of the entire regime? Are these mainly Christians or Muslims? I am not sure. Judging by the number of headscarves, most likely, the majority are not Muslim. But again, I am not sure. This is not a question that one can present, to the protesters.

This is definitely not a revolution that would advance the interests of the Muslim-socialist Iran. And the same could be said about what is going on, simultaneously, in Iraq.

Can Western-backed “secularism” convert Lebanon into a Western outpost in the Middle East? Could it further hurt, even damage, Syria? Theoretically, yes. Could it hurt the interests of non-Western, anti-imperialist countries like Russia and China? Most definitely.

Is that what is happening? Could this be another shade of the “Color Revolutions”, or a continuation of the so-called Arab Spring?

No one can answer these questions, yet. But the situation has to be monitored, extremely carefully. Given the history of Lebanon, given its position in the world, its political and economic orientation, as well as education, the country can go either way. Given the choice, people could opt for a socialist state, or of returning to the Western colonial realm.

The West is doing all it can to bring Lebanon into its orbit. The clenched fists of Otpor are clear proof and warning of it. It is a well documented fact, that Canvashas been operating here at least since 2005.

 

*

Leaving Beirut, at the gate, I was once again stopped by anofficer of the security forces. He was rude. They always search for Israeli stamps or for exit stamps, or something, in the passports. And I had enough of him. Here, at Rafik Hariri, I saw them, for years, humiliating Ethiopian women, crushing Syrians, while treating like gods, white visitors from Europe and the United States.

“Why not fight Israelis, instead of women and children?” I suggested to him, grinning.

And all hell broke loose. And they dragged me away from the gate. And the giant Boeing 777-300 had to wait, as Air France refused to back down and download my luggage and leave me behind.

They called some generals back in Beirut. They were jumping around, shouting something, bluffing. I couldn’t care one single bit. My work here was finished. In Paris, I had nine days to kill, writing, before departing for South America. Waiting there, or in some filthy jail in Lebanon, made very little difference to me. I would have liked to be in Damascus, but my visa had already expired. So, I just waited.

In the end, they let me go. Prisoners who are not scared, are not fun to hold.

The airplane maneuvered towards the runway, then the engines roared, and we took off. Halas.

My memory cards are holding hours of footage from all corners of Lebanon. I was not sure what will I do with it.

Above all, I was not sure what the Lebanese will do with their own country.

A giant clenched fist was stickingout from the Martyr’s Square. Was this a foreign implant, a well-planned sabotage, or a genuine symbol of resistance?

On Independence Day, the fist was burned down, destroyed. Vandals!, screamed foreign media. I am not sure: this is extremely complex country.

The country was collapsing. Perhaps it has already collapsed. People were talking, shouting, singing. Some were living in dire misery. Others were driving Ferraris and torturing imported maids.

The country has been desperately trying to go forward. But forward could mean many, many different directions. In Lebanon, for each person, for each group: forward is towards somewhere else!

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Andre Vltchek

Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He’s a creator of Vltchek’s World in Word and Images, and a writer that penned a number of books, including China and Ecological Civilization. He writes especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

All images in this article are from the author

The Lebanese Color Revolution Is a Defining Moment for the Resistance

Global Research, November 21, 2019
Image result for feltman march 14 movement

What originally began as an expression of legitimate outrage at the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption quickly transformed into a Color Revolution aimed at carrying out regime change in Lebanon through the removal of Hezbollah from its government, the threat of which makes this a defining moment for the Resistance because its supporters’ loyalty is being tested to the core.

Lebanon is undoubtedly in the throes of an ongoing Color Revolution that’s already succeeded in securing the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri in response to large-scale protests against the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption, sparked as they were by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls that served as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The unrest has been condemned by two key members of the Resistance, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, who warned against the participants becoming useful idiots in the US, “Israel“, and the GCC’s plot against their homeland. The first-mentioned tweeted that “I recommend those who care in #Iraq and #Lebanon remedy the insecurity and turmoil created in their countries by the U.S., the Zionist regime, some western countries, and the money of some reactionary countries. The people have justifiable demands, but they should know their demands can only be fulfilled within the legal structure and framework of their country. When the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be carried out”, while the second urged his supporters to stay away from the scene of the disturbances and emphasized how much the government’s fall could destabilize their fragile country.

Nevertheless, the situation still remains unresolved despite Hariri’s resignation, and ever-louder demands have made within Lebanon and through some Alt-Media outlets that Hezbollah should leave the government in order to resolve the crisis. The Resistance group, which functions as a socio-political and military force, had nothing to do with the trigger event that sparked this explosion of unrest, though the very fact that it’s now increasingly being targeted for removal from its elected positions in the government proves that there are forces that had intended for this to be the outcome all along when they encouraged the unfolding of events there. It shouldn’t be forgotten that US Secretary of State Pompeo ominously hinted at an ultimatum being made to Lebanon during his visit there in March when he thundered that “Lebanon faces a choice; bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”, which strongly suggests that the US at the very least tacitly has a hand in guiding developments to that aforementioned end. What’s so disturbing about the latest narrative twist is that it appears to have the support of a critical mass of protesters, including those who have outwardly supported Hezbollah prior to this moment but evidently harbored deep feelings of antipathy towards it that are only now being publicly expressed through this “anti-corruption” “populist” pretext.

