China Looks to the Arctic to Avoid Another Suez Slowdown “ناشونال انترست”: الصين تطلع إلى القطب الشمالي كممر بديل عن قناة السويس

لا تزال الملاحة في القطب الشمالي مقتصرة على كاسحات الجليد.
Navigation in the Arctic is still restricted to icebreakers.

Only time will tell if the Transpolar Route will pan out—if climate change and a shrinking polar ice cap will make this a truly viable maritime superhighway. But Beijing is betting it will.

by Andrew Latham

April 2, 2021 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2021-03-29T152423Z_2011726512_RC23LM97BH7Z_RTRMADP_3_EGYPT-SUEZCANAL-SHIP.JPG.jpg

As the events in the Suez Canal over the past week have reminded us, the world’s great sea lanes—the arteries through which flows the lifeblood of the global economy—are defined as much by chokepoints as by open waters. Some of these chokepoints are well known: the Panama Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Suez Canal itself. Others figure somewhat less prominently in our collective geographic imagination: the Strait of Molucca, the Turkish Straits, the Bab el-Mandeb or Gate of Tears, and the Lombok Strait. But make no mistake: whether well-known or not, choke points define the world’s seaway, and keeping those chokepoints unobstructed is a core interest of any nation that depends on seaborne trade for its wealth and wellbeing.

Again, as the events of the past week or so have made us keenly aware, accidental blockage of one of these chokepoints is an ever-present risk. There is always the possibility that a container ship or tanker will come to grief and obstruct one of the narrower choke points. But the real danger, the one that keeps both maritime insurance companies and naval strategic planners up at night, is the prospect of the purposeful closure of such choke points by military force, either during war or in conflicts short of war. These choke points can be pinched shut in times of conflict by mines, missiles, or blockades. This is much easier to do than controlling the high seas or denying access to those seas. And even the prospect of heightened tensions in places like the Strait of Hormuz can send maritime insurance rates skyrocketing. Should any of these vital passageways be closed due to a deliberate act of war, the geopolitical and economic consequences could be cataclysmic. And if they are closed by one party to a conflict at the expense of another.

It is against that backdrop that one must view the People’s Republic of China’s recent interest in the Arctic.

In January 2018, China introduced its Arctic Policy, which declared that China is a “Near Arctic” state. The document goes on to call for greater Chinese participation in “resource exploration and exploitation” in the region, and a greater role for China in regional forums. Beyond that document, China has also made clear that it envisions a greater role for the Chinese military in securing China’s polar interests. Simply put, China now sees itself as an active participant and major stakeholder in Arctic affairs. It also recognizes that it needs to develop the power projection capabilities—forces, basing infrastructure, etc.—that would enable it to fulfill its Arctic vocation.

The logic behind this new policy is twofold. On the one hand, there are considerable oil, natural gas, and other natural resources that are becoming increasingly accessible as the Arctic ice melts. Various studies, for example, show that the Arctic contains an estimated 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered fossil fuel resources, with perhaps 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas located beneath the region’s disputed international waters. And the region also contains considerable deposits of rare earth elements (REEs)—minerals essential to cutting-edge military, computing, and environmentally-friendly technologies, such as electric vehicles, wind power turbines, and solar panels. China sees both commercial and strategic opportunities in the Arctic and is positioning itself to exploit those opportunities.

On the other hand, and at least equally importantly, Beijing is interested in the Arctic because it offers a less vulnerable route to the European market. At the moment, the vast majority of China’s trade with the Middle East, Africa, and Europe must pass through at least two of the world’s maritime chokepoints. The route to the Persian Gulf involves transiting both the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Hormuz. Similarly, to sail from Shanghai to the Mediterranean, a ship must pass through the Strait of Malacca, the Gate of Tears, and the Suez Canal. At each of these chokepoints, transit can be denied by both hostile states and non-state actors.

Recognizing the strategic vulnerability inherent in this situation, Beijing has naturally begun seeking alternatives. One approach has been to invest in alternative overland trade routes through its Belt and Road Initiative. Another has been to build pipelines and transportation infrastructure linking the Pakistani port of Gwadar to Western China. And Beijing has aggressively courted the Panamanian government in order to secure Chinese access to the canal. China has even proposed building a canal through the Kra Isthmus in Thailand with the aim of bypassing the Straits of Molucca. Finally, Beijing has increased the size, capability, and reach of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and developed the “String of Pearls”—a network of Chinese military and commercial facilities extending from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan in the Horn of Africa—to support its efforts to keep Chinese maritime trade flowing across the Indo-Pacific region.

But perhaps the most ambitious approach has been to seek a route to Europe and onward that avoids all the major choke points from Shanghai to Piraeus, a route that is far less vulnerable to interdiction by hostile powers. This route, literally running across the top of the world, is the Transpolar or Trans-Arctic Route. Unlike the Northern Sea Route, another alternate Arctic passage that runs along Russia’s Arctic coastline and within Russian waters, the Transpolar Route is almost entirely in international waters. It runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean across the center of the Arctic Ocean, passing close to the North Pole. While currently navigable only by heavy icebreakers, and, therefore, not suited to commercial sea traffic, the shrinking of the polar ice cap means that by 2030 it will be passable by commercial vessels.

Such a route has compelling commercial advantages. For journeys between Europe and China, the Northern Sea Route can already be two to three weeks faster than the Suez Canal. By cutting straight across the Arctic, the Transpolar Route could save an additional two days. But it also offers something at least as important: the strategic advantage of not passing through any of the world’s major chokepoints.

Only time will tell if the Transpolar Route will pan out—if climate change and a shrinking polar ice cap will make this a truly viable maritime superhighway. But Beijing is betting it will. And the recent events in the Suez may well result in China doubling down on that bet.

Andrew Latham is a professor of political science at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota; and a Research Associate with the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Canada. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations and Strategic Studies.

Adaptedly translated into Arabic: Haitham Muzahim

“ناشونال انترست”: الصين تطلع إلى القطب الشمالي كممر بديل عن قناة السويس

الكاتب: أندرو لاثام

المصدر: ذا ناشونال انترست

تراهن بكين على أن تغيّر المناخ وتقلّص الغطاء الجليدي القطبي سيجعلان الطريق عبر القطب الشمالي طريقاً بحرياً سريعاً إلى أوروبا وما بعدها.

لا تزال الملاحة في القطب الشمالي مقتصرة على كاسحات الجليد.
لا تزال الملاحة في القطب الشمالي مقتصرة على كاسحات الجليد

كتب الأستاذ الجامعي والباحث الكندي أندرو لاثام مقالة في مجلة “ذا ناشونال انترست” الأميركية تناول فيها الأزمة الأخيرة في قناة السويس عندما سدّت سفينة شحن الممر المائي العالمي وعطلت مرور السفن التجارية لنحو أسبوع، كاشفاً أن الصين تفكر بممر مائي بديل عبر القطب الشمالي أقصر مسافة وأكثر أمناً، لتجارتها مع أوروبا والأميركيتين.

وقال الكاتب إن الأحداث التي وقعت في قناة السويس خلال الأسبوع الماضي، ذكّرتنا بأن الممرات البحرية الكبرى في العالم – الشرايين التي يتدفق من خلالها شريان الحياة للاقتصاد العالمي – يتم تحديدها من خلال نقاط الاختناق بقدر ما يتم تحديدها من خلال المياه المفتوحة. وأضاف أن بعض هذه الممرات معروفة جيداً على غرار قناة بنما، ومضيق جبل طارق، ومضيق هرمز، وقناة السويس نفسها. بينما ثمة ممرات أخرى أقل بروزاً في خيالنا الجغرافي الجماعي مثل مضيق ملوكا والمضيق التركي وباب المندب أو بوابة الدموع ومضيق لومبوك. 

وقال الكاتب إنه ينبغي ألا نخطئ سواء كانت هذه الممرات معروفة أم لا، فإن نقاط الاختناق تحدد ممر العالم البحري، والحفاظ على تلك النقاط الخانقة من دون عوائق هو مصلحة أساسية لأي دولة تعتمد على التجارة المنقولة بحراً من أجل ثروتها ورفاهيتها.

وأضاف أن أحداث الأسبوع الماضي جعلتنا ندرك جيداً أن الانسداد العرضي لإحدى نقاط الاختناق هذه يمثل خطراً دائماً. فهناك دائماً احتمال أن تتعطل سفينة أو ناقلة حاويات وتعيق إحدى نقاط الاختناق الأضيق. لكن الخطر الحقيقي، الذي يبقي شركات التأمين البحري والمخططين الاستراتيجيين البحريين مستيقظين في الليل، هو احتمال الإغلاق المتعمد لنقاط الاختناق هذه بالقوة العسكرية، إما أثناء الحرب أو في النزاعات من دون الحرب. إذ يمكن إغلاق نقاط الاختناق هذه في أوقات النزاع بواسطة الألغام أو الصواريخ أو الحصار. وهذا أسهل بكثير من السيطرة على أعالي البحار أو منع الوصول إلى تلك البحار. وحتى احتمال تصاعد التوترات في أماكن مثل مضيق هرمز يمكن أن يؤدي إلى ارتفاع شديد في أسعار التأمين البحري. وفي حالة إغلاق أي من هذه الممرات الحيوية بسبب عمل حربي متعمد، قد تكون العواقب الجيوسياسية والاقتصادية كارثية. 

خلفيات اهتمام الصين بالقطب الشمالي

ورأى الباحث أنه في ظل هذه الخلفية، يجب على المرء أن ينظر إلى الاهتمام الأخير لجمهورية الصين الشعبية بالقطب الشمالي. ففي كانون الثاني / يناير، قدمت الصين سياسة القطب الشمالي، والتي أعلنت فيها أن الصين دولة “بالقرب من القطب الشمالي”. وتدعو الوثيقة إلى مشاركة صينية أكبر في “استكشاف الموارد واستغلالها” في المنطقة، وإلى دور أكبر للصين في المنتديات الإقليمية الخاصة بالقطب. وإلى جانب تلك الوثيقة، أوضحت الصين كذلك أنها تتصور دورًا أكبر للجيش الصيني في تأمين المصالح القطبية للصين. وببساطة، ترى الصين نفسها الآن كمشارك نشط وصاحبة مصلحة رئيسية في شؤون القطب الشمالي. كما تدرك أنها بحاجة إلى تطوير قدراتها العسكرية، والبنية التحتية الأساسية، وما إلى ذلك والتي من شأنها أن تمكنها من الوفاء بمهمتها القطبية.

الموارد النفطية والمعدنية في القطب الشمالي

وأضاف الكاتب أن المنطق الكامن وراء هذه السياسة الصينية الجديدة ذو شقين. فهناك، من جهة، قدر كبير من النفط والغاز الطبيعي والموارد الطبيعية الأخرى التي يمكن الوصول إليها بشكل متزايد مع ذوبان الجليد في القطب الشمالي. وتظهر دراسات مختلفة أن القطب الشمالي يحتوي على ما يقدر بنحو 22 في المائة من موارد الوقود الأحفوري غير المكتشفة في العالم، مع ربما 90 مليار برميل من النفط و1670 تريليون قدم مكعب من الغاز الطبيعي، تقع تحت المياه الدولية المتنازع عليها في المنطقة. كما تحتوي المنطقة على رواسب كبيرة من العناصر الأرضية النادرة، وهي معادن ضرورية للتكنولوجيات العسكرية والحاسوبية والصديقة للبيئة المتطورة، مثل المركبات الكهربائية وتوربينات طاقة الرياح والألواح الشمسية. 

وترى الصين هذه الفرص التجارية والاستراتيجية في القطب الشمالي وهي تستعد لاستغلال تلك الفرص.

ومن جهة أخرى، وبنفس القدر من الأهمية على الأقل، تهتم بكين بالقطب الشمالي لأنه يقدم طريقاً أقل عرضة للخطر إلى السوق الأوروبية. في الوقت الحالي، يجب أن تمر الغالبية العظمى من تجارة الصين مع الشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا وأوروبا عبر اثنين على الأقل من الممرات البحرية في العالم. يشمل الطريق المؤدي إلى الخليج عبور كل من مضيق ملقا ومضيق هرمز. 

وللإبحار من مدينة شنغهاي الصينية إلى البحر الأبيض المتوسط​​، يجب أن تمر السفينة عبر مضيق ملقا وبوابة الدموع وقناة السويس. وفي كل من هذه النقاط الخانقة، يمكن أن تمنع كل من الدول المعادية والجهات الفاعلة غير الحكومية العبور.

وقال الكاتب إنه إدراكاً منها لهذا الضعف الاستراتيجي الموجود في هذا الوضع، بدأت بكين البحث عن بدائل. وكان أحد الأساليب هو الاستثمار في طرق التجارة البرية البديلة من خلال “مبادرة الحزام والطريق”. وكان الأسلوب الآخر هو بناء خطوط أنابيب وبنية تحتية للنقل تربط ميناء غوادر الباكستاني بغرب الصين.

كما دأبت بكين على التودد بقوة إلى الحكومة البنمية من أجل تأمين وصول الصين إلى القناة. واقترحت الصين حتى بناء قناة عبر كرا إيثموس في تايلاند بهدف تجاوز مضيق مولوكا. 

وأخيراً، زادت بكين حجم بحرية جيش التحرير الشعبي الصيني وقدراتها ووصولها وطورت “سلسلة اللآلئ” – وهي شبكة من المنشآت العسكرية والتجارية الصينية التي تمتد من البر الرئيسي الصيني إلى بورتسودان (في السودان) في القرن الأفريقي – لدعم جهودها للحفاظ على تدفق التجارة البحرية الصينية عبر منطقة المحيطين الهندي والهادئ.

