Lebanon to Prevail Despite US-‘Israeli’ Efforts to Sabotage Its Resistance

 July 27, 2021

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By Mohammad Youssef

Lebanon is a country which is crisis-bred. The state is plagued with a series of Isms; sectarianism, confessionalism, and nepotism. This has brought the whole political system into complete paralysis. Ever since its establishment under the French mandate Lebanon has suffered from deep structural dilemmas.

The elite or the founding fathers of the state has prescribed a recipe that rendered it vulnerable to all kinds of problems and calamities.

The country of the elite that was introduced once as Switzerland of the orient is suffering now from a myriad of very serious problems; political, economic, social, financial and monetary ones. Researchers and scholars have designated Lebanon crisis as one of the worst in the world in the last 150 years.

Lebanon imports everything and rarely exports any. The budget deficit is immense. The price of basics whether food, medication and fuel is skyrocketing. The value of the Lebanese lira to dollar is dwindling dramatically; hence most of the consumed materials come from abroad, dollars should be paid at a time when the country is running out of the hard currency. As the value of the dollar is going up, the Majority of the Lebanese families cannot afford the basics. More segments of the society are joining the poverty underline.

On the state level, most of the governmental sectors are on the verge of collapse.

The state as earlier mentioned has been established as a corporate business investment to serve a very limited elite and few families. People has no value or any worth to them, they could simply lock down their business without any consideration to the sufferings of the people.

What is worth mentioning is that the structural ailments of the Lebanese political system that has been created and shepherd by the Western countries are not the only cause for its ominous crisis; what exacerbated the situation is the continuous American siege against Lebanon which was culminated by the sanctions against Lebanon and Syria.

The US administration has a single goal; guaranteeing the Zionist entity security and eliminating any threat or obstacle to its settlement expansionist occupation plots. Because of its triumphant resistance, Lebanon nowadays represents an existential threat to US-‘Israeli’ plots against Lebanon and the region. As the US and ‘Israel’ tried every aspect possible to eliminate this threat to no avail, they are trying now to weaken it by pressuring the people on every level in an attempt to plans a wedge between the resistance and its supporters.

Once again be assured, the US-‘Israeli’ efforts to sabotage the resistance strength will not work.

Indeed, the situation is very difficult, and the hardships are many, nonetheless the resolve and determination to confront is very willful obstinate. A new stage of challenges are on the run but we will not run out of faith. No threats without opportunities. We will face and resist, and we will definitely get the best. They will fail, we will prevail, God willing.

Al-Assad’s Vow and Syria’s Comeback

15 July 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Rasha Reslan

Ahead of the Syrian President’s much-awaited inauguration speech, here is a quick review of how al-Assad stepped in and boosted his country’s stature and resources during his first term, despite a global military war and extreme economic sanctions.

Recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad
The recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad

On Saturday, July 17, Bashar al-Assad will begin his new term as Syria’s President, setting his policies for 2021-2028.

On May 27, the Syrian government’s official Twitter account posted: “The Syrians had their say. Bashar al-Assad wins the presidential elections of the Syrian Arab Republic after obtaining 95.1% of the votes at home and abroad.”

The victory achieved in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad, the President who managed not only to defeat a global conspiracy against his country but also to bring Syria back to life, against all odds and despite one of the world’s most brutal decade-old wars.

Al-Assad’s First Term: The Survival of the Fittest

During the period between 2014-2021, the conspiracy plan against Syria rapidly escalated. Hundreds of foreign fighters and armed groups sprung up, and it did not take long before the conflict turned into more than just a battle between the Syrian army and terrorist groups. Certain foreign powers took the anti-government side, supporting it with money, weaponry, and armed groups, and as the wreaked chaos worsened, the grip of western-backed extremist organizations, such as “ISIS” and “al-Qaeda”, tightened. 

Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad didn’t flee his country. On the contrary, he got off to a fresh strong start. By most measures, he stood with his country, despite gloomy clouds and rumbling storms. His overall strategy booted terrorist groups out of major Syrian cities. On the personal level, al-Assad always scores high for his attributes, as most Syrians like the way he conducts himself as president.

Terrorist Groups Fall in Syria

At its height, as terrorist groups held about a third of Syria; al-Assad, the Syrian army, and Syria’s allies redefined victory in a thundering War on Terror. The so-called “US-led global coalition” carried out airstrikes and deployed “Special Forces” in Syria, providing financial and logistical support for the terrorist groups since 2014. 

US-backed terrorist groups in Syria
US-backed terrorist groups in Syria

Syria’s key supporters have been Russia and Iran, while Western powers and several Gulf Arab states have backed terrorist groups in varying degrees over the past decade.

By December 2017, terrorist groups started to suffer key losses in Aleppo, Raqqa, and other strongholds. In 2018, the focus of the campaign against the terrorists shifted to eastern Syria. In 2019, they lost their last bastion in eastern Syria, in Baghouz village, after which Syria declared victory over terrorism.

Today, the country is almost clean from armed groups except for the presence of dormant cells along the border with Iraq and in Idlib (a city in northwestern Syria).

US Sanctions:  A Trifling Opening Shot

US support for terrorist groups in Syria was a shot in the dark, and as it failed to win the military war on Syria, they initiated a new type of war represented by Caesar sanctions. 

In mid-June 2020, the US government announced the implementation of the “Caesar Act” with a flurry of sanctions. Yet a closer look at the 15 sanctions by the US Department of State and the 24 sanctions by the Department of Treasury reveals a brutal plan to destroy Syria’s economy and inflict utmost suffering on its people.

A Desperate Plan within a Failed One

Apropos the US military and economic war on Syria, there is much more yet to come. Syria and its allies have succeeded in defeating the flurry of sanctions aimed at stopping the al-Assad government from reconstructing Syria. They also buried a US plan to change the demography of Syrian and divide the country. 

Rebuilding Syria’s Future 

The main question remains: How will the future of Syria unfold? At the dawn of al-Assad’s new term, Syria continues to stand strong and united. Furthermore, the Syrians have high hopes that their President will take effective actions in the course of boosting the economy and achieving overall prosperity, despite the US sanctions.  

Besides, al-Assad exerted strained efforts to reconstruct his country, focusing on projects with the highest likelihood of significant economic returns and benefits to quality of life. In other words, al-Assad, side by side with his people, is conveying a clear message to the world which declares the end of the global war on Syria; al-Assad will remain in power, treading the path of Syria out of all the challenges and crises. Syria’s allies also plan to be on hand as al-Assad rebuilds Syria to help it rise from the ashes, by handling the security and economic threats imposed on Syria.

The Second Term: Defying the Odds

To put things into perspective, the last election witnessed al-Assad securing almost 95.1% of the votes, so this cannot but be seen as a sign of strength for Syria and al-Assad himself, as well as his electoral campaign.

Today, the elections had taken place, and Syria has come out victorious, with an insistence on maintaining its vital role, considering that al-Assad plans to finance the infrastructure that the terrorist groups have been targeting and bombing for the past 10 years.

The Syrian President will also tackle the US sanctions on Syria, aiming to accelerate economic growth, strengthen society, and encourage youth empowerment.


What is Syria?

لبنان: الكارثة المتفاقمة والحلول الغائبة!؟

العميد د. امين محمد حطيط

في العام 1967 أحجم لبنان عن دخول الحرب التي شنّتها «إسرائيل» على دول الطوق يومها بذريعة الضعف وعدم القدرة الدفاعية التي تحمي أرضه، ولما انتهت الحرب بعد أيامها الستة المعدودة ارتدّت «إسرائيل» على لبنان فألغت اتفاقية الهدنة معه من جانب واحد وشرعت في قضم أرض لبنانيّة في مزارع شبعا، القضم الذي استمرّ حتى العام 1973، حيث سيطرت «إسرائيل» على كامل المزارع ولم يحرك لبنان ساكناً خشية أن يُضمّ إلى القرار 242 ويضطر للتفاوض على الأرض ويسقط الحدود الثابتة باتفاقية «بوليه نيوكمب» 1923 والمؤكد عليها باتفاقية الهدنة 1949. ومن جهة أخرى نذكر أيضاً بأنّ لبنان الذي لم يشارك في حرب 1967 والتزم سياسة الحياد فيها من أجل حماية اقتصاده على أبواب فصل الصيف يومها وجد اقتصاده بعد الحرب ينهار ويظهر بأنه ضحية لتلك الحرب التي وضعت حداً للطفرة والنمو الاقتصادي اللبناني وتسبّبت بزعزعة أركانه أو لنقل هزة كبرى غيّرت مسارات النمو ووضعت حداً للبحبوحة. 

بدأت بذكر هذه الواقعة اليوم ليس من أجل السرد التاريخيّ طبعاً، ولكن من أجل الإشارة إلى حقيقة ثابتة في تاريخ لبنان مفادها القول إنّ تجنّب المواجهة أو الاتجاه إلى الحياد أو كما يُقال ابتداعاً وخرافة لبنانية «النأي بالنفس»، أنّ كلّ ذلك لا يضمن دائماً الحقوق ولا يؤدّي إلى حمايتها ولا يمكن من استرجاعها إنْ اغتصبت، خاصة إذا كان العدو الذي يهدّد تلك الحقوق من نسخة وطبيعة العدو «الإسرائيلي» وكان المُعتدى عليه دولة كلبنان واهنة هشة في نظامها وسلطتها وماليتها. اليوم تكاد الصورة ذاتها تستعاد، إذ إنّ لبنان الرسمي وفي مواجهة الحرب الكونية التي شنّت على سورية وعلى محور المقاومة زعم انه التزم سياسة «النأي بالنفس»! وهي أغرب بدعة يمكن أن يتسامع بها في العلاقات الدولية، خاصة اذا كانت الدولة متشابكة مع محيطها اللصيق في الجغرافية والتاريخ والديمغرافية والاقتصاد، ولو لم تبادر المقاومة لامتشاق السلاح والدفاع عن لبنان على الأرض السورية ابتداء ثم على الأرض اللبنانية هي والجيش اللبناني بعد وصول العماد ميشال عون إلى رئاسة الجمهورية، لكان الإرهابيون فعلوا في لبنان ما سبق لهم وارتكبوه من جرائم القتل والتشريد والتخريب والتدمير التي ارتكبوها في سورية والعراق. 

لقد استطاعت المقاومة بقرارها الأوّلي الذي لم يتوقف عند «سياسة النأي بالنفس» الغبية، أن تحمي لبنان من الإرهاب، لكن الحرب الكونيّة التي قادتها أميركا ومعها «إسرائيل» ضدّ سورية لم تكن عسكرية فقط، بل تعدّدت صنوفها وسقوفها وأشكالها وشملت في ما شملت الحرب الاقتصادية والإرهاب الاقتصادي، وهنا بدل أن يساهم لبنان في تخفيف آثار العدوان على سورية ويدافع عن نفسه عبرها خاصة بعد أن وضع قانون قيصر الأميركي موضع التنفيذ وهو القانون الذي ادّعت أميركا كذباً انه لا يمسّ لبنان، فقد كان العكس تماماً حيث ساهم الممسكون بالقرار الاقتصادي والمالي في لبنان في الحرب على سورية بشكل إجرامي وحرموا السوريين من أموالهم المودعة في لبنان كما حرموا المودعين اللبنانيين أيضاً من مالهم وطبّقوا «قانون قيصر» بشكل أسوأ مما كان يطلب واضعوه الأميركيون، وظنّ هؤلاء جهلاً او ارتهاناً بأنّ في ذلك كسباً للرضا الأميركي وصيانة للاقتصاد اللبناني، وأغفل هؤلاء أيضاً ما حاكته أميركا للبنان من خطة عدوان هي خطة بومبيو التي تتضمّن الانهيار الاقتصادي والمالي. 

وهكذا تأكد على أرض الواقع بأنّ الحرب الاقتصادية على سورية شملت لبنان وكشفت عوراته الاقتصادية والمالية دفعة واحدة وأظهرت على الطبيعة الكارثة الاقتصادية الحقيقية التي يعيشها لبنان بسبب نهب الأموال العامة من قبل المسؤولين وبسبب الفساد المستشري في الإدارة العامة وعلى كلّ الصعد، وبسبب سياسة الامتيازات والاحتكارات والوكالات الحصرية، وبسب السرقات المبرمجة بما أُسمي الهندسات المالية التي وضعها حاكم مصرف لبنان ما أدّى إلى إثراء المصارف وإغنائها من مال المودعين من لبنانيين وغير لبنانيين ومنهم سوريين قيل إن رصيد ودائعهم في لبنان تخطى الـ 25 مليار دولار. هكذا وبلمح البصر انكشف الاقتصاد اللبناني وظهر وهنه وخواؤه وظهرت الطبقة السياسية والاقتصادية والمالية على حقيقتها بأنها زمر من اللصوص منهم الكثير من العملاء للخارج، والفاسدون المفسدون الذين قادوا لبنان إلى الانهيار والجوع والبطالة والويلات. 

لم تكن الحرب الاقتصادية على سورية وخطة بومبيو الإجراميّة هي السبب الوحيد للانهيار الاقتصادي اللبناني، بل كانت تلك الحرب أحد الأسباب التي فاقمت الأزمة والسبب الرئيسي الذي كشف عن الحقيقة. وشكلت رداً مباشراً وعملياً على أولئك الذين فاخروا بسياسة النأي بالنفس وقاطعوا سورية وامتنعوا حتى عن الحديث معها لا بل إنّ مسؤولين كباراً يعلم القاصي والداني أنّ الرعاية السورية هي التي بنت لهم مواقعهم وأنتجت لهم أمجاداً يتغنون بها الآن، قاطعوا سورية وعملوا مع أميركا ضدها بشكل بشع. 

إنّ مأساة لبنان باتت حقيقية كارثية قائمة، والكارثة الأفظع هي عدم الاعتراف بالمسؤولية عنها والإصرار على التمسك بالأشخاص والأساليب ذاتها التي أدت إلى الكارثة، متناسين الحكمة القائلة بانّ «المقدمات ذاتها تؤدي إلى النتائج ذاتها» أو أن تطابق المقدّمات يحكم بتطابق النتائج، وبالتالي فإنّ تماثل الأشخاص والأدوات والأساليب يؤدّي إلى نتائج متماثلة. وفي حالنا يعني أنّ لبنان سيكون أمام مأساة تتفاقم وليس أمام إشكالية يتبعها حلّ. 

والغريب في الأمر أنّ من يتفحّص مسارات وآلية البحث عن حلّ لمأساة لبنان يصاب بالذهول، حيث إنه يجد أولاً أن المتسبّبين بالكارثة هم أنفسهم يستأثرون بالبحث عن حل بعد أن أوكل إليهم أمر الإخراج منها، وأنّ أدوات إنتاج الكارثة هي نفسها الأدوات التي يتمّ التمسك بها والأفظع من ذلك هي الدعوة أو الإصرار على سياسة العزلة والنأي بالنفس أو ما ابتدع بتسميته «الحياد الناشط» الذي ليس له مكان في القانون إلا في أوهام وخيال مَن يطلقه. 

أما الحلّ الذي نراه فإنه يجب أن يُرسى على قوائم ثلاث تتمثل بإصلاح سياسي واقتصادي ومالي. ففي السياسة لا بدّ من تغيّر أو إصلاح جذري يضع حداً للطبقة السياسية الفاسدة التي ترفع شعار حقوق الطائفة وتنهب أموال الطائفة والوطن والمجيء بمن يعمل للوطن والدولة والشعب ولا يكون مطواعاً للخارج. وفي الاقتصاد يجب أن يقوم الإصلاح على شقين أو فرعين فرع في الماهية وعبره نتحوّل إلى الاقتصاد الإنتاجي الذي قضت عليه سياسات ما بعد 1992، وفرع استراتيجي يقوم على الاندماج الاقتصادي التكاملي مع المحيط وبشكل خاص الدول العربية الثلاث التي توجّه اليها الرئيس ميشال عون بمبادرته طارحاً السوق الاقتصادية المشرقية، (بدأت مصر مع الأردن والعراق بهذا التعاون الفاعل وندعو إلى انضمام لبنان وسورية لهما) كما والانفتاح على الشرق بشكل عام وعلى الصين وإيران وروسيا بشكل خاص مع وضع حدّ لسياسة الاحتكارات والتبعية للغرب. وأخيراً الإصلاح النقديّ الذي يجب أن تقوم به لجنة من الخبراء يضع حداً للدولرة ويعيد إلى القطاع المصرفي الثقة ويحرر أموال المودعين أو على الأقل يضع جدولاً زمنياً لإعادتها حتى ولو طال الوقت بضع سنين، فالمهمّ ألا تضيع. 

