من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

ابراهيم الأمين

الإثنين 10 أيار 2021

لن يكون بمقدور اللبنانيين تغيير عاداتهم بصورة جدية. لا في الكلام ولا في الأكل ولا في التصرف ولا حتى بالتفكير. إلى الآن، لا يزال كثيرون يكرّرون عبارات من نوع «لن يتركونا نغرق» أو «الجميع بحاجة إلى لبنان» أو «لبنان رسالة يحتاجها العالم» أو «كلفة انهيار لبنان على العالم أكبر من كلفة إنقاذه»، إلى آخره من النظريات التي تعكس فهماً بالمقلوب لما يجري في العالم من حولنا. ومن يتمسّك بهذا المنطق، يهدف عملياً إلى أمرين:

الأول، عدم رغبته بتعديل طريقة تفكيره أو التصرف وفق منطق حياة جديد.

الثاني، استمرار لعبة التعمية على الحقائق القوية التي قامت بفعل المعارك الكونية في منطقتنا طوال العقد الماضي.

يأتي وزير خارجية فرنسا إلى بيروت، ونشهد استنفاراً سياسياً وإعلامياً وخلافه، لكن أحداً من كلّ الذين تابعوا الزيارة أثناء التحضير لها وبعد حصولها، أو الذين شاركوا في الاجتماعات معه، لا يقدر على أن يعطينا عبارة وحيدة مفيدة. وبدل محاولة فهم خلفية الزيارة وواقع الرجل نفسه، وحجم نفوذ وقوة تأثير بلاده، ننشغل في التأويل والتحليل، الذي يُراد له أن ينتهي على شكل أن في لبنان كتلة تغيير قوية تمثل «الغالبية الصامتة» وهي جاهزة لتسلّم البلاد، بانتخابات أو من دونها…

هو نوع من الهزل. ولكن، من دون أن يبدو الكلام عن مشكلتنا استهتاراً بموقع اللبنانيين الحالي، من الضروري تكرار ما يجب أن يُقال حول حاجة البلاد إلى خارج يساعد على معالجة أزماتها السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية. وهذا بحدّ ذاته أمر يعيدنا إلى المربع الأول، حيث الجد مكان المزاح، وحيث حقيقة أن ما يجري في الإقليم، له أثره الأول على الصنف الحالي من أزماتنا. وبالتالي، ينبغي السؤال عن طبيعة القوى الإقليمية والدولية الأكثر تأثيراً في لبنان.

خلال العقد الأخير، ثمة دول لم تعدل بوصة في آلات قياسها للأزمة اللبنانية. لم تغير لا في استراتيجيتها ولا في أهدافها ولا في تحالفاتها ولا في برامج عملها، وأبرز هذه الدول، هي سوريا وإيران وإسرائيل وتركيا. لكن الدول الأخرى باشرت بإدخال تعديلات على استراتيجياتها. هي دول تقودها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وتساعدها بريطانيا، وأبرز عناصرها السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر. علماً أننا ما زلنا في مرحلة قياس الدور الجديد لدول انضمّت إلى ساحتنا ودورها الذي يزداد فعالية مع الوقت، مثل روسيا أولاً والصين ثانياً.

المحور الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة دخل مرحلة إعادة النظر في أمور كثيرة، نتيجة المقاصة المنطقية التي أجرتها دوله في ضوء ما حصل في العقد الأخير. هذا لا يعني أن العالم سيتغير، لكن الأكيد أن تغييرات كبيرة ستطرأ على قواعد اللعبة، وأن بلداناً مثل لبنان، ستتأثر كثيراً بهذه التغييرات. وهنا يصبح السؤال مشروعاً: كيف سيتعامل اللبنانيون مع هذه التغييرات، هل سيصبحون أكثر واقعية ويتخلّون عن البهورات والبهلوانيات والادعاءات والتبجح، وهل بينهم من يبادر إلى تحمل مسؤولية أفعاله في السنوات الماضية، فيبادر إلى الانسحاب أو إعادة التموضع، أو أننا – وهذا هو الأرجح – سنكون أمام فصل جديد من المكابرة والإنكار، الذي يترك أثره على المناخ العام للبلاد، ويقلّل فرص استفادة لبنان من المتغيرات الحاصلة من حولنا.

يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة


يقول دبلوماسي مخضرم يشارك في وساطات دولية، إن مشكلة قسم غير قليل من اللبنانيين، أنه لم يفهم طبيعة التغيير الذي حصل في العقد الأخير حول دور الدول المتوسطة والدول الكبرى. ويشرح كيف أن خطط الإدارات الأميركية الأخيرة، وخصوصاً مع دونالد ترامب، دفعت نحو تعزيز دور الدول ذات الحضور الإقليمي الكبير، وعدم رهن الأمور بحسابات الدول الكبرى. ويشرح من جهة ثانية، أن النفوذ يمكن ممارسته من قِبل دول لا تملك بالضرورة وضعية اقتصادية كبيرة مثل الدول الكبرى، ويعطي على ذلك مثال الدور السوري التاريخي في لبنان، والذي لطالما كان أكثر فعالية وأكثر قوة حتى من الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا. وإن هذا الأمر يتكرّر في السنوات الأخيرة مع دول مثل تركيا وإيران، وإن السعودية نفسها، عدّلت في سياستها وتركت موقع «الحياد النسبي» لتقترب من «موقع المبادر» كونها شعرت بالقدرة على لعب دور أكبر، وهو دور جرّبت دول أقل قوة ممارسته في ساحات المنطقة مثل الإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر، بينما ابتعدت عن المشهد دول ذات حجم كبير مثل مصر.

وإذا ما جرت مقاربة الوضع اللبناني الحالي، يمكن باختصار التثبت من عنصرَين، واحد يتعلّق بطبيعة المشكلة الاقتصادية القائمة، حيث يرغب الفريق الحاكم بجناحي السلطة والمعارضة باستئناف حياة الاستهلاك، وجلّ ما يريده تمويلاً وديوناً جديدة. وعنصر آخر يتصل بالتعقيدات السياسية والتوترات الأمنية والعسكرية، خصوصاً بعد الأزمة السورية وما يجري في العراق، وهذا يعني، أن القوى القادرة على ممارسة نفوذ، هي القوة المؤهلة لذلك بفعل حضورها ودورها. وكل ذلك، يقول لنا بأن اللبنانيين مجبرون على النظر من حولهم، والتدقيق في نوعية التغييرات القائمة، وأن يقوموا بالحسابات وفق معادلات رياضية سليمة، حتى ولو كانت النتائج غير مناسبة لبعضهم.

لا داعي لإهمال العناصر الداخلية للأزمة، لكن من الضروري محاولة معرفة ما يجري حولنا:

أين أصبحت المفاوضات الإيرانية – الأميركية؟ وما هي نتائج جولات الاتصالات الإيرانية – السعودية؟ وماذا جرى بين سوريا وكل من السعودية وقطر والإمارات ومصر؟ وماذا تخطّط تركيا بشأن سوريا أيضاً؟ وماذا عن التطورات داخل التيارات الإسلامية صاحبة الدور الأكبر خلال العقد الأخير في لبنان وسوريا والمنطقة؟

 آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

من الخارج إلى الداخل وبالعكس    [2]: آل سلمان و«قدر» طهران ودمـشق

على غرار عمل العصابات التي يدعو بعضها بعضاً الى «التهدئة» في حالة وصول ضباط جدد الى مواقع المسؤولية في القوى الأمنية، سارع الفريق الخاص بوليّ العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان الى استراتيجية «خفض الرأس» بمجرد إقرار الرئيس الاميركي السابق دونالد ترامب بنتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الاميركية. تصرّف «الدب الداشر» وفريقه على أن الجميع ملزم بمراقبة خطوات إدارة جو بايدن الجديدة تجاه المنطقة. وكل الكلام الذي سمعوه عن رغبة في تغيير طريقة التعامل مع السعودية، لم يجعله في موقع الخائف من تطورات كبيرة ونوعية. وبوشر الإعداد لفريق جديد يتولى إطلاق حملة علاقات عامة مع مفاصل الإدارة الجديدة، والتقصّي من الموظفين الدائمين في الإدارة عن المؤشرات المقلقة. وظل الجميع في حالة انتظار، الى أن تم إبلاغهم، مطلع شباط الماضي، نيّة ساكن البيت الأبيض الجديد، البعث برسالة عامة تصيب السعودية، لكنها تستهدف تقديم شعارات جديدة. وكما يبرع الديموقراطيون، قرروا إعلاء شأن صورة أميركا الحامية للقيم وحقوق الانسان. وهي حيلة لا تزال تنطلي على كثيرين في العالم. لكن محمد بن سلمان فهم أن الرسالة تتعلق بتصفية جمال خاشقجي. وكل ما قام به هو البعث برسالة «تنبيه» الى من يهمه الأمر في واشنطن، من أن الذهاب بعيداً في خطوات ضد حكمه، ينذر بانقلاب كبير في العلاقات السعودية – الاميركية، وأنه مستعد لهذه المغامرة.

كلّف وليّ العهد السعودي شقيقه خالد بمتابعة الملف، حتى تاريخ صدور التقرير الخاص بالاستخبارات الأميركية بشأن قتل خاشقجي، والذي فهمه آل سلمان على أنه «إدانة لولي العهد من دون إصدار حكم يوجب خطوات تنفيذية». لكن الملك دعا أولاده والمقربين من العائلة الى اجتماعات متفرقة، كان أبرزها بين محمد وخالد، حيث تم التفاهم على إعداد استراتيجية قصيرة المدى تستهدف «استرضاء الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة». هذه الوجهة كانت لها حساباتها الإضافية، وهو ما عاد خالد نفسه وأبلغه الى من يهمه الأمر داخل المملكة وخارجها، موجزاً الخطة السياسية الجديدة بعناصر محددة:

أولاً: إن العائلة الحاكمة ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي. واتخذت خطوات داخلية هدفت الى إفهام المعارضين أو الطامحين إلى أدوار جديدة أن الأمر لن يحصل ولو كانت كلفته كبيرة.