البحث عن طريق أقصر وأضمن

وأضاف الباحث: قد يكون النهج الأكثر طموحاً هو البحث عن طريق إلى أوروبا وما بعدها يتجنب جميع نقاط الاختناق الرئيسية من شنغهاي إلى بيرايوس، وهو طريق أقل عرضة للاعتراض من قبل القوى المعادية. هذا الطريق، الذي يمتد عبر الجزء العلوي من العالم، هو طريق عبر القطب الشمالي. وعلى عكس طريق البحر الشمالي، وهو ممر قطبي بديل آخر، يمتد على طول ساحل القطب الشمالي لروسيا وداخل المياه الروسية، فإن الطريق العابر للقطب يقع بالكامل تقريباً في المياه الدولية. فهو يمتد من المحيط الأطلسي إلى المحيط الهادئ عبر وسط المحيط المتجمد الشمالي، ويمر بالقرب من القطب الشمالي. وفي حين أن الغطاء الجليدي القطبي لا يمكن ملاحته حاليًا إلا بواسطة كاسحات الجليد الثقيلة، وبالتالي فهو غير مناسب لحركة الملاحة البحرية التجارية، فإن تقلّص الغطاء الجليدي القطبي بحلول عام 2030 سيكون الطريق سالكاً للسفن التجارية.

وتابع أندرو لاثام يقول: مثل هذا الطريق له مزايا تجارية مقنعة. فيمكن أن يكون طريق بحر الشمال للرحلات بين أوروبا والصين، أسرع من قناة السويس بأسبوعين إلى ثلاثة أسابيع. ومن خلال قطع القطب الشمالي مباشرة، يمكن أن يوفر الطريق العابر للقطب يومين إضافيين. كما أن هذا الطريق يقدم شيئاً آخر بنفس الأهمية وهو الميزة الإستراتيجية المتمثلة في عدم المرور عبر أي من نقاط الاختناق الرئيسية في العالم.

وختم الكاتب قائلاً: إن الوقت فقط سيحدد ما إذا تغيّر المناخ وتقلّص الغطاء الجليدي القطبي سيجعلانه طريقاً بحرياً سريعاً قابلاً للتطبيق. لكن بكين تراهن على أنها ستفعل ذلك. وقد تؤدي الأحداث الأخيرة في السويس إلى أن تضاعف الصين رهانها هذا.

*أندرو لاثام أستاذ العلوم السياسية بكلية ماكالستر في سانت بول، مينيسوتا، وهو باحث مشارك في مركز دراسات الدفاع والأمن في كندا. 

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

Iran engages in defensive ops facing Trump’s unpredictable final days

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

December 28, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

When it comes to sowing – and profiting – from division, Erdogan’s Turkey is quite the superstar.

Under the delightfully named Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration duly slapped sanctions on Ankara for daring to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems. The sanctions focused on Turkey’s defence procurement agency, the SSB.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s response was swift: Ankara won’t back down – and it is in fact mulling how to respond.

The European poodles inevitably had to provide the follow-up. So after the proverbial, interminable debate in Brussels, they settled for “limited” sanctions – adding a further list for a summit in March 2021. Yet these sanctions actually focus on as-yet unidentified individuals involved in offshore drilling in Cyprus and Greece. They have nothing to do with S-400s.

What the EU has come up with is in fact a very ambitious, global human-rights sanctions regime modeled after the US’s Magnitsky Act. That implies travel bans and asset freezes of people unilaterally considered responsible for genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.

Turkey, in this case, is just a guinea pig. The EU always hesitates mightily when it comes to sanctioning a NATO member. What the Eurocrats in Brussels really want is an extra, powerful tool to harass mostly China and Russia.

Our jihadis, sorry, “moderate rebels”

What’s fascinating is that Ankara under Erdogan always seems to be exhibiting a sort of “devil may care” attitude.

Take the seemingly insoluble situation in the Idlib cauldron in northwest Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria – honchos are now involved in “secret” negotiations with Turkish-backed armed gangs, such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya, right in front of Turkish officials. The objective: to boost the number of jihadis concentrated in certain key areas. The bottom line: a large number of these will come from Jabhat al-Nusra.

So Ankara for all practical purposes remains fully behind hardcore jihadis in northwest Syria – disguised under the “innocent” brand Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara has absolutely no interest in letting these people disappear. Moscow, of course, is fully aware of these shenanigans, but wily Kremlin and Defence Ministry strategists prefer to let it roll for the time being, assuming the Astana process shared by Russia, Iran and Turkey can be somewhat fruitful.

Erdogan, at the same time, masterfully plays the impression that he’s totally involved in pivoting towards Moscow. He’s effusive that “his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin” supports the idea – initially tabled by Azerbaijan – of a regional security platform uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Erdogan even said that if Yerevan is part of this mechanism, “a new page may be opened” in so far intractable Turkey-Armenia relations.

It will help, of course, that even under Putin pre-eminence, Erdogan will have a very important seat at the table of this putative security organization.

The Big Picture is even more fascinating – because it lays out various aspects of Putin’s Eurasia balancing strategy, which involves as main players Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the assassination of Gen Soleimani, Tehran is far from cowed and “isolated”. For all practical purposes, it is slowly but surely forcing the US out of Iraq. Iran’s diplomatic and military links to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon remain solid.

And with less US troops in Afghanistan, the fact is Iran for the first time since the “axis of evil” era will be less surrounded by the Pentagon. Both Russia and China – the key nodes of Eurasia integration – fully approve it.

Of course the Iranian rial has collapsed against the US dollar, and oil income has fallen from over $100 billion a year to something like $7 billion. But non-oil exports are going well over $30 billion a year.

All is about to change for the better. Iran is building an ultra-strategic pipeline from the eastern part of the Persian Gulf to the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman – bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, and ready to export up to 1 million barrels of oil a day. China will be the top customer.

President Rouhani said the pipeline will be ready by the summer of 2021, adding that Iran plans to be selling over 2.3 million barrels of oil a day next year – with or without US sanctions alleviated by Biden-Harris.

Watch the Golden Ring

Iran is well linked to Turkey to the west and Central Asia to the east. An extra important element in the chessboard is the entrance of freight trains directly linking Turkey to China via Central Asia -bypassing Russia.

Earlier this month, the first freight train left Istanbul for a 8,693 km, 12-day trip, crossing below the Bosphorus via the brand new Marmary tunnel, inaugurated a year ago, then along the East-West Middle Corridor via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, across Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

In Turkey this is known as the Silk Railway. It was the BTK that reduced freight transport from Turkey to China from one month to only 12 days. The whole route from East Asia to Western Europe can now be travelled in only 18 days. BTK is the key node of the so-called Middle Corridor from Beijing to London and the Iron Silk Road from Kazakhstan to Turkey.

All of the above totally fits the EU’s agenda – especially Germany’s: implementing a strategic trade corridor linking the EU to China, bypassing Russia.

This would eventually lead to one of the key alliances to be consolidated in the Raging Twenties: Berlin-Beijing.

To speed up this putative alliance, the talk in Brussels is that Eurocrats would profit from Turkmen nationalism, pan-Turkism and the recent entente cordiale between Erdogan and Xi when it comes to the Uighurs. But there’s a problem: many a turcophone tribe prefers an alliance with Russia.

Moreover, Russia is inescapable when it comes to other corridors. Take, for instance, a flow of Japanese goods going to Vladivostok and then via the Trans-Siberian to Moscow and onwards to the EU.

The bypass-Russia EU strategy was not exactly a hit in Armenia-Azerbaijan: what we had was a relative Turkey retreat and a de facto Russian victory, with Moscow reinforcing its military position in the Caucasus.

Enter an even more interesting gambit: the Azerbaijan-Pakistan strategic partnership, now on overdrive in trade, defence, energy, science and technology, and agriculture. Islamabad, incidentally, supported Baku on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan have very good relations with Turkey: a matter of very complex, interlocking Turk-Persian cultural heritage.

And they may get even closer, with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) increasingly connecting not only Islamabad to Baku but also both to Moscow.

Thus the extra dimension of the new security mechanism proposed by Baku uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia: all the Top Four here want closer ties with Pakistan.

Analyst Andrew Korybko has neatly dubbed it the “Golden Ring” – a new dimension to Central Eurasian integration featuring Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the central Asian “stans”. So this all goes way beyond a possible Triple Entente: Berlin-Ankara-Beijing.

What’s certain as it stands is that the all-important Berlin-Moscow relationship is bound to remain as cold as ice. Norwegian analyst Glenn Diesen summed it all up: “The German-Russian partnership for Greater Europe was replaced with the Chinese-Russian partnership for Greater Eurasia”.

What’s also certain is that Erdogan, a master of pivoting, will find ways to simultaneously profit from both Germany and Russia.

US Nuclear Submarine Sails into Gulf, ‘Israel’ Sends Own Sub through Suez Canal

US Nuclear Submarine Sails into Gulf, ‘Israel’ Sends Own Sub through Suez Canal

By Staff, Agencies

A nuclear-powered US submarine has passed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf in an apparent attempt to provoke Iran, while an ‘Israeli’ sub reportedly made a similar excursion into the Red Sea.

The USS Georgia [SSGN-729] is an Ohio-class nuclear-powered sub carrying, not ballistic nuclear warheads, but up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles – or as many as 66 special operatives, the Navy pointed out on Monday, announcing the boat’s transit into the “Arabian Gulf,” as the US calls the body of water.

The Georgia was escorted by the guided missile cruisers USS Port Royal [CG 73] and USS Philippine Sea [CG 58], and made the transit on Sunday, the Navy announced a day later. It was only the second such acknowledgment in eight years.

Following the announcement, ‘Israeli’ public broadcaster Kan reported on Monday evening that one of the Zionist entity’s submarines transited the Suez Canal last week, with Egypt’s approval. However, the Kan report cited “Arab intelligence sources” while the ‘Israeli’ military officially declined to comment.

The naval demonstrations come in the wake of last month’s assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior scientist who led Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has blamed the Zionist entity for the murder.

The US Central Command [CENTCOM] commander, General Kenneth McKenzie, is currently visiting the Middle East, though his exact whereabouts have not been revealed. Earlier this month, the US sent two nuclear-capable bombers to the region in another “message” to Tehran, citing unspecified reports of a potential threat of attacks.

The Strait of Hormuz is heavily patrolled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] ships, which has led to stand-offs with US naval forces operating in the area in the past. The anniversary of the US drone attack that killed IRGC commander General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad in January is also fast approaching.

غواصّة هجومية أميركية في الخليج وتزويد الكيان بغوّاصات تحمل رؤوساً نووية..

توجهت غواصة هجومية أميركية ومدمرتين تابعتين للبحرية الأميركية إلى الخليج العربي، وفي هذا الصدد، أعلنت البحرية الأميركية في بيان لها، أن غواصة «يو أس أس جورجيا» يمكن تزويدها بـ154 صاروخ توماهوك، وقادرة على نقل 66 عنصراً من القوات الخاصة». وأرفق البيان بصور تظهر الغواصة وهي تطفو على سطح البحر يواكبها طراداً «يو أس أس بورت رويال» و»يو أس أس فيليبين سي» في هذا المضيق الاستراتيجي، الذي تهدّد إيران بانتظام بإغلاقه.

وشدّدّ سلاح البحرية الأميركية على أنّ «وجود الغواصة في المنطقة يظهر تعهد الولايات المتحدة (…) بضمان أمن الممرات البحرية، بفضل قدرات واسعة تسمح لها بأن تكون على أهبة الاستعداد للدفاع عن نفسها ضد أي هجوم في أي لحظة».

وجدير بالذكر أنّ البحرية الأميركية عادة، لا تكشف عن مواقع غواصاتها في العالم.

فيما كشفت القناة 11 العبرية، نقلاً عن مصادر استخباراتيّة عربية، أنّ «إسرائيل أرسلت غواصة باتجاه إيران، عبر قناة السويس بتصريح مصري، وذلك لإرسال رسالة إلى طهران، وأشار مراسل الشؤون العربيّة، روعي كييس في تقريره إلى أنّ الجيش الإسرائيليّ رفض التعقيب على الخبر».

من ناحيتها، قالت صحيفة «إسرائيل اليوم» إنّ «الغواصة كانت تسير فوق الماء علانية، وعبرت إلى البحر الأحمر من قناة السويس بتصريح مصري»، لافتةً في الوقت ذاته إلى أنّ «غواصة هجومية أميركية ومدمرتين تابعتين للبحرية الأميركية اتجهت إلى الخليج، في رسالة أيضاً بأنّ واشنطن مستعدة لأي عمل في المنطقة».

ويأتي الكشف عن الغواصات «الإسرائيليّة» والأميركيّة في الخليج، بعد ساعاتٍ من تهديد الجنرال أفيف كوخافي رئيس أركان جيش الاحتلال إيران بـ»دفع ثمن باهظ في حال فكرت في مهاجمة أيّ أهداف إسرائيليّة»، ونقلت صحيفة (هآرتس) عنه قوله مساء أول أمس الإثنين إنّه «في حال نفذت إيران أو حلفائها تهديداتها سواء من جبهات قريبة أو بعيدة، فإنهم سيدفعون ثمناً باهظاً جداً».

وأضاف: «سنهاجم بكل قوة من يكون شريكاً بشكل جزئي أو كامل، كان قريباً أو بعيداً، في أي عمل ضدّ إسرائيل أو ضدّ أيّ أهداف إسرائيلية»، مشيراً إلى أنّ «الجيش مستعد للتعامل مع أي سيناريوهات ولديه خطط جاهزة لذلك».

ومن الجدير بالذكر، أنّ مجلة دير شبيغل الألمانية كانت نشرت تقريراً مُفصلاً عن مساعي التطوير الحثيثة في سلاح البحرية الإسرائيليّ والذي يُراد له أن يُصبح ذراعاً استراتيجية بعيدة المدى.

وكشفت المجلة في التقرير الذي استهلته بالتأكيد على أن «دولة الاحتلال تواصل العمل بهدوء بغية التحول إلى دولة غواصات بحرية عظمى»، أنّ «سلاح البحرية الإسرائيليّ تسلم رابع غواصة من طراز دولفين (غواصات دولفين تُصنع في ألمانيا تبلغ حمولتها 1550 طناً، تعمل بمحرك ديزل–كهربائي، يمكن تجهيزها لتحمل صواريخاً نووية) وأدخلها الخدمة تحت اسم (أحي تنين)».