It’s impossible to accurately generalize every one of these supposed Resistance supporters feels this way, though sharing some plausible explanations could nevertheless still help to make sense of this previously unexpected trend. Hezbollah’s military might is appreciated by most patriotic Lebanese after it liberated their country from “Israeli” occupation in 2000 and prevented a second such occupation in 2006, though some look suspiciously upon its social activities because they wrongly interpret them through a sectarian lense. In addition, the group’s involvement in fighting terrorism in Syria side-by-side with the IRGC reinforced the weaponzied fake news perception among some that Hezbollah is just an “Iranian proxy”. These growing doubts about the group’s long-term strategic intentions might not have been able to be publicly expressed in such a direct way without risk of receiving accusations that the person voicing such views is unpatriotic, hence why they may have hitherto been outwardly supportive of Hezbollah despite internally cultivating hatred towards the organization and waiting for the “opportune” moment to express it in a way that couldn’t be as easily framed as part of a self-serving sectarian agenda on their part. That chance arrived when the proposed WhatsApp tax served as the catalyst for large-scale protests against the government as a whole, during which time it became “acceptable” among some to attack Hezbollah for its supposedly “corrupt” alliance with certain political forces.

It should be said at this point that Hezbollah is a responsible stakeholder in Lebanon’s stability and therefore understands the need to make tactical decisions in pursuit of the larger strategic end of preventing external forces from driving wedges between the country’s cosmopolitan socio-religious groups, hence why it’s entered into the certain political partnerships that it’s had out of its interest in working within the legal system to carry out responsible reforms to the best of its ability. These noble intentions have been deliberately misportrayed by those who have wanted to remove Hezbollah from the government for some time already as part of their never-ending campaign to delegitimize it, after which they believe that it’ll become more susceptible to the joint US-“Israeli”-GCC Hybrid War against it. A similar modus operandi is being pursued in nearby Iraq, where Resistance forces also hold considerable sway within the government but are plagued by the same accusations of allying themselves with corrupt figures, which is being used by agenda-driven forces to misportray them as “guilty by association” despite the reason for these tactical partnerships being the same as Hezbollah’s. Even worse, the similar events in both countries are being described by Mainstream Media as a “new Arab Spring“.

There’s no question at this point that legitimate anti-corruption protests have been hijacked for regime change ends aimed at removing Resistance forces from power in those countries, especially since both the Ayatollah and Nasrallah touched upon this in their recent statements on this topic, though there are still those who outwardly profess to support the Resistance’s broader mission but refuse to stop participating in the unrest there. This represents a true moment of reckoning for the Resistance that will ultimately separate its true supporters who have faith in this movement’s leaders from the opportunistically fraudulent ones who betrayed the cause as soon as they “conveniently” saw the “publicly plausible pretext” to do so. It doesn’t help any either that many Alt-Media outlets that used to have Resistance-friendly editorial lines are portraying the protests in a positive light despite the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders warning against the credible risk that they could spiral out of control and end up advancing the strategic goals of the Resistance’s enemies, which further confuses the audience at large who can’t countenance how or why this is happening, preferring instead to put their faith in those media forces instead of the leaders whose movement they had previously professed to support. As the situation remains unresolved, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, but it certainly doesn’t look good.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

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إيران والخطة ب

 

ناصر قنديل

– لم تكن إيران بحاجة لتقديم إثبات لتأكيد الطابع السياسي المرتبط بأجندة خارجية للاحتجاجات التي تشهدها، رغم اعتراف المسؤولين الإيرانيين بوجود بُعد شعبي نسبي لبعض التحرّكات. والكلام الإيراني مختلف عن كلام حلفاء إيران في لبنان والعراق حول صدقية التحركات الشعبية واستنادها إلى أسباب حقيقية، والاكتفاء بوصف التدخّل الخارجي، والأميركي الخليجي خصوصاً، كمحاولة سطو على التحرّكات الشعبية وتجييرها لحساب مشروع سياسيّ يخدم المصالح الأميركية، بالاستناد إلى الدور الأميركي في تجفيف المقدّرات المالية عبر نظام العقوبات، وإلى الإمساك بعدد من جمعيات المجتمع المدني، وعدد من وسائل الإعلام.

– بالنظر لطبيعة الموضوع الذي تفجّرت حوله الاحتجاجات في إيران، والناجم عن قرار حكومي برفع أسعار المحروقات، يكفي التساؤل عن التوقيت، الذي كان بمستطاع المسؤولين الإيرانيين التحكم به، خصوصاً في ظل مواجهة شاملة تبلغ ذروتها بين طهران وواشنطن، وهنا يشرح مسؤولون إيرانيون قراءتهم للقرار والوضع الناشئ عنه، بالقول إنها مواجهة تحت السيطرة، ويفسرون ذلك بالقول، إن القرار فتح الباب لتحرك جماعات معارضة تحرّكها واشنطن، أكثر مما أثار فئات شعبية واسعة تحت عنوان التضرّر من القرار، فيجب أن يعلم المتابعون أن سعر البنزين في إيران هو الأرخص في العالم، حيث سعر الصفيحة 20 ليتراً كان بأقل من دولارين 200 الف ريال ، وبعد الزيادة صار السعر للشريحة الأولى التي تستهلك أقل من 60 ليتراً شهرياً، ثلاثة دولارات فقط للصفيحة، بينما صار لمن يستهلك أكثر من هذه الكمية بستة دولارات، وهو أقل من نصف سعر الكلفة لصحيفة البنزين، والسعر الأعلى هو ثلث السعر المباع في الأسواق اللبنانية تقريباً.

