The Middle East and US global power: Fossil Fuel- Lifeblood of the American Empire

November 22, 2022

Source

by Phillyguy

Summary

Among all of the events shaping post-civil war US economic development, one of the most prominent was the establishment of Standard Oil by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. Working with other US industrialists, along with domestic and international financial and banking interests, including the Rothschild’s London banking cartel, Standard oil decedents have dominated the fossil fuel industry and shaped US economic and social development and foreign policy to the present day.

Introduction

The current world security architecture arose following WWII, which established the US as the dominant global power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency [1]. There has been much current discussion about promoting ‘green’ policies, including sustainable development and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, clearly articulated during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’; ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992) [2], and Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN on Sept 23, 2019 [3], where she accused world leaders of failing younger generations by not taking more aggressive actions to stop climate change. Despite this push for Green policies, fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are still the dominant source of energy, currently supply over 80% of the world’s energy [4]. In addition, the dollar (aka ‘petrodollar’) is the primary reserve currency held by foreign central banks [5] and main currency used for commercial energy transactions [6] [7].

In 1863 John D. Rockefeller joined Maurice B. Clark and Samuel Andrews in an oil-refining business in Cleveland, Ohio, which was subsequently expanded and incorporated as Standard Oil of Ohio in 1870. Rockefeller was a shrewd and aggressive industrialist, acquiring additional refining capacity by “buying up and squeezing out of rivals by every device at hand—legal or illegal’ and as a result, Standard Oil would soon control over 90% of American oil refining capacity. Facing increasing resistance from the business community and the Ohio legislature, Rockefeller incorporated the Standard Oil Trust in New Jersey in 1982. This Trust consisted of seven subsidiaries- Standard Oil of Kentucky, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of Indiana, The Standard Oil Co (Ohio) and The Ohio Oil Company. In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), the US Supreme Court found the Standard Oil Trust guilty of engaging in anti-competitive practices, a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, breaking the company up into 34 separate entities, some of which the Rockefellers held major stakes [8] [9]. Ironically, decades after the Standard Oil Trust was ‘broken up’, these separate firms would subsequently merge into Chevron [10], ExxonMobil [11], British Petroleum (BP) [12] and Marathon [13], which are currently among the top 10 global energy companies [14]. The Rockefellers reach was vast- David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (1970-1985) and Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank (1969–1981) [15] [16].

The geographic location of the US, circa 8000 km (5000 miles) from major war theaters in Europe and 9700 km (6000 miles) in Japan shielded the US from the massive devastation that took place in Europe and Asia during WWII. As a result, many large US corporations were able to profit handsomely by supplying the War Department with fuel, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, armaments and ammunition to equip American soldiers and allied forces. Some of these firms were working both sides of the conflict, supplying Nazi Germany with financial backing and war material; some of these firms include Alcoa, Brown Brothers Harriman, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Kodak, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Ford, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, Woolworth, Random House and Standard Oil [17]. Prescott Bush, father of George HW Bush (41st President) and grandfather of George W. Bush’s (43st President), was a partner of A. Harriman & Co Investment bank and later served as Senator from Connecticut (1952-1963). Prescott Bush was directly involved with companies that profited from their commercial involvement with Nazi Germany [18] [19]. It should be pointed out the WWII is the most expensive war in American history, costing taxpayers more than $4 trillion, adjusted for inflation [20].

To the victor go the spoils

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s foremost military and economic power, the dollar was anointed the status of world reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) and established as the primary currency used for energy transactions following the meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, aboard the USS Quincy, in the Suez Canal on Valentine’s Day, 1945 [21].

Post-WWII US economic development saw the continued rise of the American economy which translated into robust corporate profits and better living standards for many working people. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act (aka National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956) described as the ‘Greatest Public Works Project in History’, allocating $25 billion (circa $274 billion in inflation- adjusted dollars) from taxpayers to develop a 41,000-mile system of interstate highways that Eisenhower promised would eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” [22] [23]. The Highway act would enrich the ‘pro-highway coalition of energy companies, automobile manufactures, truckers, bus operators, tiremakers, insurance companies, auto clubs, etc. It directly led to increased use of private automobiles for transportation and the systematic dismantling of energy- efficient public transportation, creation of suburbs, shopping centers, ‘strip malls’, and proliferation of McDonald’s and other ‘fast-food’ outlets, which have led to the current health crisis in the US- increased obesity, type II diabetes and related health problems [24] [25]. In addition, some of these highways were literally built through urban neighborhoods and frequently minority communities [26] [27], such as the Cypress Freeway in Oakland, CA, I95 in Chester, PA and the Cross Bronx Expressway in NYC [28] [29].

As a result, the functioning of the American economy and society has become very dependent on fossil fuel consumption (for more detail see [30]).

1. Energy consumption & generation– the US has 4.25% of world’s population (339 million people) but consumes ~17% of the world’s energy and has the highest per capita energy consumption and is the largest total energy consumer. In 2021, approximately 60% of US electricity was generated from fossil fuels- coal, natural gas and oil [31].

2. Suburban development– as described above, passage of the Highway act of 1956 [22], accelerated the development of low-density housing suburbs, which were only accessible by automobiles using fossil fuel.

3. Transportation– The average American relies on energy-inefficient automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. Most US cities lack a comprehensive, energy-efficient public transportation system. Indeed, the US does not have 1 mile of high-speed rail lines. By contrast, China has 40,000 km (24,855 mi), Spain has 3,100 km (1,926 mi) and Japan has 2,830 km (1758 mi) of high-speed rail.

4. American agriculture is very energy-intensive, requiring 15 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food. The average food commodity transits 1500 miles from production to consumption point- e.g., California-grown produce, shipped to the US east coast, usually via diesel fueled trucks.

5. Information technology– US society is heavily reliant on information flow. This system encompasses local computers, the internet and fiber optic cables serving as data pipelines, computer server farms and “cloud” storage facilities, all of which consume lots of electricity.

6. Military– The Pentagon is the largest single consumer of fossil fuel and polluter in the world. To give this some perspective, on average, the US military consumes 12,600,000 gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. One F-16 fighter jet consumes over 20K gallons of Kerosene per hour (333 gal/min) [32].

American capitalism is dependent on fossil fuel consumption to function and serves as the lubricant for American power projection around the world. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have approximately 57% and 41% of proven oil and natural gas reserves, respectively (see Table 1 and [33]). Thus, it is not surprising that the US ruling elite have a major interest in this region and the energy reserves therein [34]. US attempts to control oil in the MENA region has been carried out in several ways. This has involved setting up client regimes in countries with vast energy deposits, such as the Gulf monarchies in the Persian Gulf (Figure 1), attacking and/or invading countries who attempt to follow an independent energy policy, such as Iraq and Libya or issuing frequent verbal threats, seizing assets and imposing economic sanctions on countries that the US has been unable to achieve regime change or are capable of defending themselves, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran [35] and Venezuela.

As part of this effort, the US has set up military bases in multiple ME countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey (Türkiye), UAE and Syria (See Figure 1 and Table 2) [36]. Due to its geographic location, Israel is crucial to US foreign policy goals. The ‘state’ of Israel/Zionist project was the creation of British imperialism (Balfour Declaration, 1918) [37], was driven, at least in part, by the desire of the British ruling elite to establish a reliable (read non-Muslim) proxy force that would assist the UK in controlling the region and its abundant hydrocarbon reserves [38]. The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power and assumed the role of Israel’s benefactor, providing $152 billion since 1949; $3.8 billion in 2020 [39] [40]. While Israel does not host a formal US base, she is a de facto appendage of the Pentagon, is fully integrated into NATO and serves as a reliable and well-armed US proxy in the region [41] [42], ranking 18th in global military power [43]. Israel conducts regular attacks on Syria [44] and estimated to have a stockpile of circa 90 nuclear weapons (likely a low estimate).

This effort has become all the more urgent as: the Russia-China-Iran axis has attained economic and military parity with the West, Iran is now a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) [45], has applied for membership to the BRICS [46] and recently announced that it has developed a hypersonic missile, that is ‘capable of penetrating all defense systems’ [47]. One would infer that Iran received technical help developing this weapon system. As Iran’s ties with Russia and China continue solidifying, they are becoming increasingly ambivalent about rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; aka Iran nuclear deal) [46], which was negotiated during the Obama Administration [48]. Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018, stating ‘We cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement’ [49].

We hear a lot about ‘Green’ energy, the ‘Green new deal’, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘sustainable development’, policies which are being promoted by a wide range of extremely committed environmental and conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Clean Air Council in the US and many international organizations and prominent politicians. ‘Green’ polices have been promoted by US Vice President Kamala Harris, encouraging Americans to purchase [expensive] electric cars and endorsed by the paper of record (NYT) and other corporate media outlets. Any policy that reduces the production of ‘greenhouse’ gasses, such as CO2, is certainly a noble and worthwhile objective, that should be supported. Unfortunately, most of these groups, at least in the US, where I live, are missing the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. This includes:

1. The entire structure of American society has been built around fossil fuel consumption. This includes the use of automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. The profits of very powerful corporate interests, including energy corporations, automobile manufactures and their suppliers, banks and insurance companies and law firms to name a few, are highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and ‘greenhouse’ gas production. They are not about to give this up without a big fight, including going to war.

2. The military is a key pillar of a [declining] American empire, with the Pentagon serving as the ‘enforcer’ of US global power, but is also the largest of consumer of fossil fuels and largest polluter in the world [32]. The Pentagon is supported by all factions of the ruling elite, readily apparent from the near-unanimous bipartisan support for every military appropriation in Congress (appropriation for 2023 is $773 billion). Not surprisingly, most environmental groups, which are dependent on funding from corporate-backed foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, etc. [50] are not going to ‘bite the hand’ that feeds them. Likewise, US corporate media is controlled by 6 large corporations whose class interests reflect those of the petrochemical companies and other large corporations [51] [52] [53]. Any reporter who steps out of line- i.e., criticizes the functioning of the US empire, including fossil fuel consumption, is immediately reprimanded and/or fired. 1) Reporter Emily Wilder was fired from AP because she had posted pro-Palestinian material on social media [54]. 2) In 1996, investigative reporter Gary Webb published a series of articles entitled ‘Dark Alliance’ in the San Jose Mercury News, linking the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the CIA. Not surprisingly, Webb’s story was met with outrage by MSM outlets such as the LA Times and Washington Post. Webb committed suicide in 2004 [55].

Concluding remarks

The survival of the American Empire is highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and control of global energy reserves. This dependency has created irresolvable problems and led to a chaotic and at times, contradictory foreign policy. While there has been a lot of ‘whining’ about energy prices in the US and EU, the oil industry is reaping record profits. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter levied a “windfall” profits tax on the American oil industry in response to increasing gas prices and corporate profits [56]. While these taxes have had mixed results, no doubt a result of aggressive industry lobbying, there has been little discussion of taxing high corporate profits at the present time. Indeed, petrochemical industry profits were barely addressed in the recent US ‘midterm’ elections, as many candidates receive campaign contributions from energy companies. Fossil fuels still dominate US foreign policy. This can be seen from the enduring presence of military bases throughout the ME and maintaining generous financial support for Israel and the ruling families of Gulf Monarchies [57]. At the same time, these ruling families have watched the US/UK/NATO ferment coups in Iran (1953) [58] [59] and steal resources, invade and/or destroy Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen; impose crippling economic sanctions and/or confiscate the assets of countries deemed a threat to US global power such as Iran, Venezuela and Russia and sabotage energy infrastructure (see below). Not surprisingly, KSA and other Gulf Monarchies have been reaching out to Russia and China; multiple reports indicate that KSA is ‘eager’ to join the BRICS Bloc [60]. No doubt, this was a motivation for President Biden’s trip to KSA in July of this year, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at Al-Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah. On Nov 18, the State Department recommended that MBS be granted ‘legal immunity’ for the brutal assassination of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct 2, 2018 [62] [63]. It should be noted that while campaigning for President, then candidate Joe Biden stated: he would “cancel the blank check” the Trump administration had given Saudi Arabia during its war in Yemen and during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that “America’s priorities in the Middle East should be set in Washington, not Riyadh” and advocated making Saudi Arabia an international “pariah” for butchering Jamal Khashoggi [61]. Rhetoric notwithstanding, Biden’s polices towards the MENA region are largely a continuation of those of Trump and the ruling elite they represent. Biden has not rejoined the JCPOA and has continued Trump’s bellicose position towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US continues supporting Israel, the US Embassy in Israel remains in Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), which is not Israeli land and thus, a blatant violation of International law [64], US troops remain in Iraq and Syria while the Pentagon continues assisting KSA in their genocidal war on Yemen [65]. Trump continues his financial dealings with KSA, recently signing a $1.6 billion deal with a Saudi real estate developer [66]. It will be interesting to see how the US reacts when KSA joins BRICS [67].

On Sept 26, 2022, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany, under the Baltic Sea were blown up [68] [69]. Shortly after the explosions, erstwhile British Prime Minister Liz Truss allegedly sent a message to US Sec of State Anthony Blinken stating ‘it’s done’ [70]. While the actual perpetrators of this attack have not been identified, it is likely that the US at a very minimum was aware of this action, as pointed out by Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) during a Bloomberg interview [71]. The end result is that Germany and other countries in the EU will no longer have access to cheap and plentiful Russian energy, but will now be forced to purchase much more expensive liquified natural gas from the US or other countries. It should also be noted that nearly 8 decades following the conclusion of WWII, the Pentagon maintains circa 900 foreign military bases worldwide [72] [73]. Europe is still occupied by circa 100K troops [74], 35K in Germany alone [75]. Thus, Germany is not really a US ‘ally’ but rather a subordinate. This begs the question; will Germany and other countries in the EU continue serving as de facto US vassals or begin following a more independent foreign policy? One could argue their very survival as functional states depends on this.

Notes

1. US economic decline and global instability. The Saker Blog Jan 19, 2021; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability/

2. UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’, ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992); https://www.un.org/en/conferences/environment/rio1992

3. Read climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN By Gretchen Frazee PBS News Hour Sep 23, 2019; https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-climate-activist-greta-thunbergs-speech-to-the-un

4. World Energy Balances: Overview (2020); https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-balances-overview/world

5. The International Role of the U.S. Dollar by Carol Bertaut, Bastian von Beschwitz and Stephanie Curcuru US Fed Reserve Oct 6, 2021; https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/the-international-role-of-the-u-s-dollar-20211006.html

6. What Is the Petrodollar? Petrodollar Explained in Less Than 5 Minutes By Kimberly Amadeo. the balance June 4, 2022; https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-petrodollar-3306358

7. US economic decline and global instability Part 3: Money printing, debt and increasing international isolation. The Saker Blog Oct 31, 2022; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability-part-3-money-printing-debt-and-increasing-international-isolation/

8. How Rockefeller Built His Trillion Dollar Oil Empire. By Jeremy Dyck Oct 8, 2019;

9. John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry- John D. Rockefeller changed the oil industry forever with his company Standard Oil. but that was by no means the only interesting thing about him. By Burton W. Folsom Foundation for Economic Education Sat Oct 1, 1988; https://fee.org/articles/john-d-rockefeller-and-the-oil-industry/

10. Chevron; https://www.chevron.com

11. ExxonMobil; https://corporate.exxonmobil.com

12. British Petroleum (BP); https://www.bp.com

13. Marathon Oil; https://www.marathonoil.com

14. Top 20 Oil and Gas Companies in the World in 2021; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/ranked-the-largest-oil-and-gas-companies-in-the-world

15. David Rockefeller Sr., steward of family fortune and Chase Manhattan Bank, dies at 101 By Timothy R. Smith Washington Post Mar 20, 2017; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/david-rockefeller-sr-steward-of-family-fortune-and-chase-manhattan-bank-dies-at-101/2017/03/20/f2385f8a-0d7c-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html

16. JPMorgan Chase & Co: Who We Are/History Of Our Firm; https://www.jpmorganchase.com/about/our-history

17. Top 10 American Companies that Aided the Nazis. By Dustin Koski Feb 18, 2016; https://www.toptenz.net/top-10-american-companies-that-aided-the-nazis.php

18. How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power- Rumors of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today’s president By Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell The Guardian Sat Sep 25, 2004; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

19. The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune Bill Van Auken Dec 5, 2018; https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/05/intr-d05.html

20. The Cost of U.S. Wars then and now. By Norwich University Online Oct 20th, 2020; https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/cost-us-wars-then-and-now

21. ORDER FROM CHAOS- 75 years after a historic meeting on the USS Quincy, US-Saudi relations are in need of a true re-think By Bruce Riedel Brookings Mon Feb 10, 2020; https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/02/10/75-years-after-a-historic-meeting-on-the-uss-quincy-us-saudi-relations-are-in-need-of-a-true-re-think/

22. History of the Interstate Highway System; https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/history.cfm

23. The Interstate Highway System History.Com Jum 7, 2019; https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/interstate-highway-system

24. Tabish SA. Is Diabetes Becoming the Biggest Epidemic of the Twenty-first Century? Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2007 Jul;1(2): V-VIII;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068646/

25. Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve been set up By Alvin Powell Harvard Gazette Mar 7, 2012; https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the-big-setup/

26. A Brief History of How Racism Shaped Interstate Highways By Noel King NPR Apr 7, 2021; https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/984784455/a-brief-history-of-how-racism-shaped-interstate-highways

