Imam Khamenei’s Adviser: Snapback Mechanism Piece of US Propaganda

Imam Khamenei’s Adviser: Snapback Mechanism Piece of US Propaganda

By Staff, Agencies

Washington’s push to trigger the snapback mechanism of the JCPOA for re-imposing sanctions on Iran is nothing but an attempt to attract the American public attention as part of a propaganda game, Adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati said.

In an interview with Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Velayati slammed the hype over the so-called snapback mechanism of the 2015 nuclear deal as a propaganda game.

Pointing to the US administration’s attempts to attract the public opinion after Donald Trump’s plummeting poll numbers, the member of the Iranian team of JCPOA observers lashed out at the US for reneging on the nuclear deal and refusing to lift the sanctions.

“A one-sided JCPOA has no validity,” Velayati added.

Asked about Iran’s reaction to a possible activation of the snapback mechanism, he said the US, which has already withdrawn from the deal, has no right to make any comment or trigger the mechanism.

On the expectations that Joe Biden would win the US presidential election, Velayati said the weakest diplomacy taken by a country is to pin hopes on the fate of other states, stressing that the Iranian authorities do not care who the next US president will be.

Last month, 13 countries of the 15-member council rejected the US push to trigger the snapback provision in the 2015 nuclear deal, leaving Washington isolated on the issue.

UNSC Resolution 2231, which enshrined the JCPOA, states that if no council member has put forward a draft resolution to extend sanctions relief on Iran within 10 days of a non-compliance complaint, then the body’s president shall do so within the remaining 20 days.

The document, however, says the Security Council would “take into account the views of the states involved.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that all UN sanctions against Iran will be reinstated on September 20 after the US “activated the snapback mechanism.”

However, the claim was strongly condemned by other signatories of the nuclear deal including the EU, Russia and China.

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

By Marwa Osman

Beirut – On March 22, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Beirut threatening the Lebanese by giving them two options: either confront Hezbollah or pay the price. What Pompeo said eight months ago was repeated by former US ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, before Congress. What he meant was that the Lebanese had two options: either to adhere to Washington’s policies, or to collapse. Washington’s policies also mean standing up to Hezbollah [in his testimony, Feltman repeated the word Hezbollah’s 49 times], weakening his allies in any future elections, and forming a technocratic government.

Jeffrey Felmann presented his vision of the situation in Lebanon. “What happens is related to American interests,” he said. The mobility in Congress seemed remarkable, as the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism [a branch of the House Foreign Affairs Committee] met in a session entitled:

“What is next for Lebanon?

The demonstrations, that the US is so interested in, has been taking place in Lebanon since October 17, are according to Feltman “not about the United States”. Feltman cautioned that it is necessary for his country to avoid turning the focal point of the protests against the US, because the outcome of what is happening will affect Washington’s interests, whether positive or negative, “in what could be a pivotal moment in the history of Lebanon.”

Over the years, many have been surprised by Lebanon’s amazing ability to stay afloat. Remaining intact politically and economically, amid circumstances suggesting an imminent collapse. Feltman pointed out that predictions of Lebanon’s fate often proved wrong. This time, however, it seems different. Lebanon’s internal and external debt management is not only increasingly complex in a stagnated economy, but the public is exhausted and angry at the sectarian rhetoric and lame excuses used by political leaders to advance their narrow political and financial interests. As a result, the Lebanese political system as a whole is subject to hostile public scrutiny, and Hezbollah, according to Feltman, is only the target of such scrutiny.

Feltman’s preposterous propaganda was not surprising, given Pompeo concluded his visit last March by seemingly encouraging an uprising against Hezbollah when he said,

“It will take courage for the nation of Lebanon to stand up to Hezbollah’s criminality, terror, and threats.”

Pompeo’s threat was clear: If Lebanon fails to limit Hezbollah’s political and military power, it would risk not just losing US aid but also a more severe response, possibly in the form of debilitating national sanctions.

Pompeo attacked the Lebanese Resistance for carrying out “Iran’s agenda” in the region at the expense of Lebanon’s domestic order and “the prosperity of future generations.” However, what the secretary of state fails to comprehend is that if the United States follows through on this plan to inflict collective punishment on Lebanon over Hezbollah, the results are likely to be the opposite of what administration officials intend.

Hezbollah’s allies inside Lebanon are today ever more defensiveness towards the party to a point that it seems US officials have completely misunderstood our internal political system. Pompeo, Feltman and whoever is hoping to damage Hezbollah with these protests, has completely missed the fact that Lebanon’s sectarian political system forbids treating Hezbollah, which has a parliamentary faction legitimately elected into office, as an illegal entity. US officials and their regional and local affiliates seem to have missed that the military power of Hezbollah, with its Iranian weapons and training that no one is denying, is superior to that of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It has successfully branded itself to the Lebanese public as capable of standing up to Israel in ways that the Lebanese army manifestly cannot.

Even Lebanese officials critical of Hezbollah dismissed Pompeo’s calls to directly challenge the group, warning that were they to follow his advice, the country could descend into a second civil war. That assessment may be overly exaggerated. The United States, however, is undoubtedly risking Lebanon’s basic stability in ways that may ultimately benefit Hezbollah rather than harm it.

The United States, which has already imposed sanctions against Hezbollah leaders and Hezbollah-affiliated businesses, hopes to step up pressure on the Shia community, could now risk facing resistance even from the US’s local allies, who fear that pushing too hard could trigger a backlash and endanger the tiny country’s fragile peace.

President Aoun, Hezbollah’s biggest ally in Lebanon, has repeated on many occasions that the country’s priority is to preserve national unity and peace while affirming especially during his latest TV interview last week that

“Hezbollah is a Lebanese party that has a popular base representing one of the main [religious] sects in the country.”

It simply now seems that the American efforts to weaken and isolate Hezbollah might have only succeeded in creating countless practical problems for the party that it can outmaneuver in simple steps but did nothing to accomplish the fundamental United States goal of containing Hezbollah politically and militarily.

Meanwhile, lasting effect of US policy is yet to be seen. However, even when we have the likes of Pompeo and Feltman believing the US should adopt a more nuanced approach towards Hezbollah, it is only normal fathom that the United States has limited power to coerce actions from Lebanese politicians and institutions. The question the Trump administration should be asking is whether sweeping sanctions against the Lebanese government and institutions would weaken Hezbollah or rather strengthen it in the longer run.

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Powerful Iraqi group says they will remain part of ‘axis of resistance’ despite foreign pressure

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 A.M.) – The Secretary-General of Harakat Al-Nujaba, Akram al-Kaabi, said last week that Iraq will remain part of the “axis of resistance” despite foreign-led initiatives to detach the Iraqi society from the regional developments.

“Our enemies want Iraq to be an apathetic society and not react to what is happening in our region. This goes against our beliefs,” al-Kaabi stated, as Press TV reported.

Al-Kaabi stressed that based on Islamic beliefs, Iraq cannot be separated from the greater Muslim world and the regional “resistance axis”.

“Major organizations affiliated with the Zionists, the United States and the Saudis are managing a media war against the resistance and are seeking to target our youth and our moral values,” he added.

The Harakat Al-Nujaba chief added that it was unfortunate that some of Iraq’s elites and leaders had been influenced by this foreign-backed trend.

“If our positions are based on the enemy’s media objectives, this will surely deviate us,” he noted.

Al-Kaabi made these comments shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad to discuss the ongoing situation with Iran.

In addition to being one of the most powerful paramilitaries in Iraq, Harakat Al-Nujaba is also a close ally to Iran. They have both fought alongside one another inside Iraq and Syria.

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What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about

May 15, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk aboutRussia is uneasy over the destabilizatihttp://by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permissionon of Tehran, and on other hotspots the powers’ positions are clear.

Even veiled by thick layers of diplomatic fog, the overlapping meetings in Sochi between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov still offer tantalizing geopolitical nuggets.

Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov did his best to smooth the utterly intractable, admitting there was “no breakthrough yet” during the talks but at least the US “demonstrated a constructive approach.”

Putin told Pompeo that after his 90-minute phone call with Trump, initiated by the White House, and described by Ushakov as “very good,” the Russian president “got the impression that the [US] president was inclined to re-establish Russian-American relations and contacts to resolve together the issues that are of mutual interest to us.”

That would imply a Russiagate closure. Putin told Pompeo, in no uncertain terms, that Moscow never interfered in the US elections, and that the Mueller report proved that there was no connection between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

This adds to the fact Russiagate has been consistently debunked by the best independent American investigators such as the VIPS group.   

‘Interesting’ talk on Iran

Let’s briefly review what became public of the discussions on multiple (hot and cold) conflict fronts – Venezuela, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran.

Venezuela – Ushakov reiterated the Kremlin’s position: “Any steps that may provoke a civil war in the country are inadmissible.” The future of President Maduro was apparently not part of the discussion.

That brings to mind the recent Arctic Council summit. Both Lavrov and Pompeo were there. Here’s a significant exchange:

Lavrov: I believe you don’t represent the South American region, do you?

Pompeo: We represent the entire hemisphere.

Lavrov: Oh, the hemisphere. Then what’s the US doing in the Eastern Hemisphere, in Ukraine, for instance?

There was no response from Pompeo.

North Korea – Even acknowledging that the Trump administration is “generally ready to continue working [with Pyongyang] despite the stalemate at the last meeting, Ushakov again reiterated the Kremlin’s position: Pyongyang will not give in to “any type of pressure,” and North Korea wants “a respectful approach” and international security guarantees.

Afghanistan – Ushakov noted Moscow is very much aware that the Taliban are getting stronger. So the only way out is to find a “balance of power.” There was a crucial trilateral in Moscow on April 25 featuring Russia, China and the US, where they all called on the Taliban to start talking with Kabul as soon as possible.

Iran – Ushakov said the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, was “briefly discussed.”.He would only say the discussion was “interesting.”

Talk about a larger than life euphemism. Moscow is extremely uneasy over the possibility of a destabilization of Iran that allows a free transit of jihadis from the Caspian to the Caucasus.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Diplomatic sources – from Russia and Iran – confirm, off the record, there have been secret talks among the three pillars of Eurasian integration – Russia, China and Iran – about Chinese and Russian guarantees in the event the Trump administration’s drive to strangle Tehran to death takes an ominous turn.

This is being discussed at the highest levels in Moscow and Beijing. The bottom line: Russia-China won’t allow Iran to be destroyed.

But it’s quite understandable that Ushakov wouldn’t let that information slip through a mere press briefing.

Wang Yi and other deals

On multiple fronts, what was not disclosed by Ushakov is way more fascinating than what’s now on the record. There’s absolutely no way Russian hypersonic weapons were not also discussed, as well as China’s intermediate-range missiles capable of reaching any US military base encircling or containing China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, third right, meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, center left, in Sochi on 14 May 2019. Photo: AFP / Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service / Anadolu

The real deal was, in fact, not Putin-Pompeo or Pompeo-Lavrov in Sochi. It was actually Lavrov-Wang Yi (the Chinese Foreign Minister), the day before in Moscow.

A US investment banker doing business in Russia told me: “Note how Pompeo ran like mad to Sochi. We are frightened and overstretched.”

Diplomats later remarked: “Pompeo looked solemn afterwards. Lavrov sounded very diplomatic and calm.” It’s no secret in Moscow’s top diplomatic circles that the Chinese Politburo overruled President Xi Jinping’s effort to find an accommodation to Trump’s tariff offensive. The tension was visible in Pompeo’s demeanor.

In terms of substance, it’s remarkable how Lavrov and Wang Yi talked about, literally, everything: Syria, Iran, Venezuela, the Caspian, the Caucasus, New Silk Roads (BRI), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), missiles, nuclear proliferation.

Or as Lavrov diplomatically put it: “In general, Russia-China cooperation is one of the key factors in maintaining the international security and stability, establishing a multipolar world order. . . . Our states cooperate closely in various multilateral organizations, including the UN, G20, SCO, BRICS and RIC [Russia, India, China trilateral forum], we are working on aligning the integration potential of the EAEU and the Belt and Road Initiative, with potentially establishing [a] larger Eurasian partnership.”

The strategic partnership is in sync on Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan – they want a solution brokered by the SCO. And on North Korea, the message could not have been more forceful.

After talking to Wang Yi, Lavrov stressed that contacts between Washington and North Korea “proceeded in conformity with the road map that we had drafted together with China, from confidence restoration measures to further direct contacts.”

This is a frank admission that Pyongyang gets top advice from the Russia-China strategic partnership. And there’s more: “We hope that at a certain point a comprehensive agreement will be achieved on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and on the creation of a system of peace and security in general in Northeast Asia, including concrete firm guarantees of North Korea’s security.”

Translation: Russia and China won’t back down on guaranteeing North Korea’s security. Lavrov said: “Such guarantees will be not easy to provide, but this is an absolutely mandatory part of a future agreement. Russia and China are prepared to work on such guarantees.”

Reset, maybe?

The indomitable Maria Zakharova, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, may have summed it all up. A US-Russia reset may even, eventually, happen. Certainly, it won’t be of the Hillary Clinton kind, especially when current CIA director Gina Haspel is shifting most of the agency’s resources towards Iran and Russia.

Top Russian military analyst Andrei Martyanov was way more scathingRussia won’t break with China, because the US “doesn’t have any more a geopolitical currency to ‘buy’ Russia – she is out of [the] price range for the US.”

That left Ushakov with his brave face, confirming there may be a Trump-Putin meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka next month.

“We can organize a meeting ‘on the go’ with President Trump. Alternatively, we can sit down for a more comprehensive discussion.”

Under the current geopolitical incandescence, that’s the best rational minds can hope for.

 

Lebanon Shows Entire World Pride in Face of US Tyrant

 March 23, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his entorage waiting for President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace

Mohammad Salami

US officials’ visits to the world countries in most of the cases seem to be political raids aimed at imposing certain conditions which serve the interests of Washington and its allies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived on Friday (March 22) in Beirut to convey the Israeli demands and conditions to the Lebanese officials, pertaining the demarcation of the marine borders and the natural resources investments.

Pompeo also wanted to pressure the Lebanese officials against tackling the displaced Syrians file in order to exploit their crisis in the US scheme which targets Damascus.

Pompeo and his entourage started touring the various decision-making centers in Beirut in order to provoke the Lebanese against Hezbollah resistance which has protected the country from the Zionist and the takfiri enemies.

The victorious country decided to show the heavy guest and the entire world how power can never defeat national dignity and pride, blocking the way of the US tyrants’ schemes in Lebanon and the region.

President Michel Aoun coldly shook hands with Pompeo and disregarded his assistant David Hale, stressing during the meeting that Hezbollah is a Lebanese party stemming from a popular base that represents one of the main sects in the country.

Aoun also asked Pompeo for his country’s assistance in the return of the Syrian refugees to the safe areas in Syria, stressing that the refugees’ return operations administered by the General Security will continue.

House Speaker Nabih Berri received Pompeo and highlighted the importance of maintaining stability in Lebanon and the need to deal with the maritime borders issue, including Lebanon’s Special Economic Zone.

Berri also stressed that Hezbollah is a “Lebanese party represented at the parliament and the government. Its resistance and that of the Lebanese are the result of the continued Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory.”

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil explained to pompeo the dangers posed by the issue of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon, asking for US help in this regard and stressing that Hezbollah is a non-terrorist party that has a great popular support.

The US Secretary of State, consequently, failed to impose on the Lebanese officials any of Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s conditions, stating that his talks in Beirut were “negative”.

As coincidences may convey truth more than planned events, Pompeo’s “yellow” necktie says so much about the yellow flag which have been always squeezing the US plots in Lebanon and the whole region.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Charging into Venezuela – Disastrous Overstretch for US

Charging into Venezuela – Disastrous Overstretch for US

MARTIN SIEFF | 24.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Charging into Venezuela – Disastrous Overstretch for US

Are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and (farcically titled) Special Envoy for Restoring Democracy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams agents of influence for Russia and China? The idea has a lot more going for it than most of the ridiculous paranoia sweeping Washington over the past years.