ثانياً: إن الرياض مستعدة لإعادة النظر في برامج سياساتها العامة في المنطقة، من دون تنازل يجعلها ضعيفة وينعكس على الحكم داخلياً. وفي حال كانت واشنطن قد اتخذت قراراها النهائي بالعودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وتهدئة الجبهات في الشرق الأوسط، فإن السعودية نفسها لا ترى مانعاً في القيام بالخطوات نفسها. وهي مستعدة للبدء فوراً بمحادثات مع إيران لتهدئة الأمور معها.

ثالثاً: إعداد استراتيجية لإنهاء الحرب في اليمن وفق تصور يمنح المملكة أثماناً كبيرة على صعيد تركيبة الوضع السياسي اللاحق، وإظهار الرغبة في التوصل الى اتفاق ولو كان على حساب بعض حلفائهم اليمنيين، وخصوصاً أتباع الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

رابعاً: عدم تنفيذ الخطوات التي كانت منتظرة في شأن التطبيع مع إسرائيل، والتفاهم مع تل أبيب على الأمر، من زاوية أن إقدام الرياض على خطوة من هذا النوع سيزيد من مستوى التوتر مع إيران ومع قوى أخرى، وسيعقّّد مهمة وقف حرب اليمن، عدا عن كون المناخ العام في العالم العربي لم يكن شديد الترحيب بالتطبيع، رغم كل الجهود التي مارستها الحكومات ووسائل إعلامها.

شرعت قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!


خامساً: الذهاب الى استراتيجية تعاون جديدة في العالم العربي تتطلب رفع مستوى التنسيق مع العراق، واستئناف التواصل مع سوريا، ودرس خيار التحالف الذي يجمع السعودية بمصر ودول عربية أخرى، وتطبيع العلاقات مع قطر وسلطنة عمان بما يخفف من التوتر داخل الجزيرة العربية.

استراتيجية فريق ابن سلمان راقت وسطاء كثراً في المنطقة، ولا سيما رئيس الحكومة العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي، الذي يحظى برعاية لدوره الإقليمي من قبل بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وهو يملك أصلاً الصلات المناسبة مع إيران وقوى بارزة في محور المقاومة. ودور الكاظمي سمح للسعودية بحركة تعفيها من منح أي أوراق لخصومها الخليجيين، ولا سيما الدوحة ومسقط، ثم أنها لم تقرر تبدلاً جوهرياً في اتجاه بناء علاقة من نوع مختلف مع تركيا، وإنْ كانت تحدثت عن أنها ساعدت مصر والإمارات العربية المتحدة في معركتهما ضد تيار «الإخوان المسلمين». وهو ما عاد خالد بن سلمان وعرضه في اجتماع عمل تفصيلي عقد في الرياض مع أحد مساعدي مصطفى الكاظمي، تحضيراً للخطوات اللاحقة.

قال السعوديون إنهم مستعدون للاجتماع فوراً بالإيرانيين، وهم يفضّلون بغداد مكاناً للاجتماع، وليس لديهم جدول أعمال محدد، لأن الاجتماع الأول هدفه كسر الجليد، وإعادة التواصل المباشر، والإعداد لجولات جديدة تستهدف عرض كل نقاط الخلاف والتوتر بين الجانبين. وطلب ابن سلمان من الكاظمي أن يكون الاجتماع الأول على مستوى القيادات الأمنية، وإن حضره موظفون كبار في وزارة الخارجية، وهو ما وافقت عليه طهران. وعندما توجّه الوفدان الى بغداد، كان الكاظمي في استقبالهما، مرحِّباً ومُبدياً الاستعداد لكل ما يسهّل التحاور والتوصل الى تفاهم، قبل أن ينسحب من القاعة تاركاً مندوبه الرفيع المستوى يشارك في الاجتماع الذي شابه بعض التوتر إزاء مداخلات متبادلة، حمّل فيه كل طرف الجانب الآخر مسؤولية التدهور في العلاقات الثنائية وفي أوضاع المنطقة، قبل أن يعود الجميع الى الاستماع الى جدول أعمال إيراني تراوح بين استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية بالتدرّج وصولاً الى كيفية إدارة موسم الحج. لكن الجميع كان يعرف أن الأمر لا يتعلق بهذه البنود الآن، بل بملفّين رئيسّين: الأول، هو مستقبل علاقات دول الخليج مع إسرائيل، والثاني هو ملف حرب اليمن.

للمرة الأولى، كان السعوديون يتحدثون بلغة لا تنسجم مع كل سياساتهم المعلنة أو المطبّقة، إذ أكدوا أن «خادم الحرمين الشريفين لن يقيم علاقات مع إسرائيل من دون حلّ يؤمّن دولة للفلسطينيين تكون عاصمتها القدس». وأضافوا «أن السعودية لا تستهدف أمن الآخرين في أيّ خطوة تقوم بها»، ليطلبوا مباشرة تدخلاً إيرانياً مباشراً لأجل «ردع الحوثيين وإقناعهم بقبول مبادرة الرياض لوقف الحرب في اليمن».

لم يخرج الجميع من الاجتماع برضى كامل، لكنّ الكاظمي كان يتوقع الأسوأ لو أن التوتر تحكم في المفاوضين، وهو يعرف أن اللقاء سيكون تمهيداً لجولات جديدة بمستويات رفيعة أكثر، وخصوصا أنه كان قد أطلق مسارات عديدة للتفاوض مع إيران، بينها مع مصر والأردن وكذلك مع الإمارات العربية المتحدة، التي حاولت إظهار التمايز في ملفات عديدة، من بينها ملف سوريا، لجهة أنها قادرة على لعب دور كبير بمساعدة مصر في إقناع السعودية بالعودة الى العلاقات مع دمشق، والدفع نحو معالجة موقع سوريا في الجامعة العربية، والبدء بمشروع تفاوض مع الأميركيين والأوروبيين لأجل تأمين قرار يرفع الغطاء عن عملية إعادة إعمار سوريا.

مضمون الاجتماعات نقله كل طرف الى حلفائه. صحيح أن السعودية ليست مضطرة الى إبلاغ مصر أو الإمارات بكامل التفاصيل، لكنها حرصت على إبلاغ الأميركيين، علماً بأن مسؤولاً كبيراً في الرياض قال إن واشنطن ستكون قد اطّلعت من الكاظمي على كل ما يحصل. لكنّ إيران بادرت الى إبلاغ حلفائها من دول وقوى بارزة، في سوريا ولبنان والعراق واليمن، بمضمون المحادثات. كذلك جرى إطلاع قوى فلسطينية على الأمر. وكان واضحاً للجميع أن السعودية ترحّب بقوة بتخفيض مستوى التوتر، لكنها كانت تعرف مسبّقاً أن الخطوة السعودية لا تعكس مبادرة حقيقية بقدر ما تعكس «رغبة» في مواكبة التغييرات الجارية بسبب استئناف المفاوضات حول الاتفاق النووي مع الولايات المتحدة والغرب. ومع ذلك، فإن الإيرانيين الذين أبدوا استعداداً للمساعدة في معالجة أزمة اليمن، كانوا أكثر صراحة في إشارتهم الى أن الأمر يتطلب مفاوضات مباشرة مع أنصار الله، وكل تقدير بأن طهران تقدر أن تفرض على صنعاء خيارات هو مجرد وهم.

ومع ذلك، فإن الجانب السعودي عاد وكرر في اتصالات إضافية، كما فعلت دول أوروبية، ضرورة أن تبادر طهران الى الضغط على أنصار الله. وفي زيارة وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف لمسقط ضمن جولته الخليجية، عقد اجتماع عمل مطوّل مع ممثل أنصار الله في المفاوضات الخارجية، محمد عبد السلام، وبدا أن ظريف معني بشرح وجهات النظر التي تتطلب «لجوء أنصار الله الى تدوير الزوايا» في المفاوضات التي بدأت ثم تعطّلت مع الموفد الأميركي. ومع أن ظريف لم يكن يطلب مباشرة أو يحاول فرض وجهة نظر معينة، إلا أن عبد السلام كان شديد الوضوح في التعبير عن موقف «أنصار الله» لناحية أن وقف الحرب يعني وقفاً شاملاً لكل الحرب وليس لبعض العمليات العسكرية، وأن العودة إلى المفاوضات رهن بتجاوب الطرف الأميركي – السعودي مع المطالب الإنسانية الخاصة برفع الحصار عن المطار والموانئ والمعابر الحدودية لليمن مع جواره. حتى إن عبد السلام كان شديد الصراحة في قوله إن قوات الجيش واللجان الشعبية قادرة على حسم معركة مأرب سريعاً والدخول الى المدينة، لكن الأمر لا يتعلق بحسابات عسكرية، بل بحسابات الواقع الأهلي، وإن تجميد الهجوم الكبير يرتبط بالجانب الإنساني، وهو أكثر ما يمكن أن تقدمه صنعاء بانتظار جواب واشنطن والرياض على مقترح العلاجات الإنسانية.

«العائلة الحاكمة السعودية ستتصدى بكل الأساليب لأي محاولة انقلابية تدعمها الولايات المتحدة أو أي طرف خارجي»


هناك أمور كثيرة تتعلق بالمفاوضات السعودية – الإيرانية وما يجري من اتصالات بشأن اليمن، لكن الخطوة السعودية التالية كانت في توسيع دائرة «خفض التوتر»، وهنا دارت من جديد محركات الوسطاء العرب من أكثر من جهة، ترتيباً لأول تواصل نوعي مع القيادة السورية. وفي دمشق، لم يكن الرئيس بشار الأسد في غفلة عمّا يجري في العالم، وعمّا يجري من حول سوريا على وجه التحديد. وهو أوصى العاملين في فريقه بأن سوريا لم تبدأ الحرب ضد أحد، وهي ليست مستعدة لمراعاة أحد في أمور استراتيجية، لكنها مستعدة للانفتاح الذي يفيد سوريا أولاً، ويفيد العرب ثانياً. ولذلك كان الفريق السوري المكلف باستقبال وفد سعودي في دمشق مجهّزاً بأجوبة مُعدّة حول الأسئلة المتوقعة من الجانب السعودي، الذي بادر الى محاولة تبرئة نفسه من أصل الحرب على سوريا، وأن الأمر يتعلق بالأوضاع التي سادت المنطقة والعالم، وأن الرياض مستعدة لاستئناف العلاقات مع دمشق، ولكن لديها أسئلة مباشرة تحتاج الى إجابات عنها، وهي تتركز على مستقبل الوضع السياسي الداخلي في سوريا، وإمكان التوصّل الى اتفاق يتيح تأليف حكومة جديدة بمشاركة قوى بارزة في المعارضة، والإشارة الى وجود آليات عمل لدى السعودية ودول أخرى تتيح المشاركة في إعادة إعمار سوريا من دون انتظار أيّ قرار دولي بما خصّ العقوبات. لكنّ وجه الموفد السعودي صار مختلفاً عندما سأل نظيره السوري: هل تفكرون في ترك التحالف مع إيران وحزب الله وإخراج قواتهما من سوريا والذهاب نحو تحالف عربي يواجه تركيا؟