– الحسابات الاقتصاديّة الإيرانيّة تقول، إن استهلاك مئة مليون ليتر في إيران يومياً يرتّب قرابة خمسة عشر مليار دولار كدعم سنويّ للخزينة الإيرانية، وكان السعر المخفض ولا يزال بالقياس لكل أسواق العالم، نوعاً من أنواع التوزيع العادل للثروة الذي تعتمده القيادة الإيرانية في التعامل مع الثروة النفطية للبلد، وهو رقم كبير في الظروف الراهنة لتدفق العملات الأجنبيّة من جهة، ومواصلته بالطريقة ذاتها مخالفة لمعايير العدالة نفسها مع تراجع القدرة على تصدير النفط، حيث العدالة تقتضي إعادة توزيع الأعباء، لكن دون المساس بالفئات الأشدّ فقراً في المجتمع الإيراني، التي تشملها فئة ما دون استهلاك الـ60 ليتراً في الشهر، والتي لن تزيد كلفتها الإضافية عن 2 – 3 دولار شهرياً ، بعد الزيادة، وهؤلاء يشكّلون قرابة 60 من الإيرانيين، بينما الزيادة على الطبقة الوسطى التي تستهلك قرابة ضعف الشريحة الأولى ستكون كلفتها الإضافيّة بين 10 – 20 دولاراً شهرياً، وهو متناسب مع دخلها وقدرتها على التحكم بفاتورة استهلاكها، أما الطبقات الميسورة فلن تتأثر بالتأكيد وليست طرفاً في التضرر. والأهم أن الاستهلاك انخفض مع القرار بنسبة 20 وأن قرابة 20 أخرى كان يتمّ تهريبها خارج الحدود ستنخفض إلى أقلّ من النصف على الأقل، ما يعني أن إجمالي وفر الخزينة، يقارب ستة مليارات دولار سنوياً، سيتم تدويرها لمجالات أخرى تتصل بحاجات أشد أهمية للشعب الإيراني مع توافر وسائل نقل عام عملاقة ومنتشرة في كل المدن والمحافظات، يتقدّمها المترو في طهران.

– في القراءة السياسية والأمنية، أن القرار وفّر لإيران فرصة غير مسبوقة لتقديم سبب يدفع واشنطن العاملة بكل جهدها لإضعاف القدرات المالية للدولة الإيرانية لاعتبار القرار الإيراني مصدراً لفرصة تحسين الوضع المالي للدولة يجب منعها، وبالتالي التسرّع في قراءة توافر فرصة انتفاضة شعبية عنوانها رفع سعر المحروقات الذي يشكل كعنوان مدخلاً دائماً للحديث عن الثورات، ليحتفل المسؤولون الأميركيون بما يصفونه بارتكاب القيادة الإيرانية حماقة قاتلة لا يجب تفويتها ، فيتمّ الزجّ المباشر وغير المباشر، بكل الذين تصل إليهم اليد الأميركية من جماعات معارضة ونشطاء وجمعيات وشبكات منظمة، ليخوضوا معركة فاصلة يظنّ الأميركيون أنها رابحة، ويراها الإيرانيون فرصة لقطع رأس التخريب بعزله عن الجسد الشعبي، الذي يثقون أنه لا يزال غائباً عن الاحتجاجات، فيما عدا بعض الذين جذبتهم التعبئة الإعلامية، أو مبدأ فكرة الاحتجاج، لكن بالتأكيد بقي الشعب الإيراني، الذي يفترض أن يحرّكه في أي بلد آخر قرار برفع أسعار البنزين إلى الشارع، خارج المسرح بسبب خصوصية تعامل الدولة الإيرانية مع هذه السوق، قبل الزيادة ومن خلالها، بصورة مدروسة لم ينتبه الأميركيون، إلى أنها مصيدة مناسبة لمعركة يخوضها الإيرانيون في أرض مكشوفة مع الجماعات التي أنفقت واشنطن مالاً ووقتاً لبنائها تذخيراً لمعركة يكون لها عمق شعبي، كحال لبنان والعراق. والمعركة من الزواية الإيرانية عملية استباقية مدروسة قاربت على النهاية بنجاح، ولن يتمكن الأميركي من دفعها للتصعيد، بل سيفتقد ما أعدّه وقام ببنائه، وقد تمّ كشفه واصطياده، بناء على معلومات مسبقة عن طبيعة الخطة الأميركية وانتظارها لمناسبة ذات طابع شعبي، فقام الإيرانيون، وهم يحققون خطوة اقتصادية مدروسة، بتقديم الإغراء للبعد الشعبي الافتراضي، وما يتمّ ميدانياً وفقاً للقراءة الإيرانية، مطابق للخطة التي تمّ كشفها وتتمّ متابعتها، ضمن رؤية لعزل الفئات الشعبية التي جذبتها الاحتجاجات، عن الجماعات المنظمة.

– الخطة ب تطبَّق اليوم وستظهر نتائجها قريباً، يقول أحد المتابعين للمشهد الإيراني عن قرب، وقريباً ترون النتائج، ويضحك كثيراً مَن يضحك أخيراً.

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Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran’s IRGC

Image result for Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran's IRGC

Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a statement on the recent riots in some cities, which followed peaceful protests over government’s decision to raise fuel prices, warning that it will firmly deal with any measure aimed at sowing insecurity in the country.

Commending the insight and smartness of the Iranian people, who draw a clear line between their peaceful protests and acts of rioting, the IRGC’s statement, which was released on Monday, said, “Continuation of any measure, which would foment insecurity, and all actions targeting the calm and tranquility in the society will be dealt with decisively.”