If Russia and China really wanted to subvert the national security of the United States, they would seek to plunge Washington into a completely new, open-ended war with no practical resolution in sight on another continent far away from either of them where the United States itself had absolutely no major strategic interests at all, apart from fantasies of domination and greed.

Such a war would also serve the purpose of burning up an increasing share of the defense budget that otherwise could be spent on modernizing the US armed forces.

Repeated congressional testimony over the past two years by Service chiefs confirms that these forces remain woefully aging and out of date despite record size defense budgets. This is testimony to the incompetence, corruption and sheer wastefulness of the military-industrial-congressional-complex (MICC).

Most of all, such a war would weaken the US armed forces and distract them from what is now supposed to be their primary strategic goal, as set out by the Trump administration itself of focusing on great power competition, primarily with Russia and China.

The sudden obsession with provoking a full-scale military confrontation with Venezuela does not fit this ambitious agenda: Instead it subverts it and guarantees US failure and defeat.

Pompeo and Bolton appear to have successfully sold the Venezuela adventure to President Donald Trump on the grounds of eliminating Russia’s main friendly nation in the Western hemisphere that has hosted flights by Tuploev160 supersonic “White Swan” nuclear strike aircraft, the best strategic bombers in the world.

However, it is clear that Trump was sold a bill of goods and that Bolton and Pompeo are energetically pushing for mission creep to eventually insert major US military forces in Venezuela to topple legitimate President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with the farcical National Assembly Speaker Juan Guiado.

The US Fourth Fleet has been activated in the Caribbean and Bolton has been preparing to deploy thousands of US ground forces in neighboring Columbia – which incidentally continues to pose a far greater threat to US national security by its cocaine production and exports than Venezuela has ever done.

But why are they doing it? Venezuela’s vast oil supplies certainly make a tempting target. But previous US efforts at regime change, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven woefully incompetent in securing control of their victims’ strategic resources, much less organizing them for profit.

The British Empire – which seized and ran Iran’s oil resources for more than 40 years from 1911 to 1953 and Iraq’s from 1918 to 1958 – proved vastly more efficient in its day at arranging such matters.

On the other hand, the recklessness and indeed plain stupidity of charging into Venezuela and risking opening up an endless war in a tropical jungle environment for the first time in half a century since Vietnam ought to be obvious to the National Security Adviser of the United States.

US forces remain overstretched and exhausted, caught up in major unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sucked into highly dangerous commitments in Georgia and Ukraine and the Baltic States any of which could escalate through recklessness or sheer incompetence into global war.

The US armed forces desperately need a time of peace and retrenchment such as they enjoyed under President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s and President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to rest, recover and re-equip themselves. But Bolton, with his usual explosive cocktail combination of recklessness, gambling and hard-charging ignorance is not giving them that.

Bolton and his neocon coconspirators have always narcissistically prided themselves on being strategic “geniuses” much as Wile E Coyote, the endlessly hapless comic buffoon of the classic Warner Brothers Road Runner cartoons always did. Instead, in reality they have always been catastrophic clowns who did not have a clue what they were stumbling into. Venezuela is repeating that classic nightmare pattern.

A quarter of a millennium ago, a real strategic genius King Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Gross) of Prussia cautioned, “He who tries to defend everything defends nothing.”

One hundred and twenty years ago, the masters of the British Empire preserved their far-flung domains by applying the same principle: They settled all their outstanding differences with Russia and Japan in order to focus on the one primary existential threat arising for them with Imperial Germany’s construction of a new High Seas Fleet.

However, Bolton, Pompeo and their minions are deaf to such precedents. They reckon themselves far wiser than old King Frederick or than Winston Churchill, who appealed in vain through the 1930s for Britain to forge an alliance with the Soviet Union and resolve its differences with Italy in order to focus on the one true threat to everyone – Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime in Germany.

Getting involved in Venezuela does much more to weaken US power in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe and the Middle East than anything the governments of Russia, China and Iran combined could come up with, even if they wanted to. It is a classic case of strategic overstretch and dissipation of effort.

Bolton and his friends have become victims of their own rhetoric, drunk on their own mad delusions. They really believe that the United States has become an eternal hyper-power, virtually omnipotent and inexhaustible – able to project limitless power in every direction simultaneously.

Friedrich Nietzsche was right: Those who the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Venezuela, Hezbollah and Iran: The latest hysteria from the US ‘backyard’

Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin magazine.
The US ‘obligation’ to respond to manufactured threats constitutes preemptive justification for yet more pernicious activity
A poster showing Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seen in Beirut in 2006 (AFP)

Speaking on 6 February to Fox Business about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a grave warning about outside interference in the South American nation: “People don’t recognise that Hezbollah has active cells. The Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America.”

The next day, the US Southern Command’s Admiral Craig S Faller informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran “has deepened its anti-US influence campaign in Spanish-language media, and its proxy Lebanese Hezbollah maintains facilitation networks throughout the region that cache weapons and raise funds, often via drug trafficking and money laundering”.

As usual, concerned media took the ball and ran with it.

Sensationalist drivel

In one exemplary piece of sensationalist drivel for Radio Farda – the Persian-language component of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty network (with a website also in English) – Penny L Watson babbled about the threat posed to the US on account of Hezbollah and Iran’s alleged conversion of Venezuela into a base of operations.

As of 2010, she asserted, there were “as many as six terrorist training camps” scattered around the Venezuelan capital of Caracas and Margarita Island off the country’s coast, regularly hyped as a terror hotbed. (I myself incidentally visited the island around that time and didn’t manage to track down a single “terrorist”, despite being in the company of a Lebanese-Palestinian friend who had fought alongside Hezbollah against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.)

We’d be forgiven for perceiving the Caracas-Tehran one-stop as something less than a smoking gun

A New York Post article by Benny Avni, who surmises that “Iran’s clerics” must be “trembl[ing] as they watch their old Caracas allies teeter”, brings up another pet factoid regularly regurgitated by right-wing fearmongers: the possibility of air travel between Venezuela and Iran.

Back in 2009, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon sounded the warningthat “we know that there are flights from Caracas via Damascus to Tehran”. Given that it is also possible to fly with minimal difficulty from Caracas to places like Tel Aviv, however, we’d be forgiven for perceiving the Caracas-Tehran one-stop as something less than a smoking gun.

Renewed onslaught

Other intriguing neo-conservative arguments have over the years included the notion that former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was peeved about the US-facilitated coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in part because “the Iranians had opened a ‘maintenance’ facility in Honduras for… ‘tractors’ produced in Venezuela, in reality a drug transshipment warehouse”.

Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president, Juan Guaido, speaks to the media in Caracas on 4 February (AFP)
Venezuela’s self-proclaimed acting president, Juan Guaido, speaks to the media in Caracas on 4 February (AFP)

In the 2009 Oliver Stone documentary South of the Border, the late Chavez himself appropriately highlights the absurdity of right-wing propaganda by joking, in reference to a Venezuelan corn processing facility: “This is where we build the Iranian atomic bomb.”

Now, the current crisis in Venezuela – rendered ever more acute by US President Donald Trump’s staunch backing of Juan Guaido, who spontaneously proclaimed himself interim president of the country in January, has unleashed a renewed onslaught of Hezbollah-Iran hysteria.

The Insight Crime website, for example, suggests that Hezbollah’s “explicit support” for Nicolas Maduro – who, it bears mentioning, is in fact still the legitimate president of Venezuela – “could be the first step in confirming links between the South American nation’s government, the terrorist organisation and organised crime groups”.

US support for death squads

Among Hezbollah’s criminal allies, we are told, is Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – i.e., the same cartel that was reportedly in cahoots, for an extended period of time, with none other than the US government.

To be sure, it goes without saying that the United States – a country that has for the duration of its contemporary existence been thoroughly implicated in global drug trafficking – is rather unqualified to deploy narcotics related accusations against Hezbollah. Even more so when the accusations don’t hold water.

US continues trafficking in deceit with Hezbollah ‘narcoterrorism’ unit

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It’s also true that, while the Trump administration busies itself portraying Maduro as a uniquely evil oppressor with uniquely evil terrorist allies, the US is the entity that, during the Cold War, contributed to the slaughter of literally hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans, from El Salvadorto Nicaragua to Argentina to Guatemala and beyond, via vicious support for right-wing dictators and death squads.

Hezbollah and Iran naturally boast no such history in the hemisphere. And yet, as with the Soviet menace of the past, they’re the ones that must be demonised at all costs for the crime of challenging US hegemony – and converted into a direct existential threat to the homeland.

Right-wing hallucination

Granted, things are getting especially scary now that, as the ultra-Zionist Clarion Project recently reiterated, “Hezbollah operates two gold mines in Venezuela to fund its terror activities”.

This particular hallucination is admittedly a bit less creative than the “Hezbollah pig farm in Liberia”, which we learned about last year from US Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Nathan Sales.

Additional cause for alarm is provided by Eldad Beck, who in 2012 reported for Israel’s Ynet News about “Hezbollah’s cocaine jihad”. Calculating that Mexico was then “home to some 4,000 Muslims” out of a total population of 115 million, Beck warned that the number was “enough to cause concern in the United States – and Israel should be concerned as well”.

Hezbollah supporters hold images of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in Beirut on 6 February (AFP)
Hezbollah supporters hold images of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in Beirut on 6 February (AFP)

Now, Beck has resurfaced at the Israel Hayom newspaper with an exclusive story, according to which “a senior member of Venezuela’s opposition, which supports interim President Juan Guaido, told Israel Hayom… that the presence of Iran, Hezbollah and other Arab terrorist elements in the country ‘is very concerning’”.

The official is quoted as stating that “Israel can help us establish the necessary apparatuses to contend with this problem when the political change in Venezuela [is] realised”.

Surprise, surprise.

Bring on the imperialism

Over at Foreign Policy, meanwhile, Colin P Clarke argues in a slightly more pessimistic dispatch titled “Hezbollah is in Venezuela to stay”, that the “best-case scenario for Washington could be an ascendant Guaido administration that agrees to combat Hezbollah’s influence – if the new government is willing to accept a US presence in the country to begin training Venezuelan forces in the skills necessary to counter terrorism and transnational organised criminal networks with strong ties to Venezuelan society”.

In other words, bring on the imperialism.

In his interview with Fox Business on Hezbollah and Iran’s alleged machinations in Venezuela and throughout South America, Pompeo declared: “We have an obligation to take down that risk for America”.

But the real risk, of course, is that the “obligation” to respond to manufactured threats constitutes preemptive justification for yet more pernicious US activity worldwide.

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

Sayyed Nasrallah: Hezbollah Stronger than Ever, Warsaw Summit Doomed to Fail

Sayyed Nasrallah: Hezbollah Stronger than Ever, Warsaw Summit Doomed to Fail

Zeinab Essa

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Saturday a speech in which he tackled various international and internal topics.

Addressing thousands of people commemorating Leader Martyrs’ Day, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that the Resistance’s strength has been increasing linearly  on daily basis so that it reached its current power.

“This force did not come without facing difficulties and making sacrifices,” His Eminence stated.

On the event, His Eminence recalled that “Our leaders were strong and never shaken or weaken.”

Back to Sheikh Ragheb Harb martyrdom, he highlighted that late Sheikh Resistance Leader stood firm and refused to shake hands with the Zionists.

“Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi talked about the coming victory despite the environment of surrender and weakness that prevailed at the time,” he said, noting that “Sayyed Abbas believed in the victory of the resistance and the end of the Zionist occupation to Lebanon and was looking forward towards Al-Quds.”

As he emphasized that the United States and “Israel” have done all what they can do all over the years to defeat the Resistance, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the fact that the “Resistance has created equations, entered the era of victories and closed behind it the gate of defeat.”

He further denounced the “takfirist, terrorists and others who are only tools in the American scheme.”

Hailing the current Resistance strength, His Eminence revealed that “in the formation of the Resistance there are 40 axes and each axis possesses more than the resistance had on the eve of 2000 liberation.”

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was correct in his concern that Hezbollah is now stronger than ever,” he added, pointing out that “The US thinks the source of power is in the weapons, or with money, and so the US sanctions Hezbollah to try to limit its power.”

Moreover, Hezbollah Secretary General underscored that “ the secret of our Resistance’s strength is not only in the weapon but in the strength of faith and determination.”

“The “Israeli” talk about invading Southern Lebanon has become worthless and the Zionists do not trust their army today,” he warned, assuring the Lebanese that “the enemies can’t defeat our Resistance as long as we have this determination and strength.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also said:

“We are strong but we keep our humbleness, specifically with the oppressed people who put their hopes on us, as for the thieves, we treat them differently.”

Undermining the US claims of Hezbollah’s presence in Venezuela,  he refuted all the US claims concerning “Hezbollah’s influence and cells in Venezuela.”

“We express our solidarity with Venezuela in face of the American schemes, but the American claims that there’s a Hezbollah influence are funny,” Sayyed Nasrallah clarified.

Back to the “Israelis”, His Eminence sent a sounding message:

“If the “Israelis” have enough information about us, they will become more deterrent.”

“We are strong in the face of the “Israeli” entity  and its army isn’t prepared to wage war against us,” he stressed.

In addition, the Resistance Leader unveiled that

“the “Israelis” have become afraid that Hezbollah enters the Galilee and storms their settlements.”

On the regional scene, Sayyed Nasrallah explained that

“The regional conspiracy scheme  is resembled by the American hegemony, the occupation of “Israel” and the remaining subordinate regimes.”

Citing an important observation about “Israel’s” role as tool of the US Empire, His Eminence said:

  • “Netanyahu thinks the Americans work for him but he works for them, and all the others do too.”

“America gathered in 2011 hundred forty countries to eliminate the regime in Syria but it failed,” he added, warning that “the enemies are trying to rally the world to conspire against the resistance after the failure of their wars to eliminate it.”

In parallel, he stressed that “The lack of preparedness of the “Israeli” army is one of the consequences of its loss in 2006 war on Lebanon and 2014 aggression on Gaza.”

Commenting on Warsaw summit, the Resistance Leader emphasized: “Today they are gathering the world in Warsaw to support Netanyahu, besiege Iran and target the axis of resistance, and this does not frighten us.”

However, he assured: “Today we’re in a much better situation than before. Warsaw conference is fragile and its first aim was targeting the Palestinian cause.”

“ [Abd Rbo Mansor]Hadi’s foreign minister sitting next to [Benjamin] Netanyahu confirms who is behind the battle in Yemen. The aggression on Yemen is an “Israeli”-American war carried out by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.”

Lamenting some Gulf monarchies surrender, His Eminence said: “Bahrain’s foreign minister sitting to Netanyahu’s right shows that the ruling regime is part of the “Israeli”-American structure.”

Revealing the goals of the recent conference, Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say: “the real goals of Warsaw Conference is to erase the Palestinian cause, moving towards normalization and gathering in face of Iran and the resistance.”

“Iran today is stronger than being targeted by any  war,” His Eminence said, noting that “Iran’s response to threats and sanctions was the participation of tens of millions in the 40th anniversary of the Revolution’s  victory .”

He also expressed that the “main concern is over the Palestinian cause and hence the our Islamic people must be aware in the battle against normalization.”

In response, Sayyed Nasrallah uged: “All Arab peoples must return and stand against normalization as the Palestinian people refuse to surrender and normalize.”

On the Syrian front, he announced that “Daesh’s presence in Syria is about to end.”

“Hezbollah was part of the major battle to eliminate Daesh till the Boukmal. The largest area in Syria was liberated by the Syrian army and the allies, including Hezbollah,” His Eminence reiterated, noting that “Who will come out and announce the end of the battle with Desh is the greatest hypocrite in the world Donald Trump.”

According to Hezbollah Secretary General, “ In Lebanon, America was preventing a confrontational with Daesh, and in Iraq, it was America who made Daesh via Trump’s statements.”

Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that “All the evidences confirm that the Americans were a factor in delaying the end of the battle with the Daash and they wanted it to last for many years.”