لم يكن السعوديون يتوقعون جواباً مختلفا عمّا سمعوه سابقاً، إذ كرر المسؤول السوري الترحيب بالحوار، لكنه شدّد على أن دمشق لا تحتاج الى حوارات سرية وعلاقات من تحت الطاولة، بل الى خطوات مباشرة وواضحة في شأن استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية وغيره ذلك. أما بشأن العلاقة مع إيران وحزب الله، فكان الموقف السوري شديد البساطة والوضوح: «عندما جئتم جميعاً ودعمتم حرب تدمير سوريا وإسقاط الدولة والنظام، كانت إيران وحزب الله إلى جانبنا، وليس لهذين الطرفين أيّ تدخّل في ما نقرّره بشأن الوضع الداخلي أو استراتيجية علاقاتنا مع الخارج، لكنّهم ليسوا مجرّد أصدقاء أو حلفاء في معركة، بل هم أكثر من ذلك بكثير».
بالمناسبة، والى أن يقرّر أحد الطرفين الإعلان، فإن ما يحاول البعض التكتّم عليه هو شروع قطر في اتصالات مباشرة مع الرئيس الأسد وحكومته، كما هي حال تركيا التي بعثت بما يناسب من رسائل!

غداً: فيينا، وحيرة أميركا إزاء إيران

بين سورية واليمن قراءة أوروبيّة Between Syria and Yemen, a European reading

* Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation *

بين سورية واليمن قراءة أوروبيّة

 ناصر قنديل

لا ينتبه بعض المحللين للمعاني العميقة التي أفرزتها كلٌّ من الحربين الكبيرتين اللتين هزتا المنطقة، الحرب على سورية والحرب على اليمن، والنتائج المتعاكسة لكل منهما، خصوصاً أن بعض المسؤولين الأوروبيين السابقين الذين شاركوا في مرافقة سنوات من الحربين، يكشفون خلال مداخلاتهم في ورشات عمل تعقدها مراكز لدراسات الأمن والاستراتيجية، عن أن حرب اليمن كانت محاولة لاستنساخ عكسي للحرب على سورية بالاستثمار على مصادر القوة التي اعتقد السعوديون أنها عوامل تأثير حاسمة في مسار الحرب على سورية، التي كانت في مرحلة التوازن السلبي عندما انطلقت الحرب على اليمن، في ظل قراءة سعودية أميركية اوروبية تقول إن الجماعات المناوئة للدولة السورية تستمدّ قوتها من وجود حدود سورية مفتوحة على دول داعمة تؤمن لها الظهير والسند والتمويل والتسليح وجلب الآلاف من المسلحين، وبالمقابل فإن الدولة السورية تستمدّ قوتها من كونها تمثل الشرعية الدستورية المعترف بها دولياً، والتي تقوم بإدارة المؤسسات الأمنية والمالية والخدميّة، فجاءت الحرب على اليمن تستثمر على حصار كامل يقطع حتى الهواء عن أنصار الله براً وبحراً وجواً، وبالتوازي الاستثمار على عنوان الشرعيّة الدستورية اليمنية كغطاء لخوض الحرب ومحاولة تفعيل مؤسسات هذه الشرعية عسكرياً وأمنياً ومالياً وخدميّاً، لامتلاك موقع متفوّق في القدرة على حسم الحرب، التي توقعت الدراسات أنها ستحسم خلال أسابيع أو شهور، لهذين الاعتبارين.

تقول القراءة الأوروبيّة الأشدّ تعمقاً في قراءة سرديّة عن الحربين أن عام 2015 الذي كان مفصلياً فيهما، كعام لتوازن سلبيّ في سورية ولبدء الحرب على اليمن، شكل نقطة انطلاق لمسارين متعاكسين في الحربين، ففي سورية بدأت الانتصارات تظهر لصالح الدولة السورية، ثم تتدحرج على مساحة الجغرافيا السورية، بينما بدأت التعقيدات تكبر بوجه ما يفترض أنها الدولة اليمنيّة المدعومة سعودياً ومن خلفها حلف دولي إقليميّ كبير، وجد فيها فرصة لحرب بالوكالة على إيران في مرحلة وصفت بمرحلة الضغوط القصوى على إيران، وفي ظل إدارة أميركية برئاسة الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب وفرت لهذه الحرب كل أسباب الفوز، ويقارن المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون الذين رافقوا من مواقع مسؤولياتهم مراحل هامة من الحربين، أن حجم الدعم الذي حصلت عليه الدولة السورية من روسيا وإيران وحزب الله، أقل بكثير من حجم المشاركة السعودية والغربية في الحرب التي اتخذت من عنوان دعم الدولة اليمنيّة شعاراً لها، سواء بحجم قوة النار أو حجم الأموال أو عديد المقاتلين، بينما حجم الدعم الذي حازته الجماعات المناوئة للدولة السورية عبر الحدود مالاً وسلاحاً وعديداً، بما في ذلك التحدي الذي مثله ظهور تنظيم داعش، يمثل أضعافاً مضاعفة لما وصل لأنصار الله في ظل حصار تمكّن من إغلاق محكم للمنافذ البرية والبحرية والجوية، ولا يمكن بالتالي قراءة النتيجتين المتعاكستين للحربين إلا بقراءة الفوارق بين “الدولتين” و”المعارضتين”.

يقول المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون في ورش عمل شاركوا فيها حديثاً، إن على الضفتين الافتراضيتين في التسمية لمفردة الدولة والمعارضة هنا وهناك تكمن كلمة السر، فعلى ضفة الدولة نرى في سورية رئيساً لم يغادر بلده ومكتبه في قلب الساعات الأشدّ خطراً في الحرب فيما كانت القذائف تتساقط قرب القصر الجمهوري، وجيشاً متماسكاً يقاتل بروح استشهاديّة، وشرائح واسعة من الشعب السوري تعتبر الحرب حربها بكل يقين وإيمان، وتتحمّل الحصار والضغوط والتضحيات، بينما على الضفة اليمنيّة رئيساً ووزراء وقادة وصولاً الى مستوى معاون الوزير وما دون من مستشارين ومعاونين يتوزّعون بين الرياض والقاهرة وعمان، يعيشون في فنادق خمسة نجوم، ويشمل ذلك كبار المسؤولين العسكريين، بينما يقع عبء القتال على الجيش السعوديّ والجيش الإماراتيّ، والجيوش التي ساندتهما كالجيش السودانيّ، أما على ضفة المعارضة فنرى قائداً وشعباً ومقاتلين يشكلون في اليمن وحدة متكاملة لم تغادر معاقلها رغم ضراوة النيران وشدة الحصار، تملك اليقين بنصرها، وتقدّم التضحيات بلا حساب من قادتها، وبالمقابل نرى في سورية قادة يقيمون في فنادق خمسة نجوم في باريس واسطمبول والقاهرة والرياض ودبي، يتنعّمون بالمال المفترض أنه مخصص لدعم معاركهم، وقد تحوّل مَن يفترض انهم ثوار الى مرتزقة ينتقلون من بلد الى بلد لحساب دول أخرى، فيما يستندون في معاركهم التي يسوّقونها في الإعلام على جماعات مصنفة إرهابية أمسكت الأرض التي يزعمون أنها مناطق سيطرتهم، قتلت وذبحت الشعب الذي زعموا أنهم حماته.

يخلص المسؤولون الأوروبيون السابقون في مقاربتهم الى القول إن المقارنة تكفي للاستنتاج أن الأرض لمن يحميها ويضحّي لأجلها، وأن الصادقين في إيمانهم بما يدافعون عنه تظهرهم الحروب، حيث خطر الموت داهم، ولا مكان أمامه للاستعراض والغش، فكما النار تكشف المعادن، تكشف الحروب معادن القادة وصدق قضاياهم، ولذلك يبدو بديهياً أن يكون النصر في اليمن للسيد عبد الملك الحوثي، وأن يكون النصر في سورية للرئيس بشار الأسد، لأن القضية باتت واضحة ليست قضية دولة ومعارضة، بل قضية الصدق والتضحية.


Between Syria and Yemen, a European reading

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Nasser Kandil


Some analysts do not pay attention to the deep meanings produced by each of the two great wars that shook the region, the war on Syria and the war on Yemen, and the opposite results of each of them, armed, especially since some former European officials who followed the years of the two wars, revealed in the workshops of centers for security and strategic studies, that the Yemen war was an attempt to reverse the war on Syria by investing in the sources of power that the Saudis believed were decisive influencing factors in the course of the war on Syria, which was in the phase of negative power balance when the war on Yemen began. The Saudi, American, European reading that the groups opposed to the Syrian state derive their strength from the presence of Syrian borders open to supportive countries that secure the back, support, financing, arming, and bringing in thousands of militants, on the other hand, the Syrian state represents the internationally recognized constitutional legitimacy that manages the security, financial and service institutions. As for the war on Yemen, it has wagered on a complete land, sea and air blockade, and investing in the title of Yemeni constitutional legitimacy as a cover for waging war and activating military, security, financial, institutions to have a superior position and ability to resolve the war, within weeks or months.

While the complications began to increase in the face of what is supposed to be the Yemeni state supported by Saudi Arabia and behind it a large international regional alliance, there was an opportunity for a proxy war on Iran in a stage described as the stage of maximum pressure on Iran, and under an American administration headed by former President Donald Trump, it provided for this war all Reasons for winning. The most in-depth European reading on the two wars says that 2015, the year of negative balance in Syria and the start of the war on Yemen, constituted a starting point for two opposing tracks in the two wars. The size of the support that Syria received from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah is much less than the size of Saudi and Western participation in the war of support for the Yemeni puppet state, whether by the size of the firepower, the amount of money, or the number of fighters. The amount of support that the anti-Syrian state groups have acquired across the borders, with money and weapons, including the challenge posed by the emergence of ISIS, represents a multiples of what Ansarallah acquired under a tight siege that closed the land, sea and air ports, and therefore the opposite results of the two wars can only be read by reading the differences between the “two states” and the “opposition.”