هذه برأينا الخطوط الكبرى للحلّ، لكن للأسف لا نرى مَن يسعى اليه بشكل يدعو إلى طمأنينة ما بل نرى استشراء في النهب والسيطرة واستباحة الدولة الأمر الذي يطرح السؤال: متى يتحرّر اللبناني من زعيمه الجلاد، ومن مرجعيته الخارجية الظالمة المستبدة ويعمل باستقلالية القرار وليس بالحياد التافه، يعمل بإرادة وقرار مستقلّ من أجل نفسه ووطنه؟ وهل ستبقى الحلول غائبة حتى تلك اللحظة؟ 

Dr Bashar al Jaafari: Syria’s renewed status in the world

1 June 2021

Source

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister is interviewed by al Mayadeen TV, subtitles by Arabi Souri,

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford

Source

Finian Cunningham

April 30, 2021

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford -  TheAltWorld

“The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away,” says former British ambassador to Syria in an interview with Finian Cunningham.

The United States, Britain, and other NATO powers failed in their covert military efforts for regime change in Syria, thanks in large part to the principled intervention by Russia to defend its historic Arab ally. However, Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria, contends that regime change is still very much a top priority for Western powers and their criminal agenda of reshaping the Middle East according to their imperial objectives. In the following interview, Ford explains how the Western tactic has now shifted to intensifying economic warfare in order to buckle the Syrian government led by President Assad. Nevertheless, the former British envoy envisages that the presidential election on May 26 will see Assad being resoundingly re-elected by a nation defiant towards Western aggression.

peterford hashtag on Twitter

Peter Ford is a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) who has publicly denounced Britain’s proxy-terror war for regime change in the Arab nation, along with other NATO accomplices. He is a seasoned diplomat having graduated in Arabic Studies from Oxford University and serving as an envoy in several Middle East countries. Ford has incurred the wrath of the British establishment for his outspoken truth-telling about their nefarious agenda in Syria. On the other hand, he has won the admiration of many people around the world for his courage and integrity. He is a recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism.

Interview

Question: What do you make of the ruling last week by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to strip Syria of its member rights based on allegations that the Syrian government military forces have repeatedly used chemical weapons during the 10-year war? It seems that the OPCW has become extremely politicized by the United States and its Western allies. Do you see a lot of arm-twisting of member states by Western powers to produce OPCW sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

Question: The OPCW’s executive has been exposed in distorting its own reports for the objective of incriminating the Syrian government over alleged chemical weapons attacks. Do you think the OPCW has been turned into a lever to enable Western powers to harass Syria because these powers have been blocked by Russia and China from using the United Nations Security Council as a mechanism for aggression against Syria?

Peter Ford: The United States and the United Kingdom have not hesitated to ventriloquize the OPCW executive to get their way on Syria, stifling whistleblowing even where the cases of misreporting have been flagrant. As a former United Nations official myself, I can say that international organizations are nearly all controlled and used by the U.S./UK, with the Security Council thankfully the one arena where they are unable always to get their own way. This irks them considerably, leading them to go even further in exploiting and debasing agencies like the OPCW.

Question: Three months into a new administration in the United States under President Joe Biden, is there any discernible change in Washington’s policy towards Syria? You have stated publicly before that the whole war in Syria was a regime-change operation orchestrated by the U.S., Britain, France, and others. Is regime change in Syria still on the Western powers’ agenda?

Peter Ford: Regime change is very much still on the agenda. It cannot be openly avowed, of course, but how else to describe a policy of seeking a  “transition” under conditions that would guarantee removal of the present government? Those conditions include rigged elections and “justice” against “war criminals”. The economic warfare is as severe as anything that was waged against Iraq to bring Saddam down. It is blatant deceit to pretend this policy is not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. Biden brings no change. If anything he is doubling down on the policy of his predecessor, without even the pretense of wanting out of Syria, holding on to sanctions, and deliberately hampering reconstruction.

Question: The United States still has troops illegally occupying parts of eastern Syria near the country’s oil fields, denying the Syrian state important resources for national reconstruction. You have described the American forces there as functioning like a “tripwire”. Could you expand on that concept?

Peter Ford: U.S. forces in occupied parts of Syria number around a thousand. The Syrian Arab Army could overrun these forces and their Kurdish allies in a matter of days. What stops them? The certain knowledge that any advance towards the American forces would trigger massive retaliation from the U.S. Air Force operating from its bases in the region. So the function of these U.S. forces is not to help “eradicate ISIS terror remnants” as implausibly claimed, but to serve as a tripwire and thereby deter Syrian forces from recovering territories that hold most of Syria’s oil and grain resources. Denial of these resources is key to bringing Syria to its knees via economic warfare.

Question: Could Biden step up the military intervention in Syria? Or is it more likely that the U.S. and its Western allies will pursue economic warfare through sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: It must be considered unlikely that the U.S. would put many more boots on the ground but many in the Pentagon are straining at the leash to bomb Syria at the slightest pretext. For the moment, the policy planners are counting on economic sanctions and are content to wait for the Syrian government to buckle.

Question: What are the strategic reasons for Western regime change in Syria?

Peter Ford: It’s a way of getting at Russia and Iran, essentially. A little thought experiment proves it. Imagine Assad suddenly said he was ready to get rid of the Russians and Iranians and complete America’s set of Arab powers in return for being left in power. Egypt’s Sadat did something similar in the late 1970s so it’s not unthinkable, and Assad was having tea with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth not so very long ago. Would the U.S. not then cast aside without a moment’s hesitation all the blather about democracy and human rights?

Question: How significant was Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian war in October 2015?

Peter Ford: It was a life-saver. Most people do not realize how close ISIS and other terrorist proxies were to grabbing control of Damascus. Naturally, the Western powers never like to acknowledge this awkward truth.

Question: France’s former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas remarked in a media interview back in 2013 how he was privately approached by British officials with a scheme for regime change in Syria two years before the war erupted in 2011. As a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) can you recall noticing any such plot being considered?

Peter Ford: Planning for regime change in Syria only really began when the aftermath of the Iraq war went really sour and rather than blame themselves, the U.S./UK sought to deflect blame on to Syria. It accelerated after Britain’s Conservatives with their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian obsessions, and their support for Israel, came to power in 2010.

Question: Your principled and outspoken criticism of the British government’s involvement in the Syrian war has won you much respect around the world. Do you feel personally aggrieved by the malign conduct of Britain in Syria?

Peter Ford: I feel ashamed for my country’s actions. It really is quite shameful that we have been instrumental in causing suffering for millions of Syrians while hypocritically claiming we are doing it for their own good.

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

April 15, 2021

By Michael Hudson and posted with special permission

Nearly half a millennium ago Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince described three options for how a conquering power might treat states that it defeated in war but that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: … the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”[1]

Machiavelli preferred the first option, citing Rome’s destruction of Carthage. That is what the United States did to Iraq and Libya after 2001. But in today’s New Cold War the mode of destruction is largely economic, via trade and financial sanctions such as the United States has imposed on China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other designated adversaries. The idea is to deny them key inputs, above all in essential technology and information processing, raw materials, and access to bank and financial connections, such as U.S. threats to expel Russia from the SWIFT bank-clearing system.

The second option is to occupy rivals. This is done only partially by the troops in America’s 800 military bases abroad. But the usual, more efficient occupation is by U.S. corporate takeovers of their basic infrastructure, owning their most lucrative assets and remitting their revenue back to the imperial core.

President Trump said that he wanted to seize Iraq’s and Syria’s oil as reparations for the cost of destroying their society. His successor, Joe Biden, sought in 2021 to appoint Hillary Clinton’s loyalist Neera Tanden to head the government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She had urged that America should make Libya turn over its vast oil reserves as reparations for the cost of destroying its society. “We have a giant deficit. They have a lot of oil. Most Americans would choose not to engage in the world because of that deficit. If we want to continue to engage in the world, gestures like having oil rich countries partially pay us back doesn’t seem crazy to me.”[2]

U.S. strategists have preferred Machiavelli’s third option: To leave the defeated adversary nominally independent but to rule via client oligarchies. President Jimmy Carter’s national-security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski referred to them as “vassals,” in the classical medieval meaning of demanding loyalty to their American patrons, with a common interest in seeing the subject economy privatized, financialized, taxed and passed on to the United States for its patronage and support, based on a mutuality of interest against local democratic assertion of nationalistic self-reliance and keeping the economic surplus at home to promote domestic prosperity instead of being sent abroad.

That policy of privatization by a client oligarchy with its own source of wealth based on the U.S. orbit is what American neoliberal diplomacy accomplished in the former Soviet economies after 1991 to secure its Cold War victory over Soviet Communism. The way in which client oligarchies were created was a grabitization that utterly disrupted the economic interconnections integrating the economies. “To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires,” Brzezinski explained, “the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”[3]

After reducing Germany and Japan to vassalage after defeating them in World War II, U.S. diplomacy quickly reduced the Britain and its imperial sterling area to vassalage by 1946, followed in due course by the rest of Western Europe and its former colonies. The next step was to isolate Russia and China, while keeping “the barbarians from coming together.” If they were to join up, warned Mr. Brzezinski, “the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power.”[4]

By 2016, Brzezinski saw Pax Americana unravelling from its failure to achieve these aims. He acknowledged that the United States “is no longer the globally imperial power.”[5] That is what has motivated its increasing antagonism toward China and Russia, along with Iran and Venezuela.

TRANSITION: the problem was not Russia, whose Communist nomenklatura let their country be ruled by a Western-oriented kleptocracy, but China. The U.S.-China confrontation is not simply a national rivalry, but a conflict of economic and social systems. The reason why today’s world is being plunged into an economic and near-military Cold War 2.0 is to be found in the prospect of socialist control of what Western economies since classical antiquity have treated as privately owned rent-yielding assets: money and banking (along with the rules governing debt and foreclosure), land and natural resources, and infrastructure monopolies.

This contrast in whether money and credit, land and natural monopolies will be privatized and duly concentrated in the hands of a rentier oligarchy or used to promote general prosperity and growth has basically become one of finance capitalism and socialism. Yet in its broadest terms this conflict existed already 2500 years ago. in the contrast between Near Eastern kingship and the Greek and Roman oligarchies. These oligarchies, ostensibly democratic in superficial political form and sanctimonious ideology, fought against the concept of kingship. The source of that opposition was that royal power – or that of domestic “tyrants” – might sponsor what Greek and Roman democratic reformers were advocating: cancellation of debts to save populations from being reduced to debt bondage and dependency (and ultimately to serfdom), and redistribution of lands to prevent its ownership from becoming polarized and concentrated in the hands of creditors and-landlords.

From today’s U.S. vantage point, that polarization is the basic dynamic of today’s U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism. China and Russia are existential threats to the global expansion of financialized rentier wealth. Today’s Cold War 2.0 aims to deter China and potentially other counties from socializing their financial systems, land and natural resources, and keeping infrastructure utilities public to prevent their being monopolized in private hands to siphon off economic rents at the expense of productive investment in economic growth.

The United States hoped that China might be as gullible as the Soviet Union and adopt neoliberal policy permitting its wealth to be privatized and turned into rent-extracting privileges, to be sold off to Americans. “What the free world expected when it welcomed China into the free trade body [the World Trade Organization] in 2001,” explained Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr, trade advisor in the Reagan administration, was that, “from the time of Deng Xiaoping’s adoption of some market methods in 1979 and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 … increased trade with and investment in China would inevitably lead to the marketization of its economy, the demise of its state-owned enterprises.”[6]

But instead of adopting market-based neoliberalism, Mr. Prestowitz complained, China’s government supported industrial investment and kept money and debt control in its own hands. This government control was “at odds with the liberal, rules-based global system” along the neoliberal lines that had been imposed on the former Soviet economies after 1991. “More fundamentally,” Prestowitz summed up:

China’s economy is incompatible with the main premises of the global economic system embodied today in the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and a long list of other free trade agreements. These pacts assume economies that are primarily market based with the role of the state circumscribed and micro-economic decisions largely left to private interests operating under a rule of law. This system never anticipated an economy like China’s in which state-owned enterprises account for one-third of production; the fusion of the civilian economy with the strategic-military economy is a government necessity; five year economic plans guide investment to targeted sectors; an eternally dominant political party names the CEOs of a third or more of major corporations and has established party cells in every significant company; the value of the currency is managed, corporate and personal data are minutely collected by the government to be used for economic and political control; and international trade is subject to being weaponized at any moment for strategic ends.

This is jaw-dropping hypocrisy – as if the U.S. civilian economy is not fused with its own military-industrial complex, and does not manage its currency or weaponize its international trade as a means of achieving strategic ends. It is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, a fantasy depicting American industry as being independent of government. In fact, Prestowitz urged that “Biden should invoke the Defense Production Act to direct increased U.S.-based production of critical goods such as medicines, semiconductors, and solar panels.”

While U.S. trade strategists juxtapose American “democracy” and the Free World to Chinese autocracy, the major conflict between the United States and China has been the role of government support for industry. American industry grew strong in the 19th century by government support, just as China is now providing. That was the doctrine of industrial capitalism, after all. But as the U.S. economy has become financialized, it has de-industrialized. China has shown itself to be aware of the risks in financialization, and has taken measures to attempt to contain it. That has helped it achieve what used to be the U.S. ideal of providing low-priced basic infrastructure services.

Here is the U.S. policy dilemma: Its government is supporting industrial rivalry with China, but also supports financialization and privatization of the domestic economy – the very policy that it has used to control “vassal” countries and extract their economic surplus by rent-seeking.

Why U.S. finance capitalism treats China’s socialist economy as an existential treat

Financialized industrial capital wants a strong state to serve itself, but not to serve labor, consumers, the environment or long-term social progress at the cost of eroding profits and rents.

U.S. attempts to globalize this neoliberal policy are driving China to resist Western financialization. Its success provides other countries with an object lesson of why to avoid financialization and rent-seeking that adds to the economy’s overhead and hence its cost of living and doing business.

China also is providing an object lesson in how to protect its economy and that of its allies from foreign sanctions and related destabilization. Its most basic response has been to prevent an independent domestic or foreign-backed oligarchy from emerging. That has been one first and foremost by maintaining government control of finance and credit, property and land tenure policy in government hands with a long-term plan in mind.

Looking back over the course of history, this retention is how Bronze Age Near Eastern rulers prevented an oligarchy from emerging to threaten Near Eastern palatial economies. It is a tradition that persisted down through Byzantine times, taxing large aggregations of wealth to prevent a rivalry with the palace and its protection of a broad prosperity and distribution of self-support land.

China also is protecting its economy from U.S.-backed trade and financial sanctions and economic disruption by aiming at self-sufficiency in essentials. That involves technological independence and ability to provide enough food and energy resources to support an economy that can function in isolation from the unipolar U.S. bloc. It also involves decoupling from the U.S. dollar and from banking systems linked to it, and hence from U.S. ability to impose financial sanctions. Associated with this aim is creation of a domestic computerized alternative to the SWIFT bank-clearing system.

The dollar still accounts for 80 percent of all global transactions, but less than half of today’s Sino-Russian trade, and the proportion is declining, especially as Russian firms avoid dollarized payments or accounts from being seized by U.S. sanctions.

