From Wuhan to Baghdad with Trump and Bush

Source

May 11, 2020  

by Lawrence Davidson

I have been writing these analyses for ten years. Really not a great amount of time, but enough that you see leaders ignorantly repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. You also notice that most of the media, and almost all of the citizenry, appear not to notice the repetitions. Just such a rerun is now playing itself out. 

Part I—Covid-19 and the Wuhan Lab Claim

According to a New York Times (NYT) article, President Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have begun pressuring the U.S. government’s intelligence agencies to come up with evidence that the Covid-19 virus originated in a Chinese lab in Wuhan—specifically, that city’s Institute of Virology. 

Let’s state up front that there is no reliable evidence that this is the case. As the NYT puts it, “Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a non-laboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.” This is also the opinion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s own top infectious disease expert. 

Alas, this is not what the Trump-Pompeo duet wants, or needs, to hear. What they want and need is something to support their already stated position that the Covid-19 virus is a “Chinese virus.” Thus, Trump told a reporter on 30 April that, while there were many theories about how the virus originated, he took the Wuhan lab contention seriously. He claimed that he had personally seen “intelligence that supported the idea” and that “we have people looking at it very, very strongly. Scientific people, intelligence people and others.” He then stated that he was “not allowed” to share the intelligence. Pompeo followed up in a 3 May ABC interview by describing the evidence as “enormous.”

It has also become apparent that Trump would like to tie the World Health Organization (WHO) into the Wuhan lab theory. “Administration officials had directed intelligence agencies to try to determine whether China and the World Health Organization hid information early on about the outbreak.” This seems to be the result of the president’s personal dislike of the WHO. He believes it has praised China’s fight against the pandemic more strongly than his own quasi-efforts. So annoyed has he become that he cut off U.S. aid to the organization in the midst of its fight against Covid-19—an almost universally condemned act. 

In the end Trump seems to think that nothing less than evidence supporting the Wuhan lab conspiracy theory will help shift popular attention away from his own abysmal failure to react to the pandemic in a timely fashion. So it doesn’t matter if the president is corrupting the intelligence agencies for personal political advantage, or that “the odds are astronomical against a lab release as opposed to an event in nature.” That is the state of our knowledge according to assessments based on science. What the president is demanding is a world that accords with his personal needs. It’s the latter he expects the intelligence agencies to serve. 

Part II— Nuclear Weapons in Iraq Claim

Where have we heard this sort of demand before? Well, how about during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq?

Back in late 2002 and early 2003, George W. Bush was planning an invasion of Iraq. His public reason for doing so was the assertion that the country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, was on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. The real reason went beyond that charge and involved a long-range plan for “regime change” in the Middle East—a thoroughly implausible goal. However, Bush’s initial, obsessive need was a way to rally the American people behind his planned war. Why Iraq? Bush seems to have had a hate-filled preoccupation with Saddam Hussein and a desire to finish the job his father began with the First Gulf War. Or, maybe, as he claimed, it was because God told him to do it

At first he tried to connect Saddam Hussein to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the U.S. Though he never gave up on that stratagem, the lack of evidence made it difficult to shift popular attention, already fixated on Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan, onto Saddam Hussein and Baghdad. However, the nuclear weapons gambit appeared to have more potential, not because there was any hard evidence for the charge, but because supposedly reliable witnesses, in the persons of mendacious exiled anti-Saddam Iraqis, kept whispering to Bush and others in the administration that the nuclear story was true.

So, what we had was (1) a U.S. leadership cadre who were itching to revolutionize the Middle East, (2) informants who, in order to precipitate the overthrow of Saddam, were willing to tell the tale of alleged atomic weapons, and (3) a president with enough of a personal grudge against Saddam to use anything in support of his desire to invade Iraq.

Bush proceeded to put pressure on the U.S. intelligence agencies to find evidence for the nuclear weapons claim. In essence, this pressure threatened to politicize and contaminate the White House’s normal source of intelligence. When the CIA and its military counterpart, the Defense Intelligence Agency, did not come through in this regard, Bush went so far as to create a shadow operation: the “Office of Special Plans (OSP),” staffed mainly by rightwing amateurs, to find him a nuclear “smoking gun” that would justify invasion.

Simultaneously, the U.S. insisted that the United Nations send in arms inspectors to scour Iraq for evidence of a nuclear weapons program. None of this resulted in the required evidence. This so frustrated President Bush that on 19 March 2003 he launched the invasion of Iraq without any proven reason to do so. This, by the way, constituted a war crime under international law. The president did have the expectation that, once in occupation of the country, American troops would surely find those nukes. They did not. 

Bush ended up blaming his appalling mistake, which led to the death and injury of tens of thousands, on “faulty intelligence.” He never admitted that the intelligence at fault was his own. 

Part III—Conclusion

What do Donald Trump and George W. Bush have in common? They are both know-nothing Republican leaders. (You can get Democrats like this too. They are just less common.) They are know-nothing in the sense that neither of them know the difference between their own desires and objective reality. If Trump needs a Wuhan lab to shift blame from his own failings, then there must be a lab out there and it is the job of the intelligence agencies to find it. If George W. Bush needs Iraqi nuclear weapons to justify his obsessive desire to invade that country and depose Saddam Hussein, then they must be out there and it is the job of the intelligence agencies to find them. Both Bush and Trump, and a whole lot of their staff, were/are caught up in delusions. And, tragically, they both had/have the power to spread their respective delusion, like a “virus,” to large segments of a historically ignorant American public. 

Now, if this writer can recognize the similarity between these two men and brand the connecting events described here for the delusional episodes they are, you would think that at least some of the media folks bringing us the “news” could do so as well. And maybe in the privacy of their offices and studies they do see the connection and its dire potential. But they are having a hard time translating that into public knowledge. One can only wonder why! As long as that is the case, most of the general public, focused on their local affairs, will not be able to recognize the danger such irresponsible behavior represents, and will once more be dragged along in whatever perilous direction their present muddled leaders take them. 

Lawrence DAVIDSON | West Chester University, Pennsylvania ...

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

لماذا يفشل الغرب في مواجهة إيران؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ أن نجحت الثورة الإسلاميّة في إيران في إقامة دولة مستقلة فعلياً تحوّلت إيران إلى عقدة للغرب الاستعماريّ لا يطيقها ويبحث عن أيّ وسيلة تقود إلى إنهاء هذه الظاهرة التي شكلت كابوساً للغرب عامة ولأميركا و«إسرائيل» خاصة. ولم يحاول الغرب التعايش مع هذا المتغيّر الدولي بل رأى أنّ الحلّ الوحيد له هو الإجهاز على هذه الدولة قبل تفاقم خطرها المتمثل بما أطلق عليه «تصدير الثورة» واجتياح الفكر التحريري الاستقلالي جيران إيران أولاً، وفي طليعتهم دول الخليج التي تشكل محميات للاستعمار يحكمها عبر عائلات تتحكّم بها وتمكّنه من وضع اليد على نفطها ومالها.

ولأجل التخلّص من النظام الإسلامي في إيران شنّت الحرب عليها من قبل صدام حسين بتوجيه أميركي وتمويل خليجي خاصة السعودية التي أفهمها الأميركيّون أنّ بقاء هذا النظام في إيران يشكل خطراً على العائلة المالكة في السعودية وكلّ العائلات المالكة في الخليج.

بيد أنّ إيران رغم حالة التفكّك والتضعضع الذاتي التي كانت عليها في الأشهر الأولى لانتصار الثورة، استطاعت ان تصمد وتستوعب الهجوم العراقي رغم أنها خسرت أرضاً في البدء وتكبّدت خسائر فادحة، لكنها صمدت واستعادت أرضها وقبلت بإنهاء الحرب من دون أن تتمكّن من معاقبة المعتدي، لكن أميركا لم ترضها تلك النتيجة وتحت عناوين وذرائع شتى فرضت عليها تدابير كيدية أسمتها عقوبات رغم عدم انطباق التسمية على الحقيقة القانونية لتلك التدابير. ومنذ 32 عاماً وحتى الآن ترزح إيران تحت وطأة ما يسمّى عقوبات متنوّعة منها ما هو أحادي كتلك التي تفرضها أميركا، ومنها ما هو جماعي خارج مجلس الأمن كتلك التي يفرضها الاتحاد الأوروبيّ وأميركا، ومنها ما هو دولي أممي كتلك التي تفرض بقرار من مجلس الأمن بضغط أميركي.