27. How Interstate Highways Gutted Communities—and Reinforced Segregation

America’s interstate highway system cut through the heart of dozens of urban neighborhoods. By Farrell Evans History.com Oct 20, 2021; https://www.history.com/news/interstate-highway-system-infrastructure-construction-segregation

28. Robert Moses’s Negative Impacts By SAFAA Feb 7, 2018 BY SAFAA; https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/alonso2018/2018/02/07/robert-mosess-negative-impacts/

29. The Cross Bronx Expressway and the Ruination of the Bronx By lbennett Nov 10, 2019; https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2019/11/10/the-cross-bronx-expressway-and-the-ruination-of-the-bronx/

30. War Essay- The consequences of nuclear war on US society The Saker Blog Jan 13, 2019; https://thesaker.is/war-essay-the-consequences-of-nuclear-war-on-us-society/

31. Electricity in the United States US Energy Information Administration;

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php

32. Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change and the Costs of War By Neta Crawford Watson Institute June 12, 2019; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2019/Pentagon%20Fuel%20Use,%20Climate%20Change%20and%20the%20Costs%20of%20War%20Final.pdf

33. How Much Oil in the Middle East? By Rasoul Sorkhabi, Ph.D. GoExPro Vol. 11, No. 1 – 2014; https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2014/02/how-much-oil-in-the-middle-east; iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

34. Michael Hudson: A New Bipolar World. US finance capitalism vs. China’s mixed public/ private economy Nov 7, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zY44YClCY

35. Missiles of Iran- Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe. CSIS Aug 10, 2021; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran/

36. US military bases and facilities in the Middle East. American Security Project https://www.americansecurityproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Ref-0213-US-Military-Bases-and-Facilities-Middle-East.pdf

37. Balfour Declaration History.Com Aug 21, 2018; https://www.history.com/topics/middle-east/balfour-declaration

38. More than a century on: The Balfour Declaration explained. More than 100 years since Britain’s controversial pledge, here is everything you need to know about it. By Zena Al Tahhan Aljazeera Nov 2, 2018; https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/11/2/more-than-a-century-on-the-balfour-declaration-explained

39. Israel-Gaza: How much money does Israel get from the US? BBC May 24, 2021; https://www.bbc.com/news/57170576

40. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid (1949 – Present) Jewish Virtual Library;

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

41. Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran? Part II The Military Road Map By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, July 30, 2018; http://www.globalresearch.ca/towards-a-world-war-iii-scenario-the-role-of-israel-in-triggering-an-attack-on-iran-2/20584

42. Understanding NATO- Ending War By Robert J. Burrowes Economy and Politics June 8, 2019; https://www.meer.com/en/54967-understanding-nato

43. 2022 Military Strength Ranking; https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.php

44. Israeli Attacks Continue to Kill Syrians, Iranians. Southfront Nov 16, 2022; https://southfront.org/israeli-attacks-continue-to-kill-syrians/

45. Iran signs memorandum to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As leaders meet in Uzbekistan, the eight-member regional body is poised to add Iran to its ranks. Aljazeera Sept 15, 2022; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/15/iran-signs-memorandum-join-shanghai-cooperation-organisation

46. India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters By Pepe Escobar Nov 15, 2022; https://thesaker.is/russia-india-china-iran-the-quad-that-really-matters/

47. Iran claims it has developed a hypersonic missile CBS News Nov 10, 2022;

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-claims-it-has-developed-a-hypersonic-missile/

48. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance. Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association Mar, 2022;

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/JCPOA-at-a-glance

49. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, explained. The Iran nuclear deal isn’t dead — yet. By Zack Beauchamp Vox May 8, 2018;

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/5/8/17328520/iran-nuclear-deal-trump-withdraw

50. Society for Nonprofits; https://www.snpo.org/publications/fundingalert_bycategory.php?cs=ENVI

51. The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media [INFOGRAPHIC]; https://www.webfx.com/blog/internet/the-6-companies-that-own-almost-all-media-infographic/

52. These 6 corporations control 90% of the media outlets in America- The illusion of choice and objectivity. By Nickie Louise Tech Startups Sept 18, 2020;

https://techstartups.com/2020/09/18/6-corporations-control-90-media-america-illusion-choice-objectivity-2020/embed/#?secret=bL4ldPvDPR

53. Index of US Mainstream Media Ownership- The Future of Media Project, Harvard University; https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/futureofmedia/index-us-mainstream-media-ownership

54. The Real Problem with the AP’s Firing of Emily Wilder- When one young journalist was fired, the incident revealed a problem deeper than bad social media policies. By Janine Zacharia May 26, 2021; https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/05/26/emily-wilder-fired-ap-490892

55. How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb- Freshly-released CIA documents show how the largest U.S. newspapers helped the agency contain a groundbreaking exposé. By Ryan Devereaux The Intercept Sept 25, 2014; https://theintercept.com/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb/

56. Windfall profit taxes have benefits. But the devil is in the details. In times of crisis, the U.S. government has taxed excess profits — with mixed results Perspective by Ajay K. Mehrotra Washington Post Oct 24, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/10/24/windfall-profit-taxes/

57. List of current monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_monarchs_of_the_Arabian_Peninsula

58. The Collapse Narrative: The United States, Mohammed Mossadegh, and the Coup Decision of 1953. By Gregory Brew Texas National Security Review. Vol 2, Issue 4 Nov 2019 | 38–59; https://tnsr.org/2019/11/the-collapse-narrative-the-united-states-mohammed-mossadegh-and-the-coup-decision-of-1953

Stable URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/6666

59. The CIA in Iran- Key Events in the 1953 Coup; https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html?scp=1&sq=mossadegh%252520coup&st=cse

60. BRICS to expand soon, Saudi Arabia keen to join. BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP and if it is expanded it will help in bolstering the BRICS bloc’s global influence. By Huma Siddiqui Oct 27, 2022; https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/brics-to-expand-soon-saudi-arabia-keen-to-join/2737102/

61. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the right thing to do, even if it feels wrong

The U.S. president has rightly come to the conclusion that a strategy of isolating the crown prince isn’t feasible. By Daniel R. DePetris NBC News July 15, 2022;

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/joe-biden-visits-saudi-arabia-bow-reality-rcna38419

62. U.S. declares Saudi crown prince immune from Khashoggi killing lawsuit

Biden administration cites executive powers, international law in shielding Mohammed bin Salman from legal responsibility. By Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan Washington Post Nov 18, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/11/18/saudi-crown-prince-immunity-khashoggi-murder/

63. WaPo slams Biden’s move to shield MBS in Khashoggi killing suit. By Rebecca Falconer and Shawna Chen Nov 18, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/11/18/biden-admin-saudi-prince-immunity-khashoggi-killing-lawsuit

64. The Status of Jerusalem United Nations 1997; https://www.un.org/unispal/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-Status-of-Jerusalem-Engish-199708.pdf

65. Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean, Yemen and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Saker Blog Aug 5, 2020; https://thesaker.is/strategic-importance-of-the-indian-ocean-yemen-and-bab-el-mandeb-strait/

66. Trump family signs $1.6bn branding deal with Saudi real estate developer. Wed, Nov 16, 2022; https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/11/16/692846/US-Donald-Trump-Saudi-Arabia-Dar-Al-Arkan-deal-Oman-MbS-Biden-

67. The Roundtable #34 The Kherson Withdrawal with Gonzalo Lira, Brian Berletic and Andrei Martyanov Thurs, Nov 10, 2022; https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/11/roundtable.html

68. Who Attacked Nord Stream 2? Maybe it was Russia, though that doesn’t make much sense. There are better candidates. By Doug Bandow Cato Institute Oct 14,

2022; https://www.cato.org/commentary/who-attacked-nord-stream-2

69. A journey to the site of the Nord Stream explosions- Prosecutors in Sweden say explosions on a gas pipeline between Russia and Europe were the result of sabotage. The explosions in the Baltic Sea targeted pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. Russia denies any involvement. Before the announcement, Katya Adler travelled to the site, and was separately told by Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg that the west could go to war if Russia attacked infrastructure providing critical energy supplies. By Katya Adler BBC News Nov 18, 2022; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-63636181

70. ‘It’s done’: Putin fumes after Liz Truss ‘message’ to Blinken over Nord Stream attack ‘revealed’ Hindustan Times Nov 4, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxzBqghRs5k

71. Jeffrey Sachs: Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Probably Sabotaged the Nord Stream Pipeline, But it Doesn’t Show up in our Media By Tim Hains Real Clear Politics Oct 3, 2022; https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2022/10/03/jeffrey_sachs_most_of_the_world_doesnt_view_the_ukraine_war_the_way_the_us_media_does.html

72. A List of All 900 U.S. Foreign Military Bases. By Eric Zuesse Nov 18, 2022; https://theduran.com/a-list-of-all-900-u-s-foreign-military-bases/

73. USA’s Military Empire: A Visual Database. World Beyond War;

https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/

74. US likely to keep 100,000 troops in Europe for foreseeable future in face of Russian threat, US officials say By Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr, CNN Fri May 20, 2022; https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/20/politics/us-troops-in-europe/index.html

75. Where 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Europe. By Zachary Basu Axios Mar 22, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/03/23/where-100000-us-troops-are-stationed-europe

Figure 1. Map of the Middle East

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maps_of_the_Middle_East#/media/File:%22Political_Middle_East%22_CIA_World_Factbook.jpg

Table 1. Middle East Energy Reserves by Country

(TJ, tera joules; 1 TJ= 163 barrels of oil)

Source: iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

CountryOil (TJ)Natural Gas (TJ)
Iran3,497,3477,738,423
KSA5,624,3503,357,725
Iraq1,626,278626,792
UAE190,4002,302,508
Qatar131,2591,599,572
Kuwait705,461846,450
Oman23,864957,632
Bahrain81,132563,867
Total12,477,03318,260,133

Table 2. US Military Bases and Facilities in Middle East [36]

*Numbers in parenthesis, estimated total number of US troops (thousands) deployed in each country; ** Estimated number of US troops (thousands)

Country*BaseTroops**
Bahrain (9K)US Naval Forces Central Command/ US 5th Fleet4.7
Shaikh Isa Air Base
Muharraq Air Base (Navy)
Iraq (2.5K)Al Asad Air Base
IsraelDimona Radar Facility
Mashabim Air Base / Bisl’a Aerial Defense School
JordanMuwaffaq Salti Air Base (Azraq)
Kuwait (13.5)Ali Al Salem Air Base1.5
Camp Arifjan9
Camp Spearhead Army Base
Camp Buehring
Camp Patriot3
Oman (<1K)RAFO Masirah
Muscat International Airport
RAFO Thumrait
Al-Musannah Air Base
Port of Duqm
Port of Salalah
Qatar (10K)Al Udeid Air Base- Special Operations Command Central10
Camp As Sayliyah
KSA (3K)Eskan Village
Turkey (5K)Incirlik Air Base5
Izmir Air Station
UAE (2K)Al Dhafra Air Base2
Port of Jebel Ali
Fujairah Naval Base
Syria (<0.2K)Al-Tanf garrison (ATG)

Macron’s statements; clear proof of interference in Iranian affairs

14 Nov, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The remarks of the French President that the alleged “revolution” in Iran will have an impact on the Iranian nuclear talks corroborate the Iranian accusations of French meddling in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron (AFP)

During an interview for France Inter radio on Monday, November 14, the French President estimated that the current alleged “revolution” in Iran has an impact on the nuclear deal negotiations. The interview was recorded Friday with Elysée, after Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with four members of delegations of Iranian regime-change mouthpieces, as described by Fars news, including a Washington-based journalist, Masih Alinejad

Macron commented on the Western-induced hysteria surrounding the Iranian riots, saying that the “revolution changes a lot of things,” adding that “the regime is weakened by Iran’s internal situation and the demands that are hard to obtain.”

He called for international sanctions against Iranian officials saying, “I am in favor of a strong diplomatic reaction and sanctions on the figures of the regime who have a responsibility” in what he called “the repression of this revolution,” in an interview for France Inter radio.

Read next: Dirty money: Meet the US agent driving the CIA-led riots in Iran

Macron described the crackdown as “unprecedented,” adding, “We don’t rule out any option,” he said, noting that Iran’s government was already the target of numerous sanctions.

He repeatedly used the word “revolution” to describe what was happening in Iran, while accusing the government of “cracking down” on the western-instigated riots. 

Was it a mere coincidence that when he welcomed pro-Western Iranians who are strong advocates of regime change in Iran he brought up the issue of the so-called “revolution” having an impact on Iran’s nuclear talks? Or does it stand as clear proof of the real intentions of the west, particularly France in this case?

As a matter of fact, one can only say that the French President has actually confessed to interference in Iran’s affairs, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, having brought up the impact of the riots on the nuclear talks, which only confirms the Iranian accusations of Western interference in the country.

But how is it so? The answer lies in Iran’s statements via different officials all along, from day one. 

Western meddling in Iran

The Assistant Commander of the IRGC for Political Affairs, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, confirmed on November 11 that one of the enemy’s goals in destabilizing the country and trying to repeat the Syrian scenario in Iran is to influence the nuclear negotiations and obtain some concessions.

During a speech at a symposium entitled “From protests to riots,” Javani said all the “enemies have united to confront the government in Iran.” 

In the same context, Iranian Army Commander, Maj. Gen. Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi, considered on November 7 that the riots in Iran were part of the US plan to disrupt the negotiations on the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Read next: When double standards reign, Western ‘humanity’ dies between the lines

Mass riots began in Iran in mid-September in connection with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Iranian authorities have accused Western countries of fueling the riots, and European diplomats were given a note of protest in connection with anti-Iranian media reports and calls to overthrow the country’s government.

“The recent unrest in Iran was part of US efforts to disrupt the negotiations in Vienna [on the JCPOA],” Mousavi was quoted as saying by Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.

Foreign intelligence services behind riots

Foreign intelligence was never absent from the Iranian arena ever since the riots started.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Iranian Parliament’s presiding board, Nizamuddin Mousavi, stated that the Minister of Interior submitted a report on recent developments in the investigation into Mahsa Amini’s death.

On September 23, the Iranian Minister of Interior Ahmad Vahidi confirmed that “reports, evidence, and medical examinations confirm that Amini was not beaten,” which refutes western media claims that the Iranian woman was brutally beaten while in morality police custody. 

Mousavi said that “there are individuals linked to foreign organizations, intelligence services, and terrorist groups that had a hand in fomenting the recent riots.” He pointed out that “estimates indicate that some 45,000 people formed networks across the country, some of whom have been arrested.”

Who trained the riot leaders?

In the same context, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi revealed that the leaders of the recent riots in Iran received training in seven countries.

Referring to the recent riots, Vahidi considered that the enemy harnessed all its energies, including the media, in order to undermine national unity but suffered defeat in the face of the vigilance and insight of the coherent Iranian people that were able to thwart this scheme.

It is noteworthy that in late October, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and the IRGC’s intelligence wing revealed that intelligence obtained by Tehran indicates that the CIA and allied intelligence services planned a conspiracy against the Islamic Republic.

“The conspiracy’s goal is to commit a crime against the Iranian people and the territorial integrity of Iran,” the statement underlined.

“The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read, indicating that “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

French nationals confess to unrest in Iran

It is worth noting that Iran released a video on October 6 of two French citizens, Cecile Kohler and Jacque Paris, arrested for espionage in Tehran. The two are unionists with France’s National Federation of Education, Culture, and Vocational Training.

In the clips, Kohler confessed to being an “intelligence and operation agent of French foreign security service.” The two French nationals infiltrated into Iran as tourists on April 28 but turned out to be spies for Western intelligence agencies.

According to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, the duo attempted to foment instability and social disorder earlier in June when some teachers took to the streets in peaceful protests to demand fair wages and better working conditions.

Read next: Iranian intelligence arrests element linked to detained French spies

Macron’s ‘double standards’ exposed through social media

Some wrote on social media platforms against Macron’s anti-Iran statements, highlighting the French President’s double standards. Some reminded him of France’s colonial past, stating that Iran will teach him a lesson this time, while others slammed him for undertaking the mission of defending what he called a “revolution” to describe riots in a country while turning a blind eye to the crimes and slavery practices of Qatar. 

Translation: While France is on the verge of exploding, Macron allows himself to give Iran lessons, while not saying a word about Qatar and its crimes and slavery practices. 

Translation: France decided not to learn from its past interferences in the internal affairs of other countries. Iran will teach it that.

Now, what about the French protests, and how did Macron handle them? The President demonstrated utmost hypocrisy by criticizing Iran while his people were prevented from merely expressing themselves during the recent French protests. 

Macron confidently defended the Iranian riots as a “revolution”, while designating the French protests as riots. He criticized the Iranian government’s “violent suppression” while allowing his security forces to crack down on protests against the deteriorating livelihood in France.

Moreover, 100 injuries were reported in clashes between environmentalists and French police at a protest on October 31 against the building of a sizable water reservoir for farm irrigation in western France, according to the authorities. About 60 gendarmes and 30 demonstrators were injured in the protest, which the authorities tried to suppress in the Sainte-Solin area.

Additionally, tens of thousands of French people took to the streets last month in protest of the government’s performance, Macron’s economic plans for the country, and the rising costs of living. The protests were predominantly led by the country’s leftist coalition.

So, technically, when people protest for their most basic rights in a European country, they are attacked and beaten under the pretext of putting an end to riots. 