These protective moves limit the U.S. threat to Machiavelli’s first option: destroy the world if it does not submit to U.S.-sponsored financialized rent extraction. But as Vladimir Putin has framed matters: “Who would want to live in a world without Russia?”

Kin Chi: My quick comment: The USA surely would want to destroy its rival, taking the first option. But it knows it is impossible to succeed, even in the case of Russia, and not to mention China. Thus it hopes for the rival to disintegrate from within, or for substantial interest blocs from within to be complicit with US interests. Hence we need to assess how Russia and China are reacting to this challenge, given that there are multiple contesting forces within each country. And that is also why we have been very concerned with pro-US neo-liberal political economists and policy-makers in these two countries.

I agree with you that China has put much investment into infrastructure and industry. However, we have been concerned with China’s financialization moves. Hence your statement that “China has avoided financialization” may not be the actual case, as various moves have been taken in financialization, but we can say that China seems to be aware of the risks in financialization, and has taken measures to attempt to contain it, causing discontent from US financial interests which would want to see China going further down the road.

It is interesting that yesterday, the White House expressed concern over the China-Iraq use of digital RMB to settle oil accounts as this would be beyond US monitoring of transactions.

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532), Chapter 5: “Concerning the way to govern cities or principalities which lived under their own laws before they were annexed.” 
  2. Neera Tanden, “Should Libya pay us back?” memo to Faiz Shakir, Peter Juul, Benjamin Armbruster and NSIP Core, October 21, 2011. Mr. Shakir, to his credit, wrote back: “If we think we can make money off an incursion, we’ll do it? That’s a serious policy/messaging/moral problem for our foreign policy I think.” As president of the Center for American Progress, Tanden backed a 2010 proposal to cut Social Security benefits, reflecting the long-term Obama-Clinton objective of fiscal austerity at home as well as abroad. 
  3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: 1997), p. 40. See the discussion by Pepe Escobar, “For Leviathan, It’s So Cold in Alaska,” Unz.com, March 18, 2021. 
  4. Brzezinski, ibid., p. 55. 
  5. Brzezinski, “Towards a Global Realignment,” The American Interest (April 17, 2016) For a discussion see Mike Whitney, “The Broken Checkboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire,” Counterpunch, August 25, 2016. 
  6. Clyde Prestowitz, “Blow Up the Global Trading System, Washington Monthly, March 24, 2021.. 

The Russian economy – ‘small’, ‘impotent’, ‘insignificant’: true or false?

The Russian economy – ‘small’, ‘impotent’, ‘insignificant’:  true or false?

April 02, 2021

by Arcturus Le for the Saker Blog

In the west, there is perennial bluster about the putative ‘weakness’ of the Russian economy. It is widely accepted as ‘fact’ that the Russian economy is somewhere miserably outside the ‘Top 10’ global economies by GDP, sinking ever deeper year by year towards #15, embarrassingly behind such smaller countries as South Korea, Canada, Italy and on par with countries like Spain, Australia, and Mexico. In fact, many a snarky joke is bandied about on the Atlanticist web about how ‘Russia’s economy is barely the size of Texas’, etc.

This is a total western generated fabrication. In this article, I will prove the following points: that the Russian economy is actually ranked around the top 5 (and arguably even much higher) most powerful on Earth only behind China, US, Japan, and India; that the 2014 western engineered Ruble crisis crashed the specious ‘Nominal GDP’ of Russia by half while not affecting the true GDP nor economic output of Russia—and how this was affected by the geopolitical factors of the time; and that ‘Nominal GDP’ is a spurious canard that does not apply to Russia due to the fact that Russia is a trade surplus economy, and in fact PPP GDP is the accurate way to measure economies like Russia.

First, let us prove the opening point. Around 2014, oil was pricing steadily in the ~$100-115 per barrel range, as can be seen in the graphic below. Then, in 2014 a major geopolitical crisis developed. The U.S. and the CIA staged the Ukrainian coup called ‘Euromaidan’ that overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian government in the opening months of that year. A month later, Crimea held a democratic referendum and became once again Russian. This was a massive blow to the U.S. geopolitically for which Russia had to be punished as it had now grown too strong, winning a major warm-water port in Sevastopol that could now be used to threaten the western Imperialist/Atlanticist designs in the Middle East by way of a conveniently placed fleet access to the Mediterranean.

The Atlanticists took action and with their Saudi Arabian ‘partners’ (underlings) carried out a plan to crash the price per barrel of oil in order to hurt Russia as much as possible, since its economy at the time was still a bit more dependent upon oil and not as diversified as it is today. Such large tectonic shifts take time so their designs took a year or two to fully percolate down into the markets and by 2015-2016 the price of oil crashed from the aforementioned ~$100-115 per barrel range to the ~$40-50 per barrel range, becoming roughly ~50% of its original price. This chart below clearly demonstrates.

As can be seen, at this exact same time, the Ruble to Dollar conversion rate went from a low of roughly ~37 Rubles to 1 Dollar in 2014 (chart above) soaring to the range of ~60-75 Rubles to 1 Dollar the very next year to exactly coincide with the oil price crash. Miraculously, the devaluation corresponds to the exact timeline and severity of the crash of oil—oil dropped by half from ~$100 to ~$50 and Ruble went from ~35 to ~70 against the Dollar by 2015-2016.

As can be seen by the chart below, Russian GDP according to this source was $2,060 billion in 2014, and like magic by 2016 it was reduced to $1,282 billion. This represents a roughly ~40% decrease in line with the Ruble crash.

But, did Russia change overnight in 2015-2016? Was there panic on the streets, disorder and chaos, complete depredation and disintegration of society? After all, a halving of your GDP almost overnight is of such catastrophic proportions as to be unprecedented in history. Imagine, almost overnight the U.S. GDP going from its current figures to that of its 1960 figures (when it was half of today). What kind of chaos would ensue?

Of course, no such thing occurred in Russia, in fact it was barely noticed. Why? Because, the “Nominal GDP” is a fake, currency manipulated, symbolic number that has no actual basis in reality as pertains to the Russian economy. You see, the Nominal GDP in each country is priced in U.S. Dollars. This works for countries which are Trade Deficit countries. A brief discussion of the difference between Trade Deficit and Trade Surplus must ensue in order to fully understand this point. A country which operates on a Trade Deficit (which is most country’s in the world including the U.S.) simply imports more items than it exports. It is a country that relies on importing goods from other countries to survive. The reason this is important is because, since the global financial system operates on the U.S. Dollar basis in accordance with ‘Dollar Hegemony’ i.e. the Dollar as the reserve currency of the world, this means that when your country IMPORTS items, it is pricing them usually in Dollars. So, in short, this means that the price of your country’s native currency to Dollar conversion is important.

Let’s say you are a Trade Deficit country like India, and let’s say hypothetically that the Indian Rupee converts against the Dollar at 50 Rupees to 1 Dollar. That means, if you are buying an imported item that hypothetically costs $100, if your currency is magically crashed to where the Rupee now trades at 100 Rupees to 1 Dollar, instead of that $100 item costing you (50 x 100) 5,000 Rupees, it now costs you (100 x 100) 10,000 Rupees. So, if your country / entire economy thrives on imports, then one can clearly see how a currency devaluation of 50% can destroy your economy. It means every essential item you import, items vital to the economic engine of your country, have overnight become TWICE as expensive as before. This would lead to economic devastation.

But, what if your country is a TRADE SURPLUS country, a rarer breed of highly self-sufficient economies—a list comprising only the most advanced first world nations such as Germany, Japan, China, etc. Russia is in fact amongst this distinguished list. It has one of the largest trade surpluses in the world, while the U.S. is the world’s biggest Trade Deficit, by far.

So, what happens if you are a Trade Surplus country? This means that your country Exports more than it Imports. It means, in short, that the price conversion of the Dollar to your country’s currency is irrelevant because if you are generating everything your country needs within your own borders (self-sustainability), you are naturally pricing those items you yourself create in your own currency. So, what does it matter if the Russian Ruble goes from 30 Rubles to 1 Dollar, to 1000 Rubles to 1 Dollar? If you’re Russian and you’re not importing anything that’s priced in the Dollar, and you’re buying things within your own country priced in Rubles only, then it makes literally zero difference what the Ruble trades against the Dollar. Inside the borders of your own country, a Ruble is a Ruble, its price conversion to the Dollar has no relevance.

It can be seen here that a native currency devaluation does not have much meaning to a Trade Surplus economy. When a Russian citizen goes to a store and buys items, or a Russian company orders equipment or products, they are ordering them in Rubles because Russia makes their own goods and is self-sustaining. So even if the Ruble skyrocketed to 1 million Rubles to 1 Dollar it would be meaningless if you are not buying anything priced in Dollars.

This means that when the Russian Ruble crashed against the USD in 2015-2016 following the manufactured and engineered geopolitical crisis and massive currency manipulation by the corrupt U.S. global financial system, and the Russian Nominal GDP was shown to crash the equivalent rate (because the Nominal GDP is priced in USD), it was actually meaningless and the Russian economy in fact did not take any such major hit at all. The Russian GDP was shown to devalue from ~2 trillion to 1.2 trillion almost ‘over night’ only because it is being fraudulently priced in USD. All that happened was a mathematical calculation of irrelevant Dollar conversion, but actual Russian production and economic power and output did not experience any such effect whatsoever, it was a smoke and mirrors currency manipulation that existed only in the digital bits and bytes of a computer screen.

So, if we now know that the Russian GDP calculation was incorrect, what is the true way to measure it and what is the real Russian GDP? Since we know that Nominal GDP (which is priced in USD) is a fraudulent way to measure the economic power of Trade Surplus countries like Russia, the answer lies in PPP GDP. And of course, as expected, Russian PPP GDP is so high that it was announced by the IMF itself to have overtaken Germany for the #5 spot last year.

But what is most interesting is, prior to the fake ‘on paper’ devaluation of Russian Nominal GDP following the manufactured crisis of 2014-2016, even Russian Nominal GDP was near the Top 6-8 place (depending on which source you used, IMF, Worldbank, etc.). And now we see the PPP figure matches this rightful, accurate position.

But how do we know the PPP figure is accurate? Can we prove that PPP value is more in line with Russia’s true economic standing than the Nominal GDP value? Well certainly there are a few correlational indicators that can prove this for us. There are several indirect tell-tale signs that experts can use to look past fraudulent currency manipulated GDP numbers and gauge the real economic strength and productive virility of a country.

Let’s take a look at annual oil and electricity usage by country. These are important indicators that very closely correlate with a country’s economic power for reasons that should be self-evident: the more robust one’s economy, the more that country will be utilizing oil and electricity in the daily function and growth of that economic engine.

Some may be unconvinced, until looking at the chart above and seeing how well it correlates to the typical GDP standings. The chart shows oil consumption by country and in fact, the top 10 all looks quite similar to and closely mimics the PPP GDP chart. Russia here is seen at #6 just like in the PPP economic standings (where it is either #5 or #6 depending on source), NOT in #11-15 place as the fraudulent Nominal GDP would have you believe. The skeptic might ask, well wouldn’t a large population country be misrepresented on this chart because they use a lot of oil? To answer that, take Indonesia as an example, it has a population almost double that of Russia, yet it is somewhere in the ~15th place in the oil consumption chart, and not surprisingly that also roughly reflects its place in the GDP standings as well. So, as one can see the size of your country or population count is not reflected in the oil consumption chart, in fact it correlates directly to a country’s GDP, with one or two outlier/flukes such as Saudi Arabia which appears high on the chart owing to its over-reliance on gratuitously consuming vast amounts of oil in the process of producing oil and gas in their oil centered economy. The skeptic might similarly ask, well doesn’t Russia also produce a lot of oil? Yes but in this case, as I’ve said, its position in the oil consumption perfectly matches its GDP PPP position AND there are further indicators below that lay the doubts to rest.

Now let’s look at two other indicators of a robust economy, electricity production and consumption.

As can be seen here, the figures also mimic and correlate the GDP PPP figures. The same countries that dominate the Top 10 economies are seen either producing or consuming electricity at rates that correlate to their economic power. Not coincidentally, here too we see Russia placing near the Top 5, just like in the GDP PPP and quite unlike the fraudulent ~#11-15 placement we see in Nominal GDP. Now remember, these figures are not merely a product of population size. If that was the case, then countries with far larger populations than Russia like Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Pakistan would all be way ahead of Russia on the list of energy consumption—yet they are no where on the list. Similarly, countries with SMALLER populations like Germany would not even be in the top 10. Yet Germany is an economic power house and despite having a much smaller population than Russia, appears close to it on the list in perfect accordance with its place on the GDP PPP chart. This clearly indicates that a country’s energy production/consumption is more closely tied to its economic power than mere population size.

Another indicator we can use is total Gold Reserves. These figures also mimic economic standing as only the most economically powerful countries appear in the top 10 in roughly a similar makeup as to their official GDP standings. Gold has long been a telltale indicator of a country’s might, prestige, and economic status. In the chart below, we can see once again, Russia ranks in almost the exact position of its GDP PPP standing as in all the other charts above.

Of course we can use many other indicators, for instance, global military standings. It is widely accepted Russia is at minimum the 2nd most powerful military force on Earth, and the military standings roughly correlate with the same countries in roughly the same positions as they are economically—with the familiar faces of U.S., Russia, China, India, Japan, et al, making up the top of the list. Would you really believe that a country with the acknowledged #2 military on earth is only ranked #15 economically, as per the fraudulent, currency manipulated Nominal GDP list? It beggars all logic. Of course the only rational explanation is that only a country whose economy is in the top 5 powerhouses can maintain the 2nd most powerful military in the world.

One can see that all indicators point to Russia being in the top 5 global economies and that even the fraudulent Nominal GDP figure had Russia at #7 or #8 (depending on source) prior to the artificially engineered oil crisis and currency manipulation that plummeted the Ruble in 2014-2016.

And one last important thing to note. All this discussion revolves around speaking of the Russian economy as if in a vacuum. But one can quickly forget that the Russian economy is arguably the most flagrantly assailed, beleaguered, manipulated, and sabotaged in the world by western/Atlanticist forces. The Russian economy has been under massive sanctions, sabotage, embargoes, etc, since the 2014 crisis began, and yet I have just shown that it is still roughly at the #5 spot right next to the powerhouse of Germany. So, what does this mean? Clearly, that even under intense sabotage and global economic warfare by the entire western political and financial system, even greatly weakened by western forces, the Russian economy is still roughly even with Germany, and only “behind” the U.S., China, Japan, and India (3 of which have vastly larger populations than Russia). Which makes the obvious point that the TRUE Russian economic power, adjusted for the various sanctions and sabotage, is even greater than we can imagine, most likely well ahead of the German and arguably even the Japanese economies.

Tense U.S.-China Talks End With No Breakthroughs “نيويورك تايمز”: قضايا صعبة في المحادثات الأميركية الصينية

The negotiations, held in Alaska, featured rocky exchanges between Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and his Chinese counterpart. A former Green Beret was charged with attacking multiple officers during the Capitol riot.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, left, said that U.S. officials had raised numerous issues with their Chinese counterparts.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, left, said that U.S. officials had raised numerous issues with their Chinese counterparts.Credit…Pool photo by Frederic J. Brown

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — American diplomats ended a fraught round of high-level talks with Chinese officials in Alaska on Friday with no major diplomatic breakthroughs, and acknowledged that a tense relationship lies ahead for Washington and Beijing.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that U.S. officials had raised numerous issues with their Chinese counterparts — including human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the status of Tibet and Taiwan, and cybersecurity — which caused tension.

“We certainly know, and knew going in, that there are a number of areas where we are fundamentally at odds,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that “it’s no surprise that when we raised those issues,” U.S. officials “got a defensive response.”

Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said that American officials had expected the talks to be difficult, and that the delegation had laid out its priorities for how the Biden administration would approach diplomatic relations with Beijing.