لقد لجأ الغرب إلى العقوبات التي من شأنها أن تخنق إيران وتجعلها تتراجع عن سياستها الاستقلاليّة، وعن دعمها لحركات التحرّر والمقاومة في العالم ومنعها أيضاً من امتلاك مصادر القوة (العسكرية والاقتصادية والعلمية) لإبقائها دولة من العالم الثالث وسوقاً استهلاكية لسلع الغرب وفرض التبعية الاقتصادية بعد السياسية لمجموعة المنتصرين في الحرب الثانية.

لكن إيران سفّهت أحلام محاصريها وثبتت على سياستها الاستقلالية، رغم ما أحدثته الحرب الاقتصادية من شرور وأضرار في الداخل الإيراني، لا بل حققت إيران رغم الحصار قفزات في مجال القوة الإنتاجية والصناعية يكاد المراقب يقول معها إنّ إيران وصلت إلى المستوى الذي زرع اليأس في النفس الاستعمارية وأفهمها انّ إسقاط إيران بات حلماً لا يُدرَك.

لقد طوّرت إيران نفسها بشكل تكاملي متعدّد الاتجاهات وفي كلّ المجالات التي تميّز الدول المتقدّمة في العالم المعاصر، سواء في ذلك على صعيد السلع الاستهلاكية المعيشية وقد حققت فيه شبه اكتفاء ذاتي بلغ 85% او في المجالات العلمية والصناعية، وقد طرقت بنجاح الباب النووي السلمي ووصلت أيضاً إلى مستوى مَن يطلق الأقمار الصناعيّة ويضعها بنجاح على مدار تشغيلي استثماري، او على صعيد البنية التحتية خاصة في مجالات النقل والكهرباء والاتصالات والخدمات العامة، والأهمّ كان في مجال التصنيع العسكري الذي تمارس فيه القوى العظمى احتكاراً صارماً وتمنع مشاركتها فيه، لكن إيران عرفت كيف تلج مجاله وتؤمّن لنفسها ولقواتها المسلحة من جيش وحرس ثوري وتعبئة شعبية ما يلزمهم من السلاح والذخيرة المتطوّرة التي تمكّنهم من تأمين دفاع موثوق محكم عن إيران أرضاً وشعباً ونظاماً وثروات، كما ويمكّنها من مؤازرة الحلفاء في ممارستهم لحق المقاومة والدفاع المشروع عن النفس. وهنا يطرح السؤال كيف نجحت إيران حيث فشل الآخرون؟

بكلّ تأكيد نجحت إيران في المواجهة طيلة السنوات الـ 41 من عمر ثورتها، أما سبب النجاح برأينا فهو عائد إلى عوامل تميّز الواقع الإيراني من وجوهه كلها، عوامل تضافرت بشكل ليس من شأنه تخطي الصعوبات والمآزق بل من شأنها أيضاً أن ترتقي بإيران إلى مصاف الدول الكبرى في نظام عالمي قيد التشكل على أساس المجموعات الاستراتيجية، حيث تتجه إيران اليوم لتكون نواة مجموعة استراتيجية تفرض نفسها في النظام العالمي الجديد ويمكن ذكر أهمّ عوامل القوة هذه:

1

ـ العامل الفكري العقائدي الديني. أقامت إيران نظامها السياسي على أسس دينية عقائدية، تتفتح فيه على مقولة إنشاء الدولة المستقلة القوية الممهّدة للإمام المهدي، وباتت العقيدة الدينية حافزاً للتضحية والإقدام والتطوّر خلافاً لما جعلها آخرون من المسلمين عامل تخلّف. فالإسلام الحركيّ الذي تعمل به إيران هو إسلام يقود الحياة ويطوّر المجتمع وينافس من أجل الرفاه دون انحراف إسلام محفز وليس مثبطاً. ويضاف ذلك إلى طبيعة الإنسان الإيراني المتميّز بالصلابة وطول النفس والعناد والإصرار على النجاح والتمسك بالحقوق.

2

ـ العامل السياسي: اعتمدت إيران نظاماً سياسياً متماسكاً تحتلّ الإرادة الشعبية الصلب والأساس في إنتاجه وتجديد السلطة عبر انتخابات نزيهة تجعل منه منتجاً شعبياً وتجعل الشعب مدافعاً عنه يرفض أيّ مسّ فيه، لأنه نظامه الذي اختاره ويجدّد أشخاصه بإرادته، هذا في الأصل؛ أما في الهيكلية فالنظام السياسي الإيراني نظام قوي متماسك قائم على المؤسسات المنفصلة والمتعاونة والتي يراقب بعضها بعضاً في حدود الدستور ويعمل في ظلّ قيادة رشيدة تجمع الديني إلى السياسي في أدائها فيطمئن الشعب إلى حكمتها وقوتها والتزامها بالدستور وفلسفته وأحكام الشريعة الإسلامية ومقاصدها.

3

ـ العامل الجغرافيّ الطبيعيّ. تمتلك إيران موقعاً جغرافياً ومساحة وثروات طبيعية تجعلها في موقع الاستغناء عن الآخر بنسبة عالية من دون أن يكون الآخر بموقع الاستغناء عنها اقتصادياً او سياسياً. وهذا العنصر مكّن إيران من النجاح في سياسة الاكتفاء الذاتي اقتصادياً والوصول إلى موقع التأثير دولياً وإقليمياً في المجالات الأخرى.

4

ـ العامل الاستراتيجي التحالفي. في هذا العامل أمرأن الأول طبيعة الخيار الإيراني في تقديم الدعم وإنشاء التحالفات دولياً والثاني النجاح في تشكيل محور المقاومة الإقليميّ. فإيران تبني تحالفاتها على أساس دعم قضية حق لرفع ظلم، وتقيم علاقة مع الأشخاص والمكوّنات الذين يؤمنون بعدالة هذه القضية ويستعدّون للدفاع عنها وخير مثال هنا موقفها من قضية فلسطين التي جهد الآخرون في إبعادها عنها ففشلوا. وهنا التباين بين إيران ودول الغرب الاستعماريّ التي تقيم التحالف انطلاقاً من المصالح الفردية والذاتية التي تريد اقتناصها من الآخرين. ففي الحالة الإيرانيّة يكون التكتل أو المحور او التحالف انطلاقاً من المبادئ التي تجمع المتحالفين ولذا تقيم تحالفاتها على مبادئ وحقوق وقضايا عادلة ثم تبحث في الأشخاص الذين يخدمونه. وبهذا أنشات إيران شبكة تحالفات متفاوتة السقوف أهمية وتأثيراً، أولها محور المقاومة يليها التفاهم مع روسيا والصين، وبعدها العمل في منظومة شنغهاي الاقتصادية وغيرها. وتوصف السياسة الإيرانية بأنها أخلاقية إنسانية لا غدر فيها، وحليف إيران مطمئن، في حين يوصف أداء الغرب باللاإنساني أو اللاأخلاقي وحليفه قلق.

