USA seeks to drive regime-change by starving the people of Syria

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30 June 2020 

By:Reneva Fourie

The United States of America has intensified its economic warfare against the people of Syria. Battered by a 9-year war that resulted in investment and capital flight; and infrastructure and industry destruction, Covid-19 came as a heavy blow to the ailing Syrian economy. The most devastating however has been the ongoing, escalating, illegally imposed USA-driven, and European Union supported, sanctions against Syria. 

Sanctions barring USA-based companies from trading with Syria were imposed in 2004. In 2011 it was extended to include the financial and energy sectors (this while the USA pillages Syrian oil daily; an act that has been designated as illegal under international law and the rules of war, yet there are no repercussions). On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 the sanctions provisions of the USA so-called ‘Caesar’ Civilian Protection Act of 2019, which extends sanctions to all foreign firms or countries that deal with the government of Syria, came into force.

The government of Syria had largely managed to control their weakening currency during the war, despite its domestic challenges. The value of the currency, however, plummeted over the past three weeks in anticipation, and due to the implementation of, the ‘Caesar’ Act.  The Syrian Pound (SYP), which was trading at around SYP 47 (about R ) to the dollar prior to the war, is now, as at end June 2020, hovering around SYP 2 500 to the dollar.

The impact of these sanctions on the quality of life of the Syrian people has been disastrous. According to UNDP data, Syria’s human development index was on the rise between 2000 and 2010.

The IMF outlook for 2010 was as follows, “The outlook for 2010 points to an overall strengthening in economic performance. The ongoing recovery in Syria’s trading partners is expected to contribute to a gradual increase in exports, remittances, and FDI in 2010.” The currency was beginning to appreciate against the dollar. But the gains made during those years were reversed by the war and subsequent sanctions, and the country experienced a drop of nearly 60 percent in GNI per capita from 2010 to 2016.

As political stability in the country increased recently, the economy was once again beginning to show signs of recovery. Sadly, the ‘Caesar’ Act, will cause a major setback.

Syria, home of some of the oldest cities in the world, has a highly sophisticated and cultured populace, who have relatives across the world. Sanctions have compelled them to do much of their banking, particularly that of an international nature, from Lebanon. Most Syrians have relatives in Lebanon due to the historic ties between the two countries.

Traveling between the two countries is a common practice and goods and medication that could not be accessed in Syria due to sanctions, were still obtainable in Lebanon. All that has now come to an abrupt halt.

Covid-19 has made travel across borders difficult; but threats of sanctions against Lebanon, which has its own economic crisis that pre-dates Covid-19, for trading with Syria, will be the final nail in the coffin. Syria is unable to repair the power stations and water infrastructure that was damaged during the war by the West, Israel, Turkey, and insurgents including Isis and al-Qaeda, as they cannot purchase the parts due to sanctions.

Domestic manufacturing of medicines is waning as ingredients cannot be imported. The exemptions around food and medicines touted by the USA and EU are misleading as they apply mostly to areas that remain outside of government control and their “humanitarian aid” in these occupied areas primarily serves to strengthen counter-revolutionary activities.

Exacerbating the cruelty of the general adverse economic impact of sanctions, are the deliberate actions to undermine food security through the regular burning of staple crops by the USA and Turkey-backed mercenaries. For example, Apache helicopters affiliated to the USA occupation forces dropped thermal balloons on barley and wheat crops in a number of villages surrounding al-Shaddadi city, while Turkey-backed mercenaries set fire to a number of wheat and barley fields in Abu Rasin and Tal Tamir towns.

The intention literally is to starve the people of Syria into submission. According to the World Food Programme, as at June 2020, food prices have increased by a staggering 209 percent in the last year, in which most of the increases occurred over the past weeks. This country, where less than 7.5 percent of the population experienced multidimensional poverty in 2009, now has more than 80 percent of its population living below the poverty line, thanks to the USA and its allies. 

The government of Syria has tried to ease the impact of this economic onslaught on its people, who have already suffered tremendous human losses, by broadening access to food parcels, vouchers, subsidised fuel, and government-subsidised grocery shops.  The interventions are however unsustainable. Domestic and international protests calling for the lifting of sanctions in Syria took place regularly over the past two weeks.

But while there have been reports of protests in Syria, almost none of those reports, even from ‘reputable’ entities, state that the protests were AGAINST the USA and its implementation of the Act. The international protests received little coverage.

Sanctions must be lifted. In fact, the USA’s regime-change agenda in Syria must be stopped.

Sanctions are but one aspect of the continued broader regime-change agenda of the USA. The ‘Statement of Policy’ which serves as a preamble to the ‘Caesar’ Act states, “to support a transition to a government in Syria that respects the rule of law, human rights, and peaceful co-existence with its neighbours.”  The last phrase – ‘peaceful co-existence with its neighbours’ – can only refer to Israel, which illegally occupies the Golan and regularly conducts acts of military aggression against Syria.

It must be noted that prior to the war, neither the UNDP nor the IMF made any reference to corruption, maladministration, and human rights abuses in Syria. It became the buzz word when an alleged Syrian military dissenter codenamed Caesar, after whom the USA Act is named, who in 2014 revealed thousands of photographs supposedly depicting torture in Syrian prisons.

An examination of the photos however revealed that it could not be indisputably proven that the injuries depicted in the photographs were indeed inflicted in government prisons.  In fact, the Human Rights Watch found that at least half the photographs depict the bodies of government soldiers killed by the armed opposition.  This confirmed that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces.

The credibility of ‘Caesar’ is highly questionable given the discrepancies in his ‘evidence’ and the USA’s history for fabricating information to suit its interests. Prof Theodore Postol, a respected expert on missile defence and nuclear weapons, who was part of the Joint Investigative Mechanism that investigated allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, disputed the conclusiveness of the allegation. 

Note further that the preamble does not say ‘peaceful transition’, thereby justifying military intervention.  The military situation remains tense despite the cease-fire negotiated between Russia and Turkey in the northwest of the country, as the USA and Turkey continue to reinforce their troops in Syria.

Turkey-backed insurgents and mercenaries continue to engage in motorcycle and car bombs in areas that are outside of the Syrian government’s control.  And Israel regularly invades Lebanese air space to advance missile attacks on the south of Syria.

In addressing the United Nations earlier this month, the Syrian Ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari stated, “The crimes and practices perpetrated by the governments of those states (the West, Israel and Turkey) rise to the level of war crimes and constitute a violation of the rules of international law and a direct aggression on the sovereignty, safety, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.”

The continued aggression in Syria cannot be delinked from other developments in the region.  The Israeli government continues to persecute the people of Palestine and is determined to forge ahead with implementing the Trump ‘Deal of the Century’. Tension between Lebanon and Israel remains high.  And USA-led sanctions against Iran remain. 

The USA-Israeli-Turkey alliance with their allies continue to seek hegemony in the region, supposedly to reduce the influence of Iran, Russia, and China. Their relentless aggression has however cost this region too many lives.  The people of the region have also suffered too much due to sanctions. Their actions are tantamount to genocide.

As we join the global demand for an end to racism, we should also call for a just and peaceful world. Implementation of this demand begins with a call for all USA troops to exit West Asia, as well as an end to Israeli aggression in the Middle East.

* Reneva Fourie is a policy analyst specialising in governance, development and security and currently resides in Damascus, Syria.She is also a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party.

This article was first published by Independent  Online,South Africa  

Reem Haddad 

Editor-in-chief

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The US Lost in Syria – So Now They’re After Their Business and Military Affiliates

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By Mona El-Hajj

The US Lost in Syria – So Now They’re After Their Business and Military Affiliates

Beirut – After 9 years of a war which had torn, killed and exiled millions from their homeland, Syria has fought hawkish NATO powers and diabolic militias which devastated the country. However, unlike Libya and Iraq whose land has been destroyed and economically annexed by US, their allies and proxies, Syria approaches the finish line as Gulf and other foreign investors set foot on Syrian land to discuss post-war reconstruction efforts.

With that being said, it would be naive to assume that Syria will be able to reconstruct without a fight. As US foreign policy fails miserably before the entire planet, they’re betting on their last chips – an optimistic venture – that they still have a chance at crushing the Syrian government. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which does anything but protect civilians, came into effect on June 17. According to the US State Department, the sanction bill is to hold the Syrian government accountable for the ‘widespread death of civilians’ and to seek ‘justice for those suffering under the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime’s brutality’ – baseless allegations deflated by renowned journalists around the world, such as Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, who have visited and explored Syria throughout the war as opposed to “experts” who haven’t read a shred of its history.

Independent Journalists Vanessa Beeley & Eva Bartlett Puncture the ...

As Syria’s UN Representative Bashar al-Jaafari puts it, the Caesar bill isn’t much different than the previous sanctions, but instead serves as a form of psychological warfare to frustrate the Syrian population further. The major difference is that this time, any individual or business who wish to deal with the government are condemned and sanctioned.

Although Pompeo reinforced that the sanctions are to hold the regime accountable on their own terms, this is fraudulent on many counts. The sanctions do not aim to punish President Assad himself, but rather worsen the humanitarian hell in which people have been living under in the past 9 years (and, crushing the Lebanese Resistance on their way). As Pompeo smugly articulates in his press statement, “the United States remains committed to working with the UN and international partners to bring life-saving assistance to the Syrian people.” What would muddle with logic here is that, if the US were so concerned with the welfare of the Syrian people, why have US forces burnt down over 200 dunums of wheat, barley and other crop fields in Hasaka before the sanctions came into effect?  If the United Nations is a credible humanitarian organization that assists those in need, why hasn’t it condemned the US burning of crop fields?

Sanctions don’t ‘change political behavior’ of regimes and enforce ‘accountability for human rights abuses;’ this theory has proven nil statistical significance. Sanctions starve people, deprive them of basic necessities like oil and gas and hold essential medication from them under the sunshade of ‘dual use’. Morality, morbidity and trauma rates go higher, and under maximum pressure, their effects last for generations. Given the reality that sanctions have almost never resulted in ‘regime change,’ then they are just a sadistic pursuit by the Global North to punish people for resisting imperialism. It is sufficient to take a good look at Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, whose governance have become nearly immune to international pressure.

Once again, the US is dictating the world who to normalize relations with and who not to. They coerce the world who to be friends with and who not to. On its way, it hacks its way into the scene, tells Lebanon, an economic and military ally to Syria, that they will be punished if they were to trade with their own neighbor. As if Sykes-Picot wasn’t enough to divide West Asia, this is a clear reattempt at destroying any form of unison between the two countries and thus instantiating divide through economic restrictions and punishment.

Syria, an already war-torn country, is flattened by an economic crisis and shortages as a result of 9 years of war trauma. While Lebanon, minus the sanctions, today suffers from the depreciation of the Lira and one of the worst economic crises in its history since the 1975 Civil War. With the rise of the dollar crisis in Lebanon, the IMF, the Lebanese Central Bank and other institutions hold back dollar injections into the country, fueling a high demand and short supply. Knowing that goods are largely imported in Lebanon, the currency of transaction is naturally by the dollar, which has recently started to smother entire households making ends meet on low incomes. Syria, a country which has criminalized the use of dollar on land, enjoys strong economic ties with Lebanon, through which they deal by the Lira. This entails that the function of the sanctions isn’t only to affect Syria alone, but it is also to cut Lebanon’s main trade partner which only exacerbates the dollar crisis in the country. Wishful thinking-ly, America’s proxy, “Israel”, through such a tactic, thinks they could coerce Hezbollah into trading its weapons for food.

From infrastructure and basic necessities comes security, and America’s parasite – “Israel” – cannot allow for a strong, stable Syria to heal, and a Lebanon which continually threatens their existence. As Lebanon has recently transitioned into a new government, with a new prime minister and cabinet, MSM has turned to paint it as ‘Hezbollah-led government’ in attempt to delegitimize and punish it on the short run. Under such premise, “Israel” pushes America into a cost-effective war to crush Hezbollah – not militarily – but through sanctioning the Lebanese government, which has a high possibility given the terms and conditions of the Caesar Act. Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reassured the Lebanese that the government will not end trade with Syria, and neither will the community starve. Deviating the economic hues of the country to the East seemed like a plausible solution, proposing more ties with China and Iran. The world awaits the repercussions of economic terrorism, which will eventually end up in defeat as it always has.

Victoria Nuland Alert

The foreign interventionists really hate Russia

PHILIP GIRALDI • JUNE 23, 2020 

It is difficult to find anything good to say about Donald Trump, but the reality is that he has not started any new wars, though he has come dangerously close in the cases of Venezuela and Iran and there would be considerable incentive in the next four months to begin something to bolster his “strong president” credentials and to serve as a distraction from coronavirus and black lives matter.

Be that as it may, Trump will have to run hard to catch up to the record set by his three predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bush was an out-and-out neoconservative, or at least someone who was easily led, including in his administration Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Reuel Gerecht, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Eliot Abrams, Dan Senor and Scooter Libby. He also had the misfortune of having to endure Vice President Dick Cheney, who thought he was actually the man in charge. All were hawks who believed that the United States had the right to do whatever it considered necessary to enhance its own security, to include invading other countries, which led to Afghanistan and Iraq, where the U.S. still has forces stationed nearly twenty years later.

Clinton and Obama were so-called liberal interventionists who sought to export something called democracy to other countries in an attempt to make them more like Peoria. Clinton bombed Afghanistan and Sudan as a diversion when the press somehow caught wind of his arrangement with Monica Lewinsky and Obama, aided by Mrs. Clinton, chose to destroy Libya. Obama was also the first president to set up a regular Tuesday morning session to review a list of American citizens who would benefit from being killed by drone.

So the difference between neocons and liberal interventionists is one of style rather than substance. And, by either yardstick all-in-all, Trump looks pretty good, but there has nevertheless been a resurgence of neocon-think in his administration. The America the exceptional mindset is best exemplified currently by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who personifies the belief that the United States is empowered by God to play only by its own rules when dealing with other nations. That would include following the advice that has been attributed to leading neocon Michael Ledeen, “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

One of the first families within the neocon/liberal interventionist firmament is the Kagans, Robert and Frederick. Frederick is a Senior Fellow at the neocon American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly heads the bizarrely named Institute for the Study of War. Victoria Nuland, wife of Robert, is currently the Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. That means that Victoria aligns primarily as a liberal interventionist, as does her husband, who is also at Brookings. She is regarded as a protégé of Hillary Clinton and currently works with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who once declared that killing 500,000 Iraqi children using sanctions was “worth it.” Nuland also has significant neocon connections through her having been a member of the staff assembled by Dick Cheney.

Nuland, many will recall, was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2013-2014. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. It is hard to imagine that any U.S. administration would tolerate a similar attempt by a foreign nation to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, particularly if it were backed by a $5 billion budget, but Washington has long believed in a global double standard for evaluating its own behavior.

Nuland is most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create in Ukraine. For Nuland, the replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with the real enemy, Moscow, over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And make no mistake about Nuland’s broader intention at that time to expand the conflict and directly confront Russia. In Senate testimony she cited how the administration was “providing support to other frontline states like Moldova and Georgia.” Her use of the word “frontline” is suggestive.

Victoria Nuland was playing with fire. Russia, as the only nation with the military capability to destroy the U.S., was and is not a sideshow like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Taliban’s Afghanistan. Backing Moscow into a corner with no way out by using threats and sanctions is not good policy. Washington has many excellent reasons to maintain a stable relationship with Moscow, including counter-terrorism efforts, and little to gain from moving in the opposite direction. Russia is not about to reconstitute the Warsaw Pact and there is no compelling reason to return to a Cold War footing by either arming Ukraine or permitting it to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Victoria Nuland has just written a long article for July/August issue of Foreign Affairsmagazine on the proper way for the United States manage what she sees as the Russian “threat.” It is entitled “How a Confident America Should Deal With Russia.” Foreign Affairs, it should be observed, is an establishment house organ produced by the Council on Foreign Relations which provides a comfortable perch for both neocons and liberal interventionists.

Nuland’s view is that the United States lost confidence in its own “ability to change the game” against Vladimir Putin, who has been able to play “a weak hand well because the United States and its allies have let him, allowing Russia to violate arms control treaties, international law, the sovereignty of its neighbors, and the integrity of elections in the United States and Europe… Washington and its allies have forgotten the statecraft that won the Cold War and continued to yield results for many years after. That strategy required consistent U.S. leadership at the presidential level, unity with democratic allies and partners, and a shared resolve to deter and roll back dangerous behavior by the Kremlin. It also included incentives for Moscow to cooperate and, at times, direct appeals to the Russian people about the benefits of a better relationship. Yet that approach has fallen into disuse, even as Russia’s threat to the liberal world has grown.”

