In Eurasia, the War of Economic Corridors is in full swing

July 15, 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Source

Mega Eurasian organizations and their respective projects are now converging at record speed, with one global pole way ahead of the other.

By Pepe Escobar

The War of Economic Corridors is now proceeding full speed ahead, with the game-changing first cargo flow of goods from Russia to India via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) already in effect.

Very few, both in the east and west, are aware of how this actually has long been in the making: the Russia-Iran-India agreement for implementing a shorter and cheaper Eurasian trade route via the Caspian Sea (compared to the Suez Canal), was first signed in 2000, in the pre-9/11 era.

The INSTC in full operational mode signals a powerful hallmark of Eurasian integration – alongside the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and last but not least, what I described as “Pipelineistan” two decades ago.

Caspian is key

Let’s have a first look on how these vectors are interacting.

The genesis of the current acceleration lies in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, for the 6th Caspian Summit. This event not only brought the evolving Russia-Iran strategic partnership to a deeper level, but crucially, all five Caspian Sea littoral states agreed that no NATO warships or bases will be allowed on site.

That essentially configures the Caspian as a virtual Russian lake, and in a minor sense, Iranian – without compromising the interests of the three “stans,” Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. For all practical purposes, Moscow has tightened its grip on Central Asia a notch.

As the Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea by canals off the Volga built by the former USSR, Moscow can always count on a reserve navy of small vessels – invariably equipped with powerful missiles – that may be transferred to the Black Sea in no time if necessary.

Stronger trade and financial links with Iran now proceed in tandem with binding the three “stans” to the Russian matrix. Gas-rich republic Turkmenistan for its part has been historically idiosyncratic – apart from committing most of its exports to China.

Under an arguably more pragmatic young new leader, President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Ashgabat may eventually opt to become a member of the SCO and/or the EAEU.

Caspian littoral state Azerbaijan on the other hand presents a complex case: an oil and gas producer eyed by the European Union (EU) to become an alternative energy supplier to Russia – although this is not happening anytime soon.

The West Asia connection

Iran’s foreign policy under President Ebrahim Raisi is clearly on a Eurasian and Global South trajectory. Tehran will be formally incorporated into the SCO as a full member in the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September, while its formal application to join the BRICS has been filed.

Purnima Anand, head of the BRICS International Forum, has stated that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also very much keen on joining BRICS. Should that happen, by 2024 we could be on our way to a powerful West Asia, North Africa hub firmly installed inside one of the key institutions of the multipolar world.

As Putin heads to Tehran next week for trilateral Russia, Iran, Turkey talks, ostensibly about Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bound to bring up the subject of BRICS.

Tehran is operating on two parallel vectors. In the event the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is revived – a quite dim possibility as it stands, considering the latest shenanigans in Vienna and Doha – that would represent a tactical victory. Yet moving towards Eurasia is on a whole new strategic level.

In the INSTC framework, Iran will make maximum good use of the geostrategically crucial port of Bandar Abbas – straddling the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Yet as much as it may be portrayed as a major diplomatic victory, it’s clear that Tehran will not be able to make full use of BRICS membership if western – especially US – sanctions are not totally lifted.

Pipelines and the “stans”

A compelling argument can be made that Russia and China might eventually fill the western technology void in the Iranian development process. But there’s a lot more that platforms such as the INSTC, the EAEU and even BRICS can accomplish.

Across “Pipelineistan,” the War of Economic Corridors gets even more complex. Western propaganda simply cannot admit that Azerbaijan, Algeria, Libya, Russia’s allies at OPEC, and even Kazakhstan are not exactly keen on increasing their oil production to help Europe.

Kazakhstan is a tricky case: it is the largest oil producer in Central Asia and set to be a major natural gas supplier, right after Russia and Turkmenistan. More than 250 oil and gas fields are operated in Kazakhstan by 104 companies, including western energy giants such as Chevron, Total, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

While exports of oil, natural gas and petroleum products comprise 57 percent of Kazakhstan’s exports, natural gas is responsible for 85 percent of Turkmenistan’s budget (with 80 percent of exports committed to China). Interestingly, Galkynysh is the second largest gas field on the planet.

Compared to the other “stans,” Azerbaijan is a relatively minor producer (despite oil accounting for 86 percent of its total exports) and basically a transit nation. Baku’s super-wealth aspirations center on the Southern Gas Corridor, which includes no less than three pipelines: Baku-Tblisi-Erzurum (BTE); the Turkish-driven Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP); and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP).

The problem with this acronym festival – BTE, TANAP, TAP – is that they all need massive foreign investment to increase capacity, which the EU sorely lacks because every single euro is committed by unelected Brussels Eurocrats to “support” the black hole that is Ukraine. The same financial woes apply to a possible Trans-Caspian Pipeline which would further link to both TANAP and TAP.

In the War of Economic Corridors – the “Pipelineistan” chapter – a crucial aspect is that most Kazakh oil exports to the EU go through Russia, via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). As an alternative, the Europeans are mulling on a still fuzzy Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor (Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey). They actively discussed it in Brussels last month.

The bottom line is that Russia remains in full control of the Eurasia pipeline chessboard (and we’re not even talking about the Gazprom-operated pipelines Power of Siberia 1 and 2 leading to China).

Gazprom executives know all too well that a fast increase of energy exports to the EU is out of the question. They also factor the Tehran Convention – that helps prevent and control pollution and maintain the environmental integrity of the Caspian Sea, signed by all five littoral members.

Breaking BRI in Russia

China, for its part, is confident that one of its prime strategic nightmares may eventually disappear. The notorious “escape from Malacca” is bound to materialize, in cooperation with Russia, via the Northern Sea Route, which will shorten the trade and connectivity corridor from East Asia to Northern Europe from 11,200 nautical miles to only 6,500 nautical miles. Call it the polar twin of the INSTC.

This also explains why Russia has been busy building a vast array of state-of-the-art icebreakers.

So here we have an interconnection of New Silk Roads (the INSTC proceeds in parallel with BRI and the EAEU), Pipelineistan, and the Northern Sea Route on the way to turn western trade domination completely upside down.

Of course, the Chinese have had it planned for quite a while. The first White Paper on China’s Arctic policy, in January 2018, already showed how Beijing is aiming, “jointly with other states” (that means Russia), to implement sea trade routes in the Arctic within the framework of the Polar Silk Road.

And like clockwork, Putin subsequently confirmed that the Northern Sea Route should interact and complement the Chinese Maritime Silk Road.

Russia-China Economic cooperation is evolving on so many complex, convergent levels that just to keep track of it all is a dizzying experience.

A more detailed analysis will reveal some of the finer points, for instance how BRI and SCO interact, and how BRI projects will have to adapt to the heady consequences of Moscow’s Operation Z in Ukraine, with more emphasis being placed on developing Central and West Asian corridors.

It’s always crucial to consider that one of Washington’s key strategic objectives in the relentless hybrid war against Russia was always to break BRI corridors that crisscross Russian territory.

As it stands, it’s important to realize that dozens of BRI projects in industry and investment and cross-border inter-regional cooperation will end up consolidating the Russian concept of the Greater Eurasia Partnership – which essentially revolves around establishing multilateral cooperation with a vast range of nations belonging to organizations such as the EAEU, the SCO, BRICS and ASEAN.

Welcome to the new Eurasian mantra: Make Economic Corridors, Not War.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

The Removal Of Imran Khan and the Popular Push Back. How Pakistan Helped Foster “The War on Terrorism”

May 07, 2022

Global Research,

By Michael WelchJunaid S. Ahmad, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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***

“I am saying to you today, that for the first time, Pakistan’s policies won’t be for the few rich people, it will be for the poor, for our women, for our minorities, whose rights are not respected. My whole aim will be to protect our lower classes and to bring them up.”

–  Imran Khan, 2018 election campaign speech [1]

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In the early hours of April 9, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, faced a no-confidence motion in the country’s National Assembly resulting in his removal from power. This was the first time ever that an official of his stature was removed in such a manner. [2]

What makes this move so geopolitically significant was the unique significance of this state as a square on the tabletop of the grand chessboard between the United States, and Russia and China.

On the one hand, Pakistan has traditionally used the country’s military and the intelligence services, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as partners. Over the course of the last twenty years, the Islamic State was a leading local site from which to launch air and ground operations in favor of America’s War on Terrorism. And as Michel Chossudovsky wrote back at the time of the infamous September 11th terrorist attacks, the ISI played a key role in acting as a “go-between” between the CIA and the Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan going back to 1979. This would in large part lead to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. [3][4]

On the other hand, Pakistan has gained partners both in Russia and in China. There was a vital 1100km gas pipeline project between Lahore and Karachi in which the goods would be provided from Russia. And in November of 2014, Russia and Pakistan signed a defense cooperation pact followed by a military-technical cooperation agreement all of which would serve toward “Strengthening of mutual trust and international security, counter-terrorist and arms control activities.” [5][6][7]

And then there was China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, which would ultimately help undermine dependence on the Strait of Malacca and building a conduit between China and West Asia and the Middle East. [8]

These alliances have been tightening under the new leader Khan. On the same night Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the Ukraine intervention, Khan had been meeting with him to discuss a wide variety of subjects including economic and energy cooperation. He did not announce a formal disapproval of the intervention in Ukraine then, nor did he do it when he returned home. [9][10]

Did Khan then cross the rubicon and slot himself in the bad books of Washington? Maybe it’s a coincidence, but in the lead-up to the National Assembly vote of no confidence, Prime Minister Khan cited the following quote of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu as evidence the U.S. was behind this move:

“If Prime Minister Imran Khan remained in office, then Pakistan will be isolated from the United States and we will take the issue head on; but if the vote of no-confidence succeeds, all will be forgiven.” [11]

Was this yet another plot of regime change by the United States? And how would the people coming out in unprecedented number in support of their removed Prime Minister prevail in his return to power? We will examine these questions on this edition of the Global Research News Hour.

In Part One of our series, we will talk to Professor Junaid Ahmad, who has a background in Pakistan about the details of the coup, the reasons for Khan to go, and the resulting push back from the people of Pakistan. And in our second half hour, we present a repeat broadcast from October of 2012 of an interview with Professor Michel Chossudovsky, founder/director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. His talk mostly deals with Afghanistan and 9/11, although he touches also on Pakistan’s then pivotal role in the military-intelligent quagmire surrounding the whole affair.

Junaid S. Ahmad teaches Religion, Law, and Politics and is the Director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of thirteen books including The Globalization of War: America’s Long War Against Humanity (2015), and the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Second Edition (2005). He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. 

(Global Research News Hour Episode 354)

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM out of the University of Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

Other stations airing the show:

CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.

WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.

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Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 9am pacific time.

Notes:

  1. ‘Imran Khan’s speech in full’ (July 26, 2018), Al Jazeera;https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/7/26/imran-khans-speech-in-full
  2. No-Trust Motion: Imran Khan Becomes First Prime Minister To Be Voted Out Of Power (April 10, 2022), The Nation; https://nation.com.pk/2022/04/10/no-trust-motion-imran-khan-becomes-first-prime-minister-to-be-voted-out-of-pow/
  3. https://asiatimes.com/2021/05/pakistan-leans-towards-giving-us-military-bases/
  4. https://www.globalresearch.ca/september-11-2001-the-crimes-of-war-committed-in-the-name-of-911/5311561
  5. https://cscr.pk/explore/themes/trade-economics/pakistan-russia-china-emerging-coalition/
  6. https://www.ilaan.com/news/gas-pipelines-to-be-laid-from-lahore-to-karachi
  7. https://dsm.forecastinternational.com/wordpress/2019/05/03/russia-and-pakistan-a-new-arms-deal-on-the-horizon/
  8. https://cscr.pk/explore/themes/trade-economics/pakistan-russia-china-emerging-coalition/
  9. https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2022/02/24/pakistan-prime-minister-imran-khan-in-russia-to-meet-putin
  10. https://www.globalresearch.ca/regime-change-islamabad/5776219
  11. https://www.globalresearch.ca/pakistan-pivot-russia-ouster-imran-khan/5777970?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Michael WelchJunaid S. Ahmad, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2022

West Asia transforms: Twenty Arab states in China’s BRI sights

‘A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind.’ So says a Chinese proverb, and nowhere is this truer than in crisis-ridden West Asia, now a major focus of Beijing’s BRI vision to bring infrastructure, connectivity and economic growth to this struggling region

January 26 2022

By Cynthia Chung

West Asia’s winds have changed. When Syria began 2022 by joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it became the 20th Arab country that Beijing has factored into its grand connectivity vision for Asia, Africa and Europe.

The Arab states in China’s sights include those that have already signed deals, and others with proposals in hand: Egypt (2016), Sudan (2018), Algeria (2018), Iraq (2015), Morocco (2017), Saudi Arabia (2018), Yemen (2017), Syria (2022), Somalia (2015), Tunisia (2018), UAE (2018), Libya (2018), Lebanon (2017), Oman (2018), Mauritania (2018), Kuwait(2018), Qatar (2019), Bahrain (2018), Djibouti (2018), Comoros.

The ambitious connectivity and development projects the BRI can inject into a war-torn, exhausted West Asia have the ability to transform the areas from the Levant to the Persian Gulf into a booming world market hub.

Importantly, by connecting these states via rail, road, and water, the foreign-fueled differences that have kept nations at odds since colonial times will have to take a back seat. Once-hostile neighbors must work in tandem for mutually-beneficial economic gains and a more secure future to work.

And money talks – in a region continuously beset by war, terrorism, ruin and shortages.

Rebuilding Syria and linking the Four Seas

On 12 January this year, Syria officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The timing of this decision dovetails with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s whirlwind tour of West Asia this past spring and summer, beginning with the signing of the $400 billion Sino-Iranian 25-year Comprehensive Cooperation Plan.

In turn, President Bashar al-Assad’s re-election in May last year opened the door to a seven-year Sino-Syrian partnership in the reconstruction of Syria, to relink it to the Mediterranean and Asian markets.

The task will be extensive. The cost of Syria’s reconstruction is estimated to be between $250 and $400 billion – a massive sum, considering Syria’s 2018 total budget was just less than $9 billion.

Nonetheless, Syria has much to offer and China has never been reticent over long-term investment strategies, especially when much can be gained in stabilizing regions that include core transportation corridors.

