السقوط الكبير للاقتصاد على طريقة الحريريّة السياسية؟

 

أكتوبر 4, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

ما يحدث في لبنان حالياً أكبر من أزمة اقتصادية عابرة، يمكن للنظام السياسي إيجاد حلول لها بالكثير من الدَّيْن، فالمزيد من الاقتراض يشبهُ في لبنان والبلدان التي على شاكلته، كبالعِ سُمّ مُحلّى ومفعوله القاتل بطيءٌ وتدريجيٌ وحاسم.

لذلك لا بدّ من الإشارة إلى تراجع نظرية التحشيد الطائفي والمذهبي والشعارات الوطنية والإقليمية أمام صعود الجوع وتفلّت جياعه بشكل غير مسبوق لم تعرفه بلاد الأرز منذ تشكّل دولتها في 1948. بما يعني اضمحلال نظرية جذب الناس باستحضار القدّيسين والأولياء والأئمة والأخطار الخارجية، فهؤلاء لا يتحمّلون عيارات فساد على النموذج اللبناني، أيّ الفساد السياسي والاقتصادي قاعدة الحكم الأساسية، فيما النزاهة استثناء طفيف.

لماذا يتفلّت الشارع؟

الاضطرابات التي شملت العاصمة ومدناً وقرى في الشمال والجنوب والبقاع هي عيّنة بسيطة للمقبل من الأحداث. فالتراجع الاقتصاديّ مستمرّ بمعدلات بطالة كارثية وتضخم قاتل، وسط غياب مرتفع جداً لخدمات الكهرباء والمياه العذبة ورفع النفايات المنتشرة في زوايا لبنان الذي يفترض أنه بلد سياحي.

هذه الاضطرابات لا تزال بسيطة وغريزية تعكس انسداداً كاملاً للآفاق أمام الشباب اللبناني الذي تضاعفت مصائبه الداخلية بالانقطاع شبه الكامل لإمكانية العمل في الخارج. فالخليج متوقف عن استقباله بنسب عالية جداً وكذلك أوروبا وكندا والولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ويُضاف التضييق المصرفي الكبير بقرار مقاطعة أميركي على حركة التحويلات، ما استتبع تراجعاً في تحويلات المغتربين اللبنانيين إلى ذويهم في الداخل بمعدلات عالية جداً.

كما أنّ الدعم الإقليمي للقوى السياسية في الداخل اللبناني مقطوع بدوره وينعكس تضييقاً على الدوائر الشعبيّة المستفيدة منه، ومجمل الحركة الاقتصادية في البلاد راكدة بيعاً وشراء، وإلا كيف نستوعب إقدام رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري على إقفال تلفزيون المستقبل الخاصة والمعبّرة عن سياسة حزبه المستقبل واتجاهاته الإقليمية والدولية، ربطاً بما للإعلام من قدرات على التحشيد.

إنّ مجمل هذه العناصر المذكورة المرتبطة بفساد سياسي من النظام الطائفي الحاكم للبلاد ووكلائه في الإدارة والقضاء نهبت الاقتصاد اللبناني بقسمَيْه الخاص والعام مبدّدين الأملاك البحرية والعامة وعابثين بالجمارك والمرافئ والمعابر والمطارات والصفقات، فارضين عشرات آلاف الوظائف لأنصارهم في القطاع العام من دون أدنى حاجة إليهم مكرّسين الموالين اليهم قيادات في مواقعهم ما أدّى الى تعطيل الأعمال السليمة وتصاعد مفهوم الرشى من السريّة إلى العلنية من دون أيّ حياء أو مساءلة قانونيّة، حتى أنها أصبحت ضريبة إضافية يدفعها صاحب الحاجة من دون مساءلة أيضاً، ولم يعُد التشهير بسياسيّي لبنان في الإعلام ووسائل الاتصال الجماهيري يكفي لإيقاف فسادهم، لأنهم يعرفون أنّ بضعة أيام فقط على رواج الاتهامات كافية لكي ينساها الناس بغياب أدوات المتابعة الحزبية والجماهيرية.