On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.

Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the recent government decision to ration gasoline and increase its price.

Ayatollah Khamenei said while he is not an expert in the field, he still supports the decision which has been made by the three branches of power — namely, executive, legislative and judicial.

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Noting that the acts of rioting in some Iranian cities were stoked by counterrevolutionary elements, the anti-Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) and the remnants of the past monarchical regime of Iran, the IRGC said in its statement that the vigilance of the Iranian people, who distanced themselves from saboteurs, turned the table against those elements and thwarted their plans to spread insecurity across the country.

It hailed the brave and dedicated Iranian people who have always subdued the deceitful enemy through their power and greatness and guaranteed stability and calm in most of the Iranian cities and provinces during the recent days in a way that there was not even one report of insecurity, destruction and plunder of public property in most parts of the country.

The statement also stressed the importance of protecting people’s civil rights and dignity against any violation and preventing increases in prices of other goods and commodities by relevant state bodies while calling on the Iranian people to disregard hostile propaganda of satellite and online networks of the enemy as the best way to put an end to rioting and establish sustainable and inclusive security in all parts of the country.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration recognizes people’s right to hold protests against a recent government decision to ration gasoline, emphasizing, however, that nobody will be allowed to spread insecurity in the society.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.

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Bolivia – A Color Revolution – or a New Surge for Latin American Independence?

Bolivia – A Color Revolution – or a New Surge for Latin American Independence?

November 16, 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Like Túpac Katari, indigenous Aymara leader more than 200 years ago, confronting the Spaniards, Evo Morales was betrayed and ‘dismembered’ by his own people, recruited and paid by the agents of the most destructive, nefarious and murderous dark elite that governs and has governed for over two hundred years our planet, the United States of America. With their worthless fiat-Ponzi-pyramid money, the made-out-of-thin-air US dollar, they create poverty throughout the globe, then buy off the weak and poor to plot against the very leaders that have worked for years to improve their social conditions.

It’s become a classic. It’s being called a Color Revolution, and it’s been taking place on all Continents. The list of victim-countries includes, but is not exhaustive – Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, in some ways also Uruguay (the current left-leaning government is powerless and has to remain so, otherwise it will be “changed”… that’s the name of the game). – Then there are Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, South Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Indonesia; and the lawless rulers of the universe are attempting to “regime change” North Korea, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua – and on a larger scale China and Russia (I just returned from China – where the Government and people are fully aware what Washington’s intentions are, behind every move they make).

In Africa, Africom, the US military Africa Command, buys off almost every corrupt African leader put in place by Africa’s former and new European colonialists, so they may continue sucking the riches out of Africa. These African leaders backed by Africom keep the African population in check, so they will not stand up. In case they won’t quite manage, “they” created the fear-squad called, Boko Haram, an off-spring of ISIS / IS – the Islamic State, created by the same creator, the CIA, Pentagon and NATO. The latter represents the European US-puppet allies; they keep raping Africa and reaping the benefits of her plentiful natural resources, and foremost, make sure that Africans stay subdued and quiet. Those who don’t may easily be “disappeared”. It’s Arica. But, have “they” noticed, Africa is moving, is gradually waking up?

And yes, not to forget, the “developed” and industrialized Europe, where sophisticated “regime change” over the years has subdued a largely well-off population, numbed and made apathetic by endless consumerism – Germany, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain – look what they have done to Greece! – Greece has become a red-flag warning for every EU nation that may dare to step out of US-dictated lockstep, of what might happen to them.

The list goes on with Eastern European EU countries, mostly former Soviet republics or Soviet satellites. They are EU members thanks to the UK, Washington’s mole in the EU, or as I like to call it – the European non-union – no Constitution, no solidarity, no common vision. They are all fiercely anti-Russia and most are also anti-Europe, but are made to – and love to eat and drink from the bowl of the EU-handouts, compliments of EU taxpayers. That’s about the state of the affairs we are in. There is, of course, much more coercion going on, but you get the picture. US interference is endless, merciless, reckless, without scruples and deadly.
—-

Bolivia is just the latest victim. The process of Color Revolution is always more or less the same – a long preparation period. The coup d’état against Evo has been under preparation for years. It began already before Evo was first elected, when Washington realized that after the Bolivian people’s purging of two of Washington’s imposed “stooges” Presidents, in 2003 and 2005, Bolivia needed a respite. But the empire never gives up. That is a golden rule written in their unofficial Constitution, the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), the writing of which has begun just after WWII, is regularly adjusted and updated, even name-changed (from Pax Americana to PNAC), but is still very much alive and ticking.

The first of the two US-imposed Presidents at the turn of the century, was Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, also called “Goni”, who privatized Bolivia’s rich hydrocarbon resources to foreign, mostly US, petro-corporations for a pittance. He was “elected” in 2002 against the indigenous, Aymara candidate, Evo Morales. When Goni was disposed of in a bloody people’s coup (about 60 dead) in 2003, he was replaced by his Vice-President, Carlos Mesa, the very key opponent of Evo’s in the 20 October 2019 elections – who, following Goni’s privatization policies, was also overthrown by the Bolivians in 2005. This led to a new election late 2005 – and that’s when Evo finally won by a landslide and started his Presidency in January 2006.

What he has achieved in his 13 years of Presidency is just remarkable – more than significant reductions of poverty, unemployment, analphabetism, increase in health indicators, in national reserves, in minimum wages, pension benefits, affordable housing – in general wellbeing, or as Evo calls it, “living well”.