هذه أهمّ العوامل التي منحت إيران مناعة وقوة وقدرة جعلتها تستعصي على الحرب والحصار وفرضتها لاعباً إقليمياً مركزياً وطرفاً دولياً لا يمكن تجاوزه وأبعدت ضمن المنطق والمعقول شبح الحرب عنها، وأكسبتها قدرة تمكنها من المسّ بهيبة أميركا الدولة المتصدّية لقيادة العالم. وعليه نرى مع وجود إيران هذه نستبعد حرباً تشنّها أميركا او «إسرائيل» على محور المقاومة، ونرى أنّ الأشهر والسنوات المقبلة ستحمل ترهّلاً وتراجعاً في صفوف أعداء إيران مترافقاً مع تقدّم إيران وحلفائها بشكل حثيث نحو تحقيق أهدافهم الاستراتيجية الكبرى خاصة لجهة المحافظة على الاستقلالية الوطنية وحمل الآخرين على التسليم بها ونصرة قضية فلسطين وصولاً إلى تحصيل حقوق شعبها وليس من فراغ يحتفل بيوم القدس العالم سنوياً وبشكل ثابت.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.

US REWARDS FOR HEZBOLLAH LEADERS’ HEADS: HOW DO THEY AFFECT THE ORGANISATION?

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The US government offers financial rewards to those who help arrest a Hezbollah leader or who reveal details of their activities that enable the US to disrupt them. These rewards vary from five to ten million dollars. Thus far, no one has been able to obtain a single dollar of these awards from the US administration since 1985, when Hezbollah officially came into existence in Lebanon. How are the organisation and its leaders affected by these tempting millions offered by Washington?

There is no doubt that the “Axis of Resistance” in Lebanon is operating outside the American system. Hezbollah possesses no property outside Lebanon, and no bank accounts in any local bank inside or outside the country, notably not in any western countries. Family members and children of Hezbollah leaders are not present in western countries, therefore they are outside the US’s blackmailing orbit. Hence, the decision to place Hezbollah leaders on the US terrorist list and confiscate their “non-existent” funds is not much more than an ostentatious display by which the US aims to self-advertise itself as the world’s policeman. 

Washington believes that announcing the names of Hezbollah leaders could give impetus to America’s allies in Lebanon. But the US’s allies in Lebanon are too weak – although persistent and holding at least some leverage – to confront Hezbollah in the first place. Most importantly, US sanctions cannot possibly be effective in a country like Lebanon – or in other countries under the “Axis of the Resistance” umbrella because they are sovereign states outside direct US control and the “Axis of the Resistance” is far from being weak.

This takes us to Iraq, an “Axis of the Resistance” stronghold, during the 2018 parliamentary campaign.  Before the elections the US Presidential envoy against ISIS, Ambassador Brett McGurk, visited National Security Minister Faleh Al-Fayyad in his office in Baghdad. McGurk complained that Fayyad had met with Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani, a Hezbollah official on the US terrorism list.

Al-Fayyad replied:

“It is not permitted to interfere in internal Iraqi affairs, nor with what an Iraqi citizen does. Sheikh Kawtharani is an Iraqi citizen, and America has no authority or jurisdiction over us to dictate who we can or cannot receive.”

Sources in the “Axis of the Resistance” confirm, in fact,  that “Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani was never a military leader but part of the political bureau. By virtue of his studies and the presence of his father, a scholar and jurist, in Najaf for many years, Sheikh Mohammed was born and raised in the holy city. Sheikh Kawtharani married an Iraqi woman from Baghdad, mastered the language and the Iraqi mentality, which made him very successful in managing the Iraqi file and communicating with Iraqi leaders. He had spent time in Saddam Hussein’s prisons and was a close companion of Sayyed Abbas Al-Mousawi, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah assassinated by Israel in 1992. He was able to forge close relations with Iraqi leaders during their presence in Lebanon in exile as refugees in the days of Saddam Hussein’s authority. He is the Hezbollah official who knows Iraq best, from the Marjaiya in Najaf to every single political member from Erbil to Basra.”

“Sheikh Kawtharani has no enemies among Iraqi leaders because his way of dealing with them is never condescending; he does not impose his agenda or conditions on them. Rather, his objective is to unite Iraqi groups on mutually agreed decisions and to listen to their complaints when they find it difficult to communicate with each other. He is a coordinator and a mediator, one of the most difficult functions to serve – especially among Iraqi Shiite parties”, said the source.

“America knows that Sheikh Kawtharani does not work within the security-military apparatus of Hezbollah, but is the Assistant to Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for Iraq affairs.

Sayyed Nasrallah is the leader of the” Axis of Resistance “and enjoys excellent relationships with Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and various leaders in different countries. Therefore, the US wanted to obstruct his return to Iraq in order to prevent Iraqi Shiite solidarity, especially following his success in reunifying the Iraqis after the assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani”, according to the source.

Shiite parties were not satisfied with the choice of President Barham Saleh of Adnan al-Zurfi as prime minister. Iraq was facing serious domestic unrest between Shiites, Sunnis and the Kurds. By selecting Mr Mustafa Kazemi, the tension was de-fused with the help of Sheikh Kawtharani and the Iranian leadership who mediated to help the Iraqis find the most suitable candidate for all.

The source asserts that “Sheikh Kawtharani has better relations with most Iraqi politicians than any Iraqi or non-Iraqi leader or personality. This is what allowed him to work to support Iraq; US financial rewards of $10 million will not prevent him from travelling to Iraq when he so desires.”

As for the American financial rewards, generally speaking, they create a positive outcome for every Hezbollah official: the higher the amounts offered by the US on one’s head, the more prestige one accrues. This raises the wanted leaders to a privileged social status in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Palestine, because threatened US punishment is understood to indicate US fear, proof of a Hezbollah leader’s power to annoy the US and its administration.

These rewards have not harmed Hezbollah at all over the 35 years of their existence. But internally, the higher the amount, the more important the “wanted” Hezbollah leader is in relation to other Hezbollah officials. The wanted leader’s financial compensation increases, and additional budgets, guards and security members are allocated to protect him. Multiple cars are at his disposal, and more than one apartment is offered for his convenience and security. Precaution in selecting an apartment includes the presence of an electric elevator that reaches the underground basement, to cover his arrival, departure, and movements in and out. 

The US rewards incite jealousy among those Hezbollah officials who have not yet attained the distinction of having a US reward on their head. Those with a lower reward wish the US could offer more millions on their heads for them to gain a higher position in society!

Those officials higher on the US list of terrorist rewards become weightier and gain additional powers. Their credibility and influence with foreign political leaders and allies during their contact or meetings increases, so that allies brag about contacts and pictures taken next to them. 

Long ago, the US put Imad Mughniyeh on its list and placed a reward on his head. He then reached the level of Military Commander in Chief of Hezbollah and Deputy Assistant Secretary-General of the Jihad Council. This is but one example of promotion thanks to US targeted opposition.

If the US decides to target leaders placed on its terrorist bounty list, Hezbollah’s response then becomes more significant because they become part of a new equation of deterrence. Thus, what US officials imagine as harsh punishment for Hezbollah leaders actually becomes a source of direct reward within the Hezbollah system and society! It is but one more example of the way in which the US’s desire to punish and eliminate is turned to advantage and even privilege in a system and culture they do not understand.

Proofread by:  C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

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Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

source 

April 14, 2020

The following is the full text of a televised speech delivered on April 9, 2020 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household

May the auspicious 15th of Sha’ban be a blessed eid for all you dear brothers and sisters, the entire Iranian nation and all Muslims and all liberated people in the world. Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to meet with you up close and I have to speak to you from a distance, but this is an experience in itself. Today, I will say a few things about the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- and I will raise a few points about the current issue of the country, but first of all, let us send greetings to the Imam of the Age:

Greetings be upon you Imam of the Age, greetings be upon you God’s firm pledge, greetings be upon you God’s promise – such promise whose fulfillment He guaranteed – greetings be upon you the hoisted flag, and you the manifestation of knowledge, of protection, of vast mercy and of inviolable promises.”

The following section of the holy ziyarah “Al-e Yasin” is full of love: “Our greetings be upon you when you rise and re-appear at the behest of God and when you put on the veil of disappearance. Our greetings be upon you when you engage in recitation and tafsir.”

Perhaps, there have been few historic eras during which humanity was in as much need as the present time for the existence of a savior. This holds true for both elites who feel this need consciously and the masses of the people who feel the need as well, but unconsciously. Everyone feels the need for a savior, a Mahdi. Everyone feels the need for the hand of divine power, for an infallible Imam, for purity and for divine guidance. We know of few historic eras during which there was so much need for this lofty truth.