Syria’s geographical location has been a center for trade and commerce that dates back centuries.

Today, it offers a crucial bypass from the choke points represented by the straits that separate the South China Sea from the Indian Ocean (Malacca, Sunda and Lombok), now controlled by a heavy US presence.

The location of Syria is of central importance to the trade routes through the Five Seas Vision, which was officially put forward by the Syrian president in 2004.

As Assad explained this vision: “Once the economic space between Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran becomes integrated, we would link the Mediterranean, the Caspian, the Black Sea, and the Gulf … we are not only important in the Middle East … Once we link these Four Seas, we become the compulsory intersection of the whole world in investment, transport, and more.”

Photo Credit: The Cradle
Source: Schiller Institute. Proposed rail lines from Albu Kamal/Al-Qaim to Deir Ezzor onto Palmyra and Tehran to Baghdad.

The Latakia Port will be crucial to the Five Seas Vision, and will likely be the first primary focus for heavy Chinese investment, with the potential to become the Eastern Mediterranean’s largest port facility.

Iran has a lease on part of the Latakia Port and has a preferential trade agreement with Syria, while Russia has a base at the nearby Tartus Port, roughly 85km south of Latakia.

Latakia provides access to the Black Sea via Turkey’s Bosphorus (Strait of Istanbul), and access to the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. Russia has free trade facilities at the nearby Port Said in Egypt.

From there, vessels can enter the Persian Gulf, under the protection of another Russian facility at Port Sudan, through the Suez Canal.

Goods can then be shipped onto Iran, which connects to the Caspian Sea from the Chabahar Port via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

From the INSTC transport corridor, it is a short journey to Pakistan, India, and ultimately to China.

International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), the 7,200 km multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight, largely coordinated by Russia (north end) and India.

Reviving routes and expanding ports

Lebanon’s Tripoli port, 20 miles south of the Syrian-Lebanese border, will also be at the center of BRI investment, if the country’s muddled political rivalries allow for it. The port can play a vital role in the reconstruction of Syria – which Washington seeks to thwart – with plans to revive the Beirut-Tripoli railway as part of a wider network that would incorporate Lebanese and Syrian railway systems into the BRI.

China is also looking to help establish a Tripoli Special Economic Zone as a central trans-shipment hub for the eastern Mediterranean. Plans are underway for the China Harbor Engineering Company to expand the Tripoli port to accommodate the largest freighters.

China has helped to expand the Mouawad airport, about 15 miles north of Tripoli, transforming it from a predominantly military base to a thriving civilian airport.

In 2016, the year that Egypt joined China’s BRI, President Xi Jinping visited Egypt, and the two countries signed 21 partnership agreements with a total value of $15 billion.

China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd has been cooperating with Egyptian companies in the construction of new logistic and industrial areas along the Suez Canal.

In addition, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation has been working on the construction of a new administrative capital 45km east of Cairo, valued at $45 billion. These projects will work to further facilitate integration into the BRI framework.

The case of Yemen, which joined the BRI in 2017, remains a challenging one. China has done much to invest in Egypt’s Suez Canal and the Djibouti Port, which connects with the Addis Abba-Djibouti railway.

Djibouti, Ethiopia and Sudan all joined the BRI in 2018, while Somalia had been on board since 2015. China established its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017, giving it access to the key maritime choke point in the region. Yemen stands to gain much with its strategically placed Port Aden.

China’s ambassador to Yemen, Kang Yong, said in a March 2020 interview with Yemeni news outlet Al-Masdar that China considers all agreements signed between the two countries prior to the onset of the 2015 war as still valid, and will implement them “after the Yemeni war ends and after restoring peace and stability.”

Although both China and Russia have made the point that they will not directly intervene in regional politics, it is clear where both nations stand in their orientation, as gleaned from the rapid ascension that has been granted to Iran in recent months.

This past September, Iran was admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were admitted as SCO dialogue partners, joining Turkey.

Over the past year, Iran has quickly gained high regard and is now considered the third pillar to the multipolar alliance of Russia and China, increasingly referred to as RIC (Russia-Iran-China).

On 21 September, officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran met for the fourth round of talks aimed at improving relations, and although the process remains slow, it looks increasingly possible that a peaceful resolution can be reached.

Returning to Syria’s Five Seas Vision, Iraq also has a crucial role to play in this game-changing program.

The office of the Iraqi prime minister stated last May that “negotiations with Iran to build a railway between Basra and Shalamcheh have reached their final stages, and we have signed 15 agreements and memoranda of understanding with Jordan and Egypt regarding energy and transportation lines.”

China-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway corridor, part of the INSTC. Iraq joined the BRI in 2015, Iran in 2018.

The railway is part of Syria’s reconstruction deal. The 30km Shalamcheh-Basra rail line will connect Iraq to China’s Belt and Road lines, as well as bring Iran closer to Syria. Basra is also linked to the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

The Shalamcheh-Basra rail link will make it possible for Iran to send various commodities, such as consumer goods, construction materials, and minerals through the railway from Tehran to Shalamcheh and then to Basra, and finally to Al Qaim border crossing between Iraq and Syria, which was re-opened in September 2019 after being closed for eight years due to war in both countries.

Presently, there is no rail link between Al Qaim in Iraq to Syria’s rail station in Deir Ezzor, which is roughly 163km away. This should be a priority for construction. From Deir Ezzor, Syria’s existing rail line connects to Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus, and Damascus.

On 29 December, the Iranian cabinet approved the opening of the Chinese consulate in Bandar Abbas, China’s first consulate in Iran. It is expected that China will invest heavily in the Chabahar Free Trade and Industrial Zone and Bandar Abbas, Iran’s most important southern sea transportation hub.

The former Iranian ambassador to China and Switzerland, Mohammad-Hossein Malaek, told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) that Beijing is set to play a leading role in developing the Makran region, the coastal strip along Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province and Pakistan’s Balochistan, and where Beijing already has a 40-year, multi-billion dollar agreement with Islamabad to develop the Gwadar port.

Both Iran and Turkey have been intensely engaged with the BRI. The first freight train ran from Pakistan to Turkey through Iran on 21 December last year, after a 10-year hiatus.

This resulted in a major boost to the trading capabilities of the three founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), created in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, and which now has 10 members.

The 6,540km journey from Islamabad to Istanbul takes ten days, less than half the time needed for the equivalent voyage of 21 days by sea. The train has the capacity to carry 80,000 tons of goods.

Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Rail (ITI).

Within the corridors of cooperation and connectivity

Also in December last year, Javad Hedayati, an official with Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, announced that Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia had reached an agreement on establishing a transit route connecting the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea.

This transit route could potentially link with the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Rail (ITI) and further boost connectivity in the region.

The construction work of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is resuming in the Afghanistan section. The TAPI is a regional connectivity project for supplying gas from Turkmenistan to India’s Punjab to meet regional demand.

Map illustrates the planned TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) and railways in Afghanistan.

The pipeline is expected to carry 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The 1,814km pipeline stretches from Galkinesh, the world’s second-largest gas field, to the Indian city of Fazilka, near the Pakistan border.

This will be more than enough to supply Afghanistan’s own energy needs as it starts to rebuild and reconstruct. TAPI is expected to facilitate a unique level of trade and cooperation across the region, as well as support peace and security between the four countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

The Afghan-Uzbek rail project is another exciting proposal that has recently been under serious discussion. The project would include the construction of a 700km long Mazar-i-Sharif to Herat rail line that would pass through Shiberghan, Andkhoy, and Maimana in western Afghanistan.

If this project materializes, all Central Asian countries, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, would be connected to Iran’s Chabahar corridor via western Afghanistan.

The Afghan-Uzbek rail project will be one of the biggest breakthroughs in Asian transport connectivity with enormous implications for the entire region, both in terms of economic prosperity as well as political stability.

Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan have already signed an agreement to develop a trans-Afghan transport corridor.

India is also seeking a railway connection with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which would connect Chabahar as a gateway between Eurasia and the Indian Ocean.

Cooperation in the area of connectivity with these countries could also be pursued under the SCO framework.

Whether the official title of BRI is present or not, all these development corridors in transportation, industry and energy will participate in the main economic corridors under the BRI framework.

All participant countries in the BRI understand this, and they also know that cooperation is key to mutual beneficence and security.

The Six Main Economic Corridors under China’s BRI, some completed, others hindered by geopolitical conflicts, as in Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Iraq, South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Gulf States shun collaboration

Generally, western-backed Persian Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE have done much to sabotage this vein of progress.

Thus far, their involvement in the BRI framework has mostly consisted of exchanging oil for technological resources to diversify their economies. They have not, however, been as eager to participate in collaborative processes with other Arab countries.

Nonetheless, the tides are changing, and one cannot maintain a wealthy island philosophy among this growing framework.

The Gulf States need a market to trade in, so that they can grow and prosper. They are therefore in no position to dictate relations with their neighbors, on whom they will grow increasingly dependent for their survival.

If the Gulf countries – some now dialogue partner states of the SCO – adhere to the guidelines of that political-economic-security organization – funding and support of Islamic terrorism is expected to slowly die out.

This would be the most effective way to isolate the attempts of the west to instigate chaos and division within West Asia.

With the BRI and Eurasian Economic Union framework working in tandem, those who are willing to abide by the multipolar framework of a win-win cooperation will make the quickest ascensions.

And those who sluggishly cling to old prejudices and outdated orders will only sink into irrelevance.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Exit Nord Stream 2, Enter Power of Siberia 2

THURSDAY 23 DEC 21

Military superpower Russia, having had enough of U.S./NATO bullying, is now dictating the terms of a new arrangement.

PEPE ESCOBAR 

Coming straight from President Putin, it did sound like a bolt from the sky:

“We need long-term legally binding guarantees even if we know they cannot be trusted, as the U.S. frequently withdraws from treaties that become uninteresting to them. But it’s something, not just verbal assurances.”

And that’s how Russia-U.S. relations come to the definitive crunch – after an interminable series of polite red alerts coming from Moscow.

Putin once again had to specify that Russia is looking for “indivisible, equitable security” – a principle established since Helsinki in 1975 – even though he no longer sees the U.S. as a dependable “partner”, that diplomatically nicety so debased by the Empire since the end of the USSR.

The “frequently withdrawing from treaties” passage can easily be referred to as Washington in 2002 under Bush Jr. pulling out of the ABM treaty signed between the U.S. and the USSR in 1972. Or it could be referred to as the U.S. under Trump destroying the JCPOA signed with Iran and guaranteed by the UN. Precedents abound.

Putin was once again exercising the Taoist patience so characteristic of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: explaining the obvious not only to a Russian but also a global audience. The Global South may easily understand this reference; “When international law and the UN Charter interfere, they [the U.S.] declare it all obsolete and unnecessary.”

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko had been uncommonly assertive – leaving nothing for the imagination:

“We just make it clear that we are ready to talk about switching over from a military or a military-technical scenario to a political process that will strengthen the security of all countries in the area of the OCSE, Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia. If that doesn’t work out, we signaled to them [NATO] that we will also move over to creating counter threats, but it will then be too late to ask us why we made these decisions and why we deployed these systems.”

So in the end it comes down to Europeans facing “the prospect of turning the continent into a field of military confrontation.” That will be the inevitable consequence of a NATO “decision” actually decided in Washington.

Incidentally: any possible, future “counter threats” will be coordinated between Russia and China.

Mr. Zircon is on the line, Sir

Every sentient being from Atlanticist shores to Eurasian steppes by now knows the content of the Russian draft agreements on security guarantees presented to the Americans, as detailed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Key provisions include no further NATO expansion; no Ukraine admission; no NATO shenanigans in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia; Russia and NATO agreeing not to deploy intermediate and short-range missiles in areas from where they can hit each other’s territory; establishment of hotlines; and the NATO-Russia Council actively involved in resolving disputes.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs extensively reiterated that the Americans received “detailed explanations of the logic of the Russian approach”, so the ball is in Washington’s court.

Well, National Security advisor Jake Sullivan at first seemed to kick it, when he admitted, on the record, that Putin may not want to “invade” Ukraine.

Then there were rumblings that the Americans would get back to Moscow this week with their own “concrete security proposals”, after de facto writing the script for their NATO minions, invariably conveyed in spectacularly mediocre fashion by secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

The Ukraine narrative didn’t change an inch: “severe measures” – of an economic and financial nature – remain in the pipeline if Russia engages in “further aggression” in Ukraine.

Moscow was not fooled. Ryabkow had to specify, once again, that the Russian proposals were on a bilateral basis. Translation: we talk only to those with deciding power, not to minions. The involvement of other countries, Ryabkov said, “will deprive them of their meaning.”

From the start, NATO’s response had been predictably obvious: Russia is conducting a “substantial, unprovoked, and unjustified” military buildup along its border with Ukraine and is making “false … claims of Ukrainian and NATO provocations”.

That once again proved the point it’s a monumental waste of time to discuss with yapping chihuahuas of the Stoltenberg variety, for whom “NATO expansion will continue, whether Russia likes it or not.”

In fact, whether U.S. and NATO functionaries like it or not, what’s really happening in the realpolitk realm is Russia dictating new terms from a position of power. In a nutshell: you may learn the new game in town in a peaceful manner, civilized dialogue included, or you will learn the hard way via a dialogue with Mr. Iskandr, Mr. Kalibr, Mr. Khinzal and Mr. Zircon.

The inestimable Andrei Martyanov has extensively analysed for years now all the details of Russia’s overwhelming military dominance, hypersonic and otherwise, across the European space – as well as the dire consequences if the U.S. and NATO minions “decide that they want to continue to play dumb.”

Martyanov has also noted that Russia “understands the split with the West and is ready to take any consequences, including, already declining, shrinkage of trade and reduction of the supply of hydrocarbons to the EU.”

That’s where the whole ballet around the security guarantees intersects with the crucial Pipelineistan angle. To sum it all up: exit Nord Stream 2, enter Power of Siberia 2.

So let’s revisit why the looming energy catastrophe in the EU is not forcing anyone in Russia to lose his/her sleep.

Dancing in the Siberian night

One of the top takeaways of the strategic Putin-Xi video conference last week was the immediate future of Power of Siberia 2 – which will snake in across Mongolia to deliver up to 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to China.