That’s when Washington decided to step back for a while – and regroup, to hit again in an appropriate moment. This moment was the election three weeks ago. Preparation for the coup intensified a few months before, when Bolivia’s Vice-President, Álvaro Marcelo García Linera, told the media that every day there were reports that US Embassy agents were interfering in the country’s internal and local affairs.

The manipulated election in 2002 is recorded in an outstanding film, “Our Brand is Crisis”, a 2005 American documentary by Rachel Boynton on American political campaign marketing tactics in Bolivia by Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) – James Carville was previously President Clinton’s personal assistant – the documentary: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6dqysa.

Then, like today, the coup was orchestrated by the CIA via the “legitimate” body of the Organization of American States (OAS). The US Ambassador to the OAS openly boasts paying 60% of OAS’ budget – “so, better don’t mess with us”.

Less than a week before the October 20 election, Carlos Mesa was trailing Evo Morales with 22 against 38 points. Under normal circumstances it’s is virtually impossible that in a few days a candidate picks up that much of a difference. The election result was Mesa 37% and Morales 47% which would give Morales a first-round win, as the winning candidate needs a margin of ten points. However, already before the final tally was in, the OAS, the US and the usual puppets, the European Union, complained about election ‘irregularities’ – when the only irregularities were manufactured in the first place, namely the drastic increase in Mesa’s percentage from 22 to 37 points.

Evo declared himself the winner on 20 October, followed immediately by violent anti-Evo riots throughout the country, but mostly in the oil-rich Santa Cruz area – home of Bolivia’s oligarchs and elite. The protests lasted for about three weeks during which at least three people died, when last Sunday, November 10, Evo was “suggested” by the military brass, supported by the OAS (US) to step down with his entire entourage, or else. He resigned, and asked for, and was granted political asylum in Mexico.

The Vice-President, Alvaro Linera, and most of Morales’ cabinet members followed him to Mexico. The President of the Senate, Ms. Adriana Salvatierra, also of the MAS party, according to the Constitution, would have been the legitimate interim-President. But she was also forced to resign, and so were Victor Borda, the leader of the Chamber, and Rubén Medinaceli, First Vice President of the Senate. They all had to resign. In total some 20 high-ranking officials of Evo’s Government took refuge in the Mexican Embassy in La Paz, before they flew to Mexico.

On Tuesday, 12 November, an extraordinary session of both chambers (Deputies and Senate) of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (Parliament) was convened, to officially accept President Morales’ resignation, but the representatives of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which are the majority in both vchambers, did not attend because they were told by the opposition that their safety and that of their families could not be guaranteed. As a consequence, Parliament had suspended its session due to the lack of quorum.

Nevertheless, Jeanine Añez, an opposition senator, declared herself interim-President, and the Constitutional Court confirmed the legality of the transfer of power. She is from the right-wing Social Democrat Movement (not to confuse with MAS = movement towards socialism), and she is known to be fiercely anti-Morales. If her coronation looks and sounds like the one of Juan Guaido in Venezuela, it is because her self-nomination is like Juan Guaido’s, a US-supported farce. The US has immediately recognized Ms. Jeanine Añez as (interim) President of Bolivia. She, as well as Carlos Mesa, have been groomed to become the next Bolivian President, when new elections are held – probably some time in January 2020. Especially, Carlos Mesa is well known as a US-supporter from his earlier failed stint at the Bolivian Presidency (2003 – 2005).

Earlier, the new self-declared, racist-with-fascist-tendencies President of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez, tweeted, “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites, the city is not for the Indians who should stay in the highlands or the Chaco”. That says it all, where Bolivia is headed, unless – unless another people’s revolution will stop this nefarious course.

One of the internal drivers of the ‘golpe’ is Luis Fernando Camacho, a far-right multi-millionaire, from the Santa Cruz region, where the US have supported and encouraged separatism. Camacho, a religious bible fanatic, received support from Colombia, Brazil and the Venezuelan opposition – and, of course, he is the US henchman to lead the ‘coup’ internally.

As Max Blumenthal from “The Grayzone” reports, “When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward. – With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.” Camacho added “Pachamama will never return to the palace,” referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”

Still, there is hope. Bolivians are known to be sturdy and staunch defenders of their rights. They have proven that best in the overthrow of two foreign-imposed successive Presidents in 2003 and 2005, “Goni” and Carlos Mesa respectively. They brought their Aymaran Evo Morales to power in 2006, by an internationally observed, fully democratic election.

There are other signs in Latin America that things are no longer the way they used to be for decades. Latin Americans are sick and tired of their status of US backyard citizens. There is movement in Brazil, where Lula was just released from Prison, against the will of Brazil’s fascist also foreign, i.e. US-imposed, Jair Bolsonaro. Granted, Lula’s release from prison is temporary, but with the massive people’s support he musters, it will be difficult for Bolsonaro to put him back in prison – and preserve his Presidency.

Social upheavals in Chile for justice and equality, against a racist Pinochet era Constitution, violently oppressed by President Piñera’s police and military forces, have lasted for weeks and will not stop before a new Constitution is drafted, in which the protesters demands are largely integrated. That too is a sign for an awakening of the people. And the enduring resistance against North America’s aggression by Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, are all positive vibes for Bolivia – not to be trampled over.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Bolivia – A Color Revolution – or a New Surge for Latin American Independence?