Today, after having experienced various schools of thought and various philosophies – ranging from communism, western liberal democracy to the current form of democracy in the world, with the oversized claims that they make – humanity does not feel at ease. Despite all the astonishing scientific breakthroughs which have completely changed the way of life, humanity does not feel happy. Humanity suffers from poverty, disease, perversion and sins. It is afflicted with injustice, inequality and deep and growing class rifts. Humanity is subject to the abuse of power at the hands of big powers. They abuse science and natural discoveries, the capabilities discovered in nature. Humanity is faced with all these. These things have caused humans, throughout the world, to feel exhausted and to feel the need for a liberating hand.

Billions of people throughout the world are suffering. Some people might have prosperity, but they are not really tranquil. Humanity suffers from anxiety, and scientific breakthroughs and various developments have not managed to bestow bliss on humanity. Of course, human intellect is a great blessing. Similarly, experience is a valuable blessing. These are God’s blessings and they can solve many problems in life, but there are some knots that cannot be untied with these tools.

An example is justice. The issue of justice cannot be resolved with today’s advanced science and technology. Its knot cannot be untied with them. Today, injustice is fed by science. In other words, advanced science is at the service of injustice and warmongering. It is at the service of occupying others’ lands and of dominating nations. So, science cannot untie such knots. These things require a spiritual and divine hand and the powerful hand of an infallible Imam. It is he who can do these things. Therefore, his great mission is to administer justice. This has been pointed out in many prayers and ziyarahs.

The administration of justice is something that cannot be achieved by anyone other than the hand of divine power which is manifested by the Imam of the Age. And the kind of justice that Hazrat is expected to administer is not particular to one specific area, rather it covers all aspects of life:  Justice in power, wealth, health, human dignity, social status, spirituality, the possibility for growth and in all other dimensions of life. These are the things that are expected to be established by the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and by Allah’s favor, this will happen. All people- including elites and those who can understand events and the masses of the people some of whom might be preoccupied with their daily life and therefore are unaware of the developments in the world– have this need, either consciously or unconsciously.

All religions have promised a big “faraj” and a great divine movement at the end of history, which is of course not the end of history. When the era of the Imam of the Age begins, the real world and the real life of humanity begins to take shape. However, all religions have promised an end to the current condition of life that we have today. Therefore, this is a need, but in order to channel this need and render it fruitful, we have been asked in Islam to anticipate his re-appearance. This “anticipation” is beyond a mere sense of need. They have said that we should anticipate. Anticipation means hope. It means believing in a definite future. So, it is not just a mere belief. Anticipation is constructive. Therefore, in our narrations and teachings, the anticipation for this big faraj enjoys a high position. Later on, I will expand on this anticipation.

In a towqi’ [holy edict] of the Imam of the Age to Ibn Babawayh– Ali ibn Babawayh– he quotes the Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) as saying “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj.” There is a narration by Imam Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “After knowledge and understanding, the best course of action is anticipation for the faraj.” The Arabic word “ma’rifah” means monotheism and understanding divine truths. The Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him) says, “Anticipate the faraj and do not lose hope in the spirit of God.” It says that we should anticipate and we should not lose hope of divine spirit, mercy and assistance.

So in anticipating the faraj, there is dynamism and action. Well, this has been said about anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. It is evident that anticipating the faraj means anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. However, this is one manifestation of the anticipation. When the Holy Prophet says, “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj” this reflects on all the problems that might occur to us in life. We should not become disappointed when confronting problems and we should anticipate a faraj, knowing for certain that it will materialize. The anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself. There is a narration by Hazrat Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “You should know that the anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself.” So, the anticipation for the faraj is a kind of opening for us as it liberates us from a state of despair and desperation which might force one into doing strange things. Well, this is what it means.

When the Holy Prophet and the Imams said this, it means that Mohammad’s (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) Ummah never becomes disappointed at any incident in life and that it always waits for the faraj. Well, anticipation does not mean sitting idle and fixating one’s eyes at the door, rather it means preparing oneself, taking action and feeling that there is an end that can be achieved and for that, one should work hard. We who anticipate the faraj and the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) should work to that end. We should work hard on the path of establishing a Mahdawi society. We should get close to the Mahdawi society as much as we can because the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, spirituality, understanding, brotherhood, camaraderie, science and dignity.

There is one point about the anticipation: anticipating the faraj is different from showing impatience and setting a timeline – for example by saying to ourselves that such and such an incident and difficulty should come to an end at such and such a time or that Hazrat should re-appear in such and such a day. This anticipation for the faraj does not mean showing impatience and being restless.

This anticipation means preparing oneself. Showing impatience and being in a rush are among the forbidden things. There is a narration which says, “God will not hurry up if His servants hurry up.” If you are in a rush, this does not mean that God will make hasty decisions because of you. No, there is a time and a reason for everything and things will be done based on divine providence. As I mentioned before, the anticipation for the faraj means both the re-appearance of the Hazrat and the opening after big difficulties: the opening after difficult incidents that involve everyone such as the incidents that occur today in the world which disappoint many and force others into suicide. However, when there is the anticipation for the big opening, this will not happen as one knows that such incidents will surely come to an end.

Well, there is another point here: the tranquility resulting from the anticipation and one’s self-confidence – as a result of which individuals feel calm and undisturbed – could be strengthened with prayers, with supplication and by speaking to God. “For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction” [The Holy Quran, 13: 28]. Now, we are in the month of Sha’ban and after that, we have the month of Ramadan. There are numerous duas and various prayers and speaking to God without any interceder is very valuable. And speaking to the infallible Imams (greetings be upon them), who are the closest people in the whole world to Allah the Exalted, will give one tranquility and peace of mind. Remembrance of Allah the Exalted opens our path, gives us joy and attracts divine mercy.

Surely, the millions of hands that were raised last night will bear fruits. Last night, millions of people succeeded in familiarizing their hearts with God, in connecting with Him, in holding up one’s hands and in speaking to Him. Without any doubt, the results of this action will show themselves both in individuals themselves and in the whole society and many blessings will ensue. These were the points that I wished to discuss about the issue of the re-appearance, the faraj and the uprising of the Imam of the Age. Of course, many things can be said in this regard, but for today, this much is enough.

As for the current issue of the country – the coronavirus outbreak – well, this is an epidemic and a test. It is a test for the whole world: for both governments and nations. Governments are tested in this incident and so are nations. It is indeed a very strange test. Of course, enough has been said about the statistics, the very good measures that have been adopted and the recommendations of officials. The IRIB has also had a good performance, to be fair, in this regard. I do not want to speak about these matters, but I have certain other points to raise:

One point is that the Iranian nation has had a brilliant performance in this test. During the coronavirus test and during this pandemic, is modern pandemic, the Iranian nation shone brightly. First of all, the peak of this national glory belongs to the medical staff of the country. I have spoken many times and I would like to reiterate again the significance of their work and the value of their self-sacrifice, including that of physicians, nurses, laboratory experts, radiologists, medical assistants in health centers, public services divisions, the sections in charge of research, and management inside the Ministry of Health and outside it – the managers active in this area. The peak of this glory belongs to them. They placed their lives and their health at the service of the people. This is very significant and magnificent.

They endured the pain of being away from their family. Many of them did not see their family even during Nowruz holidays and they suffered from sleeplessness and psychological pressures resulting from treating patients in a critical state. They welcomed all these things and therefore, a good memory of the medical staff and system of the country will be engraved in the minds of the Iranian nation. This is a good and happy memory left behind at this point in time by the medical, nursing and treatment society of the country.

As well as them, we should mention volunteers: those who were not part of the medical staff, but who entered the arena voluntarily. Jihadi clergy and students, thousands of diligent basijis throughout the country and the masses of the people presented such valuable services that are beyond description. On the one hand, such services make one really happy and on the other hand, they make one feel grateful.