هناك ملاحظة لا يجوز إغفالها وتتعلّق بإصرار قسم من الطبقة السياسية الحاكمة في لبنان على إغلاق الحدود مع سورية ومنع التعامل الاقتصادي معها مع الاكتفاء بمرور اجتماعي بسيط، وذلك تلبية لأوامر ارتباطاتها الدولية الأميركية والعربية من السعودية الذين أرادوا إسقاط نظامها السياسي. وهذا تسبّب إلى جانب فساد الحكام السياسيين بضرب قطاع الخدمات اللبناني وإضعاف السياحة ما أصاب نصف اللبنانيين تقريباً.

كيف وصل الوضع إلى هذا المستوى الإفقاري؟

تميّزت مرحلة المارونية السياسية العام 1948 وحتى بداية التسعينيات بولاء للغرب والخليج إنما على قاعدة فساد متدنّ وإنتاج إداري عالي المستوى، واهتمام مركّز على قطاع الخدمات والسياحة، وكانت الحدود السورية رئة الاقتصاد اللبناني، على الرغم من تبعيّة لبنان السياسيّة لدول لا تزال تعادي سورية حتى الآن.

هذا النمط السياسي المتدبّر انقلب رأساً على عقب مع وصول المرحوم رفيق الحريري الى رئاسة حكومة لبنان مدعوماً من ثلاثية أميركية سوريّة وسعودية، فحمل معه نمطاً شبه مستسلم يوالي فيه هذه التغطيات الداعمة بشكل مفتوح.

مقابل هذه التغطية انتزع الحريري ميزة إدارة الاقتصاد اللبناني بنظرية الإنماء بالدَّيْن على قطاعات غير منتجة وفي بلدٍ لا إنتاج فيه، وحين حذّره اقتصاديون موالون له من مخاطر هذه النظرية أجابهم بأنّ»السلام المقبل مع «إسرائيل» بإمكانه إعادة الازدهار إلى لبنان وتسديد كامل الديون».

لم يكتفِ «الشهيد» بهذه الحدود، ففتح أموال الدولة لإرضاء المحاور الشيعية والدرزية والمسيحية وإلحاقها بمشروعه، حتى أنه استعمل النفوذ الغربي لجذب القيادات الكنسيّة على شاكلة الكاردينال الراحل صفير.

هذا ما ضاعف من حجم الدين العام الى جانب استشراء حركة فساد أكملت على ما تبقى من أموال اللبنانيين، وواصل ورثته تطبيق طريقته السياسية الاقتصادية إنما مع شيء إضافي وهو التذرّع باندلاع الأزمة السورية، لإقفال العلاقات الاقتصادية مع دمشق والسماح لبعض أنواع الإرهاب باستخدام الشمال والمخيّمات مراكز لشحن الإرهابيين فكرياً ونقلهم لوجيستياً الى سورية. فكيف يمكن لبلد في حالة حرب داخلية مخيفة مثل سورية ان يؤمّن الكهرباء 24 ساعة يومياً، بانياً عبر شركات إيرانية شبكة كهربائية كاملة ويعمل على بناء أخرى فيما لبنان ينتج الكهرباء من استئجار بواخر تركية بمليارات الدولارات؟

وكيف تستطيع شركة سيمنس الألمانية بناء شبكة كهرباء في العراق بعام واحد ولبنان رفض عروضها مواصلاً استئجار البواخر؟

هذه هي الحريريّة السياسيّة من الأب الشهيد الى الابن المتّهم اليوم بإهداء راقصة جنوب أفريقية 16 مليون دولار دفعة واحدة.