“We were cleareyed coming in, we’re cleareyed coming out,” Mr. Sullivan said, “and we will go back to Washington to take stock of where we are.”

In setting up the two days of discussions, the Biden administration had sought to build a baseline for its approach to China, one that officials have said would be grounded in competition but leave space for cooperation or confrontation with Beijing when necessary.

But they kicked off Thursday afternoon with more than an hour of heated accusations passing between Mr. Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, a rocky exchange that played out in front of TV cameras and threw into doubt any prospect of their geopolitical rivalry softening.

Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, accused the United States of taking a “condescending” approach to the talks and said the American delegation had no right to accuse Beijing of human rights abuses or give lectures on the merits of democracy.

At one point, he said the United States would do well to repair its own “deep seated” problems, specifically pointing to the Black Lives Matter movement against American racism. At another, after it looked as if the opening remarks had concluded and journalists were initially told to leave the room to let the deeper discussions begin, Mr. Yang accused the United States of being inconsistent in its championing of a free press.

Mr. Blinken appeared taken aback but tried to keep the discussion on an even keel. He had opened the talks by asserting a goal to “strengthen the rules-based international order.”

It is now unclear how much cooperation between the two nations will be possible, although that will be necessary to achieve a host of shared goals, including controlling the pandemic, combating climate change, and limiting Iran’s nuclear program and North Korea’s weapons systems.

— Lara Jakes and Pranshu Verma

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“نيويورك تايمز”: قضايا صعبة في المحادثات الأميركية الصينية

لارا جاكس

المصدر: نيويورك تايمز

19 آذار 11:15

تنتقل واشنطن إلى موقف أكثر تنافسية مع الصين، لمواجهة دبلوماسيتها حول العالم وضمان عدم حصول بكين على ميزة دائمة في التكنولوجيا الحيوية.

وزير الخارجية الأميركي أنتوني بلينكن يتلقي مسؤولين صينيين لمحاولة تحسين العلاقات الثنائية المتوترة.
بلينكن يتلقي مسؤولين صينيين لمحاولة تحسين العلاقات الثنائية المتوترة.

قالت صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” الأميركية إن التحول الحاد للرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن في سياسة الولايات المتحدة تجاه الصين يطرح قضايا صعبة على الطاولة اليوم في أول اجتماع كبير بين كبار المسؤولين من إدارته ونظرائهم الصينيين.

وأضافت الصحيفة أن وزير الخارجية الأميركي أنطوني بلينكين ومستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جيك سوليفان سيلتقيان اليوم مع اثنين من كبار الدبلوماسيين الصينيين، عضو مجلس الدولة وانغ يي ورئيس الشؤون الخارجية للحزب الشيوعي الصيني يانغ جيتشي، في مدينة أنكوريج في ألاسكا، حيث من المحتمل أن تتمحور محادثاتهم حول هونغ كونغ، ووضع تايوان ومزاعم قمع الصين للمسلمين الأويغور.

وأوضحت الصحيفة أن الولايات المتحدة إلى تنتقل إلى موقف أكثر تنافسية مع الصين، لمواجهة دبلوماسيتها حول العالم وضمان عدم حصول بكين على ميزة دائمة في التكنولوجيا الحيوية.

وأشارت “نيويورك تايمز” إلى أن إدارة بايدن تعمل على جمع الحلفاء، ولا سيما اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية والهند وأستراليا، لصياغة استراتيجية مشتركة في آسيا.

فمن وجهة نظر الصين، سيكون الاجتماع أول دليل على عزم بكين على الوقوف في وجه الإدارة الجديدة. وكان المسؤولون الصينيون يركزون على تعزيز قوة بلادهم، حيث يبتعد الزعيم الصيني، شي جينبينغ، بشكل متزايد عن الاعتماد على الآخرين.

وأبلغ سفير الصين لدى الولايات المتحدة كوي تيانكاي وسائل الإعلام الصينية أن بلاده “لا تتوقع حواراً واحداً لحل جميع القضايا بين الجانبين”، لكنه يأمل أن يؤدي ذلك إلى بدء حوار بناء.

وقالت وكالة شينخوا الصينية إن الصين والولايات المتحدة تعقدان حواراً استراتيجياً رفيع المستوى يومي الخميس والجمعة في مدينة أنكوراج بولاية ألاسكا الأميركية، معتبرة أنها ستكون هذه أول محادثات مباشرة بين كبار الدبلوماسيين الصينيين والأميركيين منذ تولي الرئيس جو بايدن رئاسة الولايات المتحدة.

ونقلت الوكالة عن الخبراء قولهم إن أحد أسباب عقد الاجتماع في ألاسكا هو موقعها. إذ تقع ألاسكا في منتصف الطريق بين بكين وواشنطن العاصمة، وهذا يعني حرفياً أن الجانبين يلتقيان في منتصف الطريق.

نقله إلى العربية: الميادين نت

Threatening Syria’s First Lady Shows NATO’s Depravity

Threatening Syria's First Lady Shows NATO's Depravity - Islam Times
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

March 18, 2021

Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter, Finian Cunningham writes.

This week marks the 10th anniversary since the United States and its NATO allies launched a devastating covert war of aggression for regime change in Syria. Ten years on, the Arab nation is struggling with war reconstruction, a struggle made all the more onerous because of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

Syria and allied forces from Russia, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah won the war, defeating legions of mercenary terrorist fighters who were armed and infiltrated into Syria by NATO. Nearly half a million Syrians were killed and half the pre-war population of 23 million was displaced.

But tragically the war is not over yet. It has moved to new hybrid phase of economic warfare in the form of Western sanctions and blockade on Syria.

The barbarity of Western sanctions on Syria have necessitated the cover of distractive media narratives.

This explains the sensation of British media reports that Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is being investigating by London’s Metropolitan police for war crimes. Asma (45) was born in London, was educated there and holds British nationality. Although she has Syrian heritage.

Now British authorities are mulling stripping her of nationality and seeking her extradition over charges that she aided and abetted war crimes, including preposterously, the use of chemical weapons against civilians. There is practically no chance of a prosecution, but that’s not the British aim. Rather it is all about smearing the Syrian leadership and distracting the world’s attention from the real issues: which are the criminality of NATO’s war on Syria and the ongoing economic warfare to destroy the nation into submission.

Irish peace activist and author Declan Hayes who has travelled extensively in Syria during the past decade commented: “Britain’s legally ludicrous accusations against Asma al-Assad have a number of objectives in mind. They are there to delegitimize Syria’s 2021 presidential elections; they are there to scare expatriate Syrians and British humanitarians; they are there to deflect from NATO’s well documented war crimes; and they are there to deflect from the mercenary collusion of a cast of media, political and NGO characters in NATO’s war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.”

Asma married Bashar in 2000. Before the war erupted in March 2011, she was eulogized in Western media as the “desert rose” owing to her feminine beauty and quietly spoken graceful persona. The daughter of a cardiologist and having had a career in investment banking before she become Syria’s First Lady, Asma al-Assad later showed herself to be no wilting flower. She refused to leave Damascus and go into comfortable exile with her children when the war was raging.

She remained loyally by her husband’s side and took on the role of consoling the nation, often visiting families of slain soldiers and civilian victims of NATO’s terror gangs.

No doubt the stress resulted in Asma suffering from breast cancer for which she was successfully treated in 2018.

President Assad and his wife stood by the Syrian nation when the jaws of defeat were looming during the early years of the war. When Russia intervened in support of its historic ally in October 2015, the tide of the war turned decisively against the NATO plan for regime change. Assad was singled out for regime change because of his anti-imperialist position against the U.S., Britain, France and Israel. His alliance with Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah put a target on his back for destruction, as former French foreign minister Roland Dumas disclosed. Dumas revealed that the British government had war plans on Syria two years before the violence erupted in March 2011. In this context, the so-called “uprising” was a carefully orchestrated false flag.

The mysterious shootings of police and protesters in the southern city of Daraa – which served to smear the Assad government internationally – were the same modus operandi used by NATO covert forces which carried out the sniper murders in Kiev’s Maidan Square triggering the February 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine.

Western media headlines this week marking the 10th anniversary since the beginning of NATO’s war on Syria have been ghoulish and nauseating.

There is a sense of gloating over the misery and hunger that the nation is facing.

headline in Associated Press labels Syria as the “Republic of Queues”, reporting almost gleefully on how civilians are struggling with food and fuel shortages.

Nowhere in the media coverage is there a mention of how the American CIA and Britain’s MI6 ran Operation Timber Sycamore to arm and direct mercenaries to terrorize Syrians. Absurdly, Western media still claim that Syria’s war rose out of “pro-democracy uprisings” which were crushed by a “ruthless Assad regime”.

Barely acknowledged too is the fact that the United States, Britain and the European Union are strangling a war-torn nation with barbaric sanctions preventing reconstruction. The criminality of economic terrorism is the corollary of a failed criminal covert war of aggression.

The abominable reality of Western policy towards Syria has to be covered up. Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter.

Biden maintains Trump era economic war on Iran, Syria, China, Cuba

Non Muslims should also recognise the achievements of Iran’s Revolution

Talk by Dr Tim Anderson in Sydney on the 42nd anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. 11 February 2021. Video by Shawki Moselmane.

Economic war on Lebanon, into 2021: Dr Marwa Osman

Dr Marwa Osman’s Press TV program, 13 January 2021

Do Americans continue to strangle Lebanon? هل يواصل الأميركيّون خنق لبنان؟

Do Americans continue to strangle Lebanon?

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Some Lebanese hope that the stage of new U.S. President Joe Biden will be less damaging to the situation of their country than that of his predecessor Trump, who has not yet acknowledged his election loss.

It must be emphasized that political relations are not based on hopes as much as on the balance of power and the possibility of achieving goals and alliances.

Accordingly, the U.S. project, which began after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, took the forms of a U.S. military invasion from Afghanistan to Iraq using an Israeli attack on Hezbollah in July 2006 that focused on the south, but it covered most of Lebanon and was part of the Middle East fragmentation project, which the former Secretary of State described from her country’s embassy in Beirut in 2006 as a project for a large Middle East, and the Americans completed their attack in Libya and Syria, interfering in Egypt and covering the war on Yemen, and the players of Sudan and Tunisia.

This project has been hit hard in the Trump phase, unable to make any progress in any part of the region, so he tried to compensate for the imposition of normalization between the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan with the Israeli entity has no real value in terms of balances in the Middle East because all these countries are a historical part of American influence.

The Americans found another way to tame the Middle East: the method of economic blockade and sanctions as alternative means of persuasion from failed military wars.

Lebanon is one of the countries under the yoke of U.S. economic and political sanctions, considering that attempts to control its successive governments, which are under formation, have not succeeded in their goals.

Attempts to provoke the pro-American Lebanese alliance have not reached a useful conclusion, as the other party opposed to them holds very strong political and popular balances.

Therefore, the imposition of sanctions on the head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gibran Bassil is part of the American attempts to bring about a major change in the internal balance of power that was supposed to cause confusion for  Hezbollah..

But Bassil refrained from meeting u.S. orders, which led to the imposition of U.S. sanctions on his political and economic movement, accusing him of. corruption that the whole world knows includes the entire Lebanese political class from 1990 to the present without any exception, and most of those belonging to it are Allies of the Americans and the Gulf with some European rapproches.

The first is to target Hezbollah’s internal strength, and the second is to push the pro-American Lebanese Christian forces to gain near-total control over their social environment, which also leads to hizbullah’s confusion in its confrontational movement against the occupied entity in southern Lebanon and the fight against terrorism in Syria and Lebanon.

So far, all these attempts have belonged to the era of President Trump, inherited from the era of Bush, Son and  Obama..

But America today is emerging from a presidential election in which The Democratic Biden and Trump Republican failed..

Does the new president deal with Lebanon differently?

The reality is that the Americans deal with Lebanon on the basis of regional conflict and do not rely much on its internal issues, the region for them includes Iran, the Gulf, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and these are so closely linked that one can only be separated from the other if there is a major change in one for the benefit of the Americans that requires it to be separated from the regional situation and reintegrated into the Gulf-Israeli package.

But the Lebanese balances are the same, as evidenced by the fact that the two parties’ insistence on amal and Hezbollah to mandate Saad Hariri to form a new government did not result in a preponderance of the U.S. axis in Lebanon as much as reflecting the tendency of the two to achieve an internal truce that prevents any internal sectarian or sectarian clashes on which U.S. policy works with Gulf support.

Is Biden  repeating the same policies. of his predecessor Trump in the region?

Therefore, logic is that the major military options in the Middle East have become more  excluded with the success of Iran in the steadfastness, as well as Yemen, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon..

This is with situations that are not what the Americans in Iraq desire.

In other words, Biden  finds himself forced to seek settlements with Iran first and foremost for multiple importances,the first of which has iran’s second gas in the world in terms of production, in addition to oil and huge amounts of uranium that are not yetinvested.

As for Iran, the political state of Sana’a is the victor, the popular mobilization in Iraq, the Syrian state and Hezbollah in Lebanon, meaning that any real truce with it or a real settlement includes most of the countries of the region, including of course Lebanon in such a way that it is possible to produce a new government represented by the alliance of the national current with the duo Amal, Hezbollah, future Hariri, Jumblatt, Franjieh and Armenians, while the party of the forces isolates itself refraining from participating.

This is the only way to reproduce normal U.S. relations in the entire region, including, of course, Lebanon, which is بايدن  eagerly awaiting Biden in the hope of lifting the sanctions on Bassil and lifting the blockade on Lebanon to restore balances to normal..

هل يواصل الأميركيّون خنق لبنان؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يأمل بعض اللبنانيين أن تكون مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جو بايدن أقل ضرراً على أوضاع بلدهم من مرحلة سلفه ترامب الذي لم يعترف بخسارته في الانتخابات حتى الآن.

لا بد أولاً من تأكيد أن العلاقات السياسيّة لا تستند الى الآمال بقدر ما تتكئ على موازين القوى وإمكانية تحقيق الأهداف والتحالفات.

بناء عليه فإن المشروع الأميركي الذي ابتدأ بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1989 اخذ أشكال غزو عسكري أميركي من افغانستان الى العراق مستخدماً هجوماً اسرائيلياً على حزب الله في تموز 2006 تمحور حول الجنوب، لكنه شمل معظم مناطق لبنان وكان يشكل جزءاً من مشروع تفتيت الشرق الأوسط الذي وصفته الوزيرة الأميركية السابقة من سفارة بلادها في بيروت في 2006 بأنه مشروع لشرق اوسط كبير، واستكمل الأميركيون هجومهم في سورية وليبيا متدخلين في مصر ومغطين الحرب على اليمن، ومتلاعبين بالسودان وتونس والجزائر.

هذا المشروع أصيب بضربات قوية في مرحلة ترامب عاجزاً عن تحقيق أي تقدم في اي بقعة من المنطقة، فحاول التعويض بفرض تطبيع بين الإمارات والبحرين والسودان مع الكيان الإسرائيلي لا قيمة فعلية له على مستوى التوازنات في الشرق الأوسط لأن كل هذه البلدان هي جزء تاريخي من النفوذ الأميركي.

فوجد الأميركيون نهجاً آخر لترويض الشرق الأوسط وهو أسلوب الحصار الاقتصادي وفرض العقوبات كوسائل إقناع بديلة من الحروب العسكرية الفاشلة.

لبنان اذاً هو واحد من البلدان الواقعة تحت نير العقوبات الأميركية الاقتصادية والسياسية باعتبار ان محاولات السيطرة على حكوماته المتعاقبة والتي قيد التشكيل لم تفلح في مراميها.

كما أن محاولات استنهاض الحلف اللبناني المؤيد للأميركيين لم يصل الى نتيجة مفيدة باعتبار أن الطرف الآخر المناهض لهم يمسك بتوازنات سياسية وشعبية قوية جداً.

