The dark motives behind Saudi Arabia’s push for Gulf unity

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David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

Mohammed bin Salman could use the detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate the throne

It took Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman three years and six months to come to the same conclusion that some of us reached days into the blockade of Qatar: that it was doomed to failure.

The project to silence the voice of an independent neighbour was doomed the moment that then-US defence secretary James Mattis and then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a former oilman with extensive links to Qatar, learned of plans to invade the peninsula and stopped them.

As the weeks passed, Qatar’s hand was only strengthened. Turkish troops arrived in Doha to form a physical buffer. Iran gave Qatar the use of its airspace. The blockade could never work with an air bridge established around Saudi Arabia.

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy

It took only months for Qatar to assemble a major lobbying operation in Washington, undoing or rolling back the influence of the principal lobbyist for the Saudis, the Emirati ambassador Youssef al-Otaiba, and establishing solid support of its own. US President Donald Trump did not even acknowledge that Qatar hosted the Pentagon’s most important airbase in the region, Al Udeid, when he tweeted his approval of the blockade in 2017. 

In the end, the Saudi prince overestimated Trump’s influence and underestimated the residual power of the US military. Both Tillerson and Mattis are long gone, but the pressure to reverse this mad act of recklessness never receded; it only grew with time.

With the imminent arrival of a hostile US president in Joe Biden, bin Salman sensed the time had come to put an end to his folly. Today, none of the 13 demands originally placed on Qatar by the blockading states have been met. Neither its hosting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood nor its foreign policy have changed. Al Jazeera has not been closed down. Qatar’s alliance with Iran and Turkey has, if anything, strengthened.

Domestically, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is held in higher esteem for his defence of the state than he was before, as Qatari nationalism has mounted. Qatar is more self-sufficient and confident than it was before the blockade. 

‘Qatar has won’

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy.

“You could say Qatar has won,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of politics in Dubai who was one of the foremost defenders of the blockade three years ago, told the Financial Times. “The cost of fighting was too high – there is a realisation now that this is the black sheep of the family and we just have to put up with it. These have been the worst three-and-a-half years in the history of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].”This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

But these conclusions are, for the moment, bin Salman’s alone. It is interesting to note who was absent from the display of brotherly love at the GCC summit on Tuesday. The no-show by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed came alongside the absence of Bahrain’s King Hamad and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Bahrain is in the midst of an increasingly bitter border dispute with Qatar, and Egypt remains sceptical about the whole enterprise. Mada Masr quoted Egyptian government sources as saying that Cairo does not see a sufficiently strong foundation to open a new page in relations with Doha. Qatar, they claimed, was still mounting a “methodological campaign aimed at the Egyptian regime”. 

The sources noted that none of the basic demands made of Qatar – closing down Al Jazeera, shuttering a Turkish military base, severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and reducing ties with Iran – had been met. It is too early to say whether this signals a fracturing of the counter-revolutionary forces that have held together since they paid for and installed Sisi as president of Egypt after a military coup in 2013.

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

Certainly, there are grounds for a bust-up between mentor bin Zayed and his protege, bin Salman. One is Yemen: who is really in charge of the Saudi-led intervention that bin Salman launched in March 2015 – the Saudis or the Emiratis? Militias funded by and loyal to the UAE have taken control of the south, leaving the Saudis with an unresolved war with the Houthis in the north.

A second source of tension is Israel. In spearheading normalisation with Israel, the Emiratis clearly pitched themselves as Tel Aviv’s principal Gulf partner. Otaiba’s boast that the UAE and Israel had the two most capable military forces in the region raised eyebrows in Riyadh and Cairo. 

The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September (AFP)
The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September 2020 (AFP)

Writing the first-ever op-ed by a Gulf diplomat for an Israeli newspaper, Otaiba boasted before normalisation took place last year: “With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East.”

The Emirati claim to be the principal partner of Israel could cause problems for the future king of Saudi Arabia. Another notable absentee from the GCC summit was the country’s current king, Salman.

Kingdom split

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the tumultuous events shaking the Arab world has waxed and waned. Even before the blockade, it did not, for instance, devote the same attention to the murderous bombardment of Yemen by Saudi warplanes as it did to the Egyptian revolution in 2011. 

While producers and reporters are freer to report than most of their contemporaries in the Saudi-, Emirati- and Egyptian-controlled media, the state of Qatar still has its hands on volume control. There are many examples, including the decision to downplay coverage of the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi activist recently sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.

To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians

Bin Salman could use this detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate and pass the crown to him.

There is no doubt that bin Salman thinks it is time to do both. From the very start of his campaign to become king, establishing close clandestine relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been key to bin Salman’s relationship with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, Trump. 

The kingdom is split from top to bottom on the issue of normalisation with Israel. Foreign-policy heavyweights in the family still publicly voice opposition, notably the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The king himself, to whom Prince Turki remains close, is also opposed, and the issue will have a strong impact on the Saudi people.

Future turmoil

One first step towards resolving this is to neutralise or turn down the volume of the Arab media that could run against bin Salman. This mainly comes from Qatar, which might explain why Kushner himself was present at the GCC summit.

For all the pain involved, the prize is great – and Biden, a committed Zionist, would welcome it. To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians. Saudi Arabia remains, by dint of its size and wealth, a “real” Arab nation.

While the resolution of the crisis with Qatar is to be welcomed, the motives for doing so could lead to yet more turmoil in Arab world.

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

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

 By Staff, Agencies

In early August, the American news publication Foreign Policy revealed in detail that King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called Donald Trump to get permission for invading Qatar on June 6, 2017, that is just one day after the blockade imposition.

Although the US President had offered his full-throated support to the Saudi-led campaign, the military invasion was a flagrant violation of international law.

But it was, according to The Intercept, the efforts of Rex Tillerson, then US Secretary of State that dissuaded the Saudis and their ilk from attacking Qatar; and it was exactly the same efforts that cost Tillerson his career.

“We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade.

We’re seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated and children pulled out of school. “

Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State (2017-2018)

Frustrated by Tillerson’s attempts to mediate, the blockading countries lobbied hardest for his removal. According to New York Times, the UAE ambassador to Washington knew that Tillerson would be put aside three months before he was fired in March 2018.

Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst, James Jatras maintains: “As these details come out over time, it gives us a more of a sense of what the Saudis were prepared to do and also some of the internal politics on the American side.

In particular, I think it’s showing what kind of influence the Saudis have over Washington and its policy and even over its personnel.”

According to the leaked invasion plan, Saudi ground troops were supposed to cross the land border into Qatar. With military support from the UAE, they would advance about 70 miles toward Doha, the capital city of Qatar.  And finally after passing Al Udeid Air Base, which includes about 10,000 American soldiers, the Saudi would then take control over Doha.

The Saudis were going to mount the military invasion despite the fact their campaign against Yemen had already turned out to be a complete fiasco.

“I think you have to add that to the megalomania of Mohammed bin Salman who thinks he can do this successfully, despite the lesson of Yemen.

But there is a sort of addiction to the idea of power. There is a myth of invincibility. Perhaps, it’s been built up in Mohammad bin Salman’s mind that he could attack those countries.

Remember Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders on military hardware on the planet. I think they may be actually third right after the U.S. and China.

So, maybe he feels all this hardware actually buys him certain amount of invincibility, even though their performance doesn’t show that.”  

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

After the Foreign Policy revelation, Doha waited a day for the Saudis to issue an official denial of the invasion plot, before announcing its shock.

In a series of tweets, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out at the Saudis for their interventionist tendencies.  “The fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not yet denied what the American magazine revealed indicates the truth of the matter, which is something extremely dangerous to the security and stability of the region.”

Al-Rumaihi also described the invasion plot as another nail in the coffin of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council which was originally based on collective security.

In fact, the plot casts light on the darker side of the two Arab powers.  Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have shown again and again their desire to use military force in everyday politics.

 “Their resort to war is very high on the list of the Saudis’ way of looking at the world and looking at their neighbors. And I think that actually dovetails with their very strong support for international terrorism.

They point the finger at other countries like Iran but they’re actually the primary culprit in this regard.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

By many accounts, the incentive for the invasion plan was partially driven by the financial problems both countries were grappling with.

From the time Salman came to the throne as the Saudi king in 2015 to the time he decided to invade Qatar, the kingdom spent more than a third of its $737 billion in reserves.

Conquering Doha would potentially swell the Saudis’ coffer by taking control of the North Field of natural gas.

“An idea came to them to solve their gas problem by invading Qatar and occupying the largest gas in the world, and it could suffice them for 200 years. It would provide them with billions of dollars by laying a pipeline from the North Field to Saudi Arabia, and then by selling the gas on the global market.

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Former Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry

The invasion plan, no matter how shocking, is not unprecedented. In fact, the tiny but gas-rich and – in the eyes of Riyadh – recalcitrant state of Qatar has always been coveted by and a concern for its neighboring kingdom.

In a May 2017 email thread with former US diplomat Elliott Abrams, the Emirati ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba Otaiba wrote, “Conquering Qatar would solve everyone’s problems. Literally. And King Abdullah of Saudi came pretty close to doing something in Qatar a few months before he passed in January 2015.”

Saudi and UAE policies are creating more terrorism, conflict and chaos in the Middle East and Africa, Qatar

James Jatras, former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst is of the view that there are several reasons for Riyadh’s severe hostility toward Qatar.

Saudi Arabia is the local hegemon of the pro-American camp in the Persian Gulf region. Most Gulf States, such as the UAE and Bahrain, largely take their cues from Riyadh.

“The fact that the Qataris – who also have a very good relationship with the U.S. and even host an American base there – are not under the thumb of the Saudis, I think, is very offensive to the Saudis.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

Leaked documents show the idea of invading Qatar by the four current blockading countries dates back to 1996. According to Paul Barrell, the leader of a French mercenary group, he was hired to lead a coup against the Qatari ruling family in 1996 but the coup was brought to a standstill after the then French President Jacques Chirac asked him to stop the operation, telling him to: “Stop committing anything foolish.”

The Saudi-led invasion of Qatar has not happened so far for the complexity of the situation and its far-reaching consequences, but it has clearly shown the rusty mentality of the Saudis and their all-weather allies who put war and bloodshed before peace and diplomacy.




A child exposing the nakedness of the emperor by speaking truth to power?

Not these days.

More than half of the United States — not just liberals and the left but also the mainstream media and some Republicans — has been shouting at Emperor Trump for months on end that he has no clothes. These declarations have fallen on deaf ears, for Donald Trump is constitutionally incapable of acknowledging his own flaws.

Also, there are still plenty of people telling Trump what he wants to hear. The president is surrounded by family members, advisors, and careerists who have refused to acknowledge the simple truth that the White House has been occupied for more than three years by a person that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once called King Moron (oops, I misquote: he actually said a “f**king moron”).

In the last week, however, this picture has begun to change. Three important clothiers of the president have said that maybe the commander-in-chief has been experiencing a wardrobe malfunction all along.

Twitter, Justin Trudeau, and James Mattis all took their turns in the spotlight recently to challenge the American president. Representing three important constituencies — social media, the Pentagon, and the international community — all three in their own way have chipped away at Trump’s power.

True, they have all provided important cover for the naked leader in the past. Also, their statements could have been clearer calls to arms. But now, all three can help precipitate the “run for the exit” moment that will spell Trump’s downfall.

We’ll have to wait until November to be sure, but the president might have effectively lost his reelection bid this month, well before Election Day.

Social Media

Donald Trump once wooed the mainstream media. He chatted up gossip columnists. He pretended over the phone that he was his own publicist, singing the praises of his boss. He so desperately wanted to be on the cover of Time that he created dummy versions of the magazine proclaiming that “Trump is hitting on all fronts” and hung them in at least five of his golf clubs. Throughout, he groused that the media was not sufficiently flattering.