In recent workshops, former European officials say, the keyword lies on both sides of the default doctrine of the state and the opposition here and there. On the bank of the state we see in Syria a president who did not leave his country and his office in the heart of the most dangerous hours of war while the missiles were falling near the Presidential Palace, and cohesive army fighting in a spirit of martyrdom, and large segments of the Syrian people consider the war its war with certainty and faith, and bear the siege, pressure and sacrifices, while on the Yemeni bank, there is a president, ministers, and leaders down to the minister’s assistant level and below of advisers and assistants distributed between Riyadh, Cairo and Amman, living in five-star hotels, including senior military officials, while the burden of fighting falls on the Saudi and the Emirati army, and the armies that have supported them, such as the Sudanese army. On the Yemeni bank of the opposition we see a leader, people and fighters form in Yemen an integrated unit that did not leave its strongholds despite the ferocity of the fire and the severity of the siege, has the certainty of its victory, and it makes sacrifices without expense from its fighters and leaders, and in return we see in Syria opposition leaders staying in the hotels of five stars in Paris, Istanbul, Cairo and Dubai, enjoying the money supposedly intended to support their battles, has turned the supposed rebels into mercenaries moving from country to country, on behalf of other countries, while basing their battles in the media on terrorist groups that have captured the land they claim to be their areas of control, killing and slaughtering the people they claimed to be their protectors.

Former European officials conclude in their approach that the comparison is enough to conclude that the land is for those who protect it and sacrifice for it, and that those who believe in what they defend are shown by wars, where the danger of death is imminent, as fire reveals minerals, wars reveal the minerals of leaders and the sincerity of their causes, and therefore it seems self-evident that victory in Yemen is for Mr. Abdul Malik al-Houthi, and that victory in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad, because the issue has become clear is not a state and opposition issue, but the issue of honesty and sacrifice.

In 2018 the US Was at War With Uyghur Terrorists. Now It Claims They Don’t Even Exist

May 01st, 2021

By Alan Macleod

Source

With China now in the U.S. crosshairs, the ETIM has moved from being an adversary to being a potential asset.

WASHINGTON — In the dying months of his administration, President Donald Trump removed from the United States terrorist list a little-known paramilitary organization called ETIM, an acronym that stands for either the East Turkestan Independence Movement or the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, depending on whom one asks. The group is also sometimes known as the [East] Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP or ETIP).

Explaining the decision, the State Department said that “ETIM was removed from the list because, for more than a decade, there has been no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist.” The move was hailed by a wide range of Uyghur groups in the United States, who saw it as a step towards blocking China’s actions against Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province.

Yet the decision will have confused anyone with a long memory or who closely followed the War on Terror. Only two years previously, the U.S. was actively at war with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, with Trump himself ordering an escalation of a bombing campaign against them.

In 2018, Major General James Hecker, the commander of NATO Air Command-Afghanistan, gave a press conference in which he noted that not only was ETIM real but they were working hand in hand with the Taliban and boasted that his forces were destroying their training bases, thereby reducing their terrorist activities both in the Afghanistan/Pakistan/China border region and inside China itself.

“Anybody that is an enemy of Afghanistan, we’re going to target them,” Brigadier General Lance Bunch told the The Washington Post, also announcing that “[w]e’ve got new authorities now that allow us to be able to . . . target the Taliban and the ETIM where they previously thought they were safe.”

Why then was the government suddenly insisting that ETIM/TIP did not exist? And who is this shadowy organization?

Who are the ETIM/TIP?

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement is a jihadist group led since 2003 by Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, a Xinjiang-born Uyghur. Its goal is to set up a Muslim-only ethnostate (East Turkestan) in Xinjiang. A dry and mountainous region at the western edge of China, Xinjiang is about the size of Alaska and is home to around 25 million people.

“This land is for Muslims alone,” Haq explains in an al-Qaeda PR film; “the mere presence of the disbelievers on this land should be a sufficient reason for Muslims to set out for jihad.” ETIM is still considered a terrorist organization by the United NationsEuropean UnionUnited Kingdom, and Russia, among others.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese government also classifies it as such. When asked for comment, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told MintPress that “ETIM has long been engaging in terrorist and violent activities, causing heavy casualties and property losses, and posing serious threats to security and stability in China, the region and beyond.” Wenbin also criticized the U.S. “flip flop” on ETIM, something that, in his words, “once again exposes the current U.S. administration’s double standard on counter-terrorism and its repulsive practice of condoning terrorist groups as it sees fit.” MintPress also reached out to a range of Uyghur organizations for comment, but all declined to do so.

Some of the most high-profile of these attacks inside China, cited by Wenbin, were ETIM’s attempts to sabotage the 2008 Beijing Olympics by carrying out bomb attacks on host cities. Just before the games, ETIM released a video featuring a burning Olympic flag and warning all Muslims to stay away from the venues. There has also been a string of deadly attacks attributed to ETIM in which terrorists drive vehicles into crowds of pedestrians then proceed to carry out stabbing rampages.

In 2009, tensions between Uyghurs and ethnic Han Chinese spilled over into deadly riots in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, where nearly 200 people, mostly Han, were killed. As a result of the unrest, Beijing ordered a massive increase in surveillance and security across the region, flooding the province with cameras, armed police, and spies. To this day, it retains an extremely high-security presence.

Of course, the large majority of those killed by ETIM around the world have been non-Salafist Muslims, and considering ETIM to be representatives of the Uyghur population as a whole would be extremely misleading. In fact, the Uyghurs of Xinjiang have been caught in the crossfire between the ETIM and the Chinese government. To this day, the Afghan government also considers the group to be a serious threat to peace and security in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda, Taliban ties, Chinese target

ETIM units have trained and fought in what seems like virtually every single conflict involving Muslims over the past 20 years, but always with an eye to bringing their skills back home. A 2017 Associated Press exclusive titled “Uyghurs fighting in Syria take aim at China” found that at least 5,000 Xinjiang Uyghurs had traveled to Syria to train and fight alongside both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. “We didn’t care how the fighting went or who Assad was,” one ETIM fighter told the AP; “We just wanted to learn how to use the weapons and then go back to China.” For many, Beijing’s crackdown on civil liberties in the wake of the Urumqi riots was the catalyst. “We’ll avenge our relatives being tortured in Chinese jail,” another fighter told the AP. A 2015 New York Times report also notes that one Chinese Muslim had been trained in Libya before going to Syria to fight against government forces.

The United Nations states that ETIM “has maintained close ties with the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.” Indeed, since 2005, ETIM leader Haq has been a member of al-Qaeda’s council of elders, a group of about two dozen individuals who control the organization’s direction. The UN notes that the ETIM’s major source of funding was Osama Bin Laden himself, who directly employed and paid Haq.

“The organization is clearly a part of al-Qaeda’s network — there is no real question about this fact. Al-Qaeda doesn’t hide its sponsorship of the TIP [ETIM]. And the TIP [ETIM] doesn’t hide its allegiance to al-Qaeda,” wrote Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, a hawkish think tank located in Washington. “But the Chinese Communist Party’s detestable policies in Xinjiang have led some democracy and human rights activists to downplay or dismiss the TIP’s overt jihadism,” he added.

In 2002, U.S. forces captured and detained 22 Uyghur militants at an ETIM camp in Afghanistan. They were sent to Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba and were accused of traveling from China to join the ETIM jihad, something many admitted to. However, all insisted that they were uninterested in harming the United States and instead saw China as their major enemy. Considering them no direct threat to itself, the United States began releasing them to third countries and by 2013 all had been freed.

Uighur Syria
A Uyghur fighter in Syria affiliated with ETIM is shown in an al-Qaeda propaganda video

The training camp was located in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan and run by Haq himself. U.S. intelligence actually concluded that many of the trainees acted as a “blocking force” for Bin Laden in 2001, when American forces came very close to capturing him. This allowed him to evade the U.S. for a further ten years. The U.S. carried out an assassination attempt on Haq in 2010, with media reporting that he had been killed by an unmanned drone. However, he was merely seriously injured and escaped with his life.

The State Department designated the ETIM as a terrorist group, adding them to its list in September 2002. At that point, the Bush administration had declared a war on terror, was battling the Taliban in Afghanistan and was about to invade Iraq. Furthermore, relations with China were good at the time and the Bush administration wished to secure Chinese co-operation or at least dampen Chinese resistance to its campaigns.

“Designating ETIM/TIP as a terrorist organization does seem appropriate,” Daniel Dumbrill — a Canadian YouTuber currently in Xinjiang, and an outspoken critic of U.S. policy towards China — told MintPress, adding:

I don’t believe they suddenly and abruptly cease to exist and I don’t believe the U.S. government believes this either. Even if they did, the Tamil Tigers have been inactive for over 10 years since their defeat, but they remain on the U.S. government list of terrorist organizations. Therefore, it doesn’t seem like clearing off inactive terror groups has ever been a matter of priority. There is of course, I believe, an ulterior motive to [their removal from the terrorist list].”

A fight for global supremacy

Today, however, relations with China have definitely soured. The country’s rapid economic rise has alarmed and preoccupied many planners in the West, who now see China as America’s “unparalleled priority” for the 21st century. President Trump placed sanctions on the country and attempted to block the growth of Chinese tech companies like Huawei, TikTok, and Xiaomi. Along with the trade war has come a war of words, with top brass in Washington suggesting that the new Cold War with Beijing will be less about tanks and missiles and more “kicking each other under the table.” Others have advised that the U.S. should wage a widespread culture war, including commissioning what they call “Taiwanese Tom Clancy novels” meant to demonize and demoralize China.

The prospect of a hot war cannot be overlooked, however. And U.S. actions are making the threat all the more likely. In 2013, the Obama administration announced a “Pivot to Asia,” meaning a draw-down from the Middle East and an escalation of tensions in the Pacific. Today, over 400 American military bases encircle China. American ships and aircraft continue to probe the Chinese coastline, testing their defenses. In July, U.S.S. Rafael Peralta sailed within 41 nautical miles of the coastal megacity of Shanghai. Earlier this year, the head of Strategic Command stated that there was a “very real possibility” of war against Beijing in the near future.