لذلك فإن فرض عقوبات على رئيس التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل هو جزء من المحاولات الأميركية لإحداث تغيير كبير في موازين القوى الداخلية كان من المفروض ان تتسبب بإرباكات لحزب الله.

لكن باسيل امتنع عن تلبية الأوامر الأميركية ما أدّى الى فرض عقوبات أميركية على حركته السياسية والاقتصادية مع اتهامه بفساد يعرف العالم بأسره أنه يشمل كامل الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية منذ 1990 حتى تاريخه من دون أي استثناء ومعظم المنتمين إليها هم من حلفاء الأميركيين والخليجيين مع بعض التقاربات الأوروبية.

بما يؤكد أن الاستهداف الأميركي لباسيل له سببان: الأول هو التصويب على القوة الداخلية لحزب الله، والثاني دفع القوى المسيحيّة اللبنانية الموالية للأميركيين الى تحقيق سيطرة شبه كاملة على بيئتها الاجتماعية، بما يؤدي أيضاً الى إرباك حزب الله في حركيّته المجابهة للكيان المحتل في جنوب لبنان والمكافحة ضد الإرهاب في سورية ولبنان.

حتى الآن تنتمي كل هذه المحاولات الى مرحلة الرئيس ترامب التي ورثتها عن عهود بوش الأب والإبن وأوباما.

لكن أميركا اليوم تخرج من انتخابات رئاسية نجح فيها بايدن الديمقراطي وفشل فيها ترامب الجمهوري.

فهل يتعامل الرئيس الجديد مع لبنان بشكل مختلف؟

الواقع يقول إن الأميركيين يتعاملون مع لبنان على اساس الصراع الإقليمي ولا يعولون كثيراً على مسألته الداخلية، فالمنطقة بالنسبة اليهم تشمل إيران والخليج والعراق وسورية ولبنان واليمن، وهذه شديدة الترابط بحيث لا يمكن فصل واحدة عن الأخرى إلا اذا حدث تغيير كبير في إحداها لمصلحة الأميركيين تتطلب فصلها عن الوضع الإقليمي واعادة ضمها الى الباقة الخليجية الإسرائيلية.

لكن التوازنات اللبنانية على حالها، بدليل أن إصرار الثنائي حركة امل وحزب الله على تكليف سعد الحريري بتشكيل حكومة جديدة لم ينتج عن رجحان للمحور الأميركي في لبنان بقدر ما عكس ميلاً من الثنائي لتحقيق هدنة داخلية تمنع أي صدامات داخلية مذهبية او طائفية تعمل عليها السياسة الأميركية بدعم خليجي.

فهل يكرّر بايدن سياسات سلفه ترامب نفسها في المنطقة؟ السياسات واحدة لا تتغير، لكن الأساليب هي التي تتبدل، والاهمية بالنسبة للأميركيين هي الاستئثار بأكبر كمية ممكنة من اقتصادات الشرق الاوسط لإعادة ضخّها في اقتصادهم الداخلي.

لذلك يعتبر المنطق أن الخيارات العسكرية الكبرى في منطقة الشرق الأوسط اصبحت اكثر استبعاداً مع نجاح إيران في الصمود وكذلك اليمن وسورية وحزب الله في لبنان.

هذا مع أوضاع ليست كما يشتهيها الأميركيون في العراق.

بمعنى أن بايدن يجد نفسه مضطراً الى البحث عن تسويات مع إيران أولاً وأخيراً لأهميات متعددة اصبحت بحوزتها واولها الغاز الإيراني الثاني عالمياً على مستوى الانتاج بالإضافة الى النفط وكميات ضخمة من الاورانيوم ليست مستثمرة حتى الآن.

اما إيران السياسية فهي حليفة دولة صنعاء المنتصرة والحشد الشعبي في العراق والدولة السورية وحزب الله في لبنان، بمعنى أن أي هدنة حقيقية معها أو تسوية حقيقية فهذا يشمل معظم دول المنطقة ومنها بالطبع لبنان بشكل يصبح فيه ممكناً إنتاج حكومة جديدة يتمثل فيها حلف التيار الوطني مع الثنائي أمل وحزب الله والمستقبل الحريري وجنبلاط وفرنجية والأرمن، فيما يعزل حزب القوات نفسه ممتنعاً عن المشاركة.

هذا هو الطريق الوحيد الذي يعاود إنتاج علاقات أميركية طبيعية في المنطقة بكاملها، ومنها بالطبع لبنان الذي يترقب بايدن بفارغ الصبر آملاً إلغاء العقوبات عن باسيل وفك الحصار عن لبنان لإعادة التوازنات الى طبيعتها.

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President Assad Interview with Sputnik TV and the Full Interview Transcript

President Bashar Assad interview with Russian Sputnik

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts:https://videopress.com/embed/PQWtLurT?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available on BitChute.

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to have this interview at these days when we remember that five years ago the Russian assistance came to Syria. So, after five years of the Russian military operation, nowadays can you say that the war in Syria now is over?

President Assad: No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.

Question 2: And what moments of the heroism of the Russians do you recall and keep in your heart? Which of them do you consider worth telling to your grandchildren, let’s say?

President Assad: There are so many, and I remember some of them, of course. After five years of this cooperation between the Syrian and the Russian army in a vicious war, I think heroism is becoming a collective act; it’s not individual, it’s not only a few cases of heroism that you remember. For example, if you think about military aircraft pilots – the air force, Russian pilots kept flying over the terrorists on a daily basis, risking their lives, and you had a few aircrafts that had been shot down by the terrorists. If you talk about the other officers, they are supporting the Syrian army not in the rear lines, but in the front lines and as a consequence you had martyrs. What I’m going to tell my grandchildren someday is not only about this heroism, but I’m also going to talk about these common values that we have in both our armies that made us brothers during this war; these noble values, faithful to their causes, defending civilians, defending the innocent. Many things to talk about in this war.

Question 3: And what moment does symbolize for you a turning point during this conflict, during this war?

President Assad: It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one. The first is in 2013 when we started liberating many areas, especially the middle of Syria, from al-Nusra. Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria. Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point. It was important because of the importance of Aleppo, and because it was the beginning of the liberation – the large-scale liberation, that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently, and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part. So, these are the main turning points. If you put them together, all of them are strategic and all of them changed the course of this war.

Question 4: I now will turn to some actual news, and we in Russia follow what now is happening in the region of the Armenian and Azerbaijanian conflict, and definitely Turkey plays a role there. Is it negative or positive, that is not for me to judge, but I would like to ask you about Turkey’s and Erdogan’s policies. So, in recent years, Turkey has been trying to maximize its international influence. We all see its presence in Libya, its intervention into Syria, territorial disputes with Greece, and the now open support to Azerbaijan. What do you think about that kind of behavior of Ankara and Erdogan personally, and should the international community pay more attention to this sort of neo-Othmanism.

President Assad: Let’s be blunt and clear; Erdogan has supported terrorists in Syria, and he’s been supporting terrorists in Libya, and he was the main instigator and initiator of the recent conflict that has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, I would sum his behavior as dangerous, for different reasons. First of all, because it reflects the Muslim Brotherhood behavior; the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist extremist group. Second, because he’s creating war in different areas to distract his own public opinion in Turkey from focusing on his behavior inside Turkey, especially after his scandalous relations with ISIS in Syria; everybody knows that ISIS used to sell Syrian oil through Turkey under the umbrella of the American air forces and of course the involvement of the Turks in selling this oil. So, this is his goal, and this is dangerous. So, whether the international community should be aware or not, the word “international community” in reality is only a few countries: the great powers and rich countries, and let’s call them the influencers on the political arena. The majority of this international community is complicit with Turkey in supporting the terrorists. So, they know what Turkey is doing, they are happy about what Turkey is doing, and Turkey is an arm for those countries in fulfilling their policies and dreams in this region. So, no, we cannot bet on the international community at all. You can bet on international law, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no institution to implement international law. So, we have to depend on ourselves in Syria and on the support of our friends.

Question 5: So, more about this conflict. There were reports that some terrorists from the groups that were fighting previously in Syria are now being transferred to this conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Can you confirm that? Do you have any information about fighters going from Syria to…?

President Assad: We definitely can confirm it, not because we have evidence, but sometimes if you don’t have evidence you have indicators. Turkey used terrorists coming from different countries in Syria. They used the same method in Libya; they used Syrian terrorists in Libya, maybe with other nationalities. So, it’s self-evident and very probable that they are using that method in Nagorno-Karabakh because as I said earlier, they are the ones who started this problem, this conflict; they encouraged this conflict. They want to achieve something and they’re going to use the same method. So, we can say for sure that they’ve been using Syrian and other nationalities of terrorists in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Question 6: Let’s turn now to the relations between our countries, Russia and Syria. Are there any plans for your contacts or meetings with President Putin?

President Assad: We have regular contact, mainly over the phone, whenever something new happens or whenever there is a need for these conversations. Of course, we’re going to talk in the future, we’re going to meet in the future, but that depends on the political situation regarding Syria. And as you know now because of the Coronavirus the whole world is paralyzed, so in the near future I think the conversation will be on the phone.

Question 7: And will you raise the question of the new credits for Syria? For new loans?

President Assad: In our economic situation, it’s very important to seek loans, but at the same time, you shouldn’t take this step without being able to pay back the loan. Otherwise, it’s going to be a burden, and it’s going to be a debt. So, it has two aspects. Talking about loans is in our minds, and we discussed it with our Russian counterparts, but we have to prepare for such a step before taking it seriously, or practically, let’s say.

Question 8: Recently, the delegation from Russia came, and Vice Prime Minister Borisov was here. Is now Syria interested in buying anti-aircraft systems like S-400 or demanding for additional S-300?

President Assad: Actually, we started a plan for upgrading our army two years ago, and it’s self-evident that we’re going to do this upgrade in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Defense, because for decades now, our army depends fully on Russian armaments. But there are priorities, it’s not necessarily the missiles, maybe you have other priorities now regarding the conflict on the ground. So, there’s a full-scale plan, but we have to move according to these priorities. Usually, we don’t talk about the details of our military plans, but in general, as I said, it’s upgrading the army in every aspect of the military field.

Question 9: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?

President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement it. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –

Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.

President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.

Question 10: Who are this board? Who are these people?

President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.

Question 11: So, Trump pledged to withdraw American troops from Syria but he failed to do that. Now he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you think if he manages to bring American troops home, is he going to be awarded that Nobel Peace Prize?

President Assad: He’s nominated?

Journalist: He is nominated.

President Assad: I didn’t know about this. If you want to talk about the nomination for peace, peace is not only about withdrawing your troops; it’s a step, it’s a good step, and it’s a necessary step. But peace is about your policy, it’s about your behavior. It means to stop occupying land, to stop toppling governments just because they are not with you, to stop creating chaos in different areas of the world. Peace is to follow international law and to support the United Nations Charter, etc. This is peace, this is when you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama had this prize; he had just been elected and he hadn’t done anything. The only achievement he had at that time maybe, was that he moved from his house to the White House, and he was given a Nobel Prize. So, they would give it to Trump for something similar. I don’t know what is it, but definitely not peace.

Question 12: So, Trump acknowledged recently that he intended to eliminate you personally, and that the Pentagon Chief Mattis persuaded him not to do so. Did you know about that at that time, and were some measures undertaken to prevent it?

President Assad: Assassination is American modus operandi, that’s what they do all the time, for decades, everywhere, in different areas in this world, this is not something new. So, you have to keep it in your mind that this kind of plan has always existed for different reasons. We have to expect this in our situation in Syria, with this conflict, with the Americans, they occupy our land, and they are supporting the terrorists. It’s expected; even if you don’t have any information, it should be self-evident. How do you prevent it? It’s not about the incident per se – it’s not about this plan regarding this person or this president, it’s about the behavior. Nothing will deter the United States from committing these kinds of vicious actions or acts unless there’s an international balance where the United States cannot get away with its crimes. Otherwise, it’s going to continue these kinds of acts in different areas, and nothing would stop it.

Question 13: And were there any other attempts on you during your presidency?

President Assad: I didn’t hear of any attempt, but as I said, it’s self-evident that you have many attempts, or maybe, plans to be more precise. I mean, let’s say, were they active or on hold? Nobody knows.

Question 14: Now I turn back to the situation in Syria, and will you run for presidency in the year 2021?

President Assad: It’s still early to talk about it because we still have a few months. I can take this decision at the beginning of next year.

Question 15: Interesting. And have you congratulated Mr. Alexander Lukashenko with his inauguration in Belarus, and do you probably see similarities between political technologies that were used by the UK and the US to support Belarusian opposition, and those methods that were used against Syria and against the Syrian state in information war?

President Assad: I did send a congratulation letter to President Lukashenko and that’s normal. With regards to what’s happening in Belarus: regardless of the similarities between the two countries – Syria and Belarus – or the differences, regardless of whether you have a real conflict or an artificial one in a country, the West – as long as it hasn’t changed its hegemonic policy around the world – is going to interfere anywhere in the world. If you have a real problem in your country, whether it’s small or big, it’s going to interfere. And if it’s domestic, they’re going to make it international just to interfere and meddle in your affairs. If you don’t have problems, they’re going to do their best to create problems and to make them international again in order to meddle in your affairs. This is their policy.

So, it’s not about what’s happening in Belarus. Like any other country, Syria, Belarus, your country, every country has their own problems. Does the West have the right to interfere or not? That’s what we have to oppose. So, going back to your question, yes, it’s the same behavior, it’s the same strategy, it’s the same tactics. The only difference is the branding of the products, different headlines. They use certain headlines for Russia, others for Venezuela, another one for Syria, and so on. So, it’s not about Belarus; it’s about the behavior of the West and it’s about their strategy for the future, because they think with the rise of Russia, with the rise of China, with the rise of other powers around the world, this is an existential threat for them, so the only way to oppose or to face this threat is by creating chaos around the world.

Question 16: So, you have already mentioned the Coronavirus and it affected all humankind. Was someone from the government infected, or maybe you personally?

President Assad: Thank God, no. And I don’t think anyone from our government has been infected.

Question 17: That’s good news. And would you personally like to take the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Of course, in these circumstances, anyone would love to be vaccinated against this dangerous virus. But I think it’s not available for the international market yet, but we’re going to discuss it with the Russian authority when it’s available internationally to have vaccines for the Syrian market. It’s very important.

Journalist: Yes, and Russians have already suggested that it can be available for our international partners…

President Assad: They said in November it could be available.

Question 18: So, you will be asking for the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Yes, definitely, it’s a necessity at these times.

Question 19: And in what amount?

President Assad: That depends on how much is available and we have to discuss the amount that we need with the health authority in Syria.

Question 20: So, you are going to have negotiations in detail with the Russian authorities.

President Assad: Definitely, of course. Everybody in Syria is asking about the Russian vaccine and when it’s going to be available.

Question 21: Now, on the backdrop of the pandemic outbreak, does the public demand to change the constitution still exist? Because Coronavirus created a new paradigm in the world, and certainly in politics. So, the problems and the Geneva talks cast doubts on the question of whether the need to change the constitution still exists. What do you think about that?

President Assad: No, there’s no relation between the Coronavirus and the constitution. We changed the constitution in 2012 and now we are discussing the constitution in the Geneva talks. We had a round of negotiations nearly one month ago. So, the Coronavirus delayed those rounds, but it didn’t stop them.

Ultimately, the Geneva negotiations are a political game, it’s not what the public – the Syrians, are focused on. The Syrian people are not thinking about the constitution, nobody is talking about it. Their concerns are regarding the reforms we need to enact and the policies we need to change to ensure their needs are met. This is what we are discussing at the moment and where our concerns are, and where the government is focusing its efforts.

Question 22: So, you say that the Geneva talks should continue, and the constitution on the agenda, and still there should be more discussions?

President Assad: Yes, of course. We started and we’re going to continue in the next few weeks.

Question 23: Will Syria decide to conduct a trial against the White Helmets, and do you think that there should be a sort of international investigation on their activities, probably under the UN umbrella?