Twitter provided Trump with the ideal solution to his chronic need for attention. He no longer had to rely on the media and instead could communicate directly to his followers. He could simultaneously disparage the mainstream media as “fake news” and dispense his own fake news by tweet.

In the first three years of his presidency, Trump fired off more than 11,000 tweets. Many of them were rambling attacks on his opponents (somehow Trump manages to be rambling in under 280 characters). But some of them were actual policy announcements or served some other tactical purpose.

Twitter wasn’t simply a tool of the presidency. It became the presidency.

According to this New York Times analysis of this incessant Twitterstorm:

Early on, top aides wanted to restrain the president’s Twitter habit, even considering asking the company to impose a 15-minute delay on Mr. Trump’s messages. But 11,390 presidential tweets later, many administration officials and lawmakers embrace his Twitter obsession, flocking to his social media chief with suggestions. Policy meetings are hijacked when Mr. Trump gets an idea for a tweet, drawing in cabinet members and others for wordsmithing. And as a president often at war with his own bureaucracy, he deploys Twitter to break through logjams, overrule, or humiliate recalcitrant advisers and pre-empt his staff.

Twitter has helped Trump. And Trump has helped poison Twitter.

Although the social media giant has had no problem deleting praise for the Islamic State, it hasn’t shown comparable due diligence toward white nationalism. According to an account of a discussion at a Twitter staff meeting, a technical employee explained that “on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material. Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda.”

With the compliance of social media platforms, Trump and his coterie of Republican extremists have helped to mainstream otherwise marginal content.

But that tide might be turning. At the end of May, Twitter took the unprecedented step of labeling two of Trump’s tweets, directing readers to accurate sources of information on mail-in balloting and announcing that Trump had violated its policies on glorifying violence. Then, last week, Twitter took down an account that retweeted all of Trump’s utterances, again for violating its policies.

Trump, predictably, went ballistic. He lashed out on Twitter (the man is impervious to irony). He retaliated with an executive order to lift some of the liability protections on social media companies.

It’s not as if Trump is going to abandon his principle mode of communication. This last weekend, after all, he broke his own Twitter record by sending out 200 Tweets in a 24-hour period, including 74 in one hour. By increasing the outflow of his firehose, Trump seems to be daring Twitter to keep up with its labels.

Twitter hasn’t deplatformed Trump, as it has some other darlings of the alt-right. It let slide Trump’s latest Twitter outrage — promoting a conspiracy theory about a Buffalo protestor injured by the police — because the use of a question mark marked it as “speculative” (Really? Really??).

But with its labels, Twitter is finally saying that no one is above the law — the admittedly loose laws of the internet — not even the president of the United States.

Justin Trudeau

In the United States, we are still talking about the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that a cop knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.

In Canada, they’re talking about 21 seconds.

That’s the pause that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to answer a question on Trump’s threat to use the military against those protesting Floyd’s death. Trudeau could have used that time to criticize Trump directly. Instead, after his long pause, he chose to speak of the problems facing people of color in his own country. “There is systemic racism in Canada,” he said.

Trump has never hesitated to lambaste other heads of state. He called Trudeau “two-faced” as well as “very dishonest and weak.” He labeled comments by Emanuel Macron “very, very nasty.” He criticized comments of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as “nasty and inappropriate.” With comments about friends like these, you can imagine how Trump tongue-lashes his enemies.

For the most part, the international community has quietly tolerated Trump. They’ve delivered tersely worded rebuttals. They’ve made fun of him behind his back. But they haven’t directly or personally criticized him.

Given the power of the United States, it’s unlikely that the leader of an allied country will take the president to task. So, perhaps the best we can hope for is 21 seconds of silence, during which the rest of us can voice the thoughts we think are going through Justin Trudeau’s mind.

Maybe it’s because I worked for a Quaker organization for many years, but I think that sometimes silence can speak volumes.

James Mattis

Former Pentagon chief Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis was one of the more prominent “adults in the room” who were supposed to rein in Trump. He failed. He resigned in December 2018 after disagreeing with Trump’s push to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. When he resigned and later when he published his memoir the following year, Mattis kept his thoughts on Trump to himself.

Last week, Mattis broke his silence with a remarkable statement in The Atlantic criticizing the president’s threatened use of the military against protesters. He said, in part:

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.

In all my years as a protester, I have never witnessed someone of Mattis’s background and standing actually side with folks on the street. “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation,” he said.

It wasn’t just Mattis. Former chair of the joint chiefs of staff Mike Mullen wrote a similar condemnation of Trump as did former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan John Allen. It was the journalistic equivalent of D-Day, with the generals landing their forces on Omaha Beach in the hopes of dethroning their adversary several months hence.

Yes, yes, I know: Mattis, Mullen, and Allen are no leftists. You can’t even call them liberals or moderates. Andy Kroll is right to point out in Rolling Stone that these are “the same military leaders who endorsed and defended a policy of forever war that has led to tens of thousands of American deaths, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans and Syrians and Yemenis and Pakistanis, hundreds of thousands of injuries physical and mental suffered by U.S. service members, and many billions of taxpayer dollars poured into endless conflict.”

Kroll is both right and spectacularly off the mark. After all, Donald Trump similarly dismissed Colin Powell’s endorsement of Joe Biden by linking him to America’s failed wars.

The fact that these old establishment figures have blood on their hands is precisely the point. Noam Chomsky denouncing Donald Trump is not news. Everyone expects the leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to criticize the president. I’ve been slamming Trump from day one of his presidency (and many months before), but I doubt my preaching goes very far beyond the choir.

All the attacks on Trump from left and center are what journalists call “dog bites man.” It’s no surprise. But “Mad Dog bites man”? That’s a different story altogether.

The military has been the most trusted institution in U.S. society for decades. According to Gallup, it enjoyed a 73 percent approval rating in 2019 — compared to 38 percent for both the presidency and the Supreme Court, 36 percent for organized religion, and 11 percent for Congress.

People listen to the military. And by people, here I mean folks who voted for Donald Trump, continue to support the president, and are still thinking about voting for him in November.

As importantly, these generals are willing to take enemy fire — from Fox News, from crazy Internet trolls, from the president himself—so that other former Trump enablers might be more willing to stand up and speak their minds.

Immediately after Mattis waded into the debate, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) confessed her concerns about Trump and said that she hasn’t made up her mind about who to support in November. Francis Rooney, a Republican member of Congress from Florida, is now leaning toward Biden. A number of prominent Republicans won’t vote for Trump, but they also are reluctant to say so in public.

This doesn’t exactly constitute a surge. A solid core of the party remains firmly behind the president. The more telegenic version of Trump, Tom Cotton (R-AR), is enjoying a swell of support after The New York Times criticized its own handling of the senator’s incendiary and inaccurate piece, “Send in the Military.” So far, Mattis has not played the role of the journalist Edward R. Murrow taking down the demagogue Joe McCarthy.

But you have to believe that statements from Mattis and others are at least going to introduce an element of doubt into the minds of some true believers. Active duty soldiers and veterans who voted for Trump — he received 61 percent of the veteran vote compared to Hillary Clinton’s 34 percent — might just heed the generals. And the latest polls suggest that both older Americans and white Americans are starting to abandon Trump.

I don’t expect Mitch McConnell or Tom Cotton to denounce Trump. Much of the Republican Party will loyally follow the president into his White House bunker. But thanks to the truth-telling of Mattis and others, everyone else will be laughing all the way to the polls at the emperor stripped bare by his enablers.

By John Feffer
Source: Foreign Policy In Focus

بولتون والمشنوق: الحاجة لحروب كلامية


بولتون والمشنوق: الحاجة لحروب كلامية

مارس 26, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– كما أثارت إقالة وزير الخارجية الأميركي ريكس تيلرسون الأسئلة حول نيات حربية تصعيدية لدى الرئيس دونالد ترامب، خصوصاً مع جلب رئيس المخابرات مايك بومبيو خلفاً له، أثار جلب جون بولتون مستشاراً للأمن القومي بدلاً من هربرت ماكماستر، أسئلة مشابهة. والتفكير المنطقي يبدأ بالسؤال هل كانت هناك خيارات حربية يريدها الرئيس وتعطلت بفيتو مارسه وزير الخارجية تيلرسون، أو تحضيرات لحرب رفض ماكماستر القيام بها، وجاء بومبيو وبولتون لأجلها؟ والجواب المنطقي والطبيعي بالنفي، لأنّ تيلرسون كان تبلغ الغارة على خان شيخون كما تبلّغ قرار إقالته ولا حول له ولا قوة، وماكماستر جنرال حرب، وليس سياسياً كبولتون، ومصادره الفعلية لتقدير الموقف هي المخابرات المركزية، التي كان يشغلها بومبيو الذي تعزّز وصار وزيراً للخارجية. وبعد تعيين نائبة بومبيو والمشرفة الفعلية على تنفيذ أعمال الإغارة والاغتيال والاعتقال والتعذيب في المخابرات جينا هاسبل مكان بومبيو، عاد الرجل لصفته السياسية منذ كان عضواً في لجنة الاستخبارات في الكونغرس وأمام الإدارة ملف إيران النووي وملف كوريا النووي، والتفاوض حولهما يستدعي ممسكاً بالملفين، وليس كبومبيو من يقدر على ذلك مع نظرائه قادة المخابرات في روسيا والصين خصوصاً.

– جينا هاسبل باتت رئيسة المخابرات، يعني استمرار عهد بومبيو، فلا حاجة لتقني آخر في منصب مستشار الأمن القومي، بل الحاجة لمتحدّث، يوحي بلغة الحرب، ويتقن حروب الكلام، ويستطيع استدراج الخصوم لهذا النوع من السجالات، وستكشف الأيام أنّ هذه هي الوظيفة الحقيقية لتعيين بولتون. فالحرب فوق طاقة أميركا أياً كان رئيسها ووزير خارجيتها ومستشار أمنها القومي، والوظيفة النفسية والإعلامية للتعيينات صارت أكبر من الوظيفة الفعلية لمهام المناصب، والعمل سيسير بشكل سلس بين هاسبل وبومبيو في ترشيح القرار لترامب، ونقل اللازم منها لبولتون للحروب الكلامية، لأنّ وزير الخارجية المفاوض يجب ألا يُكثر الكلام، وخصوصاً الذي يقطع طريق التفاوض.

– في لبنان شيء مشابه مع الخطاب الانتخابي لتيار المستقبل، فمن يسمع رئيسه ومرشحيه، خصوصاً خطاب وزير الداخلية نهاد المشنوق يخالنا أمام سابع من أيار معكوس، أمنياً وعسكرياً، بسبب حجم الخشونة والرعونة في الكلام والخروج عن المألوف، ويكفي أن يكون خطاب الحريري والمشنوق لا يعرف إلا الحديث عن حزب الله والتحريض عليه واستفزازه، ومؤخراً التحرش بسورية ورئيسها وكلام أحد مرشحيه عن أنّ تعليمة وصلت من الرئيس السوري لحلفائه لمهاجمة تيار المستقبل، وكلها كما تعبير الأوباش في خطاب المشنوق في وصف اللائحة المنافسة في بيروت، دلائل على مسعى شراء المشكل، فلا طرح إيجابي لدى التيار ولا مال ولا وعود، ما يستدعي التحرّش لافتعال سجالات وتحدّيات ومشاغبات، وكلما تأخر الجواب زاد منسوب التصعيد استدراجاً لفريق المقاومة وحلفائها وجمهورها أملاً بردّ من العيار الشتائمي ذاته، وعساه يشمل الجمهور وليس القيادات فقط، ليمنح المبرّر للمواصلة بالعزف، فطريق الحدّ من الخسائر لكلّ الحلف المتهالك من واشنطن إلى بيروت هو المعارك الكلامية. وكما بولتون في واشنطن استعارة من الرسوم المتحركة، المشنوق في بيروت استعارة على اللحن الموسيقي، حزب الله وحركة أمل، والأحباش وشوية أوباش، دون أن ينتبه أنه عدّد قوى اللائحة المنافسة، واختصر بالأوباش غير الأحباش وغير حزب الله وحركة أمل، أيّ مَن لم يذكرهم، ولم يبقَ في اللائحة إلا التيار الوطني الحر، أم أنّه انتبه وقصد ذلك؟

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نارام سرجون:ادارة الكلاب المسعورة تعيد انتاج الكلاب ..عم شنبو في عالم صنع في سورية

John Bolton: The Cartoonish Hawk

John Bolton: The Cartoonish Hawk 

مارس 27, 2018

نارام سرجون

أحب دوما أن أدغدغ اولئك الذين لايضحكون عندما نمر على ذكر الديمقراطيات الغربية الرصينة .. بل يكادون يقفون باحترام اذا ما تحدث احد عن قداسة الديمقراطية الطاهرة في اميريكا والغرب .. وتدمع عيونهم من فرط التأثر لغيابها في الشرق والعالم كله .. ويرون ان العالم مأزوم بسبب غياب النموذج الديمقراطي المخملي الغربي .. ولكن لكلماتي اصابع تأبى الا ان تمر على المناطق الحساسة لمشاعرهم الديمقراطية .. لتثير جنونهم ..