In stark contrast, the actual riots taking place in Iran, coupled with vandalism, violence, murders, and arson, which are in fact instigated by the very natural death of Mahsa Amini, are hailed as acts of “democracy” that ought to be protected by all means necessary, even if that leads to the violation of a country’s sovereignty and interference in its internal affairs through collaborators and proxies, such as the terrorist groups MEK and ISIS.

The aim behind all that is going on in the Islamic Republic of Iran is terrorizing and fomenting unrest in the West Asian country after all the development and progress it has achieved at all levels. Rising as a key influential player in the region, all eyes, whether friends’ or foes’, remain focused on the Islamic Republic either to build or to tear down bridges.

Related Stories

Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev goes to Tehran

The meeting this week between two Eurasian security bosses is a further step toward dusting away the west’s oversized Asian footprint.

November 10 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background.

Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting.

This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.

Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson.

Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between.

Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.

Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign.

Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.”

Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.

So that goes way beyond Geranium-2 kamikaze drones – the Russian cousins of the Shahed-136 – wreaking havoc in the Ukrainian battlefield. Which, by the way, elicited a direct mention later on by Shamkhani: “Iran welcomes a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and is in favor of peace based on dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.”

Patrushev and Shamkhani of course discussed security issues and the proverbial “cooperation in the international arena.” But what may be more significant is that the Russian delegation included officials from several key economic agencies.

There were no leaks – but that suggests serious economic connectivity remains at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two top sanctioned nations in Eurasia.

Key in the discussions was the Iranian focus on fast expansion of bilateral trade in national currencies – ruble and rial. That happens to be at the center of the drive by both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS towards multipolarity. Iran is now a full SCO member – the only West Asian nation to be part of the Asian strategic behemoth – and will apply to become part of BRICS+.

Have swap, will travel

The Patrushev-Shamkhani get together happened ahead of the signing, next month, of a whopping $40 billion energy deal with Gazprom, as previously announced by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already clinched an initial $6.5 billion deal. All that revolves around the development of two gas deposits and six oilfields; swaps in natural gas and oil products; LNG projects; and building more gas pipelines.

Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced a swap of 5 million tons of oil and 10 billion cubic meters of gas, to be finished by the end of 2022. And he confirmed that “the amount of Russian investment in Iran’s oil fields will increase.”

Barter of course is ideal for Moscow and Tehran to jointly bypass interminably problematic sanctions and payment settlement issues – linked to the western financial system. On top of it, Russia and Iran are able to invest in direct trade links via the Caspian Sea.

At the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Raisi forcefully proposed that a successful “new Asia” must necessarily develop an endogenous model for independent states.

As an SCO member, and playing a very important role, alongside Russia and India, in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), Raisi is positioning Iran in a key vector of multilateralism.

Since Tehran entered the SCO, cooperation with both Russia and China, predictably, is on overdrive. Patrushev’s visit is part of that process. Tehran is leaving behind decades of Iranophobia and every possible declination of American “maximum pressure” – from sanctions to attempts at color revolution – to dynamically connect across Eurasia.

BRI, SCO, INSTC

Iran is a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner for China’s grand infrastructure project to connect Eurasia via road, sea, and train. In parallel, the multimodal Russian-led INSTC is essential to promote trade between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia – at the same time solidifying Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.

Iran and India have committed to offer part of Chabahar port in Iran to Central Asian nations, complete with access to exclusive economic zones.

At the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, both Russia and China made it quite clear – especially for the collective west – that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state.

So it is no wonder Iran that is entering a new business era with all members of the SCO under the sign of an emerging financial order being designed mostly by Russia, China and India. As far as strategic partnerships go, the ties between Russia and India (President Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship) is as strong as those between Russia and China. And when it comes to Russia, that’s what Iran is aiming at.

The Patrushev-Shamkhani strategic meeting will hurl western hysteria to unseen levels – as it completely smashes Iranophobia and Russophobia in one fell swoop. Iran as a close ally is an unparalleled strategic asset for Russia in the drive towards multipolarity.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are already negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to those swaps involving Russian oil. The west’s reliance on the SWIFT banking messaging system hardly makes any difference to Russia and Iran. The Global South is watching it closely, especially in Iran’s neighborhood where oil is commonly traded in US dollars.

It is starting to become clear to anyone in the west with an IQ above room temperature that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), in the end, does not matter anymore. Iran’s future is directly connected to the success of three of the BRICS: Russia, China and India. Iran itself may soon become a BRICS+ member.

There’s more: Iran is even becoming a role model for the Persian Gulf: witness the lengthy queue of regional states aspiring toward gaining SCO membership. The Trumpian “Abraham Accords?” What’s that? BRICS/SCO/BRI is the only way to go in West Asia today.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

They will never understand the Islamic Republic

November 03, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

As I’m writing this, I, together with many other Iranians are filled with outrage. The almost daily terrorist attacks in Iran are trouble to say the least. Today, November 3, another outrageous terrorist attack took place in the city of Karaj, northern Iran. Terrorists attacked civilians and police officers on the Qazvin-Karaj highway in the morning. In a video released on social media, one of the terrorists can clearly be seen executing a wounded police officer. This is how the tragic Syrian war began, and this is what Washington has planned for Iran.

For the past two months, Washington, the Zionists and their Western client states have launched a massive psychological operation against the Islamic Republic, with tens of thousands of online trolls and their army of “journalists” who spread fake news and disinformation every minute, every day. The amount of fake news spread during this psyop is ridiculous. Some trolls/bots even claimed that the Halloween disaster in South Korea was Tehran’s fault.

Saudi-owned “Iran International”, BBC Persian, ManotoTV and other disgraceful outlets have, from their London and Los Angeles offices been spewing lies and fake news around the clock, while also openly encouraging violence in Iran. These lies have been repeated by western media and both Iranian and non-Iranian celebrities around the world. This is a massive psychological operation that is arguably only second to the one going on against Russia concurrently.

Immediately after accusing the Islamic Republic of beating Mahsa Amini to death, the western countries announced that they’d be imposing new sanctions on Tehran, despite having announced their eagerness to revive JCPOA only a week earlier. What happened? Ostensibly the reason given for these sanctions are “repressive measures and violation of human rights and international law”.

By now, only the idiots of the world actually believe that “human rights” is the reason behind western sanctions anywhere in the world. If “human rights” or “women’s rights” were the issues they had with Iran, then how come the Saudi kingdom is spared from these sanctions, where women need Mahrams (male guardian) to go anywhere outside their home, where they chop up journalists in their embassies abroad, and behead people in public in the “chop chop square” in Riyadh?

This is about western interference in Iran and how it ended with the Islamic Revolution. It´s about a country that they had absolute control over, and then suddenly lost it all. This is what their hostility is about. It is not unique for Iran. We see the same hostility towards any independent country such as Russia and China for example. It´s not about “regimes” or ideologies either. If that was the case, then they wouldn´t have overthrown the democratically elected Mossadegh in 1953 in favour of the dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

In his most recent speech, Ayatollah Khamenei correctly identified the root for the long conflict between the US and Iran: “They say the reason the Americans stood against the Iranian people was the move you made in the embassy,” he said. “That is, ‘you attacked our embassy and a dispute emerged between us [which led to] a fight and an enmity.’ They lie. This is not the case.”

“Mosaddegh’s government was a national government. His problem with the Westerners was only the issue of oil. He neither was a Hojatoleslam (top Islamic cleric) nor did he promote Islam. The issue was just related to oil, which was in the hands of the British. He said that the oil should be in our hands. This was his only crime.”

“They arrested Mosaddegh and his entourage and everyone [else],” he said. “Some were executed later, and some were imprisoned for many years.”

“Our dispute with the Americans started that day. Now, American politicians are hypocritically and shamelessly saying that ‘we support the Iranian nation,’”

To the imperialists in Washington, there´s no greater affront than a country that stands independently, securing the interests of its people and its future. This is intolerable! Even worse, when a backward and “uncivilized” country such as Iran dares to challenge US hegemony, such audacity must be met with the most vicious and cruellest animosity. Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US has imposed “draconian sanctions”, conducted numerous terrorist attacks and assassinations, imposed an 8 year long war on the country, and launched several coup/regime change operations. They have over the past 43 years, both through direct and indirect channels offered Tehran bribes to abandon the struggle and support for the Palestinian cause, end the hostility towards Washington´s dear Zionist regime and abandon the struggle for a multi-polar world.

All of these efforts to destroy the Islamic Republic´s resolve have failed. And they will continue to fail. Why? Because they do not understand, and they won´t ever understand. Ever since the days of Jimmy Carter and his embarrassing New Year´s speech in Tehran in 1977 where he declared Iran to be “an island of stability”, meaning that Washington felt absolutely safe in their control over the country, to John Bolton´s pathetic speech in front of Iranian terrorist supporters in 2018 where he expressed his hope to “celebrate in Tehran” before the end of the year, they have failed time and time again to correctly analyse the Iranian people and nation.

In a great speech, Ayatollah Khamenei talks about these repeated miscalculations:

Today, we see the same type of miscalculation as the one that Ayatollah Khamenei speaks about in the video above. They thought that they could launch a “feminist revolution” in Iran, believing in their own lies that the Islamic Republic has no supporters, and will collapse under the pressure of riots and strikes. The Islamic Republic responded by mobilizing its supporters and this was the result:

Here are the ”liberal feminist rioters”: En bild som visar träd, utomhus, personer Automatiskt genererad beskrivning

And here are the supporters of the Islamic Republic:

En bild som visar text, utomhus, gata, stad Automatiskt genererad beskrivning

Clearly, the few thousand “protestors”, of which a minority of them were actual terrorists/subversives, were overwhelmed by the massive amount of people who have come out in support of the Islamic Republic. But of course, they won´t show any of this in the Western media. Instead they have dozens of “analysts” who speculate on how quickly the Islamic Republic can fall and how Ayatollah Khamenei is “already dead and has been replaced by a body double”.

Seeing how they failed to cause any trouble for the Islamic Republic through “protests”, they resorted to riots, separatism and terrorist attacks instead. Kurdish terrorists, Baluchi terrorists, Arab and Azeri terrorists, all seeking to partition Iran. ISIS seeking to genocide Iranian Shias, and monarchists seeking to “immediately re-establish ties with Israel and the United States, and take a historically correct stance against Russia´s war in Ukraine”, as the self-styled “crown prince” of Iran said last month. These are the people Washington has mobilized for a “free Iran”. If the Islamic Republic were to fall, these people would partition the country into at least five different pieces, and start killing each other in a free-for all Battle Royale. Thankfully, security forces in Iran are arresting numerous rioters and terrorists on a daily basis who often start crying on camera, confessing to their crimes and who they received money and weapons from. Not a single one of them have stood their ground and defended their despicable actions. Big surprise!

What do they know about fighting for a cause? What do they know about bravery and sacrifice? What do they know about brotherhood? Nothing! They are opportunists who, like their ex-pat friends in the West, would sell their own mothers for money and power. Just like in Syria, they have no leaders, no honour and no dignity. They are being used as tools by Washington, only to be thrown under the bus when the Americans are done with them. This is how the Americans treat their “allies”.

On the contrary, The Islamic Republic was deeply embroiled in chaos and war with Saddam when it sent the first men to Lebanon to assist in the creation of Hezbollah in response to Israel´s invasion in 1982.

IRGC Quds force personnel arrive in Lebanon 1982.

Since those days, everything Iran has achieved, it has shared with its brothers in the region. Why? Because only united, can this region kick the barbaric Anglo-Zionists out. It was in anticipation for days such as this that Iran built an impressive missile arsenal, formed, and supported multiple armed militia groups in different countries in the region and have now reached out to great powers such as Russia and China to form a strong alliance against the Empire. In their arrogance and racist view, they thought that the Islamic Republic was resting on a rotten foundation such as the ones that their allied regimes in the Persian Gulf are resting on. Did Washington expect the Islamic Republic to go down so easily? Did they think that Syria, Hezbollah, Hashd Al-Shaabi, Ansarullah and other allies in the region would just idly stand by and watch while the strongest member of the Resistance alliance is being destroyed? Did they think that the Islamic Republic built an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of missiles just to collapse under the pressure of petty thugs and crude terrorist attacks?

Like I mentioned in my previous article, Iran is not Libya or Iraq during Saddam Hussein who stood alone in face of a NATO onslaught. Iran is both powerful on its own, and has powerful allies. Tehran is not alone in facing the evil empire and today, not just regional allies but great powers such as Russia and China have major stakes in Iran. Any foreign intervention, or bombing campaign against Iran will be met with missiles raining on Israel and US bases across the entire West Asia. If they want to test the Islamic Republic´s capabilities, then they must be ready to make very big sacrifices, because the era of hit and run attacks is over.

The westerners didn’t understand why Iranians were angry at them in 1979 and why they overthrew a “modern king” in favour of a “backward Islamic theocracy”. Many westerners still cannot understand how the Islamic Republic can be so popular among the Iranian people, and often just refuse to believe it. Why would they understand? They don’t know how 200 years of humiliation and subservience to others feel. They don´t know how it feels to have elected a prime minister, only to see him overthrown by foreigners who returned an unpopular dictator to the throne. They don´t know how it feels to have their country´s natural resources plundered by foreigners for decades.

Throughout the years since the Revolution, the Islamic Republic and its allies have given a lot martyrs for the cause of liberating West Asia from the Zionist empire. From the war against Saddam´s Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of young men were martyred, to the wars against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, these martyrs were inspired and driven by Imam Hussein´s immortal struggle against oppression. This is the ideology on which the Islamic Republic was formed and still rests on. They do not fear the US and its fabled “military might”. They do not fear American “super duper” bombs and missiles. They fear only God and consider fighting against oppression a religious duty, just like Imam Hussein did 1400 years ago. This is what the westerners do not understand when they try to intimidate Iran and its allies.

43 years since the embassy takeover on November 4 1979, they still do not understand that the Islamic Republic is a result of their own cruelty and injustice against Iran, and it has come back to haunt them. If they haven´t understood by now why the Islamic Republic continues to grow stronger, despite all their attempts to destroy the country from both the outside and inside, then they will never understand.

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Arab League Summit – Hopes and Aspirations

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Viktor Mikhin
The next summit of the League of Arab States (LAS), whose participation has been confirmed by the heads of state of numerous Arab countries, will be held in Algiers in early November. On the agenda, of course, are primarily issues related to the reconciliation of a number of Arab countries and their consolidation in the face of various external threats. However, the Arab media and even politicians are already saying that no breakthroughs can be expected from the summit, as the Arab League has lost its once-authoritative status in recent years.

Arab leaders have held two consecutive high-level meetings in 2019. In the spring, they met in Tunisia at the annual Arab Summit. In May, they met again in Mecca at the invitation of Riyadh for an extraordinary Arab summit. At issue was Saudi Arabia’s and other Persian Gulf Arab countries’ concern about Iran’s regional policies and opposition to Tehran’s plans to increase its activities in a number of countries in the Arab world. The 31st ordinary Arab summit is now scheduled to be held in Algiers on November 1, with a concluding session on November 2. The Algerian government wanted the summit to take place on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1954 Algerian Revolution, which led to Algeria’s independence from France in July 1962.

Some fears are related to domestic political developments in Algeria, while others stem from Algeria’s relations with other Arab countries, which are not without nuances of disagreement over the choice of a common Arab and regional policy. This concerns the events in Libya, the position on the problems in North and East Africa, including the situation in Western Sahara, and the position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Syria is another major stumbling block given Algeria’s determination to rejoin the Arab League system after being expelled from it in 2011. At the time, this was done under the far-fetched pretext of the alleged use of force by President Bashar al-Assad to quell discontent among some segments of the population. Afterward, incidentally, it was found that the Persian Gulf countries and the West, led by the United States, had a hand in stirring up passions there. Then the situation turned into an endless civil war in which foreign fighters actively participated on the side of the Syrian opposition, generously paid by the same Persian Gulf Arabs.

It is worth remembering that the world and Arab countries look distinctive today than they did in 2019 when the last Arab summit was held. The world has changed since then, and not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but also a host of other Arab, Middle Eastern, and international events have changed the overall context in which the Algiers Summit will take place. Three major international developments are expected to influence discussions at the Arab Summit.

The first, in chronological order, is the change of government in the United States. After four years of foreign policy by former US President Donald Trump, who tried to move away from old problems that had plagued previous administrations, current US President Joe Biden has returned to an interventionist US foreign policy based on forming new military alliances while strengthening existing ones, such as NATO. The second major event was the war in Ukraine, which was prepared and unleashed by the West under the leadership of the United States to bleed and damage Russia. The third is the growing US-China tension over Taiwan, also initiated by the United States. These three events have had and continue to have a direct impact on the Arab world, and they are clearly not favorable to the Arabs. This concerns both the issue of food security and the high energy prices affecting Arab states that are not oil producers, such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, Morocco, and some others.

From a regional perspective, there have also been fundamental changes in the Arab country’s relations with Israel, Turkey, and Iran, which will undoubtedly impact the work and conclusions of the Arab Summit. For example, building on Trump’s diplomacy, Israel signed the so-called “Abraham Accords” with four Arab countries in the second half of 2020. The previous Trump administration spoke of the Arab-Israeli normalization process as being deliberately separated from the Palestinian issue, to the detriment of the Palestinians and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While the Biden administration advocated for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine from day one, it refrained from using its influence with the Israelis to resume peace talks with the Palestinians that ended in April 2014.