يبدو أنّ البلاد تمرّ بمرحلة أفول الحريرية السياسية سياسياً واقتصادياً، لكن البديل فيها يحتاج لوقت كافٍ للتشكل. وكلّ الخشية أن لا تكون هذه المرحلة الانتقالية مرحلة اضطرابات شعبية عنيفة ومروّعة قد تستفيد منها فئات خارجية لإعادة الاقتتال الطائفي الى البلاد. فاحذروا أيّها السياسيون من مقبل الأيام، وذلك بالالتزام بسياسات تغيير جذرية تتطلب أولاً ما لا يمكن ان تفعلوه، وهو رحيلكم وتخلّيكم عن السلطة لمصلحة لبنان الجديد.

G7: An Obsolete, Useless Talking Shop

Image result for G7: An Obsolete, Useless Talking Shop
Finian Cunningham
August 23, 2019

The Group of Seven (G7) self-declared advanced nations meet this weekend in France for their 45th annual summit. US President Donald Trump caused a stir ahead of the gathering in Biarritz when he remarked that Russia should be included in the format, thereby making it a G8 summit.

“Russia should be at the negotiating table,” said Trump, in a rare moment of lucidity.

His view of including Moscow appears to be shared by France’s President Emmanuel Macron who hosted Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in southern France earlier this week, only days before the G7 summit.

Of course, Russia should be at the table to discuss resolving global economic problems. Not just Russia, but China, India and a few others as well.

Since the G7 club was created in 1975 during the Gerald Ford administration the world has undergone transformative changes from the days when the US, (West) Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Japan were deemed then to be the most powerful national economies.

Today, China is second to the US in terms of its economic size. The top 10 national economies have various ranking iterations, depending on which yardstick is used to compare.

In nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measurement, the top 10 nations, according to the International Monetary Fund, are: US, China, Japan, Germany, India, France, Britain, Italy, Brazil, Canada. In this ranking, Russia is 12th listed after South Korea.

But if national economies are rated by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which takes currency exchange factors into consideration, then the top 10 national economies are: China, US, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, Britain, France.

In other words the present G7 line-up is an arbitrary listing. Indeed, its exclusivity is something of an anachronism in today’s world. It’s a throwback to a bygone era when Western nations were more dominant (save for Japan’s inclusion in the original club). The contours of the world have become more multilateral and multipolar. The exclusion of China from the G7 is perhaps the most glaring anomaly.

In a tacit admission of the changed global reality that’s why there is the larger format of the G20 (formed in 1999) which in addition to the G7 includes China, India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and others.

The so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) is another sign of changed times, as are numerous other economic fora such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEA), and the Latin American bloc Mercosur.

Given that the G7 is supposed to be a forum for coordinating macroeconomic policies to enhance global economic growth, one would think that the logical requirement would therefore be for inclusion of more nations in order to more effectively address the ostensible purpose.

As it stands, the limited G7 club is a rather clapped-out vehicle. It’s a bit like a broken down auto with flat tires, a blown gasket and crankshaft missing. Does anyone seriously think that Italy in its present political meltdown is in a position to boost the world economy?

It’s also incongruous that the biggest member of the club, the United States, has no interest in coordinating policy with anyone else. President Trump’s trade war with China, the Europeans and the rest of the world is more akin to the 1930s practice of go-it-alone mercantilism and predatory capitalism. We know how disastrous that turned out with global depression and world war.

Trump’s reckless gung-ho “America First” policy (and to hell with everyone else) is casting a dark cloud on the world economy from China’s output slumping and Germany’s exports plummeting. Ironically, “business genius” Trump seems to be dimly realizing that the inevitable repercussions are rebounding like a boomerang with harmful impact on the US economy. Yet he says he’s not letting up on his America First drive to the abyss.

So, sure, if there were a genuine commitment to improve global economic outlook and uplift the wellbeing of ordinary people around the world then the leading nations should be working together in a collegiate planned fashion, and with as much outreach to others as possible.

Thus, without doubt, the leaders of China, Russia, India and others should be in attendance at the summit in France this weekend. Then it would supposedly turn into a forum not unlike the G20. Which makes the point: why is the G7 even continuing to exist?