اليوم سأضع أصابعي على جسد ديمقراطية “عم شنبو* ” الاميريكية .. وكل من تصله أصابعي وتلامس بقعة الديمقراطية الغربية في عقله ستدغدغه أو ستؤلمه .. وانا على يقين بأنه سيضحك الا أولئك الذين صاروا من اتباع ديانة “الديمقراطية” التي لايقبلون المساس بها والتجديف برموزها أو اهانتها .. كأنها بقرة مقدسة .. وانا أعلم انهم يقاومون الضحك في قرارة نفوسهم ولكنهم لايجرؤون على الاعتراف انهم يعيشون كذبة العمر الكبرى ..

ديمقراطية أميريكا اليوم يقود ديبلوماسيتها الخارجية اليوم رئيس مخابرات شرس .. ويوضع جون بولتون المعروف – بأنه يصوّت لكل الحروب – في المنصب الأهم في الامن القومي .. فتخيلوا اننا قلدنا ديمقراطية اميريكا وعزلنا السيد وليد المعلم وعينا السيد علي مملوك وزيرا للخارجية .. والسيد عاطف نجيب مستشارا للأمن القومي .. لاأشك لحظة ان مجلس الامن سينعقد وسيتم اطلاق موجة نحيب على حقوق الانسان في طول العالم وعرضه وسيتم اطلاق برامج الضحك والسخرية والانتقادات والشتائم في كل صحف العالم التي سترى في تعيين ضابط مخابرات وزيرا للخارجية اهانة لقيم الديمقراطية واعلانا للحرب على الانسان ..

ولكن أميريكا يحل لها مالايحل لغيرها .. هي تضرب بالسلاح الذري ولكنها اذا شمت رائحة غاز المطابخ في الغوطة فانها تدافع عن حقوق الانسان وتضرب المطارات التي شمت فيها رائحة الغاز .. وهي تفتح غوانتانامو وتعين ملائكة التعذيب والاستجواب مسؤولين في المخابرات ثم تدافع عن حقوق الانسان .. وهي ترفض ديكتاتورية ضدام حسين والقذافي والأسد ولكنها ترحب بدكتاتورية آل سعود وآل نتنياهو .. وهي تمر بتجربة فشل المحافظين الجدد وعنفهم لكنها تعيدهم الى أدق المناصب واكثرها حساسية وتطلبا للرزانة ..

أميريكا جورج بوش تعيد انتاج نفسها واستنساخ تجربتها مع المحافظين الجدد .. فالمحافظون الجدد يتسربون الى ادارة ترامب الذي تقاسم السلطة مع دولة المخابرات الاميريكية .. وكان الاتفاق هو اعطوا مالله لله .. وأعطوا مالقيصر لقيصر .. فالله هو دولة المخابرات والبنتاغون في اميريكا .. وقيصر هو رجال الاقتصاد والتجارة والصناعة والصفقات .. اي ترامب ومعسكره ..

ولكن اعادة انتاج ذات الشيء تخضع لمقولة فلسفية شهيرة لهراقليطس هي أنك لاتستطيع ان تقفز في ذات النهر مرتين .. لأن مياه النهر تجري وتتجدد .. وهي من أكثر الأقوال الفلسفية حكمة .. والاميريكون يقفزون في النهر ثانية معتقدين أنهم يسبحون في نفس المياه التي سبحوا فيها في عام 2003 وقبله في مياه البيريسترويكا وأوهام عم غورباتشوف .. ولكن جمهورية جون بولتون أو من نحب ان نلقبه بـ “عم شنبو” لم تعد نفس الجمهورية كما أن عم شنبو صار دقة قديمة في عالم فلاديمير بوتين والروس الجدد ..

ويظن المحافظون الجدد انهم سيخيفون العالم بادارة الكلاب المسعورة .. ماتيس الكلب المسعور .. ومديرة المخابرات جين هاسبل ملاك التعذيب .. وجون بولتون الكلب العجوز .. وكأن العالم لايزال تخيفه شنبات جون بولتون التي كانت تهتز بغضب كلما تحداها أحد والتي رقصت على جثة بغداد وضاحية بيروت .. وكانت تريد الرقص على جثة دمشق ايام جورج بوش .. ولكن شنبات عم شنبو لم تعد تخيف احدا .. بل يجب ان يخاف عم شنبو على شنباته لأنه يواجه عالما ليس كالعالم الذي كان فيه صدام حسين وجورج بوش .. هذا عالم صنع في سورية حيث تمت حلاقة شنبات زعماء العالم كافة من الذين كانوا يمسكون شواربهم ويحلفون أنهم سيحلقونها كما في باب الحارة ويتعهدون ان يسقطوا الدولة السورية ورئيسها وجيشها .. وصارت لدينا مجموعة تذكارية ضخمة من شنبات الزعماء التي تمت حلاقتها في الحرب على سورية سنعرضها يوما في قلعة حلب .. الى جانب مجموعة من الضفائر النسائية .. منها ضفيرة هيلاري كلينتون ..

عالم اليوم صنع في سورية .. وفيه روسيا العظمى تعود .. وتتمطط الصين من شواطئ بحر الصين الى بحر طرطوس .. ووصلت صواريخ فلاديمير بوتين الى سورية .. فيما طارت صواريخ الأسد فوق تل ابيب وفتكت بأحدث طائرات اميريكا ف 35 .. وظهر السيد سارمات المحترم من تحت الأرض .. وعاد حزب الله الى حدود فلسطين وجهز بخبرة حروب المدن .. وصار الجليل مكافأته التي ينتظرها في أي لقاء قادم مع جيش نتنياهو ..

أميريكا التي تغير كلابها ولاتغير أنيابها .. كلب اسود يليه كلب أشقر ومعه كلب مسعور وعم شنبو .. ولكن ادارة الكلاي المسعورة لاتخيف الا قطعان النعاج في الخليج المحتل .. ومزارع دجاج الاخوان المسلمين في تركيا والخليج .. التي بالت في ثيابها من هول الرعب والفزع من هذه الادارة ..

نصيحتي لعم شنبو ان لايزيد عيار تصريحاته وأن يعرف كيف يحافظ على شنباته وكرامة شنباته .. ادارة الكلاب المسعورة لاتخيف أحدا ..


* ملاحظة هامة: لقب عم شنبو اطلقه السيد حسن نصرالله على جون بولتون عندما كان الاخير ممثلا لجورج بوش في مجلس الامن ابان حرب 2006 وكان عم شنبو يستميت للدفاع عن اسرائيل واجتياح عواصم الشرق .. السيد حسن يومها عندما شاهد جون بولتون أحس انه رآه قبل ذلك اليوم ولكن لايتذكر أين وكيف على وجه الضبط .. وفجأة تذكر انه شاهد مرة مسلسلا للأطفال بعنوان (مغامرات بن بن) وهي عن كلب صغير ..


وكان من بين شخصيات المسلسل الكرتوني شخصية (العم شنبو) .. وهو كلب كبير وله شنبات كبيرة .. لاتشبهها الا شنبات جون بولتون .. انه هو عم شنبو بشحمه ولحمه وذيله وشنبه ..

Trump and Bin Salman: birds of a feather flock together ترامب وبن سلمان: لقاء المتعوس وخائب الرجاء

Trump and Bin Salman: birds of a feather flock together

مارس 26, 2018 

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The first meeting which brought together the US President Donald Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was the real “Deal of the Century” for both of them; five billion dollars given to Trump for the US business sector in exchange for getting rid of the royal family in Saudi Arabia in favor of Bin Salman, crowing him as a king, and disciplining his Qatari neighbor. Before the second meeting the anticipated dreams were to gain achievements  that give suitable timing to the political deal of the century which starts with a compromise for the Palestinian cause entitled Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, followed by an announced US-Israeli-Saudi alliance against Iran, diplomatic political military escalation in Syria and Yemen that achieves change in balances, bombing  the strife in Lebanon  in a way that besieges the resistance, and sponsoring the secession of Iraqi Kurdistan  that makes Iran under targeting.

The second meeting is held, but the coup of the former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was implicated by Bin Salman and led to his death failed, the project of a Kurdish state in Iraq fell, the bets of sabotaging the stability in Iran ended, the detention of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri with a scandal without achieving the desired strife failed, and the escalating campaigns in Syria have culminated with the loss of the most important military sites in favor of the Syrian army and with the support of its allies, while the deal of the century which targeted the Palestinian cause and started with Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as a capital  of Israel has collided with the Palestinian people who prevented the acceptance of the deal by any Palestinian partner. On the contrary, these defeats have culminated with the dazzling victory of the Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presidential elections that turned into a popular democratic celebration with a wide participation and beyond-expectations votes.

The second meeting is held while the Congress votes for the stopping of the American intervention in the war of Yemen. The American administration is preoccupied in preparing the negotiation files with North Korea and the requirements of improving the relationships with Russia and China. In Lebanon and Iraq, the opportunities of the resistance option to win in the parliamentary elections are increasing supported by alliances that ensure fortifying the options of power and unity and preventing any strife, while the Palestinian-Israeli situation is getting more complicated. Syria is towards achieving its victory, while the two main allies in Syria; the Turks and the Kurds are towards their war.

Trump is trying to convince Bin Salman to reconcile with Qatar despite the Gulf celebration that showed the dismissal of the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as a response to Bin Salman’s demand due to his support of the reconciliation with Qatar. Bin Salman is trying to convince Trump to exert pressures to prevent the Congress law from stopping the supplying of the Saudi aircraft with spare parts, and the needed ammunition for the war of Yemen. They discuss together how to behave towards the Palestinian-Israeli relationships and how to avoid further losses, and hypothesis of postponing the transferring the US Embassy to the Jerusalem to next May and how to deal first and foremost with the impasse of the incapability towards the axis of the resistance in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, under Russian support that getting stronger and Chinese support that getting more present.

Trump got money, while Trump got the throne theoretically, but the failure is surrounding them from everywhere.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

Resultado de imagem para ‫ترامب وبن سلمان‬‎

ترامب وبن سلمان: لقاء المتعوس وخائب الرجاء

ناصر قنديل

– في اللقاء الأول الذي جمع الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مع ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان كانت صفقة القرن الحقيقية لكليهما، خمسمئة مليار دولار يحملها ترامب لقطاع الأعمال الأميركية، مقابل تصفية العائلة الماكلة في السعودية لحساب بن سلمان وتتويجه ملكاً وتأديب جاره القطري. وقبل اللقاء الثاني كانت الأحلام المرتفعة بتحقيق إنجازات تمنح التوقيت المناسب لصفقة القرن السياسية التي تبدأ بتسوية للقضية الفلسطينية عنوانها القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل»، يتبعها حلف معلن أميركي «إسرائيلي» سعودي بوجه إيران، وتصعيد سياسي دبلوماسي عسكري في سورية واليمن يحقق تغييراً في التوازنات، وتفجير فتنة في لبنان تحاصر المقاومة، ورعاية انفصال كردستان العراق يضع إيران تحت منظار التصويب.