Global Research, November 17, 2019

Like Túpac Katari, indigenous Aymara leader more than 200 years ago, confronting the Spaniards, Evo Morales was betrayed and ‘dismembered’ by his own people, recruited and paid by the agents of the most destructive, nefarious and murderous dark elite that governs and has governed for over two hundred years our planet, the United States of America. With their worthless fiat-Ponzi-pyramid money, the made-out-of-thin-air US dollar, they create poverty throughout the globe, then buy off the weak and poor to plot against the very leaders that have worked for years to improve their social conditions.

It’s become a classic. It’s being called a Color Revolution, and it’s been taking place on all Continents. The list of victim-countries includes, but is not exhaustive – Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, in some ways also Uruguay (the current left-leaning government is powerless and has to remain so, otherwise it will be “changed”… that’s the name of the game) – and now also Bolivia. – Then there are Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, South Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Indonesia; and the lawless rulers of the universe are attempting to “regime change” North Korea, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua – and on a larger scale China and Russia (I just returned from China – where the Government and people are fully aware what Washington’s intentions are behind every move they make).

In Africa, Africom, the US military Africa Command, buys off almost every corrupt African leader put in place by Africa’s former and new European colonialists, so they may continue sucking the riches out of Africa. These African leaders backed by Africom keep the African population in check, so they will not stand up. In case they won’t quite manage, “they” created the fear-squad called, Boko Haram, an off-spring of ISIS / IS – the Islamic State, created by the same creator, the CIA, Pentagon and NATO. The latter represents the European US-puppet allies; they keep raping Africa and reaping the benefits of her plentiful natural resources, and foremost, make sure that Africans stay subdued and quiet. Those who don’t may easily be “disappeared”. It’s Arica. But, have “they” noticed, Africa is moving, is gradually waking up?

And yes, not to forget, the “developed” and industrialized Europe, where sophisticated “regime change” over the years has subdued a largely well-off population, numbed and made apathetic by endless pro-capitalist propaganda and consumerism – Germany, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain – look what they have done to Greece! – Greece has become a red-flag warning for every EU nation that may dare to step out of US-dictated lockstep, of what might happen to them.

The list goes on with Eastern European EU countries, mostly former Soviet republics or Soviet satellites. They are EU members thanks to the UK, Washington’s mole in the EU, or as I like to call it – the European non-union – no Constitution, no solidarity, no common vision. They are all fiercely anti-Russia and most are also anti-Europe, but are made to – and love to eat and drink from the bowl of the EU-handouts, compliments of EU taxpayers. That’s about the state of the affairs we are in. There is, of course, much more coercion going on, but you get the picture. US interference is endless, merciless, reckless, without scruples and deadly.

Bolivia is just the latest victim. The process of Color Revolution is always more or less the same – a long preparation period. The coup d’état against Evo has been under preparation for years. It began already before Evo was first elected, when Washington realized that after the Bolivian people’s purging of two of Washington’s imposed “stooges” Presidents, in 2003 and 2005, Bolivia needed a respite. But the empire never gives up. That is a golden rule written in their unofficial Constitution, the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), the writing of which has begun just after WWII, is regularly adjusted and updated, even name-changed (from Pax Americana to PNAC), but is still very much alive and ticking.

The coup against Evo Morales’ Government is not only because Washington does not tolerate any socialist government, and least in its “backyard”, but also – and maybe foremost – because of Bolivia’s riches in natural resources, gas, oil, a long list of minerals and metals – and lithium, the use of which is expected to triple over the next ten years, as it is used in electric cars and batteries. And as we know from the rapidly growing Green Movement, the future is out of hydrocarbon-driven into electric cars. No matter how the electricity is produced and how much environmental damage is done in producing the new flag, but still individual ‘mobility’. As neoliberal economists would say, “that’s just an externality”.

The first of the two US-imposed Presidents at the turn of the century, was Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, also called “Goni”, who privatized Bolivia’s rich hydrocarbon resources to foreign, mostly US, petro-corporations for a pittance. He was “elected” in 2002 against the indigenous, Aymara candidate, Evo Morales. When Goni was disposed of in a bloody people’s coup (about 60 dead) in 2003, he was replaced by his Vice-President, Carlos Mesa, the very key opponent of Evo’s, in the 20 October 2019 elections – who, following the same line of Goni’s privatization policies, was also overthrown by the Bolivian people in 2005. This led to a new election late in 2005 – and that’s when Evo finally won by a landslide and started his Presidency in January 2006.

What he has achieved in his almost 14 years of Presidency is just remarkable – more than significant reductions of poverty, unemployment, analphabetism, increase in health indicators, in national reserves, in minimum wages, pension benefits, affordable housing – in general wellbeing, or as Evo calls it, “living well”.

That’s when Washington decided to step back for a while – and regroup, to hit again in an appropriate moment. This moment was the election three weeks ago. Preparation for the coup intensified a few months before, when Bolivia’s Vice-President, Álvaro Marcelo García Linera, told the media that every day there were reports that US Embassy agents were interfering in the country’s internal and local affairs.

The manipulated election in 2002 is recorded in an outstanding film, “Our Brand is Crisis”, a 2005 American documentary by Rachel Boynton on American political campaign marketing tactics in Bolivia by Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) – James Carville was previously President Clinton’s personal assistant – the documentary.

Then, like today, the coup was orchestrated by the CIA via the “legitimate” body of the Organization of American States (OAS). The US Ambassador to the OAS openly boasts paying 60% of OAS’ budget – “so, better don’t mess with us”.