There is an analogy with the US-led NATO military alliance. That organization was formed in a very different geopolitical world compared with the present. Why does NATO continue to exist? It’s putative security function is redundant.

So too it could be argued is the United Nations Security Council redundant with its five permanent members of US, Russia, China, France and Britain. Surely that forum should be overhauled too reflect a contemporary multipolar world. In short, the world, like history changes, and so too should mechanisms of governance.

Arguably, however, the G7 is not an economic forum, despite its public image. It’s an arbitrary political clique aimed at reinforcing a presumed Western dominance. A sign of this caprice was when the Russian Federation was admitted to the G7 in 1997 which was then renamed the G8. The admission of former President Boris Yeltsin was permitted because he was feckless towards Western strategic demands. Russia remained a G8 member for 17 years until the Ukraine conflict erupted and President Vladimir Putin was accused of “invading” that country and “annexing” Crimea. Those Western allegations are easily countered with evidence of NATO subversion of the elected government in Kiev in order to prize the former Soviet republic away from Moscow’s orbit.

Russia’s exclusion from the G8, which then reverted back to the G7, has been a political punishment to bolster a propaganda narrative for undermining and isolating Russia internationally. This is again why the G7 is no longer a viable forum for its stated purpose of advancing the global economy. It’s a useless talking shop in an utterly changed world.

See Also

US Waging Wars on Multiple Fronts: Cold Wars, Hot Wars, Economic Wars, Propaganda Wars …

Supported by both hawkish wings of its war party, the US is waging hot wars, cold wars, economic wars, financial wars, trade wars, anti-social justice wars, anti-human rights wars, anti-democracy wars, propaganda wars, sanctions wars, tariffs wars, protest wars, homeland wars, and environmental wars on multiple fronts worldwide — ordinary people everywhere the losers.

During decades of Cold War years, the US got along with Soviet Russia, even if uneasily at times. Nixon went to China. Relations today with both countries and many others are more dismal and dangerous than any previous time in the post-WW II period.

New wars could erupt without warning. The threat of possible nuclear war is ominously real by accident or design.

The land of opportunity I remember as a youth is now consumed by its hubris, arrogance, rage to colonize planet earth, control its resources and exploit it people.

New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society years I grew up in were replaced by neoliberal harshness, endless wars on humanity at home and abroad, a growing wealth disparity exceeding the robber baron years, along with mass unemployment and underemployment, growing homelessness, hunger, and poverty, as well as a ruling class dismissive of the public welfare.

Current US leadership is militantly hawkish and anti-populist, led by a racist geopolitical/economic know-nothing/reality TV president.

Dark forces run things, headquartered on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms, the rule of law replaced by police state governance, a free and open society by mass surveillance and growing totalitarianism.

Challenging authority disruptively with collective activism when vitally needed is absent.

The US reached peak power, prominence, influence, and leadership on the world stage following WW II, the only major nation left unscathed by its ravages.

Its preemptive war of aggression on nonbelligerent North Korea, a nation threatening no one, started its downward trajectory.

Today it’s a nation in decline while China, Russia and other countries are rising. It spends countless trillions of dollars for militarism and warmaking against invented enemies. No real ones exist.

Its preeminence as a military super-power was overtaken by Russia, China heading toward becoming the world’s leading economic power one day, multi-world polarity replacing unipolarity the US favors to dominate other nations.

Its rage for maintaining a global empire of bases as platforms for endless wars of aggression came at the expense of eroding social justice on the chopping block for elimination altogether.

The myth of American exceptionalism, the indispensable state, an illusory moral superiority, and military supremacy persist despite hard evidence debunking these notions.

Democracy in America is fiction, not fact, a system of governance its ruling class abhors, tolerating it nowhere, nations like Venezuela targeted to replace it with fascist rule.

The US is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed all other empires in history.