– يتمّ اللقاء الثاني لترامب وبن سلمان، وقد فشل انقلاب الرئيس اليمني السابق علي عبد الله صالح الذي ورّطه به بن سلمان وأودى بحياته، وسقط مشروع دويلة كردية في العراق، وانتهت رهانات تخريب الاستقرار في إيران، وانتهى احتجاز رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية سعد الحريري بفضيحة من دون أن تقع الفتنة المرتجاة، وتوّجت حملات التصعيد في سورية بخسارة المواقع الأشدّ أهمية عسكرياً لحساب الجيش السوري وبدعم من حلفائه، واصطدمت صفقة القرن التي استهدفت القضية الفلسطينية وبدأت بإعلان ترامب عن القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل»، بالشعب الفلسطيني الذي قطع الطريق على وجود أيّ شريك فلسطيني يقبل الصفقة، فترنّحت، وتوّجت الهزائم بالفوز المبهر للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين بانتخابات رئاسية تحوّلت عرساً شعبياً ديمقراطياً بمشاركة واسعة وتصويت فاق كلّ التوقعات.

– ينعقد اللقاء الثاني لترامب وبن سلمان، والكونغرس يصوّت لوقف التدخل الأميركي في حرب اليمن، والإدارة الأميركية منشغلة بتحضير ملفات التفاوض مع كوريا الشمالية، وما تستدعيه من تحضيرات تقتضي تحسين العلاقات مع روسيا والصين، وفي لبنان والعراق تتزايد فرص خيار المقاومة بالفوز بالانتخابات النيابية بتحالفات تضمن تحصين خيارات القوة والوحدة وقطع طريق الفتن، والوضع الفلسطيني «الإسرائيلي» لمزيد من التعقيد، وسورية تذهب بقوة لتحقيق نصرها، والحليفان الرئيسيان في سورية، الأتراك والأكراد، لحرب داحس والغبراء.

– ترامب يحاول إقناع بن سلمان بترتيب المصالحة مع قطر، رغم الاحتفالية الخليجية التي صوّرت خروج وزير الخارجية الأميركي ريكس تيلرسون من وزارته استجابة لطلب بن سلمان بالتغيير بداعي دعمه للمصالحة مع قطر، وبن سلمان سيكتفي بإقناع ترامب بممارسة الضغوط لمنع قانون الكونغرس بوقف تزويد الطائرات السعودية بقطع الغيار والذخائر اللازمة لحرب اليمن، ويناقشان معاً كيفية التصرف تجاه العلاقات الفلسطينية الإسرائيلية، والتعثر وكيفية تفادي المزيد من الخسائر، وفرضية تأجيل نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس في أيار المقبل، وكيفية التعامل أولاً وأخيراً مع مأزق العجز أمام قوى محور المقاومة، من إيران إلى العراق فسورية فلبنان، والأهمّ بدعم روسي يزداد قوة ودعم صيني يزداد حضوراً.

– حصل ترامب على الفلوس وحصل بن سلمان على العرش نظرياً، لكن الفشل يحيط بهما من كلّ حدب وصوب، فهكذا هو لقاء المتعوس وخائب الرجاء.

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As Trump Reshuffles His Team, Fears Grow About America’s Unpredictability

Global Research, March 16, 2018

The firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement byMike Pompeo surprised no one in Washington as rumors to that effect have been circulating for more than six months. There have been numerous warnings that President Donald Trump might be disappointed with the performance of his top diplomat, most particularly reflected in the chief executive’s tweets expressing disagreement on many occasions when Tillerson dared to voice an opinion. Tillerson responded to the undercutting by Trump by calling the president a “moron.”

The naming of Pompeo as the replacement was also predicted by many who noted that he had become a confidant of the president, much more than any previous CIA Director (DCI). The turnover replaces a decent but somewhat bumbling businessman with a hard-line ideologue. Pompeo tends to see complex issues in fairly simplistic ways, a view that has resonated with the president and that has been solidified through his briefing Trump nearly daily on the state of the world. Pompeo was, for example, one of the leading advocates of the terrible decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a speech made five months ago, Pompeo criticized the CIA, observing that it had both forgotten how to spy, which is almost certainly true, while adding that it will have to become “more vicious” and “more aggressive” to accomplish its mission of making the United States “safe.” In a speech made in January on the eve of a government shutdown he elaborated “We’re gonna continue crushing our adversaries, whether the government’s open or closed.” Pompeo would like to turn the United States into an unleashed wrecking ball directed against the enemies of the American Way and he appears intent on starting that process in the Middle East, focusing particularly on Syria and Iran. He has labeled Iran “a thuggish police state” and “despotic theocracy” and has called for both regime change and the repeal of the “disastrous” nuclear deal with “the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Perhaps more disturbing is Trump’s designation of Agency Deputy Director Gina Haspel as the new Director of the CIA to replace Pompeo. Haspel, a thirty-year veteran of the Agency, was one of the architects of the infamous rendition and torture policies that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. She was a protégé of Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) director between 2002 and 2004 who later became Deputy Director of Operations (DDO), in charge of the Agency’s spies. Haspel was the head of the secret prison in Thailand where Abu Zubaydah and other suspected terrorists were water boarded and otherwise tortured. She also ordered the destruction of video tapes showing many of the torture sessions, on orders from Rodriguez, in order to avoid possible criminal charges even though the White House Counsel had ordered that they be preserved. Neither she nor Rodriguez was ever punished either for obstruction of justice or destruction of evidence, both of which, as former senior Agency officer John Kiriakou notes, are felonies.

Haspel has been praised by Pompeo, who defended her and others at CIA after the Senate torture report, declaring “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots,” as possessing an “uncanny ability to get things done” and as a leader who “inspires those around her.” But Kiriakou has a different take, recalling that she was referred to as “Bloody Gina.” Most officers chose to avoid her company.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Haspel faced some difficult questions from Congressmen when she was up for approval for the Deputy position in February 2017. “Her background makes her unsuitable for the position,” Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrichwrote in a letter to President Trump when Haspel was nominated.

As in the case of many other recent poor senior level appointments at CIA, former Barack Obama Agency Director John Brennan was involved with furthering Haspel’s career. He promoted her to become Director of the National Clandestine Service in 2013, but she was never confirmed due to concerns about her torture record and served only as “acting.” Brennan predictably commented on her selection as DCI on Tuesday by praising her “wealth of experience.” He chose to ignore her torture record, possibly because he himself is indelibly stained by the Obama Administration drone assassination program and the White House kill list of Americans that he promoted and ran.


Philip Giraldi, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Featured image is from the author.

Tillerson’s dismissal and the hidden stitch إقالة تيلرسون والقطبة المخفية

Tillerson’s dismissal and the hidden stitch

مارس 16, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The circulated analyses about the reason of the dismissal of the US Secretary of State Rix Tillerson which he received officially via a tweet by his president are distributed between a theory that its content is that the dismissal was  a response to Emirati demand, that expresses a Saudi-Emirati desire, because Tillerson stands with Qatar in the Gulf crisis, and a theory sees that the dismissal is a prelude to further escalation against Russia and Iran whether in Syria or towards the Iranian nuclear program or in the US-Russian relationships and the controversial files which reflect the tension on more than an aspect, especially because Tillerson’s dismissal brought the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo who is known with his stubbornness in the US-Russian relationships and the Iranian nuclear file.

In the US press and the US TV networks there are two different interpretations that have different analyses, the first one asserts that Trump was not in agreement with Tillerson, and the disagreement has grown between them due to the independent performance of Trump, and his establishment of a private island outside the range of the domination of the Secretary of State in the US State Department that is represented by the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley whose her name was circulated after the end of Tillerson’s term, knowing that the dismissal would take place sooner or later. But Tillerson imposed its acceleration through a statement in which he supported the British accusations of Russia of the assassination of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in London at a time when Trump wanted a neutral discreet position because he is preoccupied in calming the file of the Russian interference in the US elections, and does not want to get involved in media war with Moscow on intelligence accusations. The second interpretations link the choosing of Pompeo with his accordance with Trump, and expect that Herbert McMaster the National Security Advisor may be dismissed as Tillerson for the same reason; the disharmony with Trump’s changing mood. While Gina Haspel who successes Pompeo in directing the Central Intelligence Agency may become Trump’s candidate to the position of the National Security Advisor. These analyses see that the political reason which made such of this change is the progress in the negotiation with North Korea and the role of each of the North Korean intelligence, the Chinese intelligence, and the Russian intelligence in these long negotiations which will be run by the US State Department after the anticipated summit between Trump and the North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Therefore, such of this sensitive file according to the US President needs a Secretary of State with a security background, who is closer to the president and able to have an understanding with him and agreement with his mood.

It was clear that Tillerson issued a statement that he is in solidarity with London in accusing Moscow and escalating against it, and that the negotiation with North Korea is the main concern of the White House until the date of the summit with Jong Un. The results of the investigations of the intelligence committee in the Congress denied the accusation of Russia in manipulating with the US Presidential elections, so they reassured Trump because the situation does not tolerate a new intelligence problem as what needed by London. While those who celebrate the departure of Tillerson as an achievement whether they are advocates of resolving the conflict with Qatar in the Gulf or advocates of the war in Syria, are forgetting the speech of Trump’s himself to the Prince of Qatar a few weeks ago about his support of the Qatari endeavor to reunite the Gulf Cooperation Council, and forgetting that Tillerson has been surprised upon targeting Al Shuairat airbase but he justified the strike. What prevents Trump for repeating the same thing is not the presence of Tillerson and what facilitates the task is not Pompeo but what has been said one day by the former Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey that the military involvement in Syria requires a prior decision to mobilize half a million soldiers and hundreds of aircraft, knowing that one trillion dollars has been allocated per year for twenty years without expecting a decisive victory.

North Korea which forms the main issue of Trump and his promised achievement by ending its military nuclear program alone interprets the coming of Pompeo who is responsible of the CIA and before that the intelligence committee in the Congress and who has a personal friendly relationship with each of the National Security Advisor in South Korea Chung Yue-Yong and the Director  of the National Intelligence Service  Suh Hoon, the responsible for the negotiation with the north Korea and with the Chinese and Russian intelligence about the Korean nuclear file.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

إقالة تيلرسون والقطبة المخفية

مارس 14, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تتوزّع التحليلات المتداولة حول الأسباب الحقيقية للإقالة التي تبلّغها وزير خارجية أميركا ريكس تيلرسون رسمياً عبر تغريدة لرئيسه على «تويتر»، بين نظرية تسود التعليقات الخليجية ومضمونها أنّ الإقالة استجابة لطلب إماراتي، نقل رغبة سعودية إماراتية للرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، لأنّ تيلرسون يقف مع قطر في الأزمة الخليجية، ونظرية أخرى تسود التحليلات في مواقع متعدّدة ترى الإقالة تمهيداً لمزيد من التصعيد بوجه روسيا وإيران سواء في سورية أو تجاه الملف النووي الإيراني أو في العلاقات الروسية الأميركية والملفات الخلافية التي تتصدّر هذه العلاقة المتوترة على أكثر من صعيد، خصوصاً أنّ إقالة تيلرسون جلبت رئيس المخابرات الأميركية مايك بومبيو المعروف بتصلبه في ملفات العلاقات الروسية الأميركية والملف النووي الإيراني.