So it was hardly an accident that Putin received Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh in the Kremlin, the day after he talked to Xi, to discuss Power of Siberia 2. The key parameters of the pipeline have already been set, a feasibility study will be completed in early 2022, and the deal – minus last-minute pricing tune-ups – is practically clinched.

Power of Siberia 2 follows the 2,200 km long Power of Siberia 1, launched in 2019 from Eastern Siberia to northern China and the focus of a $400 billion deal struck between Gazprom and China’s CNPC. Power of Siberia 1’s full capacity will be reached in 2025, when it will be supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Power of Siberia 2, a much bigger operation, was planned years ago, but it was hard to find consensus on the final route. Gazprom wanted Western Siberia to Xinjiang across the Altai mountains. The Chinese wanted transit via Mongolia straight into central China. The Chinese eventually prevailed. The final route across Mongolia was decided only two months ago. Construction should begin in 2024.

This is a massive geoeconomic game-changer, totally in line with the increasingly sophisticated Russia-China strategic partnership. But it’s also supremely important geopolitically (Remember Xi: China supports Russia’s “core interests”).

The gas for Power of Siberia 2 will come from the same fields currently supplying the EU market. Whatever demented concoctions the European Commission – and the new German government – may apply on stalling the operation of Nord Stream 2, Gazprom’s main focus will be China.

It doesn’t matter for Gazprom that China as a customer in the near future will not fully replace the whole EU market. What matters is the steady business flow and the absence of infantile politicking. For China what matters is an extra, guaranteed overland supply rote boosting its strategy of “escaping from Malacca”: the possibility, in case Cold War 2.0 turns hot, that the U.S. Navy would eventually block maritime shipping of energy sources via Southeast Asia to China.

Beijing of course is all over the place when it comes to buying Russian natural gas. The Chinese have a 30% stake in Novatek’s $27 billion Yamal project and a 20% stake in the $21 billion Arctic project.

So welcome to 2022 and the new, high stakes realpolitik Great Game.

U.S. elites had been terrified of playing Russia against China because they fear this would lead Germany to ally with Russia and China – leaving the Empire of Chaos out in the cold.

And that leads to the “mystery” inside the enigma of the whole Ukrainian face: use it to force the EU away from Russian natural resources.

Russia is turning the whole show upside down. As an energy superpower, instead of an internally corroded EU dictated by NATO, Russia will be mostly focused on its Asian customers.

In parallel, military superpower Russia, having had enough of U.S./NATO bullying, is now dictating the terms of a new arrangement. Lavrov confirmed the first round of Russia-U.S. talks on security guarantees will be held in early 2022.

Are these ultimatums? Not really. Seems like Ryabkov, with notable didacticism, will have to keep explaining it over and over again: “We do not speak in the language of ultimatums with anyone. We have a responsible attitude towards our own security and the security of others. The point is not that we have issued an ultimatum, not at all, but that the seriousness of our warning must not be underestimated.”

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عالم متحوّل… «إسرائيل» مجرد حاجز طيار وكيانات البترودولار ستختفي قريباً

 محمد صادق الحسيني

الخبر الآن هو سحب واشنطن لبطاريات پاتريوت من السعودية على رغم تزايد هجومات أنصار الله عليها.

‏ وأنّ الأميركيين يغادرون المنطقة نهائياً وإن بالتدريج على رغم خطورة التحولات.

ويقولون للعرب كما لليهود:

‏دبّروا حالكم بأنفسكم وكل واحد يقلع شوكه بأظافره…

البداية من أفغانستان والأمر سارٍ على سائر البلدان، وكذلك لبنان.

‏هذا هو لسان حال الدوائر الأميركية لمن يقرأ جيداً، الموازين في الميدان والتقارير في الكواليس.

والتي تقول :لن يطول الزمان الذي ستصبح فيه حتى القاعدة الأميركية المتقدمة المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية والتي اسمها «إسرائيل»، إلا وتكون على جدول الإغلاق مثلها مثل مئات القواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في العالم، وذلك في إطار تطبيق برنامج أو خطة أميركا أولاً..!

‏الكيان إلى زوال إذن ولو بعد لأي.

 وإمارات النفط والغاز والبنزين تختفي قريباً من خريطة الوطن العربي، بخاصة بعد تقرير اقتصادي للأمم المتحدة يتوقع إفلاسها في عام 2024.

وما سيسرع في ذلك انتهاء وظيفتها الكيانية التي استحدثت من أجلها.

باختصار مكثف: أميركا إذن تقرر تغيير عقيدتها العسكرية للمرة الأولى منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. وتأخذ قرارها النهائي بسحب عديدها وعتادها من مراكز الانتشار العالمي لإعادة الحياة إلى دورة الاقتصاد الأميركي الداخلية الكاسدة.

والصين في المقابل تتقدّم بخطى حثيثة بناء على رؤية استراتيجية ثاقبة لوصل شرق الصين بشرق المتوسط بطريق سريع يمرّ عبر أفغانستان وإيران من دون وجود عسكري غربي.

في هذه الأثناء نشرت وكالة «أسوشيتد برس»: صوراً فضائية قبل أيام تظهر سحب واشنطن منظومات «باتريوت» من السعودية على رغم تواصل الهجمات من اليمن كما أشرنا.

من جهة أخرى فقد علم من مصادر أوروبية استخبارية رفيعة، بأن واشنطن أبلغت الدوحة قبل أيام عبر وزير خارجيتها بلينكن، بأنّ ملف أفغانستان سيتمّ نقله بالكامل إلى ألمانيا، وأنّ دور الدوحة سيتحول إلى دور لوجيستي محض.

واشنطن هذه كانت قد أبلغت تل أبيب عبر وزير خارجيتها بينيت وغيره بأنها لم تعد مهتمة في أي خطط قد تفكر بها تل أبيب ضد طهران أو سورية أو حتى لبنان، فهي لديها ما يكفيها من مشاكل داخلية ودولية، وتتجه بقوة نحو مضيق «مالاقا» وبحر الصين.

إن أسباب ما ذكر أعلاه يمكن وضعه في تقدير الموقف الذي يستنتجه كل من يطالع بدقة التقارير التي يتم تداولها في الكواليس والأروقة الخلفية على المستوى الدولي والتي تؤكد ما يلي:

1 ـ كان قرار القوى الخفية، التي قررت أن ترشح ترامب إلى الرئاسه يتلخص في استخدامه لإنهاء الوجود العسكري الأميركي في أفغانستان و»الشرق الأوسط» أولاً ومن مناطق أخرى في العالم لاحقاً بعد هزيمتها في كل الحروب التي شنتها منذ ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية.

2 ـ فشل ترامب في ذلك بسبب ضغوط مجموعات الضغط اليهوديه في أميركا، ومنعه من ذلك بحجة الخوف على أمن «اسرائيل».

3 ـ لكنه بقي مصراً على تنفيذ الانسحابات وهو يسألهم عما تريده «إسرائيل» لضمان أمنها ؟ فجاء الجواب: تطبيع مع الدول العربية/ اعتراف أميركا بيهودية الدولة/ نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس/ الاعتراف بضم الجولان.

4 ـ تمّ ذلك ولكن القوى الخفية لم تتراجع عن قرار تصفية الوجود العسكري الأميركي تدريجياً في «الشرق الأوسط»/ غرب آسيا.

من هنا جاء تنفيذ قرار الانسحاب من أفغانستان على يد بايدن، الذي وصل إلى الحكم بموافقة نفس القوى الخفية التي جاءت بترامب.

5 ـ لا تراجع عن هذا القرار لأسباب استراتيجية تتعلق بالأمن القومي الأميركي على صعيد الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى.

6 ـ إذ إنّ الصراع لم يعد يقتصر على النواحي العسكرية وإنما اتخذ شكلاً اقتصادياً أكثر أهمية من الفترات السابقة.

فالصراع أصلاً اقتصادياً ينتج منه الصراع السياسي الذي يتحول، عند استحالة حسمه سياسياً إلى صراع عسكري…

هذا ما عرفه الجنرال الألماني كارل فون كلاوسيڤيتس بالقول «إنّ الحرب هي استمرار للسياسة بأدوات أخرى».

7 ـ إذن الصراع الاقتصادي الدائر بين روسيا والصين هو صراع وجودي بالنسبة لواشنطن. إذ لا يمكن لأميركا منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، على الصعيد الدولي بسبب شحّ الأموال الأميركية (النقدية) وتوفرها مع الذهب لدى الصين وروسيا والجزائر وإيران.

أي أن القوة العسكرية الأميركية لم تعد قادرة على تأمين المصالح الأميركيه من دون استثمارات أميركية ضخمة، كتلك التي قامت بها واشنطن بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أي خطة مارشال لإعادة إعمار أوروبا، والتي أدّت إلى استحواذ رأس المال الأميركي على ما يقارب 40 في المئة من الاقتصاد الأوروبي. وهذا هو سر سيطرة واشنطن على قرار أوروبا/ بواجهة حلف شمال الأطلسي.

8 ـ إذن لا بدّ لأميركا من إعادة بناء البنى التحتية الأميركية، بما في ذلك البنى التحتية العلمية والتكنولوجية، حتى تتمكن من الصمود، إلى حد ما، أمام التحدي الروسي الصيني الذي بات يفوقها بمراتب، والذي ستنضمّ إليه الهند، مضطرةً، في القريب من السنوات. وهذا يتطلب تقليص الوجود العسكري الأميركي في العالم.

 إنّ مجموع هذه التحولات الكبرى هي من سيسرّع في ضمور دور الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار، المقام على أرض فلسطين أولاً ومن ثم زواله في أقرب الآجال.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

How Eurasia will be interconnected

How Eurasia will be interconnected

April 04, 2021

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

The extraordinary confluence between the signing of the Iran-China strategic partnership deal and the Ever Given saga in the Suez Canal is bound to spawn a renewed drive to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and all interconnected corridors of Eurasia integration.

This is the most important geo-economic development in Southwest Asia in ages – even more crucial than the geopolitical and military support to Damascus by Russia since 2015.

Multiple overland railway corridors across Eurasia featuring cargo trains crammed with freight – the most iconic of which is arguably Chongqin-Duisburg – are a key plank of BRI. In a few years, this will all be conducted on high-speed rail.

The key overland corridor is Xinjiang-Kazakhstan – and then onwards to Russia and beyond; the other one traverses Central Asia and Iran, all the way to Turkey, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. It may take time – in terms of volume – to compete with maritime routes, but the substantial reduction in shipping time is already propelling a massive cargo surge.

The Iran-China strategic connection is bound to accelerate all interconnected corridors leading to and crisscrossing Southwest Asia.

Crucially, multiple BRI trade connectivity corridors are directly linked to establishing alternative routes to oil and gas transit, controlled or “supervised” by the Hegemon since 1945: Suez, Malacca, Hormuz, Bab al Mandeb.

Informal conversations with Persian Gulf traders have revealed huge skepticism about the foremost reason for the Ever Given saga. Merchant marine pilots agree that winds in a desert storm were not enough to harass a state of the art mega-container ship equipped with very complex navigation systems. The pilot error scenario – induced or not – is being seriously considered.

Then there’s the predominant shoptalk: stalled Ever Given was Japanese owned, leased from Taiwan, UK-insured, with an all-Indian crew, transporting Chinese merchandise to Europe. No wonder cynics, addressing the whole episode, are asking, Cui Bono?

Persian Gulf traders, in hush hush mode, also drop hints about the project for Haifa to eventually become the main port in the region, in close cooperation with the Emirates via a railway to be built between Jabal Ali in Dubai to Haifa, bypassing Suez.

Back to facts on the ground, the most interesting short-term development is how Iran’s oil and gas may be shipped to Xinjiang via the Caspian Sea and Kazakhstan – using a to-be-built Trans-Caspian pipeline.

That falls right into classic BRI territory. Actually more than that, because Kazakhstan is a partner not only of BRI but also the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

From Beijing’s point of view, Iran is also absolutely essential for the development of a land corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and further to Europe via the Danube.

It’s obviously no accident that the Hegemon is on high alert in all points of this trade corridor. “Maximum pressure” sanctions and hybrid war against Iran; an attempt to manipulate the Armenia-Azerbaijan war; the post-color revolution environment in both Georgia and Ukraine – which border the Black Sea; NATO’s overarching shadow over the Balkans; it’s all part of the plot.

Now get me some Lapis Lazuli

Another fascinating chapter of Iran-China concerns Afghanistan. According to Tehran sources, part of the strategic agreement deals with Iran’s area of influence in Afghanistan and the evolution of still another connectivity corridor all the way to Xinjiang.

And here we go back to the always intriguing

Lapis Lazuli corridor – which was conceptualized in 2012, initially for increased connectivity between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Lapis Lazuli, wonderfully evocative, harks back to the export of an array of semiprecious stones via the Ancient Silk Roads to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans and North Africa.

Now the Afghan government sees the ambitious 21st century remix as departing from Herat (a key area of Persian influence), continuing to the Caspian Sea port of Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan, via a Trans-Caspian pipeline to Baku, onwards to Tblisi and the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi in the Black Sea, and finally connected to Kars and Istanbul.

This is really serious business; a drive that may potentially link the

Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.

Since Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, in the Kazakh port of Aktau, what’s interesting is that their major issues are now discussed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where Russia and Kazakhstan are full members; Iran will soon be; Azerbaijan is a dialogue partner; and Turkmenistan is a permanent guest.

One of the key connectivity problems to be addressed is the viability of building a canal from the Caspian Sea to Iran’s shores in the Persian Gulf. That would cost at least US$7 billion. Another issue is the imperative transition towards container cargo transport in the Caspian. In SCO terms, that will increase Russian trade with India via Iran as well as offering an extra corridor for China trade with Europe.

With Azerbaijan prevailing over Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh flare up, while finally sealing a deal with Turkmenistan over their respective status in the Caspian Sea, impetus for the western part of Lapis Lazuli is now in the cards.

The eastern part is a much more complicated affair, involving an absolutely crucial issue now on the table not only for Beijing but for the SCO: the integration of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In late 2020, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan agreed to build what analyst Andrew Korybko delightfully described as the PAKAFUZ railwayPAKAFUZ will be a key step to expand CPEC to Central Asia, via Afghanistan. Russia is more than interested.