What Nuland writes would make perfect sense if one were to share her perception of Russia as a rogue state threatening the “liberal world.” She sees Russian rearmament under Putin as a threat even though it was dwarfed by the spending of NATO and the U.S. She shares her fear that Putin might seek “…reestablishing a Russian sphere of influence in eastern Europe and from vetoing the security arrangements of his neighbors. Here, a chasm soon opened between liberal democracies and the still very Soviet man leading Russia, especially on the subject of NATO enlargement. No matter how hard Washington and its allies tried to persuade Moscow that NATO was a purely defensive alliance that posed no threat to Russia, it continued to serve Putin’s agenda to see Europe in zero-sum terms.”

Nuland’s view of NATO enlargement is so wide of the mark that it borders on being a fantasy. Of course, Russia would consider a military alliance on its doorstep to be a threat, particularly as a U.S. Administration had provided assurances that expansion would not take place. She goes on to suggest utter nonsense, that Putin’s great fear over the NATO expansion derives from his having “…always understood that a belt of increasingly democratic, prosperous states around Russia would pose a direct challenge to his leadership model and risk re-infecting his own people with democratic aspirations.”

Nuland goes on and on in a similar vein, but her central theme is that Russia must be confronted to deter Vladimir Putin, a man that she clearly hates and depicts as if he were a comic book version of evil. Some of her analysis is ridiculous, as “Russian troops regularly test the few U.S. forces left in Syria to try to gain access to the country’s oil fields and smuggling routes. If these U.S. troops left, nothing would prevent Moscow and Tehran from financing their operations with Syrian oil or smuggled drugs and weapons.”

Like most zealots, Nuland is notably lacking in any sense of self-criticism. She conspired to overthrow a legitimately elected democratic government in Ukraine because it was considered too friendly to Russia. She accuses the Kremlin of having “seized” Crimea, but fails to see the heavy footprint of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq and as a regional enabler of Israeli and Saudi war crimes. One wonders if she is aware that Russia, which she sees as expansionistic, has only one overseas military base while the United States has more than a thousand.

Nuland clearly chooses not to notice the White House’s threats against countries that do not toe the American line, most recently Iran and Venezuela, but increasingly also China on top of perennial enemy Russia. None of those nations threaten the United States and all the kinetic activity and warnings are forthcoming from a gentleman named Mike Pompeo, speaking from Washington, not from “undemocratic” leaders in the Kremlin, Tehran, Caracas or Beijing.

Victoria Nuland recommends that “The challenge for the United States in 2021 will be to lead the democracies of the world in crafting a more effective approach to Russia—one that builds on their strengths and puts stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.” Interestingly, that might be regarded as seeking to interfere in the workings of a foreign government, reminiscent of the phony case made against Russia in 2016. And it is precisely what Nuland did in fact do in Ukraine.

Nuland has a lot more to say in her article and those who are interested in the current state of interventionism in Washington should not ignore her. Confronting Russia as some kind of ideological enemy is a never-ending process that leaves both sides poorer and less free. It is appropriate for Moscow to have an interest in what goes on right on top of its border while the United States five thousand miles away and possessing both a vastly larger economy and armed forces can, one would think, relax a bit and unload the burden of being the world’s self-appointed policeman.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

The Globalization of War. America’s “Long War” against Humanity

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 11, 2020

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO  military machine –coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world.  The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

The Globalization of War

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““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”The Dirty War on Syria and The Globalization of War: Special Offer

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“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research Publishers, Montreal 2015

EXCERPT FROM PREFACE:

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project.  Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza.

In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.

The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, U.S.and NATO forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine. U.S. military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.

In turn, military maneuvers are being conducted at Russia’s doorstep which could potentially lead to escalation.

The U.S. airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.

The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness. And so is Russia.

Russia is heralded as the “Aggressor”. U.S.-NATO military confrontation with Russia is contemplated.

Enabling legislation in the U.S. Senate under “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) has “set the U.S. on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”

“Any U.S.-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the U.S. nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event  of war, to pre-emptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.”

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) is the culmination of more than twenty years of U.S.-NATO war preparations,which consist in the military encirclement of both Russia and China:

“From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. U.S. military power is now directly on Russia’s borders.”

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The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

US Activist: Internal Crises Overwhelming Racist US, People Will Not Retreat

US Activist: Internal Crises Overwhelming Racist US, People Will Not Retreat 

By Elham Hashemi

The latest riots and looting in the United States of America were triggered by the cold-blooded killing of the US citizen George Floyd. The entire planet knows the sad story of Floyd no need to mention in it here.

But this story is only the tip of the iceberg. For those who think that Floyd’s killing is the real reason that made streets of different US states and regions flood with protestors and rioters, you are mistaken. Underneath the tip of the iceberg is what has been accumulating for long years.

If you know the US well, you must know by now that there is no universal healthcare, there are starvation wages, there exists mass incarceration, the US has a long history of police brutality, there is a lack of opportunities, racist politicians are everywhere, a racist justice system exists, there are no reparations and there is no access to affordable education.

With the coming of Covid-19 and the state of chaos across the country, and the sad crime of killing Floyd, it seems that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Thanks to alternative and social media networks, nothing is hidden; information flows in specs of a second through fiber optic technology to reach millions across the world.

News activist and analyst Sam G. from the city of Michigan told al-Ahed news that “Information is not monopolistic anymore. People across the world have become news junkies contributing to the multiplicity of informative voices as well as provide information on first-hand experience and what is happening in each country.”

Sam told al-Ahed “Corona, the pandemic which probably should be thanked at a certain point, revealed the spirit of each country, that is, those who are interested in giving more importance to the economy, as is the case of the United States, while other countries such as Iran carried out a coronavirus control policy where the health of its people was given more importance despite being financially sanctioned by the United States where its people are suffering from the individualistic policies of their government.

“The difference is clear, economy versus health, money versus life and here are the countries that suffer the most that are setting the example.”

The activist noted “The United States has loads of internal crises that it needs to overcome. The political crisis has extended to reach US President Donald Trump; his own officials who can no longer support his statements and poor decisions.”

“We are talking about a government that is racist towards its people. It is a country that is sinking in problems and complex issues and has a government that is sort of living in a state of denial. The US suffers an economic crisis where unconventional oil companies declared bankruptcy and the state had to go out to subsidize them while people continue to die for not being able to access the health system that is private and segregating.” 

This, according to Sam, “leads to an unprecedented social crisis that proves once again that the Trump administration has no intention of improving its own country.”

According to Sam, this is only the beginning of change in the US as well as the world and its order. The activist thinks that people are not willing to retreat or stop protesting until they see the arrest of all officers involved in the killing of Floyd and see action in terms of protecting the rights of African Americans at least.

In many parts of the world, the death of yet another black man at the hands of the police in the United States set off mass protests against police brutality. For many activists and community organizers, Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was a blunt reminder of Chicago’s racial divide and history of police brutality against African Americans.

Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people, according to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group. In 2019 alone, more than 1,000 people were killed by police, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group.

Several states have called in National Guard troops to help quell the protests, some of which have turned violent. Cities nationwide have also implemented curfews, but protesters appear undeterred.

The US has even failed in ensuring the right of citizens to protest, which is the simplest form of freedom of expression and human rights in the so-called land of democracies and freedoms. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, police tactics used so far can trigger escalating violence. “Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable,” read the statement, adding that police “should demilitarize their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organizers”.

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ماذا تقول الأحداث الأميركيّة؟ وماذا عن المقارنات اللبنانيّة؟

ناصر قنديل

تدخل الأحداث التي تتفجّر عنفاً في الشوارع الأميركيّة وتشمل عدداً كبيراً من المدن والولايات طريق التعاظم، لأسبوع إضافي، وبمعزل عن حماسة الترحيب بهذه الأحداث أو الدعوات لعدم الاحتفال بها، فهي لا تبدو مجرد احتجاج عابر على مقتل الرجل الأسود على أيدي رجال الشرطة، بمقدار ما شكل الحادث الصادم بطريقته وظروفه، عنصر التفجير لمخزون غضب كان ينتظر فرصة التحوّل إلى شريك في المشهد الأميركي. ومخزون الغضب يتجمّع مع الخطاب العنصريّ للرئيس دونالد ترامب، وزادته تعاظماً بأضعاف مضاعفة الأزمات الاجتماعية الناجمة عن تداعيات وباء كورونا، وتشرد ملايين العاطلين عن العمل من وظائفهم، وانضمامهم إلى طالبي الإعانات، في ظل تراكم مجموعة أحداث سياسية دولية أصابت الهيبة الأميركية، خصوصاً في الجوار المباشر، الذي تمثله فنزويلا، بعدما قدّمها ترامب كثمرة ناضجة للقطاف العنصري لنظامه، وتحوّلت بعد وصول ناقلات النفط الإيرانيّة، إلى عنوان الفشل الأميركي، فيما لا تبدو الانتخابات الفرصة التي كان ينتظرها الشارع الغاضب على ترامب وإدارته لتغيير ديمقراطي، في ظل الصورة الباهتة التي يقدّمها الحزب الديمقراطي، والمشاكل التي تحيط بأهليّة مرشحه جو بايدن لمواصلة السابق الانتخابي، مع ظهور بوادر للتلاعب بالعملية الانتخابية برمّتها، وصولاً لفرضيات التأجيل حتى إشعار آخر.

الغضب وانعدام الأمل هما طريق النزول إلى الشارع، وهما عنصران متوافران بقوة في شارع أميركي ليس محصوراً بأصحاب البشرة السوداء. فضحايا العنصرية التي يضخها خطاب ترامب تتخطاهم لتطال ذوي الأصول اللاتينيّة، والمسلمين، والنساء، والأزمة الاقتصادية الاجتماعيّة تمسّ شرائح كانت تحسب حتى الأمس على الطبقة الوسطى من البيض المتنورين، وتحرك مجموعات الوسط الليبرالي واليساري الذين أظهرت حملة المرشح بيرني ساندرز أنهم شريحة وازنة في معظم الولايات الأميركية، وهذا الشارع المتنوع يبدو أنه ينضم تدريجاً للحركة الاحتجاجية التي تتسع بصورة لافتة على مستوى تنوّع مكوّناتها، وتعدد ولاياتها، لتصير أقرب نحو تشكيل شارع وطني أميركي يواجه سلطة حكم، متوحشة، اقتصادياً واجتماعياً وسياسياً وإعلامياً، يقودها وحش مالي عنصري هو دونالد ترامب، من دون وجود أفق راهن لتسوية في منتصف الطريق، في ظل أزمة اقتصادية مرشحة للمزيد من التفاقم، وشح متزايد في الموارد، مع تراجع عام تعانيه الشخصية الأميركية في العالم، في ظل فقدان السيطرة على الملفات السياسية الخارجية كحاكم منفرد للعالم، من جهة، وتراجع كبير في الصورة العلمية والأخلاقية التي حرص الأميركيون دائماً على إظهار تفوّق نموذجهم في تمثيلها. وكان ما شهدته الولايات الأميركية وخصوصاً نيويورك، في مواجهة وباء كورونا، التعبير الأقوى عن هذا السقوط العلمي والأخلاقي.

المخاض الأميركي يبدو مفتوحاً، بلا أفق واضح لخاتمة قريبة، والحديث هنا ليس عن ثورة ولا عن تغيير نظام بالتأكيد، هو الغضب الشعبي اليائس من قدرة النظام على احتواء الأزمات ضمن مؤسسات الديمقراطية. وهذا يجب أن يدركه الذين يرغبون بإجراء المقارنات مع ما شهده لبنان، ويحبّون بتسميته ثورة، فما يجري في أميركا يشبه ما جرى في لبنان، وليس تغيير النظام في كليهما أفقاً ممكناً، ولا صفة الثورة تصحّ فيه، لأنها بالضبط بلا قيادة وبلا برنامج، وما يجري في أميركا يقول للبنانيين الذين يتساءلون عن معنى احتفال الخصوم السياسيين للإدارة الأميركية بما يجري، بينما لم يفعلوا ذلك تجاه ما جرى في لبنان، الجواب بسيط، هو أنهم لا يرغبون لبلدهم ما يرغبونه لعدوهم، من فوضى ومخاطر أمنية، وضياع للأفق السياسي؛ أما الذين يقولون لماذا لا يطعن أحد بأهلية ما يجري في أميركا من الذين طعنوا بأهلية ما جرى في لبنان؟ فالجواب ببساطة هو أن “لا وجود لسفارة أميركية في أميركا”.

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Why U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq

Why U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq

May 16, 2020

by Eric Zuesse  for The Saker Blog

The reason why the U.S. Government must be prosecuted for its war-crimes against Iraq is that they are so horrific and there are so many of them, and international law crumbles until they become prosecuted and severely punished for what they did. We therefore now have internationally a lawless world (or “World Order”) in which “Might makes right,” and in which there is really no effective international law, at all. This is merely gangster “law,” ruling on an international level. It is what Hitler and his Axis of fascist imperialists had imposed upon the world until the Allies — U.S. under FDR, UK under Churchill, and U.S.S.R. under Stalin — defeated it, and established the United Nations. Furthermore, America’s leaders deceived the American public into perpetrating this invasion and occupation, of a foreign country (Iraq) that had never threatened the United States; and, so, this invasion and subsequent military occupation constitutes the very epitome of “aggressive war” — unwarranted and illegal international aggression. (Hitler, similarly to George W. Bush, would never have been able to obtain the support of his people to invade if he had not lied, or “deceived,” them, into invading and militarily occupying foreign countries that had never threatened Germany, such as Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia. This — Hitler’s lie-based aggressions — was the core of what the Nazis were hung for, and yet America now does it.)

As Peter Dyer wrote in 2006, about “Iraq & the Nuremberg Precedent”:

Invoking the precedent set by the United States and its allies at the Nuremberg trial in 1946, there can be no doubt that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war of aggression. There was no imminent threat to U.S. security nor to the security of the world. The invasion violated the U.N. Charter as well as U.N. Security Council Resolution #1441.

The Nuremberg precedent calls for no less than the arrest and prosecution of those individuals responsible for the invasion of Iraq, beginning with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleez[z]a Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Take, for example, Condoleezza Rice, who famously warned “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” (That warning was one of the most effective lies in order to deceive the American public into invading Iraq, because President Bush had had no real evidence, at all, that there still remained any WMD in Iraq after the U.N. had destroyed them all, and left Iraq in 1998 — and he knew this; he was informed of this; he knew that he had no real evidence, at all: he offered none; it was all mere lies.)

So, the Nuremberg precedent definitely does apply against George W, Bush and his partners-in-crime, just as it did against Hitler and his henchmen and allies.

The seriousness of this international war crime is not as severe as those of the Nazis were, but nonetheless is comparable to it.

On 15 March 2018, Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies headlined at Alternet “The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq” and wrote that “our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion,” and linked to solid evidence, backing up their estimate.

On 6 February 2020, BusinessInsider bannered “US taxpayers have reportedly paid an average of $8,000 each and over $2 trillion total for the Iraq war alone”, and linked to the academic analysis that supported this estimate. The U.S. regime’s invasive war, which the Bush gang perpetrated against Iraq, was also a crime against the American people (though Iraqis suffered far more from it than we did).