– في الصحافة الأميركية وشبكات التلفزة الأميركية تفسيران مغايران، تتوزّع بينهما التحليلات، الأول يجزم أنّ ترامب الذي لم ينسجم مع تيلرسون وكبر الشقاق بينهما مع الأداء المستقلّ لترامب عن وزيره، وإقامته لجزيرة خاصة خارج نطاق سيطرة الوزير في وزارة الخارجية تمثلها المندوبة الأميركية في الأمم المتحدة نيكي هايلي، التي كانت اسماً متداولاً لخلافة تيلرسون، وأنّ الإقالة كانت ستتمّ عاجلاً أم آجلاً، لكن تيلرسون فرض تسريعها بتصريح انضمّ فيه إلى الاتهامات البريطانية لروسيا باغتيال الجاسوس الروسي المزدوج سيرغي سكريبال في لندن، في وقت كان ترامب يريد موقفاً محايداً ومتحفّظاً، لأنه منهمك بتهدئة ملف الاتهام بالتدخل الروسي في الانتخابات الأميركية، ولا يريد التورّط في حرب إعلامية مع موسكو حول اتهامات ذات طابع استخباري، وتحليلات أخرى تربط اختيار بومبيو بالانسجام الشخصي الذي يربطه بترامب متوقعة أن يلحق هربرت ماكماستر مستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي بتيلرسون، للاعتبار نفسه بعدم الانسجام مع الطباع المتقلبة لترامب وأن تكون جينا هاسبيل التي خلفت بومبيو في رئاسة المخابرات مرشّحة ترامب اللاحقة لمنصب مستشار الأمن القومي. وترى هذه التحليلات أنّ السبب السياسي الذي جعل التغيير لا بدّ منه هو التقدّم الحاصل في التفاوض مع كوريا الشمالية، ودور كلّ من المخابرات الكورية الجنوبية والمخابرات الصينية والمخابرات الروسية في هذه المفاوضات الطويلة التي ستديرها الخارجية الأميركية بعد القمة المرتقبة بين ترامب والزعيم الكوري الشمالي كيم جونغ اون، وبالتالي فإنّ ملفاً سيشكل الملف الأول للرئيس الأميركي بهذه الحساسية يحتاج وزيراً للخارجية بخلفية أمنية، قريباً من الرئيس وقادراً على التفاهم معه والانسجام مع طباعه.

– تصريح تيلرسون الذي يتضامن مع لندن باتهام موسكو والتصعيد بوجهها صدر عنه فعلاً، والتفاوض مع كوريا الشمالية مصدر الاهتمام الأول في البيت الأبيض حتى تاريخ القمة مع جونغ أون، أمر أكيد أيضاً، ونتائج تحقيقات لجنة الاستخبارات في الكونغرس تنفي اتهام روسيا بالتلاعب بالانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، وتمهّد الطريق لإزالة لغم كبير من طريق ترامب لا يحتاج للعرقلة بلغم استخباري جديد من عيار ما تريده لندن أما المحتفلون باعتبار رحيل تيلرسون إنجازاً لهم سواء كانوا دعاة حسم الصراع مع قطر في الخليج أو دعاة الحرب في سورية، فينسون كلام ترامب نفسه لأمير قطر قبل أسابيع قليلة عن دعمه للمسعى القطري لإعادة لمّ شمل مجلس التعاون الخليجي، كما ينسون أنّ تيلرسون فوجئ بضرب مطار الشعيرات، وخرج يبرّر الضربة، وسيفعل مجدّداً الشيء ذاته لو كان بمقدور ترامب المجازفة مجدّداً، وما يمنع ترامب ليس وجود تيلرسون، وما يسهّل المهمة ليس مجيء بومبيو، بل ما قاله ذات يوم رئيس الأركان السابق الجنرال مارتن ديمبسي من أن التورّط العسكري في سورية يستدعي قراراً مسبقاً بحشد نصف مليون جندي ومئات الطائرات، ورصد تريليون دولار لكلّ سنة لمدة عشرين عاماً، من دون توقع نصر حاسم.

– كوريا الشمالية التي تشكل قضية ترامب الأولى وإنجازه الموعود بإنهاء ملفها النووي العسكري، وحدها تفسّر المجيء ببومبيو المسؤول عن المخابرات الأميركية وقبلها عن لجنة الاستخبارات في الكونغرس، والذي تربطه علاقة صداقة شخصية بكلّ من مستشار الأمن القومي في كوريا الجنوبية تشونغ يوي يونغ ورئيس المخابرات سوه هون، عرّابَيْ التفاوض مع كوريا الشمالية ومع المخابرات الصينية والروسية حول الملف النووي الكوري.

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South Front

The administration of US President Donald Trump is once again considering new “military action” against the Syrian government, the Washington Post reported on March 5 citing unnamed officials.

According to the newspaper, President Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met last week to discuss new strikes in response to what they call chemical weapons attacks by government forces in Eastern Ghouta.

On February 25, activists and media linked to militant groups operating in Eastern Ghouta claimed that Damascus had used chlorine gas in the militant-held area. These reports allegedly triggered the White House to consider new military action in Syria. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the Pentagon denied that such a meeting had taken place.

On March 6, the White Helments, a notorious organization operating in areas controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants, reported that government forces had conducted a new chlorine gas attack in Eastern Ghouta allegedly injuring 30 people.

It’s interesting to note that reports about alleged chemical attacks started appearing during a rapid advance by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman.

By March 7, SAA troops had liberated a large area, including farms near the towns of Misraba and Beit Sawa. The town of Hammouriyah had reportedly surrendered to the SAA and government troops had started entering it. The town of Rayhan, which had been a key militant stronghold in the northeastern part of the pocket, had also been liberated by the SAA.

The militants’ defense is rapidly collapsing. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its counterparts can only be be rescued by some stroke of luck. For example, US missile strikes on Damascus triggered by alleged chemical attacks by the SAA. HTS-linked media are doing all they can to achieve this goal.

On March 6, the Russian Ministry of Defense offered militants a safe passage out of the besieged area via an open corridor.

“The Russian Reconciliation Center guarantees the immunity of all rebel fighters who take the decision to leave Eastern Ghouta with personal weapons and together with their families,” the ministry said adding that vehicles would “be provided, and the entire route will be guarded.”

However, a spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman publicly rejected the proposal saying that Aleppo will not be repeated. Militants still prevent locals from using the safe corridor to leave the besieged area.

According to Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, by March 6 only 17 people had managed to leave Eastern Ghouta via the Al-Wafideen humanitarian corridor.

On the same day, an An-26 military transport plane crashed near the Russian Hmeimim airbase. According to the defense ministry, 39 people died in the crash. Six crew members and 33 people were on board, all of them military personnel. The incident could have been caused by a technical malfunction.

In the area of Afrin, the Turkish Army and the Free Syrian Army captured 7 villages, including Tall Hamu, Shirkan, Metinli and Qatma, from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Considering the recent advances, Turkish forces are now attempting to isolate the YPG-held city of Afrin from the northeastern and western directions.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: Voting for Resistance to Preserve Blood, Achievements of Martyrs

Al-Manar Website Editor

Sayyed on elections

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah called upon supporters of the resistance to be aware that voting for the resistance helps in preserving the blood and achievements of the martyrs who fell on this path, specifically during this phase in which schemes against the resistance are escalating.

Speaking on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Imam Mahdi religious school in Baalbeck, Sayyed Nasrallah called on people to act responsibly during the upcoming parliamentary election and be careful not to vote based on party, family, or religious fanaticism. He called upon people from all walks of life to participate in the elections.

His eminence stressed that parliament members have a wide national responsibility, “they are not responsible of their area only but of the nation as a whole since they will be electing the president and giving trust to the prime minister and his cabinet.”

“The parliament is the most important establishment in Lebanon as it carries lots of privileges and responsibilities, and on that basis we choose to send members capable of holding this responsibility,” Hezbollah leader indicated, stressing that Lebanese voters should not cast their ballots in favor of those who would hand over the country to the US, compromise over oil reserves with the Israeli regime, conspire against Hezbollah or destroy the country’s economy.

His eminence also warned against the schemes hatched by the US in the region, especially the recent murky tour of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Sayyed Nasrallah explained that baalbeck/Hermel electorate will be a center of attention in the coming election for several reasons including its identity and history with the resistance… pointing out that the eyes of the US, Saudi Arabia, and some regional powers will be on Hezbollah in the coming battle.

“This electoral district is important for Hezbollah; this is why (our opponents) will put great effort onto it,” his eminence indicated, stressing that “insults are prohibited in all the elections but criticisms are normal and we are open to that… and one of the most important point to be discussed is what Hezbollah parliament members offered in the last period.”

“I call upon people to think of what Hezbollah offered to this region on the security, geographic and regional levels, how it enhanced its position in the national equation, and what it offered for it on the educational, service, and social levels, and we are not required to get a high point in everything,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Finally, Hezbollah secretary general asserted that “today in 2018 we must reap the harvest of what have begun in 1982, and the most important achievement until today is preserving and protecting the resistance.”

His eminence began his speech with recalling the history of Imam Mahdi religious school, which was launched by former Secretary General Sayyed Abbas Mousawi 40 years ago.

Source: Al-Manar

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استراتيجية محور المقاومة لصناعة الحرب والتسويات

فبراير 19, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تبدو استراتيجية واشنطن وتل أبيب المبنية على قرار ربط نزاع يمنع التسويات ويثبّت تجميد موازين القوى ويقطع الطريق على محور المقاومة لمواصلة خطّته على محورين رئيسيين، إكمال سيطرة الدولة السورية على كامل جغرافيتها، وتأمين اتصال راسخ ومستقر بين طهران وبيروت مروراً بدمشق وبغداد، مستندة إلى قراءة ما تسمّيانه العجز المتبادل عن تحمل كلفة المواجهة المباشرة والشاملة، بين جبهتي المواجهة. فاليقين لدى واشنطن وتل أبيب معلن، أن محور المقاومة وعلى رأسه إيران ومن خلفه روسيا لا يريد التورّط بالحرب بمثل ما لا تريد واشنطن وتل أبيب، لذلك تتواصل الاستفزازات ويتصاعد تخطّي الخطوط المحرجة في التصادم، ورفع النبرة، لوضع محور المقاومة بين خياري قبول ما تسمّيه واشنطن وتل أبيب قبول قواعد الاشتباك الجديدة، أو الذهاب للحرب. وقواعد الاشتباك الجديدة تعني ارتضاء إطلاق اليد «الإسرائيلية» في سورية، والتعايش مع كانتون كردي بحماية أميركية شرق الفرات، وكانتون سعودي قرب دمشق، وآخر أردني «إسرائيلي» جنوباً ورابع تركي شمالاً. وفي لبنان دخول التفاوض مع «إسرائيل» حول الخطوط الحدودية البرية والبحرية، والتفاوض مع واشنطن حول مكانة وسلاح حزب الله، والتساكن مع صيغة هشة للحدود السورية العراقية يتناوب المحوران عليها في السيطرة وفي القنص، وصولاً لأغلبيات مائعة في البرلمانيين العراقي واللبناني، لا يملك فيها أي من المحورين أغلبية ثابتة تتيح التحكم بالخيارات الإقليمية لكل من الدولتين. وفي الحصيلة تحوّل قرار اعتبار القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل» أمراً واقعاً لا بدّ من التعايش معه.

بعد دراسات ومشاورات عميقة ومكثفة وممتدة لأسابيع قرّرت قيادة محور المقاومة رفض التعايش مع الاستراتيجية الأميركية «الإسرائيلية» الجديدة، ولو كانت الكلفة الذهاب للحرب، وصارحت القيادة الروسية بما توصلت إليه، بانتظار سماع الموقف الروسي النهائي، الذي لم يختلف جوهرياً عن الخلاصة النهائية لمحور المقاومة، بتشخيص طبيعة الاستراتيجية الأميركية وأهدافها، واعتبارها إضعاف روسيا في طليعة الاستهدافات. وكان القرار الروسي واضحاً بعدم الدخول على خط المواجهة الميدانية مباشرة منعاً لانزلاق سريع نحو مواجهة أوسع وحفاظاً على خطوط التراجع أمام الأميركيين، لكن مع تقديم الدعم اللازم لمحور المقاومة والتوافق على ضمّ «إسرائيل» لعنوان المواجهة كأداة للاستراتيجية الأميركية الجديدة.