This can become a classic case of the evolving BRI-EAEU melting pot. Crunch time – serious decisions included – will happen this summer, when Uzbekistan plans to host a conference called “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities”.

So everything will be proceeding interconnected: a Trans-Caspian link; the expansion of CPEC; Af-Pak connected to Central Asia; an extra Pakistan-Iran corridor (via Balochistan, including the finally possible conclusion of the IP gas pipeline) all the way to Azerbaijan and Turkey; China deeply involved in all these projects.

Beijing will be building roads and pipelines in Iran, including one to ship Iranian natural gas to Turkey. Iran-China, in terms of projected investment, is nearly ten times more ambitious than CPEC. Call it CIEC (China-Iran Economic Corridor).

In a nutshell: the Chinese and Persian civilization-states are on the road to emulate the very close relationship they enjoyed during the Silk Road-era Yuan dynasty in the 13th century.

INSTC or bust

An extra piece of the puzzle concerns how the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) will mix with BRI and the EAEU. Crucially, INSTC also happens to be an alternative to Suez.

Iran, Russia and India have been discussing the intricacies of this 7,200 km-long ship/rail/road trade corridor since 2002. INSTC technically starts in Mumbai and goes all the way via the Indian Ocean to Iran, the Caspian Sea, and then to Moscow. As a measure of its appeal, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Oman, and Syria are all INSTC members.

Much to the delight of Indian analysts, INSTC reduces transit time from West India to Western Russia from 40 to 20 days, while cutting costs by as much as 60%. It’s already operational – but not as a continuous, free flow sea and rail link.

New Delhi already spent $500 million on a crucial project: the expansion of Chabahar port in Iran, which was supposed to become its entry point for a made in India Silk Road to Afghanistan and onward to Central Asia. But then it all got derailed by New Delhi’s flirting with the losing Quad proposition.

India also invested $1.6 billion in a railway between Zahedan, the key city in southeast Iran, and the Hajigak iron/steel mining in central Afghanistan. This all falls into a possible Iran-India free trade agreement which is being negotiated since 2019 (for the moment, on stand-by). Iran and Russia already clinched a similar agreement. And India wants the same with the EAEU as a whole.

Following the Iran-China strategic partnership, chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Mojtaba Zonnour, has already hinted that the next step should be an

Iran-Russia strategic cooperation deal, privileging “rail services, roads, refineries, petrochemicals, automobiles, oil, gas, environment and knowledge-based companies”.

What Moscow is already seriously considering is to build a canal between the Caspian and the Sea of Azov, north of the Black Sea. Meanwhile, the already built Caspian port of Lagan is a certified game-changer.

Lagan directly connects with multiple BRI nodes. There’s rail connectivity to the Trans-Siberian all the way to China. Across the Caspian, connectivity includes Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan and Baku in Azerbaijan, which is the starting point of the BTK railway through to the Black Sea and then all the way from Turkey to Europe.

On the Iranian stretch of the Caspian, Amirabad port links to the INSTC, Chabahar port and further on to India. It’s not an accident that several Iranian companies, as well China’s Poly Group and China Energy Engineering Group International want to invest in Lagan.

What we see in play here is Iran at the center of a maze progressively interconnected with Russia, China and Central Asia. When the Caspian Sea is finally linked to international waters, we will see a de facto alternative trade/transport corridor to Suez.

Post-Iran-China, it’s not far-fetched anymore to even consider the possible emergence in a not too distant future of a Himalaya Silk Road uniting BRICS members China and India (think, for instance, of the power of Himalayan ice converging into a shared Hydropower Tunnel).

As it stands, Russia is very much focused on limitless possibilities in Southwest Asia, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear in the 10th Middle East conference at the Valdai club. The Hegemon’s treats on multiple fronts – Ukraine, Belarus, Syria, Nord Stream 2 – pale in comparison.

The new architecture of 21st century geopolitics is already taking shape, with China providing multiple trade corridors for non-stop economic development while Russia is the reliable provider of energy and security goods, as well as the conceptualizer of a Greater Eurasia home, with “strategic partnership” Sino/Russian diplomacy playing the very long game.

Southwest Asia and Greater Eurasia have already seen which way the (desert) winds are blowing. And soon will the masters of international capital. Russia, China, Iran, India, Central Asia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Korean Peninsula, everyone will experience a capital surge – financial vultures included. Following the Greed is Good gospel, Eurasia is about to become the ultimate Greed frontier.

Iran-China deal hailed as geopolitical game changer

By VT Editors -April 8, 2021

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Very little has been published on the Iran-China agreement and its possible outcome for the region since it was announced last year.

How important is this deal?

So, we know approximate figure, 400, billion (dollar value of agreement), it’s a pretty big number, and it’s touted as a strategic partnership between China and Iran, where both sides committed to broaden the economic cooperation that both sides already have but increasing investment, increasing cooperation in developing infrastructures. So I think it’s a really big deal because we have all the usual outlets in the mainstream media talking about it or the conservative media in the US are, are taking the stance, oh, you know, like the “Biden’s screwed up. He made Iran and China get together, now they have formed the axis of evil, now we are screwed!” You know it’s a good thing when these people are starting to talk like that.

What are the western media criticisms of the deal?

Um, actually I hear a lot of, you know, I saw a lot of criticism for like the, the Iranian dissidents in the diaspora, I mean a lot of them are posing this as somehow Iran selling out to China. You know I see like an astroturf Twitter campaign about you, Iran, get out of “China, get out of Iran”, right, which is totally overblown because as far as I know, you know China is not is not, you know, posting its military to Iran and China. China is in Iran to do business. Right and it’s a deal, agreed by two sovereign governments between the sovereign government of Iran and China. It’s not like one side is pointing a gun to the other side, say hey, sign at the dotted line, and as a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with the United States.

Iran and China have long standing ties through the Silk Road

The fact that people in the US media are getting worked up about it is rather ridiculous, (since) this is a deal between two nations with long standing ties through the Silk Road, I mean Iran and China have had a historical relationship for over 1000 years, you know, way longer than United States even existed. The fact that the people in Washington, who can barely find Iran and China on a map, are worked up about a deal of cooperation, mind you have a deal of cooperation and friendship between Iran and China. It says a lot more about them than about the deal itself it’s, it’s this fear that oh my god you know all these people are ganging up on us. It’s like no, this has nothing to do with the US.

US foreign policy hostile toward both nations

Iran and China are just continuing their historical relationship. There’s every reason for the two nations to work together, especially when both are being put under pressure by US foreign policy, you know, US foreign policy has been very hostile toward Iran since 1979. US foreign policy has been increasingly hostile toward China since 2010. So I mean, when, when US policymakers realize, China now is in a position strong enough to challenge the US hegemony, and that’s what they’re really worried about they’re worried about the position of the US as a hegemon [sic] in the world; they are worried that US hegemony is going to disappear and be replaced by a multipolar, multilateral world, which, I don’t understand why that’s a bad day, for them it is.

Ever since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, and reapplied sanctions China remained the sole buyer of Iranian petroleum, the sole lifeline that Iran could rely on at the time was coming from China and what they’re doing now is just a continuation of their previous businesses dealings which has now been made official.

China and Iran Cooperation goes a long way. I mean not just, just, historically, but also in the modern time, you know China has always dealt with Iran and in the latest round of sanctions  the US placed on Iran, China continue to do business (with Iran) despite the US sanctions because, you know, the, the US sanctions rely on the premise that the US has dominate the global finance right and because US threatened to sanction, any company, any government that has dealing with Iran, but China is in a position today where you can basically ignore the US sanction and continue to, to work on its traditional relationship, normal relationship, with Iran. And I think that is what has upset people in Washington, because they see the US is losing its grip.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

This deal comes in the backdrop of the broader Belt and Road initiative, if I’m not mistaken, please give us more information if you available. This corridor that China has been trying to build through Pakistan and now it connects Iran to this road and maybe later Turkey can, you know, get added to this, how do you view this?

Yeah, I mean, actually the Belt and Road Initiative serves two purposes. The first, the most important purpose is to build up infrastructures throughout the world, throughout especially the global south. So, people there can be increased interconnectivity in the world, that that, you know, people make it seems like, oh, China is building a port So China’s increasing its inputs, but look, a port is is open, a port sits on the ocean, It’s open to anyone. You know Chinese can use the Japanese can use, anybody who wants to do business in Iran can use that board. So that’s a point that’s increasingly global interconnectivity includes the increase of global trade, which for some weird reason the US is trying to oppose. I mean, they, they’re the real reason is really about preserving the USA, Germany, but they, they’re really bending backwards to perform all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify why that’s, that’s a bad thing. And I think he shows how desperate they are. But, as you mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative, there’s another purpose of building a road initiative, it is to bypass the US Navy’s chokehold on the, the world, shipping, trade, because, you know, US Navy, makes no, they do not even disguise the fact that they, they, they always talk about the chokehold on the Malacca Strait, which is where most of the Middle East oil flows to East Asia like two countries like China, Japan and Korea, and, and what China is doing is kind of diversify its energies, by, by building pipelines and building roads and rails through, you know through Central Asia through Pakistan to Iran so they, the oil or gas doesn’t have to go, get on tankers and goes through the Strait of Malacca to China, they can maybe go overland and then the trade can also be carried on overland, not having to route to avoid a possible US Navy blockade, you know like what they’re currently doing right now, sending warships to the Persian Gulf, sending worships to the South China Sea, that’s basically the US demonstrating “look I can, I can, you know choke off your lifeline, anytime”, and the Belt and Road Initiative bypasses that by building alternative routes.

Peking is increasing its influence with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which may give India cause for consternation.

https://if-cdn.com/ubIRQ9A?v=1&app=1

Do you think that Delhi may feel left out as the route is not to go through India but through Pakistan or maybe Sri Lanka?

Yeah, I mean, India, feels like the South Asian subcontinent is its own backyard, you know, it feels like you know it feels pressure when China builds a relationship with its neighbors like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal.  But China actually very much want to include India in the Belt and Road Initiative, because India is a huge nation with 1.3 billion people, it’s a large market, and China very much want India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, by having deepened economic engagement with India. But the problem with India is that if you wants to keep China at arm’s length, because they see this rather than as an opportunity of cooperation and engagement, they see this as some kind of, you know Chinese influence encroaching on other nations. India is also  participating in the so called plod the, you know the cloud of democracy that’s promoted by the United States that’s the US, Japan, Australia, India to form this circle of containment around China, and that will just increase the kind of the friction between, between India and China, but like I said, you know, like, I think Chinese government will be very happy if India just suddenly says we’re going to be on board with the Belt and Road Initiative, you know we love to trade with China, but that’s not happening right now, India has recently banned all the Chinese apps in their market. So, so they’re, they’re following the kind of the US led initiative to decouple from the Chinese economy, and also India had, you know that Iran and India, they had a deal concerning the port of Chabahar. So, so, like India did have this opportunity to, you know, engage with Iran, engage with China, it’s really up to India to decide what they really want.

I think they had payment issues due to US sanctions and that stopped them from developing further. Iran certainly needed this agreement, for certain reasons that you might be aware of. But do you think that China also needed this agreement to happen?

Oh sure, I mean, you know, the whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is, you know, China was to engage more deeply with the global south countries and Iran is a very important strategic country in the Middle East. It sits right by the Persian Gulf, but you know, it sits right across Hormuz Strait, a very strategic point. And so, you know China very much would like to deepen its engagement with Iran, especially right now, when both China and Iran face heavy diplomatic pressure from the United States it makes even more sense for the two sides to to cooperate and, you know, China also wanted, like, kind of, you know, make more inroads into the broader Middle East market because you know, traditionally China imports its energy from the Middle East, including Iran. But right now, you know, China has, has built up a lot of capacity in the past decades, just building out its own domestic infrastructure. And now, China has acquired all this expertise, and all these capacity but China is is being built out in China are people seeing videos of Chinese high speed rails and bridges. Now, all these Chinese companies they have all these expertise and all this capacity. The whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is to invest abroad, you know, to continue to provide opportunities for these Chinese companies to do business abroad, and to export the excessive Chinese capacity, and Iran is a very important country in the Middle East; traditionally Iran is like the centrepiece of the Middle East. It sits right, square, in the middle of the Silk Road and culturally, politically, economically Iran has always been important. So, so for this (reason), I think it’s a major win for China as well.

How do you think this deal can change the geopolitical alignment in the region, what do you think things will change in the region in the next five years?

Yeah, I think, like you said there has always been a relationship between Iran and China. This just makes it more official, you know, traditionally, China has always traded with Iran buying energy, selling everything including weapons. So, but, but it’s more of an ad hoc basis, because there’s almost never like any kind of formal alliance between the two nations, despite both facing the Western pressures, but not now. I think they, this is like the official blessing of the relationship like, let’s, let’s get together, I think it provides a more supportive network, a framework for them to be engaged in a more productive, cooperation.

Now, maybe this deal can give Iran, another bargaining chip by telling the United States okay you’re not going to buy our oil anymore. No problem. We sold it to China. Do you think this is going to help Iran in it negotiations?

Oh yeah, definitely no doubt I mean what China did in a lot of places was to provide an alternative to the World Bank, in that to all these US dominated international institutions, and, now Iran can play that China card like luck. You know it’s not; we’re not coming to you because you are our only option, you know, you can give us a better deal, or we can walk away.  You are totally right that you give yourself a stronger negotiation position at the table.

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Trump’s not-so-secret art of containing China

Trump’s not-so-secret art of containing China

January 16, 2021

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times.

It was hardly a secret throughout the Trump administration. Now, dying embers within sight, and with minimum fanfare, comes the declassification – virtually the whole document, minus a few redactions – of the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific.

Why now, no less than 30 years before the usual, standard US declassification/public record protocols apply? Don’t expect an answer from Trump or from his National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

O’Brien’s premise, presenting the declassification, is that, “Beijing is increasingly pressuring Indo-Pacific nations to subordinate their freedom and sovereignty to a ‘common destiny’ envisioned by the Chinese Communist Party.”