ووصفت دير شبيغل عملية تسلح دولة الاحتلال بهذه الغواصات بأنها «عملية امتلاك مخزن نووي متحرك وخفي ينقذ دولة الاحتلال في حال تعرضها لهجوم نووي تعجز عن الرد عليه برياً»، كما نشرت صحيفة (يديعوت أحرونوت) تقريراً مُفصلاً عن الغواصة سابقة الذكر «أحي تنين» لفتت فيه إلى أنّ «الغواصة المذكورة والتي تربض في القاعدة البحرية بميناء حيفا ستتحول إلى غواصة عملياتية قريباً ما يعني أنّ سلاح البحرية الإسرائيليّ يتطوّر بقفزات نوعية في مجال الكشف عن الاتصالات والقتال والقدرة على المكوث تحت الماء بفضل أنظمة غير مرتبطة بالجو الخارجي».

يُشار إلى أنّ ألمانيا تقوم بتزويد «إسرائيل» بالغواصّات الأكثر تطوراً، والقادرة على حمل رؤوسٍ نوويّةٍ.

وفي هذا السياق، كان الجنرال المسؤول عن تفعيل الغواصات في سلاح البحريّة «الإسرائيليّ»، والذي لا يُسمح بنشر اسمه، قال إنّ «الغواصّة الجديدة هي آلية معقدّة ومُركبّة جداً، وبالتالي نحتاج إلى مقاتلين أكفاء لكي يقوموا بتفعيلها»، لافتاً إلى أنّه «في السنة الماضية قامت الغواصات بتنفيذ العديد من العمليات المُعقدّة، وبناءً على ذلك، حصلت على وسام الشرف من قائد البحريّة الإسرائيليّة»، على حدّ قوله.

جدير بالذكر في هذا السياق، أن هذه الغواصة تتمتع، بحسب التصريحات الأمنية «الإسرائيلية»، بـ»القدرة على إطلاق صواريخ موجهة تحمل رؤوساً نووية، وبكونها تُشكّل مركباً أساسياً في إستراتيجية الضربة الثانية للجيش الإسرائيليّ، في حال تلقّت إسرائيل ضربة ذريّة، بحيث تتوفّر لها القدرة على توجيه ضربةٍ مضادّةٍ».

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Expert explains Yemen’s global strategic value & why US/Saudis want it



An expert on Yemen, Hassan Shaaban, explains the global strategic importance of Yemen and its Bab al-Mandeb waterway, and thus underlines the motives of the American-Saudi military campaign in the impoverished country.

Source: Al-Manar TV via Kalam Siyasi (YouTube Channel)

Date: Oct 25, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)


Hassan Shaaban, Expert in Yemeni Affairs:

Ever since the bourgeoisie – which originated in Europe right after the fall of the feudal system – decided to colonize the (rest of the) world; extract its wealth; gain control over its (natural) resources; and turn its people into consuming animals; ever since that moment, the Western political psyche, which believes in power-based realism, has come to target every country that stands in its way, and every country that has any degree of influence.

Yemen is situated here, (next to) the Bab al-Mandeb (Strait). (This Strait) is located in a (strategically) vital region. 60% of Europe’s energy supply and one eighth of the global economy flows through (it). Millions of barrels of oil pass through (Bab al-Mandeb) every day.

You are talking about a country that has a grip over (the movement of trade) anywhere in the world, in any region of the world. (For that same reason), the British dug the Suez Canal to form a (direct shipping) route to India and Asia.

Well, Bab al-Mandab is naturally created by God. Britain paid a fortune to build the Suez Canal, and Egypt sacrificed the lives of thousands of its people who died during its construction. (Thus, imagine) how much (the West) is willing to sacrifice to (gain control over) Bab al-Mandeb?

Which (countries) are located near the Bab al-Mandab (Strait). What countries border this (connecting) canal and this line that links Bab al-Mandab to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea?

(First, there is) Saudi Arabia, the Arab Zionist entity that mirrors the Israeli Zionist entity and has a significant influence (in the region).


We will talk about the benefits that Saudi Arabia (would gain from controlling the Strait)…


(Second), there is Egypt, historically the oldest and most powerful Arab state. Third, we have Sudan, the richest (in natural resources) and the largest country at some point in history.


The country that was split, they managed to partition it…


And here (pointing to the location on the map) are Eritrea, Ethiopia – which used to border the Red Sea – Somalia and Djibouti..

Well, what is there in the Red Sea? Go back to what (Israeli) Zionists have written about the significance of this Sea. Did you know – I am  sure you do – that Eilat (a port city), known as “Umm Al-Rashrash” (in Arabic), is Israel’s only maritime outlet towards Asia? Linking (Israel) to the Red Sea – or as some Israeli strategists call it, “Lake David”, this outlet is vital for the survival of the (Israeli) Zionist entity.


Look at the incredible location of Yemen. The Yemeni coastline stretches for around 1,900 miles, equivalent to 2,400 or 2,500 km along the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.  


That is 2,500 km along the two seas.


Yes, (equivalent to) around 1,900 miles.

Did you know that successive Yemeni governments did not form a naval military power despite the important and strategic location of Yemen along the sea?


What is the reason for that? Why?


The reason goes back to Yemeni political decision-making…


(Decision-making) controlled by the US?…


(Nods his head) (The absence of a naval force) was an order. When the martyr Yemeni president Ibrahim al-Hamdi came to power in the 1970s, when he started planning and called a conference to discuss the security of the Red Sea, he was assassinated, he was murdered. And the party responsible for the assassination was Saudi Arabia.

The vital location (of Yemen) is significantly important for the colonially-created Gulf entities , and for the (Israeli) Zionist entity, which represents probably the West’s largest global investment. (Yemen) overlooks all of Asia all the way to China, and has this huge region (east Africa) within its reach. (In other words), (Yemen) is (in the region) where Asia and Africa meet. This is where Yemen is located.


Do you mean that having control over the Bab al-Mandeb (Strait) is equivalent to having control over global trade (between) continents?


Yes. It (also) means having control over the strait classified as the third most important worldwide.


What does the control over the Bab al-Mandeb Strait mean?


As you have just mentioned in the report, having control over the Bab al-Mandab (Strait) means having control over the movement of the world’s economy, global oil transportation, and the route connecting Europe to India and China, and thereby to Asia. Even if we turn the opposite way, and focus on China and the port that it is trying to build in Pakistan in order to extend its maritime reach, (we will see that…)


(…that the route) will pass through Yemen and the (Bab al-Mandeb) Strait.


It is a must. (China’s) “Belt and Road Initiative” passes through (the Strait).


China’s strategic project will only be completed if…


(If) it goes through Bab al-Mandeb. Let me tell you something about Bab al-Mandeb. If you zoom in on it, you will see an island that divides it into…


(into) two channels…


Exactly. The first (channel) is next to Djibouti, and is not suitable for deep-sea shipping. The other (channel) is about 12 km (in width) on the Yemeni (side). Yes, it is subject to international law, but it falls under Yemen’s sovereignty. (Not to mention that) it is the only channel (among the two) that is navigable. Therefore, what you called the bottleneck is the Yemeni (side of) Bab al-Mandeb.


The Yemeni (Bab al-Mandeb) not the Djiboutian for example..


Exactly. Accordingly, if you also take into account (the importance of) Socotra and the group of islands. For example, look, roughly in this region, above Bab al-Mandab, there are groups of islands such as Zuqar, Perim and Hanish. In fact, the Hanish Islands have always been under dispute between Eritrea and Yemen. A confrontation (between the two countries) took place in the nineties because of this issue. The mountain in Zuqar Island rises to 600 meters, or approximately 624 meters. Do you know what this means?


It means that it overlooks the whole region..


What if I told you that there are Israeli military bases in Eritrea? There are corvettes and naval vessels navigating in the Red Sea. They are docked at Eretria. What if I told you that there is a French military base in Djibouti, and an American military presence as well?


There is also a Chinese military base in Djibouti.


I am going get to that (topic). Djibouti was established only to be rented like hotel. The US, Israel and other countries maintain (military) presences in Somalia. If you go up towards Sudan, you would notice that the Turks recently entered the sea area. The whole world is fighting over this area.

Then in 2014, the Yemenis, despite all that we have talked about, started a revolution, i.e. the revolution of September 21, 2014 under the leadership of Sayyed Abdulmalik Badr al-Din al-Houthi. Sayyed Abdulmalik, who forms (a strong) leadership, project and vision said: “Yemen will not be divided into regions”. Notice that after they (Saudi-led coalition) divided Mahra, Socotra, Abyan – I think – and Hadramout, (Ansarullah) brought them together as one region. In other words, Saudi Arabia wanted (to gain control over) some regions. However, this great Yemeni leader (Sayyed Abdulmalik) came and said: “we will not allow this”.  Saudi Arabia said…


The question we are seeking to answer is: “why did they wage a war (on Yemen)? Why did they start an aggression against Yemen?”


Yes. Saudi Arabia said that it wants to (build) an oil pipeline that will pass through here. Furthermore, a Saudi magazine once wrote about (building) a marine channel that will also pass through Hadramout, thus connecting Saudi Arabia to the Arabian Sea. Here is the Indian Ocean and here is the Arabian Sea. What is the idea? Saudi Arabia, and others parties hiding behind it, want to avoid (the Strait of) Hormuz (controlled by) Iran, the great power that they cannot clash with. The solution for (Saudi Arabia) is to flee to the South (to Bab al-Mandeb).

Therefore, unlike what the (Saudis) say, their war in Yemen is not a war against Iran, it is a war to get away from Iran’s influence over the Strait of Hormuz. But unfortunately for them, there is a large force in Yemen called “Ansarullah”, a force with national vision unlike what they try to portray. (Ansarullah forces) have a Yemeni national project. They want to preserve the unity (in Yemen), the unity that the Emirates wants to destroy by dividing (the country). We can get into more details (about that) later. The Yemeni revolution led by Sayyed Abdulmalik gained influence and control over Ma’rib and the channels that we talked about, and thereby saying that “Yemen will not be any country’s backyard”. Yemen is not a territory that anyone can manipulate. It is an independent, sovereign state that has policies, that has the right to be present in this strategic region of the world.

How did (Saudi Arabia and its allies) perceive this issue? They believe that these Yemeni forces (Ansarullah), in one way or another, serve the interest of the Islamic Republic (of Iran) because they do not support America, they do not support Israel, nor are they tools like the (leaders who governed) before the (2014) revolution, before Sayyed Abdulmalik, before Sayyed Hussein’s project, the Quranic project based on the Quranic path.  They are not tools. They are not venal. They do not accept bribes as did many politicians who historically controlled Yemen’s political decision-making.

They will not be assassinated like they assassinated the martyr (President Ibrahim) al-Hamdi, even if they assassinated Sayyed Hussein (al-Houthi). The assassin of Sayyed Hussein got the order directly from these countries (Saudi Arabia and its allies), (who ordered the killing) of Sayyed Hussein because he chanted the slogan: “Death to America, Death to Israel”. What does “Death to America, Death to Israel “mean? (It means) death to the interests of those (who govern) this region of the world, death to their entities in this region of the world, death to their policy in this region of the world, and life to Yemen.

When Sayyed (Hussein al-Houthi) came up with the strategic slogan of Ansarullah, i.e. “Victory to Islam”, (he meant) the Islam that represents the identity and the independence of a nation. Yes, in this case, Yemen with its (strategic) geographical location and its rich history turned into a strategic political project. (Therefore,) it was necessary for (Saudi Arabia and its allies) to wage a war, to start this aggression. It was necessary for them to do what they are currently doing.


It was also a must for Ansarullah to fight them.


(They fought) in defense (against the Saudi aggression)


We will show the outcomes of the (Saudi) aggression (on Yemen) in a quick report, then we will continue…


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When exactly did the AngloZionist Empire collapse?

“”the exact moment when the Empire collapsed: 8 January 2020. What happened that day? Following the murder of Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack (on the 3 of January 2020) the Iranians retaliated by using missiles to attack several US bases in Iraq.” The Saker


When exactly did the AngloZionist Empire collapse?

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

I remember one evening in distant 1991, I was sitting with a few friends in the SAIS cafeteria discussing the future of the United States with a few very smart students, including a Pakistani Army Colonel, a US captain who served on aircraft carriers and a Spanish diplomat: we all agreed that “the system” was perfect, so to speak, and that the US would only collapse if a strong external shock would hit it hard. We all agreed that the combination of the best propaganda machine in history, the stupidification resulting from many daily hours of watching the Idiot Tube and, finally, a very effective repression apparatus made for a quasi perfect dictatorship: the one which only gives the illusion of democracy and people power.

Years later, in 2017, I read by J.M. Greer’s brilliant book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” which I later reviewed here. I would say that this book is one of the best one written on the topic of a future US collapse, even though this is a (very well written) fiction book because it brilliantly illustrates the kind of mindset which can get a supposed superpower in a very bad situation.

To me, this all made perfect sense, but only because I, and my SAIS friends, never even considered the possibility that the US Nomenklatura would commit national suicide and, in the process, bring down the AngloZionist Empire.

Yet this is exactly what happened.

So when did all this begin?

There are many possible answers to this question. Some say with the murder of Kennedy. Others point to Clinton, whose Presidency inaugurated a policy of armed imperialism all over the planet; this administration was also the first one to witness a major “coming out” of the Neocons (many of which had already infiltrated the GOP during Reagan). Then there is 9/11 with the subsequent GWOT. As I said, these are all valid candidates, and there are many more.

My personal view is that the main initiation of collapse was under Barack Obama, a truly exceptionally weak President who would have made an absolutely terrific used cars salesman, but who as a President lost control of his own country and even his own administration. It was under Obama that we saw the vacuum at the top resulting in various agencies (DoS, DoD, CIA, Pentagon, etc.) all developing their own “foreign policies” which resulted in total chaos on the foreign policy front. Needless to say, having harpies such as Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice or Samantha Power involved did not help!

What is it with western women which makes them become even more bellicose than men when they reach a position of power?! Looking at women like Thatcher or Hillary, I wonder if these women are not carefully selected precisely for their nasty character and need to prove themselves as “equal” to men by being even more nasty and murderous than male politicians…

Since his election, it has become very popular to blame Donald Trump for everything which went wrong under his Presidency and, indeed, there is much which ought to be blamed on him. But what so many people overlook is that almost everything which went wrong under Trump began with Obama! When Trumps says that he inherited an awful mess, he is absolutely correct. Not that this absolves him from his own contribution to chaos and collapse!