We should mention the Armed Forces as well. The Armed Forces truly utilized all their power of construction and creativity. They placed all their resources at the service of the task which even included scientific resources, scientific discoveries and the manufacture of medical instruments and medical equipment for hospitals and clinics as well as other goods and instruments which were at the disposal of the Armed Forces. They did their best to utilize their power of construction and creativeness in the area of science and pragmatism.

Later on, new capacities were discovered and it became clear that there are numerous capacities inside and outside the Armed Forces while we had been unaware of them beforehand. Youth appear on television and explain the things that they have built, but we did not know of them before. These are the new discovered capacities.

The people’s cooperation has also created beautiful, fascinating and astonishing scenes and they can be seen everywhere. I would like to cite instances of this popular cooperation. Of course, these are not all the cases, rather these are the ones that have been reported to me: in Sabzevar, for example, they have launched the plan “A sacrifice for every neighborhood”: the people in the neighborhood gather together, sacrifice an animal and give the meat to the needy in that neighborhood. This is a very essential, important and interesting plan for feeding the needy. In Yazd, the mother of a martyr has enlisted the help of several ladies in order to turn their houses into sewing workshops with the purpose of producing masks and giving them to the people for free. In Nahavand, a group of ladies who used to bake bread and send it to the frontlines during the Sacred Defense Era have become active again in order to control the disease and help fight it. In Khuzestan, the clergy have set up groups to disinfect the people’s houses. In Shiraz, local well-established personalities speak to the owners of different properties – such as the owners of houses and shops – so that they will not receive their rent or give a discount and delay the payments during the outbreak, thus helping local shopkeepers. In Tabriz, the head of the seminary has entered the arena on the ground to offer help. In another city, a hezbollahi candidate for the parliamentary elections, who was not elected, has decided not to close down his committee so that he can organize activists at the service of a jihadi movement and of fighting the coronavirus.

Of course, these examples are based on a few reports available to me, otherwise, there are hundreds or rather thousands of examples like this in different shapes throughout the country, some of which I have also cited in my previous speeches. It is important to pay attention that these are signs of the depth and the influence of Islamic culture in the hearts of our people. This is contrary to the claim of those who unfortunately tried to humiliate Iranian culture– Islamic-Iranian culture– in the past two decades in order to divert the attention of the people towards the western lifestyle. However, despite their wishes, this is not the case. Fortunately, this feeling of Islamic thinking and Islamic culture is a very strong and firm feeling in our people.

Western culture and civilization showed their mettle as well! Well, our national television showed some of the things that happened in western countries, in Europe and in the US, but some of them were not broadcast because this is the information that we receive and therefore, we are aware of it. The west displayed its cultural products as well. In some western countries– in Europe and the US– it so happened that governments confiscated masks and gloves belonging to another government while they were being transferred in order to use them for themselves. This happened in European and American governments. And the people there emptied the stores in a short time, in the space of one, two hours- as they were anxious to fill their fridges and they emptied the shops. They showed the whole world on television the empty shelves in the stores. Our television showed it as well. And there were some people who fought with one another over toilet paper. There were also long rows of people trying to buy guns. It was broadcast on television that the people were lining up to buy guns because they felt insecure and felt the need to buy guns in this sensitive period of time. We can also refer to their prioritization of patients: their preference not to treat the elderly. They said, “It is not necessary for us to bother treating the elderly, the disabled and the like who suffer from various conditions and ailments considering the restrictions that we have.” These are the things that have happened there.

Some people in those countries have committed suicide out of fear of the coronavirus and of death. This is the conduct that some western nations have shown. Of course, this is a logical and natural consequence of the philosophy ruling over the western civilization, which is an individualistic, materialistic and secular philosophy. Even if there is belief in God in that philosophy, it is not based on correct, towhidi and deep tenets. This is another issue.

I would like to add that a western official said a few days ago that the “Wild West” has been revived. This is what they say. When we say that there is a spirit of wildness in the west which is not incompatible with their perfumed and neat appearances, some people express their surprise and deny it. Now, they themselves are saying this! They say that such behavior is a symbol of the Wild West being revived.

Another dimension of this issue is the public behavior of our dear nation in acting on the recommendations. One can see that the people are really acting on what the National Anti-Corona Headquarters announces in a definite manner. Of course, they might announce something while they have doubts and the people might conclude that it is not necessary to do it, but when something is announced in a definite manner and they feel that they should do something, they cooperate with officials on the recommendations that they issue.

One example is this year’s “sizde-bedar” ceremony. Nobody would have believed that the people would cancel it, but they did. The people did not attend sizde-bedar. This shows that the people have accepted public discipline in confronting this disease in the true sense of the word. Of course, this should continue. This public discipline should continue to exist and the decisions announced by the National Anti-Corona Headquarters – as the Headquarters is the first-tier organization in charge of this task – should be taken seriously and acted upon.

Another dimension of the issue is that coronavirus is clearly a grave problem for today’s humanity. It is a big and dangerous outbreak that has occurred to humanity, but compared to other problems, it is a relatively small matter. We have been witness to many problems in the world and in our own country, which were not less important, rather more important than this recent malady, including the fact that Saddam’s planes dumped chemicals on our country 32 years ago– on exactly the same days that coronavirus has now entered our country. They killed thousands of people in our cities and in their own cities and they did so with mustard gas and the like. This happened and of course, all big powers in the world supported and helped Saddam on that day. Some of these so-called civilized and advanced countries gave him chemical substances and weapons and until today, none of them has answered for the crimes that they committed back then.

And that criminal Saddam, behaved towards our people and his own people in Halabja in the same manner, because he felt that the people of Halabja might be cooperating with the soldiers of the Islamic Republic, he killed them on the streets in a brutal manner. Well, these things have happened. During the two world wars, millions of people were killed as well. In the case of the coronavirus, it is said that one million-plus individuals have been infected and some have lost their lives. However, in the first and second world wars which occurred in Europe with an interval of about 20 years, several million people were killed. I do not remember exactly how many, but I know that tens of millions of people were killed during those wars.

During the Vietnam War too, which was waged by the US, many people were killed and the same is true of other wars. Just recently, many people were killed and martyred during the attack that the US and others launched in Iraq. These cases have been frequent. Therefore, when we think about the recent matter, we should not ignore the other important incidents that have always occurred in the world and we should know that at the very moment, millions of people are under the pressure of oppression at the hands of big powers and enemies in the world and they are deeply suffering. The people in Yemen, Palestine and many other parts of the world are under pressure. Therefore, the issue of coronavirus should not make us forgetful of the plots of enemies and of arrogance and we should know that the enmity of arrogance is based on the essence of the Islamic Republic.

If someone thinks that we should not show enmity so that they will not show us enmity either, this is not true. The essence of the Islamic Republic is the principle of Islamic democracy and this is not acceptable, understandable and tolerable to them! This is another point.

I will tell you that officials in the National Anti-Corona Headquarters are working seriously. We receive the reports in this regard and we are aware of their activities. They have also come up with certain plans for underprivileged classes, but I wish to stress and recommend that executive officials should implement the plans for helping these classes as soon as possible and in the best way they can, God willing.

However, the people are also responsible. There are some people who really find it very hard to make ends meet and they cannot manage their daily affairs. The people whose hands are open and who are financially well-off should begin extensive activities in this regard.

We read in the holy dua “Shajarat-un Nubuwwa”: “Feed me so that I can help- by means of what you bestowed on me with Your Grace- those who are deprived of your bounties and blessings to a large part, as you provided me with Your shelter.” This is one of the necessary tasks that should be carried out, in particular because the month of Ramadan is imminent. The month of Ramadan is the month of giving alms, making sacrifice and helping the needy. It will be such an excellent move to launch a big movement in the country for charitable purposes and offering pious help to the needy and the poor. If this happens, there will be a good memory of this year in the minds of the people.

In order to prove our love for the Imam of the Age, we should create scenes and reflections of the Mahdawi society. As I mentioned before, the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, dignity, knowledge and assistance. We should realize these things within the scope of our capability in our life. This will help us get closer to that ideal society.