It’s an increasingly repressive/secretive/intrusive warrior state, spreading death, destruction and human misery worldwide.

It exploits ordinary people to serve privileged interests — a pariah state/declining power because of its unwillingness to change.

Its war machine never rests. Its criminal class is bipartisan. Its governance meets the definition of fascism — wrapped in the American flag.

It’s a corporate/political partnership over the rights and welfare of ordinary people, exploiting them for power and profits — at home and abroad.

It’s way too late for scattered reforms. The American way is too debauched to fix.

Nothing short of revolutionary change can work. Yet there’s not a hint of it in prospect because of a know-nothing populace distracted and controlled by bread, circuses, and the power of state-approved/media disseminated propaganda.

A decade ago, the late Doug Dowd said “(t)he world now stands on a cliff’s edge.”

He envisioned “four related groups of horrors: existing and likely wars, a fragile world economy, pervasive and deepening corruption, and the earth dangerously near the ‘tipping point’ of environmental disaster.”

It’s not a pretty picture, things worse now than years earlier.

A permanent state of war exists with no prospect for peace in our time — while freedom in the US and West erode toward disappearing altogether the way things are heading.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

 

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Strategic Plan’ To Take Turkey Down

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has drawn up a plan to target Erdogan’s government following Khashoggi’s murder

By David Hearst, Ragip Soylu – Middle East Eye

Saudi Arabia has begun implementing a “strategic plan” to confront the Turkish government, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided he was being “too patient” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

The plan is detailed in a confidential report based on open- and closed-source intelligence prepared by the kingdom’s ally, the United Arab Emirates.

The intelligence report is one of a monthly series written by the Emirates Policy Centre, a think tank with close links to the Emirati government and security services.

Entitled “Monthly Report on Saudi Arabia, Issue 24, May 2019”, the report is of limited circulation and intended for the top Emirati leadership. It does not appear on the think tank’s website. A copy has been obtained by Middle East Eye.

It reveals that in Riyadh in May, orders were given to implement the strategic plan to confront the Turkish government.

The aim of the plan was to use

“all possible tools to pressure Erdogan’s government, weaken him, and keep him busy with domestic issues in the hope that he will be brought down by the opposition, or occupy him with confronting crisis after crisis, and push him to slip up and make mistakes which the media would surely pick up on”.

Middle East Eye contacted the Emirates Policy Centre for comment, with no reply by the time of publication.

Restricting influence

Riyadh’s aim is to restrict Erdogan and Turkey’s regional influence.

“The kingdom would start to target the Turkish economy and press towards the gradual termination of Saudi investment in Turkey, the gradual decrease of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey while creating alternative destinations for them, decreasing Saudi import of Turkish goods, and most importantly minimizing Turkish regional role in Islamic matters,” the report says.

According to the report, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, took the decision to confront Turkey following the assassination of Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents in their country’s Istanbul consulate.

The murder of the Saudi journalist, a Middle East Eye and Washington Post columnist, created international outrage, in large part due to Turkey’s insistence on Riyadh providing accountability and transparency over the affair.

“President Erdogan … went too far in his campaign smearing the kingdom, especially the person of the crown prince, using in the most reprehensible manner the case of Khashoggi,” the reports says.

In the document, the Emirates Policy Centre claims Turkey did not provide “specific and honest” information to assist the Saudi investigation into the killing, but instead leaked “disinformation” to the media “all aimed at distorting the image of the kingdom and attempting to destroy the reputation of the crown prince”.

Riyadh had concluded that Erdogan failed in his attempt to politicize and internationalize the case and now was the time to mount the fightback, the report says.

Both the CIA and leading members of the US Congress have accepted the Turkish intelligence assessment of Khashoggi’s murder.

The CIA also concluded that Mohammed bin Salman almost certainly signed off on the operation, an assessment based on its own intelligence as well.

“The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” said a US official familiar with the CIA’s conclusions, the Washington Post reported.