On 29 September 2015, I headlined “GALLUP: ‘Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World’,” and linked to Gallup’s survey of 1,000 individuals in each of 148 countries around the world, which found that Iraq had the highest “Negative Experience Score.” That score includes “sadness,” “physical pain,” “anger,” and other types of misery — and Iraq, after America’s invasion, has scored the highest in the entire world, on it, and in the following years has likewise scored at or near the highest on “Negative Experience Score.” For example: in the latest, the 2019, Gallup “Global Emotions Report”, Iraq scores fourth from the top on “Negative Experience Score,” after (in order from the worst) Chad, Niger, and Sierra Leone. (Gallup has been doing these surveys ever since 2005, but the first one that was published under that title was the 2015 report, which summarized the 2014 surveys’ findings.) Of course, prior to America’s invasion, there had been America’s 1990 war against Iraq and the U.S. regime’s leadership and imposition of U.N. sanctions (which likewise were based largely on U.S.-regime-backed lies, though not totally on lies like the 2003 invasion was), which caused massive misery in that country; and, therefore, not all of the misery in Iraq which showed up in the 2015 Global Emotions Report was due to only the 2003 invasion and subsequent military occupation of that country. But almost all of it was, and is. And all of it was based on America’s rulers lying to the public in order to win the public’s acceptance of their evil plans and invasions against a country that had never posed any threat whatsoever to Americans — people residing in America. Furthermore, it is also perhaps relevant that the 2012 “World Happiness Report” shows Iraq at the very bottom of the list of countries (on page 55 of that report) regarding “Average Net Affect by Country,” meaning that Iraqis were the most zombified of all 156 nationalities surveyed. Other traumatized countries were immediately above Iraq on that list. On “Average Negative Affect,” only “Palestinian Territories” scored higher than Iraq (page 52). After America’s invasion based entirely on lies, Iraq is a wrecked country, which still remains under the U.S. regime’s boot, as the following will document:

Bush’s successors, Obama and Trump, failed to press for Bush’s trial on these vast crimes, even though the American people had ourselves become enormously victimized by them, though far less so than Iraqis were. Instead, Bush’s successors have become accessories after the fact, by this failure to press for prosecution of him and his henchmen regarding this grave matter. In fact, the “Defense One” site bannered on 26 September 2018, “US Official: We May Cut Support for Iraq If New Government Seats Pro-Iran Politicians”, and opened with “The Trump administration may decrease U.S. military support or other assistance to Iraq if its new government puts Iranian-aligned politicians in any ‘significant positions of responsibility,’ a senior administration official told reporters late last week.” The way that the U.S. regime has brought ‘democracy’ to Iraq is by threatening to withdraw its protection of the stooge-rulers that it had helped to place into power there, unless those stooges do the U.S. dictators’ bidding, against Iraq’s neighbor Iran. This specific American dictator, Trump, is demanding that majority-Shiite Iraq be run by stooges who favor, instead, America’s fundamentalist-Sunni allies, such as the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia and who hate and loathe Shiites and Iran. The U.S. dictatorship insists that Iraq, which the U.S. conquered, serve America’s anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian policy-objectives. “The U.S. threat, to withhold aid if Iran-aligned politicians occupy any ministerial position, is an escalation of Washington’s demands on Baghdad.” The article went on to quote a “senior administration official” as asserting that, “if Iran exerts a tremendous amount of influence, or a significant amount of influence over the Iraqi government, it’s going to be difficult for us to continue to invest.” Get the euphemisms there! This article said that “the Trump administration has made constraining Iran’s influence in the region a cornerstone of their foreign policy.” So, this hostility toward Iran must be reflected in Iraq’s policies, too. It’s not enough that Trump wants to destroy Iran like Bush has destroyed Iraq; Trump demands that Iraq participate in that crime, against Iraq’s own neighbor. This article said that, “There have also been protests against ‘U.S. meddling’ in the formation of a new Iraqi government, singling out Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk for working to prevent parties close to Iran from obtaining power.” McGurk is the rabidly neconservative former high G.W. Bush Administration official, and higher Obama Administration official, who remained as Trump’s top official on his policy to force Iraq to cooperate with America’s efforts to conquer Iran. Trump’s evil is Obama’s evil, and is Bush’s evil. It is bipartisan evil, no matter which Party is in power. Though Trump doesn’t like either the Bushes or Obamas, all of them are in the same evil policy-boat. America’s Deep State remains the same, no matter whom it places into the position of nominal power. The regime remains the same, regardless.

On April 29th, the whistleblowing former UK Ambassador Craig Murray wrote:

Nobody knows how many people died as a result of the UK/US Coalition of Death led destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and, by proxy, Syria and Yemen. Nobody even knows how many people western forces themselves killed directly. That is a huge number, but still under 10% of the total. To add to that you have to add those who died in subsequent conflict engendered by the forced dismantling of the state the West disapproved of. Some were killed by western proxies, some by anti-western forces, and some just by those reverting to ancient tribal hostility and battle for resources into which the country had been regressed by bombing.

You then have to add all those who died directly as a result of the destruction of national infrastructure. Iraq lost in the destruction 60% of its potable drinking water, 75% of its medical facilities and 80% of its electricity. This caused millions of deaths, as did displacement. We are only of course talking about deaths, not maiming.

UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair should hang with the U.S. gang, but who is calling for this? How much longer will the necessary prosecutions wait? Till after these international war-criminals have all gone honored to their graves?

Although the International Criminal Court considered and dismissed possible criminal charges against Tony Blair’s UK Government regarding the invasion and military occupation of Iraq, the actual crime, of invading and militarily occupying a country which had posed no threat to the national security of the invader, was ignored, and the conclusion was that “the situation did not appear to meet the required threshold of the Statute” (which was only “Willful killing or inhuman treatment of civilians” and which ignored the real crime, which was “aggressive war” or “the crime of aggression” — the crime for which Nazis had been hanged at Nuremberg). Furthermore, no charges whatsoever against the U.S. Government (the world’s most frequent and most heinous violator of international law) were considered. In other words: the International Criminal Court is subordinate to, instead of applicable to, the U.S. regime. Just like Adolf Hitler had repeatedly made clear that, to him, all nations except Germany were dispensable and only Germany wasn’t, Barack Obama repeatedly said that “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation”, which likewise means that every other nation is “dispensable.” The criminal International Criminal Court accepts this, and yet expects to be respected.

The U.S. regime did “regime change” to Iraq in 2003, and to Ukraine in 2014, and tried to do it to Syria since 2009, and to Yemen since 2015, and to Venezuela since 2012, and to Iran since 2017 — just to mention some of the examples. And, though the Nuremberg precedent certainly applies, it’s not enforced. In principle, then, Hitler has posthumously won WW II.

Hitler must be smiling, now. FDR must be rolling in his grave.

The only way to address this problem, if there won’t be prosecutions against the ‘duly elected’ (Deep-State-approved and enabled) national leaders and appointees, would be governmental seizure and nationalization of the assets that are outright owned or else controlled by America’s Deep State. Ultimately, the Government-officials who are s‘elected’ and appointed to run the American Government have been and are representing not the American people but instead represent the billionaires who fund those officials’ and former officials’ careers. In a democracy, those individuals — the financial enablers of those politicians’ s‘electoral’ success — would be dispossessed of all their assets, and then prosecuted for the crimes that were perpetrated by the public officials whom they had participated in (significantly funded and propagandized for) placing into power. (For example, both Parties’ Presidential nominees are unqualified to serve in any public office in a democracy.)

Democracy cannot function with a systematically lied-to public. Nor can it function if the responsible governmental officials are effectively immune from prosecution for their ‘legal’ crimes, or if the financial string-pullers behind the scenes can safely pull those strings. In America right now, both of those conditions pertain, and, as a result, democracy is impossible. There are only two ways to address this problem, and one of them would start by prosecuting George W. Bush.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Syrian ‘Regime Change’ Architect: William Roebuck, US Ambassador of Destruction

By Steven Sahiounie

Global Research, May 06, 2020

Since 2006, William Roebuck, a US Diplomat, has been working toward ‘regime change’ in Syria at any cost. The destruction of Syria, hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries, and the migration of one-third of the population have been the price of the US policy under Roebuck’s tenure.  The ultimate goal of ‘regime change’ has never been about greater freedoms, democracy, or human rights for Syrians, but has been with the single target spelled out by Roebuck in 2006: to break the relationship between Iran and Syria. 

William Roebuck, US Ambassador ‘to the Kurds in Syria’

William Roebuck is a 27 year veteran of the US State Department, having served under Presidents Bush, Obama, and currently Trump.  His current title is Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He is a former US Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain.  He has served in the US embassies in Iraq and chargé d’affaires in Libya under Obama. Seymour M. Hersh wrote about the US Embassy in Libya and its role in arming the terrorists used by the US in Syria.  For the past several years, he has been based in Northeast Syria and managing the Kurds.

Roebuck designed the 2011 “Arab Spring” in Syria

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange revealed a plan concocted by William Roebuck, the former US Ambassador to Syria.  Wikileaks published US diplomatic cables, and chapter 10 of “The Wikileaks Files” concerns Roebuck’s cable sent on December 13, 2006.  Ambassador Roebuck wrote that the US should take action to try to destabilize the Syrian government by provoking it to overreact, both internally and externally. That plan was put into action in March 2011 at Deraa, where armed terrorists were interspersed among unarmed civilians in street protests. The terrorists were provoking the police and security forces by shooting at them, as well as shooting unarmed civilians which were blamed on the security forces.

The cables prove that ‘regime change’ had been the goal of US policy in Syria since 2006 and that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its policy, which built the foundation for the sectarian conflict which resulted in massive bloodshed. Roebuck advocated for exploiting Syria’s relationship with Iran, which makes Syria vulnerable to Israeli airstrikes. Roebuck advised that the US should destabilize the Syrian government by promoting sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shia, which at the time was not an issue in Syria, which is a secular government and a tolerant society. By promoting sectarian conflict, which he had observed in the oil-rich Arab Gulf monarchies, Roebuck was crafting the destruction of Syrian society.  The ultimate US goal in Syria was to destabilize the Syrian government by violent means, resulting in a change of government, and the new government would be pro-Israeli, and anti-Iranian.

Roebuck’s memo leaked

In November 2019 an internal memo written on October 31 by Roebuck was leaked to the press. He criticized Trump for failing to stop Turkey from invading the Northeast of Syria. “Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, spearheaded by armed Islamist groups on its payroll, represents an intentioned-laced effort at ethnic cleansing,” Mr. Roebuck wrote, calling the abuses “what can only be described as war crimes and ethnic cleansing.”Empowering Terrorism to “Stop” Terrorism: America’s Foreign Policy in Syria Summed Up in Three Headlines

Roebuck praised the SDF as a reliable partner acting as guards to keep US troops safe while they occupied Syria illegally, to steal the Syrian oil, which is to be used to support the SDF, instead of the Pentagon payroll.

Two is the company, but three is a crowd

The US state department has a Syrian trio: William Roebuck, and the special representative for Syria engagement, James Jeffrey. Joel Rayburn is a deputy assistant secretary for Levant Affairs and special envoy for Syria.

Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish officials are often confused as to which US officials are in charge on any given issue, and whether their policies were personally driven, or reflected US foreign policy directives. Many analysts agree that the US foreign policy on Syria is a confusing mess.

Roebuck pushes the Syrian Kurds to unite

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have begun direct talks which US diplomat William Roebuck has promoted. For the last two years, he has been working with the Syrian Kurds.  The goal is to unite all Kurdish parties in Syria in one body, which could be part of the UN peace talks in Geneva to end the Syrian conflict.  The KNC and PYD have had serious disagreements over the years.

The KNC is part of the Istanbul-based ‘Syrian opposition’ and aligned with the Kurdish nationalist Massoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq.  The KNC received criticism as being pro-Turkish after the Turkish Army invaded the Northeastern region of Syria.

The PYD is part of the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who had been the US partner fighting ISIS.  PYD bases its political and organizational projects on the PKK’s ideology. The PKK is considered as an international terrorist group accused of thousands of deaths in Turkey over the decades.

The first direct negotiations between the KNC and PYD were held in early April at an illegal US military base near Hasakah, with William Roebuck, an SDF commander Mazlum Abdi in attendance.  Roebuck has met numerous times over the past three months with the KNC, trying to push the idea of unification among the Kurdish factions.

At an April 25 press conference in Qamishli, it was announced that Roebuck had presented a draft that called for a unified political vision for Syria.  After about four meetings, the two sides were in agreement on the following points: Syria is to be a federal, democratic, and pluralistic state; the current Syrian government in Damascus was not acceptable; the Kurdish northeast region was to be a political unit.  It was stressed that both parties were committed to resolving the Syrian crisis through the implementation of UN Resolution 2254, and the new Syrian constitution must recognize Kurdish national, cultural, and political rights.

The SDF and PYD do not have political representation in the Geneva talks because of Turkish opposition to their participation, given the fact that Turkey views the groups as terrorists.  Turkey rejects any project that would lead to Kurdish autonomous rule in Syria, which is the goal of the US. When Trump ordered the sudden withdrawal of US troops from the Northeast of Syria in October, the Kurdish leaders immediately turned to the Syrian government in Damascus to save them from extermination at the hands of the invading Turkish Army.  However, the US did not want the Kurds to be protected by Damascus. The US goal is ‘regime change’ using UN Resolution 2254 as their tool. To achieve that end, William Roebuck has continued to work with the Kurds of the Northeast and is now trying to get them united to be at the negotiating table in Geneva. The Kurds might unite, but they will always remain a small minority numbering only 7% of the population, but who are attempting to control 20% of the territory in Syria.  Will there be justice for the Syrian homeowners and landowners within the territory the Kurds call “Rojava”, who have been made homeless and destitute at the hands of the Kurds? Will the Syrians one day rise in a “Kurdish Spring” cleaning to regain their properties?

Ahed al-Hindi, a political analyst based in Washington, DC, told  Al-Monitor that the US goal to unify the Kurdish ranks in northeastern Syria is a part of a project designed to unify the entire Syrian north, including Idlib and the Kurdish Northeast.  The US goal is to prevent the Syrian government from access to the resources which could be used to rebuild Syria.

The next UN peace talks in Geneva

UN Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen gave a UN Security Council briefing on the situation in Syria on April 29. He announced the agenda for the next session of the Constitutional Committee had been agreed between the co-chairs, and meetings in Geneva would resume as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions would allow. He continued to stress the importance of the current nationwide ceasefire, which was needed to combat and treat COVID-19.  He declared there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and the UN Security Council resolution 2254 must be used as the path to a political settlement that would be acceptable for the Syrian people while restoring the sovereignty, borders, and independence of Syria.

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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

April 29, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

The formerly respected global authority on whether or not a chemical-weapons attack has occurred, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, has now so continuously ignored its own hired expert investigators, so that in an April 28th news-report, at “The Gray Zone” investigative-news site, anonymous “OPCW Insiders” have issued a public statement saying that:

A number of impartial and principled professionals no longer wish to be associated with the politically motivated reports being issued by the OPCW FFM  [Fact-Finding Mission] and now the IIT [Investigation and Identification Team]. Many consider this work and these reports to be procedurally and scientifically flawed. Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all.

The recent publication of the IIT report into alleged chemical attacks at Ltamenah [in Syria — a country whose non-sectarian Government the U.S. regime has been trying since 2009 to overthrow and replace by a fundamentalist-Sunni government that would be controlled by the Saudson March 24, 25 and 30 2017, has highlighted again the misuse of the OPCW by influential state parties to further their political and foreign affairs objectives.

The news-reports that are listed below provide the essential background to this, indicating that the “influential state parties” which are being referred-to are the U.S. and its allied regimes (such as UK).

If the quoted statement is, in fact, a leak by “OPCW Insiders,” as “The Gray Zone” alleges, then it’s yet another nail in the coffin of the OPCW’s international credibility. Coming after a lengthy string of such OPCW scandals as are documented in the below-listed articles, all international funding organizations will then cancel their commitments to OPCW, except for organizations that represent the U.S. regime; and, then, the only international organizations that will continue to publicize the ‘findings’ from the OPCW will be organizations that themselves are agencies of the U.S. regime.

In that case, of course, no national delegations to the United Nations, except ones that represent regimes which themselves likewise front for (are vassals of) the U.S. regime, will continue to cite OPCW ‘findings’, in any other way than to deny the credibility of OPCW reports.

The background on all of this, including an explanation of what the main objectives of the U.S. regime are in Syria — what the purposes of this OPCW propaganda against Syria’s Government are — is provided here.