President Assad: When there is a crime, you don’t take the knife or the weapon to trial, you send the criminal to trial. In this case, the White Helmets are just the tools or the means – the weapon that’s been used for terrorism. They were created by the United Kingdom, supported by the United States and of course France and other Western countries, and used directly by Turkey. All these regimes are the real father and mother of the White Helmets, so they have to be held accountable even before the White Helmets themselves. Now, the question is do we have international laws to pursue such procedures? No, we don’t. Otherwise, the United States wouldn’t get away with its crimes in Iraq for example, in Yemen, or in different areas. Not only the United States, but also France, the UK and different countries, and the US in Syria. But you don’t have these institutions that could implement such laws, as I mentioned earlier. So, no, we have to focus more on the perpetrators, the real perpetrators, the real supervisors. They are the Western countries and their puppets in the region.

Question 24: But should probably any step be undertaken concretely toward the White Helmets? Because they are still active?

President Assad: Yes, of course, they are criminals. I’m not saying anything different. Before they were the White Helmets, they were al-Nusra; there are videos and images of all those criminals, so they have to be tried in Syria. But when you talk about the White Helmets as an institution, it’s made by the West. So, they are criminals as individuals, but the White Helmets is a Western institution – an extremist terrorist organization – based on the al-Nusra organization.

Question 25: You say that the presence of the US and Turkish army in Syria is illegal. What will you do to stop it?

President Assad: It is an occupation and, in this situation, we have to do two things: the first is to eliminate the excuse that they’ve been using for this occupation, which is the terrorists – in this case ISIS. Most of the world now know that ISIS was created by the Americans and is supported by them; they give them their missions, like any American troops. You have to eliminate the excuse, so, eliminating the terrorists in Syria is priority number one for us. After that, if they, the Americans and the Turks, don’t leave, the natural thing that will happen is popular resistance. This is the only way; they won’t leave through discussion or through international law since it doesn’t exist. So, you don’t have any other means but resistance and this is what happened in Iraq. What made the Americans withdraw in 2007? It was because of the popular resistance in Iraq.

ISIS, the Bombshell Interview to Impeach Obama

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Question 26: So, what do you think about the agreement between the US and the Syrian Kurds in terms of extracting oil? And will you undertake any measures against it?

President Assad: This is robbery, and the only way to stop this robbery is to liberate your land. If you don’t liberate it, no measure will stop them from doing this because they are thieves, and you cannot stop a thief unless you put him in prison or you deter him somehow by isolating him from the area where he can commit his robbery. So, the same thing has to be done with those thieves. They have to be expelled from this region; this is the only way. And the Syrian government should control every part of Syria, so the situation will return to normal.

Question 27: How do you assess the situation in Idlib? How is Syria going to resolve the problem of expelling terrorists from there, and how many of them fight now there, how many terrorists, to your assessment?

President Assad: Since 2013, we adopted a certain, let’s say, methodology in dealing with these areas where the terrorists control mainly the civilians or the cities. We give them the chance to give up their armaments and in return, they are granted amnesty from the government; that has succeeded in many areas in Syria. But if they don’t seek reconciliation, we have to attack militarily, and that’s what happened in every area we have liberated since 2013. This methodology applies to the areas where there were national reconciliations and the fighters were Syrian. However, Idlib is a different case; most of the foreigners in Syria are concentrated in Idlib, so they either go to Turkey – this is where they came from or came through, or they go back to their countries or they die in Syria.

Question 28: In Europe?

President Assad: Mainly in Europe. Some of them came from Russia, from Arab countries, from so many countries around the world. All those Jihadist extremists wanted to come and fight in Syria.

Question 29: So, now this area is under the, let’s say, the supervision and the common operations by Russians, by Turks, sometimes by Americans. Do you see that this cooperation is efficient, and how this experience can be used in the future?

President Assad: No, I don’t think it’s efficient for a simple reason: if it was efficient, we wouldn’t have gone to war recently in many areas in Aleppo and Idlib. Because the Turkish regime was supposed to convince the terrorists in that area to withdraw and pave the way for the Syrian Army and the Syrian government and institutions to take control, but they didn’t. Every time they give the same commitment; they haven’t fulfilled any of their promises or commitments. So, no, I wouldn’t say this cooperation was effective, but let’s see. They still have another chance to withdraw the terrorists north of the M4 in Idlib. This is their latest commitment in agreement with the Russian side, but they haven’t fulfilled it yet. So, let’s wait and see.

Question 30: Do you consider the possibility of negotiations with Israel in terms of, you know, stopping the hostile activities? And is it possible that in the future Syria will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, as several Arab countries did recently?

President Assad: Our position is very clear since the beginning of peace talks in the nineties, so nearly three decades ago, when we said peace for Syria is about rights. Our right is our land. We can only have normal relations with Israel when we have our land back. It’s very simple. So, it is possible when Israel is ready and Israel is not ready. It has never been ready; we’ve never seen any official in the Israeli regime who is ready to move one step towards peace. So, theoretically yes, but practically, so far, the answer is no.

Question 31: So, this news from other Arab countries who have established recently, I thought probably can be an impetus for Syria and Israel to start negotiations, but as I understand there are no negotiations between your countries underway at the time.

President Assad: No, there is none, nothing at all.

Question 32: You have already mentioned the enforcement of your armed forces. What are the obstacles for it? Do you see any obstacles for enforcing your armed forces?

President Assad: When you talk about big projects, you always have obstacles, but you can overcome these obstacles; nothing is impossible. Sometimes it could be financial, sometimes it could be about priorities, sometimes it could be about the situation on the ground. This is the only obstacle. Otherwise, no, we don’t have any obstacles. We are moving forward in that regard, but it takes time. It’s a matter of time, nothing more.

Question 33: Some international players say that Iranian withdrawal from Syria is a precondition for the economic restoration of the country and cooperation with the Syrian government, of the Western governments and probably the businesses. Will Syria agree with this condition, and will it ask Iran to withdraw, if ever?

President Assad: First of all, we don’t have Iranian troops and that’s very clear. They support Syria, they send their military experts, they work with our troops on the ground, they exist with the Syrian Army. But let’s take one practical example: nearly a year ago, the Americans told the Russians to ” convince the Iranians that they should be 80 kilometers away from the border with the Golan Heights” that is occupied by the Israelis. Although there were no Iranian troops, the Iranians were very flexible, they said “ok, no Iranian personnel will be south of that line” and the Americans said that if we can agree upon this, we are going to withdraw from the occupied eastern part of Syria on the borders with Iraq called al-Tanf. Nothing happened, they didn’t withdraw. So, the Iranian issue is a pretext for occupying Syrian land and supporting terrorists. It’s used as a mask to cover their real intentions. The only way for them to implement what they are saying is when Syria becomes a puppet state to the United States. That’s what they want, nothing else. Everything else they talk about is just lies, false flag allegations. So, I don’t think there’s any real solution with the Americans as long as they don’t want to change their behavior.

Question 34: And the last question: is there anything that you are proud of, and anything that you are sorry for doing or not doing?

President Assad: During the war?

Journalist: During your presidency.

President Assad: You have to differentiate between the policies and between the implementation. In terms of policies, from the very beginning, we have said we’re going to listen to the Syrian people and that’s why we reformed the constitution in 2012. We have said we’re going to fight the terrorists and we are still doing that after ten years. We have said that we have to preserve our independence – national independence and that’s what we are fighting for, and we have to make alliances with our friends. So, regarding these policies, I think we were right. Not trusting the West? We were right on many fronts. In terms of implementation, it’s about the tactics, it’s about many things that you may say were wrong. For example: were the reconciliations wrong? Because in some areas those people who had amnesty, didn’t go back to the rule of law. So, you can say this is wrong, but in reality, those reconciliations were very important steps. I don’t think that in the policies we were wrong. You have many mistakes regarding the implementation anywhere and sometimes on a daily basis.

Journalist: Ok, Mr. President, our time is running out, so again, thanks a lot for this frank and lengthy interview.

President Assad: Thank you. Thank you for coming to Syria.

Journalist: Thank you very much

End of the interview transcript in English.Related Videos

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Apocalypse Now!

 BY GILAD ATZMON

apocalypse now.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon*

“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14)

‘Blessed is the one who always trembles before Covid19, but whoever fails to put a facemask falls into trouble.’ (CDC 2020)

For two decades, we, the people who happen to dwell on this planet, have been subjected to repeated apocalyptic hysteria. Following 9/11 we were taken into a world war against Islam as the ‘Islamists,’ we were told by our Neocon masters, were ‘intending to eradicate our civilization.’ Shortly after, the economic bubble collapsed. We were prepared for global poverty. Even as we recovered from the economic turmoil, global warming was threatening to grill us alive or maybe flush us into the ocean. In between all of those catastrophic scenarios, Isis was also a global existential threat and then came Covid-19.

Being repeatedly globally, universally and collectively terrified of an ‘imminent apocalyptic catastrophe’ is a new phenomenon. It is inherently tied to the rise of the global economy, global markets and global corporations. It may imply that we are already subject to the rule of an elusive global power whose characteristics and mode of operation are yet to be unveiled let alone discussed. It may even be that the true nature of that global power is mysterious even to itself. But the practical meaning of such a ‘new order’ and its impact on the world is there for all to see.

In theory, at least, the fear of a ‘global pogrom’ or ‘universal holocaust’ is supposed to unite us. It is designed to show us that we don’t stand a chance to fight or win alone, as individuals, as tribes, as classes, as a nation or as a continent. If we want to survive both individually as well as a human race, we are told we must act at once and as one people and obey a certain set of rules.

In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries Marxism also promised to unite us globally, make us a fist of resistance in the name of worldwide proletarian revolution. At present, it is actually the post-Marxists who break us into biologically driven identitarian fragments, and it is global capitalism and some odd tycoons who unite us by means of global fear. The threat of global apocalypse is there to undermine: the national state, local markets, local manufacturing, the old elites, the old traditions and any other recognized hegemonic setting. From a globalist perspective, it is hard not to see a certain continuum between the Marxist global prophecy and the current globalist apocalyptic ‘reality.’

In practice, things often work differently. As powerful and convincing as our apocalyptic clerics happen to be, often the reality on the ground contradicts the global prophecy. Some states were not convinced by the Neocon fantasy and refused to join the ‘war against Islam’ failing to see Islam or Muslims as a global threat. US president Trump learned recently that his plan to defeat Iran by means of sanctions on behalf of Zion may not be an easy task. Similarly, a few world leaders aren’t convinced that the planet is getting warmer (peculiarly enough, the name Trump comes to mind again). And when the current Corona pandemic started, we noticed what was the opposite of global unity. Instead, we saw borders closing down and nationalist lines resurfacing. In March, Italy was left alone to face its crisis and the EU returned to a collection of states. In the USA we see similar fragmentation among the states. Corona has become a political battle zone. It emphasizes difference, it acts to separate rather than unites us.

However new to us is the attempt to keep us under the threat of a constant ‘universal holocaust,’ such a threat isn’t new to everybody.

In my first non-fiction book, The Wandering Who, I defined a peculiar but common, mental condition. I argued that while most people are familiar with the notion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Post TSD) – a stressful condition caused by a real or imaginary past event, it seemed to me that many self identified Jews often manifest symptoms of stress which I defined as Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre TSD). In the case of Pre TSD a human subject is tormented by the phantasy of an imaginary catastrophic event in the future. This destructive fantasy evolves into trauma that may manifest in emotionally driven irrational conduct. Pre TSD often operates as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’- the condition in which ‘prediction’ becomes reality simply because the person who believes it adopts certain behavioral patterns that result in the fulfilment of his belief.

In ‘The Wandering Who’ I argued that many disasters in Jewish history were the direct outcome of Pre TSD. It is for instance, easy to point out that the ‘fear of anti-Semitism’ and the suppressive actions that are pushed by Jewish institutions often lead to a sharp rise in antagonism towards different aspects of Jewish politics, culture, ideology and history. Similarly, the Jewish State’s phantasmic fear of Iran’s nuclear armament that is followed by endless Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in the region deliver a clear message to Iran and every other nation in the region that a failure to possess a substantial arsenal of WMD as a means of the deterrence is, all but a suicidal act. In reality, Iran’s advanced missile technology (both precision and ballistic) is a direct outcome of Israeli Pre TSD. It is the Israeli Pre TSD that made Iran into a regional superpower that endangers Israel (i.e. self-fulfilling prophecy’).

But Israel is not alone. By the time we landed on Covid 19, Pre TSD was no longer a ‘Jewish symptom.’ Pre TSD had become a universal global condition.

Religion of Fear

Fear and fearfulness of one’s deity, is at the heart Judaic existence. ‘Fearful Jew’ (Yehudi Hared, חרד יהודי) is how the Hebrew language refers to an orthodox Jew. Anxiety is at the root of the Judaic thought. The Hebraic expression attributed to a pious Jew is ‘heaven dreading man’ (Ish Yare Shamayim, מייםש ירא איש ). The idea that a good Jew is a trembled Jew is expressed in its clearest form in Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God.” Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040 – 1105), acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of Biblical text in a concise and lucid fashion summarizes the proverb as follows: “Always (be) afraid – worry about punishment , thus moving away from transgression.”

Why do the Jews dread their God? Is it because the God of the Old Testament can easily outdo Quentin Tarantino’s most barbaric scenes? Is it because they know that the God of the Ten Plagues of Egypt wouldn’t stand a chance in The Hague? Is it because they know that their deity character is a jealous God (“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”: Exodus 34:14)? Agnostic critics of Judaic thought may even push it further and wonder why the Jews bothered to invent such a jealous God. But it can hardly be denied that the Jews and their not so merciful deity have managed to survive for three millennia while other sophisticated and superior civilizations have, one after another, disappeared into oblivion. Surely, in terms of its survival strategy, Judaism as a precept has managed to prevail and sustain itself against all odds.

The Athens vs. Jerusalem dialectical battle serves to untangle the meaning of the current apocalyptic era and throw light on the above. In Western cultural ethos, Athens stands for the city of philosophy, the birthplace of science, the poetic and tragedy. Jerusalem is the city of revelation. The birthplace of legalism (Halacha, Mitzvoth) and strict obedience. Athens teaches you how to think for yourself. Jerusalem tells us what to say and what never to think about. Before I continue I would like to reiterate that the philosophical context in which I discuss Jerusalem and Athens does not point at a split between ‘Jews and gentiles’ as Christianity and Islam are also suffused with legalistic Jerusalemite elements. Jerusalem vs. Athens is a dialectic battle between two forms of cognition that historically often do not agree with each other. We are at the midst of such a dramatic point in history.

Like the orthodox Jew who is in constant dread of his own God, the rest of us are expected to be mobilized by different narratives of colossal universal catastrophes, be it ‘Islamism,’ global warming or Covid19. Our status in society, as in the proverb (verse 28:14) is defined by the amount of fearfulness we are willing to manifest. The facemask has become our universal ‘skullcap.’ It is a symbolic identifier of our adherence to the current politics of ‘Corona menace.’ The orthodox Germophobes cover their bodies with the latest chemical warfare gear, they wash their hands with the most advanced alcogel every two minutes, they may reach libidinal climax by the act of mitigation. Ordinary believers are slightly more relaxed. They cover their faces with light paper masks. The Atheists, the Athenians, the Agnostics and the Pagans also wear facemasks, as they are ordered to do by law, but often stick their noses out either as an act of protest or just to enjoy the rare sensation of fresh air.

We observe that those who express any doubts about the official 9/11 narrative, global warming hysteria or Covid 19 are quickly labelled by the media as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Nazis,’ Conspiracy Theorists and antisemites. And we should know why: those who question the current apocalyptic religions interfere with our ‘new monotheistic Jerusalemite order’ — they think for themselves. They are Athenian or even ‘worse,’ a bunch of Pagans.