– ترى قيادة محور المقاومة أن الخاصرتين الرخوتين في المحور الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» تتمثل في تصاعد الاشتباك التركي الكردي، شمال سورية، وأن هذا التحدّي الذي يواجه محور واشنطن تل أبيب أعقد من بقائه تحت السيطرة، ويقدّم فرصة جذب وشدّ لمحور المقاومة، لوضع الأكراد بين مطرقة التهديد التركي والتخلّي الأميركي، في عنوان مصير عفرين، مدينة نصف المليون كردي، والتي لا كيان كردي ولا معنويات كردية، إذا دخلها الأتراك، للوصل لتفاهم يضمن نقل عفرين لسلطة الدولة السورية، وفتح الطريق لمضمون جديد في العلاقة مع الأكراد يضعهم مناصفة بين العباءة الأميركية وعباءة محور المقاومة، وعلى ضفة موازية اعتماد لغة العصا والجزرة مع الأتراك لدفعهم لنقلة جديدة تشبه ما حصل بعد تحرير حلب وولادة مسار أستانة.

– تنطلق قيادة محور المقاومة من القناعة بتفوق قواها الميدانية على قدرة «إسرائيل» في الحرب الشاملة، ولكن أيضاً في المواجهات التكتيكية، ولذلك فإن التغيير الذي تريد واشنطن وتل أبيب فرضه في رسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة، يتيح لمحور المقاومة أن يحوّلها فرصاً لفرض قواعد جديدة معاكسة. وعناوين القوة هنا هي الدولة السورية والدولة اللبنانية، واحدة عسكرياً والثانية سياسياً، ولذلك كانت الإدارة الشجاعة والذكية للرئيس بشار الأسد لمعركة الأجواء السورية في مرحلة أولى وإسقاط طائرة الـ«إف 16» وهي تقصف من الأجواء اللبنانية في المرحلة الأخيرة، وكانت إدارة الرئيسين ميشال عون ونبيه بري وجذب الرئيس سعد الحريري إلى معسكرهما، لإدارة ذكية وشجاعة للمفاوضات مع وزير الخارجية الأميركية حول الثروة النفطية، ولذلك كان الموقف الحازم والمحسوب للسيد حسن نصرالله بتهديد «إسرائيل» بثروتها النفطية، ولكن تحت عباءة الدولة اللبنانية.

– تقوم قيادة محور المقاومة بحسابات دقيقة للمشهد العراقي وكيفية إدارة توازناته، سواء على أبواب الانتخابات، والخيارات الحكومية، ومصير الوجود الأميركي في العراق، ومستقبل الحدود السورية العراقية، قبل أن ترسم صورة السياسات التفصيلية مع الشركاء العراقيين، لكنها تدرك هذه المرة أهمية الخيارات الاقتصادية الاستراتيجية وحاجة شعوب بلدان المواجهة لتلمّس عائدات الانتصارات. وتطرح على هذا الصعيد سلة خطوات تتصل بمساهمة الشركاء في المحور برفع منسوب الاهتمام بالشؤون المعيشية للناس على جدول أعمالهم، لكنها تتضمن مشاريع استراتيجية كبرى اقتصادياً، يتقدّمها البحث الجدي بفتح الأسواق الإيرانية والعراقية والسورية واللبنانية على بعضها بعضاً، والبحث بخطط ربط نوعية لموارد الطاقة في النفط والغاز والكهرباء، وشبكات للنقل الجديدة تربط العواصم وتسهّل تنقل الأفراد والبضائع.

– تبقى القضية الفلسطينية والصراع في فلسطين أولوية قيادة محور المقاومة، وإذا كانت الوجهة العامة هي رفع درجة التصعيد بوجه كل تصعيد ضمن لعبة حافة الهاوية، اختباراً لقدرة واشنطن وتل أبيب في الذهاب للحرب، فإن محور المقاومة صار جاهزاً لمثل هذه الفرضية، ويتصرف على قاعدة أنها واقعة بعد كل جولة مواجهة، فإن الخشية من ذهاب «إسرائيل» للحرب على غزة يواكبها قرار أن الحرب قد تبدأ في جبهة، لكنها ستشمل الجبهات كلها، بحيث يكون على واشنطن وتل أبيب الاختيار بين الحرب الشاملة أو التعايش مع حقائق معاكسة للرغبات عنوانها، التسليم بالخروج من سورية وأبواب التسويات مفتوحة للراغبين، والتعايش مع ميزان الردع مع لبنان وليكن العنوان الدولة اللبنانية، ومع سيطرة محور المقاومة على الحدود السورية العراقية تحت عنوان تعاون سوري عراقي لمواجهة بقايا داعش، وصولاً للتعايش مع مشروع الانتفاضة والمقاومة في فلسطين.

– محور المقاومة رسم استراتيجيته وستظهر التكتيكات تباعاً بصيغة كمائن سياسية وعسكرية يكتشفها الأميركي و«الإسرائيلي» والسعودي تباعاً، في كل عملية تسخين يظنونها محسوبة وتأتي نتائجها عكسية، وأبواب متاحة للتسويات تحت سقوف واضحة ولو بعناوين سهلة الابتلاع.

– تتجه عيون محور المقاومة صوب اليمن لمعرفة حدود القدرة الأميركية «الإسرائيلية» بتحمل أكلاف الحرب العبثية السعودية، وقياس القدرة السعودية على مواصلة حرب الاستنزاف.

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Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

EDITORIAL | 16.02.2018

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.

This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.

There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.

Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.

This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.

Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.

His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US government were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.

But now we are told that the French and US governments do not, in fact, have any evidence concerning chemical weapons in Syria.

This is in spite of US President Donald Trump unleashing over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Arab country last April in purported reprisal for the “Syrian regime” dropping chemical munitions on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province on April 4 2o17.

Macron went on to make the absurd declaration this week that “if” chemical weapons were found to be used then he would order military strikes on Syria.

Both Syria and Russia have categorically and repeatedly rejected claims of using chemical weapons, pointing out that Syria’s stockpile was eliminated back in 2014 under a UN-brokered deal.

When Mattis said “we have reports from the battlefield” he was referring to groups like the CIA covertly-sponsored terrorist outfit Al Nusra Front and their media outlet, the so-called White Helmets.

Western news media footage over the past two weeks seemingly depicting Syrian and Russian air strikes on civilian areas is sourced from the White Helmets. This group is embedded with Al Nusra.

The same warped narrative claiming Syrian and Russian violations during the liberation of Aleppo from the terrorists at the end of 2016 is being played out again in East Ghouta and Idlib. And again the Western news media are amplifying the dubious propaganda from the likes of the White Helmets as if it is independent, verified information.

This week in Paris Abdulrahman Almawwas, the so-called vice president of the White Helmets, which also go by the name of Syria Civil Defense, told the Reuters news agency that France and other NATO powers must intervene in Syria.

“It’s time to take real action and not just talk about red lines,” said Almawwas, who was clearly disappointed after hearing Macron’s admission of no evidence for chemical weapons.

Tellingly, the White Helmets’ envoy was hosted by senior French government officials while in Paris, including Macron’s chief diplomatic advisor, according to Reuters.

He also went on to complain – unwittingly – that the White Helmets have received less funding from foreign governments this year compared with last year.

Reuters reported: “Almawwas said the group’s financing for 2018 from foreign governments [sic] had dropped to $12 million from $18 million a year earlier.”

According to the White Helmets’ own website, the foreign governments whom they receive financing from include: the United States, Britain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Canada, among others.

In other words, this so-called humanitarian relief organization is a NATO-sponsored entity, which evidently operates freely in areas of Syria controlled by Al Nusra and other internationally proscribed terror groups.

And this is the same “source” which has been used by the NATO governments and Western news media to disseminate claims about Syrian state forces using chemical weapons against civilians – claims which senior US and French officials are now belatedly negating.

What we have here is demonstrable peddling of falsehoods and lies by Western governments and their news media.

Not just with regard to the war in Syria, but on a range of other international incendiary issues, as noted above.

Accusing Russia of aggression, nuclear threats, sabotaging elections, targeting civilian infrastructure which could  “kill thousands and thousands” (British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson last month), or any number of other wild allegations, is symptomatic of sociopathic lying by Western governments.

The reckless falsehoods and lies espoused by the US and its European allies are made possible because of the reprehensible servility of Western media not holding to account the wild claims that they willfully disseminate.

This relentless propagation of lies is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war.

Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.

Sayyed Nasrallah: US Biased, Ready to Stop ’Israeli’ Oil Extraction within Hours

Sayyed Nasrallah: US Biased, Ready to Stop ’Israeli’ Oil Extraction within Hours

Zeinab Essa

16-02-2018 | 22:24

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Friday a speech in which he tackled various regional and local topics.

Addressing a huge crowd commemorating the anniversary of “Resistance Martyr Leaders”,

Sayyed Nasrallah stated: “‘We Preserved the will’ is title of our commemoration as we are emerging from an international war on the Resistance axis.”

His Eminence further added: “We preserved the Resistance after we emerged victorious from the July 2006 aggression.”

To the Martyr Leaders, he said: “We tell the leader martyrs, Sayyed Abbas Moussawi, Sheikh Raghe Harb and Hajj Imad Mughnieh that your will has always been to preserve the Resistance through dignity and ability to score achievements, and we did this by sacrifices and blood.”

He also addressed them by saying: “Your party still carries the martyrs’ thoughts and aims [of the martyrs]. Today, we are much in need because the challenges are getting bigger.”

In this context, the Resistance Leader announced that it seems that the region has entered “the battle of oil and gas. No one should look at this as a separate dispute.”

According to His Eminence, “Who increases the conflict over oil and gas is the greedy US president [Donald Trump],” noting that “the crisis in the region today is on oil and its led by the US administration, whether in Iraq, the Gulf or elsewhere.”

“The crisis between Turkey and Cyprus is about oil and it is said that the Gulf crisis was also on the same matter,” he clarified.

“”Israel” wants under the Trump administration to obtain an international decision to annex the Golan,” he warned, pointing out that “there exists a huge amount of gas in the Syrian Occupied Golan Heights.”

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified that “there are several reasons for the war on Syria in regards to oil resources.”

In this context, he underlined that “The US previously said that once Daesh [Arabic Acronym for the terrorist “ISIS”/ “ISIL” group] ends, they would eastern Syria. However, they didn’t. They are protecting the remains of Daesh, who are being trained there.”

His Eminence also warned that”$750 million from the Pentagon’s budget goes for the Kurds or others , who are being used by the Americans as part of their battle in Syria.”

“The Trump administration also looks at Iraq only as an oil country,” he said, advising the Iraqis to be very careful from Trump’s administration.”

Back to Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah viewed that Lebanon must speak today from a strong position and away from any weakness. “We are strong and we must negotiate from this strong position. We are able to threaten “Israel” as it threatens us. If the American warns that “Israel” will attack us, tell him to accept our demands or Hezbollah will respond,” he said.

“The Lebanese must not allow the devils to sow discord among them, and by devils I mean the Americans,” Sayyed Nasrallah warned.

His Eminence went on to say: “Today the oil resources that are present in the south and across Lebanon are for all Lebanese. The Lebanese people that are suffering from a debt that might reach $100 billion and their only hope might be in the oil and gas that is present in the coast and land.”

“Does Block 9 belong only to the South? No, it is that for all Lebanon,” he added.
In a sounding message to the apartheid “Israeli” entity, the Resistance Leader said: “Lebanon is strong and “let us try”. If the Lebanese Defense Council took a decides that the “Israeli” oil extraction positions must stop working, we [Hezbollah] are ready to stop it within couple of hours.”