And, in truth, the biggest difference between Obama and Trump, is that Trump did not start any real wars. Yes, he did threaten a lot of countries with military attacks (itself a crime under international law), but he never actually gave the go ahead to meaningfully attack (he only tried some highly symbolic and totally ineffective strikes in Syria). I repeat – the man was one of the very few US Presidents who did not commit the crime of aggression, the highest possible crime under international law, above crimes against humanity or even genocide, because the crime of aggression “contains within itself the accumulated evil”, to use the words words of the chief US prosecutor at Nuremberg and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Robert H. Jackson. I submit that just for this reason alone any decent person should choose him over Biden (who himself is just a front for “President” Harris and a puppet of the Clinton gang). Either that, or don’t vote at all if your conscience does not allow you to vote for Trump. But voting Biden is unthinkable for any honest person, at least in my humble opinion.

In the Trump years something absolutely amazing happened: while Trump and his administration were busy destroying the Empire externally, the Dems put all the energy and resources into destroying Trump. However, to paraphrase a quote by the Russian author Zinoviev, “they targeted at Trump but they hit the United States” (Zinoviev’s quote was about the putative anti-Soviets: “Метили в коммунизм, а попали в Россию” which can be translated as “they were aiming at Communism, but they hit Russia”).

What took place next was precisely what my SAIS friends and I could never have imagined: the US ruling elites committed collective suicide.

Suicide is typically executed in three phases: decision to commit suicide, the act of suicide itself, and then death. If we accept that the decision to engage in behavior which can only be described as suicidal was taken sometime during the Obama years, then this begs the question of where we are now. In other words, has the Empire already died or is it still only in agony?

I was asking myself that question the other day when I suddenly realized that I might have determined the exact moment when the Empire collapsed: 8 January 2020.

What happened that day?

Following the murder of Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack (on the 3 of January 2020) the Iranians retaliated by using missiles to attack several US bases in Iraq. According to the US side, there were only minor injuries, which is very likely since the Iranians warned the US by several backdoor channels what they were planning on doing. This argument was used by Trump and his supporters to say that the Iranian reaction was lame, ineffective and could be completely ignored.

In my opinion, the moment when the Trump Administration made this statement is when the death certificate of the Empire was signed. Why?

First, the low number of US casualties (probably higher than the official one, US troops were evacuated and treated in several countries) is due to only to the fact that Iranians are superb strategists: they realized that killing a lot of US soldiers would force Trump to strongly retaliate, so they chose not to kill them. Instead, they put a gun to their collective heads. How?

Think about it: the Iranian counter-strike showed the entire world something which most people did not realize: Iranian missiles (ballistic and cruise) were much more accurate than previously thought. In fact, they clearly have some form of terminal guidance. Simply put, the Iranians have proven that they can very precisely, deliver a warhead of several hundred pounds of high explosives pretty much anywhere in the Middle East. To give you a visual idea of their current coverage check out this page.

This bears repeating: the Iranians have now proven that they can place several hundred pounds of high explosives anywhere in the Middle-East with a CEP of about 3-5 meters!

Remember the Khobar Towers bombing? Yes, this was a truck bomb with much more explosives than a missile can carry (by at least an order of magnitude), but that truck was also parked far away from the towers! Yet just under 500 people died that day.

There are plenty of similar US military installations in the Middle-East, many buildings housing hundreds of US servicemen. Just imagine what would have happened if the Iranians had decided to take out as many lives as possible and placed a couple of their missiles right on top of, say, 10 such facilities – just imagine the cost in lives!

But the Iranians are smart, and they chose a much wiser course of action: they used their missiles essentially to kick Uncle Shmuel where it hurts, but they mainly demonstrated their ability to create thousands of US casualties in just a few minutes.

Obviously, another, now undeniable, Iranian capability is the ability to instantly destroy any gas/oil facility in the region: wells, processing facilities, terminals – you name it: if it is important and expensive, the Iranians can destroy it.

The Iranians also have the ability to close down the Strait of Hormuz and even to attack USN ships, possibly including carriers.

Last, but certainly not least, this now proven Iranian capability puts every government building in danger, along with any crucial facility (Dimona anybody?).

At this point of the conversation all the well-propagandized flag-waving morons will immediately stand up and declare something along these lines:

“So what?! If these sand-niggers cross the line they know that we can massively bomb them! Heck, we can even nuke them and send them back to the stone age! Let them try and they will see what the wrath of the most powerful nation on earth, with the most formidable military in history, can do to a bunch of semi-literate peasants, LOL! Let see if their “Allah” will save them!”

Apart from all the ignorant cliches typically spewed by this crowd, there is a major analytical error underlying this “logic” (I use the term generously): the Iranians have lived with this threat since 1979 and they are used to it. Not only that, but they know for a fact that these are empty threats. Oh sure, the US can do to Iran what “Israel” did to Lebanon in the course of the “Divine Victory” war of 2006, or what NATO has done to Serbia during the Kosovo war (1998-1999): kill civilians and destroy the country’s infrastructure to punish these civilians for supporting the “wrong” (i.e. not US approved) government. But if Uncle Shmuel does to Iran what Israel did to Lebanon, the result will be the same: the Iranians will rebuild (they are very good at that) and they will bounce back twice as strong. As for their martyrs, the more there will be, the stronger the Iranian people’s resistance (check this article written by an Iranian scholar in excellent English explaining the roots of the unique ethos of Shia Islam).

Last, but also not least, the US Presidents and their aides are quite aware of the current state of the US military: it is a military which simply cannot win even simple conflicts, a military hopelessly gutted by insane liberal ideologies, a military whose entire surface fleet has been made obsolete by hypersonic missiles (which the Iranians also seem to be working on!) and a military whose Air Force spent absolutely obscene amounts of money to create a supposedly “5th generation” fighter which in many ways is inferior to US 4th generation aircraft!

This begs the question of what still works in the US military. In my opinion, the US submarine fleet is still very powerful, and the US nuclear deterrence posture is still solid. Other than that? Meh…

Bottom line: the arguments that the US did not retaliate because it did not care, or that it does not care because “we can nuke them” are typically civilian nonsense which have no connection whatsoever to the real world (just imagine the political consequences for the already highly unpopular US following a nuclear strike, especially on a non-nuclear country!)

Okay, but then why did the US not retaliate?

Simply put, because Uncle Shmuel does not have what it takes to take on Iran. Heck, Uncle Shmuel can’t even take on Venezuela (!), which is an extremely weakened country right on the US’s door step. Frankly, if this or the next President decides that the US needs to “pick up a crappy little country and throw it against a wall just to prove we are serious” then I recommend Grenada. I know, Grenada was basically undefended in 1983 (mainly by a few lightly armed Cuban engineers) and it took the 82nd airborne to rescue the totally defeated and clueless US special forces stuck under fire, but I think that since 1983 the Pentagon had the time to make a some “lessons learned” exercises and that by now the US probably could re-invade this tiny island without repeating one of the worst disasters in military history.


The Empire died on the day the Iranians hit these US facilities and the US did absolutely nothing. In fact, since that date, what have we seen:

  • The Iraqis are slowly but surely kicking the US forces out of Iraq
  • The number of attacks against US forces in Iraq has sharply increased, including against the massive US bunker complex known as “the Green Zone” which now is not “green” at all.
  • The Iranians are merrily continuing to make fun of Uncle Shmuel.
  • The US failed at renewing the anti-Iran sanctions at the UN Security Council and Russia has already declared that she is willing to sell S-400s to Iran. You can also count China in this great weapons market.
  • The US is also in retreat in Syria where anti-US attacks are becoming more dangerous (and regular clashes with ground forces of the Russian task force in Syria are also becoming a potentially very dangerous phenomenon).
  • In Yemen, the Iranian backed Houthis have basically won the war and defeated both the KSA and the US.
  • In Afghanistan, the US and its “coalition of the losers” has stayed even longer than the Soviets and has achieved exactly nothing except a total and most humiliating defeat. The contrast between the performance of the Soviet 40th Army (poorly equipped and averagely commanded) force of conscripts and what the lavishly equipped (but also poorly commanded) US professional force achieved is absolutely amazing on all levels, but the most telling is how much the Soviets actually built in Afghanistan (even facilities that the US still uses every day!). Uncle Shmuel only destroyed everything except the opium trade…

In other words, everything is going exactly according to the announced Iranian game plan to completely kick the US out of the Middle-East. I know, this seems unthinkable right now, but please make the list of all the putatively “unthinkable” things which have since happened and you will see how dangerous it is to assume that something will never happen.

When Georgia attacked the Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinval there were also limited casualties, but Russia immediately counter-attacked defeated in Georgian military in 3 days, and that in spite of being numerically smaller (at least in the initial phases of the counter-attack) and too slow to react (a typical Russian weakness). And the message to “to whom it may concern” sent by the Russian counter-attack was simple: attack a Russian base, or kill Russian soldiers and you will be killed: every time a Russian serviceman has been killed in Syria the Russians retaliate with strong missiles and air strikes. In other instances Russian Spetsnaz units killed selective Takfiri commanders. And everybody “got it”, even the Turks who have not been able to force the Russian to stop shrinking their areas of control in Syria to a small fraction of what it used to be.

Mind you – Russia has no desire to become an Empire or even some kind of superpower (Russians realize how evil any empire is for the country which is supposed to host it: they suffered for over 300 years in this toxic status of “empire” and they had enough! Only dumb Hillary and even dumber Brzezinski still thought that Russia wanted to “rebuild the USSR” when, in fact, Putin’s policies were designed to disengage and separate from the former Russian periphery which only drained immense Russian ressources and never gave Russia anything useful (and nevermind the Warsaw Treaty Organization which was just as ressources-consuming and useless as the periphery). All they want is being taken seriously and treated with respect, not as a superpower, but simply as a major, but truly sovereign, power.

Compare that with the unique blend of stratospheric megalomania, narcissistic self-worship and crass ignorance of the leaders of the US and you immediately see that the Empire is not dying anymore, it is already dead and has been dead for many months now.

What comes next?

Well, the election of course. I submit that under no scenario will the next administration be able to reverse that course and somehow miraculously resurrect the Empire. Empires don’t resurrect. It has been tried in the past (even by Napoleon), it never works. Once empires lose momentum and, especially, their ideological credibility, they are over. Oh sure, a dead body still can emit some heat for a while, some organs, or even cells, can work for a while longer, but dead is dead. Mostly dead bodies bloat and stink, which also applies to dead empires.

This is not to say that the outcome will not matter, it will – but only for the future of the United States themselves. Simply put, the upcoming vote is either a vote for upholding law and order in the US, or for total nihilism. On a deeper level, it is a vote for the US or against it: the Dems all hate this country and its “deplorables”; they also hate almost every aspect of US history (overturned statues are but symbols of this hatred) and they hate what they call “a racist system” in spite of the fact that the real causes of racial tensions in the US have very little to do with the “system” and everything to do with the unique problems of blacks in a culture with mainly European roots.

The Empire is dead. And I hope and believe that its death will mark the rebirth of the United States as a “normal” country (which is what happened to all the other former empires).

Until that happens, we can now at least rest assured that this amazingly evil Empire has finally died, even if very few noticed this.

P.S. While writing this column my thoughts turned to Major General Qasem Soleimani, who was cowardly murdered (he was on a diplomatic mission) by Trump. I imagined what he would have said if somebody had offered him the following deal: Haj Qasem – would you agree to be murdered by the modern Crusaders if your martyrdom would turn out to be the “straw” which will break the Empire’s “camel” back? I think that he would reply with tears of joy in his eyes “Glory be to God for allowing me this immense honor and joy and for allowing me to become a shadid (God’s witness)!” Soleimani was a soldier, the real thing, not a disguised businessman or politician, and he knew that he could die literally every moment of his life. He died as a general in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and of its elite Quds Force. It sure looks to me that Trump in his ignorant arrogance gave Soleimani the best death he could have wished for. May this great man rest in peace!

It’s better for U.S. forces to come to Persian Gulf to be within our reach: IRGC deputy chief


September 23, 2020 – 19:54

TEHRAN – While the U.S. describes the deployment of its aircraft career to the Persian Gulf region as a show of force aimed at deterring Iran, a senior Iranian military official has welcomed the deployment of American troops to the region, saying they will be within Iran’s reach.

“It is better for them to come to the Persian Gulf because they will be within our reach,” Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), told the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network aired on Wednesday.

In a provocative move, the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has entered the Persian Gulf for the first time in ten months on September 18, only one day before the U.S. announced the return of all UN sanctions on Iran. The U.S. navy said in a statement on the same day that the aircraft carrier’s transit through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf was “scheduled,” a clear attempt to dispel speculation over the timing of the deployment of USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf, which came against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington. However, the U.S. move was widely seen as a show of force to Iran.

“If the Americans commit new folly, they will be faced with unimaginable force.”The IRGC has flown home-made surveillance drones over the aircraft carrier and publish images of it. The images show fighter planes parked on the carrier’s deck.

In a clear warning to the U.S., Fadavi said, “If the Americans commit new folly, they will be faced with unimaginable force.”

Iran also flexed its military muscles only a week before the U.S. aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf. On September 11, the Iranian Army began three-day military exercises in the Sea of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. The exercises, codenamed “Zolfaqar-99”, took place in areas spanning 2 million square kilometers. During the exercises, Iran’s armed forces unveiled and tested their state-of-the-art weapons, including a number of cruise missiles and combat drones.

Analysts believe that the Zolfaqar-99 exercises were meant to send a clear message to the U.S. that Iran is fully prepared to thwart any U.S. military action.

The IRGC has flown home-made surveillance drones over the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and publish images of it. The images show fighter planes parked on the carrier’s deck.“Iran conducted the Zolfaqar-99 exercises to show that it is able to defend itself in the face of any U.S, military action,” Seyed Jalal Sadatian, Iran’s former ambassador to the UK, told the Tehran Times.

Sadatian previously told the Tehran Times that Trump was likely to wage limited war with Iran to boost his reelection chances. According to the former ambassador, U.S. allies in the region cannot confront Iran alone and that the U.S. had no other options than strengthening their bases in the region to besiege Iran in a way that it would not be able to respond to any aggression.