This is nonsense in multiple levels. The best Mandarin-English translation for China’s overarching strategy is “community with a shared future for humanity” – a Confucius/Marx crossover based on trade/connectivity and sustainable development.

No nation is pressured to surrender their “freedom and sovereignty” to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It’s a voluntary decision – otherwise over 130 nations would not go for it, including many in Europe. The strategy is not ideological; it’s based on trade. Moreover, China is already the top trade partner for the overwhelming majority of these nations.

Is Beijing trembling?

Since 2018 we were all familiar with the basic contours of the Trump administration’s “overarching strategic guidance” for the Indo-Pacific.

These are the Top 5 items – with no euphemistic softening:

– to maintain that sacrosanct US “primacy”, code for uncontested military power;

– promote the Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia);

– fully support the (failed) Hong Kong color revolution;

– demonize everything connected to BRI;

– and invest in “the rise of India”.

On the military front, things get way trickier: the imperative is to prevent Beijing, by all means necessary, from “dominating the first island chain” – that is, the island ring from the Japanese archipelago to Taiwan all the way to the northern Philippines and Borneo. Moreover, “primacy” should also be maintained in the “area beyond”.

So once again this is all about naval containment.

Chinese strategists obviously studied their Mahan and Spykman thoroughly – and understood that the US Navy would ultimately play their trump card as a naval embargo.

Thus the Chinese Heartland strategy to contain the US’s Rimland strategy: pipelines from Russia and Central Asia (energy supply chain) and BRI (trade). A neat combination of “escape from Malacca” (in terms of oil and gas supplies) and overland connectivity.

A graphic example is the importance of the southern sector of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the long run, that offers Beijing, via Gwadar port, prime access to the Indian Ocean, bypassing Malacca. That can even be enhanced by upcoming Chinese investment in neighboring Chabahar port in Iran, in the Gulf Of Oman.

In contrast, US strategists advising the Trump administration, apart from not improving on Mahan and Spykman, completely ignored China’s economic pull all across Eurasia. They ignored the fact that scores of nations from Central to South and Southeast Asia (the ASEAN 10) would not sacrifice their trade/investment relations to the benefit of a Made in the Beltway “vision”.

The recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal all but buried the Indo-Pacific strategy.

As much as they are not reality-based, the core lineaments of the Indo-Pacific strategy are not bound to change much under Biden-Harris. They will be tweaked – in a “back to the future” manner. The Biden-Harris point man for China is bound to be none other than Kurt Campbell, the man who invented the “pivot to Asia” concept that was then embraced by Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State and Obama as President. Campbell now argues that emphasis on the sacrosanct “primacy” may be somewhat alleviated.

Is Beijing trembling? Hardly.

The 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party falls next July 23. Exactly one day before the declassification of Indo-Pacific, President Xi Jinping outlined his – and the CCP’s – vision for no less than the next three decades, culminating in the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

So here’s Xi Top Three – in a nutshell.

– Keep calm and carry on, despite the ravaging effects of Covid-19, unrelenting Western – especially American – hostility, and the trials and tribulations of the crumbling US Empire.

– Focus on domestic development, in all areas.

– Focus on China’s priorities; then whatever happens the world outside will not be able to interfere. China’s priorities include solidifying its own “primacy” in the South China Sea while diversifying trade/development strategic options all along BRI.

It will certainly help that China’s GDP is bound to grow by almost 8% in 2021 – as estimated by IMF/World Bank. Astonishingly, if that’s the case GDP by the end of this year will reach the same level that pre-Covid Western forecasters were predicting by the end of 2019: 5% growth each year for the next two years. China may have grown roughly 2% in 2020, booming foreign trade included.

Goldman Sachs is branding the current economic environment “the Chinese phenomenon”. China remains the high-speed rail locomotive of global capitalism. It’s easy to notice which way scores of nations see the wind blowing when they compare it with what’s just been declassified.

The Sleeping Giant Awakes And Reveals “The West” as Lilliput

Source

The Sleeping Giant Awakes And Reveals “The West” as Lilliput

October 27, 2020

This comment was chosen by moderator SA from the post “Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep”.Comment by Ahino Wolf Sushanti

I’m from Malaysia. China has traded with Malaysia for 2000 years. In those years, they had been the world’s biggest powers many times. Never once they sent troops to take our land. Admiral Zhenghe came to Malacca five times, in gigantic fleets, and a flagship eight times the size of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, Santa Maria. He could have seized Malacca easily, but he did not. In 1511, the Portuguese came. In 1642, the Dutch came. In the 18th century the British came. We were colonised by each, one after another.

When China wanted spices from India, they traded with the Indians. When they wanted gems, they traded with the Persian. They didn’t take lands. The only time China expanded beyond their current borders was in Yuan Dynasty, when Genghis and his descendants Ogedei Khan, Guyuk Khan & Kublai Khan concurred China, Mid Asia and Eastern Europe. But Yuan Dynasty, although being based in China, was a part of the Mongolian Empire.

Then came the Century of Humiliation. Britain smuggled opium into China to dope the population, a strategy to turn the trade deficit around, after the British could not find enough silver to pay the Qing Dynasty in their tea and porcelain trades. After the opium warehouses were burned down and ports were closed by the Chinese in ordered to curb opium, the British started the opium I, which China lost. Hong Kong was forced to be surrendered to the British in a peace talk (Nanjing Treaty). The British owned 90% of the opium market in China, during that time, Queen Victoria was the world’s biggest drug baron. The remaining 10% was owned by American merchants from Boston. Many of Boston’s institutions were built with profit from opium.

After 12 years of Nanjing Treaty, the West started getting really really greedy. The British wanted the Qing government:
1. To open the borders of China to allow goods coming in and out freely, and tax free.
2. Make opium legal in China.
Insane requests, Qing government said no. The British and French, with supports from the US and Russia from behind, started Opium War II with China, which again, China lost. The Anglo-French military raided the Summer Palace, and threatened to burn down the Imperial Palace, the Qing government was forced to pay with ports, free business zones, 300,000 kilograms of silver and Kowloon was taken. Since then, China’s resources flew out freely through these business zones and ports. In the subsequent amendment to the treaties, Chinese people were sold overseas to serve as labor.

In 1900, China suffered attacks by the 8-National Alliance(Japan, Russia, Britain, France, USA, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary). Innocent Chinese civilians in Peking (Beijing now) were murdered, buildings were destroyed & women were raped. The Imperial Palace was raided, and treasures ended up in museums like the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris.

In late 1930’s China was occupied by the Japanese in WWII. Millions of Chinese died during the occupancy. 300,000 Chinese died in Nanjing Massacre alone.

Mao brought China together again from the shambles. There were peace and unity for some time. But Mao’s later reign saw sufferings and deaths from famine and power struggles.

Then came Deng Xiao Ping and his infamous “black-cat and white-cat” story. His preference in pragmatism than ideologies has transformed China. This thinking allowed China to evolve all the time to adapt to the actual needs in the country, instead of rigidly bounded to ideologies. It also signified the death of Communism in actually practice in China. The current Socialism+Meritocracy+Market Economy model fits the Chinese like gloves, and it propels the uprise of China. Singapore has a similar model, and has been arguably more successful than Hong Kong, because Hong Kong being gateway to China, was riding on the economic boom in China, while Singapore had no one to gain from.

In just 30 years, the CPC have moved 800 millions of people out from poverty. The rate of growth is unprecedented in human history. They have built the biggest mobile network, by far the biggest high speed rail network in the world, and they have become a behemoth in infrastructure. They made a fishing village called Shenzhen into the world’s second largest technological centre after the Silicon Valley. They are growing into a technological power house. It has the most elaborate e-commerce and cashless payment system in the world. They have launched exploration to Mars. The Chinese are living a good life and China has become one of the safest countries in the world. The level of patriotism in the country has reached an unprecedented height.

For all of the achievements, the West has nothing good to say about it. China suffers from intense anti-China propaganda from the West. Western Media used the keyword “Communist” to instil fear and hatred towards China.
Everything China does is negatively reported.

They claimed China used slave labor in making iPhones. The truth was, Apple was the most profitable company in the world, it took most of the profit, leave some to Foxconn (a Taiwanese company) and little to the labor.

They claimed China was inhuman with one-child policy. By the way absolutely recommended by the UN-Health-Organisation at that time. At the same time, they accused China of polluting the earth with its huge population. The fact is the Chinese consume just 30% of energy per capita compared to the US.

They claimed China underwent ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang. The fact is China has a policy which priorities ethnic minorities. For a long time, the ethnic minorities were allowed to have two children and the majority Han only allowed one. The minorities are allowed a lower score for university intakes. There are 39,000 mosque in China, and 2100 in the US. China has about 3 times more mosque per Muslim than the US.
When terrorist attacks happened in Xinjiang, China had two choices:
1. Re-educate the Uighur extremists before they turned terrorists.
2. Let them be, after they launch attacks and killed innocent people, bomb their homes.
China chose 1 to solve problem from the root and not to do killing. How the US solve terrorism? Fire missiles from battleships, drop bombs from the sky.

During the pandemic,
When China took extreme measures to lock-down the people, they were accused of being inhuman.
When China recovered swiftly because of the extreme measures, they were accused of lying about the actual numbers.
When China’s cases became so low that they could provide medical support to other countries, they were accused of politically motivated.
Western Media always have reasons to bash China.

Just like any country, there are irresponsible individuals from China which do bad and dirty things, but the China government overall has done very well. But I hear this comment over and over by people from the West: I like Chinese people, but the CPC is “evil”\’. What they really want is the Chinese to change the government, because the current one is too good.

Fortunately China is not a multi-party democratic country, otherwise the opposition party in China will be supported by notorious NGOs (Non-Government Organization) of the USA, like the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), to topple the ruling party. The US and the British couldn’t crack Mainland China, so they work on Hong Kong. Of all the ex-British colonial countries, only the Hong Kongers were offered BNOs by the British. Because the UK would like the Hong Kongers to think they are British citizens, not Chinese. A divide-and-conquer strategy, which they often used in Color Revolutions around the world.

They resort to low dirty tricks like detaining Huawei’s CFO & banning Huawei. They raised a silly trade war which benefits no one. Trade deficit always exist between a developing and a developed country. USA is like a luxury car seller who ask a farmer: why am I always buying your vegetables and you haven’t bought any of my cars?

When the Chinese were making socks for the world 30 years ago, the world let it be. But when Chinese started to make high technology products, like Huawei and DJI, it caused red-alert. Because when Western and Japanese products are equal to Chinese in technologies, they could never match the Chinese in prices. First world countries want China to continue in making socks. Instead of stepping up themselves, they want to pull China down.

The recent movement by the US against China has a very important background. When Libya, Iran, and China decided to ditch the US dollar in oil trades, Gaddafi’s was killed by the US, Iran was being sanctioned by the US, and now it’s China’s turn. The US has been printing money out of nothing. The only reason why the US Dollar is still widely accepted, is because it’s the only currency which oil is allowed to be traded with. The US has an agreement with Saudi that oil must be traded in US dollar ONLY. Without the petrol-dollar status, the US dollars will sink, and America will fall. Therefore anyone trying to disobey this order will be eliminated. China will soon use a gold-backed crypto-currency, the alarms in the White House go off like mad.

China’s achievement has been by hard work. Not buy looting the world.

I have deep sympathy for China for all the suffering, but now I feel happy for them. China is not rising, they are going back to where they belong. Good luck China.

The heart of the matter in the South China Sea

The heart of the matter in the South China Sea

July 30, 2020

by Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog and originally posted at Asia Times

When the Ronald Reagan and Nimitz carrier strike groups recently engaged in “operations” in the South China Sea, it did not escape to many a cynic that the US Pacific Fleet was doing its best to turn the infantile Thucydides Trap theory into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The pro forma official spin, via Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz, is that the ops were conducted to “reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners”.

Nobody pays attention to these clichés, because the real message was delivered by a CIA operative posing as diplomat, Secretary of State Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo: “The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region”, in a reference to the Nine-Dash Line. For the State Dept., Beijing deploys nothing but “gangster tactics” in the South China Sea.

Once again, nobody paid attention, because the actual facts on the sea are stark. Anything that moves in the South China Sea – China’s crucial maritime trade artery – is at the mercy of the PLA, which decides if and when to deploy their deadly DF-21D and DF-26 “carrier killer” missiles. There’s absolutely no way the US Pacific Fleet can win a shooting war in the South China Sea.

Electronically jammed

A crucial Chinese report, unavailable and not referred to by Western media, and translated by Hong Kong-based analyst Thomas Wing Polin, is essential to understand the context.

The report refers to US Growler electronic warplanes rendered totally out of control by electronic jamming devices positioned on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

According to the report, “after the accident, the United States negotiated with China, demanding that China dismantle the electronic equipment immediately, but it was rejected. These electronic devices are an important part of China’s maritime defense and are not offensive weapons. Therefore, the US military’s request for dismantling is unreasonable.”

It gets better: “On the same day, former commander Scott Swift of the US Pacific Fleet finally acknowledged that the US military had lost the best time to control the South China Sea. He believes that China has deployed a large number of Hongqi 9 air defense missiles, H-6K bombers, and electronic jamming systems on islands and reefs. The defense can be said to be solid. If US fighter jets rush into the South China Sea, they are likely to encounter their ‘Waterloo.’”

The bottom line is that the systems – including electronic jamming – deployed by the PLA on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, covering more than half of the total surface, are considered by Beijing to be part of the national defense system.

I have previously detailed what Admiral Philip Davidson, when he was still a nominee to lead the US Pacific Command (PACOM), told the US Senate. Here are his Top Three conclusions:

1) “China is pursuing advanced capabilities (e.g., hypersonic missiles) which the United States has no current defense against. As China pursues these advanced weapons systems, US forces across the Indo-Pacific will be placed increasingly at risk.”

2) “China is undermining the rules-based international order.”

3) “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

Implied in all of the above is the “secret” of the Indo-Pacific strategy: at best a containment exercise, as China continues to solidify the Maritime Silk Road linking the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Remember the nusantao

The South China Sea is and will continue to be one of the prime geopolitical flashpoints of the young 21st century, where a great deal of the East-West balance of power will be played.