While Trump in May 2018 roughly withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of 5+1 countries, and pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Biden administration has worked assiduously to join the JCPOA under a formula known as “control over control.” This means that the United States will join the agreement if Iran is the first to meet all of its obligations. But if the “control over control” formula is implemented, followed by the lifting of some sanctions, the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, will be very concerned about what the Iranian government will spend the billions of dollars that will flow to Iran as a result of the resumption of oil sales. Will Tehran spend the money on developing the Iranian economy, or will it fund pro-Iranian regimes in the Arab world? If the latter, how will the US respond, and will Washington be able to side with the Saudis?

Turkey will also have to face a fierce controversy, as many Arabs see positive developments in Turkish-Arab relations despite the reassessment of Turkey’s strategy in the Middle East, Libya, or the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has now significantly tightened its policy in the Arab world, reminding left and right of its “right” as heir to the Ottoman Empire. This presupposes, Erdoğan says, Turkey’s leadership role in the created joint Arab Union. But here there will be clear opposition from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, given Erdoğan’s recent flirtations with Iran, which is the main enemy of Persian Gulf Arabs.

The Algiers summit also comes after the end of the boycott of Qatar by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain and the resumption of diplomatic relations between these countries. One of the most positive results of this intra-Arab reconciliation was the official visits of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Qatar and the official visit of the ruler of Qatar to Egypt last July. Clearly, this much-needed reconciliation will have a positive impact on the Arab Summit discussions and decisions, both politically and economically. At the same time, the Arabs are taking into account the huge gas reserves in Qatar and its ability to export gas to the Arab states.

In addition, special attention is being paid to the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia. The Arab world is interested in helping these countries manage them successfully. The financial issue will be one of the main topics of the summit, and here the Persian Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, are likely to have a weighty say. In any case, this summit will provide Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with an excellent opportunity to strengthen and expand his authority in the Arab League and throughout the Arab world.

As for the situation in Libya, Arab leaders are expected to call on Libyan political factions to resolve the ongoing crisis in their country by holding free and fair elections. Experts warn that this must happen as soon as possible to prevent Libya from reverting to the violence that nearly tore the country apart three years ago.

The next summit of Arab states in Algiers should prove that the Arab world is united and seeks only Arab solutions to Arab problems. And this requires the unity of all countries in the region. Will the ambitious Arab leaders be able to speak with one voice, or will everyone pull the covers over themselves? — the upcoming Arab League summit will clearly show this.

Everything is building up to a major showdown

October 24, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

We live in one of the most important moments in history. Perhaps this moment is even more important than the end of the Cold War. Similar to those events more than 30 years ago, major geopolitical shifts are currently taking place today. If the end of the cold war saw the rise of the Western Bloc to dominance, then the start of this new Cold War has seen the return of a new Eastern Bloc, ready to assert its rightful place in the world.

The era of Western interventions, regime change operations and hit and run tactics is almost at an end. Today, countries such as China, Russia and Iran are challenging the US militarily, economically and politically. Many of the former international equations that were true only a few years ago are changing with great speed, especially after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

If we consider the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry as the first part of changing the structures of the world, then the key part that would change the entire structure is the moment when Russia decided to say enough to Washington and put their foot down, once and for all.

This has inspired defiance among the oppressed nations of the world. The conflict in Ukraine has proven that most of the countries in the world, which even the United States counted on as allies, are against the policies of the United States and in practice are not willing to go along with the policies of the United States. OPEC’s recent decision to reduce its oil production, while the United States had tried its best to force OPEC to bear the costs of its adventure in Europe, shows that a new world order is being formed. Indeed Washington did its best to pressure Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other Persian Gulf countries to put aside their own interests in favour of Washington’s interests. We saw that not only did it not work, but it has also created a diplomatic crisis between the once so great “allies” in this region.

Several US senators and even the White House openly threatened Riyadh with consequences to their crime of not committing suicide for the sake of Washington. This could manifest itself in sudden Western public “awareness” of, and campaigns against the Saudi “human rights record” in the near future, or even worse- western backed riots such as those we’ve seen recently in Iran. So far we’ve only seen talks about “stopping arms sales” and/or “withdrawing troops from the region.”

Such a move would likely lead the Saudis to turn towards Tehran and, in extension the emerging Eastern alliance. This would lead to a major geopolitical shift in the region that would endanger Israel, and thus also raise the risk of a large conflict in the region.

Another US ally that is flirting with the East is Erdogan’s Turkey. Erdogan is many things, and one of those things is being a survivalist. His refusal to follow NATO and US policies vis-à-vis Russia shows that he is also prioritizing his own interests before Washington’s. The Eastern alliance, manifested by institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS are expanding and gaining strength, and today many countries in the world are looking for membership in these international cooperation organizations, especially after Iran’s entry into the SCO group of countries. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two countries wielding considerable influence on smaller countries in the region are looking to join these organizations. These countries used to be allies of the West, and of course some are still their allies, but it shows that even Washington’s once so staunch allies are not satisfied with, and most importantly don’t trust the US hegemony anymore, and are looking for alternatives.

When Russia’s red line was crossed in Ukraine, Moscow made an important decision to intervene. This decision was not just about Moscow’s security, or the security of Donbass. Russian President Putin has on several occasions spoken about the ongoing paradigm shift, where the world is moving toward a multi-polar world order. Words echoed by officials in Tehran as well as the Islamic Republic is also at the forefront, together with Russia and China in the bid to end the unipolar world order. Russia’s SMO in Ukraine is of utmost importance for the oppressed countries of the world. Such an open challenge to US hegemony will strengthen the resolve of other countries, especially China and Iran, two countries facing the same enemy as Russia is currently battling.

Washington is in decline, while the Eastern Bloc is on the rise. Even the staunchest of Empire supporters cannot deny this fact. Since Washington and the collective West are in decline, they are also growing more aggressive. This has been witnessed by us all in Ukraine where the collective West have brought mankind to the brink of nuclear war. This can be seen in the aggressive policies regarding Taiwan, violating previous agreements and commitments to respecting China’s sovereignty. This was as clear as day during the recent foreign-backed riots in Iran. In sum, the US basically tried to extort Tehran into accepting a “temporary” JCPOA deal on Washington’s terms and conditions. Seeing as how Tehran would not yield on its demands for guarantees that Washington wouldn’t renege on the deal once more, they created these riots to force and pressure Tehran to accept Washington’s terms.

A desperate attempt to create a color revolution, with the help of hundreds of thousands of Twitter bots, especially since the riots quickly lost momentum thanks to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) vigilance and experience in dealing with foreign-backed plots to overthrow the Islamic Republic. The timing of the riots made it clear for Tehran that it was a desperate move to secure natural gas for the winter, especially since they destroyed Europe’s gas deliveries through NS1 and NS2. If it wasn’t clear enough at first, at least Washington did a good job in clarifying any misunderstandings when both US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley and US State Department spokesperson Ned Price claimed that the revival of the JCPOA is “not our focus right now” and that it “wasn’t even on the agenda”, as Washington was shifting focus to “supporting Iranian protesters.”

Washington’s list of allies will keep growing thinner for every new crisis that Washington creates. There is already widespread dissatisfaction among those countries that constitute the “jungle”, as Joseph Borrell, chief gardener of the EU, so creatively described it, and as we speak, that dissatisfaction is also spreading to the “garden” now. Massive protests are taking place in several EU countries, and these are just the beginning, because it’s not even winter yet! The true pain for European households will come in a month or two.

Washington is fighting on multiple fronts to preserve its hegemony, Secretary of State Blinken was pretty clear about that when he said that Americans “have to be the ones who are at the table who are helping to shape the rules, the norms, the standards by which technology is used,”

“If we’re not, if the United States isn’t there, then someone else will be, and these rules are going to get shaped in ways that don’t reflect our values and don’t reflect our interests.”

The fact that Washington is feeling this pressure makes the Empire more dangerous than ever. It can be said that any chance of saving the world today depends on whether a strong Eastern Bloc can be formed soon enough. If not, the US hegemony will pick off the independent countries one by one, just like they did in Libya.

Sure, if Washington strikes either of Russia, China or Iran militarily, they will have to be prepared for these countries to massively retaliate, unlike the situation in Libya, where Libyans were pretty defenceless on their own. Still, like I said in the beginning of this piece, the era of hit and run tactics is almost at an end. This means that Washington is still bold enough to strike Russia, China and Iran politically and financially through slander, regime change psyops and sanctions. Hence, the need for China, Russia and Iran to hasten the Eastern integration and alliance building projects in order to better be prepared to counter Washington’s long reach.

Of course, even if such an alliance can be formed, there are no guarantees that Washington’s madness wouldn’t still cause a world war that would destroy us all, but at least in such a scenario, they’d go down with the rest of us too. In the end, the leaderships and peoples of the three countries leading the new multi-polar world order would rather die than become slaves of the US hegemony.

Many important countries will soon be forced to pick sides as everything seems to be building up to a major showdown between the East and the hateful West. When and how that will happen is anyone’s guess. The only thing certain at this point is that the end of the Western era of dominance under their “rules based world order” is inevitable.

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Can Any Lebanon-Israel Maritime Deal be Trusted?

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

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Abdel Bari Atwan

While the demarcation agreement is yet to be signed, scepticism on both sides signals conflict ahead

There is a sense of optimism in Lebanon over the possibility of signing a maritime agreement with Israel that would enable the extraction of gas from Lebanese territorial waters, which could help lead the country out of its dire financial crisis.

After the 3 October meeting that brought together Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Republican Palace, it was clear that everyone agreed with the “moderate” proposals presented by US envoy Amos Hochstein, head of the indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel over their common maritime border.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Abu Saab announced after the meeting that Lebanon’s “comments” on the proposals would be sent to Hochstein, and that the Lebanese government would not provide an official answer to the proposal – pending a response from the US envoy before the end of the week.

Israel for its part has reportedly given preliminary approval for the proposal which consists of a 10-page draft.

Abu Saab confirmed that Lebanon had obtained its full rights in the maritime “Qana gas field,” but he cautioned that the devils lie in the detail.

Mikati, who seems the most enthusiastic to sign the US-brokered agreement, said after leaving the presidential palace that “things are going in the right direction.” His smile was wider than ever – as though gas revenues in the billions of dollars were about to flow into the coffers of the Central Bank of Lebanon.

Gas deal ‘leaks’

So far, few details of the agreement have been revealed. Currently in circulation are ‘deliberate’ indirect leaks from the two negotiating parties to ‘beautify’ the agreement for their respective constituents. It reflects the desire of deal proponents to clinch an agreement as soon as possible, ostensibly to avoid a war on the Lebanese-Israeli border that could escalate into a regional war, and maybe more.

While the Lebanese side appears uncharacteristically united and more willing to sign, sharp divisions persist in the Israeli camp, especially between interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his ally Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, on the one hand, and the opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other.

Lapid claims, through his camp’s leaks, that Israel will retain full sovereignty over the contested Karish gas field and will receive financial compensation by relinquishing part of Lebanon’s Qana gas field – paid for by French corporation TotalEnergies, which is currently in talks of its own with Israel over potential profit sharing from exploration.

Lapid also promotes the notion that Israel made a “tactical concession in exchange for a strategic gain in stability on the northern borders.”

Netanyahu has stepped up his attacks on the prime minister and has criticized the draft agreement for making huge concessions on the ‘Land of Israel’ and for handing over its natural resources to Lebanon and Hezbollah.

This, he contends, is taking place without holding a public referendum or securing the approval of the Knesset (Parliament). He has also vowed to abolish the agreement if he comes to power following legislative elections scheduled for 1 November.

Meanwhile, everyone is awaiting the results of the mini-Israeli security cabinet meeting next Thursday, which is supposed to discuss and ratify the agreement.

The internal battle may then move to Israel’s Supreme Court to decide on the opposition’s demands to hold a referendum on the agreement, or to submit it to the Knesset for approval – or both. There are initial indications that the Supreme Court may support the opposition’s opinion.

Uri Adiri, the chief Israeli negotiator for demarcating the maritime border with Lebanon, announced his resignation in protest of Lapid’s management of the negotiations. It seems clear that the resignation came under opposition pressure, and it is not unlikely that similar resignations will take place in the coming days.

Negotiations leading to ‘normalization’

There are also criticisms on the Lebanese side in some circles, chiefly over the notion that such negotiations are a precursor to normalization with the occupation state. Abu Saab, however, has insisted that no agreement or treaty will be signed with the Israeli enemy, and that there will be no document that includes a Lebanese signature alongside an Israeli signature.

But there are several caveats worth noting:

  • Firstly: The final version of the US-brokered proposals has not yet been agreed upon, and therefore the possibilities of returning to square one, that is, before the ‘theoretical current agreement,’ are still present.
  • Secondly: The only guarantors of this agreement are the United States and France. Experiences with US guarantees are not encouraging. As we have seen with Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – likewise, the US guarantee of the Oslo Accord, signed at the White House on 13 September, 1993 – an American guarantee no longer invokes much confidence.
  • Thirdly: Netanyahu cannot cancel the agreement as long as it is legally approved, but he can undermine it if he wins the next legislative elections. As with the Oslo Accords – which he strongly opposed – while he could not exit the agreement, he prevented its implementation and reduced it to empty words by settling 800,000 settlers in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Delaying the inevitable

Finally: We cannot rule out that these Israeli disputes between the government and the opposition are just political theater intended to stall, deceive the Lebanese, and plan ahead for the inevitable response by the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.

It should be noted that the US is Israel’s strongest global ally, that Lapid is one of Israel’s most ardent supporters of the US war against Russia in Ukraine, and that the American “mediator” Amos Hochstein is Israeli-born and served in the Israeli army.

The only reliable guarantee for Lebanon, for its oil and gas resources, for its security and stability, is the Islamic resistance represented by Hezbollah and its huge arsenal of precision missiles, advanced drones, and one hundred thousand-strong army of resistance fighters.

This is the first time in the history of Israel, since its establishment, that its government has offered concessions under the threat of arms and in fear of a war that threatens its existence. This is entirely due to Hezbollah’s refusal to allow Israel to extract gas before Lebanon has secured its own rights.

The next few days could be the most dangerous for Lebanon and the region. The utmost caution must be exercised, and every word or comma in any binding agreement must be carefully scrutinized before signing.

Remember that Netanyahu is a paper tiger, and he was subjected to humiliating defeats at the hands of the resistance in the Gaza Strip, especially in the battle of Sayf al-Quds.

The resistance is the biggest winner of this agreement so far in both in its implementation – because it is the one who imposed it with missiles and drones – and in the event of its collapse – because it is ready for all possibilities, foremost of which is war.

While the Lebanese people are peaceful, and have sought hard to secure a fair and equitable agreement over their maritime borders, they may yet be forced to militarily secure their national rights to Lebanon’s natural resources.

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الترسيم أمام أسابيع فاصلة: إسرائيل تخشى رفض لبنان عرضاً بالمقايضة

 الأربعاء 24 آب 2022

إعلام إسرائيلي: دوافع حزب الله لبنانية.. ويجب أخذ تهديداته بجديّة

الأخبار 

واصلت «إسرائيل»، أمس، بثّ رسائل تهديد تجاه الساحة اللبنانية، وتوعّدت حزب الله برد غير تناسبي على أي عملية يبادر إليها ضد المنشآت الغازية الإسرائيلية. علماً أن هذه التهديدات تتزامن مع تأكيدات ترد من تل أبيب بأن «الاتفاق مع لبنان بات أقرب من ذي قبل»، ومع التشديد على معادلة باتت هي التي تحكم عملية التفاوض الجارية عبر الوسيط الأميركي: «حقل قانا كاملاً للبنان، مقابل حقل كاريش كاملاً لإسرائيل».