“But they will fail because Iran has a strategic depth in the region and the U.S. can’t undermine this strategic depth. So if they attack Iran, they will be bogged down in the region. Any attack against Iran could pave the way for the U.S. to be mired in the region,” the former ambassador warned.

The U.S. threatened to attack Iran after an American publication accused Iran of weighing a plot to assassinate U.S. ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks in retaliation for the assassination of the IRGC’s Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in early January. Iran strongly denied the accusation. 

After leaving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the U.S. sought to build a maritime coalition against Iran in the Persian Gulf. But its efforts in this regard failed to yield concrete results.

Fadavi said the Americans will never be able to create coalitions against Iran in the region. 
“They have not and will not succeed in forming any new coalition against the Islamic Revolution,” the top general said, adding, “The U.S. efforts to create coalitions against the Islamic Revolution are old.”


Shadowplay revisited: how Eurasia is being reshaped

Shadowplay revisited: how Eurasia is being reshaped

AUGUST 27, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission by the author and first posted at Asia Times

We have seen how China is meticulously planning all its crucial geopolitical and geoeconomic moves all the way to 2030 and beyond.

What you are about to read next comes from a series of private, multilateral discussions among intel analysts, and may helpfully design the contours of the Big Picture.

In China, it’s clear the path ahead points to boosting internal demand, and shifting monetary policy towards the creation of credit to consolidate the building of world-class domestic industries.

In parallel, there’s a serious debate in Moscow that Russia should proceed along the same path. As an analyst puts it, “Russia should not import anything but technologies it needs until it can create them themselves and export only the oil and gas that is required to pay for imports that should be severely restricted. China still needs natural resources, which makes Russia and China unique allies. A nation should be as self-sufficient as possible.”

That happens to mirror the exact CCP strategy, as delineated by President Xi in his July 31 Central Committee meeting.

And that also goes right against a hefty neoliberal wing in the CCP – collaborationists? – who would dream of a party conversion into Western-style social democracy, on top of it subservient to the interests of Western capital.

Comparing China’s economic velocity now with the US is like comparing a Maserati Gran Turismo Sport (with a V8 Ferrari engine) with a Toyota Camry. China, proportionately, holds a larger reservoir of very well educated young generations; an accelerated rural-urban migration; increased poverty eradication; more savings; a cultural sense of deferred gratification; more – Confucianist – social discipline; and infinitely more respect for the rationally educated mind. The process of China increasingly trading with itself will be more than enough to keep the necessary sustainable development momentum going.

The hypersonic factor

Meanwhile, on the geopolitical front, the consensus in Moscow – from the Kremlin to the Foreign Ministry – is that the Trump administration is not “agreement-capable”, a diplomatic euphemism that refers to a de facto bunch of liars; and it’s also not “legal-capable”, an euphemism applied, for instance, to lobbying for snapback sanctions when Trump has already ditched the JCPOA.

President Putin has already said in the recent past that negotiating with Team Trump is like playing chess with a pigeon: the demented bird walks all over the chessboard, shits indiscriminately, knocks over pieces, declares victory, then runs away.

In contrast, serious lobbying at the highest levels of the Russian government is invested in consolidating the definitive Eurasian alliance, uniting Germany, Russia and China.

But that would only apply to Germany after Merkel. According to a US analyst, “the only thing holding back Germany is that they can expect to lose their car exports to the US and more, but I tell them that can happen right away because of the dollar-euro exchange rate, with the euro becoming more expensive.”

On the nuclear front, and reaching way beyond the current Belarus drama – as in there will be no Maidan in Minsk – Moscow has made it very clear, in no uncertain terms, that any missile attack from NATO will be interpreted as a nuclear attack.

The Russian defensive missile system – including the already tested S-500s, and soon the already designed S-600s – arguably may be 99% effective. That means Russia would still have to absorb some punishment. And this is why Russia has built an extensive network of nuclear bomb shelters in big cities to protect at least 40 million people.

Russian analysts interpret China’s defensive approach along the same lines. Beijing will want to develop – if they have not already done so – a defensive shield, and still retain the ability to strike back against a US attack with nuclear missiles.

The best Russian analysts, such as Andrei Martyanov, know that the three top weapons of a putative next war will be offensive and defensive missiles and submarines combined with cyber warfare capabilities.

The key weapon today – and the Chinese understand it very clearly – is nuclear submarines. Russians are observing how China is building their submarine fleet – carrying hypersonic missiles – faster than the US. Surface fleets are obsolete. A wolf pack of Chinese submarines can easily knock out a carrier task force. Those 11 US carrier task forces are in fact worthless.

So in the – horrifying – event of the seas becoming un-sailable in a war, with the US, Russia and China blocking all commercial traffic, that’s the key strategic reason pushing China to obtain as much of its natural resources overland from Russia.

Even if pipelines are bombed they can be fixed in no time. Thus the supreme importance for China of Power of Siberia – as well as the dizzying array of Gazprom projects.

The Hormuz factor

A closely guarded secret in Moscow is that right after German sanctions imposed in relation to Ukraine, a major global energy operator approached Russia with an offer to divert to China no less than 7 million barrels a day of oil plus natural gas. Whatever happens, the stunning proposal is still sitting on the table of Shmal Gannadiy, a top oil/gas advisor to President Putin.

In the event that would ever happen, it would secure for China all the natural resources they need from Russia. Under this hypothesis, the Russian rationale would be to bypass German sanctions by switching its oil exports to China, which from a Russian point of view is more advanced in consumer technology than Germany.

Of course this all changed with the imminent conclusion of Nord Stream 2 – despite Team Trump taking no prisoners to sanction everyone in sight.

Backdoor intel discussions made it very clear to German industrialists that if Germany would ever lose its Russian source of oil and natural gas, coupled with the Strait of Hormuz shut down by Iran in the event of an American attack, the German economy might simply collapse.

There have been serious cross-country intel discussions about the possibility of a US-sponsored October Surprise involving a false flag to be blamed on Iran. Team Trump’s “maximum pressure” on Iran has absolutely nothing to do with the JCPOA. What matters is that even indirectly, the Russia-China strategic partnership has made it very clear that Tehran will be protected as a strategic asset – and as a key node of Eurasia integration.

Cross-intel considerations center on a scenario assuming a – quite unlikely – collapse of the government in Tehran. The first thing Washington would do in this case is to pull the switch of the SWIFT clearing system. The target would be to crush the Russian economy. That’s why Russia and China are actively increasing the merger of the Russian Mir and the Chinese CHIPS payment systems, as well as bypassing the US dollar in bilateral trade.

It has already been gamed in Beijing that were that scenario ever to take place, China might lose its two key allies in one move, and then have to face Washington alone, still on a stage of not being able to assure for itself all the necessary natural resources. That would be a real existential threat. And that explains the rationale behind the increasing interconnection of the Russia-China strategic partnership plus the $400 billion, 25-year-long China-Iran deal.

Bismarck is back

Another possible secret deal already discussed at the highest intel levels is the possibility of a Bismarckian Reinsurance Treaty to be established between Germany and Russia. The inevitable consequence would be a de facto Berlin-Moscow-Beijing alliance spanning the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), alongside the creation of a new – digital? – Eurasian currency for the whole Eurasian alliance, including important yet peripheral actors such as France and Italy.

Well, Beijing-Moscow is already on. Berlin-Beijing is a work in progress. The missing link is Berlin-Moscow.

That would represent not only the ultimate nightmare for Mackinder-drenched Anglo-American elites, but in fact the definitive passing of the geopolitical torch from maritime empires back to the Eurasian heartland.

It’s not a fiction anymore. It’s on the table.

Adding to it, let’s do some little time traveling and go back to the year 1348.

The Mongols of the Golden Horde are in Crimea, laying siege to Kaffa – a trading port in the Black Sea controlled by the Genoese.

Suddenly, the Mongol army is consumed by bubonic plague.

They start catapulting contaminated corpses over the walls of the Crimean city.

So imagine what happened when ships started sailing again from Kaffa to Genoa.

They transported the plague to Italy.

By 1360, the Black Death was literally all over the place – from Lisbon to Novgorod, from Sicily to Norway. As much as 60% of Europe’s population may have been killed – over 100 million people.

A case can be made that the Renaissance, because of the plague, was delayed by a whole century.

Covid-19 is of course far from a medieval plague. But it’s fair to ask.

What Renaissance could it be possibly delaying?

Well, it might well be actually advancing the Renaissance of Eurasia. It’s happening just as the Hegemon, the former “end of history”, is internally imploding, “distracted from distraction by distraction”, to quote T.S. Eliot. Behind the fog, in prime shadowplay pastures, the vital moves to reorganize the Eurasian land mass are already on.

US Forces Ordered to Stay in Bunkers During IRGC Drills – Reports

US Forces Ordered to Stay in Bunkers During IRGC Drills - Reports

By Staff, Agencies

US military forces deployed to the Gulf kingdoms were reportedly ordered to stay in bunkers as Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] fired ballistic missiles during normal military drills off the strategic Hormuz Strait.

Citing her “sources” and those of the CNN, a reporter for the BBC wrote in a post on her official page on Tuesday that US troops based in the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Kuwait and Qatar had been briefly put on “high alert” due to “concerns” over Iran’s missile activities.

Other sources identified the facilities as al-Dhafra base in the UAE and al-Udeid air base in Qatar, saying the American troops deployed there had been asked to stay in bunkers.

US forces in Qatar and the UAE “went on high alert early Tuesday and were asked to stay in bunkers, due to intelligence indicators showing an Iranian ballistic missile had been fired and possibly headed their way, US officials tell CNN,” a Twitter user said, indicating that the US forces had misread the trajectory of Iranian missiles.

The reported high-alert notice came as the IRGC started the final phase of large-scale aerial and naval drills, codenamed Payambar-e Azam [The Great Prophet] 14, involving the elite force’s Aerospace Division and Navy.

The maneuvers were held in the general area of the Hormozgan Province, west of the strategic Hormuz Strait, and the Gulf.

The drills featured missiles, vessels, drones, and radars, and are designed to practice both offensive and defensive missions.

Tuesday saw the Corps stage strikes against the life-size replica of a Nimitz-class US aircraft carrier, which the American navy usually sails into the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

The high-alert notice came a week after Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said Iran would definitely deliver a “counterblow” to the United States over the assassination of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans,” Imam Khamenei said while receiving visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran last week.

General Soleimani, former commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3 upon an order by US President Donald Trump.

US bases in Middle East were on high alert over Iranian missile fire: report

By News Desk -2020-07-29

The first batch of Rafale fighter jets are set to arrive in India’s Ambala Air Base on Wednesday afternoon after covering the 7,000 kilometers from France. The jets were stationed overnight at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE. The same air base houses US and French troops and aircraft.

An alert was sounded at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) late Tuesday after intelligence indicators hinted at an incoming “Iranian missile possibly headed that way”. The Rafale fighter jets bound for India were also at the UAE base as part of an overnight stay.

Barbara Starr from American news channel CNN reported that there was intel on Iranian missiles, but US officials confirmed that no missile struck the facility. Three Iranian missiles reportedly splashed down in the waters near the base as part of Iran’s current military exercises. More

Watch: Iranian ballistic missiles fired from underground sites

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) fired ballistic missiles from underground platforms during the second day of the massive ‘Great Prophet-14’ military drills in the southwestern part of the country on Wednesday.

The successful firing of ballistic missiles fully hidden in camouflage deep under the ground is an important achievement that could pose serious challenges to enemy intelligence agencies, the Fars News Agency reported.

In the final stage of the IRGC’s drills, which took place in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, the IRGC Aerospace Force’s drones attacked a mock enemy aircraft carrier and targeted its command tower and bridge.

Also, the IRGC’s Sukhoi-22 fighters bombed and destroyed pre-determined targets in Faror Islands with winged bombs.

The IRGC Aerospace and Naval Forces’ joint exercises played an important part of the drills and demonstrated surprising tactics, including the establishment of joint command systems, joint control, combined tactics and combat methods.

Iranian forces conduct naval operation against mock US aircraft carrier: video

Successful missile combat operations were carried out by firing two surface-to-surface Hurmoz and Fateh missiles, and a ballistic missile at specific targets, as well as launching precision-striking air defense missiles.

Also, Shahed 181, Mohajer and Bavar drones successfully attacked and destroyed hypothetical enemy targets and positions at this stage of the drills.


Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran


Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday launched a major oil pipeline project which enables the country to export its oil without relying on the Strait of Hormuz.

“What is strategic about this project is that many countries in the region have managed to find a second way so that they can export their oil using other routes whenever the Strait of Hormuz faces danger,” Rouhani said while inaugurating the project.

With the launch of the 1,000-kilometer pipeline from Goreh to Jask, the country’s oil exports will no longer be linked to the Hormuz Strait and will not be stopped even if the international maritime passage was to be closed one day, he added.

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important chokepoint for oil, where almost a fifth of the world’s crude or about 20 million barrels per day [bpd] passes through to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

Shipping through the narrow strait, with the lane just three kilometers wide in either direction at its narrowest point, has become fraught since the US began building its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The pipeline will bring oil from Goreh in Bushehr to Jask, making it strategically important as the country’s second-largest crude oil export terminal.

The Kharg Island terminal deep in the Gulf is currently Iran’s key outlet, accounting for 90 percent of its oil exports. To reach Kharg, tankers must pass the Strait of Hormuz.

Rouhani said that Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei had told him that the project was “the most strategic work” his administration had undertaken.

The new terminal is close to Chabahar which Iran is developing in cooperation with other countries, most notably India.

Chabahar is about to become a key link in the International North South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a multi-modal network of ship, rail and road routes to move freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

It offers a key trade and transport corridor that presents a cheaper and shorter alternative to the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

The terminal would be connected to Iran’s Caspian Sea port of Neka, enabling Tehran to boost shipments of oil from Caspian producers.

Iran releases video of IRGC missile downing expensive US drone


By News Desk -2020-06-23

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – Over the weekend, Iran released a video showing the moment an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile brought down a U.S. spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

According to official state media, the IRGC’s Khordad-3 air defense system successfully brought down the U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone while it was flying over Iranian airspace.