“This is while Americans created al-Qaeda [terror network] themselves and then claimed to have eliminated it. They emboldened [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein and supplied him with various weapons of mass destruction, and one day got rid of him over allegations that he had developed such munitions,” he highlighted.

On the internal front, Sayyed Nasrallah said that “Iran had frequently expressed eagerness to assist Lebanon, arguing the Beirut government had turned down such offers due to opposition from the US and Saudi Arabia.”

“The lingering power outage in Lebanon is the result of political bickering. Iran could have resolved the matter with its expertise. It is unwise of the Beirut government to think that Iran wants to wrest control over Lebanon,” he stated, calling the “Lebanese government must not let corruption flourish, and must root out the menace. It must act lawfully and courageously, and spend public funds for civil services.”

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Hate Fest In Warsaw

By Eric Margolis

February 16, 2019 “Information Clearing House” -Warsaw, Poland is not a fun place to visit in darkest February, but that is where the US just staged an anti-Iranian jamboree of 60 client states that brought derision and scorn from Europeans and much of the Mideast.

The point of this cynical exercise was to lay the diplomatic groundwork for an anti-Iranian coalition to act as a fig-leaf for an upcoming attack on Iran planned by President Donald Trump and his close ally, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

The real question is who is calling the shots in bleak Warsaw, Trump or Bibi Netanyahu? It seems to many that the Israeli tail is again wagging the American dog.

This is thanks to the power of America’s born-again evangelicals, hoodwinked into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow a key part of the Second Coming of Christ.

A Fox News poll this week finds that a quarter of these credulous folks believe that God actually summoned Donald Trump to become president. This may even be more than the number of Americans who believe that Elvis is still alive. More proof that the Republicans have pretty much become a theological party.

The three horseman of the hard right Republican Apocalypse, Vice president Mike Pence, Insecurity advisor John Bolton, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo (who reportedly keeps an open bible on his desk) joined their voices to the Warsaw jamboree to excoriate Iran for being a ‘sponsor of terrorism,’ and a danger to world peace and stability.

The never understated Bibi Netanyahu, whose nation has at least 100 nuclear weapons, claimed Iran, which has no nukes and feeble armed forces, was planning a ‘second Holocaust’ for Israel.

An over-excited Netanyahu even tweeted that the Warsaw meeting was preparing for `war with Iran.’ He was forced to retract his tweet. But he did get to sit next to the delegate from war-torn Yemen, a stooge put into place by the Saudis and Emiratis whose aggression against Yemen has so far cost hundreds of thousands of lives, mass starvation and epidemics.

This week a newly energized US House of Representatives voted for an end to their nation’s support for the Saudi-led war in the Mideast’s poorest nation. The Senate, still controlled by Republican Crusaders, will be likely to vote down the sensible House proposal.

Another participant at Warsaw was the largest Arab nation, Egypt. This nation just extended the rule of its military dictator, Field Marshall al-Sisi, to 2034. It was Sisi, backed by Saudi money, who overthrew Egypt’s first democratic government in history, killing and jailing thousands.

In a slap in the face to Washington, Europe’s leaders, France, Germany and the European Union government, either refused to attend the Warsaw hate-fest against Iran or sent low-level paper-passers.

Ironically, while Trump’s people were fulminating against Iranian ‘terrorism,’ it was Iran that was the victim of terrorist attacks. An attack from a Pakistan-based Sunni Jaish al-Adl extremist group linked to the CIA killed 27 soldiers and wounded a similar number. Iran has been the target of constant attacks since its 1979 revolution by groups linked to the US, and from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other US regional vassals.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is even a long-term lobbyist for the hyper-violent Marxist Iranian extremist group, the MEK which was even branded a ‘terrorist group’ by the US government.

The Warsaw jamboree was also supposed to set the stage for Trump’s much ballyhooed Mideast ‘peace’ plan. Run by son-in-law Jared Kushner, the full plan is expected to be released in April, right after Israeli elections. It will likely consist of trying to buy off Palestinian land claims with US taxpayer money and some cash from the Saudis. America’s Arab client states in the region will all provide polite applause.

The Warsaw jamboree produced no evident results and left the US even more isolated than before. Europe is moving ahead with a financial mechanism to permit trade with Iran that circumvents US sanctions. US intelligence itself reports that Iran is not working in nuclear weapons. Europe wants to trade with Iran.

America’s anti-Iran campaign has just suffered another blow. This after Washington badly damaged relations with China and Canada over the arrest of the daughter in Vancouver of the founder of Huawei over charges it traded with Iran. Most non-Americans view this as an outrage. But the later-day Crusaders around Trump don’t seem to care that they are damaging America’s reputation and making a mess of its foreign policy.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. ericmargolis.com

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

Trump’s Warsaw ‘Peace’ Conference an Orwellian Parody

Trump’s Warsaw ‘Peace’ Conference an Orwellian Parody

Trump’s Warsaw ‘Peace’ Conference an Orwellian Parody

It was billed as a “peace and security” conference on the Middle East, held in the Polish capital Warsaw this week. The much-vaunted US-led summit was anything but about peace and security in the conflict-ridden region. It was intended as a war summit against Iran.

Even the venue, Warsaw, had an unwitting Orwellian twist to its name. Warsaw? More like War Foresaw.

For several months, the Trump administration had been organizing the “ministerial-level” two-day summit held this week. As it turned out, major powers gave the conference a clunking big miss, knowing full well that the event was a thinly veiled attempt by Washington to organize an “Iran-bashing” summit. How stupid do the Americans think the rest of the world is? They are shameless in their arrogance.

Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Lebanon as well as most European leaders decided to stay away from the venue. This was in spite of the White House sending a high-level delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Also in attendance was Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, best buddy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed, and spectacularly unqualified peace tribune for the Mideast.

The de facto boycott by other powers can be seen as a sign of times of Washington’s diminished role, if not its fraudulent claims of being a diplomatic arbiter.

The reason for the absence of Russia and others was because they knew the American agenda was to drum up international support for antagonizing Iran with intensified economic sanctions. Despite its claims of being a “peace and security” conference, few nations believed that it was anything other than a war summit to galvanize international support or acquiescence for Washington’s obsessive aggression towards Iran.

The fact that the US-led conference in Warsaw was avoided by so many international powers, conspicuously the European Union, shows that Washington’s days of self-proclaimed global leadership are numbered. Washington’s credibility is spent. Indeed grossly in arrears.

The farce is almost beyond words. After decades of illegal warmongering and regime-change machinations in the Middle East, how could Washington expect anyone to take its conference this week on “peace and security” to be taken seriously with a straight face?

Misplaced arrogance or delusion are the only explanations for Washington’s belief that it could organize such a conference – and expect that anyone of significance would attend.

For years, Washington has been swinging a sledgehammer in the region, destroying whole nations, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Libya to Syria, killing millions of civilians with its criminal imperialist wars. Peace and security called for by the United States? Give us a break from the sickening delusional pretense.

President Donald Trump’s unilateral abrogation of the international nuclear accord with Iran last year is testimony to the rogue state nature of the US. Yet, Washington in its arrogance expects others to attend a conference this week on the Middle East and its pejorative depiction of Iran as a rogue state.

It should be noted that while the US tried to rally the conference in Warsaw – and so evidently failed – the leaderships of Russia, Turkey and Iran were gathered in Sochi to continue diplomatic efforts at resolving the war in Syria. Nothing could highlight more the irrelevance and moral bankruptcy of Washington. Its conference in Warsaw aimed at increasing tensions with Iran was largely ignored, meanwhile Russia and others were continuing earnest diplomatic efforts to actually bring about a peace settlement in Syria – a country ravaged by eight years of war largely sponsored covertly by Washington.

Why Warsaw, or rather War Foresaw? Poland has been obsequiously sucking up to Washington over recent years, buying INF-busting American missiles systems and even calling for a new US military base on its territory, proposed, ingratiatingly, with the name ‘Fort Trump’.

The contradictions are choking. Trump is accused by domestic political opponents of being a “Russian stooge” and yet Poland’s anti-Russian government is laying down the red carpet for American militarism under Trump to antagonize Russia.

The farcical US-led Middle East conference could not be held in any self-respecting European country because of the glaring contradiction of Trump’s hostility towards Iran cutting across the European Union’s commitment to upholding the international nuclear accord with Tehran.

Trump’s so-called “peace and security” conference this week was an Orwellian masquerade for drumming up war against Iran. Germany, France and others committed to the nuclear accord knew that they could not possibly host such an absurd event.

The true belligerence underlying the Warsaw conference was betrayed by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who on his way to the venue, bragged that it was about forming a war front against Iran.

The Warsaw summit was thus intended as a war conference against Iran. Fortunately, the event has fizzled into irrelevance due to the absence of Russia and major European powers.

However, it nevertheless shows that Washington is intent on starting another war in the Middle East – against Iran. Its propaganda effort may have misfired this week, but the non-event at least demonstrates the warmongering intent the US harbors towards Iran.

Fortunately, too, it can be averred that Washington’s decades of criminality, duplicity and deception have finally caught up with it. Nobody in their right mind can believe anything that US rulers say – especially in regard to peace and stability for the Middle East. Washington’s every word on the subject is an Orwellian parody.

We’ve seen the west’s approach to Venezuela before – in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on?

Instead of pleading with those who will not support him, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela might want to take a closer look at who his foreign friends are

By Robert Fisk

February 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –    The closest I ever came to Venezuela, many years ago, was a transit connection at Caracas airport. I noticed a lot of soldiers in red berets and a clutch of goons, and it reminded me, vaguely, of the Middle East.

Now, sitting in the rain squalls of the wintry Levant, I flick through my newspaper clippings of our recent local autocrats – Saddam, Assad, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman (you can fill in the rest for yourself) – and I think of Nicolas Maduro.

The comparisons are by no means precise. Indeed, it’s not the nature of the “strongmen” I’m thinking about. It’s our reaction to all these chaps. And there are two obvious parallels: the way in which we sanction and isolate the hated dictator – or love him, as the case may be – and the manner in which we not only name the opposition as the rightful heir to the nation, but demand that democracy be delivered to the people whose torture and struggle for freedom we have suddenly discovered.

And before I forget it, there’s one other common thread in this story. If you suggest that those who want presidential change in Venezuela may be a little too hasty, and our support for – let us say – Juan Guaido might be a bit premature if we don’t want to start a civil war, this means you are “pro-Maduro”

Just as those who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq were “pro-Saddam”, or those who thought the west might pause before it supported the increasingly violent opposition in Syria were labelled “pro-Assad”.

And those who defended Yasser Arafat – over a long period a super-terrorist, a super-diplomat and then a super-terrorist again – against those who would oust him as leader of the Palestinians, were abused as “pro-Arafat”, “pro-Palestinian”, “pro-terrorist” and, inevitably, “anti-Semitic”. I recall how George W Bush warned us after 9/11, that “you are either with us or against us”. The same threat was made to us about Assad.

Erdogan has used it in Turkey (less than three years ago) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump’s US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side … either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU’s support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let’s take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He’s a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west’s policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn’t terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let’s tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west’s simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing “terrorism”, of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt’s savage prison system are “terrorists”, at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi’s top Egyptian cops, there’s a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election.

President Trump sent his “sincere congratulations”. Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising. Oh yes, and Maduro’s last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express, John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The “democracy” bit quickly came unstuck when “loya jurgas”, grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve “Jeffersonian democracy” in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the “terrorist” Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven’t even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

“Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela,” quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he’s not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven’t even mentioned Libya.

This article was originally published by The Independent“-

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

 The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Starving Venezuela into Submission

You are so kind-hearted! I shed a tear thinking of American generosity. “So many delightful goodies: sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits, corn flour, lentils and pasta, arrived at the border of troubled Venezuela – enough for one light meal each for five thousand people”, – reported the news in a sublime reference to five thousand fed by Christ’s fishes and loaves. True, Christ did not take over the bank accounts and did not seize the gold of those he fed. But 21st century Venezuela is a good deal more-prosperous than 1st century Galilee. Nowadays, you have to organise a blockade if you want people to be grateful for your humanitarian aid.

This is not a problem. The US-UK duo did it in Iraq, as marvellous Arundhati Roywrote in April 2003 (in The Guardian of old, before it turned into an imperial tool): After Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged… the blockade and war were followed by… you guessed it! Humanitarian relief. At first, they blocked food supplies worth billions of dollars, and then they delivered 450 tonnes of humanitarian aid and celebrated their generosity for a few days of live TV broadcasts. Iraq had had enough money to buy all the food it needed, but it was blocked, and its people received only some peanuts.

And this was rather humane by American standards. In the 18th century, the British colonists in North America used more drastic methods while dispensing aid to disobedient natives. The Red Indians were expelled from their native places, and then they were provided humanitarian aid: whiskey and blankets. The blankets had been previously used by smallpox patients. The native population of North America was decimated by the ensuing epidemics from this and similar measures. Probably you haven’t heard of this chapter of your history: the USA has many Holocaust museums but not a single memorial to the genocide near home. It is much more fun to discuss faults of Germans and Turks than of your own forefathers.

First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposedby John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) “And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese”. Or, rather, “we could offer to do [that] at the conference table.” Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays.

They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control.

This cruel but efficient method of breaking nations’ spirit has been developed by lion tamers for years, perhaps for centuries. You have to starve the beast until it will take food from your hands and lick your fingers. ‘Starvation-taming’, they call it.

The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by ‘humanitarian aid’. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state.

So in Venezuela they follow an old script. The US and its London poodle seized over 20 billion dollars from Venezuela and from Venezuelan national companies. They stole over a billion in gold ingots Venezuela had trustingly deposited in the cellars of the Bank of England.

Well, they said they will give this money to a Venezuelan Random Dude, rather. To the guy who already promised to give the wealth of Venezuela to the US companies. And after this daylight robbery, they bring a few containers of humanitarian aid to the border and wait for the rush of bereft Venezuelans for food.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”

Venezuelans aren’t starving, even though they are going through difficulties. The biggest noise is made by the wealthy, as always. If Pompeo wants to help Venezuelans, he might lift the sanctions, return the funds, lift the blockade. The biscuits he wants to provide are of but little use.

President Maduro is right when he refuses to let this hypocrisy bribe the stomachs and hearts of his people. It is not just that he remembers his Virgil and knows, Timeo danaos et dona ferentes, “beware gift-bearing Greeks.” There are too many American and Colombian soldiers around the pending delivery place, and this place is suspiciously close to an airport with an extra-long runway suitable for a an airlift.

The US is known for its propensity to invade its neighbours: Panama was invaded in 1989 to keep the Panama Canal in American hands and to roll back the agreement signed by the good-hearted President Jimmy Carter. President George Bush Sr sent his airborne troops in after calling Panama president “a dictator and cocaine smuggler”. This is exactly what President Trump says about Venezuela’s president.

They are likely to use this aid to invade and suborn Venezuela. Wisely, Maduro began large military exercises to prepare the army in case of invasion. The situation of Venezuela is dire enough even without invasion. Their money has been appropriated, their main oil company is as good as confiscated; and there is a strong fifth column waiting for Yankees in Caracas.

This fifth column consists mainly of compradors, well-off young folk with a smattering of Western education and upbringing, who see their future within the framework of the American Empire. They are ready to betray the unwashed masses and invite the US troops in. They are supported by the super-rich, by representatives of foreign companies, by Western secret services. Such people exist everywhere; they tried to organise the Gucci Revolution in Lebanon, the Green Revolution in Iran, the Maidan in the Ukraine. In Russia they had their chance in the winter of 2011/2012 when their Mink-Coat Revolution was played at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Heath.

In Moscow they lost when their opponents, the Russia-First crowd, bettered them by fielding a much-bigger demo at Poklonnaya Hill. The Western news agencies tried to cover the defeat by broadcasting pictures of the Putin-supporters demo and saying it was the pro-Western Heath. Other Western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken in 2012 on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: the mink-coat crowd knew they were licked.