Less than a week before the October 20 election, Carlos Mesa was trailing Evo Morales with 22 against 38 points. Under normal circumstances it’s is virtually impossible that in a few days a candidate picks up that much of a difference. The election result was Mesa 37% and Morales 47% which would give Morales a first-round win, as the winning candidate needs a margin of ten points. However, already before the final tally was in, the OAS, the US and the usual puppets, the European Union, complained about election ‘irregularities’ – when the only irregularities were manufactured in the first place, namely the drastic increase in Mesa’s percentage from 22 to 37 points.

Evo declared himself the winner on 20 October, followed immediately by violent anti-Evo riots throughout the country, but mostly in the oil-rich Santa Cruz area – home of Bolivia’s oligarchs and elite. The protests lasted for about three weeks during which at least three people died, when last Sunday, November 10, Evo was “suggested” by the military brass, supported by the OAS (US) to step down with his entire entourage, or else. He resigned, because he wanted the riots to stop and his countrymen to continue living in peace. But violence hasn’t stopped, to the contrary, the opposition has become fiercer in their racist attacks on indigenous people, targeting them with live ammunition. The dead toll as of today has reached at least 20.

President Morales asked for, and was granted political asylum in Mexico. The Vice-President, Alvaro Linera, and most of Morales’ cabinet members followed him to Mexico. The President of the Senate, Ms. Adriana Salvatierra, also of the MAS party, according to the Constitution, would have been the legitimate interim-President. But she was also forced to resign, and so were Victor Borda, the leader of the Chamber, and Rubén Medinaceli, First Vice President of the Senate. They all had to resign. In total some 20 high-ranking officials of Evo’s Government took refuge in the Mexican Embassy in La Paz, before they flew to Mexico.

Evo has since said he wants to return to Bolivia, to be there for the millions of his supporters. Yes, still a sizable majority of Bolivians support Evo and his Movement towards Socialism (MAS). There is a mass of peaceful unarmed Evo supporting demonstrators, growing every day. They are being brutally beaten by US trained and “bought” police and military forces. Indeed, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, Williams Kaliman, served in earlier days as a military attaché at the Bolivian Embassy in Washington. During that time he was secretly ‘recruited’ to be trained by what then was called the School of the Americas, and which is now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia. Apparently Kaliman was not the only one of high-ranking Bolivian military and police officers having been subjected to this torturer and coup plotter training.

On Tuesday, 12 November, an extraordinary session of both chambers (Deputies and Senate) of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (Parliament) was convened, to officially accept President Morales’ resignation, but the representatives of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which are the majority in both chambers, did not attend because they were told by the opposition that their safety and that of their families could not be guaranteed. As a consequence, Parliament had suspended its session due to the lack of quorum.

Nevertheless, Jeanine Añez, an opposition senator, declared herself interim-President, and even though her nomination is illegal and unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court confirmed the legality of the transfer of power. But who could blame the judges of the Constitutional Court? They want to be on the right side of the fence, now that the Americans are soon expected to rule the country. Ms. Añez is from the right-wing Social Democrat Movement (not to confuse with MAS = movement towards socialism), and she is known to be fiercely anti-Morales. If her coronation looks and sounds like the one of Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, it is because her self-nomination is like Juan Guido’s, a US-supported farce. Washington has immediately recognized Ms. Jeanine Añez as (interim) President of Bolivia. She, as well as Carlos Mesa, have been groomed to become the next Bolivian leaders, when new elections are held – probably sometime in January 2020. Especially, Carlos Mesa is well known as a US-supporter from his earlier failed stint at the Bolivian Presidency (2003 – 2005).

Earlier, Jeanine Añez, tweeted, “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites, the city is not for the Indians who should stay in the highlands or the Chaco”. That says it all, where Bolivia is headed, unless – unless another people’s revolution will stop this nefarious course. Ms. Añez apparently has since removed the tweet.

One of the internal drivers of the ‘golpe’ is Luis Fernando Camacho, a far-right multi-millionaire, from the Santa Cruz region, where the US have supported and encouraged separatism. Camacho, a religious bible fanatic, received support from Colombia, Brazil and the Venezuelan opposition – and, of course, he is the US henchman to lead the ‘coup’ internally.

As Max Blumenthal from “The Grayzone” reports,

When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward. – With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.” Camacho added “Pachamama will never return to the palace,” referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”

Still, there is hope. Bolivians are known to be sturdy and staunch defenders of their rights. They have proven that best in the overthrow of two foreign-imposed successive Presidents in 2003 and 2005, “Goni” and Carlos Mesa respectively. They brought their Aymaran Evo Morales to power in 2006, by an internationally observed, fully democratic election.

There are other signs in Latin America that things are no longer the way they used to be for decades. Latin Americans are sick and tired of their status of US backyard citizens. There is movement in Brazil, where Lula was just released from Prison, against the will of Brazil’s fascist also foreign, i.e. US-imposed, Jair Bolsonaro. Granted, Lula’s release from prison is temporary, but with the massive people’s support he musters, it will be difficult for Bolsonaro to put him back in prison – and preserve his Presidency.

Social upheavals in Chile for justice and equality, against a racist Pinochet era Constitution, violently oppressed by President Piñera’s police and military forces, have lasted for weeks and will not stop before a new Constitution is drafted, in which the protesters demands are largely integrated. That too is a sign for an awakening of the people. And the enduring resistance against North America’s aggression by Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, are all positive vibes for Bolivia – not to be trampled over.

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Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy PressTeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the ResistanceHe is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from Massoud Nayeri

The Return of The Condor

The Return of The Condor

By Darko Lazar

The wave of Color Revolutions sweeping the globe in recent years claimed its latest victim on Sunday. Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who was unwilling to subordinate his nation’s sovereign rights to US interests, was removed from office.