The incident nearly resulted in a U.S. retaliatory attack, as American President Donald Trump contemplated green lighting military strikes against Tehran.

In the video released over the weekend, Iran shows how the Khordad-3 managed to bring down the U.S. drone last year.

The video clip gives new details about the downing of the U.S. drone, which is valued at $220 million.

Why Did Russia Refuse Venezuela’s Request but Iran Accepted It?

By Elijah J. Magnier


Tareck El Aissami Iran 257be

Iranian tankers were 2200 km from the US coast when the Iranian-flagged “Fortune”, followed by “Forest”, entered Venezuelan waters, challenging the US embargo and the US’s threats. The Islamic Republic was broadcasting loud and clear a strong message.

The first message was dispatched to the US administration after Gulf and Arab Leaders conveyed a direct message to the Iranian leaders: “Washington is determined to stop the Iranian tankers sailing to Venezuela”. Iran responded to all messages received that “its five tankers will sail to Venezuela and if any of these tankers is intercepted, Iran will respond in the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman or anywhere else it sees fit.”

“These five tankers – the Clavel, Fortune, Petunia, Forest and Faxul- are only the beginning of the supply to Venezuela. Iran has the right to send any of its tankers anywhere in the world and any US interception will be considered an act of piracy and will trigger a direct response,” said an Iranian decision-maker who revealed the Iranian response to the US administration via message-carriers.

“Iran had decided to avoid the horn of Africa because the plan was for the first tanker to reach the Venezuelan waters on the first day of Eid el-Fitr. The aim was to share an important day of the Islamic Republic’s defiance to the US in its backyard and to break the sanctions imposed on one of Iran’s main allies. It is a message for the “Axis of the Resistance” that Iran will not abandon its friends and allies anywhere in the world whatever the challenges. It is directly confronting the US by imposing a new rule of engagement”, said the source.

Iran shut its ears to all threatening messages from the US menace and instructed its five tankers to go not round the horn of Africa but through the Gulf of Aden via Bab al-Mandab strait, the Suez Canal and Gibraltar into the Atlantic Ocean- where the US has a strong presence and influence. This shortens the distance and it tested the intentions of the American Navy. Simultaneously, Iran informed its allies of its readiness to confront the US if ever an escalation should loom on the horizon so that these allies within the “Axis of the Resistance” are ready for a wider confrontation if needed.

The first Iranian tanker, “Fortune”, reached the Caribbean Sea on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, on Sunday 24th of May, with US Navy ships in the vicinity. The tankers are carrying over 10 million barrels of oil but also Alkylate and spare parts to start repairing any of the eight “out of order” refineries, to enable oil-rich Venezuela to be self-sufficient in the future. The US sanctions on Venezuela had paralyzed Venezuelan refineries and caused gasoline shortages, with the aim of overthrowing the legitimately elected President, Nicolas Maduro.

Iran is challenging the US administration and considers it a victory that its first tanker went through without being intercepted. Tehran considers this challenge to US authority much more significant than the downing of the US’s most sophisticated drone or the bombing of the US’s largest military base in Ayn al-Assad, Iraq.

“Our allies used to wonder why Iran was not confronting the US dominance face-to-face. In fact, we were preparing for this day, and what helps us the most is the US sanctions that force this country to be autonomous on many levels. Today, Iran and its allies are all equipped with strong ideology and motivation to face down US hegemony, with sufficiently advanced military and financial support to stand up to the US and its allies, both in the Middle East and outside the Middle East. Since World War II the US has not faced a challenge to its hegemony similar to the one Iran is representing, particularly when the main enemy, the US, believes that 40 years of sanctions and maximum pressure have crippled Iran’s capabilities. Imam Khamenei informed all our allies that the military and financial support to all of them will increase and will meet all their needs in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The Axis of the Resistance is now ready and united as one front”, said the source.

Venezuela had asked President Vladimir Putin for help. Russia said clearly it was not willing to send ships close to the US coast because that might support President Trump by triggering a false threat which could lead to unifying the national feeling behind him. This is why Putin had to refuse Venezuela’s request. Iran came forward at the first demand and was grateful for the opportunity to challenge the US and to pay back the support Venezuela offered in the year 2008 when Iran was in need and under heavy US sanctions that forbid technology transfer to build or repair its own refineries. Since then, Iran has built 11 refineries (and 3 more in Pars, Anahita and Bahman Geno which are still under construction) and is considered the third most important country in the world to have developed Gas to Liquid technology (GTL).

Since the US assassinated Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad’s airport, Iran has imposed new rules of engagement on the US. Its message consists in the inevitability of a response against its enemies if they hit Iran, and the threat that no attack will go unanswered. It seems Iran is no longer ready to turn the other cheek and has decided to take special measures to respond to any attack against its troops or interests, including in Syria (more details will be provided in another article). Also, Iran and its allies have raised the level of readiness to maximum in case the US administration decides to attack any aspect of Iran’s interests, particularly the flotilla heading to Venezuela.

Iran is not facing the US directly, and is not asking its allies to do the job on its behalf. The “Persian rug weaver” waited through 40 years of sanctions for this day, until its capability and preparations were completed. This means that now Iran will be tougher and harder, and that is manifest in the election of the new parliament and the new government. President Trump has abused and exhausted all the avenues used by President Hassan Rouhani. Therefore, any new negotiation between Iran and the US will be very difficult: there is a total lack of trust in any document signed by the US.

Whether a Republican or a Democrat reaches the White House at the end of 2020, they will be waiting by the phone for many long years if they imagine that Iran will take the initiative and call the US for a meeting. It will now be up to the US to prove to Iran that it is worth holding any negotiations at all.

Iran has planted robust roots in Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is now spreading towards Venezuela and will support President Maduro, a strategic rather than ideological ally, to stand against US hegemony and sanctions. More tankers are expected to follow in the very near future. Iran is eager to confront President Trump and tempt him into a confrontation only months before the elections. The Coronavirus mismanagement, the US’s rebuttal of its deals with Russia, Trump’s aggressive position towards China and the World Health Organisation, and his rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA): all these are striking possibilities for a challenge to his re-election. This is why Iran is preparing more surprises for Trump- to show that his Middle Eastern policy is jeopardizing the safety and security of the US and its allies both in Europe and the Middle East, and indeed global world security.


South Front

In the second half of the week the military situation in Syria’s western Aleppo escalated.

On April 22, Turkish forces shelled positions of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo. Pro-Turkish sources claimed that this shelling was a response to Syrian Army strikes on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups near the villages of Kafr Amma, al-Qasr, Kafr Taal and Kafr Nouran. Pro-government sources described these strikes however as a defensive measure to counter regular ceasefire violations by Turkish-backed militants.

On April 23, the Syrian Army reinforced its positions east of Atraib by deploying additional troops and equipment there. If Turkish forces and Idlib militants continue attacks on Syrian Army positions in western Aleppo, open military hostilities could resume in the area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham executed a 19-yo Syrian refugee deported from Turkey to Greater Idlib. Mohamad Aqib Hamam Tanu was killed on April 20 after militants found that SMS messages in his phone contained criticism of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham remains the most powerful group in Greater Idlib and controls most of the militant-held area in the region, including Idlib city, the border with Turkey and key positions on the contact line with the Syrian Army. The Turkish leadership in fact provides direct support to the terrorist group by turning a blind eye to its crimes and protecting it from the Syrian Army.

More details appeared about the recent Israeli strike on Syria. According to fresh data, the Israeli strikes targeted a command center of Hezbollah near the town of al-Sukhnah, a training camp of the Iranian-backed Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade in the al-Tulilah reserve near Palmyra, and a base of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps within the Palmyra Air Base. Despite this, the only confirmed casualties resulting from the strike were 3 Syrian service members.

Pro-government locals intercepted another US military convoy in the province of al-Hasakah. On April 22, locals stopped the US convoy near the town of Farfarah, stoned it and forced US troops to retreat. The incident happened near a Syrian Army checkpoint.

The Asayish security unit of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces commented on the recent clashes with the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) in al-Qamishly city. The Kurdish force accused pro-government fighters of destabilizing the situation and threatened them with military action. In their turn, pro-NDF sources claim that the tensions in the city result from the violent behavior of Asayish personnel, who are putting pressure on and discriminating against Arab locals on ethnic grounds.

On April 22, US President Donald Trump said that he has given orders to attack and destroy any fast attack craft of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy that “harass” US warships. Encounters between the IRGC Navy and US warships erupt in the Persian Gulf on a regular basis. All these confrontations have a similar pattern: the US leadership sends warships, including aircraft carriers, to the Persian Gulf describing this as a show of force and a ‘strong message’ to Iran. IRGC fast attack craft deploy to track and monitor the US warships, as well as to prevent any attempts to enter Iranian waters. In response, the US accuses Iran of aggressive actions and provocations.

The most recent incident of this kind happened on April 15 when 11 IRGC Navy fast boats tracked 6 US warships: the USS Lewis B. Puller, USS Paul Hamilton, USS Firebolt, USS Sirocco, USCGC Wrangell and USCGC Maui.

Any US Navy attempts to attack IRGC Navy fast attack craft operating in Iranian or international waters in the Persian Gulf would immediately lead to a new round of military escalation in the region. Just recently, the Iranian military deployed additional coastal defense missile systems near the Straight of Hormuz.

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U.S. Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Straight Of Hormuz

South Front

On April 5, a series of large explosions rocked the village of al-Kastan in southwestern Idlib injuring 8 people, including 3 members of the so-called White Helmets. According to local sources, an ammunition depot located in the civilian area inside the city became the source of the explosion.

Al-Kastan is located near the town of Jisr al-Shughur, controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked Turkistan Islamic Party. The exploded weapon depot likely belonged to the terrorist group or persons affiliated with it.

On the same day, the Turkish military established three new ‘observation posts’ around Jisr al-Shughur. They are located at the villages of Baksariya, al-Z’ainiyah and Furaykah. Idlib militants see Turkish positions as an important defense line that would allow containing possible Russia- and Iran-backed anti-terrorist operations in the area.

The 46th Regiment Base of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo came under Turkish artillery shelling. In response, Syrian forces struck position of Turkish-backed militants near Kafr Amma. The attack on the 46th Regiment Base became a third incident between the Turkish military and Syrian troops in less than a week. On April 3, two Syrian soldiers were killed in a Turkish artillery strike on their positions near Tell Abyad.

On April 4, Iraq’s largest resistance groups released a joint statement calling the US military “occupation forces” that “respect the language of force only”. In the statement, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat al-Awfiy’a, Saraya Ashura, Harakat Jund al-Imam and Saraya al-Khurasani added that recent attacks on US forces and facilities in Iraq were only a “minor response” to the US aggression and the decision to carry out full-scale attacks was not taken then.

Two days earlier, on April 2, Usbat al-Tha’ireen, the armed group that claimed responsibility for rocket strikes on Camp Taji and other US positions, released a 3-minute long drone footage of the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone. This is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, and is nearly as large as Vatican City.

The US Central Command officially confirmed deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Iraq. However, the US military announced that it will not provide “providing status updates as those systems come online” for security reasons. At least two Patriot batteries are now located in at the US military bases of Ayn al-Assad and Erbil. Two more Patriot batteries will reportedly be deployed soon.

As part of its plan to redeploy forces to larger, more fortified bases, the US evacuated its troops from the al-Taqaddum Air Base in the province of al-Anbar. It became the fourth US military facility abandoned in Iraq within the last few weeks. The previous ones were located in al-Qaim, Kirkuk and al-Qayyarah.

Iraqi sources say that the US actions demonstrate that Washington is preparing for a new round of military confrontation with Iran and its allies in the region. Recently, President Donald Trump stated that the US was expecting attacks by Iranian-led forces on US troops and facilities, claiming that Iran will ‘pay price’ for this. Following the statement, Iran deployed additional anti-ship missiles and multiple rocket launchers on the Qeshm Island in the Strait of Horumz.

How black swans are shaping planet panic

March 11, 2020

by Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Is the planet under the spell of a pair of black swans – a Wall Street meltdown, caused by an alleged oil war between Russia and the House of Saud, plus the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 – leading to an all-out “cross-asset pandemonium” as billed by Nomura?

Or, as German analyst Peter Spengler suggests, whatever the averted climax in the Strait of Hormuz has not brought about so far “might now come through market forces”?

Let’s start with what really happened after five hours of relatively polite discussions last Friday in Vienna. What turned into a de facto OPEC+ meltdown was quite the game-changing plot twist.

OPEC+ includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Essentially, after enduring years of OPEC price-fixing – the result of relentless US pressure over Saudi Arabia – while patiently rebuilding its foreign exchange reserves, Moscow saw the perfect window of opportunity to strike, targeting the US shale industry.

Shares of some of these US producers plunged as much as 50% on “Black Monday.” They simply cannot survive with a barrel of oil in the $30s – and that’s where this is going. After all these companies are drowning in debt.

A $30 barrel of oil has to be seen as a precious gift/stimulus package for a global economy in turmoil – especially from the point of view of oil importers and consumers. This is what Russia made possible.

And the stimulus may last for a while. Russia’s National Wealth Fund has made it clear it has enough reserves (over $150 billion) to cover a budget deficit from six to ten years – even with oil at $25 a barrel. Goldman Sachs has already gamed a possible Brent crude at $20 a barrel.

As Persian Gulf traders stress, the key to what is perceived in the US as an “oil war” between Moscow and Riyadh is mostly about derivatives. Essentially, banks won’t be able to pay those speculators who hold derivative insurance against a steep decline in the price of oil. Added stress comes from traders panicking with Covid-19 spreading across nations that are visibly unprepared to deal with it.

Watch the Russian game

Moscow must have gamed beforehand that Russian stocks traded in London – such as Gazprom, Rosneft, Novatek and Gazprom Neft – would collapse. According to Lukoil’s co-owner Leonid Fedun, Russia may lose up to $150 million a day from now on. The question is for how long this will be acceptable.

Still, from the beginning Rosneft’s position was that for Russia, the deal with OPEC+ was “meaningless” and only “cleared the way” for American shale oil.