In the Ukraine, they won, for President Yanukovich, a hesitant and pusillanimous man of two minds, failed to gather massive support. It is a big question whether Maduro will be able to mobilise Venezuela-First masses. If he is, he will win the confrontation with the US as well.

Maduro is rather reticent; he hasn’t disciplined unruly oligarchs; he does not control the media; he tries to play a social-democrat game in a country that is not Sweden by long shot. His subsidies have allowed ordinary people to escape dire poverty, but now they are used by black marketeers to siphon off the wealth of the nation. Far from being a disaster zone, Venezuela is a true Bonanza, a real Klondike: you can fill a tanker with petrol for pennies, smuggle it to neighbouring Colombia and sell it for market price. Many supporters of the Random Guy have made small fortunes this way, and they hope to make a large killing if and when the Americans come.

A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can’t produce. Now they can’t buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.

In order to save the economy, Maduro should drain the swamp, end the black market and profiteering, encourage agriculture, tax the rich, develop some industry for local consumption. It can be done. Venezuela is not a socialist state like orderly Cuba, nor a social-democratic one like Sweden and England in 1970s, but even its very modest model of allowing the masses to rise out of misery, poverty and ignorance seems too much for the West.

It is often said there are two antagonists in the West, the Populists and the Globalists, and President Trump is the Populist leader. The Venezuela crisis proved these two forces are united if there is a chance to attack and rob an outsider country. Trump is condemned at home when he calls his troops back from Afghanistan or Syria, but he gains support when he threatens Venezuela or North Korea. He can be sure he will be cheered on by Macron and Merkel and even by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

He has the real WMD, the Weapons of Mass Deception, to attack Venezuela, and these WMD had been activated with the beginning of the creeping coup. When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president, he was immediately recognised by Trump, and the Western media reported that the people of Venezuela went out in mass demos to greet the new president and demand Maduro’s removal.

They beamed videos of huge Caracas demos back to Venezuela. Not many viewers abroad noticed that the video was old, filmed in 2016 demos, but the Venezuelans saw that at once. They weren’t fooled. They knew that there is no chance for a big protest demo on that day, the day of a particularly important baseball game in the professional league between Leones of Caracas and Cardenales de Lara from Barquisimeto.

But the WMD kept lying. Here is a report by Moon of Alabama: the reports of large anti-government rallies are fake news or prophecies hoping to become self-fulfilling ones:

Agence France-Press stated at 11:10 utc yesterday that “tens of thousands” would join a rally.

AFP news agency @AFP – 11:10 utc – 2 Feb 2019

Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Venezuela’s capital #Caracas Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President #Maduro to step down http://u.afp.com/Jouu

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

AFP news agency

@AFP

Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Venezuela’s capital Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President to step down http://u.afp.com/Jouu 

That was at 7:10am local time in Caracas, several hours before the rally took place. Such “predictive reporting” is now supposed to be “news”. A bit later AFP posted a video:

AFP news agency @AFP – 15:50 utc – 2 Feb 2019″>

VIDEO: Thousands of opposition protesters pour onto the streets of Caracas to back Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan #Guaido who is calling for early elections, as international pressure increases on President Nicolas #Maduro to step down

AFP news agency

 

A Venezuelan air force general has rejected the authority of President Nicolas , becoming the highest-ranking military officer to recognize opposition leader Juan as the country’s acting president http://u.afp.com/JobJ 

Venezuelan air force general declares allegiance to Guaido: video

A Venezuelan air force general rejected the authority of President Nicolas Maduro Saturday, becoming the highest-ranking military officer to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s…

news.yahoo.com

AFP news agency

@AFP

VIDEO: 🇻🇪 Thousands of opposition protesters pour onto the streets of Caracas to back Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan who is calling for early elections, as international pressure increases on President Nicolas to step down pic.twitter.com/JdWS12j9KJ

Embedded video
That was at 11:50am local time. The attached video did not show “thousands” but some 200 people milling about.

They lie that there are army deserters spoiling for a fight with the army. The young guys CNN presented weren’t deserters, and they didn’t live in Venezuela. Even their military insignia were of the kind discarded years ago, as our friend The Saker noticed.

However, these lies won’t avail – my correspondents in Caracas report that there are demos for and against government (for Maduro slightly bigger crowds), but the feelings aren’t strong. The crisis is manufactured in Washington, and the Venezuelans aren’t keen to get involved.

That’s why we can expect an American attempt to use force, preceded by some provocation. Probably it won’t be a full-blown war: the US never fought an enemy that wasn’t exhausted prior to the encounter. If the Maduro administration survives the blow, the crisis will take a low profile, until sanctions do their work and further undermine the economy.

In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions. His sanctions will send more refugees to the US, wall or no wall. He undermines the unique status of the US dollar by weaponising it. In 2020, he will reap what he sow.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

Iran’s Zarif Says Warsaw Meeting Dead on Arrival

February 13, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday that a two-day conference being co-hosted by Washington in Warsaw on Iran and the Middle East was dead on arrival.

“It is another attempt by the United States to pursue an obsession with Iran that is not well-founded,” Zarif told a Tehran news conference.

“The Warsaw conference, I believe, is dead on arrival.”

Zarif said not even Washington had any interest in the conference as a forum for an exchange of views among the 60 participating countries.

“I think the fact that they are not aiming to issue any agreed text but rather are just attempting to use their own statement on behalf of everybody else shows they don’t have any respect for it themselves,” he said.

“You usually don’t bring 60 countries and states together in order to speak for them. That indicates to you that they don’t believe they have anything to gain from this meeting.”

Much of the schedule for the conference remains vague amid deep divisions over policy towards the region, where Washington has adopted the deep hostility towards Iran of its allies ‘Israel’ and Saudi Arabia.

Washington will be represented by both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but major European allies are sending low-profile delegations amid unease over President Donald Trump’s strident calls to strangle Iran’s economy.

The main session will take place Thursday when Pence, Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are all scheduled to address the conference.

Related News

Clinton: Trump’s Withdrawal from INF Treaty a “Gift to Putin”

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

February 7, 2019

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has slammed the Trump administration’s decision to pull out from the INF Treaty as a “gift to [Vladimir] Putin”.

Speaking at an event hosted by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and its Institute of Politics and Public Service on Wednesday night, she claimed that the current administration withdrew “without really holding Putin accountable for his cheating on the treaty”.

“I think there is agreement, it started in the Obama administration, that the Russians were not only developing intermediate-range capacity, but deploying it — and so, when that happens… it seems to me that you want to do some public diplomacy. We clearly have pictures and we clearly know a lot about their cheating, and we should have done a better job in making it abundantly clear, not only to the American people but the Russian people, and Europeans, and others who are on the front lines, that the Russians were evading responsibilities in the INF”, Clinton said.

She went on to tell the crowd that instead of demanding talks on the matter, the US decided to pull out, and claimed that Russia was going “to go forward and develop even more of these” weapons.

Looking at the situation from a global perspective, Clinton suggested that the world could face some bleak prospects following the collapse of the landmark treaty:

“It increases the unpredictability, and I believe the danger, that can come from throwing around more missiles and weapons of all kinds, but particularly nuclear ones, within the European theatre. […] The last thing the world needs right now is a nuclear arms race”.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would be suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty starting on 2 February.

SourceSputnik

In Praise of Shamelessness

February 05, 2019

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker BlogIn Praise of Shamelessness

So much has been said about the Venezuelan crisis that adding more would equate to gilding the lily or bringing coal to Newcastle.

The following, then, is but a brief aside on the psychology and physiognomy of the protagonists of the ongoing coup, starting with Guaido’ – or “Guido” as per Mike Pompeo’s re-baptism, while he anointed him as self-appointed president of Venezuela.

The true face of Guaido?

If the face is indeed an open book where men may read strange matters, the attached image of the afore-said putative president of Venezuela proves the point. A camera immortalized him thus in 2009, during a political demonstration.

I have unprofessionally modified some extreme features to obscure a part of the body that I will forbear to mention out of my inviolable respect for the ladies.

Still, apart from the image, it is as clear as the summer sun that, despite his pathetic rabble-rousing, Guido is but one of the many lying knaves and stipended ruffians, abounding in politics and in Christendom at large.

Political liars notoriously invert factual reality to suit their personal interest, or utter bragging and platitudinal nonsense about freedom, democracy and the like. Confirming the proven maxim that ‘it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.’

On the other hand, watching the current Administration with an impartial eye, it would appear that bragging and arrogance are recommended as the supply of every defect, and the ornament of every excellence.

Furthermore, given the Administration’s engineering of the Venezuelan coup, I wonder how the same Administration would react if a congressman or senator imitated Guido and declared himself president, instead of the elected Trump.

Sometimes chances mock, and changes occur unexpectedly in place and time. For instance in France, where it is impossible to ignore the similarity between the two winters of discontent, distant in space but not in time.

For the yellow-jackets shout “Macron Dimission” in France, as loud as Guido wants Maduro to resign in Venezuela. Probably the Administration thinks that the fool multitudes that choose by show should either avoid to ask what is the difference between Macron and Maduro, or provide unaided their own answer.

As for Mike Pompeo, add a glass of wine in one hand and a sausage in the other and we have a tolerable reincarnation of Falstaff, or of one of the gluttons in the hell of Dante’s Divine Comedy, though in some way more sublimely ridiculous – or rather, more ridiculous and less sublime.

Politically, Pompeo states that, “The Heritage Foundation has shaped my thinking on matters of the world and public policy issues.” Where ‘thinking’ refers to Reaganomics, Thatcherism and freedom to loot and pollute by the usual suspects. An ideology perfectly embodied in the notorious “Citizen United” Supreme Court case, which treats corporations as persons – sanctifying the notion that he who has (or receives) the most money wins the elections (presidential or otherwise).

Internationally and briefly stated, the Heritage Foundation stands for regime-change in any country whose interests appears not directly benefiting the elites who created, maintain and fund the think-tank. Besides Venezuela, Nicaragua is at the front, along with El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Grenada, Cuba and, of course, all wars in the Middle East.

According to Pompeo, Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata. Followed by combining the collection with publicly available financial and lifestyle information of individuals into a comprehensive and searchable database. That is, legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.

Understandably, Pompeo opposes closing Guantanamo. After a visit to the prison while some prisoners were on hunger strike, he said, “It looks to me like a lot of them had put on weight.” Though he may have been inspired to say so while seeing himself in the mirror.

He criticized the Obama administration’s decision to end secret prisons and the requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.

Expectedly, Pompeo strongly disagreed with the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated during the Obama administration. He said, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” Adding that a better option than negotiating with Iran would be to directly carry out “under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.”

Naturally, during a visit to Israel in 2015, Pompeo said that “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people” (!), and that “Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated”. And further, “In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important,…we must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace.”

Given that Israel just killed or wounded about 3000 Palestinians during the last year of unarmed demonstrations by Palestinians in Gaza, I will direct the Aesopian-minded reader to review or remember the Latin story about the wolf and the lamb.

Of Assange, “… we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now … Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is click-bait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.”

Talk about a world upside-down. Even assuming the statement to be true, it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black or, if you like, of whipping his own faults in other men. As for his interpretation of “Western values” maybe Mr. Pompeo should speak for himself and stick them up where he thinks best.

He disapproved of the “Clean Power Plan” and in 2013 introduced the self-explanatory “Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act.” And in his latest performance he has taken to insulting the nation of Venezuela with the rage of a superstitious crank.

If there’s a history in all men’s lives, the tales of Pompeo speak for themselves. As they do for Bolton, whose own history and actions in government prove him to be as opposite to any good as the south is to the north.

Bolton personifies, in appearance and posturing, the classic bully, qualified by nature, servility and experience to exercise the office of a criminal. He is as prone to mischief as able to perform it. The number of Bolton’s ‘accomplishments’ is great and well known – listing them would constitute an unwanted mode of annoyance.

Suffice a short glimpse of his mode of reasoning on an important issue. Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard, which was at the time an unofficially-official means to avoid the draft, and being sent to Vietnam. In a 25threunion book of his university he wrote, “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” And in his own book he clarified his decision, “… by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.”

A statement that would be a perfect entry in an instruction and operating manual for chicken-hawks, in the chapter titled, “How to persuade others that cowardice is courage.”

According to experts in his train, Bolton is a “conservative” rather than a “neo-conservative.” What’s the difference? It’s a diffuse and complicated question that may be examined by different methods, upon different principles – it requires a great labor of research and dexterity of application.

Suffice to say that the neo-conservative movement was founded by a handful of followers of the communist philosopher Leon Trotsky. Which makes communists of the neo-conservatives, and neo-conservatives of communists. A perfect instance of the unity of opposites “Coincidentia Oppositorum” – a term attributed to 15th century German philosopher Nicholas of Cusa in his essay, “De Docta Ignorantia,” (Of Learned Ignorance.)

But I digress. There is one more character in the troika of evil in the train of Trump. Associate his deeds with his countenance, add a couple of horns, and an observer may be tempted to say, “Here comes the devil in the likeness of Elliot Abrams.” And although national security frees crime from reproach, Abrams, as we know, is actually a convicted criminal, later pardoned by Bush Jr.

Again, rather than a list of his crimes, a glimpse into his mode of reasoning is shorter and I think more meaningful.

Needless to say, all members of the troika are Israel-firsters. In 2005 Abrams, as an even more special friend of Israel, was a protagonist in a meeting between the US Foreign Secretary and Syrian envoys, including the Syrian minister for emigration, Bouthaina Shaaban. The US advanced the thesis that Syria was hostile to the American invasion of Iraq – because, allegedly, Syria allowed the Iraqis defending themselves against the US, to cross into Syria.

They were pretexts. The Syrians told the US party that the news was false and probably propagated by hearsay. If the Americans wanted to know the truth, they should visit and interview those who lived in the affected area.

Abrams then pulled Ms. Shaaban aside and said, “What is the relevance of truth in what happens in the world? The important thing is the concept and the images that affect the minds of people. Whether the conveyed images reflect reality is secondary and reflect nothing.”

From which we deduct what we already know, namely that, for the US Administration, reality is an abstraction, where the truth or falsehood of a fact depends on the size of the audience, as with a TV serial.

I could not verify the source of the anecdote, but it fits the character. Besides, it is almost a mirror rendering of the historical answer given by Donald Rumsfeld to a journalist who questioned the truth and reality of an Iraq-related report, “We create our own reality.” Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defence during the Bush Jr. invasion of Iraq.

Back to Venezuela. I realize I am in a minority, but I do not think that the primary US goal of destroying Maduro is the desire to own the oil resources of Venezuela. Just as in Iraq Saddam Hussein was quite happy to sell the oil to any buyer who agreed on the price.

Astutely, the media serfs of the deep state have foisted two creeds onto their followers. One is for the distracted multitude, who like not in their judgment but their eyes (or ears). It holds that Venezuela is a dictatorship and Maduro tortures and starves the Venezuelans, because he is a socialist.

The idea may satisfy a certain section of an old right that associates the words ‘socialism’ or ‘social measures’ with evil.

The other creed addresses those who prefer to believe a more tenable reason than a somewhat obsolete fear of socialism. In twitter-like terms the creed goes, “They do it for the oil” – where ‘they’, of course, are the wise guys of the State Department.

Instead, I rather think that the ongoing attempted coup in Venezuela follows the steps of the so-called ‘globalization’, a euphemism for the Kalergi Plan, described in the article “The Waves of Time,” and carried out according to the objectives – of and for – the chosen people.

That the political-ideological leaders of the chosen people may have a particular ax to grind with Venezuela is understandable. It is one of the few countries not to have diplomatic relations with Israel. And while defending the Palestinians during a televised rally, Hugo Chavez called Israel “un pays de mierda.”

Given that even a minor criticism of Israel causes the ADL to brand the critic as an ‘anti-Semite,’ Venezuela had it coming. Keeping in mind that Saddam Hussein was also a defender of the Palestinians.

But there are other indirect signs showing the progress of the Kalergi Plan, besides the hatred for Venezuela.