Since then, a report by United Nations human rights investigator Agnes Callamard detailed the difficulties the Turkish authorities had in investigating the murder and gaining access to the consulate building and the home of the consul-general.

Callamard concluded independently that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

The pressure begins

Last week came the first public sign of the campaign detailed in the Emirati document coming to life.

Saudi authorities blocked 80 Turkish trucks transporting textile products and chemicals from entering the kingdom through its Duba port.

Three hundred containers carrying fruit and vegetables from Turkey had also been held in Jeddah’s port, according to a Turkish official who spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity.

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey decreased 15 percent [from 276,000 to 234,000] in the first six months of 2019, according to official data released by the Turkish tourism ministry.

Saudi Arabia has approximately $2bn worth of direct investment in Turkey, according to the Turkish foreign ministry data from 2018.

That year, Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia were valued at around $2.64bn, while imports from the kingdom stood at $2.32bn.

Behind the scenes, other signals have been sent to Ankara.

The Emirati report says “in a sign that the Saudi leadership has severed its relationship with … Erdogan and started treating him as an enemy”, King Salman approved “without hesitation” a recommendation from an advisory committee not to send an official invitation to attend a high-profile Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Mecca.

The Turkish president’s name was added to the list of those excluded from the summit, alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Eventually, King Salman decided to allow the Qatari emir to attend the event in Mecca, though Erdogan’s invitation was not forthcoming.

The Turkish government is aware of the Saudi crown prince’s attempts to sever relations and is trying to combat them through keeping direct communications with his father, King Salman.

A senior Turkish official, speaking anonymously, said the existence of a Saudi strategy to punish Turkey over its stance on the Khashoggi case wasn’t surprising.

“We are aware of what they are doing. It is almost public, to the extent that you could see their activities on Saudi-backed social media and Saudi state media,” the official told MEE, noting that they had openly called for a boycott.

“Tourist arrivals are decreasing, while we are having problems related to Turkish exports. We are closely following the situation.”

The Turkish official said, however, that Ankara does not believe that Saudi citizens are altering their stance on Turkey, despite the government in Riyadh’s efforts.

“Istanbul, for example, is still full of Saudi tourists. Saudi officials should check the BBC’s poll on Erdogan’s popularity in the Middle East. Then they will realize that they are failing,” the official said.

Erdogan phoned the king on Thursday, raising the problem of Turkish exports being held at Saudi ports.

Another Turkish official, also speaking anonymously, said Erdogan’s phone call with the Saudi king was cordial and focused on regional developments, such as Syria and the Palestine question.

The official, who was informed about the call, said the king was lucid and supportive of Turkish concerns with regard to Syria.

In the same call, Erdogan invited King Salman and his family, including the crown prince, to Turkey.

Source

Related

An Attack on Iran Would be an Attack on Russia

Moscow is proposing a diametrically opposed vision to Western sanctions, threats and economic war, one that is drawing it ever closer to Tehran

Global Research, August 06, 2019R

Russia is meticulously advancing Eurasian chessboard moves that should be observed in conjunction, as Moscow proposes to the Global South an approach diametrically opposed to Western sanctions, threats and economic war. Here are three recent examples.

Ten days ago, via a document officially approved by the United Nations, the Russian Foreign Ministry advanced a new concept of collective security for the Persian Gulf.

Moscow stresses that “practical work on launching the process of creating a security system in the Persian Gulf” should start with “bilateral and multilateral consultations between interested parties, including countries both within the region and outside of it,” as well as organizations such as the UN Security Council, League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Gulf Cooperation Council.

The next step should be an international conference on security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, followed by the establishment of a dedicated organization – certainly not something resembling the incompetent Arab League.

The Russian initiative should be interpreted as a sort of counterpart of, and mostly a complement to, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is finally blossoming as a security, economic and political body. The inevitable conclusion is that major SCO stakeholders – Russia, China, India, Pakistan and, in the near future, Iran and Turkey – will be major influencers on regional stability.