The consensus among Russian energy giants was that the current market setup – massive “negative oil demand,”positive “supply shock” and no swing producer – inevitably had to crash the price of oil. They were watching, helplessly, as the US was already selling oil for a lower price than OPEC.

Moscow’s move against the US fracking industry was payback for the Trump administration messing with Nord Stream 2. The inevitable, steep devaluation of the ruble was gamed.

Still, what happened post-Vienna essentially has little to do with a Russia-Saudi trade war. The Russian Energy Ministry is phlegmatic: Move on, nothing to see here. Riyadh, significantly, has been emitting signs the OPEC+ deal may be back in the cards in the near future. A feasible scenario is that this sort of shock therapy will go on until 2022, and then Russia and OPEC will be back to the table to work out a new deal.

There are no definitive numbers, but the oil market accounts for less than 10% of Russia’s GDP (it used to be 16% in 2012). Iran’s oil exports in 2019 plunged by a whopping 70 %, and still Tehran was able to adapt. Yet oil accounts for over 50% of Saudi GDP. Riyadh needs oil at no less than $85 a barrel to pay its bills. The 2020 budget, with crude priced at $62-63 a barrel, still has a $ 50 billion deficit.

Aramco says it will be offering no fewer than 300,000 barrels of oil a day beyond its “maximum sustained capacity” starting April 1. It says it will be able to produce a whopping 12.3 million barrels a day.

Persian Gulf traders say openly that this is unsustainable. It is. But the House of Saud, in desperation, will be digging into its strategic reserves to dump as much crude as possible as soon as possible – and keep the price war full tilt. The (oily) irony is that the top price war victims are an industry belonging to the American protector.

Saudi-occupied Arabia is a mess. King Salman is in a coma. Every grain of sand in the Nefud desert knows Jared of Arabia Kushner’s whatsapp pal MBS has been de facto ruler for the past five years, but the timing of his new purge in Riyadh speaks volumes. Princes Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew, and Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, his younger brother, are now really in detention.

The CIA is fuming: Nayef was and remains Langley’s top asset. When Saudi regime spin denounced “Americans” as partners in a possible coup against MBS, that word needed to be read as “CIA.” It’s just a matter of time before the US Deep State, in conjunction with disgruntled National Guard elements, comes for MBS’s head – even as he articulates taking over total power before the G-20 in Riyadh next November.

Black Hawk down?

So what happens next? Amid a tsunami of scenarios, from New York to all points Asia, the most optimistic say that China is about to win the “people’s war” against Covid-19 – and the latest figures confirm it. In this case, global oil demand may increase by at least 480,000 barrels a day.

Well, that’s way more complicated.

The game now points to a confluence of Wall Street in panic; Covid-19 mass hysteria; lingering, myriad aftershocks of Trump’s global trade mess; the US election circus; total political instability in Europe. These interlocked crises do spell Perfect Storm. Yet the market angle is easily explained: that may be the beginning of the end of Wall Street artificially inflated by tens of trillions of US dollars pumped by the Fed through quantitative easings and repos since 2008. Call it the calling of the central bankers’ bluff.

A case can be made that the current financial panic will only subside when the ultimate black swan – Covid-19 – is contained. Borrowing from the famous Hollywood adage, “No one knows anything,” all bets are off. Amid thick fog, and discounting the usual amount of disinformation, a Rabobank analyst, among others, came up with four plausible Covid-19 scenarios. He now reckons it’s getting “ugly” and the fourth scenario – the “unthinkable” – is not far-fetched anymore.

This implies a global economic crisis of, yes, unthinkable magnitude.

To a great extent it will all depend on how fast China – the inescapable crucial link in the global just-in-time supply chain – gets back to a new normal, offsetting interminable weeks of serial lockdowns.

Despised, discriminated against, demonized 24/7 by the “system leader,” China has gone full Nietzsche – about to prove that whatever does not kill you makes you stronger when it comes to a “people’s war” against Covid-19. On the US front, there’s scant hope that the gleaming Black “helicopter money” Hawk will crash down for good. The ultimate Black Swan will have the last word.

Iran can disable U.S. RQ-4 drone from remote distance: commander

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh

February 7, 2020 – 11:52

TEHRAN – The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force announced on Thursday that his country enjoys the technology to turn the U.S. modern large-size U.S. RQ-4 drone inefficient even while the aircraft is flying thousands of kilometers away from Iran’s borders.

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh made the announcement in an interview with the national TV.

On June, 20 2019, the IRGC shot down the U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the central district of Jask County after it violated the Iranian airspace.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather.

In his Thursday remarks, Hajizadeh added that new parts of the downed U.S. drone have been recently discovered in depth of Iran’s southern waters.

“We have accessed to the RQ-4 drone’s secret codes… We can make the drone inefficient from several thousands of kilometers distance,” the commander explained.

According to the IRGC June statement, the Global Hawk had flown from one of the American bases in the southern parts of the Persian Gulf region at 00:14 a.m. local time, with its identification transponders off in breach of all international aviation rules.

It said the drone had stealthily continued on the route from the Strait of Hormuz towards Iran’s port city of Chabahar.

While returning towards west of the Strait of Hormuz, the drone violated Iran’s territorial airspace and began gathering intelligence and spying, the statement said.

The drone was targeted and shot down by the IRGC at 04: 05 a.m. local time, it added.

The drone was shot by the homegrown air defense missile system called “Khordad-3rd”.

An informed IRGC source in Hormozgan province said at the time that the drone had been targeted near the Kouh-e Mobarak region and fell down in the area of Ras al-Shir in Iran’s territorial waters.

He said the downing came after repeated violations of Iran’s airspace by U.S. reconnaissance drones in the Persian Gulf region.

Wreckage of U.S. drone exhibited

For the first time, the IRGC Aerospace Force on Thursday put on display the full wreckage of the American spy drone. The wreckage was broadcast on national TV.

A small part of the drone’s wreckage had been put on display a day after the downing.

New information about attack on U.S. airbase will be released soon

Hajizadeh also said the Aerospace Force will soon release details about Iran’s missile attack on the U.S. airbase in western Iraq in response to the assassination of the IRGC Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani.

In Iran’s missile attack on the Ain al-Assad airbase on January 8, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that “no Americans were harmed”. However, the Pentagon gradually released reports that certain American service members had suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

“There is a possibility that until sometime later they would announce that some American military forces have ‘died from mild brain injuries,” Hajizadeh said sarcastically.

USA Today reported on Feb. 6 that as it turned out, despite troops huddling in bomb shelters, dozens suffered brain injuries from the explosions when a payload of nearly a ton slammed into their base.

Frank Larkin, a former SEAL and retired sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate, wrote in a letter that Trump’s comment “was a hard hit to the gut”.

According to USA Today, Larkin wasn’t alone in his disappointment. Veterans groups, led by the 1.6 million member Veterans of Foreign Wars, demanded a presidential apology.

Military Times reported on Wednesday that a 2011 Defense Department policy change regarding mild traumatic brain injury may mean nearly 60 U.S. service members are eligible for the Purple Heart following the Jan. 8 Iran ballistic missile attack.

Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, did not confirm to reporters Monday if Purple Hearts would be awarded for troops injured in the Iran strike.

Hoffman said the awarding of the Purple Heart was a question for each of the individual services of the “affected members” to answer due to “standards that they all have with regard to” TBI. Hoffman said he had not received an updated timeline on how that process was playing out.

As of Jan. 30, 64 service members have been diagnosed with mild TBI stemming from the Iranian attack, according to the Pentagon.

Hoffman told reporters Monday that about 60 percent of those service members have returned to duty.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters recently that he had personally explained to the president the implications of the diagnosis.

“I’ve had the chance to speak with the president. He is very concerned about the health and welfare of all of our service members — particularly those who were involved in the operations in Iraq,” Esper said.


انتفاضة في البحارعلى القطبية الأميركيّة!

ديسمبر 27, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

المناورات البحرية الضخمة التي تجريها روسيا والصين وإيران في مياه المحيط الهندي وبحر عمان لها طابع استراتيجي يطوق الأحاديّة الأميركيّة دافعاً بها نحو نظام دولي جديد ميزته أنه متعدّد الأقطاب.

صحيح أن هذا التحوّل المرتقب ليس ناتجاً من انتصارات عسكرية مباشرة بين المتنافسين، لكنها ثمرة صراعات اقتصادية وأخرى نشبت بين روسيا وأميركا عبر نظام قيادة الحروب من الخلف أو بتدخل نسبي مباشر.

هناك العديد من الأسباب تجعل لهذه المناورات أهمية في الصراعات الأساسية في العالم أولها أهمية المشاركين بها الذي يعلنون من خلالها أنهم انتقلوا من التساند اللفظي والآني إلى تنسيق عسكري عميق له مدى عالمي بالإضافة الى أهمية المكان الذي تجري فيه المناورات لاحتوائه على أكبر كمية معروفة من احتياطات الغاز والنفط مع قدرة هائلة على الاستهلاك لأن دولها غير منتجة. الى جانب توسُّط منطقة المناورات في الشرق الأوسط والهند وباكستان للعالم بأسره. كما يمكن اعتبار هذه المنطقة قلب العالم الروحي حيث مهد الإسلام والمسيحية واليهودية والبوذية، ومنطقة عبور بحري، بأبوابه الأربعة من هرمز الى المحيط الهندي من جهة وباب المندب وقناة السويس والبحر المتوسط من جهة ثانية.

هي اذاً مناورات بحرية تقتفي نظرية “دبلوماسية الأساطيل” التي تقوم على مناورات عنيفة لعرض قوة كامنة يجب أن تظهر لإقناع الأعداء بقوتها.

بماذا يمكن لهذه البلدان أن تسند بعضها بعضاً؟

تتعرّض روسيا والصين وإيران لعدوانية أميركية اقتصادية تدرك حدود الخنق. فالصين المنتشرة اقتصادياً على مستوى العالم تتلقى كل أسبوع أو أكثر عقوبات أميركية اقتصادية لشلّ انتشار سلعها وعرقلة شرائها لمواد ضرورية لإنتاج بضائعها، كما أن الأميركيين يستعينون بالمراكز الإسلامية التقليدية والإرهابية في الشرق الأوسط لتحريك أقلية الأيغور الإسلامية في الصين ضد دولتها.

لروسيا ايضاً حسابات كبرى عند الأميركيين، يكفي أنها لا تزال قطباً عسكرياً عالمياً يضارع الأميركيين وربما أكثر، لذلك تذهب موسكو عن تسويق ثرواتها من الغاز عن اوروبا والصين عبر أربعة خطوط من البلطيق – المانيا – روسيا اوكرانيا، روسيا الصين وروسيا تركيا نحو أوروبا. ولا تنسى بذل جهود جبارة لتحديث صناعاتها، وهذا يتطلب وقتاً، فتستغله بالانتشار العسكري والسياسي في العالم من مركزها الأساسي في سورية الى أميركا اللاتينية والخليج والعراق ومصر مع محاولات لاختراق شمالي افريقيا.

بما يؤكد أنها تريد توسيع الجيوبوليتيك الخاص بها لاستعادة قطبيتها المفقودة مع الراحل السوفياتي.

اما إيران فهي الثالثة المستهدفة بجنون أميركي لم يدخر أسلوباً للقضاء على جمهوريتها الاسلامية، واذا كانت لا تشكل خطراً عسكرياً او اقتصادياً على الأميركيين، فإنها تجسّد لهم رعباً في عرينهم الشرق الأوسطي حيث الغاز والنفط والجيوبوليتيك، فطهران اليوم موجودة سياسياً في لبنان وعلى كل المستويات في اليمن والعراق وسورية، ولها أدوار وازنة في افغانستان وباكستان، مع علاقات عميقة بدول في أميركا اللاتينية والهند وآسيا وتيارات شعبية في أفريقيا، ما يجعلها في دائرة رصد استراتيجي أميركي يرى فيها تهديداً إسلامياً لهيمنة واشنطن على العالم الاسلامي، حيث مركز القوة الأميركي الاساسي.

لماذا ضرورة التنسيق بين هذه الدول الثلاث؟

السبب المركزي الأول أنها مستهدفة من الأميركيين بشكل بنيوي قد تُركز السياسة الأميركية على روسيا حيناً مقابل التخفيف من خنق الصين وإيران، أو تخنق إيران وتتراخى مع موسكو وبكين، لكنها لا تنسى أبداً الخطر الاقتصادي الصيني الذي أصبح وسواس الاقتصاد الأميركي.

لجهة السبب الثاني الدافع للتنسيق العميق فهو افتقار كل دولة من الدول الثلاث بمفردها لكامل عناصر القوة الضرورية لمقاومة العدوانية الأميركية، فالصين معتدلة عسكرياً ومتقدمة اقتصادياً فيما روسيا رهيبة عسكرياً ومتراجعة اقتصادياً أما إيران فأهميتها اقتصادية وشرق أوسطية وإسلامية.

لذلك تبدو هذه الدول بحاجة لتنسيق قواها فتصبح قادرة على فرض تراجع بنيوي على الأميركيين يؤدي فوراً لولادة عالم متعدّد القطب تنخفض فيه الصراعات والحروب على الطريقة الأميركية التي لا يهمها إلا بيع السلع والسلاح على جثث الأبرياء والشعوب الضعيفة.

إن ما يمنح هذه الفرضيّة ميزات إضافية، بنجاح ممكن في ردع الأميركيين هي القوة السكانية الصينية التي تشكل بمفردها ربع العالم تقريباً بمدى اقتصادي اخترق الحدود السياسية في القارات الخمس، كذلك روسيا راعية تحالفات شنغهاي والبريكس التي تضمّ دولاً تزيد عن 60 في المئة من سكان العالم.

بالعودة الى المناورات البحرية التي تعطي الفرصة بولادة التوازن العالم، يكفي أنها تجري في منطقة تستوطن الجيوبوليتيك الأميركي منذ ستة عقود تقريباً.

ويمكن اعتبارها المدخل البحري إلى أكبر آبار نفط وغاز في العالم وتسيطر على بحار الشرق الأوسط من الخليج الى الأحمر فالمتوسط، وصولاً الى شواطئ باكستان والهند.