And, now, following, are the news-reports that describe the events building up to the “OPCW Insiders” statement, that “Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all” (these events will be listed starting with the latest, and working backwards in time, to the earliest):

“As an employee of the OPCW I was horrified” 12 March 2020

“Deluge Of New Leaks Further Shreds The Establishment Syria Narrative” 15 December 2019

“Fresh Evidence that UN Watchdog Suppressed Evidence Casting Doubt on Assad Gas Attack” 15 December 2019

“New WikiLeaks Bombshell: 20 Inspectors Dissent From Syria Chemical Attack Narrative” 14 December 2019

“Newsweek reporter resigns after accusing outlet of SUPPRESSING story about OPCW leak that undermines Syria ‘gas attack’ narrative” 8 December 2019

“Second whistleblower exposes cover-up at OPCW & Syria chemical weapons report (Video)” 16 November 2019

“SUPPRESSED OPCW FINDING: War-Crime Likely Perpetrated by U.S. Against Syria on 14 April 2018 (Update)” 19 May 2019

“A memo from a member of the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Douma to the OPCW Director General Fernando Arais” 14 March 2019

“Douma Videos and Photos” 24 April 2018

“Did Al Qaeda Dupe Trump on Syrian Attack?” 9 November 2017

“The Trumped-Up Syria-Sarin Case” 4 November 2017

“UN On Khan Sheikhoun – Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened” 29 October 2017

“The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels” 17 April 2014

“Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013” 14 January 2014

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

A Lesson Coronavirus Is About to Teach the World

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, March 19, 2020

If a disease can teach wisdom beyond our understanding of how precarious and precious life is, the coronavirus has offered two lessons.

The first is that in a globalised world our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing ourselves as islands – whether as individuals, communities, nations, or a uniquely privileged species – should be understood as evidence of false consciousness. In truth, we were always bound together, part of a miraculous web of life on our planet and, beyond it, stardust in an unfathomably large and complex universe. 

It is only an arrogance cultivated in us by those narcissists who have risen to power through their own destructive egotism that blinded us to the necessary mix of humility and awe we ought to feel as we watch a drop of rain on a leaf, or a baby struggle to crawl, or the night sky revealed in all its myriad glories away from city lights.

And now, as we start to enter periods of quarantine and self-isolation – as nations, communities and individuals – all that should be so much clearer. It has taken a virus to show us that only together are we at our strongest, most alive and most human.

In being stripped of what we need most by the threat of contagion, we are reminded of how much we have taken community for granted, abused it, hollowed it out. We are afraid because the services we need in times of collective difficulty and trauma have been turned into commodities that require payment, or treated as privileges to which access is now means-tested, rationed or is simply gone. That insecurity is at the root of the current urge to hoard.

When death stalks us it is not bankers we turn to, or corporate executives, or hedge fund managers. Nonetheless, those are the people our societies have best rewarded. They are the people who, if salaries are a measure of value, are the most prized.

But they are not the people we need, as individuals, as societies, as nations. Rather, it will be doctors, nurses, public health workers, care-givers and social workers who will be battling to save lives by risking their own.

During this health crisis we may indeed notice who and what is most important. But will we remember the sacrifice, their value after the virus is no longer headline news? Or will we go back to business as usual – until the next crisis – rewarding the arms manufacturers, the billionaire owners of the media, the fossil fuel company bosses, and the financial-services parasites feeding off other people’s money? 

‘Take it on the chin’ 

The second lesson follows from the first. Despite everything we have been told for four decades or more, western capitalist societies are far from the most efficient ways of organising ourselves. That will be laid bare as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

We are still very much immersed in the ideological universe of Thatcherism and Reaganism, when we were told quite literally: “There is no such thing as society.” How will that political mantra stand the test of the coming weeks and months? How much can we survive as individuals, even in quarantine, rather than as part of communities that care for all of us?Western leaders who champion neoliberalism, as they are required to do nowadays, have two choices to cope with coronavirus – and both will require a great deal of misdirection if we are not to see through their hypocrisy and deceptions.

Our leaders can let us “take it on the chin”, as the British prime minister Boris Johnson has phrased it. In practice, that will mean allowing what is effectively a cull of many of the poor and elderly – one that will relieve governments of the financial burden of underfunded pension schemes and welfare payments.

Such leaders will claim they are powerless to intervene or to ameliorate the crisis. Confronted with the contradictions inherent in their worldview, they will suddenly become fatalists, abandoning their belief in the efficacy and righteousness of the free market. They will say the virus was too contagious to contain, too robust for health services to cope, too lethal to save lives. They will evade all blame for the decades of health cuts and privatisations that made those services inefficient, inadequate, cumbersome and inflexible.

Or, by contrast, politicians will use their spin doctors and allies in the corporate media to obscure the fact that they are quietly and temporarily becoming socialists to deal with the emergency. They will change the welfare rules so that all those in the gig economy they created – employed on zero-hours contracts – do not spread the virus because they cannot afford to self-quarantine or take days’ off sick.

Or most likely our leaders will pursue both options.

Permanent crisis 

If acknowledged at all, the conclusion to be draw from the crisis – that we all matter equally, that we need to look after one another, that we sink or swim together – will be treated as no more than an isolated, fleeting lesson specific to this crisis. Our leaders will refuse to draw more general lessons – ones that might highlight their own culpability – about how sane, humane societies should function all the time. 

In fact, there is nothing unique about the coronavirus crisis. It is simply a heightened version of the less visible crisis we are now permanently mired in. As Britain sinks under floods each winter, as Australia burns each summer, as the southern states of the US are wrecked by hurricanes and its great plains become dustbowls, as the climate emergency becomes ever more tangible, we will learn this truth slowly and painfully. 

Those deeply invested in the current system – and those so brainwashed they cannot see its flaws – will defend it to the bitter end. They will learn nothing from the virus. They will point to authoritarian states and warn that things could be far worse. 

They will point a finger at Iran’s high death toll as confirmation that our profit-driven societies are better, while ignoring the terrible damage we have inflicted on Iran’s health services after years of sabotaging its economy through ferocious sanctions. We left Iran all the more vulnerable to coronavirus  because we wanted to engineer “regime change” – to interfere under the pretence of “humanitarian” concern – as we have sought to do in other countries whose resources we wished to control, from Iraq to Syria and Libya.

Iran will be held responsible for a crisis we willed, that our politicians intended (even if the speed and means came as a surprise), to overthrow its leaders. Iran’s failures will be cited as proof of our superior way of life, as we wail self-righteously about the outrage of a “Russian interference” whose contours we can barely articulate. 

Valuing the common good 

Those who defend our system, even as its internal logic collapses in the face of coronavirus and a climate emergency, will tell us how lucky we are to live in free societies where some – Amazon executives, home delivery services, pharmacies, toilet-paper manufacturers – can still make a quick buck from our panic and fear. As long as someone is exploiting us, as long as someone is growing fat and rich, we will be told the system works – and works better than anything else imaginable. 

But in fact, late-stage capitalist societies like the US and the UK will struggle to claim even the limited successes against coronavirus of authoritarian governments. Is Trump in the US or Johnson in the UK – exemplars of “the market knows best” capitalism – likely to do better than China at containing and dealing with the virus?

This lesson is not about authoritarian versus “free” societies. This is about societies that treasure the common wealth, that value the common good, above private greed and profit, above protecting the privileges of a wealth-elite.

In 2008, after decades of giving the banks what they wanted – free rein to make money by trading in hot air – the western economies all but imploded as an inflated bubble of empty liquidity burst. The banks and financial services were saved only by public bail-outs – tax payers’ money. We were given no choice: the banks, we were told, were “too big to fail”.We bought the banks with our common wealth. But because private wealth is our era’s guiding star, the public were not allowed to own the banks they bought. And once the banks had been bailed out by us – a perverse socialism for the rich – the banks went right back to making private money, enriching a tiny elite until the next crash.

Nowhere to fly to 

The naive may think this was a one-off. But the failings of capitalism are inherent and structural, as the virus is already demonstrating and the climate emergency will drive home with alarming ferocity in the coming years.

The shut-down of borders means the airlines are quickly going bust. They didn’t put money away for a rainy day, of course. They didn’t save, they weren’t prudent. They are in a cut-throat world where they need to compete with rivals, to drive them out of business and make as much money as they can for shareholders.

Now there is nowhere for the airlines to fly to – and they will have no visible means to make money for months on end. Like the banks, they are too big to fail – and like the banks they are demanding public money be spent to tide them over until they can once again rapaciously make profits for their shareholders. There will be many other corporations queuing up behind the airlines. 




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Sooner or later the public will be strong-armed once again to bail out these profit-driven corporations whose only efficiency is the central part they play in fuelling global warming and eradicating life on the planet. The airlines will be resuscitated until the inevitable next crisis arrives – one in which they are key players.

A boot stamping on a face

Capitalism is an efficient system for a tiny elite to make money at a terrible cost, and an increasingly untenable one, to wider society – and only until that system shows itself to be no longer efficient. Then wider society has to pick up the tab, and assist the wealth-elite so the cycle can be begun all over again. Like a boot stamping on a human face – forever, as George Orwell warned long ago.

But it is not just that capitalism is economically self-destructive; it is morally vacant too. Again, we should study the exemplars of neoliberal orthodoxy: the UK and the US.

In Britain, the National Health Service – once the envy of the world – is in terminal decline after decades of privatising and outsourcing its services. Now the same Conservative party that began the cannibalising of the NHS is pleading with businesses such as car makers to address a severe shortage of ventilators, which will soon be needed to assist coronavirus patients.

Once, in an emergency, western governments would have been able to direct resources, both public and private, to save lives. Factories could have been repurposed for the common good. Today, the government behaves as if all it can do is incentivise business, pinning hopes on the profit motive and selfishness driving these firms to enter the ventilator market, or to provide beds, in ways beneficial to public health.

The flaws in this approach should be glaring if we examine how a car manufacturer might respond to the request to adapt its factories to make ventilators.

If it is not persuaded that it can make easy money or if it thinks there are quicker or bigger profits to be made by continuing to make cars at a time when the public is frightened to use public transport, patients will die. If it holds back, waiting to see if there will be enough demand for ventilators to justify adapting its factories, patients will die. If it delays in the hope that ventilator shortages will drive up subsidies from a government fearful of the public backlash, patients will die. And if it makes ventilators on the cheap, to boost profits, without ensuring medical personnel oversee quality control, patients will die.

Survival rates will depend not on the common good, on our rallying to help those in need, on planning for the best outcome, but on the vagaries of the market. And not only on the market, but on faulty, human perceptions of what constitute market forces.

Survival of the fittest 

If this were not bad enough, Trump – in all his inflated vanity – is showing how that profit-motive can be extended from the business world he knows so intimately to the cynical political one he has been gradually mastering. According to reports, behind the scenes he has been chasing after a silver bullet. He is speaking to international pharmaceutical companies to find one close to developing a vaccine so the United States can buy exclusive rights to it.

Reports suggest that he wants to offer the vaccine exclusively to the US public, in what would amount to the ultimate vote-winner in a re-election year. This would be the nadir of the dog-eat-dog philosophy – the survival of the fittest, the market decides worldview – we have been encouraged to worship over the past four decades. It is how people behave when they are denied a wider society to which they are responsible and which is responsible for them.




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But even should Trump eventually deign to let other countries enjoy the benefits of his privatised vaccine, this will not be about helping mankind, about the greater good. It will be about Trump the businessman-president turning a tidy profit for the US on the back of other’s desperation and suffering, as well as marketing himself a political hero on the global stage.

Or, more likely, it will be yet another chance for the US to demonstrate its “humanitarian” credentials, rewarding “good” countries by giving them access to the vaccine, while denying “bad” countries like Russia the right to protect their citizens.

Obscenely stunted worldviewIt will be a perfect illustration on the global stage – and in bold technicolour – of how the American way of marketing health works. This is what happens when health is treated not as a public good but as a commodity to be bought, as a privilege to incentivise the workforce, as a measure of who is successful and who is unsuccessful.

The US, by far the richest country on the planet, has a dysfunctional health care system not because it cannot afford a good one, but because its political worldview is so obscenely stunted by the worship of wealth that it refuses to acknowledge the communal good, to respect the common wealth of a healthy society.

The US health system is by far the most expensive in the world, but also the most inefficient. The vast bulk of “health spending” does not contribute to healing the sick but enriches a health industry of pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance companies.

Analysts describe a third of all US health spending – $765 billion a year – as “wasted”. But “waste” is a euphemism. In fact, it is money stuffed into the pockets of corporations calling themselves the health industry as they defraud the common wealth of US citizens. And the fraudulence is all the greater because despite this enormous expenditure more than one in 10 US citizens has no meaningful health cover.

As never before, coronavirus will bring into focus the depraved inefficiency of this system – the model of profit-driven health care, of market forces that look out for the short-term interests of business, not the long-term interests of us all.

There are alternatives. Right now, Americans are being offered a choice between a democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who champions health care as a right because it is a common good, and a Democratic party boss, Joe Biden, who champions the business lobbies he depends on for funding and his political success. One is being marginalised and vilified as a threat to the American way of life by a handful of corporations that own the US media, while the other is being propelled towards the Democratic nomination by those same corporations.

Coronavirus has an important, urgent lesson to teach us. The question is: are we ready yet to listen?

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This essay first appeared on the author’s blog site, Jonathan Cook’s blog.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Health.milThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Jonathan Cook, Global Research, 2020

Opening Iran’s Black Box

By David Macilwain

Source

Ukraine Flight 752 a0457

As Western governments continue to poke at the Iranian bear, thinking it is busy licking its wounds, they should keep an eye on its claws, and not turn their backs, or their minds to other matters. But neither should we, because the regime changers have not abandoned their plans, nor written off their investment in creating this disorder, as the sudden resumption of NATO-backed “protests” in Iraq and Lebanon demonstrate. A new leader of Islamic State has even been launched into the fray in a timely fashion – on the third anniversary of Trump’s infamous inauguration.

It’s now twenty days since the ‘B’ team murdered their chances of a peaceful settlement in Iraq, but barely enough time for the Iranian bear to muster its strength after such a shock, though that strength is now many times greater and extends across its borders. Had that shock been isolated, with only the close involvement of Iraq, then the subsequent ballistic missile attack by Iran on US bases could have passed for a response, and even led to a peaceful pull-out of Western forces, as demanded by the Iraqi government.

But at that point, the two sides diverged, irreconcilably – the shooting down of Ukrainian flight PS 752 changed everything.

The argument over whether this pre-emptive extrajudicial assassination was a crime was partly down to opinion – on whether Qasem Soleimani was “a terrorist” who needed to be “taken out”,  or the Hero of Shia Islam who saved his Iraqi and Syrian brothers from brutal Salafists and Zionist occupiers. As a soldier in the war against the US coalition and its mercenaries, he was in some sense a legitimate target, but the US crime was in denying him the chance to die and kill in a fair fight. Being picked off by some gum-chewing coward a thousand miles away is the yardstick for US morality and criminality not lost on Iranians or Iraqis, or the IRGC which promptly declared the US army to be a terrorist organization.

For the 167 innocent passengers and crew on PS 752 however, there can be no such argument; their killing, accidental or not, was a crime because of its means, and someone may be held responsible, even if indirectly, as indeed they already are by those rushing to judgment in the West. Despite the initial qualification of the crash by most leaders and media as a “tragic accident”, it is now referred to simply as “the plane shot down by the Iranian military”, implicitly suggesting a civilian airliner was intentionally targeted. But just as with MH17, if Iran was responsible for shooting down a civilian plane carrying Iranians on its own territory it was quite clearly an accident, and should be treated as one – particularly as Iran’s leaders have accepted responsibility and apologized profusely.

But the similarity to MH17 goes further, as the consequences of the Iranian missile defense action for Western public opinion have been devastating for Iran but remarkably beneficial for her enemies, as noted before. On the back of this sudden turn around, the IRGC now appears as it has always been portrayed by Iran’s greatest foes – Israel and the US, while the Iranian government’s entirely reasonable abandonment of the farcical JCPOA provides just the excuse needed for NATO to step up the nuclear pressure and even re-introduce sanctions.

To an impartial observer – and in this case to all those aligned with Iran, Russia and China – this looks grossly unfair, and offensive to any sense of International law and justice.

America and its local allies and co-conspirators have committed a totally illegal political assassination as a provocation, which has led to an environment where hundreds of innocent people have died – including those in the stampede at Soleimani’s funeral. Rather than offering help and sympathy, and understanding of the circumstances behind this tragedy, Western regimes have exploited the disaster to their own ends, almost as if it were their intent.

But perhaps it was.

Forgetting the substantial evidence of covert planning for actions following the killing of the IRGC commander such as staged anti-government protest rallies, and even questions about the identity of the person who shot the video of the missile strike, a little giveaway in a second NYT report could be the clue Iran needs to close its case – that tricking the IRGC into shooting down PS 752 was an integral part of the operation that saw the IRGC leader first assassinated.