The Pentagon will not be amused.

Drill, baby, drill

When the commander of the Iranian Navy, Hossein Khanzadi, recently visited St Petersburg for the celebration of Russia’s Navy Day, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces and the Russian Defense Ministry signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding.

Khanzadi was keen to stress the memorandum “may be considered a turning point in relations of Tehran and Moscow along the defense trajectory.”

A direct upshot is that Moscow and Tehran, before March 2020, will enact a joint naval exercise in – of all places – the Strait of Hormuz. As Khanzadi told the IRNA news agency:

“The exercise may be held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, which flows into the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and also the Persian Gulf.”

The US Navy, which plans an “international coalition” to ensure “freedom of navigation” in the Strait of Hormuz – something Iran has always historically guaranteed – won’t be amused. Neither will Britain, which is pushing for a European-led coalition even as Brexit looms.

Khanzadi also noted that Tehran and Moscow are deeply involved in how to strengthen defense cooperation in the Caspian Sea. Joint drills already took place in the Caspian in the past, but never in the Persian Gulf.

Exercise together

Russia’s Eastern Military District will be part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) anti-terrorist exercise in Thailand and China early next month. According to the Eastern Military District, the training is part of “preparations for a practical phase of an ASEAN anti-terrorist exercise in China.” This means, among other things, that Russian troops will be using Chinese military hardware.

Exercises include joint tactical groups attempting to free hostages from inside official buildings; search for and disposal of explosives; and indoor and outdoor radiation, chemical and biological reconnaissance.

This should be interpreted as a direct interaction between SCO practices and ASEAN, complementing the deepening trade interaction between the Eurasia Economic Union and ASEAN.

These three developments illustrate how Russia is involved in a large spectrum from the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia.

But the key element remains the Russia-Iran alliance, which must be interpreted as a key node of the massive, 21st century Eurasia integration project.

What Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said at the recent, historic trilateral alongside White House national security adviser John Bolton and Israeli National Security Council Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat in Jerusalem should be unmistakable:

“Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner, with which we are consistently developing relations both on a bilateral basis and within multilateral formats.”

This lays to rest endless, baseless speculation that Moscow is “betraying” Tehran on multiple fronts, from the all-out economic war unleashed by the Donald Trump administration to the resolution of the Syrian tragedy.

To Nur-Sultan

And that leads to the continuation of the Astana process on Syria. Moscow, Tehran and Ankara will hold a new trilateral in Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh capital, possibly on the hugely significant date of September 11, according to diplomatic sources.

What’s really important about this new phase of the Astana process, though, is the establishment of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. This had been agreed way back in January 2018 in Sochi: a committee – including representatives of the government, opposition and civil society – capable of working out Syria’s new constitution, with each group holding one-third of the seats.

The only possible viable solution to the tragedy that is Syria’s nasty, rolling proxy war will be found by Russia, Iran and Turkey. That includes the Russia-Iran alliance. And it includes and expands Russia’s vision of Persian Gulf security, while hinting at an expanded SCO in Southwest Asia, acting as a pan-Asian peacemaking mechanism and serious counterpart to NATO.

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Featured image is from en.kremlin.ru

US-led War of Terror Against Syria, Attrition Terrorism Phase

SN

July 22, 2019

phosphate train attack

US/EU supported terrorists attacked phosphate train in Homs, latest crime in terrorist attrition. Credit: SANA

The US-led war of terror against Syria continues its most recent attacks via attrition terrorism, the brutal form of slow genocide against the Syrian citizenry. Yesterday, NATO countries beloved ‘armed moderates’ attacked a phosphate freight train in eastern Homs.