لكن الواضح من الرسائل غير المتداولة إعلامياً أن العدو يسعى إلى تقديم عرض يقول فيه إنه تنازل عن كامل حقل قانا وقبل بالخط 23، لكن مع معالجة نقاط على الساحل اللبناني، بما يقود إلى فكرة مقايضة جديدة قد يكون هدفها الإعلامي تسويق العدو في الداخل الإسرائيلي بأنه عقد تسوية ولم يتنازل، وهدفها الفعلي التأثير لاحقاً على الترسيم النهائي للحدود البرية. علماً أن فكرة دفع لبنان إلى تنازل عند النقاط الساحلية من شأنه أيضاً التأثير على الخط البحري الفاصل بين المناطق الاقتصادية الخالصة لكل من الطرفين.
وفي هذا السياق، ليس واضحاً لـ«إسرائيل» مدى جاهزية لبنان لقبول مثل هذا العرض، خصوصاً أن العدو، كما الأميركيين والأوروبيين، يعتقدون بأن دخول حزب الله بقوة على خط الملف، رسم دائرة حمراء منع بموجبها أي جهة لبنانية من التنازل. وأنه في هذه الحالة سيتم تأخير الاتفاق وعندها يعود الجميع إلى مربع المواجهة العسكرية المحتملة.
ومع أن تل أبيب منشغلة أيضاً بالحديث عن احتمال توقيع الاتفاق النووي بين إيران وأميركا ودول الغرب، ويزور مسؤولون إسرائيليون كبار من بينهم وزير الحرب بيني غانتس واشنطن لهذا الغرض، إلا أنهم سيتطرقون حكماً إلى ملف ترسيم الحدود مع لبنان.
ورغم أن لبنان لم يصدر أي مواقف جديدة بشأن الملف، كان لافتاً الكلام المُسرّب في وسائل الإعلام العبرية عن أن كيان العدو ماضٍ في أعمال التنقيب، وآخره ما نقلته القناة 13 بأن «مسؤولين أمنيين كباراً في إسرائيل أبلغوا الوسيط الأميركي أن من المقرر تشغيل منصة كاريش في نهاية أيلول مهما كانت النتائج». علماً أن هذا الكلام لا يعني شيئاً في حال كان صحيحاً ما يقوله قادة العدو عن احتمال التوصل قريباً إلى اتفاق مع لبنان. لكنهم يأخذون في الاعتبار احتمال أن يرفض لبنان العرض الجديد الذي يفترض أن يحمله هوكشتين قريباً، خصوصاً في حال أصر العدو على مقايضة ما.
أمام هذه التسريبات، تبدو البلاد مكشوفة على خطر انفلات أزمة الترسيم إلى مواجهة قد تخرج عن السيطرة مع استمرار قرع طبولها من المقلب الإسرائيلي، إذ قالت صحيفة «إسرائيل هيوم» إن «إسرائيل وحزب الله يدخلان في واحدة من أكثر الفترات توتراً بينهما منذ حرب لبنان الثانية عام 2006». مع ذلك، استمرت التسريبات التي تتحدث عن قرب إنجاز الاتفاق، وفقَ ما أشارت صحيفة «معاريف» عن أنه «إذا استمرت وتيرة المباحثات بشأن ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع لبنان على شكلها الحالي، فسيتم التوقيع على اتفاق بهذا الصدد الشهر المقبل، والتسوية المتبلورة تنص على تبادل مناطق في المياه الاقتصادية موضع الخلاف».
التوجه الإسرائيلي العملي هو الرضوخ بشكل يكاد يكون كاملاً للمطالب اللبنانية، كما حملها هوكشتين إلى «إسرائيل». وإن كانت تل أبيب تبحث في المقابل عما من شأنه تلطيف صورة الرضوخ عبر إيجاد رواية ثانية، تقول من خلالها إنها تخلت عن أصولها وحدّها البري، نتيجة «حسن الخيرة والسخاء»، كما يرِد في تعبيرات عبرية، وليس نتيجة تهديدات حزب الله. رغم أنها في سياق مساعيها هذه، تجازف عملياً بأن تتسبب لنفسها ما تتجنبه: المواجهة العسكرية، التي دفعتها في المقام الأول «للتنازل والسخاء».
والواضح أن تل أبيب، بمعية الوسيط الأميركي، تعمل على استهلاك الوقت المُعطى لها إلى حدّه الأقصى، مع محاولة خلق ظروف وعوامل جديدة، تُمكّنها من تمديد مهلة الاستحقاق الزمني إلى منتصف أيلول، وربما أيضاً ما يزيد على ذلك، إذ كلما طالت المدة أكثر كان الرهان أكبر على إمكان تحقيق مكتسبات من الجانب اللبناني، في سياق التفاوض الذي باتت سِمته الظاهرة التأخير والمماطلة وتقطيع الوقت من ناحية إسرائيل.

التوجه الإسرائيلي العملي هو الرضوخ بشكل يكاد يكون كاملاً للمطالب اللبنانية


حتى الآن، حقّق لبنان، بفعل دخول المقاومة على معادلة الغاز، رضوخاً إسرائيلياً عبر «تنازل» العدو عن كامل المنطقة التي كانت تسمى «متنازع عليها» (ما بين الخط 1 و 23)، إضافة إلى حقل قانا كاملاً، الذي يتجاوز حده الجنوبي الخط 23. فضلاً عن معادلة حادة جداً يستعصي على «إسرائيل» أن تتجنّبها، وهي ربط حزب الله موعد تفعيل تهديداته، بعملية استخراج الغاز من «كاريش». الأمر الذي يفسر تسريبات وردت على لسان وزراء إسرائيليين، بإمكان تأجيل الاستخراج إلى «أجل غير مسمى لأسباب وعراقيل فنية خاصة بشركة إنرجيان».
أما على المقلب اللبناني، فبعد ما أعلنه المكتب الإعلامي لنائب رئيس مجلس النواب الياس بو صعب عن «اتصال مطول مع الوسيط الأميركي أطلع فيه بو صعب على ما توصلت إليه آخر الاتصالات التي أجراها مع المسؤولين الإسرائيليين»، أشارت مصادر مطلعة إلى أن «هوكشتين سيعود إلى المنطقة الأسبوع المقبل»، وأن «هناك اتفاقاً على التوقف عن الكلام والتصريح حتى عودته ليتبين الخيط الأبيض من الخيط الأسود».

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Iran Defense Minister Tells Turkish Counterpart: Independent Countries Have Challenged US Hegemony

July 21, 2022

By Staff, Agencies 

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani says the United States is seeking to create a unipolar and hierarchical world order, but independent countries and new poles of power in the world have challenged Washington’s hegemony.

During a meeting with his visiting Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Tehran on Tuesday, Ashtiani stated that the world and the West Asia region, due to geopolitical and geostrategic rivalry of global powers, are experiencing a period of transition and are undergoing fundamental changes as a new order is being created.

“The United States is seeking to create a unipolar and hierarchical world order. Naturally, independent countries and new poles of power in the world have challenged the US hegemony, and are standing against the process,” the Iranian defense chief pointed out.

He added that West Asia is enjoying relative peace following a turbulent and chaotic period as a result of threats caused by terrorism, extremism, separatism and proxy wars.

“However, threats still loom in the region, and important regional countries are still required to use their capacities in order to ensure security,” Ashtiani said.

The Iranian defense minister went on to describe combat against extremism, terrorism and separatism as a common concern for both Iran and Turkey, stressing the significance of cooperation and coordination between the two neighboring countries in this regard.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s approach to regional issues is founded on participation of regional countries to resolve issues through dialogue, respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, and opposition to any border and territorial changes,” Ashtiani stated.

He also touched on attempts by some regional Arab attempts to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, saying, “The occupying regime of al-Quds is the bitter and implacable enemy of Muslim countries.” 

Ashtiani stated that Iran views Turkey as an effective country in the Muslim world, which has numerous capacities in political, economic and international dimensions.

“Naturally, coordination and cooperation between the two countries is needed to strengthen mutual relations, and to protect the benefits of the region and Muslim world,” he said.

Ashtiani further stated that Iran and Turkey have significant capacities in military and defense sectors, stating that there are enormous opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, and Tehran is ready to dispatch high-profile defense, military and technical delegations to Ankara.

‘Enemies are trying to use terrorism to start proxy wars in region’

Akar, for his part, pointed to the wide range of commonalities between Iran and Turkey, and said cooperation between the two countries is important to maintain bilateral and regional stability and security.
“Nowadays, terrorism is a tool of imperialism. Enemies are trying to foment insecurity in the region through such a tool and launch a proxy war,” the Turkish defense minister said.

He highlighted that Turkey’s positions regarding the landmark 2015 Iran have always been clear, and emphasized the need for the continuation of negotiations aimed at the revival of the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

The power troika trumps Biden in West Asia

The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey convened to discuss critical issues pertaining to West Asia, with the illegal US occupation of Syria a key talking point

July 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Oil and gas, wheat and grains, missiles and drones – the hottest topics in global geopolitics today – were all on the agenda in Tehran this week.

By Pepe Escobar

The Tehran summit uniting Iran-Russia-Turkey was a fascinating affair in more ways than one. Ostensibly about the Astana peace process in Syria, launched in 2017, the summit joint statement duly noted that Iran, Russia and (recently rebranded) Turkiye will continue, “cooperating to eliminate terrorists” in Syria and “won’t accept new facts in Syria in the name of defeating terrorism.”

That’s a wholesale rejection of the “war on terror” exceptionalist unipolarity that once ruled West Asia.

Standing up to the global sheriff

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his own speech, was even more explicit. He stressed “specific steps to promote the intra-Syrian inclusive political dialogue” and most of called a spade a spade: “The western states led by the US are strongly encouraging separatist sentiment in some areas of the country and plundering its natural resources with a view to ultimately pulling the Syrian state apart.”

So there will be “extra steps in our trilateral format” aimed at “stabilizing the situation in those areas” and crucially, “returning control to the legitimate government of Syria.” For better or for worse, the days of imperial plunder will be over.

The bilateral meetings on the summit’s sidelines – Putin/Raisi and Putin/Erdogan – were even more intriguing. Context is key here: the Tehran gathering took place after Putin’s visit to Turkmenistan in late June for the 6th Caspian summit, where all the littoral nations, Iran included, were present, and after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s travels in Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, where he met all his Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts.

Moscow’s moment

So we see Russian diplomacy carefully weaving its geopolitical tapestry from West Asia to Central Asia – with everybody and his neighbor eager to talk and to listen to Moscow. As it stands, the Russia-Turkey entente cordiale tends to lean towards conflict management, and is strong on trade relations. Iran-Russia is a completely different ball game: much more of a strategic partnership.

So it’s hardly a coincidence that the National Oil Company of Iran (NIOC), timed to the Tehran summit, announced the signing of a $40 billion strategic cooperation agreement with Russia’s Gazprom. That’s the largest foreign investment in the history of Iran’s energy industry – badly needed since the early 2000s. Seven deals worth $4 billion apply to the development of oil fields; others focus on the construction of new export gas pipelines and LNG projects.

Kremlin advisor Yury Ushakov deliciously leaked that Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in their private meeting, “discussed conceptual issues.” Translation: he means grand strategy, as in the evolving, complex process of Eurasia integration, in which the three key nodes are Russia, Iran and China, now intensifying their interconnection. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership largely mirrors the key points of the China-Iran strategic partnership.

Iran says ‘no’ to NATO

Khamenei, on NATO, did tell it like it is: “If the road is open for NATO, then the organization sees no borders. If it had not been stopped in Ukraine, then after a while the alliance would have started a war under the pretext of Crimea.”

There were no leaks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) impasse between the US and Iran – but it’s clear, based on the recent negotiations in Vienna, that Moscow will not interfere with Tehran’s nuclear decisions. Not only are Tehran-Moscow-Beijing fully aware of who’s preventing the JCPOA from getting back on track, they also see how this counter-productive stalling process prevents the collective west from badly needed access to Iranian oil.

Then there’s the weapons front. Iran is one of the world’s leaders in drone production: Pelican, Arash, Homa, Chamrosh, Jubin, Ababil, Bavar, recon drones, attack drones, even kamikaze drones, cheap and effective, mostly deployed from naval platforms in West Asia.

Tehran’s official position is not to supply weapons to nations at war – which would in principle invalidate dodgy US “intel” on their supply to Russia in Ukraine. Yet that could always happen under the radar, considering that Tehran is very much interested in buying Russian aerial defense systems and state of the art fighter jets. After the end of the UN Security Council-enforced embargo, Russia can sell whatever conventional weapons to Iran it sees fit.

Russian military analysts are fascinated by the conclusions Iranians reached when it was established they would stand no chance against a NATO armada; essentially they bet on pro-level guerrilla war (a lesson learned from Afghanistan). In Syria, Iraq and Yemen they deployed trainers to guide villagers in their fight against Salafi-jihadis; produced tens of thousands of large-caliber sniper rifles, ATGMs, and thermals; and of course perfected their drone assembly lines (with excellent cameras to surveil US positions).

Not to mention that simultaneously the Iranians were building quite capable long-range missiles. No wonder Russian military analysts estimate there’s much to learn tactically from the Iranians – and not only on the drone front.

The Putin-Sultan ballet

Now to the Putin-Erdogan get together – always an attention-grabbing geopolitical ballet, especially considering the Sultan has not yet decided to hop on the Eurasia integration high-speed train.

Putin diplomatically “expressed gratitude” for the discussions on food and grain issues, while reiterating that “not all issues on the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports are resolved, but progress is made.”

Putin was referring to Turkiye’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who earlier this week assured that setting up an operations center in Istanbul, establishing joint controls at the port exit and arrival points, and carefully monitoring the navigational safety on the transfer routes are issues that may be solved in the next few days.

Apparently Putin-Erdogan also discussed Nagorno-Karabakh (no details).

What a few leaks certainly did not reveal is that on Syria, for all practical purposes, the situation is blocked. That favors Russia – whose main priority as it stands is Donbass. Wily Erdogan knows it – and that’s why he may have tried to extract some “concessions” on “the Kurdish question” and Nagorno-Karabakh. Whatever Putin, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev may really think about Erdogan, they certainly evaluate how priceless is to cultivate such an erratic partner capable of driving the collective west totally bonkers.

Istanbul this summer has been turned into a sort of Third Rome, at least for expelled-from-Europe Russian tourists: they are everywhere. Yet the most crucial geoeconomic development these past few months is that the western-provoked collapse of trade/supply lines along the borders between Russia and the EU – from the Baltic to the Black Sea – finally highlighted the wisdom and economic sense of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC): a major Russia-Iran-India geopolitical and geoeconomic integration success.

When Moscow talks to Kiev, it talks via Istanbul. NATO, as the Global South well knows, does not do diplomacy. So any possibility of dialogue between Russians and a few educated westerners takes place in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the UAE. West Asia as well as the Caucasus, incidentally, did not subscribe to the western sanctions hysteria against Russia.

Say farewell to the ‘teleprompter guy’

Now compare all of the above with the recent visit to the region by the so-called “leader of the free world,” who merrily alternates between shaking hands with invisible people to reading – literally – whatever is scrolling on a teleprompter. We’re talking of US President Joe Biden, of course.

Fact: Biden threatened Iran with military strikes and as a mere supplicant, begged the Saudis to pump more oil to offset the “turbulence” in the global energy markets caused by the collective west’s sanction hysteria. Context: the glaring absence of any vision or anything even resembling a draft of foreign policy plan for West Asia.

So oil prices duly jumped upward after Biden’s trip: Brent crude rose more than four percent to $105 a barrel, bringing prices back to above $100 after a lull of several months.

The heart of the matter is that if OPEC or OPEC+ (which includes Russia) ever decide to increase their oil supplies, they will do it based on their internal deliberations, and not under exceptionalist pressure.

As for the imperial threat of military strikes on Iran, it qualifies as pure dementia. The whole Persian Gulf – not to mention the whole of West Asia – knows that were US/Israel to attack Iran, fierce retaliation would simply evaporate with the region’s energy production, with apocalyptic consequences including the collapse of trillions of dollars in derivatives.

Biden then had the gall to say, “We have made progress in strengthening our relations with the Gulf states. We will not leave a vacuum for Russia and China to fill in the Middle East”.

Well, in real life it is the “indispensable nation” that has self-morphed into a vacuum. Only bought-and-paid for Arab vassals – most of them monarchs – believe in the building of an “Arab NATO” (copyright Jordan’s King Abdullah) to take on Iran. Russia and China are already all over the place in West Asia and beyond.

De-Dollarization, not just Eurasian integration

It’s not only the new logistical corridor from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Astrakhan and then, via the Caspian, to Enzeli in Iran and on to Mumbai that is shaking things up. It’s about increasing bilateral trade that bypasses the US dollar. It’s about BRICS+, which Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are dying to be part of. It’s about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which formally accepts Iran as a full member this coming September (and soon Belarus as well). It’s about BRICS+, the SCO, China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) interconnected in their path towards a Greater Eurasia Partnership.

West Asia may still harbor a small collection of imperial vassals with zero sovereignty who depend on the west’s financial and military ‘assistance,’ but that’s the past. The future is now – with Top Three BRICS (Russia, India, China) slowly but surely coordinating their overlapping strategies across West Asia, with Iran involved in all of them.

And then there’s the Big Global Picture: whatever the circumvolutions and silly schemes of the US-concocted “oil price cap” variety, the fact is that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – the top powerful energy-producing nations – are absolutely in sync: on Russia, on the collective west, and on the needs of a real multipolar world.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

In Eurasia, the War of Economic Corridors is in full swing

July 15, 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Source

Mega Eurasian organizations and their respective projects are now converging at record speed, with one global pole way ahead of the other.

By Pepe Escobar

The War of Economic Corridors is now proceeding full speed ahead, with the game-changing first cargo flow of goods from Russia to India via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) already in effect.

Very few, both in the east and west, are aware of how this actually has long been in the making: the Russia-Iran-India agreement for implementing a shorter and cheaper Eurasian trade route via the Caspian Sea (compared to the Suez Canal), was first signed in 2000, in the pre-9/11 era.

The INSTC in full operational mode signals a powerful hallmark of Eurasian integration – alongside the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and last but not least, what I described as “Pipelineistan” two decades ago.

Caspian is key

Let’s have a first look on how these vectors are interacting.

The genesis of the current acceleration lies in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, for the 6th Caspian Summit. This event not only brought the evolving Russia-Iran strategic partnership to a deeper level, but crucially, all five Caspian Sea littoral states agreed that no NATO warships or bases will be allowed on site.

That essentially configures the Caspian as a virtual Russian lake, and in a minor sense, Iranian – without compromising the interests of the three “stans,” Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. For all practical purposes, Moscow has tightened its grip on Central Asia a notch.

As the Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea by canals off the Volga built by the former USSR, Moscow can always count on a reserve navy of small vessels – invariably equipped with powerful missiles – that may be transferred to the Black Sea in no time if necessary.