For example, the inflow of migrants into Europe continues steadily, even if the media no longer talks much about it. From what I am told by some friends, migrants in Italy, unofficially are no longer required to pay for public transportation, nor are they asked to show a ticket. This follows various reported cases of a conductor being assaulted by migrants when they were requested to produce the ticket. Though the same world media give ample coverage to any episode that may be artfully construed as ‘racist.’

Just very recently, Feb 4, 19, in Sweden, a black pregnant woman was removed from a train for not having a ticket. All networks broadcasted the news, claiming that the woman had been roughly handled. Even so, she had a voice strong enough to complain and threaten the allegedly ‘racist’ police.

Here in the US I will refer to the sequence of events surrounding the Covington Catholic High School students’ trip to Washington D.C, for a peaceful demonstration against abortion. Apparently they do this every year, as a component of their guided visit to the capital (and they pay for the trip).

Anyone can have his own views on abortion, but no one, as yet, prohibits peaceful demonstrations. As most readers may know, the media blasted the students for not yielding to an abusive group of Black Israelis (sic), plus one Native American who chanted and banged his war-drum in the face of the students.

The media attempted to turn the event into another Charlottesville, but further videos showed clearly who were the attackers and that the students reacted quite civilly, without answering in words and kind to the provocative actions of their opponents.

In the meantime, in one of its articles, the Guardian interviewed a Dan Siegel, a Jewish psychiatrist, interested in remodeling the teenage brain to prevent what he calls “in-group attachments” – translation, consciousness of being white.

Siegel has invented a method called “mindfulness wheel of awareness” aimed at leading his patients to abandon any sense of ethnic identity (Kalergi docet). He called his method ‘Essence’ (Emotional Sparks, Social Engagement, Novelty-seeking and Creative Exploration). Here is a quotation showing all the finesse of Freud-like pseudo-science.

“You want to expand your “circle of identity” so that within the phrase “like me” you include a lot of diversity. What I would say is that the plane of possibility is accessed more when people integrate consciousness. People are too confined, so they are excessively differentiated and not accepting the value of other life forms including other humans that do not fit into that initial high plateau of identity. What has been fascinating about doing the wheel of awareness practice — and I think this is consistent with some of the research about reducing some of the implicit racial bias with mindfulness practices— is that when people access the hub, they’re gaining more access. They are more readily accessing the plane of possibility and in the plane, there is no racism. In the plane, there is this experience of reality that embraces the fluidity of identity. That is, “you” are made up of people who are not your racial background. You are people who don’t speak your same language. You are people who are of different religions. It’s not just that they’re different and that is okay. It’s that you are both part of the same sea of potential or the plane of possibility. What has been beautiful about explaining this is that people get a feeling of relief that they can now basically be in a state of love and acceptance.”

Siegel convinces his clients that they will be happy by thinking that they are several different people all-in-one, a Muslim from Afghanistan, a Voodoist from West Africa, a Buddist from Tibet etc. That is, to feel a “reality that embraces the fluidity of identity” the patient (or in this instance, the misled and young European-American student,) must have a multicultural mind. He must convince himself that he contains within himself other people who are not of his racial background and have different religions.

I paraphrased the last statements to avoid the rambling Freudian psycho-babble of such remarkable captain of erudition.

Anyone among the rest of us, who came up with this nonsense, would be branded as a producer of low merriment and buffoonery. But Siegel is highly regarded by the mainstream academic and scientific establishment. And, even more ominous, he has even received an invitation to address the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family on the subject of child psychology.

I strayed from the main subject, only to show, with a few examples, what the Kalergi operatives, and the world shapers of the collective mind, have in store for the rest of us. And any objecting government must be overturned.

As for Venezuela, we cannot look into the seeds of time and see which grain will grow and which will not, but it never yet did hurt to hold some likelihoods and forms of hope.

As for the organizers of the coup, we cannot even ask, “Shame where is thy blush?” because they have brought shamelessness to grand new heights and turned a liability into an asset or, if you like, have made a virtue out of a vice.

The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool

The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool

The Saker

January 30, 2019

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

The Neocons never cease to amaze me and their latest stunt with Venezuela falls into this bizarre category of events which are both absolutely unthinkable and simultaneously absolutely predictable.  This apparent logical contradiction is the direct result of a worldview and mindset which is, I believe, unique to the Neocons: a mix of imperial hubris and infinite arrogance, a complete lack of decency, a total contempt for the rest of mankind, crass ignorance, a narcissist/sociopath’s inability to have any kind of empathy or imagine another guy’s reaction and, finally, last but most certainly not least, crass stupidity.  There is so much which can be said about the latest US aggression on Venezuela that entire books could be (and will be) written about this, but I want to begin by look at a few specific but nonetheless very symptomatic aspects:

“In your face” stupidity or bootcamp-like deliberate public humiliation?

Remember the almost universal reaction of horror when Bolton was appointed as National Security Advisor?  Well, apparently, either the Neocons completely missed that, which I doubt, or they did what they always do and decided to double-down by retrieving Elliott Abrams from storage and appointing him US Special Envoy to Venezuela.  I mean, yes, of course, the Neocons are stupid and sociopathic enough not to ever care about others, but in this case I think that we are dealing with a “Skripal tactic”: do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon’s version of Uncle Sam).  And it worked, in the name of “solidarity” or whatever else, the most faithful lackeys of the Empire immediate fell in line behind the latest US aggression against a sovereign nation in spite of the self-evident fact that this aggression violates every letter of the most sacred principles of international law.  This is exactly the same tactic as when they make you clean toilets with a toothbrush or do push-ups in the mud during basic training: not only to condition you to total obedience, but to make you publicly give up any semblance of dignity.

MAGA? really?

This is not just a case of history repeating itself like a farce, however.  It is hard to overstate how totally offensive a character like Elliott Abrams is for every Latin American who remembers the bloody US debacle in Nicaragua.  US vassals now have to give up any type of pretend-dignity in front of their own people and act as if Abrams was a respectable and sane human being.

I believe that this kind of “obedience conditioning by means of humiliation” is not just a case of the Neocons being idiots, but a deliberate tactic which will, of course, backfire and end up hurting US puppets worldwide (just like the pro-US Russian “liberal” opposition was eviscerated as a result of being associated by the Russian public opinion with the US policies against Russia, especially in the Ukraine).

Finally, these appointments also show that the senior-Neocons are frightened and paranoid as there are still plenty of very sharp junior-Neocon folks to chose from in the USA, yet they felt the need to get Abrams from conservation and place him in a key position in spite of the strong smell of naphthalene emanating from him.  This reminds me of the gerontocrats of the Soviet Politburo in the worst stagnation years who had to appoint the likes of Chernenko to top positions.

The one thing the Mr MAGA’s administration has in common with the late Brezhevian Politburo is its total inability to get anything done. My wife refers to the folks in the White House (since Dubya came to power) as the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” and she is right (she always is!): they just can’t really get anything done anymore – all their half-assed pseudo-successes are inevitably followed by embarrassing failures.

As I wrote in my article “The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!” these folks will only precipitate the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire, which is a very good thing.  The bad thing is, of course, that the Neocons are negating any chance for a gradual, phased, collapse and are, instead, creating a dynamic in which a sudden, catastrophic, collapse becomes much more likely.

Now we have all seen the latest antic from Bolton: showing up with a yellow pad with “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.  Again, this might be a case of Bolton being senile or not giving a damn, but I doubt it.  I think that this is just another oh-so-subtle way to threaten Venezuela with a US-led invasion.  And, really, why not?

If the Empire thinks it has the authority and power to decide who the President of Venezuela should be, it has to logically back up this stance with a threat, especially since there is no US authority, moral or otherwise, left.

The obvious question here is how this threat will be received in Venezuela and that largely depends on how credible that threat is.  Now, “5,000 troops” could mean anything, ranging from a infantry brigade combat team to the typical US mix of as many putatively “special” forces as possible (to make every service happy and give everybody a piece of the expected (but never achieved) “victory pie” – many careers in the US depend on that kind of stuff).  At this point in time, I rather not speculate and get technical about how such a force could be structured.  Let’s just assume that it will be an overall credible and well-packaged force and try to speculate how the Venezuelans could react to it.

The state of the Venezuelan military

Here I am particularly lucky as I have a close and trusted Latin American friend who is now a retired Lt-Colonel who spent many months in Venezuela working with the Venezuelan military in a capacity which I cannot disclose, but which gave him quasi-total access to every unit and military facility in the country and who, just a couple of years ago, shared with me his impression of the Venezuelan military.  Here is what he told me:

A military, any military, is always the product of the society which produces it and this is also true of Venezuela.  It would be silly to admit that the Venezuelan economy is a total mess while expecting the Venezuelan armed forces to be a shining example of professionalism, honesty and patriotism.  The sad reality is very different.

For one thing, much of the Venezuelan military is hopelessly corrupt, as is the rest of society.  In a country whose economy is imploding, this is hardly surprising.  Furthermore, for years both Chavez and Maduro have fought an uphill battle to remove as many potential traitors and class enemies (in a Marxist sense of the word) from the Venezuelan military and replace them with “socially close” (a Bolshevik concept) elements from the poorer sections of society.  Truth be told, this was a partially successful strategy as seen by the fact that during this latest coup attempt the Venezuelan military overwhelmingly supported the Venezuelan Constitution and the legitimacy of Maduro.  And yet that kind of loyalty often comes at the costs of professionalism and at the risk of corruption as seen by the case of the Venezuelan military attache to the USA who clearly was a US agent.  I am afraid that the current situation in Venezuela might be similar to what it was in Syria in the very early stages of the AngloZionist war against this country when scores of top officials of the Syrian government proved to be traitors and/or US agents.  In Syria the government eventually re-took control of the situation, but only with a great deal of help from Iran and Russia and after almost being toppled by the US-run Takfiri forces.

The good news here, according to my friend, is that the Venezuelan special forces (army special forces, jungle infantry troops, “Caribe” counter insurgency units, airborne units, etc) are in a much better shape and that they could form the core of a resistance force to the invasion, not unlike what the Republican Guard eventually did in Iraq.  But the biggest difference with Iraq is that in Venezuela the majority of the people are still backing Maduro and that any invasion force should expect to meet a lot of resistance of the type which the US encountered in Iraq after the invasion of the country.  Also, there was a fragile truce of sorts between Hugo Chavez and various Left-wing guerillas who agreed to stop their military operations, but who also kept all their weapons “just in case”.  This “case” has now happened and we can expect that any US invasion will trigger an immediate re-emergence of a Left-wing guerilla force which, combined with popular support and the key role of a core of patriotic Venezuelan special forces could form a very dangerous combination, especially in the mid to long term.

Keep in mind that corrupt officers don’t like combat and that while they might aid a US invasion force, they will only do so as long as things seem to go the easy way, but as soon as things go south (which is what always happens to US invasion forces) they will run as fast as they can.  So while the endemic corruption now will be a problem for the Maduro government, it will become a problem for the US as soon the legitimate government is toppled.

Comparisons are necessarily tricky and crude, but with this caveat in mind, don’t think “Syria” but rather think “Iraq” when considering the possible outcomes of a US invasion.

The state of the Venezuelan people

This is really crucial.  Hugo Chavez’ reforms alienated a lot of Venezuelans, especially those who made their fortunes by servicing US interests and who became your typical Latin American version of a comprador class.  Much of the middle-class also got hurt and are angry.  However, these same reforms also empowered huge numbers of destitute and poor Venezuelans who, for the first time, felt that the government stood for their interests and who remember what it was like to live in abject poverty under a US-backed regime.  These folks probably have no illusion about what the toppling of this government would mean for them and they are likely to fight hard, if not necessarily competently, to keep the little rights and means they acquired during the Chavez years.  There is even what is sometimes referred to “Chavistas without Chavez” which some describe as potential back-stabbing traitors while other see them as more pragmatic, less ideological, faction of Chavez supporters who decry Chavez’ mistakes but don’t want their country to turn into a Colombia-style US colony. Whatever may be the case, Hugo Chavez’ pro-popular policies left a very profound mark on the country and you can expect that a lot of Venezuelans will take up arms and resist any US/Colombian invasion.

Would *you* trust that face?

Here I think we can all express our heartfelt gratitude to Mr MAGA whose appointment of Elliott “Iran-Contra” Abrams has done more than any government sponsored propaganda to clearly and bluntly explain to the Venezuelan people who is doing what to them and why.

Seriously, Ron Paul or Tulsi Gabbard speaking of democracy is one thing, but having gangsters and psychopathic thugs like Pompeo, Bolton or Abrams in charge really sends a message and that message is that we are dealing with a banal case of highway robbery triggered by two very crude considerations:

  • First, to re-take control of Venezuela’s immense natural resources.
  • Second, to prove to the world that Uncle Shmuel can still, quote, “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“, unquote.

The obvious problem is that 1) nobody takes the US seriously because 2) the US has not been capable of defeating any country capable of resistance since many decades already.  The various US special forces, which would typically spearhead any invasion, have an especially appalling record of abject failures every time they stop posing for cameras and have to engage in real combat.  I assure you that nobody in the Venezuelan military cares about movies like “Rambo” or “Delta Force” while they carefully studied US FUBARs in Somalia, Grenada, Iran and elsewhere.  You can also bet that the Cubans, who have had many years of experience dealing with the (very competent) South African special forces in Angola and elsewhere will share their experience with their Venezuelan colleagues.

Last but not least, there are a lot of weapons in circulation in Venezuela and which the various popular militias and National Guard would be more than happy to further distribute to the local population if any invasion appears to be successful.

The State of the Empire and its puppet-President Macrobama

Well, here the famous “insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results” is the best possible description of US actions.  Just look at this sequence:

President Macrobama?

Does all this not look boringly familiar?

Does this bizarre mix of Neocons, gerontocrats and deepstaters really, sincerely, believe that this time around they will “win” (however you define that)?!

More relevantly – has this recipe ever worked in the past?  I would say that if we accept, for argument’s sake, that the goal is to “restore democracy” then obviously “no”.  But if the goal is to wreck a country, then it has worked, quite a few times indeed.

Next, a few misplaced hopes

I am getting a lot of emails suggesting that Russia might do in Venezuela what she did in Syria.  Let me immediately tell you that this is not going to happen.  Yes, there are a lot of Russians in Venezuela, but the “Russians are not coming”. For one thing, I will never cease to repeat that the Russian intervention in Syria was a very small one, and that even if this small force proved formidable, it was really acting primarily as a force multiplier for the Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian government forces.  And yet, even the deployment of this very small force necessitated a huge logistics effort from Russia whose military (being a purely defensive one) is simply not structured for long-distance power projection.  Syria is about 1000km from Russia.  Venezuela is about 10 times (!) further.  Yes, I know,a few Tu-160 visited the country twice now and there are Russian advisors in the country and the Venezuelans have a few pretty good Russian weapons systems.  But here, again, this is a game of numbers.  Limited numbers of Russian-made combat aircraft (fixed and rotary wing), air defense missiles or even large numbers of advanced MANPADs or assault rifles won’t do the trick against a determined US-Colombian invasion.  Finally, there is no Venezuelan equivalent to Iran or Hezbollah (an outside ally and friend) which would be capable and willing to deploy real combat forces for actual, sustained combat against the invader.

Next comes terrain.  Yes, much of Venezuela is difficult to access, but not for jungle-experienced forces which both the US military and the Colombians have.  Furthermore, there is absolutely no need to invade the entire country to topple the legitimate government.  For that all you need is to control is a few key facilities in a few key locations and you are done.  For example, I don’t see the USAF or USN wasting any time in air-to-air combat against the (few) Venezuelan Sukhois – they will simply destroy them in their hangars along with their runways and air combat management radars and command posts.  So the terrain will not prevent the Empire of suppressing Venezuelan air defenses and as soon as this is done, you can expect the usual mix of bomb and missile strikes which will create chaos, wreck command and control capabilities and, basically, disorganize much of the military.  Finally, US forces in Colombia and USN ships off the Venezuelan coast will enjoy a safe harbor from which to launch as many strikes as they want.