Uyghur repression

It is in this context that the United States has begun to denounce China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority. Xinjiang has been under serious security measures for more than a decade, and the internment of Uyghurs has been going on since at least 2014. Yet the U.S. was largely silent about their treatment until recently. Today, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) accuses China of imprisoning between one and three million Uyghur Muslims, describing it as a genocide. The NED has given nearly $9 million to Uyghur groups and has condemned what it sees as a “deafening silence in the Muslim world” about their plight.

Amnesty International has largely agreed, labeling what China calls re-education facilities, meant to deradicalize the population, as “detention camps for torture and brainwashing of anyone suspected of disloyalty.” Uyghurs have alleged that they have been forcibly sterilized, that their places of worship have been demolished, and that they were made to eat pork and separated from their families while interned.

Others have rejected this interpretation. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, head of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, recently wrote:

There are credible charges of human rights abuses against Uyghurs, but those do not per se constitute genocide. And we must understand the context of the Chinese crackdown in Xinjiang, which had essentially the same motivation as America’s foray into the Middle East and Central Asia after the September 2001 attacks: to stop the terrorism of militant Islamic groups.”

Dumbrill seemed to agree, noting that many Uyghurs in Xinjiang see the extremist jihadists as their primary worry, not government forces, of whom some Uyghurs speak fondly. “The police presence aside, people lead fairly ordinary lives here with the same kinds of hopes and dreams that people anywhere else would have as well,” he told MintPress, criticizing the foreign coverage.

Wenbin was, unsurprisingly, even more dismissive of the charges. “Western politicians and media are frantically spreading lies on Xinjiang,” he said, adding that “the allegation of ‘genocide’ is more than preposterous.”

The politics of terror

At the same time as it was delisting the East Turkestan Islamic Movement for apparently not existing, the Trump administration added Cuba to its list of state sponsors of terror. Without a hint of irony, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to the island’s “malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere” as the reason for the designation. A report released last month by the Department of Health and Human Services outlined what such malign influence was: offering doctors and other medical teams to other needy countries during a global pandemic.

Yet the politics of the terror list has always been highly suspect. In an attempt to dampen worldwide support for his cause and shore up the Apartheid government, the Reagan administration placed South African leader Nelson Mandela on the terrorist list in 1988. Mandela was not pulled off it until 2008 — 14 years after he became president.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also recently removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror, in what was an openly transactional event. Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel and give the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars. As usual, Trump was unable not to say the quiet part out loud: “GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan,” he tweeted.

Ultimately, the drastic change in U.S. policy on the ETIM has nothing to do with the movement itself — which remains the same jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban — but rather to a changing American stance towards China. For years, the U.S. ignored human rights issues in Xinjiang, as China was seen as a useful workshop for American capitalism. But the PRC’s rapid rise has frightened many in Washington; hence the sudden fascination with the plight of the Uyghurs. The designation of the ETIM as a terrorist group was likely seen as getting in the way of longstanding U.S. attempts to provoke unrest in China. With China now in the crosshairs, the group has moved from being an adversary to being a potential asset. It appears that the government decided that insisting they no longer exist was an easier sell than pretending they are no longer a terrorist group.

While the change in status might seem inconsequential, it could be a harbinger of a dangerous future. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement was placed on the list because of the War on Terror. Now it has been taken off because of the coming war on China.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Director General of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Dmitry Kiselev Moscow, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Director General of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Dmitry Kiselev Moscow, April 28, 2021

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

We have available video in Russian and transcript in English.

Transcript:

Dmitry Kiselev: Our relations with the United States are really “hell”. Personally, I don’t recall them being at such a low ebb ever before. This is even worse than the Cold War times, in my opinion. Ambassadors have returned back to their home countries. What’s going to happen next? What is the possible scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: If it depended on us alone, we would gladly resume normal relations. The first possible step towards this, which I regard as obvious, is to zero out the measures restricting the work of Russian diplomats in the United States. It was as a response measure that we restricted the operations of American diplomats in Russia.

We proposed this to the Biden administration as soon as it had taken the oath and assumed office. I have mentioned the idea to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. I did not try to press it; I just said that an obvious way to normalise our relations would be to zero out the measures initiated by Barack Obama. Several weeks before leaving office, he was so annoyed he virtually slammed the door by seizing Russian property in violation of all the Vienna conventions and throwing Russian diplomats out. This has caused a chain reaction.

We patiently sat back for a long time, until the summer of 2017, before taking any response measures. The Trump administration asked us to disregard the excessive measures taken by the outgoing Obama administration. However, Donald Trump’s team failed to normalise the situation, and so we had to take reciprocal measures. But the Americans have not stopped there.

We can see that the Biden administration continues to go downhill, although US President Biden said during his conversation with President of Russia Vladimir Putin soon after his inauguration, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told me that they are thoroughly reviewing their relations with Russia, hoping that this would clarify many things. However, instead they adopted new sanctions, which triggered not simply a mirror response on our part. Our response was asymmetrical, just as we had warned them on numerous occasions. It has to do, in part, with a considerable disparity in the number of diplomats and other personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia, which is way above the number of Russian diplomats in the United States.

As for the strategic picture of our relations, I hope that Washington is aware, just as Moscow is, of our responsibility for global stability. There are not only the problems of Russia and the United States, which are complicating our citizens’ lives and their contacts, communications, businesses and humanitarian projects, but also differences that are posing a serious risk to international security in the broadest possible meaning of the word.

You remember how we responded to the outrage that took place during Joe Biden’s interview with ABC. You are also aware of how President Putin reacted to President Biden’s proposal of a meeting. We have taken a positive view of this, but we would like to understand all aspects of this initiative, which we are currently analysing.

Nothing good will come out of this, unless the United States stops acting as a sovereign, as President Putin said during his Address to the Federal Assembly, accepts the futility of any attempts to revive the unipolar world or to create an architecture where all Western countries would be subordinate to the United States and the Western camp would work together to “rally” other countries across the world against China and Russia, admits that it was for a purpose that the UN Charter sealed such principles as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and sovereign equality of states, and simply honours its commitments and starts talking with us, just as with any other country, on the basis of respect for each other and for a balance of interests, which must be established. President Putin said this clearly in his Address, pointing out that Russia is always open to broad international agreements if they suit our interests. But we will harshly respond to any attempts to cross the red line, which we ourselves will determine.

Dmitry Kiselev: Would it be realistic to expect them to become aware of this and stop acting as a sovereign? Hope is fine, but the reality is completely different.

Sergey Lavrov: I have not expressed any hope. I just mentioned the conditions on the basis of which we will be ready to talk.

Dmitry Kiselev: And what if they refuse?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be their choice. This means that we will be living in conditions of a Cold War, or even worse, as you have already mentioned. In my opinion, tension did run high during the Cold War and there were numerous high-risk conflict situations, but there was also mutual respect. I believe that this is lacking now.

There have been some schizophrenic notes in the statements made by some of the Washington officials. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said just a while ago that sanctions against Russia would be continued, that they are producing, by and large, a desired effect, and that their objective is not to “escalate” with Russia. Even I am at a loss about how to comment on this. I hope anyone can see that such statements are doing no credit to those who are upholding and promoting this policy.

Dmitry Kiselev: I had a chance to hear an opinion – perhaps even a commonplace opinion, to some extent, in certain circles – to the effect that diplomats are doing a poor job, that we are constantly digging in our heels, that our position is inflexible and non-elastic, and this is the reason why our relations are poor.

Sergey Lavrov: Are you alluding to circles inside this country?

Dmitry Kiselev: Yes, inside this country.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, I also read these things. Thankfully, this country protects freedom of speech much better than many Western countries, including the United States. I read the opposition’s online resources and newspapers, and I think that perhaps these people have a right to express their point of view that consists in the following: “If we refrained from disputing with the West, we’d have Parmesan cheese and lots more things that we are sincerely missing; but for some reason, they have cut short food purchases in the West [they do not even explain that this was done in response], they have stopped buying food and gone into import substitution, thus increasing the price of food.”

You know, this is a narrow, lopsided view taken entirely from the standpoint of creature comforts, a choice between a television set and a fridge. If they think it essential to accept US values, I would like to remind them about what US President John Kennedy, the greatest US President to my mind, once said: “Don’t think what your country can do for you. Think what you can do for your country.” This is a radical distinction from today’s liberal views, where personal wellbeing and personal feelings alone are the things that matter.

The promoters of these philosophical approaches, as I see it, are not just unaware of what our genetic code is all about, but are trying in every way to undermine it. For, apart from the desire to live well, to be well-fed, to be confident that one’s children, friends and relatives are well too, a feeling of national pride always played an equally important role in what we did throughout our one thousand years’ history. If someone thinks that these values are of no importance for him or her, as it is [politically] correct to say now, it is their choice, but I am certain that the overwhelming majority of our people have a different opinion.

Dmitry Kiselev: Are you counting on a meeting with Antony Blinken? When can this meeting be held, and will it take place at all in the foreseeable future?

Sergey Lavrov: When we were talking over the phone, I congratulated him in keeping with the diplomatic etiquette. We exchanged a few appraisals of the [current] situation. The talk was, I feel, well-meaning, calm and pragmatic. When our US colleagues have completed staffing their Department of State, we will be prepared to resume contacts – naturally, on the understanding that we will engage in a search for mutually acceptable arrangements on many problems, starting from the functioning of the diplomatic missions and ending with strategic stability and many other things. US and Russian business communities are concerned with expanding their cooperation, something that the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce has recently told us. We have concluded by stating that there will be some joint multilateral events, on whose sidelines we will be able, as chance offers, to talk. But no signals have come from the US so far. Speaking about the schedule of events, Russia will be taking over the Arctic Council chairmanship from Iceland three weeks from now. An Arctic Council ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in Reykjavík on May 20-21. If Secretary Blinken leads the US delegation, I will, of course, be prepared to talk with him, if he is interested.  Given that we will chair the Arctic Council for the next two years, I have informed our Iceland colleagues that I will attend this ministerial meeting.

Dmitry Kiselev: Is there any certainty as to who will definitely join the list of unfriendly states?