A few days after the New York Times publicized the missile video, unleashing a volley of abuse at Iran’s leaders for “lying” about it being a technical malfunction, but then needing to answer difficult questions on how the videographer just happened to be there with camera at the ready, the NYT put out a second report showing that two missiles had been fired:

“The New York Times has verified security camera footage on Tuesday that shows, for the first time, that two missiles hit Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8. The missiles were launched from an Iranian military site around eight miles from the plane.

The new video fills a gap about why the plane’s transponder stopped working, seconds before it was hit by a second missile.

An earlier Times analysis confirmed what Iran later admitted: that an Iranian missile did strike the plane. The Times also established that the transponder stopped working before that missile hit the plane. The new video appears to confirm that an initial strike disabled the transponder, before the second strike, also seen in the video, around 23 seconds later.”

As explained elsewhere, the absence of a transponder signal from a flying object immediately identifies it as hostile to a missile defense system, and it was generally accepted that the apparent failure of PS 752’s transponder just two minutes after take-off was what led to its tragic shooting down. The question was why did the transponder suddenly fail, or get disabled?

This was a key question being asked by those who suspected foul play, such as may have occurred two days earlier during “maintenance”, or through some cyber means. It was a question that also needed answering by the Bellingcat club, and the second NYT report and video was their answer.

But it doesn’t work! It really doesn’t work!

On hearing first of this second missile that “took out the transponder”, my thought was simply that this was ridiculous and impossible, but it took two days to realize just why:

Why did the missile defense unit fire the first missile at PS 752 when its transponder was working?

Flights leaving IKA before PS 752 Jan 8th 3737c

Nine other flights took off from Imam Khomeini Airport that morning, including a Qatar airways flight just 30 minutes earlier, and passed by the IRGC missile defense systems without notice – with their transponders operating normally. Their pilots would have been particularly conscious of the need to turn transponders on at take-off given the extreme tensions following Iran’s missile volley early that morning – about four hours before the Ukrainian jet took off bound for Kyiv.

Flight PS 752, which flies five times a week on that popular route for Iranian Canadians, followed the identical flight path to those earlier jets, according to Flight Radar 24. But this site is hardly the only one tracking aircraft and other movements in Iran. In a report on the Iranian missile strikes on Ain al Asad base, the NYT candidly admits that the NSA was following the movements of Iranian missile defense systems as well as monitoring IRGC communications networks “with spy satellites”, and anticipating a response to Soleimani’s murder following his funeral. But much evidence points to the use of these cyber-warfare systems to confuse and control Iran’s defenses, in the same way that the Western public is confused and controlled by disinformation and emotive propaganda coming from their own governments.

But Iran has the Black Box, and holds the Ace. Because if the “conspiracy” theory is correct – that enemy intelligence actions caused the “accidental” downing of the chosen aircraft, the electronic record from the flight recorders will prove it. It only needs to show that the first missile hit PS 752 one second after the transponder stopped working to turn this Iranian tragedy into a US coalition atrocity, and the most infernal and criminal conspiracy since the demolition of the Twin Towers.

Perhaps then it will finally be the citizens of the countries who suffer under the Great Satan’s boot who benefit from its Imperial Overreach.

The Instability of the East: Between Western Arrogance and Iranian Influence

January 1, 2020

Maaz

Any observer, biased or not, can clearly notice that the east was always unstable throughout history, however, what puts someone in awe is the relative stability in the west and the insusceptible regimes there.

After the Middle East’s borders were drawn relatively randomly between weird zigzags in the deserts and strange lines in mountains, the years of peace there can be counted to a number less than 10. East Europe and South East Asia are no different, with proxy wars and regime changes every now and then.

However, the thing is that these countries, from Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq to Yugoslavia, Romania, and Ukraine, to Vietnam and such, is that they lack a national identity and common conscious causing them to shift from a camp to another with every regime change. These countries with time proved to be no more than puppet states where the supreme leader, king, or dictator can dictate the foreign policy and type of governance then get scratched and set on different grounds and political camps by the successor.

Modern Middle Eastern politics, or to be more precise and free this area from this dehumanizing phrase by calling it southwest Asia, was shaped after Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel and Iran emerged as a counterbalance in the Arab – Israeli conflict after the 1979 revolution. During those days, the central and most agonizing political and military crisis was the ongoing tug of war between Israel, an irregular entity in the east, and the homogenous Muslim Arab nations.

With Egypt out of this war along with Jordan and Lebanon sinking deeper in its own political sectarian war, the Palestinian nation and resistance groups found themselves vulnerable to a final attack by the Israel army, IDF, strong enough to end the core of this struggle and finally integrate Gaza and the west bank into the so-called ‘state of Israel.’ And as events unfolded, the IDF triumphed through its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and laid the foundation of the day of victory against what it called ‘terrorist Palestinian groups’ that threatened the security and well being of the citizens in the Galilee. Yet what no one expected is the emerge of non-state actors that one day with the help of a new emerging regional power to challenge Israel and not only the Galilee with few unguided and ineffective M-21OF 122mm missiles launched from southern Lebanon.

When SL Khomeini’s long fought for revolution overthrew the US assigned and backed dictator of Iran, kings of the kings “Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi”, Iran like almost every eastern nation not only shifted political camps but changed its Persian identity to an Islamic identity. Yet Khomeini did not lead an Islamic revolution to end it at the borders of Iran, his ideology was a region-wide anti-oppression anti-imperialist Islamic movement aimed to aspire the Muslims in the east.

And regardless of how the post events of the revolution happened, between unfair excluding of several political parties and the exile after intimidation of thousands connected to the murderous dictatorship of the shah, the new regime in Iran was not established by force but rather with a national referendum with a 98% turnout and 99% support. Yet for a first glance, these numbers might look odd, but their genuineness was demonstrated by the internal unity and cooperation during the Iraq – Iran war. Khomeini set the foundation of a democratic state supervised by an Islamic constitution written by the elite from Iran, Iraq and even Lebanon. Add to that anyone can argue that Iran is a dictatorship, but why bother with biased prejudiced DC-based think tanks that never studied law or understood the power limitation of each official in the republic.

The foundation of the current work of the current IRI foreign policy started in the late 1960s-1970s before the establishment of the republic itself by educating the masses and building up a conscious. It started with the work and words of the unjustly killed Shia scholars Sayid Mohamamd Baqr al-Sadr and Sayid Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim by the then supported USA president Saddam Hussein and with the work of the prominent scientific and military figure Mustafa Chimran in Lebanon. Mohammad Baqr was laying the foundation of an Iraq free from the Baathist regime who not only oppressed a whole religious sect in Iraq but rather genocided a race and forcefully created a refugee crisis in northern Iraq by Arabizing Kurdish cities.

While in Lebanon, the Lebanese Resistance movement Amal, was founded by Lebanese, born in Iran, scholar Sayid Moussa al Sadr, who arrived in Lebanon in 1959 to lead a civil revolution in the favor of the marginalized and poor Shia citizens of south and north Lebanon. Although these two causes might be different in detail, they were related in one thing: “Western-backed regimes”. Saddam enjoyed a healthy relationship with the USA, France, and the USSR who assisted him with weapons and experts from Europe to fortify his rule. Germany had its fair share of experts in Saddam’s MOD too.

Similarly in Lebanon, the USA initiated for the first time its Eisenhower Doctrine in which the U.S. announced that it would intervene to protect regimes it considered threatened by international communism on the 17th of July 1958 and later in assisting against the SSNP led coup. And thinking about it, it was the 1950’s the decade when the USA became a hated nation for Iranians when it led a coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh. The USA in this decade took UK’s rule and became the new world police deciding who is fit for democracy and who is not.

Therefore, throughout the ME and Asia, several nations were being nourished on the hate of the United States of America whom they considered a force that is willing to battle every movement and government it considered unfit to its ‘standards of democracy.’ And so it was, and events started to unfold with coups orchestrated by the CIA in more than 15 nations and invasions that went deep even into the jungles of Vietnam.

However, what sets the atrocities and brutality of what the USA did from those done by China or Russia or any other regime in modern times is that they were done under the banner of democracy and free rights and free speech.

It’s the hypocrisy and lies of the West that made it impossible to feel warm-hearted toward them again. Add to that, it’s the selectivity of how Americans deals with state and non-state groups and the unjust naming of groups on the terror list that made things worse. For example, it seems that the USA is fond of the Gulf states that have a very bad human rights record, no elections, and a long list of minority persecution and murder, while it seems to be going against Iran and Syria with maximum pressure through sanctions and limited confrontations although both have elections and remarkable minority coexistence.

Moreover, the USA labels Hezb Allah on its terror list way back from 1996-1997, although Hezb Allah was formed as a reaction to the USA backed IDF invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Hezb Allah kept resisting up to the year 2000 when IDF left Lebanon on the 25th of May. Hezb Allah, unlike the IDF, never deliberately killed civilians during its wars with Israel.

On the other hand, USA labels Kataeb Hezb Allah, Asaeb Ahl Al haq, and other Iraqi groups as terrorist although they were created only as a response to USA’s invasion to Iraq in 2003. The Invasion led by USA and its allies that not only killed and injured up to a million Iraqi, but devastated Iraq and crippled the state till today. Kataeb and Asaeb, Hezb Allah, and the likes did turn to Iran for help in military aid, but does this mean that Hezb Allah, Asaeb, and the likes are Iranian proxies?

Generally speaking, a proxy is a group of pawns doing the work on the behalf of another. However, it seems that the word proxy in Middle Eastern politics has taken a more dehumanizing and mercenary vibe to it aimed to underestimate and devalue the effort and work of a certain group and shorthand it into a sectarian maniac tier groups used by Iran to spread its ‘terror’ in the middle east. Yet this term that sounds childish to use in international circles, became the dominant word used by American foreign policymakers today. Although if anyone read the 2019 American MOD report about Iran, they’d notice that the term partner is used to describe Hezb Allah and other groups in the middle east that are aligned with Iran ideologically. Thus we can conclude without any doubt that the USA has chosen to put its political interest and bias ahead of any reasonable and fair understanding of events in a show of arrogance and childish understanding of the complexity of the Middle East. USA is failing in the exact way the UK failed to understand the Middle East when it tried to shape its boundaries and future.

What happened today in Iraq and the march on the American embassy by the families of the 30 Kataeb Hezb Allah members killed by USAF ‘in retaliation’ is another example of how dangerous things can escalate to. Kataeb Hezb Allah and Asaeb Ahl Al Haq have more than 60,000 veteran soldiers who are ready to storm every single American base in Iraq and massacre the soldiers in retaliation of the unjust killing of Iraqi and PMF soldiers but chose not to. They even refrained from entering the embassy compound and chose to pressure a parliamentary resolution that forces USA forces to leave. If the USA was wiser they would have asked the Iraqi security forces to investigate the 107mm missile launches and capture the people responsible.

Not only would they have respected Iraq’s sovereignty, but rather actually knew who is really after these attacks and presented them as the criminals for attacking an Iraqi base and killing Iraqi and American soldiers.

Things kept evolving and events unfolding to a day when the USA is being challenged by Russia and China over world power, and its ally KSA in Yemen over influence, and its ally Israel by Hezb Allah over existence. The Anti-American axis today massed power and strength enough to challenge the existence of Israel and USA in the Middle East, with only time that will show how the limited attacks by both sides will lead to the war that will end one of the two combatants once and for all.

WESTERN LEADERS, SCREW YOUR ‘SANCTIONS TARGET THE REGIME’ BLATHER: SANCTIONS KILL PEOPLE

December 16, 2019, RT.com

-by Eva Bartlett

The US has a favourite tool for bullying non-compliant nations: sanctions. Sanctions inflict considerable suffering, even death, on ordinary people in targeted nations. Yet those defiant nations persist and resist.

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post proposing a new oil-for-food scheme, this time in Venezuela, surprisingly acknowledges that sanctions “can also end up harming the people that they intend to protect.”

Okay, first off, we know there is no intention of “protecting” civilians in any of the countless countries targeted by Western sanctions. Do Western talking heads really think we’ve forgotten the half-a-million dead Iraqi children, thanks to US sanctions?

Yet, ask a Western leader about crippling sanctions placed on nations which don’t bow to Imperial demands and you’ll be met with some nonsensical explanation that sanctions only target ‘regimes’ and ‘terrorists,’ not the people.

I’ve lived in, spent considerable time in, or visited areas under sanctions and siege, and I’ve seen first hand how sanctions are a form of terrorism, choking civilians, depriving them of basic and urgent medical care, food, employment, and travel entitlements that many of us in Western nations take for granted.

When I was in Syria last October, a man told me his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of the sanctions he couldn’t get her the conventional treatments most in the West would avail of.

In 2016, in Aleppo, before it was liberated of al-Qaeda and co, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me how –because of the sanctions– it had taken him well over a year to get a simple part for his gastroenterology practise.

In 2015, visiting Damascus’ University Hospital, where bed after bed was occupied by a child maimed by terrorists’ shelling (from Ghouta), a nurse told me:

We have so many difficulties to ensure that we have antibiotics, specialized medicines, maintenance of the equipment… Because of the sanctions, many parts are not available, we have difficulties obtaining them.

Visiting a prosthetic limbs factory in Damascus in 2016, I was told that, due to the sanctions, smart technology and 3D scanners –used to determine the exact location where a limb should be fixed– were not available. Considering the over eight years of war and terrorism in Syria, there are untold numbers of civilians and soldiers in need of this technology to simply get a prosthetic limb fixed so they can get on with their lives. But no, America’s concern for the Syrian people means that this, too, is near impossible.

In 2018, Syria’s minister of health told me Syria had formerly been dubbed by the World Health Organization a “pioneer state” in providing health care.

“Syria had 60 pharmaceutical factories and was exporting medicine to 58 countries. Now, 16 of these factories are out of service. Terrorists partially or fully destroyed 46 hospitals and 620 medical centres.”

I asked the minister about the complex in Barzeh, targeted with missile strikes by the US and allies in April 2018. Turns out it was part of the Ministry of Health, and manufactured cancer treatment medications, as well as antidotes for snake or scorpion bites/stings, the antidote also serving as a basic material in the manufacture of many medicines.

[READ: Caught in a lie, US & allies bomb Syria the night before international inspectors arrive ]

Last year, Syrian-American doctor Hussam al-Samman told me about his efforts to send to Syria chemotherapy medications for cancer patients in remission. He jumped through various hoops of America’s unforgiving bureaucracy, to no avail. It was never possible in the first place.

“We managed to get a meeting in the White House. We met Rob Malley, a top-notch assistant or adviser of Obama at that time. I asked them: ‘How in the world could your heart let you block chemotherapy from going to people with cancer in Syria?’They said: ‘We will not allow Bashar al-Assad to have anything that will make people love him. We will not support anything that will help Bashar al-Assad look good’.”

Fast forward to the present: in spite of the sanctions, or precisely because of the sanctions, Syria recently opened its first anti-cancer drugs factory. President Assad is, again, looking rather good to Syrians.

UN expert: Sanctions on Venezuela “a form of terrorism”

Alfred de Zayas, the human rights lawyer and former UN official, aptly calls sanctions a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.

Earlier this year, The Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated 40,000 deaths had occurred due to sanctions in 2017-2018.

While in Venezuela in March this year, I spoke with people from poor communities about the effects of sanctions. Most I met were very well aware of the US economic war against their country, and rallied alongside their government.[READ: US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention][READ: Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same ]

One woman told me:

“If you don’t have water, don’t have electricity, the basics, how would you feel, as a mother? This makes some of the population, that doesn’t understand about the sanctions, blame the government.”

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said during that visit:

“We told [American diplomat and Trump envoy] Mr Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind-of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long-term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”Indeed, that collapse would come about precisely due to the immoral US sanctions against the Venezuelan people.

North Korean Youth: Sanction the USA

After visiting Korea’s north in August 2017, in a photo essay I noted:

“The criminal sanctions against the North, enforced since 1950, making even more difficult the efforts to rebuild following decimation. The sanctions are against the people, affecting all sectors of life.”[READ: Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump Nor Western Media Wants The World To See]And although most I met there were proud of their country’s achievements in spite of the sanctions, they were also vocal about the injustice of being bombed to near decimation and then sanctioned.

In a Pyongyang Middle School, to my questions about the sanctions, a girl replied:

The sanctions are not fair, our people have done nothing wrong to the USA.