Next, hopes that Russia and China will somehow resuscitate the Venezuelan economy are also ill-founded.  First, neither country is interested in pouring money into a bottomless pit.  It is one thing to sign contracts which are likely to eventually produce a return on investment and quite another to dump money into a bottomless pit (as the US and Europe have found out in the Ukraine).  Second, the Venezuelan economy is so deeply enmeshed in the US-UK run international financial system that neither China nor Russia can do anything about it.  That is not to say that US sanctions, subversion and sabotage did not play a major role in the collapse of the Venezuelan economy, they sure did, but it is equally true (at least to Russian specialists) that many of the Chavista reforms were botched, a lot of them were a case of too little too late, and that it will take years to refloat the Venezuelan economy.

Finally, we are comparing apples to oranges here: the task of the AngloZionists is to destroy the Venezuelan economy while the Chinese and Russian task would be, at least in theory, to rescue it.  Destroying is so much easier than building, that the entire comparison is logically flawed and fundamentally unfair.

I really mean no offense to the supporters of Hugo Chavez and his ideals (I very much include myself in this category) but anybody who has been to, or near, Venezuela will tell you that destitute Venezuelans are not only running out of the country in large numbers, but they also contribute to destabilize the neighboring states.  So we should have no Pollyannish notions about all the reports about the economic and social collapse in Venezuela as only “US propaganda”.  Sadly, much of it is true even if often exaggerated, lopsided and missing all the very real successes of the Chavez reforms, hence the continuous popular support, in spite of it all, the Maduro government continues to enjoy.  Still, the overall picture is very bleak and it will take Venezuela consistent and correct action to recover from the current plight.

So is there still hope?  Yes, absolutely!

I recently replied the following to a friend asking me about a possible Russian intervention in Venezuela “I place my own hopes not in the Venezuelan military, or in Chinese or Russian help, but on the amazing ability of the US Americans to f*** up.  At the end of the day, that is our biggest ally: the US stupidity, ignorance, arrogance and cowardice“.

Think of what currently passes as a “policy” of the USA in Venezuela as a diagnostic tool.

Not just to diagnose the moral degeneracy and mental pathology of the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire, but also to diagnose the very real state of despair and chaos of the Empire itself.  Under Obama, for all his faults and weaknesses, the US succeeded in subverting a list of crucial Latin American countries (like Brazil or Argentina) but now, with Mr MAGA, it can’t even do that.  The kind of antics we see from the Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams gang is amazing in its crudeness and, frankly, makes a supposed “indispensable nation” look absolutely ridiculous.  These losers already had to fold several times, in spite of equally hyperbolic threats delivered with maximal gravitas (think DPRK here), and yet they still think that crude bullying methods can yield success.  They can’t.  Immense firepower is not a substitute for brains.

In its short and blood-soaked history, the USA has pretty much always acted like some criminal enterprise run by brutal gangsters, but in the past some of these gangsters could be extremely well educated and intelligent (think James Baker here).  Today, their guns are still lying around (albeit in various states of disrepair), but they are wielded by ignorant retards.  Yes, ignorant retards with guns can be very dangerous, but they can never be effective!

Conclusion

Right now the US, backed by its various colonies and vassal states, appears to be ready to deliver a death blow to Venezuela and, truth be told, they might be able to do just that.  But, for whatever it is worth, my gut feeling is that they will fail again, even against the weakest countries of the Axis of Resistance.  That is not to say that Venezuela is not in a heap of critical problems.  But I believe that in spite of being in a critical condition, Venezuela will be able to bounce back, just like Syria did.  After all, the Syrian example proves that it *is* possible to resist a superior invading force while at the same time successfully engaging in critically needed reforms.  Yes, today’s Caracas is in very bad shape, but the city of Aleppo was in a much worse shape until it was liberated, and now quasi-normal life has returned to it (in sharp contrast to the US liberated devastated city of Raqqa which still lies in ruins).  Yankees (to use the usual Latin-American expression) are just like their Israeli overlords: they are capable of devastating violence but they have no staying power: if things don’t go their way fast, really fast, they run and barricade themselves somewhere faraway from danger.  In our case, they might even do what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan: build obscenely huge embassies, create a special zone around them, and sit tight while the country is engulfed in a bloody civil war.  This way, they can provide CNN & Co. with footage of a “peaceful neighborhood” while still claiming that the Stars and Stripes are still proudly flying high over the enemy’s capital and that “these colors don’t run”.  This would be a disastrous outcome for the Venezuelan nation and this is why we all have to try to prevent this, by speaking out before the US further wrecks yet another country.

Hopefully the memory of past completely failed, humiliating and bloody invasions will convince the right people at the Pentagon to do whatever it takes to prevent the US from launching yet another stupid and immoral war of choice on behalf of the Neocons.

 

Flagrant, Cynical, Public attempt at coup d’état – Venezuela

Flagrant, Cynical, Public attempt at coup d’état – Venezuela

January 27, 2019

by Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

(*This is accurate at the time of posting but the situation is still developing fast. Updated comments at the end.)

It came as no surprise this past week when the US Administration made good on their promises to attempt to Regime Change Venezuela, the third part of John Bolton’s Troika of Tyranny, the other parts being Cuba and Nicaragua.

But there were a few surprises.

Saker readers would be familiar with John Perkins’ The Economic Hitman where he explained how Latin American leaders compliant to Western hegemony are bought and non-compliant leaders are removed, frequently with extreme prejudice. In Perkins’ time, these adventures were hidden, because they are illegal.

The first surprise here is the open and flagrant manner in which this coup d’état is proceeding, as if it is a great accomplishment. The Regime Changers are proud and beating their chests like gorillas with their illegal action as if the accomplishment is already in the bag. But is it? Despite Venezuela being a socially divided country between poor and rich, I believe there has been enough knowledge transfer to the ordinary Venezuelan so that this time, the Regime Change is not yet ‘in the bag’.

The second surprise was the sheer theatrical component of this attempted coup d’état, and the script and the technology of regime change is openly visible. The ones that are supporting the coup d’état, acted in concert, as a bunch of bullies would, with each part nicely scripted down to the 5 minutes. This will become clearer as we continue.

The third surprise is that in the UNSC meeting yesterday (Saturday, January 26) there probably has never been a more thorough listing of regime-change operations in Latin America. This was listed both by the Russian Representative and the Venezuelan Foreign Minister. This history is now clear and public, for all to see.

So, what happened in Venezuela this past week and why now? Why is it so urgent that over 70 Experts immediately called for the US to Stop Interfering in Venezuela and what prompted, for example, Peter Koenig to immediately broadcast this appeal? Venezuela – An Appeal to Russia, China and all Unaligned Countries for Support of Sovereign Venezuela

Let’s look at the timeline, then some editorial comment and lastly we look at who stands in the proverbial corner as allies with Venezuela and possible outcomes.

This week, Vice President Mike Pence of the USA called on the people of Venezuela to take to the streets against their elected government and called for the security forces of Venezuela to back this barefaced regime change called for by the US. He even prepared this video addressing the People of Venezuela, replete with badly accented Spanish assuring the People of Venezuela that “we [the US] are with you.” ‘Estamos con ustedes’ in a fake accent that makes the language of Spanish blush! He even had the temerity to use the term “Libertad” after years of brutal US imposed sanctions and various attempts at regime change over many years in Venezuela. Then, he ends with a distinctly pecksniffian ‘Vaya con Dios’, i.e, ‘Go with God’, he tells the Venezuelans. Besides the fact that this phrase is not even used in common Latin American speech and belongs to the genre of bad old 1950’s soap operas, it is truly the only piece that I agreed with. The Venezuelans will be much better placed to ‘Go with God’ than to ‘Go with Pence’.

The very next day, in what later turned out to be a paid leader of one of the smaller opposition groups, a certain Juan Guaidó holds an opposition rally in Caracas and declares himself “interim president of Venezuela” while denouncing incumbent Nicolas Maduro as “usurper.” This was just after a phonecall with Pence.

Literally, just a few minutes later, the script runs and US President Trump by Tweet pronounced Guaidó as the legitimate interim president. Within about half an hour, more scripting as Canada follows suit as well as several right-wing South American governments allied with Washington. These declarations were written down in formulaic form, and the similarity of the words and the denouncements is clear.

This prompted Paul Craig Roberts to quip: Washington Has Appointed A President For Venezuela. He soon followed up with this piece “The Exceptional Nation Asserts Its Exceptionalism” and he asks:

How long will other powers tolerate Washington’s illegality and aggression? How long will Americans tolerate the shame that Washington heaps upon their shoulders?”

In a display of brass effrontery and audacity, French President Macron announces that he supports “the restoration of democracy” in Venezuela and salutes “the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marching for their freedom”, while in his own country he deploys riot police against the gilets jaunes (yellow vests).

Can you see that this coup d’état was planned on a tight timeline with the focus on quickly gathering enough world leaders to support it? The group that was pulled together for the coup planning is named the Lima Group. This group does not have formal standing and may have been fabricated for the distinct purpose of coup planning. They are now quoted as if they have gravitas.

Saturday January 27th, just before the UNSC met to discuss this, we have almost identical threats from France, Germany & Spain issued almost at the same time, to recognize Venezuela’s self-appointed president. The Venezuelan envoy to the UN quite rightly mentioned that the speeches in the UNSC sounds scripted and they are. In circumstances like these, we always get the embarrassing faux pas. The British representative told with relish how Maduro won the previous election (May last year) by stuffing ballot boxes. Well, Venezuela does not use ballot boxes. (Would it be sporting to call him ‘Qué idiota!‘? Let’s not be so rude and stick to ‘La marioneta‘ for now).

So, the next step back in Venezuela on Thursday, was that President Maduro announces cutting off diplomatic ties with the US and orders American diplomats to leave Venezuela within 72 hours. This has subsequently changed to something that is not clear at the time of writing.

And here is the fairytale theater: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that since Maduro is no longer the legitimate president he has no authority to sever diplomatic ties with Washington and Trump and Pompeo threaten that “all options are on the table” – meaning military action – “if US personnel are endangered.” Wait a moment, let’s parse this down. First, they say Maduro is no longer President. Second, despite being no longer President, they hold him accountable for acts of violence against protestors? So, mob protestors can run free and create mayhem, because Maduro is in any event responsible? Truly Alice-in-Wonderland ‘off with her head’ methodology.

The situation is prime for an escalation. The main demand from the Western stooges seems to be new elections within 8 days and the West will ‘pave the way for a brighter future for Venezuela’. One cannot help but ask where they were up to now? And, what about those years of sanctions? And what about the engineered scarcity by multinational organizations of basic household goods because there are price controls in Venezuela to avoid excessive profiteering and gouging?

Why now?

It certainly seems that Russia’s more visible alliance with Caracas may have triggered the timing for this coup. Last month, Maduro visited Vladimir Putin in Moskow, and they signed multi-billion-dollar partnerships for oil exploration, mining, agricultural and other trade ties.

Within days of Maduro’s visit to the Kremlin, two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers flew 10,000 kilometers to Venezuela in a political (certainly not a military) show of Moscow’s support for Venezuela.

Washington’s reaction to the Russian bombers landing in Caracas was one of rage, indignation and sheer apoplexy.

All of John Perkins’ financial warfare techniques are being employed, as well as a few new ones. The one is called lawfare where local laws and constitutions are twisted to the extent that the underpinnings of the legal basis that a country functions within, is reduced to shreds. We saw this technique used to good effect in Brazil in April 2016, with the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the jailing of Lula da Silva.

All however is not rolling out as the Coup Planners figured and the scripted theater is obvious.

– Maduro is managing to keep Venezuela calm and the last few nights there was no violent protesting. He speeched on Friday to urge dialog.

– Caracas Reporter Says: ‘US Plot in Venezuela Failing

– Take a look at the meeting of the OAS (The Organization of American States), where the first proclamation in the constitution of this body is that American countries will not interfere internally in the affairs of one another. At this body, Pompeo tried to get other countries to knuckle under and agree with the US power grab. He failed. (I’m sure what helped him fail, is that he could not even pronounce the name of the Interim Puppet President that the US tried to elect. The beloved and oh so competent Gweedo indeed! He was also late to the meeting. The OAS is a formal mainly Spanish speaking organization and this did not go unnoticed). The OAS is now in disarray. https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14241

– The Coup Planners also failed in getting the Venezuelan people to revolt, to get the Venezuelan military to revolt and to overthrow Maduro, which was the plan.

– The last two days in Venezuela were calm days after a fiery speech by Maduro that Venezuelan’s do not harm other Venezuelans.

– On Friday, Maduro is still in charge of the palace and Guaido (Gwaido, not Gweedo, but I might change my mind here, he may indeed turn out to be a Gweedo) gave what Venezuelanalysis.com calls duelling speeches. Guaido is still calling on the Venezuela armed forces to rise up against the Government, but his speech was given in a wealthy part of Caracas and he is holding as bait, all the money that will come from the US if the armed forces will rise up. The Venezuelan people inherently do not trust money promises.

– Maduro held a full press conference in Miraflores Palace saying that the US has no say in Venezuelan affairs. Apart from the press, his address was attended by scores of public officials, including ministers and numerous representatives of the armed forces. He also announced military drills. https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14255

– Caricom is not supporting this external meddling.

– At the UNSC on Saturday morning, the Coup Planners again failed to prevail as many countries spoke against the illegality of the Coup. China, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Russia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Saint Vicent, the Grenadines, Barbados, and Suriname, were among the countries that expressed their recognition of the legitimate and constitutional Venezuelan government.

So, where are we now?

The Coup Planners believe in their coup and they are as busy as little mice staffing up to rule Venezuela via an erstwhile ”La marioneta Gweedo‘. Their first appointment is someone that you may recognize immediately, and the next appointment you will remember from a little further back in history.

1. The Dream Team writing up a new set of laws for Venezuela to “ensure Venezuela’s transition into a better future”: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will be bringing humanitarian aid, Donna Shalala will stop the arming of Maduro’s thugs with batons and tear gas, while (yes, this is no joke) Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets arguably the hardest task of them all – taking on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/449686-debbie-schultz-fixing-venezuela/

2. The Arch Neocon of neoconsElliott Abrams, who played a central role in the Iran-Contra scandal, and oversaw US regime-change wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. His job is to “help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country.” Abrams is expected to coordinate all diplomatic efforts to replace President Nicolas Maduro with the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, recognized by the US, OAS and several EU members. https://www.rt.com/usa/449756-abrams-pompeo-venezuela-iran-contra/

Dr Jill Stein’s comments on the appointment of Abrams – Dr. Jill Stein?‏Verified account @DrJillStein

Trump’s Venezuela point man Elliott Abrams:

-Backed death squads in Latin America that murdered 1000s for right-wing dictators

-Lied to Congress to cover up treasonous Iran-Contra affair

-Led 2002 US coup d’état attempt in Venezuela

Still think this is about democracy & human rights?

Comments

It is clear that Venezuela is struggling for existence while living under debilitating sanctions. It is also clear that after the last elections, and with the help of Russia and China, they made progress. But how can one make progress if a coup plotter promises to pay the coup executor with Venezuelan assets that were previously confiscated under a sanctions regime? Also, the country’s gold is being held hostage by Britain.

There are many accusations against Venezuela, and some have merit.  One of the legitimate accusations against Venezuela is the level of migration. It is not well known that there is an active program inside Venezuela to bring the migrants home. Even that is interfered with. https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Ecuador-Delays-Venezuelan-Planes-of-Return-to-Homeland-Plan-20190126-0008.html

The fact of the matter here is not that ‘Maduro is Bad’, or ‘Socialism is Evil’, or ‘Venezuela is an economic basket case‘ or any of those excuses that we see in the public domain from ‘too-quick-thinkers’ and expat Venezuelans. (Is it really an economic basket case if Venezuelan assets in the West are being held hostage as a result of sanctions?) The fact of the matter is that there is flagrant and illegal regime change being carried out in front of our eyes to the benefit of globalist sociopathic, mobsters.