Sergey Lavrov: The Government of Russia is attending to this on instructions from President of Russia Vladimir Putin. We are participating in this work, as are other respective agencies.  I would not like to jump the gun right now.  We are reluctant to be indiscriminate and put on that list just any country that will say somewhere “something wrong” about Russia. Our decision will be based, of course, on a deep-going analysis of the situation and on whether we see opportunities to have a dialogue with that country in a different way. If we come to the conclusion that there is no chance of this, then, I think, the list will, of course, be periodically extended. But this is not a “dead” paper. As is only natural, it will be revised in tune with how our relations develop with this or that state.

Dmitry Kiselev: When will the public be able to read this list?

Sergey Lavrov: Soon, I think. The Russian Government has concrete assignments. We understand the criteria that are guiding us in this work. So, I think, the wait will not be very long now.

Dmitry Kiselev: Will the unfriendly states be banned from hiring local workforce?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be a ban on hiring any physical persons whether Russian or foreign.

Dmitry Kiselev: Is this the only measure with regard to unfriendly states or some others are in the offing?

Sergey Lavrov: At this stage, this is the concrete aim set in the executive order signed by President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Dmitry Kiselev: Donbass is another subject. Tensions have continued to escalate there since early 2021, and it appears that they have subsided a little since US President Joe Biden called President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. In my show News of the Week, I noted that US military guarantees to Ukraine had turned out to be a bluff. Nevertheless, shootouts continue, and they are using banned large-calibre weapons. It seems like this peace is not very different from war, and that the balance is highly unstable. Over 500,000 Russian citizens now live in Donbass. Will there be a war?

Sergey Lavrov: War can and should be avoided, if this depends on us and on the self-defence fighters, as far as we understand their principled approaches. I cannot speak and make guesses on behalf of the Ukrainian party and President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky because, by all indications, his main goal is to stay in power. He is ready to pay any price, such as pandering to neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals who continue to brand the Donbass self-defence fighters as terrorists. Our Western colleagues should reassess the developments that have taken place since February 2014.  None of these districts attacked the rest of Ukraine. They were branded as terrorists, and an anti-terrorist operation was launched against them and then another operation involving “joint forces.”. But we do know for sure that they have no desire to make war on representatives of the Kiev regime.

I have repeatedly told our Western colleagues, who are totally biased in their assessment of current developments, and who unconditionally defend Kiev’s actions, that Russian journalists and war correspondents working on the other side of the demarcation line show an objective picture. They work in trenches there almost without respite, and they provide daily news reports. These reports show the feelings of the people living in these territories that are cut off from the rest of Ukraine by an economic blockade, where children and civilians are being regularly killed, and where the civilian infrastructure, schools and kindergartens are being destroyed. I asked our Western colleagues why they don’t encourage their media outlets to organise the same work on the left side of the demarcation line, so that the scale of damage there can be assessed and to see which facilities have been the hardest hit.

As for the recent developments, when we openly announced the military exercises in the Southern and Western military districts – we made no secret of that, you remember the shouts about the alleged Russian build-up on the border with Ukraine. Just take a look at the terms used: we speak about drills in the Southern and Western military districts, while they say that Russia is amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. And when the drills ended and we made the relevant announcement, the West claimed maliciously that Russia had to back off, to withdraw. This is an example of wishful thinking.

This is reminiscent of the situation with the G7: every time they meet they announce that Russia will not be invited to the group. We have stated on numerous occasions that we will never re-join it, that there will not be any G8, and that this is a thing of the past. However, continued references to this subject, as well as claims that Russia has “rolled back” and has ordered its troops to “return to their barracks” shows, of course, that in this instance the West wants above all to take advantage of this situation to prove that it has the last word and the dominant place in modern international relations. This is regrettable.

The subject of a settlement in Ukraine has been discussed by President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The other day President Putin spoke about it with President of France Emmanuel Macron. The issue was also raised during a recent conversation with US President Joe Biden. The situation is clear, as I see it. The patrons of President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team refuse to make him honour the Minsk Agreements, even though they are aware of the futility of trying to use military force; they have heard the signals sent from Donetsk and Lugansk about their readiness to defend their land, their homes and their people who refuse to live by the laws being enforced by neo-Nazis.

President Putin has said clearly that we will never abandon the people of Donbass, who are standing up to the openly radical neo-Nazi regime. President Zelensky keeps saying in his interviews that there are no problems with the Russian language or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and that he is willing to discuss all these subjects with President Putin. It is a shame perhaps that a person I have always regarded as clever says that the Russian language and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have no problems in Ukraine. I have no doubt that he is very well aware of the situation. Maybe nothing at all is being reported to him, but in that case he is living in a dream world. But the West has definitely sent its signals to Zelensky.

As you have mentioned, it would be senseless to pin hopes on US military assistance. This has always been clear to everyone. If anyone entertained such illusions, such advisers are good for nothing in any government, including the government of Mr Zelensky. Regrettably, the West continues to try to convince us that the Minsk Agreements should be mitigated and the sequence of the actions set out in them changed. Zelensky says he likes the agreements, but only if it is all the other way round, that they first take full control of these territories, including the border with Russia, and only then deal with the elections, amnesty and a special status for these territories. It is clear that if they did this, if they were allowed to do this, there would be a massacre. The West is unable or unwilling to force Zelensky to comply with the Minsk Agreements strictly in accordance with the sequence set out in them, which does not permit any double interpretation and has been formulated unambiguously from the first to the last step. Control of the border is the very last step to be taken after these territories receive a special status, which must be sealed in the Constitution of Ukraine, after free elections are held there and their results are recognised as such by the OSCE.

Of course, there must also be total amnesty. Not in the way envisaged by the Poroshenko government or the current regime, which only want to approve an  amnesty on an individual basis for those who are proved to have committed no crime. This is yet another misinterpretation. The Minsk Agreements stipulate an amnesty for those who took part in fighting on both sides, without any transitional justice process, which our Western colleagues are now beginning to discuss.

I believe that the brunt of responsibility lies with the West, because only the West can make President Zelensky honour the commitments which his predecessor signed and he himself signed in Paris in December 2019 when he, the presidents of Russia and France and the Chancellor of Germany reaffirmed the absence of any alternative to the strict observance of the Minsk Agreements, and he pledged to amend the legislation and the Ukrainian Constitution to formalise the special status of Donbass on a permanent basis.

Dmitry Kiselev: Many people are wondering why Russia fails to recognise Donbass. It did recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia. There is an inner “lobby” in Russia, even among my fellow journalists, who are demanding that we recognise Donbass – the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Why are we failing in this?

Sergey Lavrov: You are right that there is an analogy with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But there is just one exception: no agreements similar to the Minsk Package of Measures were signed in those countries, when Saakashvili’s aggression against Tskhinval and the positions of peacekeepers, including Russian peacekeepers, occurred. The Medvedev-Sarkozy document was discussed there, and it implied a number of steps. But it was not signed by Georgia. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, after reaching an agreement with us in Moscow, took a plane to Tbilisi to ensure Saakashvili’s support for the document. Saakashvili signed it, but he deleted all the key provisions.  Mr Sarkozy attempted to represent this as a compromise, but everyone understood everything. It had a preamble saying that the Russian Federation and the French Republic, desirous of normalising the situation in South Caucasus, propose to Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia the following:  a ceasefire. Saakashvili crossed out the heading, leaving just the first and subsequent items. Since then, the West has been demanding that we comply with these agreements. This is just an example.

In the case of Donbass, the situation was different. The 17-hour long negotiations in Minsk involving the Normandy format leaders (President Franсois  Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Petr Poroshenko of Ukraine, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin) produced a result, which was endorsed, two days later, by the UN Security Council without any amendments or doubts that it should be implemented.

Today, the moral and international legal truth is on our side and on the side of the Donbass militias.  I think that we must not let Mr Zelensky and his entire team “off the hook,” writhing as they might. Mr Zelensky’s statement is a fine specimen (made when he had all but given up hope of turning the Minsk Agreements upside down) to the effect that they are no good, albeit necessary, because the saving of the Minsk Agreements guarantees that the sanctions against Moscow will be preserved as well. We asked the West, what they think about this. They just look aside shamefacedly and say nothing.  I think it is a shame and a disgrace, when an international legal document is held up to mockery in this manner.  The West, which has co-authored this document and supported it at the UN Security Council, is demonstrating absolute helplessness.

Dmitry Kiselev: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky cannot get a call through to President of Russia Vladimir Putin, who is not picking up the receiver. Your Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitry Kuleba, cannot get a call through to you. What does this mean? Why is this?

Sergey Lavrov: This means that they are seeking to revise the Minsk Agreements and represent Russia as a party to the conflict even in this area of their activities.

Requests that came in until recently both from my counterpart Kuleba and President Zelensky dealt with the topic of settlement in Donbass. We replied that this [topic] should be discussed not with us, but with Donetsk and Lugansk, as you agreed under the Minsk Agreements.   The agreements say in black and white that the key stages of settlement should be the subject of consultations and coordination with Donetsk and Lugansk. When they say that a “nasty situation is looming large” at the line of contact and want to talk to Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, they are barking up the wrong tree. Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in the Kremlin the other day, President Putin made it amply clear that if they wanted to talk about this, the address should be different.  If our colleagues, including President Zelensky, want to discuss how to normalise bilateral relations, they are welcome. We are always ready to talk about this.

Dmitry Kiselev: There is no reply or acceptance so far, is there?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that Mr Zelensky instructed the chief of his office, Andrey Yermak, to come to terms on the timeframes. The location is of no importance, because each day of delay means new deaths.

Incidentally, let us take the fact that people are dying and what is happening at the line of contact. Over the last couple of weeks, Kiev has been insisting quite aggressively on the need to reaffirm the ceasefire. All of its Western patrons have also been urging us to influence Donbass so that the ceasefire takes hold in earnest. Speaking on the phone with President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, President Putin reminded them of the facts. And the facts are as follows: In July 2020, the Contact Group reached what was perhaps the most serious and effective ceasefire agreement, because it contained a verification mechanism.  It implied a sequence of actions, primarily each side’s commitment not to return fire immediately on the spot but report the violation to the top command and wait for its order on how to act, to wit, whether to respond in kind or to negotiate an arrangement under the mechanisms created for commander-to-commander liaison on the ground.   This agreement, as it was implied, was translated into military orders issued by the DPR and the LPR. These orders were published. Kiev pledged to do the same, but did nothing. Instead it started fiddling with words again. Instead of performing the obligation to report each shelling attack to the top command and get orders from them, they began replacing this clear-cut arrangement with confused formulas, although they were blamed for this by Donetsk and Lugansk at all subsequent meetings, and Russian representatives in the Contact Group, too, repeatedly said as much. The same happened in the Normandy Format.  This is what Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak has been doing all these months in contacts with his French and German colleagues. The head of President Zelensky’s Office, Andrey Yermak, was representing Ukraine. I read transcripts of their talks. It was like talking to a brick wall. They were at cross purposes: the Ukrainian leaders had obviously decided that it was necessary to revive the ceasefire story. It was shameful and unseemly.