Another boy spoke of the silence around America’s use of nuclear bombs on civilians:

Why do people all over the world give us sanctions? Why can’t we put sanctions on the US?

5df75c9685f5407f827bf153

Dr. Kim Un-Song: “The sanctions are inhumane and against human rights.” © Eva Bartlett

At the Okryu Children’s Hospital, Doctor Kim Un-Song said: “As a mother, I feel extremely angry at the sanctions against the DPRK, even blocking medicine and instruments for children. This is inhumane and against human rights.

As with Syria, sanctions on the DPRK prevent further entry to Korea of hospital machinery, as well as replacement parts.

Defying the sanctions

In spite of draconian sanctions, Syria, the DPRK and Venezuela continue to resist. After fighting international terrorism since 2011, Syria is rebuilding in liberated areas. That process could proceed more quickly were sanctions lifted, making it easier for companies outside of Syria to invest. 

But Syria is managing, with its allies’ support, including that of North Korea, and due to the steadfastness of the heroic Syrian people, and its leadership. 

REB

Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/SyriaRebuilt/status/1205149675747205120

Likewise, Venezuela and North Korea, facing America’s economic war and endless propagandistic rhetoric, continue to resist.

jorge

Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/jaarreaza/status/1204209014625783810

In each of these countries, I’ve met well-informed people who are fighting the sadism of the sanctions, and who are determined to remain free of US tyranny.


IF IRAN FALLS, ISIS MAY RISE AGAIN نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

Source

BY  

As disorder deepens in Iran amid widespread protests, fears are rising that the fall of Iran’s revolutionary Shiite Islamic Republic could lead to disaster in the region and the re-emergence of an even greater foe of the United States—the Islamic State militant group known as ISIS.

Violent protests sparked by a cut in gas subsidies continue to erupt across Iran, fueled further by a forceful crackdown on protesters from the government. The unrest, coupled with crippling U.S. sanctions and costly campaigns across the Middle East, has incensed those fighting for regime change from within the country, opening an opportunity for Iran’s enemies both at home and abroad to capitalize on this discord and vulnerability.

“Different groups hostile to the Iranian government, including ISIS, separatists or other ones, have and will take advantage of any unrest in the country,” Abas Aslani, a visiting scholar at the Istanbul-based Center for Middle East Strategic Studies and editor-in-chief of the Iran Front Page outlet, told Newsweek.

“They could find a way in this situation to bring more damage to the country,” he added. “This will not be limited to the groups, but also some foreign countries inside and outside the region will also use the opportunity for weakening or changing the regime in Iran and bring instability to the country.”

Iran has remained steadfast in the face of its foes foreign and domestic, and few expect the full demise of the government. But even those inside and outside Iran who support the rallies that continue day and night against the clerics running the nation fear the chaos alone could foster conditions for ISIS to breed.

“Any collapse or weakening of a state in the region is likely to fuel into more instability in the region,” Aslani told Newsweek. “This is also a concern of even opponents in Iran, in so that they are not sure in the case of the collapse of the current system in the country who will replace them and how the situation will be.”

iran protest isis daesh tehran embassy
An Iranian woman holds a cardboard cutout representing an ISIS member in chains, during a demonstration outside the former U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis. On November 4, 1979, less than nine months after the toppling of Iran’s once-CIA-reinstalled shah, students overran the embassy complex to demand the United States hand over the ousted ruler after he was admitted to a U.S. hospital.ATTA KENARE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

To Iran, the fight against ISIS has always been an existential one. Just as the Pentagon began coordinating its own involvement in June 2014, Iran had begun mobilizing mostly Shiite Muslim militias in both Iraq and Syria to beat back lightning gains made by the Sunni Muslim insurgents that reveled in the slaughter of those deemed to be outside of their ultraconservative ideology.

This proved vital in turning the tide against the jihadis, who have been largely defeated in recent years.

“Iran was critical in providing logistical and advisory support to Iraqi paramilitary forces who battled ISIS in Iraq, particularly during the early days of the campaign,” Rodger Shanahan, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute’s West Asia Program and former director of the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre, told Newsweek.

As for Syria, where ISIS spread amid an ongoing civil war, Shanahan said Iran’s support for President Bashar al-Assad “also meant that it has contributed to the anti-ISIS campaign, although it is fair to say that that was by no means the aim of their support for Assad and the targeting of ISIS has been sporadic at best.”

In fighting ISIS abroad, Iran managed to help dismantle the jihadis and broaden the Islamic Republic’s own support network of partnered forces also hostile to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Establishing this so-called Axis of Resistance proved a major strategic victory, but it came at a steep price.

These campaigns cost Iran capital, both human and financial, and strict U.S. sanctions have choked up Tehran’s access to disposable income. Although the Iranian government is believed to still have access to considerable wealth to run its operations, the dual effects of a U.S.-imposed trade siege and domestic mismanagement have made life more difficult for everyday Iranians unable to take advantage of the economic reforms promised by President Hassan Rouhani.

iran police station burned protests
Iranians gather around a charred police station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in the central city of Isfahan, November 17. Iran responded to violent protests with an internet blackout and a swift crackdown that continues to result in bloodshed, with some members of security forces among those killed.AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Rouhani administration’s decision to cut fuel subsidies last month and ultimately transition to a welfare-based system had actually been in the works for some time and was supported by the International Monetary Fund. Still, the sudden shift was seismic for Iranians accustomed to cheap fuel and people have taken to the streets to protest in massive numbers.

The government’s reaction on the ground was swift and, against who officials claimed were rioters, deadly.

Amnesty International has estimated that more than 200 Iranians have been killed during the unrest and Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, placed the casualties at “many hundreds, perhaps over a thousand”—a figure far higher than other estimates provided by human rights monitors. No conclusive count exists and the Iranian government has disputed these numbers.

Those groups are “the biggest non-state threat to Iran today,” Ariane Tabatabai, an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, told Newsweek. The most volatile border areas are Sistan-Baluchistan, Khuzestan and Kurdistan. Watchers worry that any escalation of insurgencies in these parts could propel Iran toward the sectarian strife seen in Syria.

“That’s part of what’s deterring many Iranians from outright pushing for regime collapse: The lessons of Syria loom large,” she added.

Insurgencies were waged by separatist Arab, Baluch and Kurdish militias for decades before ISIS, Al-Qaeda or even the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the pro-West shah, who long-enjoyed the CIA maintaining his rule. The Islamic Republic has managed to keep these restive communities in line, but deadly attacks persist, such as a February bus bombing that killed up to 27 members of the Revolutionary Guard.

The operation was claimed by Jaish ul-Adl, which along with fellow Sunni Islamist group Ansar Al-Furqan, has taken advantage of previous periods of unrest in an attempt to undermine the Iranian government. ISIS, notorious for its ability to build bridges across continents, has actively sought to exploit these national struggles as it does in countries as far away as the Philippines.

The group’s reach within Iran remains fairly insignificant, Tabatabai added. She explained, however, that “ISIS has mostly focused its efforts in the areas with significant Kurdish and Arab minority populations—because these are populations that have been historically neglected if not repressed by the central authority.”

While eradicating adversarial forces and projecting its own influence abroad were integral motivations for Tehran’s entrance into the fight against ISIS, so was disrupting any potential nexus between the influential jihadi group and other opponents of Iran within the country itself. Shanahan told Newsweek that from the beginning, “Iran was concerned at the threat ISIS posed to Iranian territory, and the possibility of support for low-level insurgencies amongst Arab and Baluch Sunni groups inside Iran.”

Even with limited success in its infiltration, ISIS managed to strike at the heart of the Islamic Republic in June 2017 when several Sunni Kurdish militants aligned with the group staged twin attacks on the Iranian parliament and the shrine to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, killing 18 people.

An attack last September at a Revolutionary Guard parade in Ahvaz commemorating the Iran-Iraq War—during which Saddam Hussein, too, tried to foster Arab separatism in Khuzestan—killed two dozen people, half of them soldiers, and was claimed by both ISIS and Ahvazi Arab separatists.

In response, Iran launched Zulfiqar and Qiam missiles that flew hundreds of miles across Iraq and into the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, an ISIS stronghold at the time assaulted by two rival campaigns led by the Syrian government and the U.S.-backed, majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces. The unprecedented strike was seen not only as a message to ISIS, but as a testament of Iran’s missile prowess directed toward its top three national foes.

us, iran, protests, mike, pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks alongside a photograph of demonstrations in Iran as he holds a press conference at the State Department in Washington, November 26. In a message addressed to protesters, Pompeo said: “The United States hears you. We support you and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle for a brighter future for your people and for your great nation.”SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Iran has often blamed the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia for fomenting discord within the country in an attempt to overthrow a government they view as destabilizing to the region. No conclusive evidence of such a conspiracy regarding the current demonstrations has emerged, although top Washington figures—such as former national security adviser John Bolton, a devout war hawk—have openly courted opposition forces like Ahvazi Arab separatists and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

All three experts interviewed by Newsweek said they believed the collapse of the Iranian government was unlikely in the near future, despite the “maximum pressure” campaign by the U.S. against it. Even for Washington, this may not necessarily be a bad thing: It has repeatedly learned that an enemy government’s loss of control often had far-reaching repercussions in the form of mass refugee flows, the formation of new, more powerful enemies, and costly military interventions to fight them.

The fall of Iran—a nation whose population is higher than all three of those war-torn nations combined—would likely have even more devastating side effects and give ISIS and other underground forces new room to operate.

For now, the threat of ISIS appears to be under control. But worsening economic woes resulting from U.S. restrictions and political infighting among Iran’s own hard-liners and moderates ensure the militant group will continue to root for, if not actively seek out, Iran’s capitulation.

نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

توم أوكونور

من المرجح أن يكون لسقوط إيران آثار جانبية مدمرة أكثر، وهذا سيمنح داعش والقوات المتطرفة الأخرى مساحة جديدة للعمل.

“نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

رأت مجلة “نيوزويك” الأميركية أنه مع تزايد الفوضى في إيران وسط احتجاجات واسعة النطاق، تتصاعد المخاوف من أن سقوط الجمهورية الإسلامية الشيعية الثورية في إيران يمكن أن يؤدي إلى كارثة في المنطقة وظهور عدو أكبر للولايات المتحدة هو تنظيم “داعش”.

وقالت المجلة إن الاحتجاجات العنيفة الناجمة عن خفض الدعم عن الوقود لا تزال تندلع في جميع أنحاء إيران، مما زاد من حدة القمع القوي للمتظاهرين من الحكومة. وأدت الاضطرابات، إلى جانب العقوبات الأميركية المشددة والحملات المكلفة في جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط، إلى إثارة غضب أولئك الذين يقاتلون من أجل تغيير النظام من داخل البلاد، مما أتاح الفرصة لأعداء إيران في الداخل والخارج للاستفادة من هذا الخلاف والضعف.

وقال عباس أصلاني ، باحث زائر في مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية في الشرق الأوسط ومقره إسطنبول لـ”نيوزويك”: “هناك مجموعات مختلفة معادية للحكومة الإيرانية، بما في ذلك داعش والانفصاليون أو غيرها، وستستفيد من أي اضطرابات في البلاد”. وأضاف “يمكنهم إيجاد طريقة في هذا الموقف لإحداث مزيد من الضرر للبلاد. لن يقتصر هذا على المجموعات، ولكن أيضاً ستستغل بعض الدول الأجنبية داخل المنطقة وخارجها الفرصة لإضعاف النظام أو تغييره في إيران وجلب عدم الاستقرار إلى البلاد”.

ورأت المجلة الأميركية أن إيران بقيت صامدة في وجه خصومها الأجانب والمحليين، ويتوقع القليلون الزوال الكامل للحكومة. لكن حتى أولئك داخل وخارج إيران الذين يدعمون المسيرات التي تستمر ليلاً ونهاراً ضد رجال الدين الذين يديرون البلاد يخشون من أن الفوضى وحدها يمكن أن تعزز الظروف لنمو “داعش”.

وقال أصلاني لنيوزويك: “أي انهيار أو إضعاف دولة في المنطقة من المرجح أن يؤدي إلى مزيد من عدم الاستقرار في المنطقة. هذا مصدر قلق حتى للمعارضين في إيران، حتى أنهم غير متأكدين في حالة انهيار النظام الحالي في البلد من الذي سيحل محله وكيف سيكون الوضع”.

وأضافت “نيوزيويك” أنه بالنسبة لإيران، كانت المعركة ضد “داعش” دائماً وجودية. وكما بدأ البنتاغون في تنسيق مشاركته في حزيران / يونيو 2014، بدأت إيران في حشد الميليشيات التي يغلب على سكانها الشيعة في كل من العراق وسوريا للرد على المكاسب السريعة التي حققها المتمردون “الجهاديون السنة” الذين قاموا بذبح أولئك الذين يُعتبر أنهم خارج نطاقهم أيديولوجيتهم فائقة التشدد.

وقال رودجر شاناهان، وهو زميل باحث في برنامج غرب آسيا التابع لمعهد لوي ومدير سابق لمركز دراسات الحرب البرية في الجيش الأسترالي، قال لمجلة نيوزويك:

“ثبت أن هذا أمر حيوي في قلب المد ضد الجهاديين، الذين هُزموا إلى حد كبير في السنوات الأخيرة. لقد كان لإيران دور حاسم في تقديم الدعم اللوجستي والاستشاري للقوات شبه العسكرية العراقية التي حاربت داعش في العراق، خاصة خلال الأيام الأولى للحملة”.

أما بالنسبة لسوريا، حيث انتشر داعش وسط حرب أهلية متواصلة، قال شاناهان إن دعم إيران للرئيس بشار الأسد “عنى أيضاً أنها ساهم في الحملة ضد داعش، رغم أنه من الإنصاف القول إن هذا لم يكن بأي حال من الأحوال هدف دعمهم للأسد وكان استهداف داعش متقطعاً في أحسن الأحوال “.

وقالت “نيوزويك” إنه في قتال “داعش” في الخارج، تمكنت إيران من المساعدة في تفكيك الجهاديين وتوسيع شبكة دعم “الجمهورية الإسلامية” للقوات الشريكة المعادية لـ”إسرائيل” والسعودية والولايات المتحدة. وقد أثبت إنشاء ما يسمى محور المقاومة هذا انتصاراً استراتيجياً كبيراً، لكنه جاء بسعر عالٍ.

فقد كلفت هذه الحملات رأس المال الإيراني، البشري والمالي، وفرضت عقوبات أميركية صارمة على وصول طهران إلى عائداتها المتاحة. ورغم أنه يُعتقد أن الحكومة الإيرانية لا تزال لديها إمكانية الوصول إلى ثروة كبيرة لإدارة عملياتها، إلا أن الآثار المزدوجة المتمثلة في الحصار التجاري الذي تفرضه الولايات المتحدة وسوء الإدارة الداخلية جعلتا الحياة أكثر صعوبة بالنسبة للإيرانيين العاديين غير القادرين على الاستفادة من الإصلاحات الاقتصادية التي وعد بها الرئيس حسن روحاني.

وتنقل المجلة عن أريان طباطبائي، وهي عالمة سياسية مشاركة في مؤسسة راند وكبيرة الباحثين المشاركين في كلية الشؤون الدولية والعامة في جامعة كولومبيا، قولها إن هذه المجموعات المتمردة هي “أكبر تهديد من غير الدول لإيران اليوم”. فأكثر المناطق الحدودية اضطراباً هي سيستان – بلوشستان، وخوزستان وكردستان. ويشعر المراقبون بالقلق من أن أي تصعيد لحركات التمرد في هذه الأجزاء يمكن أن يدفع إيران نحو الصراع الطائفي الذي شوهد في سوريا. وأضافت “هذا جزء مما يردع الكثير من الإيرانيين عن الدفع الصريح من أجل انهيار النظام: دروس سوريا تلوح في الأفق”.

وقد شنت التمردات من قبل الميليشيات العربية الانفصالية والبلوشية والكردية لعقود من الزمن قبل ظهور تنظيمي داعش والقاعدة أو حتى قبل الثورة الإسلامية في إيران عام 1979 التي أطاحت بالشاه الموالي للغرب ، الذي كان يتمتع لفترة طويلة بدعم وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية (سي آي إيه)، التي حافظت على حكمه. تمكنت “الجمهورية الإسلامية” من الحفاظ على هذه المجتمعات المضطربة في خطها، لكن الهجمات المميتة لا تزال قائمة، مثل تفجير حافلة في فبراير / شباط الماضي الذي أسفر عن مقتل ما يصل إلى 27 من أعضاء “حرس الثورة الإسلامية”.