هل نحن فعلاً عشية التغيير القطبي؟

استناداً الى القراءة العلمية الدقيقة يمكن الجزم ان العالم مندفع نحو إعادة استقرار نسبي الى ربوعه تحت ضغط هذه المنافسة الثلاثية للنفوذ الأميركي.وكما قال الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون فإن عالماً متعدّد القطب في طريقه للتشكل من روسيا والصين والأميركيين وأوروبا مجتمعة، وربما تلحق بهم الهند، أما العرب فمستمرون على حالهم من الضعف الشديد الذي يضعهم دائماً ضحية صراعات الأمم على ثرواتهم وتحت رحمة أنظمتهم المتضعضعة.

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مواضيع متعلقة

Is Trump Preparing A New Iran Nuclear Deal?

Is Trump Preparing A New Iran Nuclear Deal?

By Simon Watkins –

A moment of monumental importance for US-Iran relations took place early last week when a high-level exchange of prisoners took place in Switzerland. can exclusively reveal that during the exchange the US, for the first time, made it clear that it would resume negotiations with Iran on the removal of sanctions “with no preconditions.”

Iran made it equally clear that it saw the prisoner exchange as the road to re-engaging in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] nuclear deal, without the removal of sanctions by the US being required beforehand. “This is the beginning of the end of this extremely dangerous global stand-off between the US and Iran,” a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iran’s Petroleum Ministry exclusively told last week.

Where we are now in US-Iran relations is a product of two key factors that have occurred in just over the past six months. The first of these was the absolute absence of any support for any meaningful US retaliation against Iran for either the downing of the US ‘surveillance’ drone in June, or the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Khurais oil field and the Abqaiq refinery in September.

In the case of the former, military retaliation was halted at the last moment, and subsequently John Bolton – the most insistent proponent of military action against Iran over the years – was fired as National Security Adviser. In the case of the latter, various high-level officials from the US State Department repeatedly tried to persuade US allies in NATO and other supposedly sympathetic states in the Middle East to take part in a joint naval task force to patrol the Strait of Hormuz, but to no avail.

This was followed by the decision from the US to effectively disengage from the rolling conflicts in Syria, even if it involved leaving its former allies in the fight against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group], the Kurds, at the mercy of their longstanding mortal enemy, Turkey. Given the twin realization that the US was no longer willing to and/or could not meaningfully safeguard them and that Iran had everything to gain from further attacks on oil and gas targets in the region, Middle Eastern countries have been looking to row back on any hostility against Iran. Even the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Ansarullah in Yemen since 2015 have begun releasing jailed Ansarullah members in an attempt to bring some resolution to the conflict.

From the US side, there is the realization that, without the option to have an enduring [and costly in blood and money terms] military presence in multiple countries across the Middle East, it needs to have Iran on side to protect its political and energy interests there.

“Wherever the US withdraws, China increases its presence, with Russia close alongside, and the US is finding itself marginalized not just in Syria but also in Iraq and further East in Afghanistan by China and/or Russia, as these places are central to China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project and to Russia’s attempts to isolate the US internationally,” the Iran source told

“The US is looking at being left with just Saudi, which is not the force that it once was either in political or energy terms and a country that is deeply unpopular amongst many segments of the US, including in both Houses [Senate and Representatives],” he added. “Iran, on the other hand, with Rouhani, is relatively moderate and has enormous influence across the entire Shia crescent of power [Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria] and into Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he underlined.

This ties in to the second game-changing reason that portends an end to sanctions and a resumption of the nuclear deal…

From both perspectives, then, an agreement makes sense and the prisoner exchange “marks an extremely important signal that we on the road to a lasting and workable resolution,” said the Iran source. As important as the exchange – Iran released Princeton PhD student Xiyue Wang [accused of spying], detained since 2016, and the US dropped [spying] charges against Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani, who was arrested in the US in 2018 – was the rhetoric [and absence of rhetoric in interesting places] involved.

At the time of the exchange, US President Donald Trump Tweeted: “Thank you to Iran on a very fair negotiation… See, we can make a deal together!” Behind the scenes, US officials highlighted that Trump is willing to meet with Iran “without preconditions” and added that the administration was “hopeful [that the release of Wang] is a sign that the Iranians may be willing to come to the table to discuss all these issues.” Iran, in the meantime, signaled that it is willing to engage in more prisoner swaps and, crucially, according to the Iran source: “That it does not necessarily expect all sanctions to be removed before sitting down for negotiations with the Washington team.”

محور المقاومة يُطبِق على الممرات والمضائق وأميركا مكتوفة الأيدي تحت النار…!

أكتوبر 12, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

اقرأوهم بعناية وستكتشفون أنهم أعجز من أي وقت مضى، وأنهم قاب قوسين او أدنى من الخسران والخروج من مسرح العمليات في أكثر من ميدان..!

ان ما كتبه الصحافي الأميركي، ميخائيل موران Mechael Moran ، في مجلة فورين بوليسي الأميركية، يوم 30/9/2019، حول تآكل قدرات سلاح البحرية الأميركية، هو كلام غايةً في الأهمية. ولكن الأهم من إعلانه هذا هو الوقوف على اسباب فقدان هذا السلاح الأميركي، الذي كان يهدد دول العالم أجمع، وهي الأكثر أهمية مما نشرته فورين بوليسي.

خاصة أن ما نشر قد كتب في ظل تطورات ميدانية، عميقة التأثير في موازين القوى الاقليمية والدولية، والتي يمكن اختصارها بما يلي :

1. نجاح العديد من الدول في اقامة مناطق حظر، على البحرية الأميركية، والتي من بينها إيران التي اقامت منطقة ممنوعة على حاملات الطائرات الأميركية، بعمق مئتي ميل بحري. أي انها اخرجت طائرات البحرية الأميركية، التي تنطلق من الحاملات، من الميدان، وذلك لان معظم الاهداف الحيوية الإيرانية تقع خارج مدى تلك الطائرات، ولأن الحاملات لا تستطيع الاقتراب لمسافة أقرب الى السواحل الإيرانية، خشية من الصواريخ المضادة للسفن، والتي استخدم واحداً منها، نور 1 ومداه 130 كم، في ضرب البارجة الحربية الإسرائيلية

ساعر، قبالة سواحل بيروت، في تموز 2006، ثم البارجة الإماراتية في البحر الأحمر سنة 2016، ومن بعدها المدمرة الأميركية USS Mason.

علماً ان إيران تمتلك صواريخ عدة مضادة للسفن، اكثر حداثة وأبعد مدى من الصاروخ المذكور أعلاه، مثل صواريخ نور 4 وصاروخ /قادر/ وغيرها من الصواريخ غير المعلن عنها. إذ تؤكد معلومات خاصة أن إيران تمتلك حالياً صواريخ مضادة للسفن يصل مداها الى ما يزيد عن ألفي كيلومتر المصدر يتحدث عن ألف ميل بحري/ علماً ان الميل البحري يساوي الف وثمانمئة وأربعة وخمسين كيلومتراً .

2. النتائج الاستراتيجية الزلزالية، للعمليات الجوية/ الصاروخية / والعمليات البرية الواسعة النطاق، التي نفذتها القوات المسلحة اليمنية ضد منشآت النفط السعودية في ابقيق وخريص وضد القوات البرية السعودية في نجران، وما لتلك الإنجازات من نتائج غيّرت موازين القوى في الميدان، وحوّلت البحر الأحمر وخليج عدن الى بحار او مناطق محظورة على حاملات الطائرات الأميركية خوفاً من تعرّضها لصواريخ القوات اليمنية .

وهو ما يعني ان قوات حلف المقاومة هناك، اي إيران والجيش اليمني وانصار الله في اليمن أصبحت تسيطر على اهم مضيقين بحريين في العالم، هما مضيق هرمز ومضيق باب المندب وما تعنيه هذه السيطرة من تأثير على طرق الملاحة البحرية الدولية. خاصة من ناحية القدرة على المحافظة عليها مفتوحة وآمنة للحركة البحرية لدول صديقة لحلف المقاومة، كالصين وروسيا، بالنسبة لروسيا الحركة من افريقيا وأميركا اللاتينية باتجاه الموانئ الروسية على سواحل المحيط الهادئ مثل ميناء فلاديفوستوك .

كما يجب النظر الى التأثيرات الاستراتيجية، لهذه الانتصارات، على مشروع الصين المستقبلي طريق واحد حزام واحد. وهو المشروع الذي لا يمكن تحقيقه في ظل الهيمنة الأميركية على طرق الملاحة البحرية، من خلال سيطرتها على بحار العالم، منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية وحتى بداية العشرية الحاليّة.

ومن بين آخر التطورات الميدانية، في مسرح عمليات المواجهة بين حلف المقاومة والولايات المتحدة وأدواتها في المنطقة، هو :

3. افتتاح معبر القائم / البوكمال / الحدودي، بين سورية والعراق، وما يعنيه افتتاح هذا الشريان الحيوي، الذي يربط البلدين مع إيران وروسيا والصين شرقاً ومع لبنان وفلسطين المحررة غرباً، من الناحية الاستراتيجية. خاصة أن لفلسطين أهمية خاصة بالنسبة للمشروع الصيني طريق واحد حزام واحد. وذلك لكون فلسطين هي حلقة الوصل بين شرق العالم العربي وغربه، سواء على مستوى النقل بالعجلات او بالسكك الحديدية.

كما لا بد أن نستحضر الأهمية الاستراتيجية من الناحية العسكرية لإعادة فتح هذا المعبر، رغم القصف الجوي الأميركي والإسرائيلي المباشر لقطعات القوات المسلحة العراقية في غرب الأنبار بشكل خاص، وبهدف منع حدوث هذا التحول الهام.

اما عن ماهية عناصر هذا التحول فهي تتمثل، قبل كل شيء، في إحكام الحصار العسكري الاستراتيجي على الكيان الصهيوني رغم وجود جيب الأردن بين قوات حلف المقاومة وفلسطين المحتلة مؤقتاً، وما يعنيه ذلك من تحول هائل في موازين القوى العسكرية، خاصة اذا ما نظرنا الى هذا العنصر من منظار التخلي الأميركي عن الكيان والذي أصبح واضحاً، حسب معظم اهم المحللين الاسرائيليين، بعد الضربات اليمنية على اهداف أرامكو وفِي نجران السعودية. اذ انهم يجمعون المحللون الاسرائيليون على ان الولايات المتحدة، بعزوفها عن ضرب إيران عسكرياً، قد تركت اسرائيل وحيدة في مواجهة قوات حلف المقاومة وعلى رأسه إيران.

4. وإذا ما أضفنا لذلك الحصار البحري، الذي ستفرضه قوات حلف المقاومة، في لبنان وفلسطين، على السواحل الفلسطينية، عند صدور أمر العمليات الخاص بذلك، يصبح ما قاله سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله، في أحد خطاباته، موجهاً كلامه لسكان فلسطين المحتلة من اليهود، مفهوماً. وذلك عندما قال لهم أو نصحهم بالإسراع في مغادرة فلسطين المحتلة لأنه اذا نشبت الحرب فإنهم لن يجدوا لا متسعاً من الوقت للهرب ولا مكاناً يهربون إليه وإن أميركا وغيرها من الدول الاستعمارية لن تتمكن من التدخل لحمايتهم قبل إنهاء وجود كيانهم.

من هنا فان من المؤكد تماماً أن مسألة تحرير فلسطين كاملة ليست أكثر من مسألة وقت، لن يطول انتظار نهايتها، وان آخر مرحلة من مراحل الهجوم الاستراتيجي، لقوات حلف المقاومة، ستكون عبارة عن عملية عسكرية خاطفة، برية وبحرية وجوية، حابسة للأنفاس، تؤدي الى زوال بيت العنكبوت بأسرع ما يتصوّر الجميع.

وما ذلك على الله بعزيز.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله.

Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?

Image result for Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?
August 29, 2019


President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran, after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone, to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a U.S. war with Iran. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu.

Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to fly “killer drones” into Israel, an act of war.

Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon.

Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month’s attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria’s civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Understandably, Israel’s weekend actions have brought threats of retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned of vengeance for the death of his people in the Syria strike.

Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani reportedly tweeted from Tehran, “These insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attack on Beirut a “declaration of war.”

Last Friday, in the 71st week of the “Great March of Return” protests on Gaza’s border, 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire. In 16 months, 200 have died from gunshots, with thousands wounded.

America’s reaction to Israel’s weekend attacks? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Netanyahu to assure him of U.S. support of Israel’s actions. Some Iraqi leaders are now calling for the expulsion of Americans.

Why is Netanyahu now admitting to Israel’s role in the strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Why has he begun threatening Iran itself and even the Houthi rebels in Yemen?

Because this longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, having surpassed David Ben-Gurion, is in the battle of his life, with elections just three weeks off. And if Netanyahu falls short — or fails to put together a coalition after winning, as he failed earlier this year — his career would be over, and he could be facing prosecution for corruption.

Netanyahu has a compelling motive for widening the war against Israel’s main enemy, its allies and its proxies and taking credit for military strikes.

But America has a stake in what Israel is doing as well.

We are not simply observers. For if Hezbollah retaliates against Israel or Iranian-backed militias in Syria retaliate against Israel — or against us for enabling Israel — a new war could erupt, and there would be a clamor for deeper American intervention.

Yet, Americans have no desire for a new war, which could cost Trump the presidency, as the war in Iraq cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

The United States has taken pains to avoid a military clash with Iran for compelling reasons. With only 5,000 troops left in Iraq, U.S. forces are massively outmanned by an estimated 150,000 fighters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, which played a critical role in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad during the days of the caliphate.

And, for good reason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its crew of 5,600, which Trump sent to deter Iran, has yet to enter the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf but remains in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, and, at times, some 600 nautical miles away from Iran.

Why is this mighty warship keeping its distance?

We don’t want a confrontation in the Gulf, and, as ex-Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, says:

“Anytime a carrier moves close to shore, and especially into confined waters, the danger to the ship goes up significantly. … It becomes vulnerable to diesel submarines, shore-launched cruise missiles and swarming attacks by small boats armed with missiles.”

Which is a pretty good description of the coastal defenses and naval forces of Iran.

Netanyahu’s widening of Israel’s war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq — and perhaps beyond — and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both of us.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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