Torah and Mitzvoth

It is a crucial question, how is Jerusalem sustained throughout history as the existence of conditions of constant fear contradict the pleasure principle*? Why would the followers of Judaism agree to follow such an abusive religion? Is it possible that followers actually enjoy being scared of their chosen not-so-merciful deity character? I believe that the most insightful answers to this were given by the genius Israeli scholar and professor, Yeshayahu Leibowitz RIP..

Leibowitz was a rare polymath. He was a scientist as well as a philosopher and he was also a pious orthodox Jew who inspired generations of Jewish and Israeli thinkers and intellectuals in general.

For Leibowitz, as for Maimonides, central to Jewish monotheism is the acceptance of the radical transcendence of God. The Jewish God is defined by its incomprehensible and inaccessible nature. Adopting a Kantian manner of thought, Leibowitz accepts that the Jewish God transcends beyond the spatio-temporal and therefore cannot be realised in terms of human experience as the human cognition of reality is bound by categories of space and time.

If God is a radical transcendental entity inherently foreign to human experience what is left to the Jew? What do the Jews believe in? Leibowitz’ answer is fascinating yet simple: throughout history, at least until the emancipation of European Jewry, Judaism was defined through strict adherence to Jewish mitzvoth, commandments of the Torah itself. For Leibowitz, Judaism is the story of the development of mitzvoth, the all encompassing system of Jewish law. Judaism is basically a legal apparatus.

One may wonder then at what is the meaning of Judaic belief. Leibowitz answer: It is the halakhic (legalistic) observance that constitutes the faith and this faith cannot be identified independently of its practice. Stated another way, Judaism is a form of strict observance and it is those rituals that constitute the faith.

For Leibowitz, to be a Jew was to accept the “burden of Torah and Mitzvoth.” To be a Jew, is to surrender, to do first and ask later, to obey blindly. To be a Jew is not to ‘believe in God’ voluntarily but to accept Maimonides’ prescription that belief in God is actually the ‘first commandment,’ out of 613 Mitzvoth (Maimonides commandment #:1 The first mitzvah is to believe in the Divinity: to believe that there is a cause and a reason, which is the Maker of all creations. As The Exalted One has said: “I am the G-d, your G-d”)

As such, Judaism is fundamentally different from both Isalm and Christianity. While in Christianity and Islam the belief in God is a voluntary act, in Judaism the ‘belief’ itself is a matter of a decree. It is an act of ‘observance,’ a practice, an affirmation by means of total subservience.

Leibowitz further observed that “Emancipation from the bondage of nature can only be brought about by the religion of Mitzvoth.” This shocking observation of the Judaic code may explain why Orthodox Judaism didn’t participate or contribute to the development of science, philosophy or Western thought. Jews were happy to be ‘emancipated from nature’ as Leibowitz describes it, immersing themselves in Torah and Mitzvoth. They left science, math, medicine, philosophy and the arts to the ‘goyim.’ It was only at the time Jewish emancipation in Europe that assimilated Jews started to familiarise themselves with Western thinking and soon after involved themselves in these fields.

Leibowitz has told us all we need to know about Covid 19 and the other apocalyptic Jerusalemite faiths that have too often imposed themselves on us. Questioning global warming, doubting 911, refusing to see Islam as a global menace and doubting, literally, anything they tell us about Covid19 will get you labeled as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Neonazi’ and an ‘anti-Semite’ because these discourses are structurally set as Jerusalemite apparatuses. As in Leibowitz’s reading of Judaism’s ethos, ‘Emancipation from the bondage of Covid 19 can only be brought about by the religion of Lockdown and Mitigation.’ We are dealing with a perception that is sustained by strict observance as opposed to a search for logos. It demands the performance of blind ‘beliefs’ that are sustained by practice and are defined by defiance of reason and curiosity. In these new global Jerusalemite apocalyptic religions, thought police algorithms set by media companies replace the traditional orthodox rabbinical vetting of that which we are allowed to say and that which we are not even entitled to think for ourselves.

Skullcap vs. Facemask

Jewish men are required to cover their heads. The Talmud states, “cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you.” A head covering acts as a symbolic identifier that displays its wearer’s subscription to belief in the Jewish God. This is how the Jewish male admits the concept of “honouring (the Jewish) God.”

The theological rationale behind the Jewish skullcap is flimsy. If God knows ‘what’ is in your heart’ as the Torah keeps repeating, there is no reason to try to deceive the Almighty by hiding your true thoughts under a skullcap. Some Rabbis in Jewish history have admitted that there is indeed a slight theological problem entangled with the skullcap as it makes the Jewish male a master over the Jewish God as the Jewish male can apparently fool God simply by covering his head.

Indeed, more than just one Rabbi contributed to the shift in the meaning of the Jewish skullcap. They decided that the skullcap is there to distinguish between Jews and the rest of humanity. The Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef, ruled at one stage that skullcaps should be worn to show affiliation with the religiously observant community. The skullcap as such, has little to do with God, it acts as a Jewish symbolic identifier; it differentiates the Jew from the Goy. It operates as a facemask within the Covid 19 religion. While scientists may agree or disagree how useful the facemask is in preventing the spread of Covid 19, the wearing of the mask confirms that you adhere to the Covid19 belief whether you agree with it or not. The wearing of the facemask makes clear that ‘blessed you are trembled before Corona.’

A few final observations are crucial in light of the above. And I am sure these observations won’t make me popular.

Since Islam and Christianity are peppered with Jerusalemite patterns of legalistic structures, it is unlikely that Islam or Christianity have the powers to emancipate us from the current tsunami of crude apocalyptic religions. This task may be left to Pagans, Agnostics and Athenians, people who extend beyond banal binaries and instead bond with the human spirit and the search for the meaning of Being. This may explain the popularity of dissenting voices like Alexander Dugin, David Icke and outlets like Unz Review and London Real that, although subject to the most restrictive authoritarian measures, only become more popular. It is because they resemble the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and Spinoza. It is true that questions to do with Being in the World are not popular in Jerusalem but history remembers Jesus, Spinoza and Heidegger, it pays zero attention to the Jerusalemites and rabbis who tried to silence them.

This also explains why Rabbinical Jews do not take Covid19 very seriously. Jews have been trembling in front of their God for 3000 years. It has worked just fine, there is no reason for them to jump into new apocalyptic regimes that clumsily attempt to clone their own. Let Covid19 run for a few millennia, let Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates assemble their Corona like ‘Torah and Mitzvoth’ before Orthodox Jews consider it as a serious candidate in their deity contest.

* Pleasure Principle – In Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the instinctive seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs.

*Published originally on: www.unz.com

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مصياف مدينة الشهداء تتألّم!

مصياف أم الشهداء - Photos | Facebook

د. محمد سيد أحمد

لا شك في أنّ سورية العربية ومنذ مطلع العام 2011 وبدء المؤامرة الكونية عليها وهي تعاني وتتألم، ومع مرور سنوات الحرب الكونية كانت المعاناة تزداد يوماً بعد يوم، وبالطبع لم يسلم شبر واحد من الأرض السورية وعلى كامل جغرافيتها من عبث الإرهابيين، الذين تمّ جلبهم بواسطة أطراف المؤامرة سواء الأصيل منهم كالأميركي والصهيوني أو التابع كالتركي والخليجي، وخلال سنوات الحرب صمد الشعب السوري صموداً أسطورياً وقدّمت العائلات السورية خيرة وزهرة شبابها كقربان دفاعاً عن التراب الوطني، ولا يوجد تقريباً الآن عائلة سوريّة وطنية صامدة على الأرض لم تقدّم شهيداً في هذه الحرب. وهناك عائلات قدّمت عدداً من الشهداء وليس شهيداً واحداً فداءً للوطن.

ومع مطلع العام 2019 وفي ظلّ انتصارات الجيش العربي السوري المدوية على الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تعمل بالوكالة لدى العدو الأميركي على كامل الجغرافيا السورية، قرّر الأصيل في هذه الحرب استخدام أساليب جديدة للعدوان على سورية بعد فشل مشروعه العسكري ووجد في ورقة الحصار الاقتصادي التي عرفت بـ «قانون قيصر» إحدى أهمّ أدوات الحرب الجديدة على سورية، وأعتقد العدو الأميركي أنّ ما لم يستطع تحقيقه عبر الحرب العسكرية الكونية على مدار ثماني سنوات يمكن تحقيقه بالحصار الاقتصادي في مدى زمني أقلّ.

فالشعب السوري الذي زادت ثقته في قيادته السياسية عبر سنوات الحرب يمكن أن يفقد هذه الثقة مع تشديد الحصار الاقتصادي عليه مع عدم إتاحة الفرصة لحلول اقتصادية سريعة وناجزة من قبل الحكومة أمام المشكلات المصطنعة بفعل الحصار مثل غياب بعض السلع الأساسية من الأسواق خاصة المحروقات في ظلّ استمرار سيطرة العدو الأميركي ووكلائه المحليين والإرهابيين على آبار النفط السورية. هذا الى جانب استهداف العقوبات الاقتصادية مجالات استراتيجية حيوية كقطع الغيار في العديد من الصناعات، وسياسة التجويع بتعطيش الأسواق من السلع والمواد الغذائية، ومحاولة مدّ الحصار ليشمل الأدوية، وهناك تشديد لمنع تهريب السلع عبر دول الجوار الأردن والعراق ولبنان، وفي ظلّ هذا الحصار ترتفع أسعار السلع تدريجياً مع انخفاض سعر الليرة السورية، فيؤدّي التضخم والغلاء إلى زيادة المعاناة، وبذلك تنفجر الجماهير وتتحقق الفوضى التي لم تحدث أثناء سنوات الحرب، وعلى الرغم من الحصار الاقتصادي الرهيب على مدار العامين الماضيين إلا أنّ الشعب السوري لا يزال صامداً ويتألّم بصمت.

وعلى الرغم من تقديرنا لمعاناة الشعب العربي السوري بكامله، لكن تظل المعاناة والتضحيات نسبية وتختلف من بقعة جغرافية إلى بقعة جغرافية أخرى، لذلك أودّ اليوم تسليط الضوء على واحدة من المدن السورية الصغيرة لكنها عظيمة في صمودها وتضحيات أهلها. إنها مدينة مصياف يا سادة، مدينة الشهداء التى زرتها ثلاث مرات على مدار الأزمة كانت أولها في مطلع العام 2015 وآخرها في منتصف العام 2018، وعندما تتجوّل في شوارعها تجد صور الشهداء تزيّن جدران المدينة، وحين تتحرّك تجاه ريفها تتعلق عيناك بأعمدة الكهرباء المزيّنة بصور شهداء كلّ منطقة وقرية وضيعة تمرّ بها، لذلك لم أتعجّب عندما شاهدت السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد في منتصف العام 2017 يقود سيارته بنفسه مصطحباً عائلته ومتجهاً إلى ريف مصياف زائراً ومواسياً وداعماً لعائلات شهداء ومصابي الجيش العربي السوري.

تحيــــــة إلى شهداء مصياف 

ومدينة مصياف تقع جنوب غرب مدينة حماة على مسافة 48 كم، وترتفع عن سطح البحر بما يقرب من 450 متراً وتحيط بالمدينة مجموعة جبال أهمّها جبل المشهد وجبل عين الخنازير، وتأخذ المدينة موقعاً متوسطاً بين الجبال الساحلية والسهول الداخلية، وتتميّز بمناخ معتدل طوال العام مع سرعة الرياح والأمطار التي تجعل ريفها قطعة من الجنة، وارتبط اسم المدينة بقلعتها التي تربض في وسطها على كتلة صخرية امتدّت من الشمال إلى الجنوب وتعود إلى المرحلة الرومانية والبيزنطية وقد بُنيت كقاعدة عسكرية لتأمين الطرق العابرة من الساحل إلى الداخل.

وتنقسم مصياف وريفها إلى نواحي عدة هي: ناحية مركز مصياف، وناحية جب رملة، وناحية عوج، وناحية عين حلاقيم، وناحية وادي العيون، وتضمّ كلّ ناحية العديد من القرى. وقد عانت مصياف وريفها كثيراً سواء قبل الحرب وأثناءها على مستوى توافر الخدمات الرئيسية مثل شبكات الكهرباء والمياه والهاتف الأرضي الموسع والطرق والنظافة، واليوم تعدّ الصومعة، وبيصين، وطيرجملة، وعوج، وبشنين، الأكثر معاناة فلا توجد فيها آبار للمياه، والشبكات أصبحت قديمة ومهترئة، لذلك نحاول إيصال أنين وآلام أهالينا بمصياف وريفها لمزيد من الرعاية والعناية التي يستحقونها، فلا يزال العدو الصهيوني حتى اليوم يستهدف مصياف بقصف متكرّر لبعض المواقع العسكرية والعلمية، ولا تزال مصياف صامدة وتقدّم الشهداء وتتألم بصمت.

واليوم وبعد انتخاب مجلس شعب جديد وتكليف السيد الرئيس بتشكيل حكومة جديدة نأمل أن يقوما بدورهما في رفع المعاناة عن الشعب السوري عامة وعن سكان مدينة مصياف وريفها خاصة لما قدّموه للوطن من تضحيات خلال سنوات الحرب الكونية، فالمعاناة أرهقت كاهل الجميع، لكن تظلّ المدن والقرى البعيدة والنائية، بحاجة ماسة لجهود مضاعفة لتوفير متطلبات الحياة لمواطنين يستحقون الحياة، لأنهم أصحاب التضحيات الأكبر من أجل الوطن. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

فيديوات متعلقة

Beirut Explosion Video from More Angles, Dozens Still Missing, Beirut Devastated

August 5, 2020 Arabi Souri

Beirut Port Explosion
Beirut Port Explosion – 04 August 2020

New video clips emerged on social media taken of the explosion that shook the beautiful city of Beirut turning it into an officially declared devastated city within minutes, hundreds feared killed, the latest toll stood at 73 dead and over 3000 injured.

A number of Ships docked at the Beirut Port have caught fire, many people were thrown into the sea, an entire wharf went under the water, the facade of all the buildings facing the port is damaged, much material damages inside almost half of the city, hundreds injured in neighborhoods as far as 5 kilometers from the site of the explosion, cars smashed, people in Cyprus reported hearing the explosion, so did people as far as 80 kilometers south of Beirut.

The new video clips show the volume of the explosion was beyond anything seen in any explosion anywhere since the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, many are calling this incident as Beirutshima in reference, and this is not exaggerating.

https://videopress.com/embed/HMANsRIp?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available in BitChute.

Pray for Lebanon - Beirut Blast - Beirut Port
Jordanian Earthquake Monitoring Center recorded the power of the explosion as 4.2 degrees on the Richter scale.

We’ve detailed much about the presumed cause of the explosion in our previous post yesterday, not much new known since. However, one retired Lebanese army general suggested that the insane quantity of 50 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate stored in the port and caused the explosion and orange air is the quantity confiscated by the Lebanese authorities onboard the Lutf Allah ship. This ship was carrying the material used in explosives for the Syrian FSA (Free Syrian Army) ‘moderate rebels’ back in 2012. His story needs corroboration, the more circulated story speaks of a shipment of Nitrate Ammonium confiscated from the MV Rhosus which was heading from Georgia to Mozambique and had an unscheduled stop at Beirut back in 2014.

Oddly enough, merely 4 months ago and after all these years a report by the Lebanese General Security Agency warned of the dangers of storing this substance now in unstable conditions at the port. The level of incompetence due to the political corruption in the country led to no actions taken to hand over the highly explosive Ammonium Nitrate in that massive quantity to the Lebanese Army who has better expertise and is much more qualified and legally tasked to handle any explosive material, the report was neglected. Coincidences rarely happen in the dark world of intelligence wars and yes I’m suggesting this might be an act of sabotage based on this information.