The last point that I would like to raise is that in the absence of public meetings in the month of Ramadan – as this year, we are deprived of these very valuable public meetings which are places for making dua, speaking to one another and supplicating to God – we should not forget about acts of worship, praying and showing humility towards God. We can do the same things and show the same humility in our own homes, when we are alone or when we are among our family members and our children. Of course, there will be some television programs as well which can be benefitted from. And we are obliged to do so.

I also have one word of advice for officials and for young activists in the arena of science and technology. Two things should not be forgotten: one is the issue of “surge in production” which is vital for the country. We should pursue the issue of production in the country at any cost and we should help production witness a surge in the true sense of the word. And another is the issue of manufacturing the many things that we need and doing laboratory wok. By Allah’s favor, the youth in laboratory sections will pursue this matter.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow salvation on the Iranian nation. May God gladden the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, that He associates the pure souls of our dear martyrs with the Holy Prophet, that He will realize the big dreams of the Iranian nation and that He hastens the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

Looking at the Military Aspects of Biological Warfare

THE SAKER • MARCH 14, 2020

The 20th century has seen a seemingly countless number of military conflicts, ranging from small local clashes, to at least two world wars. The same 20th century saw a huge efforts by major powers to develop three types of so-called “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD): Atomic, Bacteriological and Chemical (ABC). All of these WMD were initially seen as very effective and very frightening, yet there were only used in a few, limited occasions.

Ask yourself, why is that?

The reason is simple: while the US could nuke Japanese cities with impunity in 1945, and while the Anglo powers developed at least THREE plans to wage a total war against the Soviet Union (details in this article), they never dared to implement them.

Again, ask yourself, why is that?

I am a total medical ignoramus, and I have nothing to say about the nature of SARS-CoV-2, I am a military analyst and one of my two areas of specialization (besides planning nuclear forces) was operational art, that is the level of military operations above tactical, but under strategic: you can think of it as what connects the tactical means to the strategic goals. You can also think of it as the level at which combined arms (above division level) formations are brought together in something similar to an army corps. This is exactly the level at which the used of WMD would be the most likely to happen. Yet, if you look at the typical Soviet/Russian or US manuals discussing operational art you will notice that it is always assumed that the other side will initiate the use of WMD (even in secret documents).

Again, ask yourself, why is that? Is it only a type of political correctness showing that “we are the good guys” and “they are truly evil”? To some degree, yes, but not only.

I submit that all three cases have the same explanation: WMD are very tricky to use, and when used, they can result in absolutely truly cataclysmic political consequences. Take for example the (completely fake) reports about the Syrian government using chemical weapons against the Takfiris: they made no sense to any military analyst simply because 1) they brought no advantage to Damascus and 2) everybody knew that as soon as this latest “new Hitler” would be accused of using chemical munitions, the Empire would seize this pretext to strike at Syria.

True, the Takfiris *DID* develop chemical weapons, apparently, they did try to use them here and there, with no special result to show for, and recently they seem to have poisoned themselves (according to Russian reports). Besides, the very real stocks of Takfiri bioweapons were used as proof of Syrian government attacks (how insanely stupid is that?). So for these Takfiri nutcases, there are no real political consequences. As for their public image, following many hours of video-taped atrocities, you can be sure that they don’t care one bit what the “kafirs” and other “crusaders” think…

Same deal for Saddam Hussein who, aided by the “international community” (mostly the Empire, the USSR and France), did use chemicals against his own population and against Iran, but since he was “our son of a bitch” he was under ZERO risk of retaliation. But when the Empire turned on him, he did not dare to use his WMD against anybody.

Why?

Because the US-led forces would not be stopped by a chemical attack. And because any such attack would give the US and the rest of the anti-Iraqi coalition a “license” to use whatever weapon or technology against Iraq they wanted, including tactical nukes.

The truth is that there are very few military scenarios in which the use of WMD makes sense, this is true for all three of them, but this is especially true for biowarfare which is the hardest of them to control.

Here I have to, again, remind everybody that war is never an end by itself, but only a means towards an end, and that end is always POLITICAL. Going in just to kill people and even bombing a country back to the stone age does NOT qualify as a political goal. If you prefer, the political goal is what ought to be defined as “victory”. So, again, “destroying all enemy ships” or “pulling off a decapitating anti-leadership strike” are NOT political goals.

There are several countries out there which are capable of developing bioweapons. In fact, most biolabs could manufacture a simple bioweapon using commonly found agents. But labs don’t get to decide to engage such weapons. That decision is clearly one which can only be taken at the national command center level and only following a compelling argument by military and scientific specialists. Finally, no responsible government would ever order the use of WMD if it felt that there is a risk of retaliation, both military or political.

Finally, in the case of SARS-CoV-2 and of all the other epidemics/pandemics we see situation where the infection is not confined to the original infection site but goes global.

As far as I know, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I know if no virus which has been successfully deployed against a specific target and then remained contained to that target. In other words, the risk of “collateral damage” from bioweapons is pretty close to infinite (at least potentially).

Yes, in theory, a country could develop a new virus, or weaponize an known one, and then develop a vaccine and then vaccinate its armed forces or even its entire population. But that would amount to placing a huge sign on the White House saying “Yes, we done it!”: political suicide.

Now, the VAST majority of comments here have focused on the possible medical aspects of this pandemic, which is fine and which I have nothing to contribute to. But I ask you now to look at the MILITARY and, therefore, POLITICAL, dimensions of this crisis and ask yourself cui bono?

Seems to me that China and Russia did very, very well. The crisis is pretty much under control in China, and in Russia it is both limited and confined. The fact that neither the Chinese nor the Russians have any delusions about the “private sector” and the fact that these societies perfectly understand that a powerful government is needed to respond to this type (and many other) types of crisis helped them. No such luck for the deluded United States which has less than 950’000 hospital beds in the entire country and whose president seems to believe that Walmart and Amazon can deliver respirators to those in need.

In fact, the USA is a country which can LEAST afford a real pandemic, so why would the US leaders decide to unleash a weapon against comparatively MUCH better prepared countries while itself is one of the most vulnerable on the planet?

How about the fact that the situation in Europe looks absolutely awful? Yes, I know, the Idiot-in-Chief did not even bother to consult with the USA’s so-called “allies” before declaring his (confused) 30 day ban on travel between the US and the EU. But it is one thing to have no manners and not understand diplomacy, it is quite another to be the party responsible for tens of thousands, possibly even millions, of dead amongst your so-called “allies”.

So it boils down to this: do we believe that the real leaders of the AngloZionist Empire (not the clowns in the White House, obviously) insane enough to still try to pull off such an operation?

Frankly, I will not say “no”. I will admit that this is possible.

But, as I like to remind everybody, possible is NOT the same as “likely” and it dramatically different from “established”.

In conclusion:

  1. So far, all we have are speculations and guesses.
  2. We also know that irrespective of how “good”/”bad”/effective the SARS-CoV-2 virus is, using ANY WMD is fantastically dangerous both politically and militarily.
  3. And we know of no modern cases of a successful and limited viral bioweapon attack (bacteria and spores are rather different from that point of view)

Now this is my request to all the commentators:

Since we have discussed the biomedical aspects of SARS-CoV-2 ad nauseam, let’s stop for a while and let’s now ONLY discuss the political and military implications of a deliberate use of SARS-CoV-2 against China (or any other country).

There are two more things I would like to share with you.

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

It refers to this GlobalResearch article: https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-coronavirus-shocking-update/5705196 . In turn, the GlobalResarch article references a GlobalTimes article: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180429.shtml . This latest article refers to the website ChinaXiv http://chinaxiv.org/home.htm (I think!). So what we have is a Chinese official, referencing a Canadian outlet, which references a Chinese source which itself bases its reports from a website clearly close to the Chinese government.