وقد تم تبني هذه العملية من قبل “جيش العدل”، الذي استفاد مع زملائه من جماعة “أنصار الفرقان” الأصولية في فترات سابقة من الاضطرابات في محاولة لتقويض الحكومة الإيرانية. لقد سعى “داعش”، الذي اشتهر بقدرته على بناء الجسور عبر القارات، بنشاط إلى استغلال هذه الصراعات الوطنية كما يفعل في بلدان بعيدة مثل الفلبين.

ورأت طباطبائي أن وصول “داعش” داخل إيران لا يزال ضئيلاً إلى حد ما. وأوضحت، مع ذلك، أن “داعش ركز معظم جهوده في المناطق التي تضم عدداً كبيراً من الأقليات الكردية والعربية – لأن هؤلاء هم  (على الأقل) السكان الذين تم إهمالهم تاريخياً، هذا إذا لم تقمعهم السلطة المركزية”.

وفي حين أن القضاء على قوات الخصوم وتوقع نفوذها في الخارج كانا بمثابة دافعين أساسيين لدخول طهران في الحرب ضد “داعش”، فقد كان ذلك يعطل أي صلة محتملة بين هذه الجماعة الجهادية المؤثرة والمعارضين الآخرين لإيران داخل الدولة نفسها. وقال شاناهان لـ”نيوزويك” إنه منذ البداية “كانت إيران قلقة من التهديد الذي يشكله تنظيم داعش على الأراضي الإيرانية، وإمكانية دعم التمردات المنخفضة المستوى بين الجماعات العربية والسنية البلوشية داخل إيران”.

وأضاف شاناهان: “لديهم دعم محدود داخل إيران لكنهم قد يسعون إلى استغلال تركيز الأجهزة الأمنية على الاحتجاجات للقيام ببعض الأعمال التكتيكية المحلية”، مشيراً إلى أن التظاهرات الحالية كانت “حول استياء الإيرانيين من النظام ككل، مع رفع دعم الوقود كحافز، ولا يتعلق الأمر بحقوق الأقليات”.

وعلى الرغم من النجاح المحدود في تسلله، تمكن “داعش” من ضرب قلب “الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية” في حزيران / يونيو 2017 عندما قام العديد من المسلحين الأكراد الذين انضموا إلى الجماعة بهجمات مزدوجة على البرلمان الإيراني وضريح الراحل آية الله روح الله الخميني، مما أسفر عن مقتل 18 شخصاً. فقد أسفر هجوم في أيلول / سبتمبر الماضي على عرض لـ”حرس الثورة” في الأهواز في ذكرى إحياء ذكرى الحرب العراقية-الإيرانية – التي حاول خلالها صدام حسين كذلك تعزيز الانفصالية العربية في خوزستان – عن مقتل عشرين شخصاً، نصفهم من الجنود، وتبنى كل من “داعش” والانفصاليون العرب المسؤولية عنه.

ورداً على ذلك، أطلقت إيران صواريخ “ذو الفقار” التي طارت مئات الأميال عبر العراق إلى محافظة دير الزور في شرق سوريا، وهي كانت معقلاً لـ”داعش” في ذلك الوقت حيث تمت مهاجمتها من قبل حملتين متنافستين بقيادة الحكومة السورية و”قوات سوريا الديمقراطية” ذات الأغلبية الكردية المدعومة من الولايات المتحدة. لم ينظر إلى الضربة غير المسبوقة كرسالة إلى “داعش” فحسب، بل كدليل على براعة الصواريخ الإيرانية الموجهة نحو خصومها الوطنيين الثلاثة الذين يأتون في أول القائمة.

وكثيراً ما ألقت إيران باللوم على الولايات المتحدة و”إسرائيل” والسعودية لإثارة الفتنة داخل البلاد في محاولة للإطاحة بحكومة يتهمونها بأنها تزعزع الاستقرار في المنطقة. لم يظهر أي دليل قاطع على مثل هذه المؤامرة فيما يتعلق بالتظاهرات الحالية، على الرغم من أن شخصيات بارزة في واشنطن – مثل مستشار الأمن القومي السابق جون بولتون، أحد صقور الحرب المتدينين – قد جنّد قوات المعارضة علناً مثل الانفصاليين العرب الأهوازيين ومنظمة “مجاهدي خلق” الإيرانية.

حتى عام 2012، كانت منظمة “مجاهدي خلق” منظمة إرهابية معينة من قبل الولايات المتحدة، وهو ما يمثل الخطوط الواضحة التي حددت منذ فترة طويلة سياسات واشنطن في الشرق الأوسط. في قتال داعش، شاركت الولايات المتحدة مع وحدات حماية الشعب (YPG) ، وهي مجموعة كردية سورية يُنظر إليها على نطاق واسع على أنها مرتبطة بحزب العمال الكردستاني المحظور، وعلى الرغم من أن ترامب قد تبنى موقفاً متشدداً ضد إيران، فإن البنتاغون قد أُجبر على مواصلة التعاون غير المباشر على الأقل مع قوات “الحشد الشعبي” العراقية، وهي مظلة لميليشيات تضم “كتائب حزب الله” المحظورة، المدعومة من إيران، من بين مجموعات أخرى.

وقال الخبراء الثلاثة الذين قابلتهم “نيوزويك” إنهم يعتقدون أن انهيار الحكومة الإيرانية أمر غير مرجح في المستقبل القريب، على الرغم من “أقصى ضغط” التي قامت بها الولايات المتحدة ضدها. حتى بالنسبة لواشنطن، قد لا يكون هذا شيئاً ضرورياً: فقد علمت مراراً أن فقدان سيطرة حكومة العدو في كثير من الأحيان كانت له تداعيات بعيدة المدى في شكل تدفقات كبيرة للاجئين، وتشكيل أعداء جدد أكثر قوة، وتدخلات عسكرية مكلفة لمحاربتهم.

وختمت “نيوزويك” أن من المرجح أن تكون لسقوط إيران – وهي دولة يزيد عدد سكانها عن الدول الثلاث التي مزقتها الحرب مجتمعة – آثار جانبية مدمرة أكثر وسيمنح داعش والقوات السرية الأخرى مساحة جديدة للعمل.

ففي الوقت الحالي، يبدو أن تهديد تنظيم “داعش” تحت السيطرة. لكن تفاقم المشاكل الاقتصادية الناجمة عن القيود الأميركية والاقتتال السياسي بين المتشددين والمتطرفين في إيران سيشجع المجموعة المتشددة على السعي بنشاط لاستسلام إيران.

ترجمة: هيثم مزاحم – الميادين نت

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

US ‘Regime Changes’: The Historical Record

Global Research, November 29, 2019

First published on February 5, 2019

As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US ‘regime changes’ throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019

During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.

In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.

In the 1990’s US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.

Image on the right: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2005 (Source: Public Domain)

The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led ‘regime changes’ over the following two decades.

Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.

The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.

The Venezuela experience with ‘regime change’ speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and ‘legitimated’ by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.

US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).

Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon — but that is also their weakness.

Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective

Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.

The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.

US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.

Image below: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the advocate of the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état that installed the right-wing dictatorship (Source: Public Domain)

The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.

Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.

In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.

The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.

In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority.Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.

Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratc socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.

Chile’s democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.

It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela’s President Maduro.

Contradictory Puppet-Building

Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.

The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).

Cuba’s defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership’s decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.

In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.

Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.

After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.

The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).

Morales 20060113 02.jpg

In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.

Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse “aid agencies’ and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.

The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.

Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.

The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).

The progressive social welfare – neo-liberal regimes entered in crises and were ousted by a US backed puppet regime (Macri) in 2015 which proceeded to reverse reforms, privatize the economy and subordinate the state to US bankers and speculators.

After two years in power, the puppet regime faltered, the economy spiraled downward and another cycle of repression and mass protest emerged. The US puppet regime’s rule is tenuous, the populace fills the streets, while the Pentagon sharpens its knives and prepares puppets to replace their current client regime.

Conclusion

The US has not succeeded in consolidating regime changes among the large countries with mass organizations and military supporters.

Washington has succeeded in overthrowing popular – national regimes in Brazil, and Argentina. However, over time puppet regimes have been reversed.

While the US resorts to largely a single ‘track’ (military coups and invasions) in overwhelming smaller and more vulnerable popular governments, it relies on ‘multiple tracks’ strategy with regard to large and more formidable countries.

In the former cases, usually a call to the military or the dispatch of the marines is enough to snuff an electoral democracy.

In the latter case, the US relies on a multi-proxy strategy which includes a mass media blitz, labeling democrats as dictatorships, extremists, corrupt, security threats, etc.

As the tension mounts, regional client and European states are organized to back the local puppets.

Phony “Presidents” are crowned by the US President whose index finger counters the vote of millions of voters. Street demonstrations and violence paid and organized by the CIA destabilize the economy; business elites boycott and paralyze production and distribution… Millions are spent in bribing judges and military officials.

If the regime change can be accomplished by local military satraps, the US refrains from direct military intervention.

Regime changes among larger and wealthier countries have between one or two decades duration. However, the switch to an electoral puppet regime may consolidate imperial power over a longer period – as was the case of Chile.

Where there is powerful popular support for a democratic regime, the US will provide the ideological and military support for a large-scale massacre, as was the case in Argentina.

The coming showdown in Venezuela will be a case of a bloody regime change as the US will have to murder hundreds of thousands to destroy the millions who have life-long and deep commitments to their social gains , their loyalty to the nation and their dignity.

In contrast the bourgeoisie, and their followers among political traitors, will seek revenge and resort to the vilest forms of violence in order to strip the poor of their social advances and their memories of freedom and dignity.

It is no wonder that the Venezuela masses are girding for a prolonged and decisive struggle: everything can be won or lost in this final confrontation with the Empire and its puppets.

*

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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from Images.com/Corbis

الأميركيون في كل مكان.. فأين روسيا والصين؟

 

نوفمبر 18, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يرفض الأميركيون الاعتراف بانهيار سيطرتهم الأحادية على العالم، فلا يكتفون بفصيح الكلام على الطريقة العربية، بل يشنّون هجوماً مضاداً بأسلحة اقتصادية واستخبارية وعسكرية، تكاد تعمّ زوايا الأرض. لكنهم يركزون على منطقتين أساسيتين بإمكانهما ضخّ ما يحتاجه الجيوبولتيك الأميركي للاستمرار، وهما أميركا الجنوبية اللاتينية والشرق الاوسط في محوره الإيراني مواصلين أيضاً مناوشة العالم بأسره إنما بعيارات خفيفة، وللمناوشة فقط.

هذه الهجمات إقرار أميركي باقتراب الخطر على أحاديتهم القطبية لمصلحة قوى دولية أخرى أصبحت قادرة على مشاركتهم في إنتاج القرار الدولي والتوسع الاقتصادي.

اما مؤشرات هذه المقدرة فتجمع بين الإمكانات الاقتصادية والعسكرية التي يؤدي التطوّر العسكري العمودي النوع الى انتشار أفقي في سياسات العالم واسواقه.

بالتدقيق، تنكشف الحركة الأميركية، بمحاولاتها إسقاط الأنظمة المتمرّدة عليها في أميركا اللاتينية ـ الجنوبية، وبلمح البصر، يرحل رئيس بوليفيا فارّاً من بلاده بانقلاب عسكري يرعاه الأميركيون علناً.

هذا إلى جانب ضغوط هائلة يمارسها الأميركيون في فنزويلا لإسقاط رئيسها بالحصار حيناً ومشاريع الانقلابات وبالتشجيع على التمرّد والحصار الاقتصادي المفتح حيناً آخر وبشكل متواصل.

هناك أيضاً كوبا التي تتعرّض لحصار أميركي مفتوح ومتواصل يترافق مع محاولات دائمة لتفجيرها منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي، من دون نسيان المكسيك وغيرها، أما أوروبا المقموعة بالنفوذ الأميركي فيزجرها الأميركيون كلما حاولت التسلل من العباءة الأميركية، محوّلين بلدانها الشرقية الى مكامن لترسانات صاروخية ونووية موجهة لأهداف روسية وصينية.

على مستوى الصين، فهي أكبر اقتصادياً واجتماعياً وعسكرياً، من أيّ محاولات أميركية لتهشيمها، الأمر الذي يحصر التعرّض الأميركي لها في مسألة التجارة الخارجية بمعنى أنّ الصين تحتاج الى مواد أولية وطاقة وأسواق تصريف للاستمرار في صعودها الكوني، بما يفسّر العقوبات الأميركية التي تستهدف السلع الصينية في حركة انتشارها العالمي.

كذلك روسيا، فإنّ التعرّض لها عسكرياً، شبه مستحيل فلا بأس إذاً من معاقبتها أميركياً بقرارات اقتصادية للحدّ من حركة عودتها الى الفضاءات السوفياتية السابقة.

هذه الوتيرة متبعة أيضاً في كوريا الشمالية، باعتبارها امتداداً صينياً لا تسمح بكين بإصابته بأذى كبير.

انّ هذا الجيوبولتيك الأميركي استشعر بأنّ نظام العولمة المرتبطة بالحدود المفتوحة أمام السلع أدّى الى عكس ما يريده الاقتصاد الأميركي، لأنه أفاد الصين وألمانيا واليابان، متيحاً لسلعها اختراق أسواق كبرى بما فيها الأميركية.

هذا ما جعل الأميركيون ينقلبون على «عولمتهم» الاقتصادية، محتمين من جديد «بالحمائية» ايّ إقفال حدودهم الاقتصادية وأسواقهم أمام بضائع الدول المنافسة. وهي حرب فعلية تعيد التطوّر العالمي الى الزمن القديم، علماً أنّ العولمة التي شملت الاقتصاد والاجتماع والفنون والإعلام والسياسة كان المطلوب منها تعزيز الهيمنة الأميركية العالمية، فتحوّلت وبالاً عليها بالاقتصاد.

يتبيّن أنّ الأميركيين يحدّدون إعادة الإمساك بمنطقتين في العالم، وسيلة ناجحة لمنع تدهور أحاديتهم القطبية وهما أميركا الجنوبية والشرق الأوسط، والناتج الأول لهذه السياسة سقوط النظام البوليفي المعادي لها والحصار الشديد على فنزويلا والتشجيع على الاضطرابات فيها. يكفي انّ أميركا الجنوبية تمتلك أهميات كبيرة، أهمّها موقعها القريب الاستراتيجي المحاذي لأميركا وأسواقها الكبيرة التي تستطيع استيعاب السلع الأميركية ومنع أيّ تمركز دولي منافس فيها، أما النقطة الاضافية فهي أنّ فنزويلا بمفردها تمتلك أكبر احتياط نفطي في العالم.

هناك نقطة أكثر مركزية يعمل الأميركيون على الإمساك بها بما يؤدّي فوراً إلى تماسك قطبيتهم الأحادية، وهي إيران وضرورة إلحاقها بواشنطن. وهذا يتضمن إسقاط البلدان المتحالفة معها في اليمن والعراق وسورية وحزب الله في لبنان وبعض التحالفات في أفغانستان وباكستان. هذا إلى جانب إلغاء تقاربها مع روسيا والصين.

لا يعني هذا الكلام ربط الأسباب الأساسية لاندلاع انتفاضات العراق ولبنان بمؤامرة أميركية، لكنه لا ينفي نجاح الأميركيين في التأسيس لها من طريق أحزاب ونخب وإعلام/ لا يتوانى عن العمل في لعبة التحريض لتفجير أوضاع هذه الدول بما فيها إيران، والدليل انّ الإعلام الخليجي يبث ترهات وأضاليل عن الاضطرابات في إيران بتكبير حجمها والإصرار على نجاحها وامتدادها الى كامل الجغرافيا الإيرانية 24 ساعة يومياً.

هنا يجوز إصرار وتأكيد أنّ الأسباب الاقتصادية والاجتماعية للانتفاضات حقيقية وصادقة، لكنها لا تذهب الى حدود اعتبار السعودية او أميركا بديلاً، فالسعودية دولة متخلفة في القرون الوسطى لا تنتج شيئاً، والأميركيون ينهبون الشرق الاوسط اقتصادياً منذ 1945 ويدعمون «إسرائيل» والأنظمة المتخلفة المتحالفة معهم.