This explosion occurred a couple of days prior to the final decision, scheduled on the 7th of August, of the International Tribunal for the killing of Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who was killed in a blast that shook Beirut back in February 2004 and his trial was highly politicized including by his own son Saad Hariri who inherited the post from his father and fabricated false witnesses testimonies to first accuse Syria of the crime, later exonerated, then moved to accuse Hezb Allah, with no evidence at all, instead, all the evidence point to Israel, but we will not know the reality, despite the anticipated report by the International Court, as the US officials will do all their best to benefit from the trial.

Many countries offered help, notably among them were Syria and Iran, the two countries sharing the Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ efforts to destroy the livelihood of their people. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad sent a telegram to his Lebanese counterpart Michelle Aoun offering all help Lebanon needs within Syria’s capabilities, a very generous and honorable gesture knowing the hardness Syria is going through due to the US-led ‘War of Terror‘, ‘Economic Terrorism‘, and ‘War of Attrition‘ waged against the Syrian people. Worth noting that many Lebanese officials boycott Syria, including the Lebanese president and the prime minister, upon US instructions.

Similarly, Iran offered all help it can possibly deliver to Lebanon. Those same Lebanese officials boycotting Syria are also refusing any help offered from Iran for the same reasons: obeying the US instructions.

The embattled US Trump suggested the explosion is due to a bombing of some sort and offered help to Lebanon, naturally, the US officials instantly know very well causes of large mostly mysterious disasters targeting other countries of such, yet the US officials fail to address natural disasters of any scale in their own country, be it a tsunami, a wildfire, or a seasonal storm, even a pandemic.

The Turkish madman Erdogan took the advantage of the disaster and offered help; the Turkish pariah has been waiting for any opportunities to set his feet in the country, similar to other countries like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and others, to revive his Ottoman Sultanate, the most hated buried empire in the history of the region. Turkish ‘intelligence’ agents have been working hard to influence local parties in the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli in preparation for intervention when needed.

The Beirut Port, now totally destroyed, was Lebanon’s main port of trade with the world handling up to 70% of the country’s demands, the other 30% comes from Syria. Lebanese officials, mentioned above, were trying to block that 30% through Syria completely, now it’s their only hope, and Syria offered help and continue to supply Lebanon with much of the electric power it consumes, despite the hardship Syria itself suffers from Trump stealing its oil and gas northeast of the country and his terrorists bombing Syria’s electric power stations and the country’s main refinery.

All wheat stored in the silos at Beirut Port has been spilled and spoiled due to the explosion. Lebanon facing a US-made economic crisis now needs food to compensate for this unexpected loss.

Lebanon needs sincere prayers, sincere humanitarian help and help to find whoever was behind this act if it’s an act of terrorism and bring them to justice, the last thing it needs is more evil acts from the same criminals who were pushing the country into the abyss for years, especially the USA and its Israel.

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On the Maronite Patriarch call for Lebanon’s “Neutrality”

Sheikh Qabalan: Neutrality in Logic of Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ Means Aligning with the Right and Facing Oppression

manar-01856850014640871842

July 19, 2020

Head of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council in Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, addressed Sunday the nation on the anniversary of 2006 War, hailing and greeting the martyrs and victory makers “who have protected the dignity and pride of all the Lebanese.”

Sheikh Qabalan stressed that absurdity and crookedness characterize all those who voice sympathy with the traitors who collaborated with the Israeli enemy under various pretexts, warning against intersecting plans with the foreign schemes based on imposing the economic siege on Lebanon and stirring sedition among the various Lebanese parties.

Sheikh Qabalan emphasized that neutrality in the logic of Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ means aligning with the right and facing oppression, noting that who follows this path may never lose.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Bassil Supports Neutrality “Which Preserves Lebanon’s Strength in Face of Israel”

manar-054977000159515493010

July 19, 2020

Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) Head, MP Gibran Bassil, said on Sunday, at the end of his meeting with the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rahi, in Diman, that the FPM supported Lebanon’s neutrality, noting that he applied this approach at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Neutralization is a subjective decision, and distancing is a decision that is required of us and others,” Bassil added.

“Neutralism is a decision we have taken and should be implemented with the aim of taking a strategic position, in order to reach a local consensus, otherwise we will face internal problems,” he went on.

In this regard, the MP also called for “securing an international umbrella to include countries that respect and implement neutrality, and neighboring countries must recognize this principle.”

He added that he supports the neutrality that preserves Lebanon and its unity and protects its strength in facing Israeli ambitions and eliminating the weighty burden of the Syrian displacement.

Bassil concluded by saying that Lebanon is basically a point of convergence and a bridge linking both East and West together, and characterized by its system of cultural openness and integration, as well as a role model of coexistence between religions and cultures, which ensures the stability of the country.

Source: NNA

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WHEN HEZBOLLAH FLAGS UP THE CHINA AND IRAN OPTIONS THE US TREMBLES

Source

Meeting Between The Lebanese Cabinet With Ambassador Wang Kejian, The Chinese Ambassador To Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Hastily and under the watchful eye of Israeli and US drones, Hezbollah is storing hundreds of tons of food stock, supplied by Iran, in dozens of improvised warehouses on the Syrian-Lebanese border. This new and unusual step by Hezbollah reflects Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent promise to prevent the starvation threat looming for the Lebanese population. 

The US-Israel war against the “Axis of the Resistance” continues but with different tools. It is progressing from waging wars with armies on the ground as the US did in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, and as Israel did in Lebanon in 2006, to the assassination of key figures in Iraq. And now it is the sanctions war on Iran, Syria and Lebanon and the intimidation of Iraq. Last January, following the US’s unlawful targeted killing of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani – UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard described it as “an act of war” – President Donald Trump threatened to slap sanctions on Iraq “like they’ve never seen before” if Baghdad were to ask for US troops to withdraw from Mesopotamia. Iran has survived 40 years of continuous and escalating US sanctions, and Syria has just been faced with the unilateral and harsh “Caesar’s Act” sanction: the country has already been under EU-US sanctions for the last nine years.

The dire economic situation and the sharp devaluation of the local currency that led to prices of foodstuffs skyrocketing are pressing the Lebanese government and the quasi-state actor, Hezbollah, to look for solutions distinct from the US dictate and objectives. For this purpose, Sayyed Nasrallah proposed that the government look towards the East, to China and Russia, without necessarily turning its back on the West, unless the US continues its harsh punishment which is hitting the entire Lebanese population. 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s suggestion that the government “go East” created a storm in Washington, aware of the growing threat of the colossal Chinese economy and its partners around the globe that are threatening US hegemony. US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea criticised Lebanon’s overture to China in a move indicating the confusion of the US administration. Sayyed Nasrallah’s blow “below the belt” pushed the US administration off balance. Sayyed Nasrallah proposed turning the country’s compass towards the two countries (China and Iran) declared most despicable by the Trump administration. These countries have the capacity to counteract US actions against Lebanon.

This economic strangulation is known as the “soft war” because it costs the US and Israel no human losses. Nevertheless, what US planning did not foresee is the reaction of the opposite camp. The “Axis of the Resistance” has been pushed to be more creative, to learn ways to survive in solidarity, and to overcome the difficult challenges posed by the US and Israel.

Iran promised to support its allies in the Middle East (and in the Caribbean) by exporting oil to Venezuela under the watchful but impotent eyes of the US. Whereas the US treats those who believe they are allies as disposable pawns, interested only in the well-being of Israel. Indeed, the US ambassador, in a private meeting with Prime Minister Diab, raised the Israeli request to establish maritime and land borders between Lebanon and Israel, a request the government in Beirut has always turned down. The US is trying to offer temporary solutions to Lebanon to keep it in limbo and dependent on Washington’s mood and blessing, as long as the Lebanese government doesn’t take that real step towards China for alternative energy and infrastructure.

Hezbollah’s military capability has confirmed a robust seat for the organisation in many theatres around the Middle East. Sayyed Nasrallah’s last speech was not aiming to increase his popularity but was a road map and a plan of action preparing his group to cover some of the needs of the population. The US may indeed be thinking of even further sanctions and other ways to counter Hezbollah. The so-called “soft war” is only just beginning, but the “Axis of the Resistance” seems indubitably ready to produce counter-measures.

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

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

Lebanon economic crisis: Sovereignty and solidarity are the keys to prevent collapse

Source

9 July 2020 11:14 UTC | 

By Hicham Safieddine, He is a lecturer in the History of the Modern Middle East at King’s College London. He is author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2019).

As the US ramps up financial pressure, a political struggle is underway over whether Lebanon should turn eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief

Lebanese protesters take part in a symbolic funeral for the country in Beirut on 13 June (AFP)

Lebanon has joined the club of sanctioned nations by proxy. Limited sanctions were already in place, but the US Caesar Act targeting Syria has cast its net over Lebanon’s entire economy. 

The country’s crumbling financial system had been gasping for fresh foreign funds. It is now stuck between the anvil of morbidly corrupt Lebanese elites obstructing reform, and the hammer of financial coercion by western powers.

On top of accelerating inflation that has rippled into Syria, the spectre of sanctions in the wake of failed International Monetary Fund talks has triggered a political tussle inside Lebanon over turning eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief.

Wedded to the West

This is not the first time that Lebanon has been unhinged by shifts in the global and regional balances of power. But it is one of the most dangerous crises. Sanctions on top of financial bankruptcy, oligarchic manipulation, regional instability, coronavirus and a global slump, are a recipe for total collapse.

There is no denial of the impending calamity. But the undignified media spectacle of apocalyptic suffering, divorced from a serious discussion of the tough choices Lebanon faces, borders on sanctions-mongering and accentuates this very suffering.

Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking

The first choice is clinging to the West and forgetting the rest through negative neutrality. In real terms, this means passive normalisation with Israel and active distancing from Syria, both of which meet western expectations. Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking. 

Firstly, calls for neutrality underestimate the nature and extent of the ongoing geo-economic war, of which the Caesar Act is the latest salvo. Having lost the proxy war militarily, Washington is flexing its powerful financial muscle – powered by dollar supremacy in global markets – to spoil reconstruction efforts in Syria by its lesser rivals, Russia, China and Iran. 

More broadly, financial sanctions are now a fixture of US foreign policy, with the majority of affected states in the Middle East. These sanctions are part of a multi-front war that involves tertiary actors such as Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf states and are tied to reconstruction in Iraq and Syria, geo-military rivalries in Yemen and Libya, settler-colonial expansion in Palestine, and control over gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. Lebanon is engulfed by these conflicts from all four cardinal directions.

Political suicide

Secondly, neutrality vis-a-vis Syria in particular is economic euthanasia and political suicide given the two countries’ shared borders, common history, interdependent economies, joint threat of Israeli aggression, oligarchic and authoritarian governing elites, and – as these sanctions have shown – converging financial crises. 

Neutrality would cut Lebanon off from its only land lifeline to Syria and the wider region at a time when air and sea travel are grounded thanks to Covid-19. It would also revive animosity between the two peoples while doing little to alleviate the crisis or topple ruling elites. 

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In addition, western powers continue to play the game of double standards, feigning concern while tightening the noose. While Washington slapped criminal sanctions on the entire population of Lebanon, its ambassador in Beirut singled out the usual suspect, Hezbollah, for destabilising the country. The accusation was parroted by her British counterpart, while a sniffer dog at London’s Heathrow Airport – as this author witnessed firsthand – frisked Lebanese expatriates carrying much-needed cash back home. Travellers caught “red-handed” were interrogated without cause. 

To top it off, Gulf states within the western orbit are also withholding aid while awash with trillions of dollars in sovereign funds.

Finally, US allies themselves, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are anticipating a decline in the global role of the US. More to the point, European states, as well as the US, have multibillion-dollar trade and financial ties with China and the rest of the east – but they have no qualms about denying Lebanon and the region their sovereign share of ties.

Going East

Despite these realities, resistance to seeking eastern alternatives persists. Dependency on western and Gulf capital runs deep within Lebanese society, beyond the banking and business sectors. 

The private education and NGO sectors, home to large segments of highly visible pro-uprising activists, are heavily reliant on western funding. These material ties are augmented by an internalised cultural affinity to all things western and prejudice against all things eastern. Some resistance is also driven by a blind rejection and immature ridicule of any proposals uttered by status-quo forces.

A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)
A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)

In theory, turning eastwards increases bargaining power vis-a-vis the West, diversifies sources of foreign investment, and could offer practical and quick solutions to pressing problems such as power generation, waste management and transportation infrastructure. But in reality, it is not the easy way out it is being portrayed to be.

Firstly, its current proponents reduce the turn eastwards to a tool against western intervention that would strengthen ties with the Syrian regime without holding the latter accountable for its role in the killing, displacement and destruction in Syria, or curbing the stranglehold of Syrian oligarchs associated with the regime on the country’s economic future. 

Nor is the turn eastwards preconditioned by cleaning house in Lebanon itself. The oligarchs who looted public wealth for so long will not bear the costs of financial loss, let alone face justice for their crimes. Without these corrective measures, Chinese or other foreign investments are likely to turn into dividing up the spoils of sanctions. It will reinforce existing structures of oppression, clientelism and inequality.

Secondly, Chinese capital is not manna from heaven or a communist free lunch. Reports of plans for nine development projects worth more than $12bn sound promising and may offer some respite, but these come with strings attached.

They include possible privatisation of state assets, government guarantees to compensate potential losses that will ultimately come out of citizens’ pockets, continued – even if partial – reliance on dollar-based banking systems, and access to energy resources, which in the case of Lebanon are confined to potential energy reserves in a hotly contested sea zone. 

Sovereignty deficit

Formal state-to-state protocols are preconditions for all of the above, the same way they are for requesting legal assistance to return stolen assets deposited in Switzerland or other offshore financial havens. 

Whether turning west, east or inwards, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty

Government decrees are also needed internally to to implement the basic demands of the uprising and resolve the crisis in a fair and expedited manner. These include legislating capital controls, forcing the oligarchs and their banking agents to bear the costs of collapse, implementing universal healthcare, redistributing wealth through progressive taxation, clearing up violations of coastal beaches to revive tourism in a competitive neighbourhood, reforming unjust labour and personal status laws, and subsidising productive economic activity. 

In other words, whether turning west, east or elsewhere, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty, without which major change is unlikely to happen.

Since its founding, Lebanon has had a sovereignty deficit in relation to foreign powers and its ruling oligarchy. It is now facing the twin challenge of restoring both amid unfavourable conditions. 

The path to sovereignty does not place all foreign actors in the same basket. Aware of its own economic limitations and position as part of the Global South, and in the face of US threats, Lebanon should adopt a strategy of positive neutrality that plays on the contradictions of the ongoing geo-economic war to maximise the gains of its people – not its usurping elites or neocolonial masters, old or prospective. 

Dignity and social justice

Fighting for sovereignty on both fronts, external and internal, in the face of global powers, requires the mustering of tremendous political strength. This is not possible without a well-organised mass movement that is still missing in Lebanon, let alone the absence of regional solidarity stretching from Iraq to Palestine, which incorporates geopolitics into revolutionary struggle. 

In Lebanon, the starting point is necessarily Syria. Whatever the sensitivities, prejudices and complications associated with Syrian-Lebanese relations, they need to be reconfigured in a manner that serves rather than sidelines the fundamental demands of both uprisings for political dignity and social justice. 

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This includes, first and foremost, confronting the contradictions of fighting against the two major historical forces impacting them today: oppressive regimes on the one hand and Zionist colonisation and occupation on the other.

All proclamations to the contrary, this is not a straightforward matter given the alignments on the ground. 

Another would be redrawing the terms of struggle across class, rather than nationalist, lines. This means finding common cause with Syrian and Palestinian workers in Lebanon, beyond the liberal paradigm of refugee rights, as well as uniting efforts to dislodge the ruling elite in both countries without further foreign intervention.

A third would be a united vision of managing the global shift from West to East in coordination with fellow Global South nations.

Devising solutions to these and other thorny issues that are both morally defensible and politically viable is not an obvious or easily achievable task. But with street mobilisation on the wane and community solidarity in the face of hardship taking a front seat, they may be the necessary rites of passage for both struggles beyond the current stalemate.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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