Numerous foreign officials – from the UK’s opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – described Morales’ departure as a coup d’etat.

The charge is not at all surprising. Morales, Bolivia’ s first indigenous president, was reelected three times since taking office in January 2006.

The consecutive electoral victories made him Latin America’s longest-serving democratic leader.

During his time in office, Bolivia enjoyed an unprecedented level of political and social stability, recording an economic growth rate of between 4% and 6%.

But following the latest elections in October, the opposition and regional US vassals began screaming bloody murder.

Amid allegations of fraud, the Washington-based Organization of American States [OAS] was mandated to carry out an audit of the election results.

Claiming irregularities, the OAS recommended that Bolivia hold fresh elections. Morales agreed, but just hours later, Bolivian military chiefs stepped into the fray and ‘asked’ the incumbent to resign.

Faced with a violent onslaught against his supporters in a country with an unstable ethno-political makeup, Morales put the wellbeing of the Bolivian people before his desire to remain in power and stepped down.

However, his resignation has not extinguished the possibility of further unrest. Bolivia remains vulnerable to a high risk of violence, as gangs roam capital La Paz to attack businesses and set property ablaze.

To what extent the situation escalates will depend largely on how far the victors of the revolution are willing to go in persecuting Morales supporters. And despite the mainstream narrative, there is no shortage of Bolivians who still see the former president as a champion of the poor, who ushered in a period of steady economic growth.

Meanwhile, in Washington, smothering that kind of sentiment is exactly what is required.

For those roaming the US halls of power, the departure of Morales brings them “one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.”

With those words, President Donald Trump once again invoked the so-called Monroe Doctrine.

Swimming against the tide

Evo Morales was the last survivor of the ‘Pink Tide’, which ushered in left-wing governments across Latin America two decades ago, starting with the consecutive elections of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Lula da Silva in Brazil.

Among one of the main driving forces behind the rise of these progressive leaders is the very powerful anti-American sentiment in the region, which was instigated by bloody escapades like the infamous Operation Condor.

This US-backed action throughout the 1960s and ‘70s centered on economic warfare, political murders, coups and the sponsorship of brutal, far-right regimes in an effort to clear the American continent of all undesirables – or as Trump so eloquently put it, ‘free’ the Western Hemisphere.

In 2017, a tribunal in Rome convicted former heads of state and top security chiefs from Latin America over their involvement in atrocities committed during Operation Condor.

Among those officials were Bolivia’s former dictator, Luis Garcia Meza, and interior minister Luis Arce Gomez.

Interestingly, the court also exposed the involvement of current Trump administration whisperer and former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

One of the declassified documents admitted as evidence during the trial reveals that Kissinger not only encouraged the brutal repression in individual Latin American states, but also advised regimes to join their efforts.

“If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly,” Kissinger is quoted as saying during a June 1976 exchange with Argentina’s then-foreign minister, Admiral Cesar Guzzetti.

“We want you to succeed,” Kissinger said. “We do not want to harass you.”

Those struggling to understand the Trump administration’s foreign policy need to look no further than Henry Kissinger.

The former American diplomat devoted much of his career to advancing the Monroe Doctrine – Washington’s longstanding claim to the Western Hemisphere as an exclusive zone of US interests.

In his 2014 book, ‘World Order’, Kissinger defines the Monroe Doctrine as the US having “the right to intervene preemptively in the domestic affairs of other Western Hemisphere nations to remedy flagrant cases of wrongdoing or impotence.”

Bolivia’s Evo Morales – who criticized US intervention in Venezuela, spoke out against the blockade of Cuba, denounced the military coup in Honduras and applauded Edward Snowden’s revelations – was no doubt guilty of “wrongdoing” on the Kissinger scale.

But more importantly, perhaps, Morales had picked the wrong economic partners.

In February of this year, Bolivia chose a Chinese consortium to be its strategic partner on a new USD 2.3 billion lithium project.

The deal essentially handed Beijing a foothold in Bolivia’s huge untapped reserves of the prized electric battery metal.

Morales is guilty of other sins against US hegemony, too. He brought in Russian energy giant Gazprom for the development of a number of lucrative natural gas fields. The Russians have other massive investments in Bolivia, including the construction of a nuclear research facility. Moreover, Moscow had plans to build hydroelectric power stations and transportation networks.

The time had come to remind Morales and other Latin American states that the Monroe Doctrine was “alive and well” – as John Bolton had famously declared in April.

According to unconfirmed reports, the Bolivian opposition was flushed with millions of dollars from Washington ahead of the October polls.

The Caracas-based Telesur television network reported last month that leaked audio recordings involving Bolivian opposition leaders revealed a plot orchestrated and coordinated from the US embassy in La Paz to unseat the government there.

The recordings reportedly mention contacts between the opposition and hardline American senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Bob Menendez.

A message to Maduro

Morales’ exit will likely lead to significant changes in Bolivia’s geopolitical vector.

That means that Russia and China will have a much harder time securing contracts for gas exploration, lithium mining and arms sales.

But the coup in Bolivia is particularly bad news for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. The success of the right-wing opposition in La Paz is undoubtedly intended to encourage and inspire their ideological counterparts in Caracas.

And as Maduro loses another friend on the Latin American stage, the message from Washington to the government in Caracas is clear: you may have won a battle against the US-led push to oust you from power, but the war is ongoing.

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