It was a great pleasure to watch the Servant of the People series, when no one suspected that its main character would follow this path in real life. But he took the wrong path. If Mr Zelensky watched the series again today and tried to fathom the convictions of the person he had impersonated so well on screen, and later compared those convictions with what he is doing now, he would, perhaps, have achieved one of the most effective transformations.  I do not know when he was himself and when he underwent a transformation. But the contrast is striking.

Dmitry Kiselev: Another subject is the Czech Republic. What was it? How are we to understand it?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot speculate on this because I do not understand intellectually what they wanted. One can watch it like a not too elegant television series.

This story is full of schizophrenic components. Czech president Milos Zeman says it should be sorted out, not denying the possibility of a subversive act by foreign agents, but suggesting taking into account the story told by the Czech leadership, including the incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babis (the then Minister of Finance, in 2014), that it was the result of negligence by the depot owners. President Zeman only suggested that consideration should be given to the case that has never been disproven over the seven years. He is accused of high treason now. President of the Senate Milos Vystrcil said that by stating the need to investigate all the leads President Zeman had disclosed a state secret. Is this not schizophrenia? A pure case, I think.

There needs to be an investigation into what was stored in the depot. The German media said that they kept antipersonnel mines prohibited by the convention signed, inter alia, by the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. A lot of questions remain.

Dmitry Kiselev: Indeed, how could it happen that a certain Bulgarian citizen supplying antipersonnel mines (by all appearances they were found there), controlled a depot in the Czech Republic which was not then under the control of the government?

Sergey Lavrov: It so happens.

Dmitry Kiselev: Maybe the Czechs would be better to start with themselves?

Sergey Lavrov: Probably. Or follow the example of Ukraine where too a vast number of armed people, weapons and ammunition are controlled not by the Ukrainian armed forces, but by “volunteer battalions.” It is a trend where the state proves its inability to ensure, if you like, its monopoly over the use of force.

Dmitry Kiselev: Ukraine is one thing but the Czech Republic is a member of the EU. It is bound by other international commitments than those of Ukraine and presents itself differently.

Sergey Lavrov: Above all, in addition to the aforementioned conventions (Ottawa Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the so-called Arms Trade Treaty, they are all parties to it), the EU has its own quite strict rules that do not encourage but rather prohibit any actions like supplies and sending forces to regions where there are conflicts.

Dmitry Kiselev: What do you think about the so-called British files? This looks like an orchestrated information campaign against Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: As before, the British continue to play a very active, serious and subversive role in relations between Russia and Europe. Britain has withdrawn from the EU but it has not slackened its activities there. On the contrary, it has been trying to exert maximum influence on the EU countries’ positions towards Moscow. This is not surprising at all.

You don’t even need to go very far back in history. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium. The inquest began in one way, and then the process was classified because it was necessary to analyse the materials of intelligence services. And then they announced the verdict, but the materials involved in the case have never been made public. As Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say, “Trust me.” I would rather side with Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify.” But they don’t allow us to verify; they only demand that we trust them.

In 2014, the Malaysian Boeing was downed. They formed a team comprising a narrow group of four countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine. They did not even invite Malaysia, the country that lost the plane. These four countries have agreed, as it has since transpired, that any information would only be revealed on the basis of consensus. Ukraine, where the disaster took place, was given the right of veto, while Malaysia was invited to join the group only six months later. The black boxes, which the self-defence forces provided to Malaysia, were analysed in London. I don’t recall them making the information public.

In 2018, there were the Skripals and the “highly likely.” Nobody knows to this day how the Skripals survived the alleged poisoning, why the police officer who worked with them did not display any symptoms of poisoning, and why the woman involved died while her partner did not get sick. There are very many questions.

In 2020, we had the case of Alexey Navalny. He was flying from Tomsk to Moscow, but the plane landed in Omsk. Nobody on board the plane or in the Omsk hospital got sick. A bottle of water [from his hotel room] was taken by Maria Pevchikh to Germany on the plane that transported Navalny – nobody knows anything. Doctors at the Charité hospital did not find any traces of poison, but they were found at the Bundeswehr. German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer demanded transparency in connection with our recent military drills in the southern and western regions of Russia. But we announced the drills beforehand, whereas the Bundeswehr, whose experts allegedly found traces of Navalny’s poisoning, is keeping information from us. Our request for the results of tests and biomaterials has been denied.

After that there was a long story involving the OPCW. It allegedly took part in collecting samples from Navalny. According to the remarkable information from Berlin, German experts were present during the collection of the samples, but OPCW experts are not mentioned at all. We are trying to sort this information out. Nobody wants to explain anything. Germany is directing us to the OPCW, which says that the request came from Germany and so we should ask them. It is a conspiracy of silence. We have seen this happen in crime movies about bandit groups operating all over the country after the war. This is regrettable.

Getting back to Britain, we can see that London is continuing its anti-Russia policy. Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore said a few days ago that Russia is “a declining power” whose allegedly “reckless behaviour” needs to be dealt with. This is inherent arrogance and a belief that they continue to rule the world. They are sending “signals” to us and propose establishing ties. In other words, they are not against communicating with us, but they are trying to discourage others from doing the same. This could be an aspiration for a monopoly of contacts and a desire to prove that they are superior to others.

Dmitry Kiselev: Speaking about decline, Britain is a perfect example of a declining empire “on which the sun never sets,” a small island in the North Sea with clouded prospects. To return to the Czech Republic, opinions within the country on the latest developments are totally inconsistent. There is no consensus, and nothing has yet been proven, but diplomats have been expelled. There has already been a result.

Sergey Lavrov: They claim that this is not the reason why our diplomats were expelled.  Two statements were made on the same day. They appeared to be interconnected. Prague is now trying to prove that there is no connection between them. They have announced that the explosions were organised by Petrov and Boshirov, the ubiquitous Russian suspects. It’s like blaming them for the sinking of the Titanic. The same day it was announced that 18 diplomats would have to leave the country. The majority of people accepted this as “punishment” for the 2014 explosions. After that, the Czech authorities said they would track down Petrov and Boshirov and issue an arrest warrant for them. As for the 18 diplomats, they identified them as spies. They expelled them because they turned out to be intelligence agents. No proof that any of these 18 diplomats are guilty of illegal activities has been provided. It is not surprising that former Czech President Vaclav Klaus said that the country’s authorities were like a tiny pooch barking at a huge dog, hoping that the big boys (the United States and Britain) would throw their weight behind them. Do you remember a time from your childhood when local bullies waited until dusk to demand 15 kopeks from a smaller kid, and if he refused they summoned the “big boys.” The logic is very similar. This is regrettable.

We never schemed against our Czech colleagues. Why would we need to blow up that warehouse? Some people say that the Russians were angry that the Bulgarian planned to send munitions to Ukraine. This is a completely schizophrenic view of the situation. This is impossible to imagine. But the machinery has been set in motion. I hope our Czech colleagues will come to their senses after all and will take a look at what they have done. If reason prevails, we will be ready to gradually rebuild the conditions for our diplomatic missions to function normally.  If not, we will make do. We know how we will be working. We don’t have to ingratiate ourselves with anyone.

Dmitry Kiselev: Working on what?

Sergey Lavrov: We know how we will be working in the Czech Republic and other countries. Pinpoint attacks are being made against Russia in the Baltics, Poland and, recently, Romania. Bucharest has added, though, that its decision was in no way connected to the EU’s position. This came as a surprise. They just decided to send that Russian diplomat back home. Why? They have not explained.

Dmitry Kiselev: It is notable that Germany has not supported the Czech Republic.

Sergey Lavrov: I have read the relevant statement by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He spoke like a responsible politician. It is not always that the German Foreign Ministry takes such a balanced and astute position. Many of its other statements have indiscriminately supported injustice, for example when Ukraine adopted sanctions against the Opposition Platform – For Life political party, its leader Viktor Medvedchuk and several of his associates, all of them Ukrainian citizens.  The German Foreign Ministry expressed its approval, saying that this was fully in keeping with OSCE principles. This is absurd.

Therefore, what Heiko Maas said the other day is a responsible political statement. It has not smoothed over differences but pointed out the importance of maintaining dialogue and looking for agreements, since we live side by side.

Dmitry Kiselev: Recently in China, you said we needed to look for alternatives to the SWIFT international payment system, and Russia was preparing for this. Is there a specific timeframe, and what stage of the preparations are we at?

Sergey Lavrov: Many have already spoken about this. This is happening because in recent years, the West has been looking for more ways of infringing on Russia’s legitimate interests. Now they are openly mentioning the possibility of disconnecting our country from SWIFT. Responsible politicians just have to think of ways to play it safe.

In addition to these statements, the United States is increasingly abusing the role of the dollar in the international monetary system, using certain countries’ dependence on dollar settlements to limit their competitive opportunities – China and other states they dislike. China, Russia, and Turkey are now looking for opportunities to reduce their dependence on the dollar by switching to alternative currencies, or even better – by making settlements in their national currencies. The responsible agencies, including in our country, are thinking about how to prevent damage to the economy and the financial system if some hotheads actually disconnect us from SWIFT. Russia launched a national payment card system a few years ago; MIR cards have been in use in Russia since then. The system is already developing ties with its foreign counterparts, as similar cards are being issued in China and Japan. It is also building ties with the internationally accepted payment card Maestro.

As regards the SWIFT system, specifically, the Central Bank of Russia recently introduced and continued to develop a system for the transfer of financial messages. It is quite popular. I think we need to support and strengthen this in every possible way to ensure we do not depend on anyone. Let me emphasise that we are not trying to self-isolate. We want to be part of the international community. Part of a community where justice and democracy work. We have discussed the problems of democracy with the West. But once they are asked to come to an agreement, to declare that democracy should triumph in international relations, too, they lose their enthusiasm. They are full of lectures on internal democratic processes, but when it comes to the international arena, we get raised eyebrows. Here, allegedly, there are established ‘practices’ that ‘Russia and China are trying to implement’ (it’s about this). But in reality, Moscow and Beijing only want to preserve the principles of the UN Charter, according to which everyone is equal and must seek agreement.