لذلك فإنّ لعبة التحريض الأميركية ـ الخليجية ـ الاسرائيلية تعتبر أنّ إيران هي مركز محور مناهض للهيمنة الأميركية واتباعها، بما يعني أنّ القضاء عليها يستتبع حماية أنظمة الخليج وتحصين الكيان الإسرائيلي، ويزوّد الجيوبولتيك الأميركي بطاقة إضافية تزيد من عمره الافتراضي.

إيران إذاً مستهدفة بقوة للزوم استمرار الأحادية الأميركية، لكن السؤال هنا، يذهب ناحية الصين وروسيا ليسألهما عن مدى إحساسهما بالخطر من الهجوم على إيران في الخارج والداخل.

فهما الهدف الأميركي الذي يلي إيران، بما يعني وجوب تحركهما بأشكال مختلفة للدفاع عنها ودعم حلفائها في اليمن والعراق وسورية ولبنان أما إذا واصلتا لعبة «الترقب» ومعاينة النتائج فإنّ ترميم الهيمنة الأميركية، يصبح أمراً ممكناً لأنه يصبح بإمكان الأميركيين الاستمرار في السيطرة على احتياطاته الاساسية في قطر والربع الخالي السعودي وإيران نفسها، بما يضع روسيا الأولى في إنتاج الغاز في حلبة منافسة لا تمتلك فيها أوراقاً رابحة.

فهل تنتقل بكين وموسكو من دائرة الرصد إلى مرحلة دعم إيران؟ المعتقد أنهما متجهتان الى هذا الهدف بشكل لا تنخرطان فيه بحرب متنوّعة مع الأميركيين إيماناً منهما بقدرة إيران على المزيد من الصمود وإلحاق هزيمة جديدة بالغطرسة الأميركية.

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

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

November 16, 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

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

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

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

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

The list goes on with Eastern European EU countries, mostly former Soviet republics or Soviet satellites. They are EU members thanks to the UK, Washington’s mole in the EU, or as I like to call it – the European non-union – no Constitution, no solidarity, no common vision. They are all fiercely anti-Russia and most are also anti-Europe, but are made to – and love to eat and drink from the bowl of the EU-handouts, compliments of EU taxpayers. That’s about the state of the affairs we are in. There is, of course, much more coercion going on, but you get the picture. US interference is endless, merciless, reckless, without scruples and deadly.
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Bolivia is just the latest victim. The process of Color Revolution is always more or less the same – a long preparation period. The coup d’état against Evo has been under preparation for years. It began already before Evo was first elected, when Washington realized that after the Bolivian people’s purging of two of Washington’s imposed “stooges” Presidents, in 2003 and 2005, Bolivia needed a respite. But the empire never gives up. That is a golden rule written in their unofficial Constitution, the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), the writing of which has begun just after WWII, is regularly adjusted and updated, even name-changed (from Pax Americana to PNAC), but is still very much alive and ticking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few short comments about the Fascist coup in Bolivia

November 12, 2019

Source

These are the folks who just came to power:

They are all members of some kind of Fascist “Christian” cult.

This is what these folks did with those who dare oppose them:

Trump loves this.  He called it a

significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere” and then he proceeded to threaten two more Latin American states by saying “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere”.

Old Uncle Shmuel is still hard at work

In fact, he has a very good point.  What this latest coup signals to all patriotic Latin Americans who want to see their continent free from US oppression is this: if you want to openly defy the diktats of the Empire, make absolutely sure the commanders of your armed forces are loyal to you.  Furthermore, you should never forget that the most powerful weapon of the Empire is not its bloated and mostly clueless military force, but its ability to use corruption to obtain by the printing press what they cannot seize by brute force.

So far, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have been successful in their resistance against Uncle Shmuel.  Likewise, there seems to be an internal (and covert) “hidden patriotic opposition” inside the Brazilian military (at least according to my Brazilian contacts) which might limit the damage done by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the coup against Lula da Silva (for example, the Brazilian military has declared that they will not allow Brazil or Brazilian forces to be used in an attack against Venezuela).

Finally, the absolutely shameful behavior of many Latin American countries whose comprador elites are trying to catch up with Poland as the most abjectly subservient voluntary slaves of the Empire.  These countries all know that both Maduro in Venezuela or Morales in Bolivia were honestly elected and that all the rumors about a stolen election are nothing more than crude lies.  In sharp contrast, the so-called “US allies” in the region are all spineless prostitutes who are in power solely because of the support of the AngloZionist Empire.

In 1971 an Uruguayan journalist named Eduardo Galeano wrote a seminal book entitled “Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina” which was eventually translated into English under the title “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent“.  This extremely famous book (at least in Latin America) is as actual in 2019 as it was almost half a century ago: the veins of Latin America are still bleeding and the folks doing the bloodletting have not changed one bit.

The only good news so far is that the US-backed regimes in Latin America are all facing various levels of protests and dissatisfaction which might lead to popular protests which could eventually remove the comprador elites once again, but this time around the leaders of the resistance need to truly understand that winning a popular vote is simply not enough: every time a truly patriotic regime comes to power, the US eventually is successful in using its agents in the ruling classes in general and especially in the armed forces to overthrow the popularly elected leaders.

Hugo Chavez made many mistakes, but that he got right, and that is why the US has not been able, at least so far, to trigger a color revolution in Venezuela.  Well, they tried and failed.  As for Cuba, it has resisted the combined might of the US Empire for many decades, so they also know something crucial.

Over the past decades the “front lines” between sovereign and free Latin American countries and US puppets has moved many times, and both sides felt at times victorious and at times despondent.

And yes, the coup against Morales is a HUGE blow to the resistance to the Empire.  The man was much more than just a leftist patriot, he was a moral symbol of hope for the entire continent.  Now that he is gone, a lot of Latin Americans will be as disgusted and sad as I am today.

I take some solace in Mexico’s decision to give Morales political asylum. I don’t know enough about Mexico to speculate on the motives of the Mexican President, but now that Morales is safe he can always relocate to another country if needed.

Should Morales ever come back to power, his first priority ought to be a profound purge of the military and the replacement of “School of the Americas” types with real patriots.  Doing this will not be a sufficient condition for success, but it will be a required one nonetheless.

The Saker

Syria: “U.S. Get Out!”

Statement of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

Global Research, November 08, 2019

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) stands in solidarity with the long-suffering people of Syria.  We oppose all foreign occupation of Syrian territory.  Syria belongs to the Syrians.

The current Turkish incursion into northern Syria is in violation of Syrian sovereignty. So is the continued U.S. intervention.

Turkey has been an ally of the U.S. in its regime change program in Syria.  Both countries are in Syria against the wishes of the Syria government and have caused great destruction in the region.

The U.S. claim that it is in Syria to fight ISIS, is fiction. Recent U.S. involvement started in 2011 with the CIA program called “Timber Sycamore,” which was geared to overthrow the Syrian government and replace it with a government friendlier to Washington and Wall Street. This program supplied money, weapons and training to internal and external forces fighting the Assad government.  ISIS wasn’t formed in Syria till around 2014, years after the U.S. regime change program started.  Washington used ISIS as their reason to expand U.S. bombing and destruction.

Syria requested assistance from Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, then from Iran and Russia to aid their resistance to the U.S. orchestrated destruction. This determination defeated U.S. plans.

President Trump in early October tweeted that he would be withdrawing U.S. forces from Northern Syria where they have been working with the Kurdish SDF (Syrian Defense Forces) to maintain the occupation of the northeastern region of Syria, the home of most of Syria’s oil and grain production.  Trump claimed to have come to an accommodation with Turkish President Erdogan.  Immediately thereafter, Turkish soldiers crossed the border and began to attack the Kurds,

These actions caused a great debate in the U.S. Many politicians, who wanted the U.S. to stay in Syria, claimed that Trump had abandoned the Kurds.

The U.S. is no friend of the Kurds and has betrayed their interests over and over again throughout the last century and was never a protector of their interests.

Syria’s population of 22 million includes Arab, Kurdish, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkoman and Circassian nationalities as well as Sunni, Alawi, Shia, Druze, Yazidi, and Christian religious sects. Based on decades of past U.S. military intervention in the region there are 1.5 million Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in Syria and 5 million Syrian refugees outside of Syria.

The Syrian government is determined to maintain and rebuild Syria as a secular, multi-ethnic, multinational, multi-religious country that respects the identity and culture of every group, free of foreign interference.

U.S. strategists have always tried to maintain dominance in the Middle East by divide and conquer tactics of inflaming sectarian, national, ethnic and religious differences.

We oppose Turkish aggression in the region and demand that Turkish and U.S. forces leave Syrian territory where they never were invited by the Syrian government.  As Turkish forces move into Syria, the Kurds have opened negotiations with the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army moved todefend the border towns where Kurds live.

It is in the interest of the Kurdish and non-Kurdish Syrian people for the US, Turkey and their supported mercenaries from around the world to leave the country.  It is only under these circumstances that the Kurdish people and the Syrian government can work to solve the problems of the Kurds in Syria.

As the Syrian government wins back more and more of their territory from foreign aggressors, it is calling for refugees to come home.  They are offering amnesty and assistance for all those returning.

In numerous recent tweets, President Trump confirmed that U.S. will not actually leave Syria. They will refocus on the oil producing area of Syria to supposedly “protect the oil.”  “We’re keeping the oil,” “I’ve always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.” Trump asserts that the U.S. will decide what to do with Syria’s oil in the future. He has implied that maybe Exxon should be given the oil

Clearly the theft of oil is for U.S. corporate profit and to deprive Syria of the means to rebuild.

U.S. and EU Sanctions keep Syria from importing essential supplies to repair and re-build Syria.  Sanctions also prevent Syrians from importing or exporting oil.  Without oil, the country cannot re-build.

The plan for U.S. troops to occupy the oil fields is to prevent Syria from being energy sufficient, as they were before 2011.

The theft of Syrian oil and the continued sanctions on Syria must be condemned by our movement and by the entire world.

We demand:

U.S., NATO, Turkey, Israel and all foreign invading forces leave Syria!

End the sanctions against Syria!

U.S. stop the theft of Syrian oil!

Let the Syrian people go home!

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حكومة لستة شهور للانتخابات

 

نوفمبر 1, 2019

ناصر قنديل

بات واضحاً أنّ هناك مشروعاً سياسياً داخلياً وخارجياً يقوم على تمرير بقاء الرئيس سعد الحريري لرئاسة الحكومة، مقابل ضمان خروج القوى السياسية من الحكومة لحساب ما يُسمّى بالتكنوقراط. وأنّ الحراك بعدما نجح الإمساك بدفته بوضوح بات جزءاً منخرطاً في هذا المشروع. والواضح أن هذا سيعني التحكم بالخيارات السياسية للدولة من قبل رئيس الحكومة، كسياسي وحيد في الحكومة. وبالمقابل سيكون أي اشتراط في تكوين الحكومة لضمان مشاركة متوازنة سياسياً وطائفياً، معرضاً لمواجهة ضغط في الشارع تحت تهديد الاتهام بالمماطلة بحكومة تحقق آمال الشارع بإصلاح جدّي، سيتمّ نسيانه عند الفوز بحكومة مطواعة، تلبي شروط الخارج وتفتح لها أبواب التمويل لقاء ذلك.

استقالة الرئيس الحريري تمّت ضمن صفقة رعاها الخارج مع الحراك الممسوك، مضمونها مقايضة الاستقالة بتسويقه رئيساً مقبلاً مقبولاً لحكومة التكنوقراط المنشودة، ومن دون أن يرفّ جفن للذين صرخوا لثلاثة عشر يوماً شعار كلن يعني كلن . وبدت بوضوح سهولة الإمساك بالحراك مع تحوّل الحريري إلى قائد ثورة، في ساحات الحراك. مطلوب أن يشكل الحكومة الجديدة، شرط استبعاد الآخرين. والآخرون هنا هم المقاومة وحلفاؤها، ولذلك لم تعُد الحلول الترقيعية والجزئية مجدية بل باتت مدخلاً لاستنزاف سياسي، وربما أمني بلعبة القط والفأر التي تلعبها القوى الأمنية مع قطع الطرقات، واستنزاف اقتصادي بالتأكيد عبر لعبة الغميضة التي يلعبها مصرف لبنان مع الدولار، وتمويل المستوردات.

جوهر الانقسام الحاصل في البلد يتصل بمحاولة واضحة لنقل مصدر الشرعية من المؤسسات الدستورية إلى الشارع الذي يستولي عليه حراك ممسوك من فريق داخلي خارجي لديه حليف شريك في المؤسسات الدستورية يستقوي به لترجيح خياراته ويفرضها بقوة الحديث عن تلبية مطالب الشعب، ولأن البديل المتمثل بتحريك شارع مقابل شارع سيعني ضمناً إتاحة الفرصة لتصوير الشارع المساند للمقاومة وحلفائها كشارع مدافع عن الفساد ورافض للإصلاح، لأن مقابله لن يكون شارع سياسي آخر، بل شارع الحراك الذي انطلق تحت عناوين الإصلاح ومكافحة الفساد.

الحراك قدّم للمقاومة وحلفائها حبل المشنقة الذي عليهم أن يمسكوا به لإطاحة المشروع الذي يراد تمريره تحت ظلال الحراك، وباسم الشعب يريد ، وذلك عبر الشعار الذي هتفت به الساحات، بعضها صادق وبعضها منافق. وهو الانتخابات النيابية المبكرة وفقاً لقانون انتخابي يرتكز على الدائرة الواحدة والنسبية، ولذلك يصير ممكناً للمقاومة وحلفائها قبول حكومة من غير السياسيين ولو كان رئيسها سياسياً، بشرط أن تكون حكومة انتخابات، محدودة الولاية بشهور قليلة متفق عليها لا تزيد عن ستة شهور، يتم خلالها إقرار قانون الانتخابات وتنفيذ الورقة الإصلاحية وإطلاق مؤتمر سيدر، وتجري الانتخابات في نهايتها، لتتمّ تسمية رئيس حكومة وتشكيل حكومة وفقاً لمعايير الديمقراطية، أغلبية تحكم وأقلية تعارض، فإعادة تكوين السلطة باتت أمراً ملحاً وحاسماً في استعادة الشرعية لمكانها الطبيعي وهو المؤسسات الدستورية، والخروج من دائرة الابتزاز تحت شعار الشعب يريد . والشعب هنا هو عشرة متظاهرين يقطعون الطريق وتلاقيهم مؤسسة تلفزيونية، أو مليون متظاهر، لا فرق.

المهم أن تتمسّك قوى المقاومة ومعها الحلفاء بتشكيل لائحة موحّدة لا مجال فيها لشركاء بلا تفاهمات سياسية صارمة وواضحة، وأن تتسع تحالفاتها لكل الشركاء السياسيين، وأن تمسك ببرنامج انتخابي واضح هو عودة فورية للنازحين السوريين بالتعاون مع الحكومة السورية، وفتح أسواق سورية والعراق أمام الشركات اللبنانية لإعادة الإعمار وتسويق المنتجات، وتأمين النفط بأسعار وشروط سداد ميسّرة، والانفتاح على روسيا والصين، لتأمين استثمارات في القطاعات الاقتصادية كالنفط والاتصالات وسكك الحديد والمطارات والموانئ والطرق الدولية، ما يتيح الانطلاق نحو السيطرة على الدين والعجز وإنعاش الاقتصاد، وبالتوازي تشكيل محكمة الفساد برفع الحصانات ورفع السرية المصرفية، ووضع مصير الـ11 مليار دولار ومغارة علي بابا في وزارة الاتصالات، ورفع الغطاء عن كل مُن يظهر تورطه في الفساد من صفوف الحلفاء، وفقاً لمعادلة منع سفر وتجميد أموال لثلاثة شهور لكل من تعاطى شأناً عاماً خلال ثلاثين سنة مضت بمن فيهم كبار الضباط وكبار القضاة والرؤساء والوزراء والنواب والمدراء العامين، تبتّ خلالها النيابة العامة في محكمة الفساد بتحديد اللائحة الاسمية للمشتبه بتورطهم بجرائم الفساد، لمنعهم من الترشّح لأي منصب في الدولة، والحجز على ممتلكاتهم وأموالهم في الداخل والخارج احتياطاً، حتى نهاية التحقيق والمحاكمة.

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