“The Americans know that Lebanon’s only strength in this oil and gas battle is the Resistance,” he mentioned, urging the Lebanese to approach this battle in a different manner. “Since 2000, as a Resistance, we announced that we aren’t involved in land demarcation and this is the state’s responsibility.”

Clearly accusing the US of not being an honest broker in oil and border dispute with “Israel”, Sayyed Nasrallah reminded that in 2000, some Lebanese believed that the battle with “Israel” wasn’t theirs.”

“The Americans want to give us our rights in the disputed land which is a simple thing, but to take our rights in the maritime area which is more difficult. The Americans did not come to Lebanon to resolve the issue. They were here to defend “Israel’s” rights and issue threats to Lebanese politicians. The US gives the most strategic military jets to “Israel” and prevents any defense system from Lebanon,” he cautioned.

In another context, Sayyed Nasrallah wondered: “There is a continuous Zionist air invasion to the Lebanese skies. Are we giving up our air to the “Israel”?”

As His Eminence hailed the Syrian achievement of toppling an “Israeli” F16 aircraft, he unveiled that “the decision to confront the “Israeli” aircraft is a Syrian decision that had been taken by President Bashar al-Assad only. Syria is defending itself and after what happened last week, of course, the future won’t be like the past. And that will leave an impact on the aerial arms.”

“Who toppled the “Israeli” aircraft are the officers and soldiers of the brave Syrian Arab army,” he mentioned, assuring that the “Israelis” have their complex calculations to any war because they are uncertain of victory.”

Moving to the regional front, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that “the US siege continues on Palestinian people and that the Americans are greatly pressuring this people.”

“There are ideal examples among Palestinians. There are Ahmed Jarrar, Ahad Tamimi and Omar al-Abd, who was sentenced to 3 life times in prison, and he irritated Lieberman with his smile,” His Eminence said.

On the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Sayyed Nasrallah expressed Hezbollah’s pride with the Islamic regime in Iran, which supports Arab causes and rights. “Iran is a country that no other country can meddle in its positions and strategies. The Islamic Republic has stood by all Arab nations, and defended their rights.”

Regarding the situation in Bahrain, His Eminence confirmed that “the Bahrainis have continued their protests despite seven years of heavy-handed crackdown.”

In parallel, His Eminence slammed the fact that “Bahrain is the only country in the world whose government strips citizens of their nationality.”

Sayyed Nasrallah further confirmed that “there is a great international silence regarding the aggression on Yemen, which must end immediately.”

Back to the internal Lebanese arena, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the upcoming parliamentary elections. “The electoral law isn’t that of Hezbollah. Hezbollah was a partner in forming it. It is a point of political pride and it is one of the most important political achievements [in recent years]. It has opened the way for those without public representation to be represented in the parliament.”

“The elections this year won’t be bone breaking, this law should take us to calm elections and won’t create strife,” he said, pointing out that “Hezbollah and Amal are together in all districts. We had never thought of allying with the Future Movement and our electoral battle is not targeted against anyone.”

Source: Al-Ahed news 

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Sayyed Nasrallah: We can Disable Israel’s Offshore Installations within Hours

“Should the Higher Defense Council decide that Israel’s offshore oil installations should cease to operate, I promise you that we can disable them within hours,”

February 16, 2018

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Friday delivered a televised speech commemorating the anniversary of Hezbollah martyred leaders tackling several local and regional issues.

The ceremony, under the logo “We Kept the Pledge”, was held at Sayyed Shohadaa complex in Beirut’s southern suburbs to commemorate Hezbollah martyred leaders Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas al-Mousawi and Leader Imad Mughniyeh.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech with pointing to the logo of this year’s anniversary, saying: “Indeed we kept the pledge as we are almost getting out of the harshest regional war, we kept it after July war. Our leaders, the resistance was your will and belief, in 2018, the resistance remains the pledge, and we are following your path.”

“It seems that the entire region has entered the oil and gas battle,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, pointing to huge quantities of oil in the occupied Golan. “The Zionist entity has launched the battle over Block 9 since there are reports about huge quantities of oil in Golan with ‘Israel’ exploiting Trump’s presidency to get a UN resolution on annexing the Golan,” His eminence said, adding that one of the reasons for the war against Syria is the oil wealth found in its land and sea.

“As for the US occupation of eastern Syria, the Americans had said that they would leave the area once ISIL is defeated, however, they are currently protecting ISIL’s small presence there,” Hezbollah’s S.G. said. “The Americans don’t want to withdraw from eastern Syria because the most important oil and gas fields are found there,” his eminence said, adding that the US runs the oil and gas battle in the region. He also warned Kurds to take lesson from previous incidents, assuring them that the US is using them and will eventually abandon them.

Sayyed Nasrallah also pointed out that Trump sees Iraq as an oil field, adding that even the Gulf crisis was because some states wanted to control Qatar’s gas reserves.”

“The oil wealth in the South, like the rest of Lebanon’s wealth, belongs to all Lebanon and will go to the state funds. The oil and gas reserves may be the only hope for economic relief,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, considering that the main reason behind the current conflict is not the territorial border, whose dispute can be easily resolved. “The main issue is the maritime border.”

Concerning the Israeli construction of a wall on the border with Lebanon, Hezbollah leader said a misunderstanding shall reveal, “so far, ‘Israel’ has not built its wall on Lebanese soil, however, the problem will start when the construction begins on the Lebanese land. “The Lebanese have so far been unified over this issue, Sayyed Nasrallah said, hailing the unified official and popular stance. “The Lebanese must not allow the devils to sow discord, and by devils I mean the Americans,” referring to the intensified US visits to Lebanon, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, in an attempt to mediate over offshore gas and oil rights.

“State institution must be at the level of trust and honesty in this critical file and should approach the file from a strong position with all what we have of strong capabilities.” “Let the state accept the mediator it wants and we will not put a veto, but the Americans are not impartial mediators, especially when the other party is the Israeli entity. The Lebanese people look forward to the state and we support it, so it must have a firm, brave position.”

Sayyed Nasrallah ridiculed the US way of negotiating, saying “the US wants to give us our basic right, the land, to take our hard right, water,” pointing that “Lebanon must tell US to demand concessions on border dispute to restrain Hezbollah from attacking ‘Israel’.”

“Should the Higher Defense Council decide that Israel’s offshore oil installations should cease to operate, I promise you that we can disable them within hours,” His eminence threatened.

Sayyed Nasrallah described the Zionist entity’s assassination attempt against Hamas operative on Lebanese soil as a new attack on Lebanese sovereignty. On January 14, the Israeli Mossad agency attempted to assassinate Hamas official Mohamed Hamdan in Sidon.

Hezbollah’s S.G. described Syria’s downing of an Israeli F16 aircraft as a qualitative military achievement. “Israel is no more free to operate in the skies, the situation has changed.”
But his eminence rebuffed claims that the plane was downed by Iran or Russia, saying “the decision to shoot down the plane was taken by the Syrian leadership and President Bashar al-Assad,” adding that Syrian officers and soldiers were the ones who executed the order.

“$3 billion is the amount of aid allocated to ‘Israel’ by the Pentagon, their aircrafts are open to the Israeli enemy but forbidden to Lebanon,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, reminding of Israel’s expansionist ambitions. “We must remain vigilant. I’m not saying that we’re heading to a war but vigilance is needed. What prevents Israel from waging a war is its inability to make sure that it would emerge victorious in advance.”

Speaking on the Israeli aggression, Sayyed Nasrallah took three Palestinian resistance figures as true role models, Ahed Tamimi, Martyr Ahmad Jarrar, and Omar Al-Abed.

Sayyed Nasrallah congratulated Iran on the revolution’s anniversary, “We are proud allies of Iran, Tehran does not interfere in Lebanese affairs at all. Iran does not detain a Lebanese premier!”

His eminence touched upon the Bahraini evolution on its seventh anniversary, saying “seven years have passed since the revolution in Bahrain and demonstrations haven’t stop despite all that happened, nevertheless, Bahrainis insist on their rights.” “There is a demographic change in Bahrain and the regime in Bahrain gives nationalities to all peoples of the world and withdraws citizenship from the original people of Bahrain, even the rulers are not from the original people of Bahrain.”

On Yemen, Sayyed Nasrallah said there was nothing new there, “but in the face of global silence, there are a few voices in the Arab world speaking out about the injustice against the Yemenis and they want to silence these voices by any means.”

Turning to local issues, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the new electoral law as one of the most important achievements in the country and that it was the best law in the history of Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah assured some parties that Hezbollah was not seeking the parliamentary majority in Lebanon.
“To Mustaqbal leaders I tell you stay calm, we didn’t call for your coalition in the first place!” he said, assuring that Hezbollah’s electoral battle was not aimed against anyone.
“Our political alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement is strong and steadfast. On the electoral level, we are free and we can coalesce in some areas and compete in other,” his eminence said.

Source: Al-Manar Website

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South Front


The Western mainstream media is in rage after television footage has showed US State Secretary Rex Tillerson sitting in a room alongside an empty seat before Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has walked into the room.

The incident took place on February 15, ahead of Tillerson’s meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace. Accordign to reports, the US diplomat sat for several minutes before his Lebanese counterpart greeted him.

The Lebanese president’s office denied any departure from diplomatic protocol adding that the secretary of state arrived a few minutes earlier than expected and the meeting began on time.

However, social media users noticted few interesting things missed by the MSM:

Syrian War Report – February 15, 2018: Israel Claims Half Of Syrian Air Defenses Is Destroyed

South Front

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the village of Qude from YPG/YPJ forces in the Afrin area. Separately, reports appeared that the TAF and the FSA had deployed additional troops and equipment west of the Jandaris district indicating the upcoming offensive there.

Pro-YPG sources said that Kurdish forces had repelled Turkish attacks in the districts of Rajo and Bulbul. Over 20 Turkish-backed fighters were reportedly killed there.

Both the Syrian Army and US-backed forces are reportedly massing troops and fortifying their positions in the Euphrates Valley. According to pro-opposition and pro-government sources, the sides are preparing for possible skirmishes in the area.

ISIS captured Haifa Street from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies in the center of the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus. Separately, the terrorist group also attacked HTS positions in the western part of the camp, but failed to gain any ground. Four ISIS members were reportedly killed.

February 10 Israeli airstrikes took out nearly half of the Syrian air defenses, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 14 citing “senior Israel Defense Forces officials”. The sources considered the operation a “success” even despite the fact that the F-16I had been shot down.

On the same day, the Russian media provided another look at the story citing Syrian and Russian military sources. According to this version, Syrian forces shot down 13 of 18 Israeli air-launched cruise missiles during the encounter additionally to the F-16I.

On February 14, Ali Akbar Velayati the top adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the US to withdraw its troops from Syria describing its presence as illegal.

The statement was a response to earlier remarks by US State Secretary Rex Tillerson, who argued that the Iranian presence is destabilizing the situation in the country. The diplomat also rejected an idea that the US lacks influence in Syria saying that Washington and the coalition forces control a large part of the country’s oil fields and about 30% of its territory.

Considering the current attitude of the sides, it’s hard to expect that any kind of a comprehensive diplomatic solution of the crisis can be found soon.

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US State Secretary: Control Over Oil Fields Allows Washington To Influence Situation In Syria

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Speaking on the sidelines of an Iraq donors conference in Kuwait on February 13, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson rejected claims that the US lacks support in Syria. The diplomat epmhasized that Washington controls a large part of the country’s oil fields and area and this allows it to influence the situation.

“The United States and the coalition forces that are working with us to defeat [ISIS] today control 30% of the Syrian territory, and control a large amount of population, and control a large amount of Syria’s oil fields,” Tillerson told media. “This observation that the US has little leverage or role to play is simply false.”