I have addressed this elsewhere in the past in some detail, but a short historical background is once again absolutely essential to understand the current juncture as the South China Sea increasingly looks and feels like a Chinese lake.

Let’s start in 1890, when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which remains in effect.

It was Western – American and European – colonialism that came up with most land borders and maritime borders of states bordering the South China Sea: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implied intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations.

Historically, it had always been a completely different story. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group. They were a maritime internet. Over centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong all the way to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”. The Western notion of “borders” did not even exist. In the mid-1990s, I had the privilege to encounter some of their descendants in Indonesia and Vietnam.

So it was only by the late 19th century that the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework.

Which brings us to the crucial point of why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western “barbarians” to take possession of Chinese land.

A Japanese lake

The Nine Dash Line is an immensely complex problem. It was invented by the eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu, a fierce nationalist, in 1936, initially as part of a “Chinese National Humiliation Map” in the form of a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo.

The Nine Dash Line, from the beginning, was promoted by the Chinese government – remember, at the time not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea.

One year later, Japan invaded China. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Japan occupied the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Well, that lasted only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946 and the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.

In 1947, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names.

And in December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps duly followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). But there was a huge problem: no one explained the meaning of those dashes (which were originally eleven.)

In June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, there were no borders.

And that set the scene for the immensely complicated “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that still lingers on – and allows the State Dept. to accuse Beijing of “gangster tactics”. The culmination of a millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system spelled nothing but trouble.

Time for COC

So what about the US notion of “freedom of navigation”?

In imperial terms, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly an issue of military strategy.

The US Navy simply cannot imagine dealing with maritime exclusion zones – or having to demand an “authorization” every time they need to cross them. In this case the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to its own bases.

This is compounded with trademark Pentagon paranoia, gaming a situation where a “hostile power” – namely China – decides to block global trade. The premise in itself is ludicrous, because the South China Sea is the premier, vital maritime artery for China’s globalized economy.

So there’s no rational justification for a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, these aircraft carriers like the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz showboating on and off in the South China Sea amount to 21st century gunboat diplomacy. And Beijing is not impressed.

As far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, what matters now is to come up with a Code of Conduct (COC) to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China.

Next year, ASEAN and China celebrate 30 years of strong bilateral relations. There’s a strong possibility they will be upgraded to “comprehensive strategic partner” status.

Because of Covid-19, all players had to postpone negotiations on the second reading of the single draft of COC. Beijing wanted these to be face to face – because the document is ultra-sensitive and for the moment, secret. Yet they finally agreed to negotiate online – via detailed texts.

It will be a hard slog, because as ASEAN made it clear in a virtual summit in late June, everything has to be in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

If they can all agree on a COC by the end of 2020, a final agreement could be approved by ASEAN in mid-2021. Historic does not even begin to describe it – because this negotiation has been going on for no less than two decades.

Not to mention that a COC invalidates any US pretension to secure “freedom of navigation” in an area where navigation is already free.

Yet “freedom” was never the issue. In imperial terminology, “freedom” means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy. Well, that’s possible, but you gotta behave. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” the South China Sea. You don’t need to be Mahan to know that’ll mean the imperial end of ruling the seven seas.

US Loses Myanmar to China

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June 29, 2020 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – For the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, the decision to expand ties with China despite Western pressure was a no-brainer. Significant economic ties have been expanded and the prospect for several large-scale infrastructure projects have been firmed up.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Myanmar could be considered a victory lap of sorts; the cementing of long-standing and ever-expanding ties between Myanmar and China and the final displacement of significant US and British influence in the former British colony. 

An op-ed on China’s CGTN website titled, “Xi’s New Year visit to Myanmar: A milestone in bilateral relations,” would help frame the significance of President Xi’s visit while comparing and contrasting Myanmar’s ties with China and the US.

The op-ed would note that President Xi’s trip to Myanmar was his first major trip abroad made during 2020. It is also the first major visit by a Chinese leader to Myanmar in nearly 20 years.

Even US Proxies Can’t Deny America’s Decline 

The op-ed also noted that Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, picked China for her first major visit abroad after her National League for Democracy party came to power in 2016.

To understand the significance of this it is important to understand that Suu Kyi and her rise to power was primarily driven by support from Washington.

She and her political party along with a large army of US government-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and US-funded media networks were selected and groomed for decades by Washington to seize power and serve as a vector for US special interests both in Myanmar itself and as a point of leverage versus Beijing.

However, despite America’s expertise in political meddling, what it lacks is, as the op-ed calls it, any concrete economic pillars; something China does have on offer.

No matter how much covert or overt financial and political support any client regime in Myanmar may receive from Washington it does not address the genuine need for real development within Myanmar itself. Without such development and the financial and economic incentives it brings with it, enemies and allies of the client regime alike will turn towards those who can offer such incentives.

Xi’s Visit Focused on Pragmatism, Not Politics 

The CGTN op-ed noted the focus of President Xi’s visit which centred around major political issues plaguing Myanmar including the ongoing Rohingya crisis and border conflicts with neighbouring Bangladesh resulting from the crisis.

The focus was not on feigned concerns for human rights however, but rather on establishing stability since Myanmar and Bangladesh are both partners with Beijing and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The visit also focused on pushing forward stalled infrastructure projects that have been held up by US-funded fronts hiding behind human rights and environmental concerns.

The op-ed would conclude by noting:

China is reaching out to Myanmar proactively at the start of 2020. Hopefully, Myanmar will return the favor by cooperating more closely with China and pushing forward financially bankable and locally empowering BRI projects in Myanmar more resolutely. 

Only time will tell whether or not Myanmar will follow through and reciprocate to Beijing’s overtures, but owing to the lack of alternatives offered by Washington, a US client regime or not, Myanmar’s government seems to have a very simple choice to make.

US Denial and Revisionism Ensures Continued US Decline in Asia 

A Western-centric rebuttal over the impact of President Xi’s visit to Myanmar was offered up by The Diplomat in its article, “Has the US Lost Myanmar to China? Xi’s visit bolstered China-Myanmar ties, but the West can still compete.”

The Diplomat’s piece claims (my emphasis):

Chinese leader Xi Jinping just wrapped up a two-day visit to Myanmar from January 17-18, the first trip by a Chinese head of state since Jiang Zemin traveled to Burma in 2001. Xi’s visit notably occurred in the 70th anniversary year of China-Myanmar diplomatic relations and further cemented bilateral relations, which have been in general extremely positive since the West turned away from the embattled country in light of the Rohingya migrant crisis that erupted in 2017.

The Diplomat here ignores an important reality. The Rohingya crisis was precipitated deliberately by the US and its British partners. It was meant to destabilise the very region China was building logistical hubs for the BRI.

The crisis was also meant to serve as leverage against the US client regime, ensuring it remained in line with Washington’s interests or suffered at the hands of the West’s massive industrial-scale human rights complex; a network of fronts used to manipulate, coerce and defame targeted nations and governments under the pretext of defending human rights.

The US didn’t turn away from Myanmar because of the Rohingya crisis. It attempted to leverage it after deliberately engineering it, and upon failing to materialise any tangible gains, saw its influence in Myanmar fade.

The Diplomat article also blames Myanmar’s “mixed political system” claiming that pressure has been put on an otherwise promising democratic government to pivot toward Beijing at Washington’s expense. In reality, the pivot is jointly beneficial both to Washington’s enemies in Myanmar and its allies.

The Diplomat fully acknowledges the importance of Myanmar to China’s regional and global rise, stating:

Myanmar is of special significance to Beijing’s geostrategic plans. The country provides China with access to the Indian Ocean and offers a vital hub for containing its rival rising power India, with whom it has clashed on their shared border. The Indian Ocean provides major shipping lanes for China’s imports of crude oil from the Middle East. Overland routes now in use (oil and gas pipelines in Kyaukphyu began pumping oil in 2017 and gas in 2013) across Myanmar and all the way to Kunming in southern China’s Yunnan province allow Beijing to circumvent the South China Sea and strategically vulnerable Malacca Strait, which is susceptible to maritime frictions with other major powers including Japan and the United States.

If Myanmar’s cooperation with China is this important to Beijing’s regional and global plans, then it is easy to understand why ruining Myanmar’s capacity to cooperate has taken priority amid Washington’s policy toward Myanmar.

The article openly admits that Washington’s means of regaining influence in Myanmar depends on “soft power” or what would be considered by anyone else as coercion, manipulation and political interference.

The article itself admits:

…the United States still has important policy tools and untapped reserves of soft power that it can utilize if wielded skillfully. As I’ve written before, American companies and investors still enjoy major reputational advantage over Chinese counterparts. Young Burmese people still flock to the American Center in Yangon, the cultural and educational hub sponsored by the U.S. Department of State next to the American Embassy. In fact, Washington opened a gleaming new American Center in 2018 at a busy intersection just down the street from Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence. There, Burmese can come to learn English, use computers, and access the library to study democracy and tools of civic engagement.

What’s absent from Washington’s “solution” is any tangible economic or financial incentive for the population of Myanmar to get behind US interests. America’s inability to offer genuine economic benefits to Myanmar or build essential infrastructure like the pipelines, highways, railways and ports China is currently working on across the country means that America’s decline will only continue.

Doubling down on a losing strategy should be interpreted by Myanmar’s elite as American capitulation and a detriment to Myanmar’s future. The Diplomat concludes by more or less admitting that Washington will continue to focus on a divide and conquer strategy to disrupt stability in Myanmar in order to render concessions from Myanmar’s government rather than simply and constructively outcompeting Chinese investments and infrastructure projects.

If anything, Washington’s current strategy should serve as impetus for Myanmar and other nations along China’s peripheries to fully uproot US “soft power” from within their territory and conditionally do business with US firms only if they are ready to really do business rather than substitute meddling and interference where genuine and mutually beneficial cooperation should be; a space China has consistently proven it can fill, and a space America has shown no interest in competing in.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

Source

July 11, 2020

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

China will invest $400 billion in Iran energy and infrastructure but nothing in strategic pact allows for a Chinese troop presence or island handover

By Pepe Escobar republished from Asia Times by permission of author

Two of the US’s top “strategic threats” are getting closer and closer within the scope of the New Silk Roads – the leading 21st century project of economic integration across Eurasia. The Deep State will not be amused.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi blasted as “lies” a series of rumors about the “transparent roadmap” inbuilt in the evolving Iran-China strategic partnership.

That was complemented by President Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vezi, who said that “a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia.”

Vezi added, “this roadmap in which a path is defined for expansion of relations between governments and the private sectors is signed and will continue to be signed between many countries.”

To a great extent, both Mousavi and Vezi were referring to a sensationalist report which did not add anything that was not already known about the strategic partnership, but predictably dog-whistled a major red alert about the military alliance.

The Iran-China strategic partnership was officially established in 2016, when President Xi visited Tehran. These are the guidelines.

Two articles among the 20 listed in the agreement are particularly relevant.

Item 7 defines the scope of the partnership within the New Silk Roads vision of Eurasia integration: “The Iranian side welcomes ‘the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ initiative introduced by China. Relying on their respective strengths and advantages as well as the opportunities provided through the signing of documents such as the “MOU on Jointly Promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ and ‘MOU on Reinforcement of Industrial and Mineral Capacities and Investment’, both sides shall expand cooperation and mutual investments in various areas including transportation, railway, ports, energy, industry, commerce and services.”

And item 10 praises Iran’s membership of the AIIB: “The Chinese side appreciates Iran’s participation as a ‘Founding Member’ of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. Both sides are willing to strengthen their cooperation in the relevant areas and join their efforts towards the progress and prosperity of Asia.”

So what’s the deal?

The core of the Iran-China strategic partnership – no secret whatsoever since at least last year – revolves around a $400 billion Chinese investment in Iran’s energy and infrastructure for the next 25 years. It’s all about securing a matter of supreme Chinese national interest: a steady supply of oil and gas, bypassing the dangerous bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca, secured with a median 18% discount, and paid in yuan or in a basket of currencies bypassing the US dollar.

Beijing will also invest roughly $228 billion in Iranian infrastructure – that’s where the AIIB comes in – over 25 years, but especially up to 2025. That ranges from building factories to badly needed energy industry renovation, all the way to the already in progress construction of the 900 km-long electric rail from Tehran to Mashhad.

Tehran, Qom and Isfahan will also be linked by high-speed rail – and there will be an extension to Tabriz, an important oil, gas and petrochemical node and the starting point of the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline.

All of the above makes total sense in New Silk Road terms, as Iran is a key Eurasian crossroads. High-speed rail traversing Iran will connect Urumqi in Xinjiang to Tehran, via four of the Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) all the way to West Asia, across Iraq and Turkey, and further on to Europe: a techno revival of the Ancient Silk Roads, where the main language of trade between East and West across the heartland was Persian.

The terms of aerial and naval military cooperation between Iran and China and also Russia are still not finalized – as Iranian sources told me. And no one has had access to the details. What Mousavi said, in a tweet, was that “there is nothing [in the agreement] about delivering Iranian islands to China, nothing about the presence of military forces, and other falsehoods.”

The same applies to – totally unsubstantiated – speculation that the PLA would be granted bases in Iran and be allowed to station troops in Iranian territory.

Last Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed Iran and China had been negotiating “with confidence and conviction” and there was “nothing secret” about the agreement.

Iranian, Chinese and Russian negotiators will meet next month to discuss terms of the military cooperation among the top three nodes of Eurasia integration. Closer collaboration is scheduled to start by November.

Geopolitically and geoeconomically, the key take away is that the US relentless blockade of the Iranian economy, featuring hardcore weaponized sanctions, is impotent to do anything about the wide-ranging Iran-China deal. Here is a decent expose of some of the factors in play.

The Iran-China strategic partnership is yet another graphic demonstration of what could be deconstructed as the Chinese brand of exceptionalism: a collective mentality and enough organized planning capable of establishing a wide-ranging, win-win, economic, political and military partnership.

It’s quite instructive to place the whole process within the context of what State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed at a recent China-US Think Tanks meeting, attended, among others, by Henry Kissinger:

“One particular view has been floating around in recent years, alleging that the success of China’s path will be a blow and threat to the Western system and path. This claim is inconsistent with facts, and we do not agree with it. Aggression and expansion are never in the genes of the Chinese nation throughout its 5,000 years of history. China does not replicate any model of other countries, nor does it export its own to others. We never ask other countries to copy what we do. More than 2,500 years ago, our forefathers advocated that ‘All living things can grow in harmony without hurting one another, and different ways can run in parallel without interfering with one another’”.