To the average American that is supporting this overt and barefaced attempt to take over and control another country, you cannot further support the thinking that your current administration is fighting globalism. These are your globalists, the Pompous Pompeo’s and Brutal Boltons and Pious Pences, with Mr Trump twittering the threat chants like a cheer leader. The appointments mentioned above, the Dream Team, is a team from the Democratic party. What’s all the more inflammatory is the flagrant illegality of Washington’s actions.

The opposition figure whom the White House has anointed as “acting president” but is actually “acting stooge puppet” and the minor congressional body he is backed by inside of Venezuela has been declared in contempt of the constitution by Venezuela’s supreme court. They are carrying out the steps to globalism in front of our very eyes and right now. They could not overthrow Venezuela’s government, so, they are trying to split it by paying US$200,000 to a usurper, that did not even take part in the previous elections, and they paid him to declare himself Interim President. Furthermore, they are offering money, but this money is not new money, it is money that has been taken by seizures, from Venezuela, under sanctions regulations. So, they are offering to pay their imposed President/Stooge/Puppet money that they confiscated to split Venezuela even further.

Why does this Latin American, Caribbean country called Venezuela tug at our heartstrings? Is it because despite all headwinds, all previous attempts at fomenting revolution and fomenting regime change, they stood strong against the globalists and neocons? I would suggest it is. I would suggest Venezuela is in the mold of Syria who has been fighting a war for their own self-determination for years now. I would suggest Venezuela is in the mold of Russia, that is grimly holding on to their own self-determination and building. I would suggest that the people of Venezuela will not tumble as this regime change further unfolds. They have not tumbled up to now.

Which Venezuelans do you care about? More than 50% of the country is MestizoWhat is your problem if these social people want some form of socialism? What if they feel that income from Venezuelan Oil is to be used to increase living standards for the whole country and the poor? What about their type of Socialism? Do you really believe that Maduro is similar to Sadam Hussein as he is now being represented by the Coup Planners and he is killing and incarcerating his own people at a tremendous rate? Have you not heard this type of accusation before, usually to drum up pretext and de-legitimize a victim for a war? Let the Venezuelan people vote out Maduro if they do not like him. In reality, they do like him. Do you really think that Brazilians will act as a proxy military force to destabilize Venezuela? Will Colombia provide soldiers for feet on the ground in Venezuela?

Let’s take a look at some young Venezuelans and their grasp of what is happening.

This is what the young Venezuelans are saying: “Trump is a little out of touch. Why would he come and save us. He only wants our oil and our riches.”

What happened (in other Latin American countries), will not happen here, because of the consciousness of the people.”

https://twitter.com/EmpireFiles/status/998834055620706304

This is what the young Venezuelan soldiers are saying: (Offered with support from Colombia).

“Listen, yankee, to what I’m going to say! In my country, you will never invade! Get over here because a beating is coming your way! We will be your Latin American Vietnam!”

https://twitter.com/futb0livariano/status/1087125667551031297

Despite what Governments say, there is a real understanding at grassroots level among the Latin American people that what can happen to Venezuela today, can happen to them tomorrow. Living in a Latin American country, I heard this being expressed a few times during the course of yesterday alone. “Hoy Venezuela, mañana nosotros”. Today Venezuela, tomorrow it will be our turn. So, despite the right leaning governments in Latin America, it is fair to say that the people know what the real deal is.

The hegemon is calmly walking into a constitutional crisis or a war or a civil war in Venezuela that may eventually look like Moscow, Black October 1993. Today Venezuela may be an economically failed state, but with good support and guidance from Russia, China and their other friends, they can still get out of this. In terms of the strength of their people, there is no failure.

Let’s take a look at the larger allies of Venezuela.

First we have Russia. President Putin spoke to Maduro and gave him real solid help and support.

President Putin Stands Up For President Maduro – Washington Coup CAN Be Stopped if Right Moves Made!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=240&v=daY7RdIN5f4

China

Always muted with nuanced language, China has made investment in Venezuela and they buy Venezuelan oil. China will not just sit back here, but it is hard to see what they will do – probably some asymmetrical action. Bear in mind that there are more trade talks scheduled for the coming week and a supposed 2nd meeting with Kim JongUn of North Korea. I would expect nuanced action from China.

India

New Delhi: “Following the US recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, India has refused Washington’s call to recognize the opposition leader, saying that crisis should be resolved by the “people of Venezuela” through “constructive dialogue”. https://www.thewire.in/diplomacy/india-backs-nicolas-maduro-refuses-to-recognise-guaido-as-venezuelas-interim-president

India will continue to buy Venezuelan crude. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/venezuela-will-continue-to-sell-oil-to-india-envoy/article24646263.ece

Mexico

Although standing strong in their non-aligned status, they have declared that they will work on regional strength and Venezuela is not outside of the scope of the region. Mexico, the Caricom countries and Russia have offered internal mediation and help to Venezuela.

So, if we count Russia, China, India and Mexico alone, we are looking at 4 countries that are on the list of having the highest populations in the world. https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats8.htm

I would certainly say it is a sizable opposition to the attempted Coup Planners.

Caricom – https://caricom.org/communications/view/statement-by-the-conference-of-heads-of-government-of-caricom-on-the-latest-developments-in-the-situation-in-the-bolivarian-republic-of-venezuela

So, what can we theorize could be the expected outcomes?

None of us has a crystal ball and it is too early to say.

I would suggest that this phase of the attempted coup itself will fail, although the damage to the country of Venezuela, its people and its existence will be vast. The coup will fail because it is hamfisted and with the expectation of a ‘quick win’, there is no plan B that does not include the option of violence. The Coup Planners expected immediate victory but this was not to be. If history is a guide, the Coup Planners will double down, and double down yet again. In the past, a coup like this would be hidden because it is illegal. This one is out in the open; it cannot be argued and the coup planners engage in chest beating and a clear strategy, although not very well executed. Venezuela and its friends must prepare for a long siege.

It is clear that the situation on the ground is not understood by the Coup Planners. The real sense of hamfisted Spanish in Pence’s video, the defeat at the OAS, The Caricom announcement, the inability to pronounce the name of the new supposed interim leader by Pompeo and such other things is not falling on deaf ears in the Latin American population. The will of the Venezuelan people and their demonstrated abilities to withstand regime change cannot be underestimated. Venezuelans are well experienced about withstanding coups, as they’ve lived through a number of them.

The proposed Interim Puppet President Gweedo is clearly not of the strength to push through a coup as he is mainly in hiding. Venezuela is not bursting out into violence. The military and defense forces stand with Maduro. This is a principled and strong position but, one must bear in mind, against a strong enemy.

Despite the various governments in Latin America that became right leaning and had their governments appointed by the Hegemon, the people in Latin America understand where their opposition comes from. I cannot see Brazil or Colombia sending troops on the ground. The Venezuelan right is not united. American troops? Trump will most probably lose his base. I cannot see this.

The most scary scenario (very unlikely at present) would be that NATO Troops may be called in via Colombia.

The most probable outcome is that we see a protracted doubling down from the Coup Planners and a long period of just continued hammering at Venezuela on all levels. She will need all her allies firmly in her corner.

We wait to see if anyone raises a word against this illegal attempted coup and the Coup Planners in the United Nations Security Council.

Judging from the comments in the UNSC just yesterday, we may see the Monroe Doctrine being seriously challenged.

……………………………..

Updates

The full UNSC meeting can be found here:

http://thesaker.is/statements-of-the-russian-federation-for-the-un-security-council-meeting-on-the-situation-in-venezuela/

  • The brilliant but casual speech by the Venezuelan representative (Arreaza) Saturday morning at the UN makes good listening. Some excerpts:

“The United States is the one that should be evaluated (and not Venezuela) for its permanent disrespect and interference in external political affairs.”

“How is it possible that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who militarily threatened Venezuela, has not been questioned by the world?”

“How can it be possible for a lawmaker to proclaim himself president and for international governments to recognize him?”

“Force is being imposed on the law. That is dangerous and we must stop it here from the United Nations.”

  • France, Britain and the United States sing the very same story, each of them calling for a self-proclaimed President if elections do not take place within 8 days.
  • Cuba, whose representative sought the floor for a 2nd time clearly called out Pompeo’s lies but he had left already and was not there so that she could do it to his face. She had clear facts to back up her statements, as well as highlighting the unrelenting economic and trade war against Venezuela that curtail the opportunity for the Venezuelan people to seek out their own opportunity for themselves and to undermine social cohesion. She said that the US must clarify what responsibility they are willing to bear if their current actions provoke instability in the entire region. She called the US attempts an undignified assault on truth and indicative of the lack of respect that Pompeo’s government displays to the United Nations and people everywhere. Venezuela will never be anyone’s satellite or lackey. The return to the Monroe doctrine, the bullying has the aim of looting, pillaging and stripping the oil reserves of that nation. Go back to your history books, Michael Pompeo, she says. (I was expecting her to toss a shoe at him. Cuba Viva! )

A recent history of the run-up to the current point in time can be found here: https://venezuelanalysis.com/audio/14251.

Despite using the name Gweedo for some comical effect, the man’s name is Juan Guaidó

There is a big number of independent writers and bloggers and formal and less formal analysts speaking out about this travesty of justice in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This is heartening to see. MoonofAlabama has a list of Media Claims About Venezuela Are Lies Or Misconceptions. #Venezuela hashtag on Twitter contains a number of opinons.

لأنها عاجزة عن شنّ الحرب على إيران واشنطن في فخ كراكاس!

يناير 29, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

خسرت واشنطن الرهان على تشكيل وارسو عربي «سني» ضد إيران بسبب عجز تابعيها المتحاربين مثل داحس والغبراء…!

وخسرت واشنطن تجييش الجيوش الأوروبية ضد إيران في وارسو نفسها أيضاً مؤتمر وارسو بسبب تفتت أوروبا وتشتتها وفقدانها قوام الدول المحاربة وهي المنخورة من الداخل..!

وخسرت واشنطن استعجال حرب إسرائيلية ضد إيران انطلاقاً من سورية، لتقزّم جنرالاتها امام طود سورية الشامخ وغرفة عمليات حلفائها الذين وضعوا ما تبقى من جاهزية قاعدتها على اليابسة الفلسطينية أقرب ما تكون بأعجاز نخل خاوية أمام ثوار غزة واطفال بالوناتها فكيف بها لو امطرت سماء فلسطين صواريخ تشرينية لا تبقي ولا تذر…!

ولأنها كذلك فقد فقدت الأمل حتى في مجرد استفزاز طهران ودمشق فذهبت بعيداً لتتحرّش بكاراكاس، فإذا بها تقع في فخ منظومة أوبك للغاز الشهيرة: موسكو – طهران – الدوحة – الجزائر – كاراكاس…!

روسيا لكم بالمرصاد حرباً بمظلة نووية تحمي كاراكاس ومظلة فيتو مزدوج لو لجأتم لمجلس الأمن، وفيتنام جديدة لو جرّبتم الحرب الأهلية!

من فخ الى فخ اذن والحرب سجال ونجت منطقتنا من سيناريوات رجل الرسوم المتحركة كما كان قد وصفه يوماً سيد الكلام الذي ننتظر وينتظرون..!

لا شك في ان مستشار الرئيس الأميركي للأمن القومي، جون بولتون، ووزير الخارجية الأميركية، مايك بومبيو، لا يدّخران جهداً في التحريض المباشر للرئيس الأميركي على شن عدوان عسكري ضد إيران وذلك بهدف إسقاط نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية وتنصيب نظام موالٍ للولايات المتحدة في إيران.

اذ قام الاول، بصفته مستشاراً للرئيس الأميركي لشؤون الامن القومي، وبالتالي يمثله، قام في شهر أيلول سنة 2018، بصفته هذه بالطلب من البنتاغون. بينما قام وزير الخارجية، مايك بومبيو، خلال كلمته في الجامعة الأميركية في القاهرة قبل أسابيع، بشن حملة تحريض شرسة ضد إيران.

وفِي كلتا الحالتين يبدو من الواضح جداً أنّ هذه الدعوات، لإسقاط نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، ليست إلا جزءاً من عقيدة المحافظين الجدد ومجموعات الضغط الصهيونية في الولايات المتحدة. وهي ليست جزءاً من حملة انتخابية أو دعائية لصالح هذا الطرف أو ذاك. وإنما هي نتاج أفكار ايديولوجية سبق أن طرحها عتاة الصهاينة والمحافظين الجدد، ومن بينهم الأستاذ الجامعي اليهودي الديانة والألماني المولد، الذي ولد في مدينة كولونيا الألمانية بتاريخ 4/1/1929 وحمل اسم فيرنر فالك Werner Falk في حينة ثم غيّر اسمه الى أميتاي عتصيني Amita Etzioni، والحامل للجنسية الأميركية حالياً.

هاجر مع والديه الى فلسطين عام 1937. وانضم في العام 1946 لمنظمة البالماخ العسكرية الصهيونية في فلسطين في زمن الانتداب البريطاني وهي عبارة عن وحدة النخبة في منظمة الهاغاناه العسكرية الصهيونية.

وقاتل ضمن صفوفها خلال الحرب الصهيونية عام 1948 والتي ادت الى احتلال فلسطين وإقامة «إسرائيل». وقد هاجر مجرم الحرب هذا الى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وأكمل دراساته الجامعية العليا وحصل على الجنسية الأميركية وبقي مقيماً هناك حتى الآن.

وقد قام هذا المجرم بنشر كتاب سنة 2014 بعنوان: نقاط ساخنة السياسة الخارجية الأميركية في عالم ما بعد حقوق الإنسان Hot Points: American Foreign Policy in a Post-Human-rights World. وبالعودة الى جذور الدعوات، التي يطلقها جون بولتون وأمثاله لشن حرب أميركية ضدّ إيران، فإننا نجدها في هذا الكتاب، الذي ينضح بالأفكار العدوانية المتطرفة. حيث يدعو الكاتب الى ضرب إيران بنيوياً، أيّ تدمير بناها التحتية عبر عمليات قصف تدميرية لا تبقي ولا تَذَر… لوناً من ألوان عقيدة الضاحية، وذلك كخطوة أولى على طريق تقسيم إيران، عبر تشجيع ودعم الحركات المعارضة والانفصالية.

أما الهدف من وراء هذه العمليات، التي يدعو أميتاي عتصيوني الى تنفيذها ضدّ إيران، فهو:

منع إيران من ملء الفراغ في الشرق الأوسط، والذي قد ينجم عن انسحاب مستقبلي محتمل للقوات الأميركية من هذه المنطقة، والتوجه شرقاً للتصدي لتزايد القوة والنفوذ الصينيين.

وعلى الرغم من كلّ هذا الضجيج، الذي يثيره مروّجو هذه الخطوة العدوانية، فإنّ تنفيذها يبقى مرهوناً بعوامل كثيرة نختصرها في ما يلي:

1 ـ وجود معارضة فاعلة جداً ضدّ تنفيذها، من قبل المؤسسة العسكرية الأميركية والجهات الأخرى ذات الاختصاص، والتي تعرف أكثر من دعاة هذه المخططات، الكلفة المرتفعة جداً لتنفيذها انْ كان على الصعيد المادي أو البشري، وذلك بالنظر الى القوة التي تتمتع بها إيران كدولة إقليمية ذات أهمية.

2 ـ الاختلاف الجوهري بين وجهة نظر الرئيس ترامب ووجهة نظر القوى الداعية الى مهاجمة إيران في فهم طبيعة الهدف المرجو من أي تحرك ضدّ إيران. إذ انّ الرئيس ترامب لم يحسم موقفه، من كلّ هذه الطروحات حتى الآن، ذلك لأنه لا يريد الدخول في حرب ضدّ إيران، قد تتحوّل الى صراع عسكري إقليمي واسع تضطر خلاله الولايات المتحدة الى التدخل المباشر بقوات برية فيه، وانما يريد أن تستسلم إيران لإرادة الولايات المتحدة دون حرب كي لا تتأثر قاعدته الانتخابية بتكاليفها، وبالتالي تتعثر أو حتى تتلاشى جهوده الرامية الى اعادة انتخابه لولاية رئاسية ثانية في الولايات المتحدة. فالرئيس ترامب أثبت في كثير من المواقف أنه قد يستمع لآراء مستشاريه ووزرائه، ولكنه ليس دمية في أيديهم وأنّ جلّ همّه ينصبّ على التحضير للانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة وعلى تطبيق شعاره الداعي الى جعل «أميركا أولاً».