The phosphate freight train in the eastern Homs countryside was attacked 21 July by a sabotage terrorist, which led to the towing of the locomotive, the passenger car, the calibration truck, the phosphate tanks, the fire in the locomotive, the train crew were injured and the necessary treatment and treatment provided. The Ministry of Transport said in a statement received by SANA copy that terrorists infiltrated the site of the railway between the positions of the gap and insight and planted an explosive device on the train line next to the phosphate mines in the region of Khnevis in the eastern Homs. The ministry indicated that its technical workshops have begun work to remove the damage caused by the terrorist attack, repair the railway and resume transport operations.

As the sons and daughters of Syrians — the Syrian Arab Army — continue to make military gains to cleanse every inch of the Republic from foreign-owned savages, attrition terrorism has seen a massive spike, in recent weeks.

In less than one month, oil and gas pipelines have been sabotaged around the country:

  • 22 June, undersea pipelines from tankers to the Baniyas Refinery were cut. Though Syrian engineers and technicians were able to quickly make repairs, oil pollution traveled 26km. It is noteworthy that MSM, UN, and ecology activists were all mute over this near disaster, but that NATO-media came to life to cheer the English royal thugs piracy against an Iranian tanker that was suspected of carrying crude to the SAR (warmongering media now screeching that the EU is screeching about a Brit tanker boarded by the government of Iran, in compliance with international law). Empire media also remains mute over the economic terrorism euphemistically called ‘sanctions‘ imposed against the Syrian people.
  • 14 July, NATO and Gulfie armed savages engaged in attrition terrorism, sabotaging the al Shaer Gas pipeline in Homs, which was almost immediately repaired.

Though the warmonger media of NATO countries have ignored the recent spike in attrition terrorism against Syria’s essential infrastructure, they have continued to pimp out emotional war porn, breaching Nuremberg Principle VI, crimes against humanity: On 11 July, Channel 4 ran a report that could fit into an insanity screenwriting genre.

AFP again is demanding its readers engage in Hollywood suspension of disbelief; while ignoring the atrocities against Syria, today it shamelessly runs another photo, one of an ongoing series of miracles in the lives of the stethoscope-less, CPR-less, spinal precautions-less death squad fake paramedics.

Here we have yet another photo of man ‘rescued from the rubble.’ As with every other similar photograph, this man has no crushing injuries — which would be expected if a bombed building fell on him. He is fully ambulatory and is able to move all extremities. He has nicely painted the shade of Helmets Gray Rubble, and his hair was coiffed before having been painted.

Another miraculous Zombie Man rescue. No crushing injuries. Fully ambulatory.
This absurdity — or another in ongoing miracles — is not quite as ludicrous as other Helmets Productions, shown here.

Attrition terrorism is not limited to the wanton, criminal destruction of essential infrastructure. Attrition terrorism includes ‘brain drain’ assassinations; in the early days, when all of al Qaeda in Syria was FSA, these ‘moderates’ murdered professors, physicians, and heads of hospitals, while NATO media remained silent. Attrition terrorism includes trying to destroy joy, as was attempted with the terror bombing of the Damascus Fair in 2017, and more recently, in the mortar attacks on Aleppo, as the city celebrates its rebuilding, creation of a mini-renaissance.

syria

Syria’s President, Dr. Bashar al Assad, #EveryInch

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UAE Denies Reports of Oil Tanker Loss in the Strait of Hormuz

Source

July 16, 2019

UAE vessel yemen

Oil tanker Riah, which, according to vessel location tracking websites, stopped transmitting signals on its location in the early hours of 14 July, didn’t issue any emergency signals, a highly-profile Emirate official said on Tuesday.

“The oil tanker is not owned, and nor is used by the United Arab Emirates, it hasn’t trasmitted any SOS signals,” the speaker told a television channel, busting reports that the vessel had changed its course and got lost in the Strait of Hormuz off the Iranian coast.

The tanker, which was making its way through the Strait of Hormuz, stopped reporting its location over two days ago.

Earlier in the day, an unnamed US defense official told The Associated Press that America “has suspicions” that Iran seized an oil tanker based in the UAE.

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