العقيدة العسكرية الأميركية الجديدة وداعاً غرب آسيا موسم الهجرة الى مالاقا

محمد صادق الحسيني

في ظل مجموعة الهزائم، التي لحقت بالولايات المتحدة الأميركية، خلال الثلاثة عقود الماضية، وفي ظل فشل جنرالاتها في تحقيق أي انتصار عسكري، على الرغم من أنهم يعاملون بعد أحداث 11 أيلول 2001 “كما كان يعامل جنرالاتنا بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية”، كما يقول الكاتب الأميركي، جيم ويب (Jim Webb ) في موضوع طويل، نشره في صحيفة ذي ناشيونال انترِست الأميركية The Nationai Interest بتاريخ 8/5/2020، في ظل كل هذا، ونظراً لأن الكونغرس الأميركي وكثيراً من السياسيين وصناع القرار في الولايات المتحدة، لم يأخذوا بآراء ونصائح القيادات العسكرية ذات الاختصاص، بدأ القائد الجديد لمشاة البحرية الأميركية ( Marine Corps ) التي تأسست سنة 1775، بدأ بالعمل على تنفيذ خطة تقليص واعادة هيكلة لهذا الفرع، من القوات المسلحة الأميركية.

اما اهم العناصر التي تضمنتها خطة الجنرال ديفيد بيرغر ( David Berger ) لتقليص حجم قوات المارينز (مشاة البحرية الأميركية) فهي التالية:

ان متطلبات الحروب المقبلة لم تعد تتوافق او تتطابق مع المهمات التي كانت تنفذها قوات المارينز سابقاً، والتي تمثلت في القيام بعمليات إنزال بحري كبيرة، وإقامة رؤوس جسور على اليابسة، وتوسيع العمليات العسكرية، وإنما يجب أن تكون مهمات المارينز مستقبلاً منطلقة من خطط عمليات بحرية منسقة ومتكاملة.
وهذا يعني، في تقديري، أن طبيعة المهمات القتالية التي ستكلف بتنفيذها قوات المارينز الأميركية، في مسارح العمليات الجديدة، ستكون مختلفة عما عرفناه من تكتيكات قتالية لهذة القوات. وستكون عملياتها تكتيكية من ناحية الشكل وحجم القوات واستراتيجية في هدفها، المتمثل في إلحاق الهزيمة بالعدو او إخضاعه للشروط الأميركية على الصعيد السياسي.

يجب أن تنسحب قوات المارينز من الشرق الاوسط، الذي مثَّل تواجدها فيه خطأً من الأساس، والتوجه الى جنوب شرق آسيا، حيث كان على الولايات المتحدة أن تترك تلك المنطقة أصلاً ولا تنخرط في صراعات الشرق الاوسط. وهذا ما يتطلب إعادة الهيكلة وتقليص عدد قوات المارينز.
وهو يهدف من وراء ذلك، في تقديري، الى تقليص النفقات وزيادة فاعلية هذه القوات وتطوير مهماتها وتغيير طبيعة تلك المهمات، نظراً لتغير مسارح العمليات، حيث لم تعد مطلوبة إقامة رؤوس جسور على اليابسة وتثبيت سيطرتها على نقاط معينة تمهيداً لنزول القوات البرية على اليابسة لتشن هجوماً برياً ضد قوات العدو. وذلك لأن العدو في جنوب آسيا سيكون الصين الشعبية وستكون المواجهة معها مختلفة عن الحروب السابقة. اي انها ستكون مزيجاً من عمليات بحرية وأخرى إلكترونية (سايبر).

من هنا فإن أهم ما سيقوم بة الجنرال ديفيد بيرغر، في اطار التقليص وإعادة الهيكلة لقوات المارينز، هي الخطوات التالية:
أ) تسريح ثلاث كتائب مقاتلة، اي 14% من عديد قوات المارينز، بحيث تقتصر القوات على 21 كتيبة مقاتلة، والتي ستكون كافية لتلبية احتياجات الميدان للقوات البحرية والقوات المشتركة.

ب) تقليص عديد الكتائب الواحدة والعشرين المتبقية بواقع مئتي جندي من كل كتيبة. وهو ما يعني تسريح أربعة آلاف ومئتي جندي من قوام هذه القوات، اضافة الى الكتائب الثلاث، المذكورة اعلاه والتي تقرر تسريح جميع أفرادها.

ج) تسريح كتيبتي مشاة، من اصل ثماني كتائب مقاتلة عاملة حالياً، اي الاستغناء عن 25% من القوة القتالية من المشاة.

د) حل ست عشرة كتيبة مدفعية قتالية، اي 76% من حجم سلاح المدفعية، التابع لمشاة البحرية. والاستعاضة عنها بأربع عشرة كتيبة مدفعية صاروخية، ستكون قادرة على تأمين النجاح في الحملات البحرية (المقبلة).

هـ) الاستغناء عن كل الدبابات، العاملة في سلاح المارينز الأميركي، وتغطية تأثير الاستغناء عنها عبر الجيش الأميركي.

وهذا يعني، حسب تقديري، تقليص النفقات، وطلب الدعم المدروس من القوات البرية الأميركية، في حال احتاجت قوات المارينز للمدرعات في اية عمليات بحرية مقبلة، وذلك بسبب تغير طبيعة المهمات القتالية التي ستقوم بها المارينز في مسارح العمليات الجديدة في جنوب آسيا.

و) حل سربين، من أسراب المروحيات السبع عشرة العاملة حالياً، وذلك لعدم الحاجة اليها بعد حل كتيبتين من كتائب المشاة.

يرجع هذا القرار، حسب تقديري، الى ان هذه المروحيات كانت تستخدم في عمليات نقل كتيبتي المشاة، المشار إليها اعلاه وتقديم الدعم الناري لتلك القوات في ميادين القتال.

ز) حل ثلاثة أسراب، من أصل أسراب مروحيات النقل الجوي الثقيلة الثماني، العاملة حالياً ضمن قوات المارينز الأميركية.

يرجع هذا القرار، حسب رأينا، الى تغيير العقيدة القتالية للمارينز، والتي لم تعد تعتمد القيام بعمليات إنزال بحري لتأمين رؤوس جسور للقوات البرية، عند إنزالها الى اليابسة، وإنما اتباع التكتيك الجديد المتمثل في تنفيذ عمليات إنزال بحري ليست كبيرة (هذا لا يعني أن تكون صغيرة)، يقوم أفرادها بمهاجمة اهداف العدو وتدميرها والسيطرة على مواقعها، او التدمير ثم الانسحاب، وذلك يعود لطبيعة الهدف المعادي وأهميتها العسكرية والجغرافية. علماً ان مسرح العمليات هذا سيكون بحار الصين (الجزر الصينية) وغرب المحيط الهادئ.

ح) الاستغناء عن سربين، على الأقل، من أسراب المروحيات الهجومية السبعة، العاملة حالياً في عداد قوات المارينز. وذلك لانها لم تعد ضرورية لعملياتنا، بعد الاستغناء عن ثلاث كتائب مشاة.

وهذا يعني، طبقاً لقراءتنا ايضا، ان حاجة المارينز لهذه المروحيات قد انتفت بسبب الاستغناء عن كتائب المشاة، المشار اليها اعلاه، والتي كانت المروحيات تقدم لها الدعم الناري خلال العمليات على الارض.

ط) اعادة تقييم حاجتنا، قوات المارينز، لطائرات إف 35 / F 35 /، آخذين في الاعتبار :

قلة الطيارين وصعوبة تدريب طيارين جدد ومشاكل الصيانة واستدامة الطائرات. الى جانب الصعوبات المالية والصناعية.

وهذا يعني، حسب ما أرى، ان موازنة قوات المارينز لا تسمح باقتناء هذا النوع من الطائرات، ذات الأسعار الخيالية. والاهم من ذلك الإشارة الى الصعوبات الصناعية وهو تعبير يستخدم لتغليف او لتجميل عبارة المشاكل الفنية التي تعاني منها الطائرة وبالتالي عدم ملاءمتها لتأمين الغطاء الجوي او لتقديم الدعم الجوي، المطلوب لعمليات الكوماندو البحرية، وهو الطابع الذي ستتخذه مهمات المارينز الأميركية مستقبلاً.

انطلاقاً من كل ما تقدم فلا بد لنا من التأكيد على قول شاعرنا، ابو الطيب المتنبي، عندما قال:
“ولا يصح في الإفهام شيء اذا احتاج النهار الى دليل”

إذ إن سحب القوات الأميركية، وأسلحتها، من “الشرق الاوسط” ومن دول الجزيرة العربية والعراق على وجه الخصوص، لم يعد أمنية او خيالاً وانماً تحول الى واقع ملموس وسيستمر، الى ان يستكمل قبل نهاية هذا العام او بداية العام المقبل…!

نقول هذا لان كل وقائع ميادين الصراع الدولي تؤكد ان موسم الرحيل والهجرة الى مضيق مالاقا يتسارع بشكل كبير، وما خطط قائد المارينز الأميركي الجديد الا جزء من هذا الرحيل. وهو رحيل عن جبل طارق المتوسطي الى جبل طارق الآسيوي، كما يسمّي البريطانيون مضيق مالاقا.

ميدان الصراع الجديد هو بحار الصين، بعد ان هزمت الولايات المتحدة، ومشاريعها التدميرية في منطقتنا التي يسمّيها الغربيون بالشرق الاوسط. تلك المشاريع التي ساهمت في تدمير القدرات الأميركية، على مدى 30 عاماً، استغلتها جمهورية الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران في تطوير قدراتها، وعلى جميع الصعد، مما حول الصين الى القوة الاقتصادية الأعظم في العالم، كما حول روسيا الى القوة العسكرية الأقوى دولياً (الصواريخ الفرط صوتية والاسلحة الكهرومغناطيسية) وجعل إيران دولة إقليمية عظمى قادرة على تحدي القوة العسكرية الأميركية وحشرها في الزاوية.

كما أن هذه الغفوة الأميركية، بنتائجها، والتحولات الاقتصادية والعسكرية في “الشرق الاوسط” والعالم، والتراجع الكبير في المكانة الاستراتيجية لمنطقة غرب آسيا عامة ودولها الوظيفية خاصة، قد تركت أعراب النفط في الخليج ومعهم حاخامهم، بنيامين نتن ياهو، يتامى يندبون حظهم، بينما يواصل حلف المقاومة بناء قدراته العسكرية والعض على الجرح والصبر العظيم بانتظار فتح القدس وتحرير فلسطين المقبل لا محالة كما هو يوم القيامة الذي لا ريب فيه ولا تردّد…!

أتى أمر الله فلا تستعجلوه.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.

حرب المضائق والجزر بين الغرب والصين والعدوان الأميركيّ

محمد صادق الحسيني

يقع بحر الصين الجنوبي بين الصين الشعبية شمالاً، وفيتنام وماليزيا غرباً، وجزء من ماليزيا في الجنوب الغربي، والفلبين في الشرق. وهو بالتالي يتوسّط أهم ممرّين بحريين، في كل منطقة آسيا وغرب المحيط الهندي، وهما مضيق مالاقا الواقع بين ماليزيا وجزيرة سومطرة الإندونيسية ومضيق تايوان الواقع بين جزيرة تايوان الصينية المنشقة والبر الصيني (جمهورية الصين الشعبية).

تنبع أهمية هذه الممرات او المصائد البحرية من كونها معبراً اجبارياً لسفن التجارة الدولية الى دول كل تلك المنطقة من العالم، بما في ذلك اليابان وكوريا الشمالية والجنوبية والفلبين وإندونيسيا وفيتنام ودول اخرى.

فعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر فإن:

ما قائمتة 37.3 ترليون دولار من حجم التجارة العالمية يمر عبر المضيقين وبالتالي عبر بحر الصين الجنوبي
وأن 80% من واردات الصين النفطية والغازية تصل الى الصين عبر هذين المضيقين.
وان 39,8 من إجمالي واردات الصين وصادراتها الى العالم تمر عبر هذين المضيقين.
وبما أن بحر الصين الجنوبي يحتوي على مجموعات عدة من الجزر، مثل مجموعة جزر باراسيل (Paracel Islands)، التي لا تبعد أكثر من 250 كم عن البر الصيني / مقاطعة هاينان / وجزر سبراتلي (Spratly Islands)، وانطلاقاً من المسؤولية الدولية، التي تقع على عاتق جمهورية الصين الشعبية، كدولة عظمى وعضو دائم في مجلس الامن الدولي، فإن بكين قد عملت ومنذ انتصار الثورة في البلاد سنة 1949 على تأمين طرق التجارة الدولية في تلك البحار. وبما ان مجموعات الجزر، المذكورة اعلاه، تقع في نقاط حساسة من هذا البحر، فإن تأمينها، او بالأحرى تعزيز حمايتها، كان دائماً جزءاً من مسؤوليات بكين الأساسية، في حماية وتأمين طرق الملاحة التجارية الدولية. خاصة أن هذه الجزر جميعها ليست مشمولة بأية اتفاقيات دولية قد تشمل أساساً قانونياً، لاي جهة كانت، كي تطعن في سيادة الصين الشعبية عليها، وذلك لأنها كانت عبر التاريخ جزرًا صينية خالصة.

ولمزيد من الإضاءة على الموضوع فلا بد من الاشارة الى بعض الحقائق الهامة، المتعلقة بهذه الجزر، وأهم هذه الحقائق ما يلي:

1

ـ ان هذه الجزر بقيت خاضعة لسيطرة الدولة الصينية، ما قبل الفترة شيوعية، حتى سنة 1930، عندما قام الجيش الإمبراطوري الياباني باحتلال معظمها وأقام عليها قواعد او مرتكزات عسكرية له.