3 ـ إنّ خيارات الرئيس ترامب تجاه الصين لم تحسم نهائياً حتى الآن. فعلى الرغم من الإجراءات الحمائية التي اتخذها ضدّ الصين، على الصعيد التجاري، إلا أنه عاد ودخل في سلسلة محادثات معها لإيجاد صيغة قريبة من التفاهم معها حول القضايا العالقة بينهما. وهذا ما يقوّض نظرية جون بولتون، التي يحاول إقناع رئيسه بها، والتي تدّعي أنّ الغزو الأميركي للعراق قد مثّل قصة نجاح يجب الاحتذاء بها، ادّت الى تدمير الدولة العراقية، وبالتالي نموذجاً لتدمير دول عربية أخرى لاحقاً. أيّ أنّ بولتون يحاول إقناع الرئيس ترامب بأنّ تدمير الدولة الإيرانية وتحويلها دويلات متصارعة سيشكلان خطوة أساسية على طريق تطبيق هذا النموذج في دول آسيوية أخرى على رأسها الصين.

وبناء على ما تقدّم فإنّ من الواضح انّ الولايات المتحدة وحلفاءها، ورغم القوة العسكرية الهائلة التي يمتلكونها، عاجزون عن توجيه ضربة عسكرية لإيران كما أنهم غير قادرين أيضاً على إخضاعها، من خلال تطبيق أنظمة العقوبات والحصار المالي والاقتصادي الخانق عليها، وأنهم بذلك يضيفون فشلاً جديداً الى فشلهم في تنفيذ مشروعهم الشرق أوسطي، الذي كان يرمي الى تفتيت المنطقة، من خلال إسقاط الدولة السورية وفرض الهيمنة الأميركية التامة على ما يسمّونه «الشرق الأوسط» الأمر الذي نجح محور المقاومة في منع حصوله، من خلال الصمود الأسطوري للدولة الوطنية السورية ثم تحوّل محور المقاومة الى الهجوم الاستراتيجي الشامل، الذي أدّى الى تحرير معظم الأراضي السورية التي سيطر عليها المسلحون الإرهابيون، وصولاً الى ما نشهده الآن من استعدادات لقوات هذا المحور لتنفيذ المرحلة الأخيرة من هجومه الاستراتيجي، والتي ستختتم بتحرير فلسطين كاملة وإعادة رسم خريطة العالم العربي والإسلامي، لا بل خريطة العالم الجديد.

عالم ينهض بسواعد رجال الله على أعتاب عالم ينهار وتأفل نجومه نجمة بعد نجمة، وما فنزويلا ببعيدة عن تحقيق نصر جديد!

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

The War Between The Battles الحرب بين المعارك

The War Between The Battles

Mohammad Bdeir

In the words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “Israel” is seeking to “prevent Syria from transforming into a second Lebanon.” Hezbollah, on the other hand, is seeking to prevent transforming Lebanon into another Syria. In short, it can be said that these two claims summarize the escalating rhetoric between the party [Hezbollah] and Tel Aviv in the last few months, and perhaps years.

“Israel’s” announcement about “a second Lebanon in Syria” means not allowing Iran to fixate its military position in Syria, including the conversion of the Golan into an active front. Moreover, it means preventing establishment of Iranian military readiness – primarily the missile force – that would be activated when orders are given to head toward “Israel’s” strategic depth.

This phrase, “a second Syria in Lebanon”, has not yet been integrated into the media’s vocabulary. It can be defined in two ways. A change in the rules of engagement between the resistance and “Israel”, as Sayyed Nasrallah said on Saturday. This will strip Tel Aviv of the ‘right’ to launch military strikes against targets on Lebanese territory it considers a threat – a threat that should be addressed in a preventive manner. The second definition is of Jewish origin. It simply speaks of transferring the “battle between the wars”, which “Israel” has been waging in Syria for six years, into Lebanon.

The “battle between the wars” in short is a preventive attack strategy adopted by Tel Aviv after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis. Its main function is to prevent Hezbollah from expanding its capabilities. To do so, “Israel” targets strategic weapons transfers and stockpiles that Hezbollah has decided to acquire. However, the goal of this battle, which takes place in the periods of calm between major wars, is to manage the conflict with the forces hostile to “Israel” in the following framework:

First, to hold off the next major war.

Second, providing the permanent availability of favorable circumstances that make this war, when it erupts, possible, easy and quick to resolve, and with the smallest lowest possible civilian and military losses (see “Al-Akhbar”, May 24, 2016). Several headlines in “Israel” have focused on the objectives of this battle, including the “balance breaking weapons”. At the time, “Israel” meant by these weapons the advanced naval and air defense systems (in terms of accuracy and distance). Preventing the operational positioning of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Syrian Golan. And the overall Iranian positioning in Syria – the so-called “precision project” that Hezbollah is striving to acquire. It is intended to turn the party’s low-grade weapons into highly precise smart missiles.

The global war on Syria has drained the state and its army. It also occupied the axis of the resistance from its semi exclusive priorities. It is known, that this war constituted an opportunity for “Israel”, enabling it to embark on this battle, while betting on the likelihood of calm rather than a counter response. It becomes understandable that Tel Aviv’s battle between the wars only began after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis (about a year and a half into the conflict). It also becomes understandable why it was geographically confined there as the “Israelis” abstained from transferring it to Lebanon. This is due to the deterrence that the resistance established – the permeability of which it continually insists without the slightest respite.

It can be said that the escalating rhetoric in recent months between the two claims – “turning Syria into a second Lebanon” and “transforming Lebanon into a second Syria” – reflect more than anything else the growing “Israeli” feeling that the “battle between wars” has drained Tel Aviv and its usefulness has reached its end (there are voices inside “Israel” that have started talking about it).

On the one hand, the “symbolic” missile response on the Golan against recent attacks suggests that what once was will not necessarily be so in the future (see Al-Akhbar, January 22, 2019). This as the latest strategic estimation issued by the Institute for National Security Studies warning, that the window of opportunity offered by the Syrian war to “Israel” is closing, is indeed becoming more realistic than some think.

On the other hand, the high level of “Israeli” threats against the “accuracy project” in Lebanon reflects, more than anything else, the magnitude of Tel Aviv’s fear toward working inside Lebanon and the potential deterioration that this entails.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s latest interview eliminates some ambiguities in this regard. His warning to Netanyahu about the continuation of his actions in Syria and calling on him not to miscalculate there as well as his unequivocal assertion that the resistance in Lebanon is in a state of practical endeavor to make Tel Aviv pay a painful price for any aggression on Lebanese territory pose as a primary declaration that the “battle between the wars” in Syria is nearing its end. They are also a final declaration that the battle cannot be cloned in Lebanon.

In theory, this means “Israel” has one of two options. It either retreats because it fears the price of moving forward with the existing strategy. Or it can venture and face the possibilities of rolling into a broad confrontation as Nasrallah pointed out.

This means that the philosophy on which the “battle between the wars” is based now faces an existential challenge with its constituents. Continuing with it for a long time or attempting to move it to the Lebanese arena will not only hold off the great war or decrease its estimated losses. It will also place “Israel” at the edge of the “war between the battles”. The following would not necessarily be “Israel’s” initiative, as was the case before.

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, translated by website team

الحرب بين المعارك

 محمد بدير

 الإثنين 28 كانون الثاني 2019

الحرب بين المعارك

المعركة بين الحروب استنزفت نفسها ووصلت، من حيث فعاليتها، إلى تخوم النهايات (هيثم الموسوي)

تسعى إسرائيل، وفقاً لتعبير وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، إلى «منع تحويل سوريا إلى لبنان ثانٍ». في المقابل، يسعى حزب الله إلى منع تحويل لبنان إلى سوريا ثانية. يمكن القول، باختصار، إن هذين الاستحقاقين يلخّصان حالة الكباش المتصاعدة بين الحزب وتل أبيب في الأشهر، وربما السنوات، القليلة الأخيرة. «لبنان ثانٍ في سوريا» تعني، بحسب المعلن إسرائيلياً، عدم السماح لإيران بترسيخ تموضعها العسكري في سوريا، بما يشمل تحويل الجولان إلى جبهة ساخنة من جهة، وإنشاء جاهزية عسكرية ــــ صاروخية بالدرجة الأولى ــــ تُفعّل يوم الأمر ضد العمق الإسرائيلي، من جهة أخرى. أما «سوريا ثانية في لبنان»، وبعيداً عن أصالة هذه العبارة التي لم تنسكب بعد كاصطلاح في الأدبيات الإعلامية المتداولة، فيمكن شرحها وفقاً لتفسيرين مترادفين: إحداث تغيير في قواعد الاشتباك القائمة بين المقاومة وإسرائيل، كما عبّر السيد نصر الله أول من أمس، بما يؤدي إلى انتزاع تل أبيب «الحق» في توجيه ضربات عسكرية أو أمنية داخل الأراضي اللبنانية ضد أهداف ترى أنها تشكل تهديداً يستدعي معالجته وقائياً. التفسير الثاني، وهو عبري المنشأ، يتحدث ببساطة عن نقل «المعركة بين الحروب»، التي تمارسها إسرائيل في سوريا منذ ستة أعوام، إلى لبنان.

«المعركة بين الحروب» هي، باختصار، استراتيجية نشاط هجومي وقائي اعتمدتها تل أبيب بُعيد اندلاع الأزمة السورية، وظيفتها الأساسية الحؤول دون تعاظم قدرات حزب الله من خلال استهداف عمليات نقل وتخزين الأسلحة الاستراتيجية التي قرر الحصول عليها. على أن غاية هذه المعركة، التي تقع في فترات الأمن الجاري ما بين الحروب الكبرى، هي إدارة الصراع مع القوى المعادية لإسرائيل في إطار العمل على:

أولاً: إبعاد الحرب الكبرى المقبلة؛
ثانياً، التوفير الدائم للظروف المؤاتية التي تجعل هذه الحرب، عندما تندلع، ممكنة وسهلة وسريعة الحسم، وبالقدر الأقل من الخسائر المدنية والعسكرية (راجع «الأخبار»، 24 أيار 2016). وقد تعاقبت عناوين عدة في الأدبيات الإسرائيلية على الأهداف التي تمحورت هذه المعركة حول معالجتها، بدءاً من «الأسلحة الكاسرة للتوازن»، والتي عَنَت في حينه منظومات الدفاع الجوي والبحري المتطورة (لجهة دقة الإصابة وبُعد المسافة)، مروراً بمنع التموضع العملاني لحزب الله والحرس الثوري الإيراني في الجولان السوري، وانتهاءً بعموم التموضع الإيراني الآنف الذكر في سوريا وبما يُطلق عليه «مشروع الدقة» الذي يجهد حزب الله لحيازته، والمقصود منه تحويل «الصواريخ الغبية» التي يمتلكها الحزب إلى «صواريخ ذكية» دقيقة الإصابة.

والمعلوم أن الحرب الكونية على سوريا، التي استنزفت الدولة وجيشها وشغلت محور المقاومة بأولوياتها شبه الحصرية، شكلت بالنسبة إلى إسرائيل فرصة انتهازية مكّنتها من المبادرة إلى معركتها تلك في ظل الرهان على أرجحية الأمن من ردود مقابلة. يصبح مفهوماً، والحالة هذه، كيف أن معركة تل أبيب بين الحروب لم تبدأ إلا بعد اندلاع الأزمة السورية (بنحو عام ونصف عام) ولماذا انحصرت جغرافيّاً هناك وسط امتناع فعلي عن نقلها إلى لبنان، استناداً إلى الردع الذي كرّسته المقاومة وتصرّ على استمرارية نفاذه دون أدنى هوادة.

ويمكن القول إن الكباش المتصاعد في الأشهر الأخيرة بين استحقاقي «تحويل سوريا إلى لبنان ثانٍ» و«تحويل لبنان إلى سوريا ثانية» يعبّر أكثر من أي شيء آخر عن تنامي حدة الشعور الإسرائيلي بأن «المعركة بين الحروب» استنزفت نفسها ووصلت، من حيث فعاليتها المجدية، إلى تخوم النهايات (بالمناسبة، ثمة أصوات داخل إسرائيل بدأت تتحدث عن ذلك). فمن جهة، جاء «الرد الرمزي» الصاروخي على الجولان ضد الهجمات الأخيرة ليوحي بأن ما كان ليس بالضرورة هو ما سيكون (راجع «الأخبار»، 22 كانون الثاني 2019)، وأن ما حذر منه التقدير الاستراتيجي الأخير الصادر عن معهد أبحاث الأمن القومي بشأن انغلاق نافذة الفرص التي وفرتها الحرب السورية لإسرائيل أكثر واقعية مما يظن البعض. ومن جهة أخرى، يعكس ارتفاع منسوب التهديدات الإسرائيلية ضد «مشروع الدقة» في لبنان، أكثر من أي شيء آخر، قدر التهيّب الذي تستبطنه تل أبيب إزاء العمل داخل لبنان واحتمالات التدهور الذي ينطوي عليه هذا الأمر.

يسعى حزب الله إلى منع تحويل لبنان إلى سوريا ثانية

كلام السيد نصر الله في مقابلته الأخيرة من شأنه أن يرفع أي لبس بهذا الشأن. تحذيره نتنياهو من التمادي في ما يقوم به في سوريا ودعوته إلى عدم الخطأ في التقديرات هناك، وجزمه القاطع بأن المقاومة في لبنان في حالة تربص عملاني لتدفيع تل أبيب ثمناً مؤلماً ضد أي اعتداء على الأراضي اللبنانية، هما بمثابة إعلان أولي بأن «المعركة بين الحروب» في سوريا أوشكت على نهايتها، وإعلان نهائي بأنها غير قابلة للاستنساخ في لبنان. يعني ذلك، من الناحية النظرية، أن الخيارات القائمة أمام إسرائيل تراوح بين الانكفاء المدفوع بالخشية من أكلاف المغامرة بالمضيّ قدماً في الاستراتيجية القائمة، وبين المغامرة نفسها بما تنطوي عليه من احتمالات التدحرج نحو مواجهة واسعة، كما أشار نصر الله.

يعني ما تقدم أن الفلسفة التي قامت عليها «المعركة بين الحروب» باتت في حالة تحدّ وجودي مع مقوماتها. الاستمرار طويلاً بها، أو محاولة نقلها إلى الساحة اللبنانية، لن يبعدا الحرب الكبرى، أو يخفضا خسائرها المقدرة، وحسب، بل من شأنهما أن يضعا إسرائيل على حافتها، حافة «الحرب بين المعارك»، ليس بالضرورة أن يكون ما يلي منها الحرب إسرائيليّ المبادرة، كما كانت الحال في ما سبقها.

من ملف : معركة قواعد الاشتباك

Trump-Bashing Iraq War Architect Elliott Abrams to Lead US Regime Change in Venezuela

Local Editor

Washington seems so dead-set on regime change in Venezuela, in which the State Department has just appointed a former diplomat with a sordid track record in Latin America and Middle East to spearhead so-called “restoring democracy” in Caracas.

In further details, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday the appointment of Elliott Abrams to “help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country.”

Abrams is expected to coordinate all diplomatic efforts to replace President Nicolas Maduro with the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, recognized by the US, OAS and several EU members.

The appointment is an attempt by the US to introduce a direct control of Venezuela as a “future regional vassal,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Also on Friday, the US Treasury Department announced it would not be freezing all Venezuelan government assets, but instead ensure that “commercial transactions by the Venezuelan government, including those involving its state-owned enterprises and international reserves, are consistent” with Washington’s recognition of Guaido as the ‘legitimate’ president.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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