Tillerson added that the US is “very active” in the so-called Geneva format “both in terms of working with the opposition voices to unify them and have them working toward an objective, and we’re working very closely with Russia, who has the greatest influence on the Assad regime and can bring Assad and the regime to the negotiating table in Geneva.”

He further added that Washington cooperates with “a large group of partners” that “see things the same way we [Washington] do in terms of a unified Syria, a democratic Syria, with the Syrian people deciding their own future through a new constitution and election. We have enormous support from our approach in terms of seeking a future for Syria.”


What Next? US Bans All Russian Nukes?

By Finian Cunningham

February 07, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Provocatively and recklessly, the American Pentagon has recently accused Russia of threatening European allies with nuclear weapons. On the basis of this deplorable accusation, the US is embarking on a $1 trillion upgrade of its nuclear arsenal.

The American nuclear revamp not only puts it in potential violation of disarmament agreements; the move is also destabilizing nuclear forces and increases the risk of catastrophic global war.

If ever Washington’s reckless power politics were in doubt, this is surely the touchstone issue.

As with so many other allegations leveled by Washington against Russia – from election hacking to Olympic sports doping – the claim that Moscow is engaging in nuclear threats is far from evidenced. Indeed, one could say, it’s in the realm of fantasy.

But the insane claim is then used to justify Washington’s own reprehensible behavior.

In the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) published last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis states in the document’s preface that “Russia’s seizure of Crimea and nuclear threats against our allies, mark Moscow’s decided return to Great Power competition.”

Mattis goes on to make other claims against Russia, including that it is in breach of arms controls treaties to reduce nuclear stockpiles. He also alleges that Moscow is using “non-strategic nuclear systems to provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict,” and that Moscow is “lowering the threshold for first-use of nuclear weapons.”

At the same time, it was reported this week, even by US media, that Russia has fully complied with meeting its reduction targets for nuclear weapons prescribed by the 2010 New START accord.

In any case, the Pentagon’s anti-Russia accusations continue unabated. In particular, Washington claims that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by developing short-range land-launched cruise missiles. Moscow has denied any violation. Again, Washington does not present evidence to verify its claims.

Presumably, what Washington is referring to is the installation by Russia of Iskander ballistic missiles in its exclave territory of Kaliningrad adjacent to the Baltic states and Poland. This is also what the Pentagon appears to be referring to when it accuses Russia of “threatening our allies”.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite – a notorious Russophobe and ardent NATO cheerleader – recently said that the Russian Iskanders in Kaliningrad (range 500km) were threatening “half of Europe”.

But hold on a moment. Kaliningrad is Russian soil. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out, it is Russia’s sovereign right to position any of its forces anywhere on its own territory.

NATO’s warped logic has also been applied in the case of Russian military holding exercises on its Western flank. Last year, when Russia held its Zapad defense drills there were hysterical claims from NATO and the Western media that Moscow was about to invade the Baltic region.

Meanwhile, it goes without a hint of irony, that NATO has increasingly built up its forces and military maneuvers along Russia’s Western borders over the past decade and more. Yet, Washington and its allies get away – thanks to Western media servility – with the double-think that such force build-up on Russia’s borders is “defensive”; while any counter-move by Russia from within its territory is distorted as “outrageous” and “offensive”.

Getting back to the issue of nuclear weapons and allegations of Russia’s threat, the stark conclusion from Washington’s warped logic is that Moscow is not allowed to have any nuclear weapons.

Evidently, the US-led NATO military alliance is permitted to station warplanes, warships, troops and tanks on Russia’s borders, including anti-missile systems – all in violation of past agreements. But if Russia positions defensive systems on its own territory then it is behaving provocatively, illicitly, and threateningly. Which then on the basis of this absurd claim allows Washington to expand its nuclear forces against Russia – as the Pentagon is proposing to do in its latest Nuclear Posture Review.


Specifically, Washington is committing to a “more flexible use” of nuclear weapons, and the development of new submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as so-called “low-yield” ballistic warheads.

Such a move will potentially bring the US into severe breach of non-proliferation and arms control treaties. That is, the very malign behavior that Washington is provocatively accusing Moscow of.

Truly, Washington’s logic is an amalgam of Orwellian and Dr Strangelove.

Furthermore, an extremely sinister change in the American nuclear doctrine is its call for explicitly using “nuclear deterrence” in a scenario of conventional military conflict or, what it dubiously deems to be “new forms of aggression” by adversaries.

This is a highly dangerous move by the Pentagon to lower the trigger for deploying nuclear weapons – and on the basis of its faulty, politicized perception about what constitutes “aggression.”

For example, the US has repeatedly accused Russia of “hybrid warfare” with regard to the conflict in Ukraine. Russia is accused of instigating that conflict, when in reality, it was Washington and Europe’s meddling in the internal affairs of that country, resulting in a neo-Nazi coup in Kiev in February 2014.

The United States has continually accused Russia of engaging in “asymmetric warfare” from “cyberattacks” and “election interference”. Such claims have never been substantiated, let alone verified – yet they have been raised to the alarmist level of allegedly constituting a “national security threat”.

The anti-Russia political climate being whipped up by Washington – from “Russiagate” to cyberattacks, from sports doping to nuclear aggression – has reached the level of hysterical insanity where Russia by merely having a military defense system is now being traduced as somehow behaving criminally and offensively.

However, parlaying this perverse logic, the US is moving to increase its nuclear threats against Russia – in contravention of international agreements and any objective reasoning.

Even US media outlets like the Washington Post and US-based scientists warned this week that the new nuclear posture was a disturbing drift towards catastrophic war.

American history professor Colin Cavell, commenting for this column, said that the hegemonic mentality of the US ruling class is such that no other powers are tolerated to have weapons, even if for self-defense purposes.

Said Cavell:

“The US is a capitalist society. It is the preeminent imperialist power in the world today. As such, those who rule the US perceive that maintaining a class-divided society to be of paramount concern. Internationally, this translates into maintaining at least a two-tiered international system where the US is master and the rest of the world are its servants.  This will not change until capitalism is overthrown or destroys itself.”

This attitude of US rulers is ultimately tyrannical in their relations to the rest of the world. Ironically, American vice president Mike Pence this week accused North Korea of being “the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”

With regard to Russia, the logic of the US is this: You are not allowed to have nuclear weapons, nor even a viable conventional defense system. We, on the other hand, are allowed to threaten you with increasing menace of nuclear annihilation until you do as we demand.

In short, supreme arrogance. But an arrogance that will bring its own downfall.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by “Sputnik” –

– See Also –

Kissinger Says Chance For ‘Pre-Emptive Attack Is Strong’ On North Korea

Mattis Cites Kissinger to Call for New Nukes

US Eyes Partitioning of Syria, Gave up on Promise That Fighting ISIL ‘Only Goal’ – Lavrov

February 7, 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

The US appears to be aiming at dividing Syria, as US troops still linger in the country even after its promise to end the mission after driving out Islamic State fighters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“It’s very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria – without an invitation of the legitimate government – was to defeat ISIL and the terrorists,” Lavrov said.

Regarding pledges to keep a limited military contingent in the war-town state, Lavrov says the US is not being open about their true objectives.

“Now [the Americans] are saying that they will keep their presence till they make sure a steady process of a political settlement in Syria starts, which will result in regime change,” the minister said during a conference in Sochi.

The foreign minister claimed there are “plans of virtual division of Syria.”

“We know of [them] and we will ask our American colleagues, how they are seeing [Syria’s division].”

The US has nearly 2,000 servicemen currently stationed in Syria. In December, the Pentagon announced the troops will remain on the ground for as long as needed “to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later reiterated the plan.

Source: RT

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New US National Defense Strategy Is Again Offensive


By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | January 23, 2018

Last week “Mad Dog” Mattis announced a new US Defence Strategy, the first for a decade and with a radical change of focus, from fighting terrorism to fighting Russia and China. The US DoD put it like this:

“The National Defense Strategy seeks to implement the pillars of the National Security Strategy: peace through strength, the affirmation of America’s international role, the U.S. alliance and partnership structure and the necessity to build military advantage to maintain key regional balances of power.”

According to Deputy Defense Secretary Elbridge A. Colby this strategy is necessitated because of:

“the erosion of U.S. military advantage vis-a-vis China and Russia, which, if unaddressed, could ultimately undermine our ability to deter aggression and coercion and imperil the free and open order that we seek to underwrite with our alliance constellation.”

“The strategy aims at thwarting Chinese and Russian aggression and use of coercion and intimidation to advance their goals and harm U.S. interests, and specifically focuses on three key theaters: Europe, the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East, Colby said.”

Whether this is a new strategy or just a new declaration of the existing one depends on your point of view. In announcing it at the press conference Jim Mattis stressed the supposed shift from fighting terrorism to countering Russia and China, as well as their effective allies North Korea and Iran. Following hot on the heels of Tillerson’s confrontational outburst, and refusal to get out of Syria following the defeat of Islamic State, the sudden shift looks rather convenient – the US can now claim it must stay in Syria to counter Russia’s growing influence in the region.

What’s new!  Wasn’t this always the US plan, as laid out a decade earlier in “Which path to Persia?” – a plan that seems to be relentlessly moving forward despite all obstacles, including particularly international law?

While there have been a few setbacks in the US project to advance its goals around the globe against the interests of Russia and China and their allies, the escalation in aggressive US confrontations in those “key theatres” since Trump came to power makes nonsense of Colby’s claim that the new policy is “not a strategy of confrontation, but it is strategy that recognizes the reality of competition.”

Even if that were true, it only emphasizes the fundamental difference in approach between the great powers. Neither Russia nor China see competition or confrontation as their goals, leave alone the insulting and ludicrous “aggression, coercion and intimidation” which the US attributes to them. Faced with a rational and responsible partner rather than the expansionist and exceptionalist US, it is a desire for collaboration and co-existence that evidently motivate China and Russia, and also lie at the center of their own developing cooperation.

Symbolizing this difference – or rather conflict – between world views, is the ongoing dispute over the South China Sea. Just before Mattis announcement, the US sent a ship into the disputed waters as part of its “freedom of navigation” exercises, and received an immediate demand to leave from China, which has long lost patience with this serial provocation. In this area one of America’s “constellation” allies Australia is forced to take sides, and reveals itself as an accomplice to the ongoing Imperial crimes.

Despite Australia’s crucial economic dependence on China, its current government seems to be going out of its way in provoking and insulting Chinese leaders and representatives. As Mattis made his announcement, PM Malcolm Turnbull was in Japan visiting a missile defense base and talking about joint exercises and military cooperation. Australia also took part in the provocative exercises against North Korea with the US and South Korea at a time of high tension last year, despite Russian and Chinese warnings against them.

And when it comes to the South China Sea issue, it must be pointed out that China’s legitimate concerns are to maintain the freedom of navigation through its main transport artery to the West and Australia. Given the US coalition’s participation in exercises simulating a blockade of these channels it’s not hard to see and support China’s defensive stand on this issue.

Part of the “new strategy” in the Indo-Pacific is also likely to be an expansion of the US presence and bases in Australia. “In the new security environment” – whatever that is – the stationing of US strategic bombers in Northern Australia is now being proposed. Along with the massive regional US surveillance base in Pine Gap, nuclear-armed bombers will make us a prime target for one of China’s ICBMs, so no doubt we’ll also be getting THAAD missile defense systems.

On reflection it appears that the “new” US “National Defense” Strategy is little more than the one pursued fifty years ago against the Soviets and the Chinese Communists. Fifteen years of the “Global war on Terror”, culminating with the scourge of “Islamic State” was just means to the same end, and can now be discarded.

The tragedy is that with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jing Ping we really had a chance for diplomacy, law and peace to prevail.

*(Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis announces the National Defense Strategy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Jan. 19. Image credit: DoD photo/ Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm/ flickr)

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