2

ـ ان الحكومة الفرنسية، بموجب اتفاقية جنيف، الموقعة سنة 1954 لإنهاء حرب الهند الصينية، بعد هزيمة فرنسا في معركة ديان بيان فو الفيتنامية، بقيادة الجنرال جياب، قد أعطت حق السيادة على معظم هذه الجزر لفيتنام الجنوبية، جنوب خط عرض 17، والذي بقي خاضعاً لحكم قادة محليين تابعين للاستعمار الأجنبي. علماً انه كان من المفترض، حسب اتفاقية جنيف نفسها، اجراء انتخابات عامة في جنوب فيتنام سنة 1956، لإعادة توحيد البلاد. لكن فرنسا وبدعم واضح من الولايات المتحدة قد عرقلت ذلك ومهدت بذلك لحرب فيتنام الثانية التي تورطت فيها الولايات المتحدة ومُنيت بهزيمة نكراء سنة 1975.

3

ـ ان جمهورية الصين الشعبية، وقبل هزيمة الولايات المتحدة، في حرب الهند الصينية – فيتنام وكمبوديا ولاوس – وسقوط سايغون، عاصمة جنوب فيتنام، وفي إجراء احترازي، لتعزيز امن تلك الجزر، وبعد ان اضطرت واشنطن ان تعطيها ضمانات بعدم التدخل في شؤون تلك الجزر، قامت بتعزيز حامياتها العسكرية فيها، وذلك خوفاً من قيام الجيش الاميركي باحتلال هذه الجزر ونشر فلول قواتة الهاربة من فيتنام الجنوبية فيها، واقامة قواعد عسكرية لضمان استمرار هيمنته على تلك المنطقة من العالم.

ولكن فشل تلك المحاولة الاميركية، أواسط سبعينيات القرن الماضي، لم يمنعها من مواصلة التحرش بالصين، ومحاولة إعادة سيطرتها على تلك الممرات البحرية الهامة. اذ انها لجأت، ومنذ بداية القرن الحالي، بتحريض دول المنطقة، وخاصة فيتنام، التي باعتها واشنطن قطعاً بحرية مهمة، ضد جمهورية الصين الشعبية، وشنت حملة إعلامية واسعة ضد بكين، خاصة بعد احتلال واشنطن لأفغانستان سنة 2001، وبدء عمليات الحشد والتطويق الاستراتيجيين لجمهورية الصين الشعبية، من قبل الولايات وحلفائها الغربيين في حلف شمال الأطلسي. كما ان اكتشاف النفط والغاز أواخر العشرية الاولى من هذا القرن، في بعض مناطق وجزر بحر الصين الجنوبي، قد صعَّد من عدوانية واشنطن بشكل كبير ضد الصين، اذ انها واصلت إرسال قطعها البحرية، من الاسطول الاميركي السابع على وجة الخصوص، الى بحر الصين الجنوبي وذلك بحجة أن الصين تقيم جزراً صناعية في هذا البحر لبناء منشآت عسكرية صينية عليها.

وعلى الرغم من مواصلة الصين سياسة الاستثمار في الحلول الدبلوماسية، ومواصلة الجهود السلمية للتوصل الى حلول سلمية، يرضى بها الجميع، وتحافظ على مصالح جميع الدول المعنية بموضوع بحر الصين الجنوبي وتوصلها الى اتفاقية مع مجموعة دول آسيان العشرة ASEAN COUNTRIES)) وتوقيعها بتاريخ 20/7/2011، وذلك كقاعدة للتعاون بين تلك الدول والصين الشعبية وحل جميع الخلافات البحرية بالطرق السلمية، إلا ان واشنطن لجأت الى خطوة استفزازية وتصعيدية، مثلت عدواناً مباشراً على مصالح الصين، وذلك عندما قامت سنة 2015 وفِي عهد باراك اوباما، بالتعاون مع دول الاستعمار القديم، فرنسا وبريطانيا، بتشكيل قوة بحرية أُطلق عليها اسم: فريدوم أوف ناڤِغيشن Freedom of navigation، ضمّت خلالها عدداً من مدمرات وبوارج الاسطول السابع الاميركي، الى جانب مدمرات وطرادات وفرقاطات فرنسية وبريطانية عدة، والتي بدأت بعمليات الاستفزاز والتحرش، بالجزر الصينية، وبقطع القوات البحرية الصينية، التي تقوم بأعمال الدورية الروتينية، في بحر الصين الجنوبي وبحر الصين الشرقي. وقد تصاعدت هذة الاستفزازات الأميركية الى حد عرقلة أعمال سفن الصيد الصينية وبشكل مستمر.

كما عمدت الاساطيل الاميركية منذ عام 2016، وفِي مسلسل خطوات استفزازية جديدة ضد الصين الشعبية، وضمن تعزيز عمليات الحشد الاستراتيجي الاميركي ضد الصين، بتنظيم تدريبات عسكرية بحرية مع القوات البحرية لدول آسيان، وهي: ميانمار، تايلاند، كمبوديا، ماليزيا، سنغافورة، إندونيسيا، بروناي، الفلبين وفيتنام، لاوس، التي تدّعي بعض منها السيادة على بعض جزر بحر الصين الجنوبي.

علماً ان قطع المجموعة البحرية الاميركية الاوروبية المشار اليها اعلاه تتعمد إجراء التمارين العسكرية مع سلاح البحرية لكل دولة من دول آسيان على حدة، وذلك لضمان وجود القطع البحرية الاميركية بشكل دائم في تلك البحار.

ولعله من الجدير بالذكر ايضاً ان رئيس الولايات المتحدة الحالي قد اكد، ومنذ تسلمة الحكم، على ما يلي:

أ ـ ضرورة تعزيز عملية: فريدوم أوف ناڤيغيشن، الاميركية الاوروبية المشار اليها اعلاه، في منطقة بحر الصين الجنوبي وذلك حفاظاً على استراتيجية استمرار ديناميكية (حركية) الانتشار العسكري الاميركي هناك.

ب ـ ان تكون استراتيجية الولايات المتحدة للانتشار العسكري الاميركي، في المنطقة، غير قابلة للتخمين او التوقع او التقدير وضرورة ان يتم نشر القطع البحرية هناك دون سابق إنذار ودون الاعلان عن ذلك.

ج ـ وفي هذا الإطار قامت القطع البحرية الاميركية الأوروبية، المكلفة بعملية فريدوم أوف ناڤيغيشن، ومنذ شهر أيار 2019 حتى اليوم، بتنفيذ اربع عمليات «دورية»، في محيط جزر باراسيل وجزر سبراتلي الصينية،

في بحر الصين الجنوبي، بالإضافة الى القيام بعمليات تحليق جوي، في اجواء الجزر المذكورة اعلاه، من قبل قاذفتي قنابل استراتيجيتين أميركيتين من طراز B 52، وفي الفترة الزمنية نفسها، المذكورة اعلاه.

فهل تقبل الولايات المتحدة أن تقوم القطع البحرية الصينية بأعمال الدورية البحرية، في محيط جزيرتي كاتارينا آيلاند (Catalina island)و تشانيل آيلاند (Chanel Island)، قبالة شواطئ لوس انجيلوس، ام أنها ستعتبر ذلك عدواناً صينياً على سيادتها؟

اوقفوا عدوانكم قبل أن يفوت الأوان وتصبح سواحلكم مسرحاً مفتوحاً للقطع البحرية الصينية وغيرها من الدول التي ترفض عنجهيتكم وعدوانكم المدان. انتهى زمن العربدة البحرية والجوية ولم تعد تخيف أحداً وأنتم تعلمون ذلك جيداً ولن تفيدكم المكابرة الزائفة والتي يجب ان تستعيضوا عنها بسياسة التعاون المثمر مع كل دول العالم ولإنقاذ اقتصادكم ومستقبل أجيالكم قبل كل شيء.

إن كنتم تفقهون.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله…

تفجيرات سريلانكا الأميركية وحرب المضائق والخلجان

أبريل 26, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

سيظلّ الحدث السيرلانكي حاضراً في المشهد الإعلامي العالمي إلى حين استكمال واشنطن لعبتها الهوليودية القذرة في أعالي البحار في إطار حربها المفتوحة على الكبار من إيران الى روسيا والصين…!

فمما لا يخفى على أيّ متابع للشأن السياسي بشكل عام، وللحملة الأميركية الإسرائيلية ضدّ إيران وحزب الله بشكل خاص خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، إلا أن يقرأ تصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، والتي أطلق من خلالها سلسلة تهديدات، ضدّ كلّ الدول التي تكسر قرار الولايات المتحده القاضي بفرض حصار شامل على إيران، على انها التصريحات قنابل صوتية للتغطية على الفعل الحقيقي الذي اقترفته الإدارة الاميركية، عبر أدواتها التكفيرية المتطرفة، في سريلانكا هذه المرة في عيد الفصح المجيد عند الطوائف المسيحية الكاثوليكية في العالم، الحدث الذي لا يزال مستمراً…!

فعلى الرغم من خطورة تصريحات مايك بومبيو إلا أنه يعلم تماماً أنها غير قابلة للتطبيق، وذلك لأنّ إيران قادرة على منع ذلك، خاصة أنّ الولايات المتحده قد استدركت القرار من خلال إصدار سلسلة من الاستثناءات، لدول وهيئات ومؤسسات دولية، تعفيها من العقوبات في حال تعاملت مع الحرس الثوري الإيراني، الذي سرعان ما هدّد بإغلاق مضيق هرمز إذا ما أقدمت الولايات المتحدة على فرض إجراءات لوقف تصدير النفط الإيراني.

الأمر الذي ردّت عليه الولايات المتحدة بصيغة باهتة جاء فيها انّ هذا التهديد غير مبرّر وغير مقبول…!

فأين عنجهية وصلف الولايات المتحدة في مثل هذه الحالات…!؟ بالإضافة إلى انّ هذه التصريحات لا تحمل أيّ جديد وذلك لأنها تكرار للسياسة الأميركية، من فرض الحصار والعقوبات على إيران، المتبعة أصلاً منذ أربعين عاماً ضدّ هذا البلد الصامد…

هذا كما انّ اتفاق بومبيو مع السعودية لزيادة إنتاجها من النفط ليصل الى 14 مليون برميل يومياً لن يؤدّي الى أيّ نتيجة بسبب قدرة إيران على منع السعودية من رفع حجم صادراتها النفطية، حتى لو استطاعت رفع الإنتاج من الناحية الفنية، وذلك عبر سلسلة إجراءات إيرانية ميدانية سيتمّ تطبيقها في الوقت المناسب…

انها صورة جلية عن العجز والوهن الأميركيين…!

لكن الولايات المتحدة هذه، ورغم عجزها هذا، تواصل العمل على إشعال الحروب الأهلية والصراعات المسلحة، فها هي تطلق بؤرة توتر دولية جديدة في شبه القارة الهندية، وذلك عبر إعطاء الضوء الأخضر لمجموعات التطرف والإرهاب المتنقلة، والتي تشرف على إعادة تدويرها وتشغيلها الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية الأميركية، وذلك خدمة لأهداف استراتيجية أميركية على الصعيد الدولي.

فما هي هذه الأهداف الأميركية المتوخاة من وراء التفجيرات التي حصلت في عيد الفصح ولا تزال في سريلانكا، وذهب ضحيتها أكثر من ألف قتيل وجريح؟

ويبدو أنّ المستهدف الرئيسي كانت الكنائس الكاثوليكية في البلاد… وهذا ما يجعل الأهداف الاميركية من وراء ذلك تتمثل في ما يلي:

1 ـ السعي لإشعال حرب أهلية طائفية بين مكونات الشعب السريلانكي، الذي يبلغ تعداده 21 مليون نسمه، منهم 70 من البوذيين، و12 من الهندوس، إلى جانب 10 من المسلمين، و 8 من المسيحيين مليون ومائتي ألف مسيحي .

2 ـ يكمن الهدف الأميركي من وراء ذلك في خلق الظروف الملائمة لتدخل عسكري أميركي يفضي إلى إقامة قواعد عسكرية، جوية وبحرية، في هذا البلد الذي يتمتع بموقع استراتيجي غاية في الأهمية.

إذ انّ هذا البلد يقع على مدخل خليج البنغال، الذي تمرّ من جنوبه باتجاه الشرق، الطريق البحري المؤدّي الى مضيق مالاقا Strait of malacca ، الموصل الى بحر الصين الجنوبي. ما يعني تمكن الولايات المتحدة، في حال إقامتها لقواعد عسكرية في سريلانكا، من التحكم المباشر بحركة الملاحة البحرية عبر هذا المضيق وهو ما يعني تهديد حركة الملاحة البحرية الصينية، سواء كانت مدنية او عسكرية.

3 ـ كما تعني إقامة قواعد جوية وبحرية أميركية في سريلانكا تعزيزاً هاماً في عمليات الحشد الاستراتيجي الأميركي البعيد المدى ضدّ الصين. إذ انّ إقامة مثل هذه القواعد سيعزز قدرات القاعدة الجوية الاستراتيجية الأميركية في دييغو غارسيا في المحيط الهندي وذلك عبر إقامة قواعد أكثر قرباً الى الصين مما يشكل ميزة استراتيجية للولايات المتحدة في هذا الجزء من العالم.

4 ـ مواصلة الضغط على الهند شمالاً والتي تعتبرها واشنطن حليفاً لروسيا في الاصطفافات العالمية رغم صداقاتها الإسرائيلية التجارية وغير التجارية…

5 ـ أيضاً وأيضاً محاولة عرقلة خط الطاقة الاستراتيجي الصيني الذي تمرّ خطوطه من وسط خليج البنغال، وهو الطريق الذي اختارته الصين منذ مدة لنقل احتياجاتها النفطية عبره الى الأراضي الصينية الأكثر حاجة للتنمية المستدامة إضافة لكونه من خطوط مشروع طريق واحد حزام واحد الصيني الشهير…!

6 ـ يأتي كلّ هذا في إطار حرب المضائق والخلجان التي تخوضها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وأذنابها الصغار من جبل طارق إلى باب المندب وهرمز امتداداً إلى أعالي البحار غرباً وشرقاً…! ورغم كلّ ذلك فإنّ سياسة واشنطن هذه تسارع الخطى للاصطدام بأسوار المقاومة العربية والإسلامية والعالمية من جبال الأطلس الكبير وصولاً إلى سور الصين العظيم.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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