Stronger trade and financial links with Iran now proceed in tandem with binding the three “stans” to the Russian matrix. Gas-rich republic Turkmenistan for its part has been historically idiosyncratic – apart from committing most of its exports to China.

Under an arguably more pragmatic young new leader, President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Ashgabat may eventually opt to become a member of the SCO and/or the EAEU.

Caspian littoral state Azerbaijan on the other hand presents a complex case: an oil and gas producer eyed by the European Union (EU) to become an alternative energy supplier to Russia – although this is not happening anytime soon.

The West Asia connection

Iran’s foreign policy under President Ebrahim Raisi is clearly on a Eurasian and Global South trajectory. Tehran will be formally incorporated into the SCO as a full member in the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September, while its formal application to join the BRICS has been filed.

Purnima Anand, head of the BRICS International Forum, has stated that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also very much keen on joining BRICS. Should that happen, by 2024 we could be on our way to a powerful West Asia, North Africa hub firmly installed inside one of the key institutions of the multipolar world.

As Putin heads to Tehran next week for trilateral Russia, Iran, Turkey talks, ostensibly about Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bound to bring up the subject of BRICS.

Tehran is operating on two parallel vectors. In the event the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is revived – a quite dim possibility as it stands, considering the latest shenanigans in Vienna and Doha – that would represent a tactical victory. Yet moving towards Eurasia is on a whole new strategic level.

In the INSTC framework, Iran will make maximum good use of the geostrategically crucial port of Bandar Abbas – straddling the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Yet as much as it may be portrayed as a major diplomatic victory, it’s clear that Tehran will not be able to make full use of BRICS membership if western – especially US – sanctions are not totally lifted.

Pipelines and the “stans”

A compelling argument can be made that Russia and China might eventually fill the western technology void in the Iranian development process. But there’s a lot more that platforms such as the INSTC, the EAEU and even BRICS can accomplish.

Across “Pipelineistan,” the War of Economic Corridors gets even more complex. Western propaganda simply cannot admit that Azerbaijan, Algeria, Libya, Russia’s allies at OPEC, and even Kazakhstan are not exactly keen on increasing their oil production to help Europe.

Kazakhstan is a tricky case: it is the largest oil producer in Central Asia and set to be a major natural gas supplier, right after Russia and Turkmenistan. More than 250 oil and gas fields are operated in Kazakhstan by 104 companies, including western energy giants such as Chevron, Total, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

While exports of oil, natural gas and petroleum products comprise 57 percent of Kazakhstan’s exports, natural gas is responsible for 85 percent of Turkmenistan’s budget (with 80 percent of exports committed to China). Interestingly, Galkynysh is the second largest gas field on the planet.

Compared to the other “stans,” Azerbaijan is a relatively minor producer (despite oil accounting for 86 percent of its total exports) and basically a transit nation. Baku’s super-wealth aspirations center on the Southern Gas Corridor, which includes no less than three pipelines: Baku-Tblisi-Erzurum (BTE); the Turkish-driven Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP); and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP).

The problem with this acronym festival – BTE, TANAP, TAP – is that they all need massive foreign investment to increase capacity, which the EU sorely lacks because every single euro is committed by unelected Brussels Eurocrats to “support” the black hole that is Ukraine. The same financial woes apply to a possible Trans-Caspian Pipeline which would further link to both TANAP and TAP.

In the War of Economic Corridors – the “Pipelineistan” chapter – a crucial aspect is that most Kazakh oil exports to the EU go through Russia, via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). As an alternative, the Europeans are mulling on a still fuzzy Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor (Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey). They actively discussed it in Brussels last month.

The bottom line is that Russia remains in full control of the Eurasia pipeline chessboard (and we’re not even talking about the Gazprom-operated pipelines Power of Siberia 1 and 2 leading to China).

Gazprom executives know all too well that a fast increase of energy exports to the EU is out of the question. They also factor the Tehran Convention – that helps prevent and control pollution and maintain the environmental integrity of the Caspian Sea, signed by all five littoral members.

Breaking BRI in Russia

China, for its part, is confident that one of its prime strategic nightmares may eventually disappear. The notorious “escape from Malacca” is bound to materialize, in cooperation with Russia, via the Northern Sea Route, which will shorten the trade and connectivity corridor from East Asia to Northern Europe from 11,200 nautical miles to only 6,500 nautical miles. Call it the polar twin of the INSTC.

This also explains why Russia has been busy building a vast array of state-of-the-art icebreakers.

So here we have an interconnection of New Silk Roads (the INSTC proceeds in parallel with BRI and the EAEU), Pipelineistan, and the Northern Sea Route on the way to turn western trade domination completely upside down.

Of course, the Chinese have had it planned for quite a while. The first White Paper on China’s Arctic policy, in January 2018, already showed how Beijing is aiming, “jointly with other states” (that means Russia), to implement sea trade routes in the Arctic within the framework of the Polar Silk Road.

And like clockwork, Putin subsequently confirmed that the Northern Sea Route should interact and complement the Chinese Maritime Silk Road.

Russia-China Economic cooperation is evolving on so many complex, convergent levels that just to keep track of it all is a dizzying experience.

A more detailed analysis will reveal some of the finer points, for instance how BRI and SCO interact, and how BRI projects will have to adapt to the heady consequences of Moscow’s Operation Z in Ukraine, with more emphasis being placed on developing Central and West Asian corridors.

It’s always crucial to consider that one of Washington’s key strategic objectives in the relentless hybrid war against Russia was always to break BRI corridors that crisscross Russian territory.

As it stands, it’s important to realize that dozens of BRI projects in industry and investment and cross-border inter-regional cooperation will end up consolidating the Russian concept of the Greater Eurasia Partnership – which essentially revolves around establishing multilateral cooperation with a vast range of nations belonging to organizations such as the EAEU, the SCO, BRICS and ASEAN.

Welcome to the new Eurasian mantra: Make Economic Corridors, Not War.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Iran Demands ‘Strong’ Economic Guarantees in JCPOA Revival Talks – FM

July 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said it is a “necessity” for Iran to gain economic benefits from the 2015 agreement and thus wants “strong” guarantees in talks on a potential revival of the deal, which the US abandoned unilaterally three years after its conclusion.

“We seek strong economic guarantees. If a Western company signs a contract with its Iranian counterpart, it must rest assured that its project will be implemented and it will receive compensation in case new sanctions are imposed,” Amir Abdollahian, who is on a visit to Rome, said in a Wednesday interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

The top Iranian diplomat added that the issue of guarantees is one of the biggest obstacles in the talks aimed at restoring the 2015 deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian was asked about reports on Washington’s refusal to remove the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] from its blacklist.

He said during last month’s indirect talks between Iran and the US — mediated by the European Union — in the Qatari capital of Doha, Tehran proposed putting off the issues related to Washington’s so-called list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations [FTOs].

“But we must be certain that the Iranian companies enjoy the economic benefits and their own share of the agreement. Making economic benefits in the JCPOA is a necessity. We do not ask for anything that goes beyond the nuclear agreement,” Amir Abdollahian said.

He also noted that Tehran and Washington are in contact through the EU on possible ways to remove anti-Iran sanctions, saying both sides should have flexibility and initiatives.

Iran and the US concluded two days of indirect talks, mediated by the European Union, in the Qatari capital of Doha, late last month in an attempt to break the stalemate in reviving the JCPOA.

At the end of the talks, Iran and the EU said they would keep in touch “about the continuation of the route and the next stage of the talks.”

The talks in Doha followed seven rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA since April last year.

They were put on hold as Washington insists on its refusal to undo its past wrongs through measures such as removing the IRG from its foreign terrorist organization list.

Iran maintains that the IRG’s designation in 2019 was part of former President Donald Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and, therefore, it has to be reversed unconditionally.

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Biden in Jeddah: mending fences, not building bridges

President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia will likely end in face saving gestures, but no major geopolitical concessions

July 12 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Kristian Alexander and Giorgio Cafiero

Before 2019, never had a US president referred to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a ‘pariah’ on his campaign trail. Joe Biden’s Saudi-bashing as a presidential candidate, plus a host of other delicate issues, have fueled significant friction between the White House and Riyadh.

Today, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are probably at their worst since the events of September 11, 2001, stymied by a major trust deficit in the relationship between Biden’s White House and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS).

By the same token, the Biden administration views Saudi Arabia as a critical partner in the Persian Gulf and continues to sign massive arms deals with the kingdom.

For all the rhetoric on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal murder MbS is said to have sanctioned, team Biden never imposed state-level sanctions against Saudi Arabia, nor on the crown prince himself.

Meanwhile, the administration praises the role of Riyadh in the Arab world’s trend toward normalization with Israel.

Within this context, Biden’s first presidential trip to West Asia – in which he will go to Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Saudi Arabia this week – will be important to White House efforts to mend fences with Riyadh and salvage this decades-old partnership.

In a US mid-term election year that will likely lead to significant gains for his Republican opposition, Biden seeks to score major foreign policy points in Jeddah that can be used for domestic consumption back in Washington this summer.

Incentivizing Biden to convince the Saudis to increase their oil production are the millions of US motorists struggling with high gas prices and the many average American voters grappling with generational high inflation.

Energy prices are therefore extremely important to Biden’s controversial trip to the kingdom. Yet, this month’s summit in Saudi Arabia is unlikely to give Americans much relief at the gas pump between now and the elections in November.

Shifting the narrative from oil to peace

Determined to ensure that the US public does not tie this tour’s success specifically to a Saudi oil production hike – which could easily result in the Biden administration’s humiliation – the White House message is that this visit to Jeddah largely concerns peace in the region.

As Biden wrote in the Washington Post, avoiding a future in which the region is “coming apart through conflict” is of “paramount importance” to the White House, and he will “pursue diplomacy intensely – including through face-to-face meetings – to achieve our goals.”

According to Biden, if the region comes together through “diplomacy and cooperation” there is a lower chance of “violent extremism” threatening US national security or “new wars that could place new burdens on US military forces and their families.”

This trip comes at a time in which there is a fragile truce in Yemen, where the Saudis and Emiratis have waged a devastating seven-year war. Although the conflict remains unresolved, the drastic reduction in violence and increased humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country have given millions of Yemenis desperately needed relief.

The truce in Yemen has been possible in part because of Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member support, which makes it easier for Biden to justify his visit to Jeddah. After all, it was the Khashoggi affair and the conflict in Yemen that ‘Biden-the-candidate’ cited as reasons for his ‘pariah’ treatment of Riyadh.

Thus, moving toward a settlement to this conflict, in which the last two US presidents were heavily involved in escalating, helps Biden save face as he makes this trip. If the president leaves the kingdom with some guarantees from the Saudis about their commitment to future truce extensions, that could be interpreted as a win for Biden.

“The US administration is beginning to realize that President Biden can’t just ignore Saudi Arabia and that it’s in the best interest of the two countries to start working together, not just to reduce oil prices and pressure on US consumers, but also to further the stability of the Middle East and contain [the Iranian] threat whether in Lebanon or Yemen,” Najah Al-Otaibi, an associate fellow at the Riyadh-based King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said in an interview with The Cradle.

Expanding on her point, Al-Otaibi said that “Saudi Arabia has recently agreed to extend the United Nations-mediated ceasefire with Yemen, and Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] played a critical role in this move, according to Biden’s officials who thought it is a step forward to solving the conflict.”

Last month, Biden clarified that, for him, bolstering Israel’s security was a major motivation for the trip to Saudi Arabia. Despite some speculation among pundits that Saudi Arabia will soon join the Abraham Accords, this is highly doubtful, especially with King Salman still on the throne. However, with MbS “the reformer” as future king, normalization between “the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” and Israel is all the more likely.

Insecurity and an ‘Arab NATO’

Even if Riyadh remains outside the Abraham Accords, there is much that Saudi Arabia can do to make it easier for other Arab-Muslim countries to normalize with Tel Aviv, and for the kingdom’s allies, already signatories to the Abraham Accords, to build on their overt relations with the Israelis.

While in Jeddah, Biden will likely push the Saudis to take some more baby steps toward a de facto normalization with Israel, even if it remains unofficial. One way for the kingdom to do so would be by granting permission for Israeli planes to transit Saudi airspace on their way to the UAE, Bahrain, and other countries.

Other avenues could include bolstering involvement by Israeli technology firms in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Saudi–Israeli military cooperation, and more visits by high-ranking Israeli officials to the kingdom that could build on former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s November 2020 visit to Neom.

Shoring up US–Arab partnerships in preparation for the increasingly likely scenario that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks with Iran will collapse in acrimony is a high priority for Biden.

Against the backdrop of Iran’s nuclear advancements as negotiations further stall, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states attending the GCC+3 summit are preparing for a post-JCPOA future in which friction between the US and Israel, on one side, and the Islamic Republic, on the other, appears set to intensify in the coming weeks and months.

“I think Iran, not oil, is the main issue as Iran moves closer and closer to having all the parts it needs to put together a nuclear bomb,” David Ottaway, a Middle East fellow at the Wilson Center, told The Cradle. “Only a revival of the Iranian nuclear deal can stop that trend, and nobody is optimistic about that happening now.”

Although Riyadh and Tehran have been in direct talks via Baghdad since April 2021, the Saudi leadership wants assurances from team Biden that Washington remains committed to the kingdom’s security regardless of the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord, and that the US will work with its Arab allies to counter Iran in regional hotspots, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Yet, mindful of the little trust Saudi officials have in the Biden administration, it is difficult to imagine the US president gaining enough confidence from Riyadh during this upcoming trip vis-à-vis Iran-related issues. As Ottaway told The Cradle:

“I suspect [Biden] will declare another US commitment to defending the kingdom from its foreign enemies, but after Trump’s failure to take any action after Iranian attacks on Saudi oil facilities in 2019, he needs to say or do something to back up [what are] just words.”

In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about an Arab NATO that includes Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other US-friendly Arab states. Biden will seek to advance this initiative as the west and its allies and partners in West Asia remain worried about Iran’s regional foreign policy agenda.

“[Biden] wishes to reaffirm the historical strength and enduring reciprocity of the alliance, but also to press Riyadh on cooperating more on the energy side – particularly as the US moves as well to create a region-wide defense platform, the so-called Middle East NATO,” Sean Yom, an associate professor at Temple University, pointed out in an interview with The Cradle.

“There is, however, one sticking point that will probably cause a difference: the Saudis continue to desire a strong US presence in the Gulf, one that can police Iran and intervene in a potential militarized conflict, whereas Biden clearly is continuing his predecessors’ anti-interventionist stance,” added Yom.

Nonetheless, many experts have doubts about an Arab NATO ever manifesting into a real alliance, and expect the initiative to remain merely conceptual. This assessment accounts for the opposition of some Arab states to an open military coordination with Israel, as some GCC states, like the Sultanate of Oman, do not want to join an alliance aimed at weakening or intimidating Tehran.

There are also logistical hurdles which would make it difficult for these state militaries to integrate in a NATO-like manner.

“Biden’s plan for a US-backed ‘Arab NATO’ of GCC states plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan seems as unlikely to succeed as Trump’s Middle East Strategic Alliance, which never got off the ground,” Ottaway says.

Virtue-signalling human rights

Although Biden’s administration has determined that the moral costs of this presidential trip do not outweigh the perceived benefits, the Khashoggi affair remains a delicate issue – though significantly less so now than in the immediate aftermath of the grisly murder in October 2018.

MbS wants the US government to drop the Khashoggi issue, but elements within Biden’s party maintain that any interaction between him and the crown prince would be “profoundly disturbing.” To placate more progressive politicians, high-profile media pundits, and human rights activists who criticize Biden for “legitimizing” MbS on this trip, the president will seek some human rights concessions, like those which his administration secured at the start of his presidency.

If Biden is successful on this front, he could return to the US claiming that his visit to the kingdom helped advance, rather than hinder, the cause of human rights. Such an achievement would help Biden save face and tell his base that he did not abandon certain principles or so-called ‘American values’ by meeting MbS in the Saudi kingdom.

“His campaign trail rhetoric, like all political campaign rhetoric, was never going to bear much resemblance to executive policy and official diplomacy,” cautioned Yom. “But I do think Biden will exit the meetings by claiming that he squarely put human rights concerns, and potentially even democratic awareness, onto the agenda for Riyadh.”

Yet, whether the Saudi leadership feels it is under sufficient pressure to release any political prisoners, or provide liberties to some recently released Saudis who are banned from traveling, remains to be seen.

From the perspective of the Saudi government, the US and other western governments are inappropriately virtue signaling when raising human rights concerns in the kingdom. The view from Riyadh is that these issues are internal issues that do not concern Washington or European capitals.

Saudi and other Arab officials will often point to US sins in Iraq or police brutality against African-Americans to highlight elements of hypocrisy on the part of US politicians lecturing the Saudi government on the human rights front.

MbS reportedly “shouting” at US national security adviser Jake Sullivan after the high-ranking official brought up the Khashoggi case underscores the effect of these discussions on the leaders of Saudi Arabia.

The grander geopolitical picture 

Biden will visit Saudi Arabia amid a period of increasing east–west bifurcation and intensifying great power competition. Although neither China nor Russia is on the verge of replacing the US as security guarantor of Saudi Arabia or any GCC states, US influence in the Gulf has declined with Beijing and Moscow gaining greater clout at Washington’s expense.