Now, unlike most folks in the West, I trust the Chinese government infinitely more than ANY western regime, but even I can see that once the China-bashing campaign swung to a totally new level once the SARS-CoV-2 panic began, the Chinese had a major political interest to point a finger right back at the USA.

In fact, I would argue that NO government out there wants to be blamed for this latest disaster and that the finger pointing is not going to stop, especially if a US politician dies from respiratory complications.

The other thing which will inevitably grow is panic. So far, relatively few people in the West have died, but most specialists agree that this crisis is far from over, especially not in the EU and USA where the epidemic it is still on the ascent. Right now, the general public in the West reminds me of a guy falling from a skyscraper and who, passing the 10th floor, thinks “so far, so good”. Friends, it *WILL* get worse, even if only 1 or 2 percent of the infected people die. I loathe both Merkel and Jonhson, but compared to the flag-waving “best Idiot-in-Chief in the galaxy”, they come across as almost honest politicians (at least and only in this case).

Finally, I want to post an extremely interesting interview by the Russian version of RT of the Academician and Chief Senior Pulmonologist of Russia, Aleksandr Chuchalin. This interview is EXTREMELY interesting and contains a wealth of important statements which, considering who is making them, I would be willing to take to the bank. One problem, this interview is only in Russian:

And here is my special request to all Russian speakersif you can, could you please either 1) find the interview in English, maybe just a transcript or, if not, could you please translate as much of that interview as possible and post your translation in the comments section (or send it to me for posting)? If you cannot translate it all, at least post a summary of the most interesting points?

I wish I could do it myself, but I am really exhausted and, besides, there is a lot of medical terminology I don’t really understand. My wife does, but she is also exhausted. This is why I ask for your help (ребята – если честно, то просто сил нет, помогите если можете!).

That’s it for me for today.

The Covert Financial War Against Hezbollah: Lebanon’s Money Trail

February 27, 2020

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

The new Lebanese Government has been pre-destined to fail; and for no wrong doing on its part. Actually, PM Diab formed the cabinet on the 22nd of January 2020, and as I sit down to write this on the 26th of February, I would have to say that, irrespective of the conditions upon which Diab was chosen to be the new PM, he has not yet had the chance to prove his worth or otherwise.

The popular street anger that emerged in Lebanon on the 18th of October 2019 has forced former PM Hariri to resign. Among other reform requests, the protesters demanded a cabinet comprised of new non-political faces, and Diab’s cabinet as well as Diab himself, are technically-speaking indeed new on the Lebanese political arena. But even before Diab formed the new cabinet, he himself was touted to be a Hezbollah supporter, and this made him unacceptable by the protestors. And after he named his cabinet members, more such claims were made; and I am not in a position to assert them or otherwise.

In a series of articles that were published on my blog, https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2020/02/lebanons-dilemma-revolving-identity_27.html, I focused on the on-going Lebanese unrest from an identity-based perspective and the conflict of loyalties. But money, as some say, makes the world go round.

This article is not intended to address history as such and/or Diab’s alleged loyalties. It is rather about what is behind the money trail that has been part-and-parcel of all political developments in Lebanon ever since 1975 and before.

When the Lebanese Civil War broke out in 1975, the exchange rate of the Lebanese Lira (LL) to the US Dollar (USD) was in the vicinity of 3 LL to 1 USD . And, even though the war devastated the country whose economy was primarily underpinned mainly by tourism and banking services, the Lebanese economy did not seem to suffer, at least significantly. There were times when certain commodities were hard to find, but that was mainly due to transport-related problems caused by road closures, and not due to economic conditions that stood in the way of their availability.

The LL remained strong, but eventually slipped and took a minor dive towards the end of 1984. By September 1984, the exchange rate was 5 LL to 1 USD. Even though that 5:1 mark generated panic, in hindsight, it reflected further fiscal strength of the LL given that this landmark happened more than nine whole years into the war. And, between 1984 and 1990 or so, it slipped to 1500 LL to 1 USD.

There was much turmoil during this period and many retirees and ex-pats lost their life-long savings. As for those still at a working age, they suffered severely until their wages were eventually indexed and the LL maintained its 1500-1 ratio to the USD for a very long time; actually till the time the recent uprisings commenced just 3 months ago.

In hindsight, there is no mystery or divine intervention behind the rather strong Lebanese economy during the first 9 years of the Civil War and which kept the exchange rate steady.

The buck stops with war money and the war money trail.

Seven years into the Lebanese Civil War, Israel invaded Lebanon and the PLO was forced out. Two years later, the LL began to slump.

Coincidence? Perhaps not.

During the first few years of the Civil War, Lebanon lost its traditional “golden age” sources of income, but it was inundated with war money.

The main donors were Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia.

Some would argue that the CIA made heavy investments, and this is quite possible. But the CIA and similar agencies, including the Mossad, had their individual operatives. On the other hand, Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia were sponsoring whole armies; so to speak.

Virtually all Left wing Lebanese political parties sent delegations to Libya seeking financial support. This includes what was referred to in Lebanese political terms as political “shops”. Some of those “shops” were comprised of small groups with a dozen fighters. They all came back with millions of USD, some with tens of millions.

The Saudis were very keen to finance the emerging Salafist militia (even though they were not referred to as such back then) because those militia were fighting the Right wing “Christian infidels”. At the same time, they were happy to finance those same “Christian infidels” because they were fighting the Communists (who were party to the Lebanese political Left).

Saddam, the Iraqi Baathist, on the other hand was very keen to sponsor any group that stood up against the rival Syrian Government of the other Baath Party faction.

The Kuwaitis, Gulfies and Qataris played more or less the same game as that of the Saudis.

All up, there were huge sums of war money pouring into Lebanon. Adding to that was what the Lebanese ex-pats sent their families and what they invested into their savings. The Lebanese banking system found alternatives to tourism and foreign investment, and the economy remained prosperous despite the devastating civil war that was destroying much of what the eye could see.

But the Lebanese political parties and “shops” were not the only recipients of “brotherly” aid and not the largest ones either. By far, the biggest recipient was the PLO in all of its branches and subdivisions.

Whilst most of the monies “invested” in the Lebanese Civil War were spent on munitions, operatives on the ground were canvassed, employed as mercenary fighters with most generous pay. One would not zero out the possibility that the Lebanese banking system benefited from those transactions.

Throughout the first decade of the Civil War years of Lebanon, there was no shortage of money or jobs for those prepared to literally cut throats for a living. Pragmatically-morbid as this may sound, war money and its willful recipients kept unemployment levels low and the economy buoyant.

Now, was the initial slump of the LL exchange rate in 1984 a direct result of the expulsion of the PLO and its associated funds from Lebanon? No one can answer this question with reliable economic accuracy. That said, the timing of the events begs the question.

What we do know is that between 1984 and the year the war ended in 1989, the LL slumped from 5:1 USD, to 1500:1 USD.

As the Civil War eventually came to an end in 1989, Rafiq Hariri emerged on the scene as a savior. He made huge investments in rebuilding certain aspects of the Lebanese infrastructure. The self-made billionaire, Lebanese by birth, but a dual national of Saudi Arabia, who eventually became Lebanon’s PM, bolstered the economy not only by bringing in his own investments, but also by presenting and ensuring a strong Saudi regional backup to his ventures.

Hariri also established the philanthropic “Hariri Foundation” which sponsored tens of thousands of Lebanese youth to receive tertiary education at home and abroad.

Hariri also created jobs as he rebuilt downtown Beirut, and certainly his American style election campaigns injected millions of dollars into the streets.

Hariri resurrected the confidence in the Lebanese economy and the LL. As a result, the LL maintained its exchange rate of LL 1500 to 1 USD and the Gaddafi/Saddam war funds were superseded and made redundant by the “peace” Hariri/Saudi funds. In any event, by then, the demise of Saddam was just around the corner.

The Rafiq Hariri money injections replaced the lost PLO war money, which in turn replaced the original Lebanese golden age economy pillars of banking and tourism that supported the Lebanese economy during its “golden age”.

When Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, change was on the horizon.

His son, Saad, carried his legacy and continued to fund his father’s initiatives at all levels.

When the war on Syria began, with the help and facilitation of Saad Hariri, the Saudis and Qataris injected huge sums of money into Lebanon in order to lure jihadi recruits, arm them and send them into Syria. The northern city of Tripoli was the main hub for this influx. And, because Tripoli had its own internal conflict between Bab el Tabbana fighters who were loyal to the then Hariri/Saudi/Qatari camp in their fight with the Alawite fighters of Jabal Mohsen, money kept flowing in.

In the most dire of situations therefore, in peace and in war, the Lebanese economy has always had a lifebuoy.

Furthermore, the Lebanese Government was able to receive international aide and grants, especially after major escalations. All up, in the so-called Paris 1, 2 and 3, together with the so-called Cedar 1 fundraisers, the plan was to provide Lebanon with USD 17 Bn to be provided according to a schedule that terminates in 2025. The fund providers were the EU, the USA and the Arab oil states. It is not clear how much has already been received.

The Lebanese people cannot see where these funds have gone to, and now the government has repayment commitments to make and which it cannot meet and this is public knowledge.

What is pertinent here, is that all war funds have now run dry, with the exception of the Iranian aid to Hezbollah. That aid however, never really had a significant effect on the economy in the past, and it is not expected to have one now either.

Gaddafi and Saddam are long gone, the Saudis are no longer in partnership with the Qataris, but neither party is sponsoring any warring entity in Lebanon at the moment. Hariri’s Saudi Oger giant construction company has gone bankrupt, and even though Saad Hariri is believed to have quarantined at least a billion dollars for himself, he has closed all charity organizations, electoral offices and payments to his loyal troops.

But this is not all, even the scheduled “legitimate” foreign aid has stopped, and that was before the recent street uprising.  https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/lebanon-to-receive-no-foreign-aid-before-government-is-formed-say-diplomats-1.8260216

The situation now is much more untenable for current PM Diab, because he knows that it would be pointless of him to even try to approach the well-financed Arab states seeking help, so he is not even trying.  https://www.mtv.com.lb/news/مــحــلــيــات/1022176/لماذا_يتريّث_دياب_في_طَرق_الأبواب_الخارجية؟

There is no doubt at all that all benefactors that have traditionally been assisting Lebanon are quite aware of the corruption and theft, and they must be growing sick and tired of being constantly asked to give more; especially that they know beforehand that their funds will be squandered. Ironically however, many of them did not worry about the fate of their funds when they were financing warring factions. Nonetheless, they are employing the issue of corruption to hold back on providing loans and finance to Lebanon.

For the first time in its history, neither the Lebanese people nor the political parties or government are receiving any lifeline funds.

To add insult to injury, Lebanese banks have implemented draconian measures to limit withdrawals. The figures have improved slightly, but the withdrawal limit is still around USD 200 a month. Even if one has millions invested, he/she has to stop at this limit. This includes businesses and as a result many employers have had to dismiss their workforce. As if this alone is not bad enough, it is preventing hundreds of thousands of Lebanese expats from sending money to their savings accounts and relatives at home. Expat money had always been one of the corner stones of Lebanese economy.

Any of the above factors can alone cripple the back of a country’s economy; let alone all combined. And even if Diab was clean as a whistle and willing and able to stamp out corruption and move forward, to say that he is not allowed to succeed is not a far-fetched statement to make. One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that the different economic strangleholds imposed currently on Lebanon did not line up accidently.

What does not meet the eye here is that Lebanese people are deliberately being squeezed into the corner of poverty, even starvation, so that they revolt. But the main target of inducing this anger is not to affect reform against corruption, but rather to inflame the anti-Hezbollah passion in order to disarm it and keep Israel safe from its rockets.

Because the Axis of Resistance has been victorious, corruption is now used by its enemies to cripple Lebanon economically in order to bring Hezbollah to its knees and provide Israel with it has not been able to achieve by force.

The big irony here, is that none of the politicians who are corrupt and have been named to have thieved from the public purse is a Hezbollah official. Admittedly though, Nabih Berri (leader of Amal) and Gibran Basil (son-in-law of President Aoun) have been named as highly corrupt, but they are allies of Hezbollah, not members; and there is a big difference. The list of corrupt officials however, includes virtually all officials from all traditional Lebanese parties and dynasties; not Hezbollah.

And even though protestors in the streets are demanding reform and the return of stolen funds and chanting out “Killon Yani Killon” (ie “all of them means all of them”), the anti-Hezbollah/Syria/Iran fervor is very specifically high on their agenda.

They have been playing videos showing thugs carrying Hezbollah flags and chanting Shiite slogans, attacking the peaceful demonstrators. If Hezbollah wanted to attack the demonstrators, would it be so unsavvy to carry flags? But ironically, no one questions the identity of those thugs and who is really behind them. Such videos are further inflaming the sentiments and the calls for disarming Hezbollah. This is exactly what Israel wants. This is social engineering 101, but some even moderate-thinking Lebanese are now reiterating that disarming Hezbollah is part-and-parcel of the reform needed.

Lebanon is not under any Western sanctions as such. It is under siege, a covert siege, a covert financial war against Hezbollah and the way out of it requires wisdom and diligence.

Egypt’s Former President Mubarak Died, He Shared Erdogan’s Hatred of Syria

February 25, 2020 Arabi Souri

Husni Mubarak Egypt former president

Former Egyptian President Husni Mubarak died today, he completed 91 years most of it betraying his country, Palestine, and most importantly betraying Syria. He was ousted by his people in early February 2011 in what was a genuine demand by the people that was used by the US in its Colored Revolutions project.

We only remember the former dictator for his bad deeds, we can’t find something in his career that can be remembered in a positive way, maybe positive for those who he was serving, but by the end of his days they didn’t reward him properly, on the contrary, they used him as one of the disposable cards in their hegemonic plans around the world, he’s just another pawn used by the US and betrayed by them when his services are no longer needed.

The purpose of this post is merely to highlight a previous post we’ve done here based on a testimony by a credible journalist who witnessed one of the very ugly betrayals of Mubarak during his life against Syria.

Husni Mahali, Turkish career journalist witnessed a meeting between Mubarak and former Turkish President Süleyman Demirel. The meeting was supposed to be held to mediate between Syria and Turkey at that time, and it was because of the Kurds.

Turkey reached in the year 1998 the height of its war, literal war, against its own people of Kurdish origins, those who only found refuge in Syria from a country known for their genocides and massacres. The Turks wanted the head of the Kurdish leader Ocalan who was hosted in Syria and amassed NATO’s 2nd largest army at Syria’s northern borders.

That time, Syria had a very bad enemy on its eastern borders, he was Saddam Hussein, had already a British satellite state Jordan in the south, Israel up halfway in Lebanon to its west and the last thing we needed was a Turkish invasion from the north. That time Russia was not even on the map and the Russians were struggling for their food, literally.

Here came Mubarak to mediate and his mediating was a betrayal for Syria to stand down at its northern borders while he instigated the Turks to invade Syria. The Turkish leadership that time were smart and were patriotic, they didn’t want a bloodbath in northern Syria, only they wanted to stop the PKK attacks. Once late Syrian President Hafez Assad allowed Ocalan to leave Syria the Turks stood down and didn’t listen to the instigations of their ally Mubarak that time.

Imagine if someone like the madman Erdogan was in charge of Turkey during those days!

Much details in the former post, to avoid repeating I invite you to check it in the following link and watch the video of Mr. Mahali detailing Mubarak’s ugly betrayal:

One of Mubarak’s Betrayal Attempts Against Syria (Revealed 2012)

We’re supposed to remember the dead with their good deeds only; if there’s anything good Mubarak did in his entire career was that he didn’t form armies of terrorists and send them all across the Arab world to help Israel, like what his anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood successor did, or like what the Turkish anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood madman is doing against Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Other than that he was a faithful servant for the Political Zionism project that controls the USA.

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