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.

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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.

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