Biden’s trip to Jeddah aims to reassert US influence in the Persian Gulf and attempt to prevent Riyadh and other Arab capitals from moving closer to the Chinese and Russians. An objective of Biden’s is to bring GCC states back into the geopolitical orbit of the west, while slowing down the growth of their partnerships with Beijing and Moscow.

“There were undeniable hiccups in the relationship last year, relating to halting support to the Yemen war, aggressive rhetoric against MbS, and more scrutiny on arms sales,” Yom explained.

“Fundamentally, none of these factors perturbed the great structural core of the US–Saudi alliance, built upon mutual perceptions of energy security, sovereign protections, and regional hegemony. But those hiccups were enough to make the decision-making circles in Riyadh a bit uncomfortable, enough at least to entertain Russian and Chinese overtures for military and energy cooperation.”

The White House and the entire US foreign policy establishment have grave concerns about Sino–Saudi ballistic missile cooperation and the extent to which the Chinese and Emiratis are making their defense and security relations more robust.

It is safe to say that while in Jeddah, team Biden will make it clear that the US will withhold future military assistance if GCC states move militarily closer to China. The extent to which such pressure has any impact on Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s relationships with Beijing remains an open question.

Nonetheless, team Biden must understand that this visit will occur against the backdrop of serious tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has grown frustrated with many aspects of Washington’s agenda in the Biden era.

The Saudi government’s view is that Biden is an ’Obama 2.0’ – a perspective that is not unreasonable when mindful of how many Obama administration veterans, including Biden himself, are serving in the White House.

By moving closer to China and Russia, the Saudis are sending a message, loud and clear, to Washington that Riyadh has other options on the international stage as the world moves towards multipolarity with more Arab statesmen perceiving the US as a power that is withdrawing from West Asia.

Riyadh can exaggerate the extent to which the kingdom has grown closer to Beijing and Moscow to gain leverage over the US and secure more concessions from Washington. That is likely to continue, and Biden would be making a mistake in placating the Saudis in every instance to merely try to stop Riyadh from tilting closer to China and Russia.

Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia is showing itself to be increasingly confident and Biden’s visit to the kingdom will add to Riyadh’s sense of being emboldened, giving the Saudi leadership more reason to pursue its own interests in ways that sometimes align more closely with Beijing and Moscow’s foreign policy objectives than those of western powers.

Despite these geopolitical tensions, the Biden administration and Al-Saud rulers both value Washington and Riyadh’s decades-old partnership, and neither side wants to abandon it. Much anger and a significant trust deficit, however, have built up between these two countries.

Biden will not be leaving Saudi Arabia later this month with all these issues resolved. But the dialogue in Jeddah has the potential to begin a process of mending fences.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

China Reaffirms Refusal to Comply with US Sanctions on Iran

July 8, 2022

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian expressed on Thursday during a press conference his comments regarding the imposed US sanctions on a network of Chinese, Emirati, and other companies that are accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia.

He said, “China has always been firmly opposed to illegal and unjustifiable unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US. We urge the US side to abandon the wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn and contribute positively to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA.”

He added that “the international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law. This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party, and deserves to be respected and protected.”

The reinstatement of US sanctions after Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the Vienna Nuclear Agreement plunged Iran into a very difficult economic situation (9.5% drop in GDP in 2019) and prompted it to get closer to China. Spectacularly, bilateral trade increased from $4 billion in 2003 to $51.8 billion in 2014, making Beijing Tehran’s leading economic partner (25% of total trade in 2019-2020).

This privileged relationship resulted in the signing, in March 2021, of a trade agreement of 400 billion dollars for a period of 25 years between the two countries, the strategic “Lion-Dragon deal.” This alliance was also militarily expressed through the sale of arms, as well as joint naval maneuvers alongside Russia. This new Sino-Iranian proximity is reshuffling the cards in the Middle East. It also weighs on Chinese relations with “Israel” with whom Beijing had heated its exchanges in recent years.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

مشروع بايدن: «ناتو إسرائيليّ» بأموال العرب بلا قنبلة إيرانيّة!

 الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

الأحلاف، السياسية منها والعسكرية، كانت بين أبرز مرتكزات الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم (أ ف ب)
 محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء يتحرك بسرعة وفجأة من أجل تنفيذ تعليمات السيد الأميركي المختنق في الشرنقة الأوكرانية!

تتزاحم الزيارات والمصالحات بين عواصم المتخاصمين، وتعود طاولة المفاوضات النووية الى الانتعاش بشكل سريع، وتنقل بحركة أوروبية انقلابية من فيينا لتصبح على مقربة من عرش ابن سلمان المهدّد بالباليستي اليمني ويُستدعى «الحاجب «

العراقي ليقوم بدور التهدئة بين الرياض وطهران.

وتتحرك «المقاصة» المالية القطرية لتحلل ما هو محرّم على بايدن داخلياً في الوقت الراهن بخصوص إطلاق سراح الأموال الإيرانية المجمّدة.

وقد يتوّج ذلك في مسقط لتحضر بريطانيا كشريك فاعل!

إنها حركة «دمج» قرار الدولة الأميركية العميقة المهزومة عالمياً والمنسحبة من منطقتنا بحالة الضعف والهزال الصهيوني وعجزه عن حماية أمنه بنفسه لينبلج عملياً الإعلان عن «مشروع بايدن الإسرائيلي الجديد» من إحدى مدن الملح في منتصف تموز المقبل.

ودائماً على قاعدة «الضرورات تبيح المحظورات» سيبرّر الأميركي كلّ هذا للرأي العام لديه، مع تقديم ضمانات لأيتام ترامب من تل أبيب الى الرياض بأن لا قنبلة نووية ايرانية في الأفق.

ولما كان منسحباً من المنطقة كما فعل مع أفغانستان لذلك سيقول لهم جميعاً :

 تفضلوا قلعوا شوككم بأيديكم وأطلقوا نظام الدفاع الجوي المشترك، وشركاتنا المتعددة الجنسية ستؤمّن لكم كلّ ما تريدون لينتعش مجمع الصناعات الحربية الأميركي بأموال العرب…

واما عن آلية حصول ذلك، فقد أفاد مصدر دبلوماسي متابع للتحركات الجارية، بما يلي:

أولا ـ انّ الهدف الأساسي للرئيس الأميركي، من زيارته المقبلة للشرق الأوسط، هو إعادة ترتيب المنطقة من جديد، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً، وهو الأمر الذي يستدعي جعل إيران جزءاً لا يتجزأ من هذه الترتيبات الجديدة .

ثُانيا ـ يرى بايدن أنّ العودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران هي الخطوة الأساسية لإنجاح مشروعه.

وعليه فإنّ هدف الرئيس الأميركي من وراء سعيه لدمج إيران، في مشروع إعادة صياغة الشرق الاوسط، يتمثل في ما يلي:

أ ـ تهدئة خواطر الدول الخليجية وطمأنتها على أمنها في المستقبل .

ب ـ ضبط إيقاع إيران في الشرق الأوسط مستقبلاً، من خلال تقديم إغراءات اقتصادية وتجارية لها، في إطار مشروع الدمج المُشار إليه أعلاه.

ثالثا ـ يرى بايدن انّ أمام إيران خيارين هما:

أ ـ أن تكون جزءاً من هذه الترتيبات المستقبلية.

ب ـ أو تواجه التحدي العسكري من الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها.

رابعا ـ يعتبر الرئيس الأميركي انّ معيار نجاح زيارته للشرق الأوسط هو نجاحه في العودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والاتفاق معها على الترتيبات المستقبلية، لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط، من خلال تفاهمات ثنائية، بينها وبين واشنطن، خارج الاتفاق النووي.

خامسا ـ اما بخصوص الترتيبات العسكرية، التي يريد بايدن العمل على الشروع بتنفيذها، بين الدول العربية و»إسرائيل»، فإنّ مواقف الأطراف المعنية بهذا المشروع، هي مواقف متباعدة وليس من السهل حشدها لقبول التنفيذ.

سادسا ـ إذ انّ دولة الإمارات العربية مثلاً الدولة الأكثر اندفاعاً للمشاركة «الإسرائيلية» في التحالف العسكريّ المقترح من الولايات المتحدة لمواجهة إيران.

 بينما ترفض كلٌّ من مصر والكويت وعُمان الدخول في تحالف معادٍ لإيران وذلك لأنها لا ترى انّ إيران تشكل ايّ تهديد لأمن هذه الدول او لمصالحها العربية والاقليمية .

سابعا ـ وفي إطار موقفها، من إنشاء تحالف عسكري ضدّ إيران في الشرق الأوسط، فإنّ الإمارات و»إسرائيل» تنويان البدء بإقامة قواعد الإنذار «الإسرائيلي» المبكر في الإمارات بعد انتهاء زيارة بايدن مباشرة.

علماً انّ الجهات «الإسرائيلية» المعنية قد انتهت من نقل المعدات والتجهيزات العسكرية اللازمة لذلك الى الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

كما انّ الخبراء العسكريين «الإسرائيليين» والفنيين والمهندسين، التابعين لشركات الصناعات الجوية «الإسرائيلية»، موجودون أيضاً في الإمارات ويقومون بتنفيذ الترتيبات التحضيرية لإقامة تلك القواعد.

ويمكرون ويمكر الله، والله خير الماكرين.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program to begin on Tuesday in Qatar – Reports

27 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry revealed that JCPOA talks would resume on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program will begin on Tuesday in Qatar, according to the IRNA news agency, citing an Iranian Foreign Ministry source.
 
“Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar,” the source told IRNA.

Since 2018, when then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread.

Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to return to the agreement, saying it is the best way forward with the Islamic republic, it has expressed growing pessimism in recent weeks.

The talks, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, will take place “in an Arabian Gulf country in the coming days, later this week” and will focus on the lifting of US sanctions.

Separately, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, citing an unnamed foreign ministry source, that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri would visit Qatar on Tuesday for “negotiations on lifting sanctions,” and that the US-Iran indirect talks would take place there.

A State Department spokesperson in Washington confirmed that the talks would take place this week in the Gulf.

“We are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Khatibzadeh voiced hope for “positive results” from the talks.

Exclusive: Qatar may host indirect talks between Washington and Iran

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, A media advisor to the Iranian nuclear team, said earlier to Al Mayadeen on Monday, that Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States regarding reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Speaking with Al Mayadeen, Marandi stated that Qatar is one of the options offered to host indirect negotiations between Iran and the US.

During EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Brussels are discussing the location for the coming JCPOA talks.

According to reports, Borrell had stated that Vienna would not host the next talks. “Talks between Iran, the United States, and European Union will not take place in Vienna because talks will not happen in US+P4+1 format,” Borrell said.

He explained that the negotiations will be held in the coming days and that they will be similar to the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US in Vienna.

أوروبا دخلت الحرب على التوقيت الأميركيّ فهل تخرج أميركا منها على التوقيت الأوروبيّ؟

 الإثنين 27 حزيران 2022

ناصر قنديل

لم يكن التصعيد الأميركي الأوروبي بوجه إيران وصولاً الى تعليق المفاوضات في فيينا بشروط تعجيزية، واعتماد إجراءات عدائية عبر الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، معزولاً عن النظرة الأميركية الأوروبية لمفهوم الحرب الواحدة ضد روسيا والصين وإيران، بعد فشل محاولات الفصل بين الملفات، واحتواء أو إغراء أو ترهيب أي من اطراف المثلث الآسيوي الصاعد وصولاً الى تفكيك الحلف الثلاثي الذي يهدد الهيمنة الغربية. ومثل خط الصعود كان خط النزول، فالمبادرة الأوروبية المنسقة أميركياً نحو استئناف المسار التفاوضي بأفكار إيجابية مع إيران، هي تعبير شامل عن الخلاصات التي رسمتها موازين القوى، سواء في جبهة المواجهة مع روسيا أو مع الصين أو مع إيران.

يتباهى الرئيس الأميركي بأنه أسقط 30 سنة من الاستثمار الروسي على العلاقات المميزة مع أوروبا، وأثبت مناعة التحالف الأميركي الأوروبي، ودرجة تماسك حلف الناتو، لكنه لا يستطيع أن يتجاهل أن هذا الإنجاز الذي تجلى بنجاح أميركا في جر أوروبا وراءها وبتوقيتها لدخول الحرب الأوكرانية في مواجهة روسيا، يبقى مؤقتاً طالما أن الحفاظ على هذا التماسك الأميركي الأوروبي يستدعي ضبط إيقاع الخطوات الأميركية على حجم قدرة أوروبا على السير، وطالما أن الاستثمار الروسي على العلاقة مع أوروبا لم يكن حملة علاقات عامة، بل انطلاقاً من حقائق تفرضها الجغرافيا الاقتصادية وفي طليعتها حقيقة أن روسيا القريبة هي أفضل مورد للغاز والنفط لأوروبا، من زاوية المصلحة الأوروبية، وأن النجاح الأميركي أوروبياً مشروط بأحد أمرين: الأول هو الفوز برهان إسقاط روسيا بالضربة المالية القاضية عبر العقوبات، التي صمّمت لدفع الاقتصاد والنظام المالي في روسيا للانهيار، ما يضمن نهاية سريعة للحرب التي لا يمكن الرهان على الجانب العسكري الصرف للفوز بها، وعند الانهيار المالي الروسي يتحقق الخضوع الروسي للشروط الأميركية الأوروبية، كما كانت تقول الخطة المفترضة. والثاني هو النجاح بتأمين بدائل كافية وبأسعار معقولة توفر الطاقة لأوروبا، وجدول زمني مناسب مع تزامن الخروج من مصادر الطاقة الروسية، وعندها تتحضّر أوروبا للتأقلم مع حرب طويلة تستطيع تحمل تداعياتها.

فشل الرهانان الأميركيان، رغم سلاسة الانصياع الأوروبي، واقتربت ساعة الحقيقة، فقد شرعت روسيا بوقف ضخ الغاز، والمخزونات الأوروبية لا تكفي للحد الأدنى من حاجات ومتطلبات الشتاء المقبل، وقد امتلأت الغابات الأوروبية بالعائلات تحول أشجارها الى حطب، واستبدلت في البيوت تجهيزات التدفئة على الغاز بتلك القديمة على الحطب، وعاد الفحم الحجري رغم نسب التلوث المرتفعة التي يتسبّب بها للدخول على الكثير من أوجه الاستخدام الصناعي، والحديث على أعلى المستويات عن تناوب المصانع الكبرى على يومين للعمل في الأسبوع وإقفال صناعات لا تحتاج الأسواق الداخلية منتوجاتها المخصصة للتصدير ويمكن الاستغناء عنها، وبلغ ارتفاع الأسعار نسباً متصاعدة، تتراوح بين 50% و100%، وهي مرشحة للتزايد، ومعها الاضطرابات الاجتماعية والسياسيّة المقبلة، وأول المؤشرات جاءت من الانتخابات الفرنسية.

بالتوازي كشفت كل الاتصالات والمحاولات التجارية والسياسية لتأمين الغاز من مصادر أخرى أن سقف المتاح لا يغطي أكثر من 30% من حجم الغاز الروسي لأوروبا، 10% من أميركا بضعف السعر الرائج، و10% من قطر والجزائر، لكن بعد العام 2024، و10% من غاز شرق المتوسط، ودونه تعقيدات سياسية وأمنية، كحال الغاز المفروض استخراجه وضخه من بحر عكا والمرتبط بمستقبل ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع لبنان، وأمن الاستجرار عبر المتوسط، وكلها بأكلاف عالية والحاجة لاستثمارات ضخمة، وانتظار لشهور او سنوات، بينما لم يعد موضع نقاش أي رهان على تهاوي الاقتصاد الروسي او انهيار النظام المالي للنقد الروسي، فسعر صرف الروبل الذي استعاد مكانته بعد اهتزاز لم يدم لأكثر من ثلاثة ايام، يحقق ارباحاً تتخطى الـ 50% بالقياس لسعره قبل الحرب، عاكساً نهضة اقتصادية داخلية ونمواً متزايداً في قطاعات جديدة وفرتها عملية تشغيل البنى التحتية لمنشآت الشركات الغربية التي غادرت الأسواق الروسية بفعل العقوبات.

ساعة الحقيقة الأميركية هي الاختيار بين المضي قدماً في خيار المواجهة دون أوروبا، التي بدأت علامات الإعياء والإنهاك تظهر عليها، وبدأت الانقسامات تهدد وحدتها، وصارت فرضية انسحاب تدريجيّ لدولها من خيار المواجهة مطروحة على الطاولة. وهذا يعني فقدان زخم المواجهة، في لحظة تعاني هذه المواجهة أصلاً من العجز عن تحقيق تقدم، سواء في المسار العسكري، أو في المسار الاقتصادي، والانفصال الأميركي عن أوروبا يعني منح روسيا ربحاً استراتيجياً بتلقف هذه التشققات الأوروبية والتعامل معها، وتخلي الأميركي عما تباهى به من الحفاظ على تماسك أميركا وأوروبا معا، أو القبول باعتبار الحفاظ على الوحدة مع أوروبا يبقى الأمر الأهم في أولويات المرحلة المقبلة، وهذا يعني أنه كما دخلت أوروبا الحرب على التوقيت الأميركي، فقد آن أوان أن تبدأ أميركا بالاستعداد للخروج منها على التوقيت الأوروبي.

الاستجابة الأميركية للدعوة الأوروبية للعودة الى مسار التفاوض لإنقاذ الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وقبول تقديم ما يوصف بالتنازلات المؤلمة لتحقيق هذا الهدف، هي تعبير عن مسار سيتكرر على الجبهة الأوكرانية بحديث مواز عن تنازلات مؤلمة على الغرب وأوكرانيا تقديمها، تحت شعار دفع خطر المجاعة عن البشرية، وقد بدأ الترويج لهذا الشعار تمهيداً لنقلات دراماتيكية في مسار الحرب الأوكرانية، والحملة البريطانية التحذيرية من إذلال أوكرانيا ليست إلا استباق لهذا المسار المقبل.

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Iran After Strong, Sustainable Deal in JCPOA Talks: Shamkhani

June, 26, 2022

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reaffirmed Tehran’s push for a strong, sustainable and reliable agreement in the talks for saving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the anti-Iranian sanctions.

In a meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, held in Tehran on Saturday, Shamkhani slammed Europe’s inaction and the US’s lack of commitment to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Iran’s remedial measures in the nuclear sector are merely a legal and rational reaction to US unilateralism and Europe’s inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices persist,” he stated.

Shamkhani noted that the illegal withdrawal of the US from the HCPOA has caused the Iranian nation to lose trust in the West and Washington.

“We have fulfilled all our commitments under the JCPOA and have never left the negotiating table and we are still looking for a strong, lasting and reliable agreement,” the top security official said.

Shamkhani emphasized that the removal of illegal sanctions and full and lasting realization of the economic benefits of the JCPOA are Iran’s main objectives in engaging in the talks with the P4+1 group of countries.

“Iran does not favor an agreement that fails to meet the two above-mentioned principles in providing a reliable guarantee from the US and Europe,” he said.

He emphasized that the participants in the Vienna talks failed to reach a final agreement on the JCPOA revival because of the US’ contradictory behavior and its sticking to threats and sanctions.

“The language of force cannot be used in addressing a country that has overcome the most difficult conditions of sanctions with vigorous resistance and the sympathy and support of its people,” the SNSC secretary said, Press TV reported.

The senior EU diplomat, for his part, said the possible JCPOA revival under the current global circumstances can be regarded as a very important security achievement in the international system.

Borrell criticized Trump for pulling the United States out of the multilateral agreement and said all the parties to the JCPOA must look ahead to the future to reach a good final deal.

Pointing to his talks with US officials before traveling to Tehran, he added that the administration of Joe Biden is keen to reach an agreement on the JCPOA revival.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US president Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump unleashed what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

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Sergey Lavrov’s Presser at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

June 24, 2022

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tehran, June 23, 2022

Ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to thank my colleague, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for the hospitality extended to me and my delegation from the first minutes of my stay on Iranian soil.

Yesterday’s detailed conversation with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi and today’s long talks have confirmed both countries’ focus on deepening cooperation in all areas in accordance with the agreements reached by our leaders. I am referring to Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Russia in January 2022 and his subsequent telephone conversations with President Vladimir Putin. The last call took place on June 8.

The presidents are unanimous that relations between Russia and Iran have reached the highest point in their history. At the same time, there is significant untapped potential for further advancement in our partnership. To this end, work is now underway on a new and comprehensive “big interstate treaty,” initiated by the President of Iran. Some time ago, Russia submitted its proposals and additions to the Iranian initiative to Tehran. Today we agreed that experts should coordinate this important document as soon as possible because it will determine the prospects for our strategic cooperation for the next two decades.

Particular attention during the talks was paid to trade and economic issues, investment, and the need to expand bilateral relations in a situation where the United States and its “satellites” are using illegal sanctions to hinder our countries’ progressive development and the interaction between Russia and Iran, as well as with other countries that reject diktat and refuse to follow Washington’s orders. Despite this discriminatory policy, trade between Russia and Iran showed a record growth of over 80 percent in 2021, exceeding $4 billion for the first time. This trend continued into 2022. We will do everything we can to support it.

A Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak visited Tehran at the end of May to promote economic cooperation. The delegation included representatives from the relevant ministries and agencies, the heads of Russian regions that cooperate with Iran, and business representatives. They met with their Iranian counterparts to discuss purely practical issues of expanding cooperation, outlining action plans for such areas as energy, transport, agriculture, finance, banking, and customs. At this point, these ambitious goals are being considered at the level of relevant experts.

We highlighted success in implementing our flagship projects, including  the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (the second and third units being under construction), the Sirik Thermal Power Plant that is being built with the state loans issued by the Russian Federation and a project to upgrade a railway section.

Just last week, a panel discussion dedicated to the Russian-Iranian business dialogue took place as part of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. A meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation will be held soon. As we agreed today, the foreign ministries of Russia and Iran will continue to provide political and diplomatic support to all joint economic undertakings every step of the way.

In this context, Russia has been facilitating the Iran-EAEU negotiating process that started out in 2021 to develop a free trade agreement. The working group in question will meet in Isfahan in early July.

We talked about fortifying the contractual and legal framework. Hossain Amir-Abdollahian mentioned an agreement on international cybersecurity and an agreement on creating cultural centres in our countries.

We also mentioned the importance of moving forward with drafting an agreement on cooperation in geological exploration and oil and gas production, as well as with ratifying the existing agreement on scientific and technical cooperation between our countries.

We discussed international issues in depth. We stand together in rejecting the concept of the rules-based order that is pushed forward by the United States and its satellites. This concept is designed for use as a substitute for international law and the UN Charter’s basic principles, primarily the principle of sovereign equality of states. Everything that the United States and its allies are doing in the international arena flat-out undermines this fundamental UN principle. Iran and Russia condemn the untenable practice of unilateral illegal sanctions that are imposed contrary to the UN Charter and need to be opposed by all independent members of the international community.

To this end, the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations was established which, among others, includes Iran and Russia and has more than 20 members. I’m sure the group will expand.

On behalf of the Russian Federation, we welcome the official process for Iran joining the SCO as a full member which was launched in 2021. A memorandum will be signed at a SCO summit to be held in Samarkand in September that will clearly lay out the legal scope and timeframe for this process. It should not take long.

We are convinced that Tehran will make a significant contribution to strengthening the SCO as one of the key centres of the emerging multipolar order.

We discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action designed to settle matters related to the Iranian nuclear programme. In conjunction with other nations that signed this plan, we have been striving for a long time now to correct the mistake made by the United States. Washington withdrew from this deal and from the corresponding UN Security Council resolution, once again trampling upon its commitments under international law. We will push for the JCPOA to be restored in its original configuration, the way it was approved in 2015 by a UN Security Council resolution, without exceptions or additions, to make sure that the illegal sanctions on Iran that are inconsistent with the JCPOA are lifted. We hope Washington will make a rational choice, although we cannot fully rely on that.

We spoke about our cooperation on a Syrian settlement, primarily in the Astana format that includes Russia, Iran and Turkey. We highly rated the regular session in this format which took place in the capital of Kazakhstan in early June of this year. We agreed to continue coordinating our efforts to achieve the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, resolve humanitarian problems in Syria and encourage the international community to start practical work on restoring the infrastructure, preparing for the return of refugees and in general, ensuring the country’s return to normal life.

Iran and the Russian Federation are doing much in this area, helping to implement relevant projects on the ground in the Syrian Arab Republic. Unfortunately, the majority of the Western members of the international community are doing everything to delay fulfilment of the requirements of this resolution and impede the efforts of international organisations to this end, primarily the relevant UN agencies. This politicised course of action prevents the settlement of problems in Syria and, zooming out, in the Middle East and North Africa.

Russia and Iran have a common position on the need to resume direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis with a view to implementing all decisions of the international community, including the creation of the State of Palestine and the OIC-approved Arab Peace Initiative. We will uphold this position in the UN and closely cooperate with the OIC and the Arab League.

We talked about the developments in the South Caucasus, Afghanistan and Yemen. Russia and Iran have many opportunities to use their influence and contacts with a view to achieving a durable settlement and normalisation.

We reaffirmed our commitment to facilitate stabilisation in the Persian Gulf. As you know, Russia has introduced and continues promoting a concept for collective security in this important part of the world. We are willing to help promote dialogue between the Arab countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We are members of the Caspian Five. Next week, the Caspian states will meet for a summit in Ashgabat. We coordinated our preparations for this important event.

Talking yesterday with President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi and today with Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, we described in detail the current developments in and around Ukraine. We thanked our Iranian friends for their entirely correct understanding of the events. Above all, they realise that during the past decade our US-led Western colleagues have been trying to turn Ukraine into a bridgehead for threatening and “deterring” Russia, in part, by developing Ukraine’s territory militarily. We repeatedly sought to engage with the West on this matter. All our concerns have been ignored. President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials explained many times that Russia simply did not have another choice but to ensure the interests of Donbass and its Russian residents in the face of a threat from the increasingly aggressive neo-Nazi regime that took power in Kiev after the anti-Constitutional coup d’etat. The Kiev authorities and those who put them in power and continue supporting officially refuted all our attempts to achieve the implementation of the Minsk agreements that were approved by the UN Security Council.

We are convinced that an overwhelming majority of the world’s countries understand the current situation. The Americans are trying to impose a “rules-based order” on all others. This concept is designed to subordinate the security of all countries to the interests of the Western world and ensure the total, “eternal” domination of Washington and its allies. Understandably, this concept goes against the entire historical process and the objective trend towards forming a multipolar world order under which countries, with their independence and self-worth intact, will uphold their interests in conformity with the principles of the UN Charter. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation are among these countries.

Question: Given the constructive role played by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in the negotiations, they have managed to reach a sustainable agreement on the JCPOA. We see the current sabotage by the United States through the imposition of new sanctions and anti-Iranian resolutions. They are slowing down the process. What is your assessment of Washington’s destructive policy of slowing down the JCPOA negotiating process?

Sergey Lavrov: Not only on the JCPOA, but on virtually every issue on the international agenda, the United States is totally inconsistent, driven by short-term considerations, glancing back at the problems in the United States itself and how they can try to distract voters from them.

What the United States is doing in the negotiations to resume the JCPOA is an example of such actions, where the focus is on creating a “picture” designed to reaffirm the unquestioned leadership role of the United States on every issue on the international agenda. Such attempts to put a falsely understood reputation ahead of the merits of the issue are highly risky.

About a year ago, the United States tried to blame us for the fact that an agreement to fully resume the JCPOA was delayed. That was, to put it mildly, untrue. Everybody understands this very well. A year ago, the Russian Federation, like all the other parties to the agreement, reiterated its readiness to resume it in full. Since then, the United States has been single-handedly stalling the agreement. We have once again confirmed to our Iranian friends that we will support in every way possible their position on the need to resume the JCPOA in full, without any exceptions or unacceptable “add-ons”. This includes lifting all illegitimate sanctions.

Question (retranslated from Pashto): How close is Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis to that of Iran? Does the warning to Israel about an attack on Damascus International Airport mean that the positions of Iran and Russia are close on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: We have repeatedly emphasised the need for all countries to strictly fulfil UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that relies on the basic principle of recognising the territorial integrity of the SAR and the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty.

During regular contacts with our Israeli colleagues, we constantly draw their attention to the need to stop violating this resolution and the air space of Syria, not to mention striking at its territory.

To our great regret, the latest incident is serious. It was a strike on a civilian airport, which put it out of service for several weeks and made it impossible to deliver humanitarian cargoes by air.

We sent a relevant note to Israel, emphasising the need for all countries to abide by Resolution 2254. We will continue upholding this position in our contacts with Israel and other countries that are involved in the Syrian settlement process in different ways.

You asked my colleague several questions, including one about the food crisis. I would like to emphasise again that there is no connection whatsoever between the special military operation in Ukraine and the food crisis. This is admitted even by US Government members and representatives of the international organisations dealing with food security. The crisis and the conditions for it were created several years ago. It didn’t start today or yesterday, but a couple of years ago when the Western countries embarked on imprudent, ill-considered, populist fiscal policies. President Vladimir Putin spoke about it in detail. I will not describe them at this point. I would merely stress that the efforts undertaken now by Turkey and the UN Secretary-General would have succeeded long ago if Ukraine and its Western patrons demined Black Sea ports. This issue is clear to any specialist. The attempts to establish an international coalition for these procedures are obviously aimed at interfering in the affairs of the Black Sea region under UN aegis. This is perfectly clear to us. There is no need for any complicated procedures. It is simply necessary to allow the ships locked by the Ukrainians in the mined ports of the Black Sea to leave. The main thing is to clear these ports of mines or provide clear passageways for them.

As for international waters, the Russian Federation guarantees the safe travel of these ships to the Strait of Bosporus. We have an understanding with the Republic of Turkey in this respect.

I will say again that the attempts to make a “worldwide tragedy” out of the amount of grain that remains in Ukraine are not above board. Everyone knows that this grain amounts to less than one percent of the global production of wheat and other grains.

Now it is important to compel the Ukrainians to let out the foreign ships that are being held hostage there. There is no need to turn this problem into a diversion to conceal the mistakes and failures of the West in its international policy on the food and fertiliser markets.

Question (retranslated from Farsi): A fortnight ago you mentioned a new political package from the US side. A week ago, Mr Zadeh said that “the train has not yet gone off the rails” and you said that in the future there was a possibility that negotiations could be resumed. Has anything changed recently?

Sergey Lavrov: If I understood the translation correctly, cooperation between Russia and Iran in the energy sector has a rich history and good prospects.

As far as bilateral cooperation is concerned, we have always found solutions to the problems that have arisen in this area because of the illegal actions of the United States and its satellites, who are trying to hinder the development of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s energy sector. At the present stage, they are trying to do the same with regard to oil and gas production and transportation in the Russian Federation. Our bilateral plans under consideration today are starting to take concrete form; they are beginning to be implemented. They are aimed at making sure that they do not depend in any way on the unlawful unilateral intervention of anybody else.

I can assure you: there is a reliable plan to work in this way. Together with Iran, we have traditionally worked together in the context of international efforts to stabilise the oil and gas market. There is a complete agreement within the OPEC+ group on the need to safeguard Iran’s interests in its future activities. We will be guided by this.

Question: Israel and the United States have announced a new regional air defence alliance in the Middle East to protect Israel and neighbours from Iranian rockets. How will this affect the Iran nuclear deal? Will Moscow and Tehran intensify military cooperation in this regard?

Sergey Lavrov: We are following statements made by our American colleagues, who are openly declaring their intention to try and forge a bloc between several Arab countries and Israel and target this new group against the Islamic Republic of Iran. I believe too much has already been said about the inconsistency of American foreign policy. I don’t want to repeat myself. But this idea is obviously at odds with their intention to normalise the situation in the region and resume full implementation of the JCPOA, through the efforts of the United States, if they are sincerely interested in this.

We prefer less contradictory arrangements, as compared to those the Americans are now promoting in various regions. Take their idea of ​​the Indo-Pacific. It runs counter to every universal format that has developed over the years around ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific region. Those formats included the US, Russia, China, Australia, India, Japan and Korea. It was a process whereby all interests, primarily those of the regional players and their partners, were brought to a common denominator. Instead, having disrupted all the bodies created under the auspices of ASEAN, the Americans are promoting conflict-generating, divisive formats, without hiding that their policy is aimed at restraining China and isolating Russia.

The same logic is evident in the initiative to create an air and missile defence system in the Middle East. This is the logic of division and confrontation. We prefer unifying logic. The underlying principle of our initiative to build a collective security system in the Persian Gulf region is unification. The system we propose should provide a framework for the Arab countries to establish a dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran, work out joint measures of confidence and transparency, and take other steps to ensure stabilisation. Our idea is to involve the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the EU, the Arab League, the UN and the OIC to facilitate these processes. This is an example of how we consistently propose resolving any problems through combining efforts and finding a balance of interests.

The example we are now discussing, which involves the US initiative in the Middle East, is not a case of finding a balance of interests; it is a case of planting confrontation, and an attempt to create dividing lines that will be there forever. Needless to say, this is a dead-end position. In any case, in the end, everyone will come to understand the need to return to the underlying principles of the United Nations, such as resolving problems through cooperation, and not through the creation of hostile and aggressive blocs.

BRICS Leaders Vow to Enhance & Expand New Development Bank

23.06.2022

Samizdat 

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa held their 14th annual summit on Thursday virtually. This year, the summit was chaired by China.

BRICS members vowed to widen the Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) on Thursday, following the successful admission of Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uruguay in September 2021.

“We look forward to further membership expansion in a gradual and balanced manner in terms of geographic representation and comprising of both developed and developing countries, to enhance the NDB’s international influence as well as the representation and voice of Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs) in global governance,” the 75-point joint declaration released after the summit read.

BRICS has supported the NDB’s goals of attaining the highest possible credit rating and institutional development. The BRICS member nations have also stressed that they have a similar approach to the global economic governance, and their mutual cooperation can make a valuable contribution to the post-Covid economic recovery.

Geopolitical Concerns

Leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Eastern Europe, recalling their national positions at different global forums, including the United Nations’ Security Council and General Assembly.

“We support talks between Russia and Ukraine. We have also discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine,” the joint declaration said.

Amid border tensions between India and China, the leaders committed to “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States,” stressing the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation.

The BRICS countries – which represent 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 percent of worldwide trade – further reiterated the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means as per international law. They stressed the importance of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2015. The stand-off between Iran and western nations continues following the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.

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