One needs to have a safety net in terms of payment systems and transfer of financial messages. We have one. I hope it will grow stronger and be able to provide a guarantee if suddenly, contrary to our desire to cooperate with everyone, the West discriminates against Russia, abusing its current position in the international economic and monetary systems, in this situation, we really cannot afford to depend on anyone.

Dmitry Kiselev: So the Central Bank’s system for transfer of financial messages is the budding alternative to SWIFT?

Sergey Lavrov: I am not an expert. I don’t know how reliably and effectively it provides a full warranty. But the groundwork is already there. I am confident that the Government and the Central Bank must do everything to make it reliable and guarantee us complete independence and protection from more damage that might be inflicted on us.

Dmitry Kiselev: In a conversation with your Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, you proposed an initiative to create a coalition of countries affected by illegal sanctions. To what extent has this project progressed? What countries could join it?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not put it like that. We have been working at the UN for a long time to end the practice of unilateral illegitimate sanctions such as embargoes, blockades and other restrictions. We have been working for a number of decades to lift the embargo the United States declared on Cuba. The respective resolution is supported by more than 190 votes annually, with only the United States and one small island nation voting against it.

However, since this practice of unilateral restrictions began to be widely used (started by Barack Obama, expanded by Donald Trump, and applied to this day), a large group of countries voted in the UN to establish the position of Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights and their impact on the civilian population and the socioeconomic situation in a particular country. Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan is a citizen of Belarus. This institution, created by the UN General Assembly, is working and circulating reports. I think it is a very useful step.

Another specific course of action is now being developed in New York to the same end, as you mentioned, to counter illegal unilateral measures. It is a group in support of the UN Charter. Nothing revolutionary – just in response to our Western colleagues forming flagrantly non-universal groups.

US President Joe Biden has put forth the idea of ​​holding a Summit for Democracy. Naturally, the Americans will recruit the participants and will judge who is worthy to be called a democracy and who is not.

Also, in recent years, our French and German colleagues have being making calls to ensure freedom of the media through the Alliance for Multilateralism, a group they announced outside the framework of universal institutions. They rallied more than thirty states under its banners even though there is UNESCO, where the same topic is discussed by everyone.

Or, there was an appeal in support of international humanitarian law. Law is universal. It is the responsibility of the UN bodies. But again, they recruited about 50 states.

Such appeals have nothing to do with universal bodies, but they cover the agenda that is discussed at a universal level. They place that agenda into a framework where they are more comfortable negotiating with those who obey, and then they present it as the ultimate truth.

This movement against illegitimate unilateral actions is much broader than just sanctions.

Dmitry Kiselev: Can this movement be formalised by membership?

Sergey Lavrov: The membership is in the UN. This is the difference: we are not creating anything against anyone. In the Asia-Pacific region, we would like to leave everything as it is. ASEAN has its partners, while anyone else can join security discussions. The logic of the West acts against this. They are implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy with its declared goal of containing China and isolating Russia.

The same is happening at the UN. They create various partnerships on topics that need to be discussed as part of the UN agenda. We insist that everyone must fulfil their obligations under the UN Charter, not scatter the global agenda across their compartments, only to present it later as the international community’s opinion.

Dmitry Kiselev: A recent update: the Americans confirmed they had made efforts to prevent Brazil from buying the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Brazil indeed refused, even though the coronavirus situation in that country is simply awful. What is your assessment?

Sergey Lavrov: This does not surprise me. The Americans are not even embarrassed to do things like that; they are not hiding it.

When former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to Africa, he openly and publicly called on his colleagues at a press conference to cut off trade with Russia and China because these countries pursue selfish goals. Right, the United States trades with African states for the sole benefit of their peoples, of course.

As for the vaccine issue, a protest movement kicked off in Brazil against that decision. If the Americans have admitted they were behind it, that means they are true to their logic and believe everything is possible and permitted, and they can now openly dictate their will.

Not so long ago, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of a new type of world war, and that Russia and China were using vaccines as a weapon and means of propaganda. That rhetoric is now receding. Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, is already seriously talking about the possibility of using the Russian vaccine.

We are not going to force anyone. I think life itself will set things straight. Vladimir Vysotsky said: “I always try to find the good in people. They will show the bad themselves.”

Dmitry Kiselev: A year ago, in an interview with our agency in the midst of the pandemic, you said you missed football. Are you back to sport yet?

Sergey Lavrov: In fact, I am. I did miss playing for a couple of weeks. We took a break and kept it low-key. But later, when we realised what precautions we could take, the games resumed. We play every Sunday.

False Flag Weekly News Censored by Youtube…for Attacking Censorship!

WATCH FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS 

By Kevin BarrettVeterans Today Editor

FROM MY FORTHCOMING ARTICLE FOR AMERICAN FREE PRESS:

The problem of censors who don’t know fact from opinion struck home this Sunday when YouTube froze my channel for two weeks due to two strikes for what they call “medical misinformation.” My weekly news roundup show False Flag Weekly News has covered a wide range of medical and scientific experts’ views about COVID-19 related issues, including the safety and efficacy of vaccines. YouTube’s censors apparently didn’t like some of those views. They explained: “YouTube doesn’t allow claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO).”

On the show, I made no such claims. Instead I simply reported on the claims that various experts had made, without endorsing any of them. In fact, I was quite skeptical towards many of the alarmist claims of anti-vaccine scientists.

The fact that scientific experts like Geert Vanden Bossche, Mike YeadonReiner Fuellmich, and Sucharit Bhakdi are saying alarming things about COVID vaccines is…well, a fact, and a newsworthy one. The draconian censorship of such facts, and of the experts’ interpretations, suggests very strongly that the elites pushing the COVID party line have something to hide.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE OPENING OF THE CENSORED EPISODE:

FFWN_210424-audio.m4a

Kevin Barrett: Welcome to False Flag Weekly News, the weekly news show where we question everything, especially public myths of the kind described by Philip Zelikow. I’m Kevin Barrett with Lucy Morgan Edwards this week. Welcome back, Lucy. Great to have you.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Good to be back, Kevin.

Kevin Barrett: All right. So you’re the author of The Afghan Solution. You were a political adviser to the E.U. in Kabul, Afghanistan. And we will get to some some Afghan stories as we continue. But first, the obligatory disclaimers. Let’s let’s read those disclaimers. OK, first, this could be very disturbing to people who feel an emotional attachment to conventional wisdom as expressed in the mainstream media or from the mouths of politicians. So if you can’t handle questioning that stuff change the channel. Also, we are not a medical advice outfit. I am a doctor of literature, not medicine. So if I tell you to take three pills and call me in the morning, tell me to shove off. So we’re doing political commentary and analysis here, not medicine. No medical advice, no medical information, misinformation, nothing like that. All right. Here we are with our lead story: Philip Zelikow, the self-described expert in the creation and maintenance of public myths, who operates out of the University of Virginia. He not only wrote the script for 9/11 — or many people suspect as much — and then was called on to turn it into a bestselling novel called the 9/11 Commission report. He not only controlled that investigation completely, he wrote the entire report in chapter by chapter outline before the Commission even convened, and he probably wrote it from the script for the actual event that he co-wrote before 9/11. But now here he is back doing the same thing with COVID-19. He’s setting up what he hopes will become a COVID-19 Commission to tell the official public myth of COVID-19c. Lucy, would you say that this guy has chutzpah or something which requires a more obscene expression?

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Well, he surely does. There’s a comment from another academic colleague that that his appointment to do this is a rare public admission that this COVID project is set to run into the long term, maybe for the next 20 years, in the same way that the war on terror has run based on his his myth that has, of course, underpinned it.

Kevin Barrett: And so Zelikow says that “this is the greatest crisis suffered by America, if not the world, since 1945. Scholars and journalists will do their jobs. But there is also a role for the kind of massive investigation and research effort that only a large scale commission can provide.” So here comes the National COVID Commission, chaired by Philip Zelikow. I can’t even imagine what that big lie is going to sound like.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: And together with the censorship from mainstream media, that is becoming increasingly prevalent, that will be the official narrative. And we’re all going to have to follow it because we’re going to be canceled or censored if we don’t, doubtless.

Kevin Barrett: And he’s using a war metaphor, just like he did with the “war on terror” that was scripted before they blew up the Twin Towers and flew remote controlled airplanes into targets and stuff like that. So now apparently he’s saying this is a war, too. He says we have to win the war globally, not just nationally. It’s a world war. So once again, a war metaphor — against a virus.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: OK, so I feel that this is a clue that the same group that were behind 9/11 are behind the current situation. Rolling him out is a huge, clear clue.

Kevin Barrett: They’re not even trying to hide it. They’re actually basically telling us what they’re doing. And there’s a whole theory that Satanists have some kind of metaphysical duty to tell their dupes what they’re doing, because then the bad karma is on the dupes instead of on them. I don’t know if that’s true, but sometimes they act like it.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: That’s the modus operandi, isn’t it?

Kevin Barrett: Indeed. OK, let’s get into our “vaxxed” news. Let’s see…So Alan didn’t flash the the medical advice disclaimer. I can’t believe it. He Usually flashes it about every third story that has anything to do with COVID. OK, so here’s our nonmedical advice about Biden and his two hundred million COVID-19 vaccinations. He said his goal was 100 million. And they’ve shot Americans two hundred million times so far. Half of Americans now have been shot, and they’re still walking around. They’re still alive. And I hope that they will be for a while. Allen, our producer, of course, is a vaccine enthusiast and he’s still doing just fine. So, Lucy, your take on Biden’s heroic triumphalism around his two hundred million shots?

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Well, I mean, who knows if those figures are correct? I’m not sure what they’re based on. It does say in the piece that the government’s planning to incentivize people to take the vaccinations with bonuses, paid leave, gift cards and so on, so that they’re obviously going all in and are very keen to get everyone vaxxed. One could also say, why don’t they get rid of McDonald’s, given that most people die of obesity? So that raises more questions about what’s really going on with these so-called vaccinations, which some people, some eminent epidemiologists, are saying aren’t vaccines at all because they haven’t been fully tested while we’re in the third stage trial, which people are unaware of. And some are actually raising questions as to whether these really are actually vaccinations or just injections of something else.

Kevin Barrett: Oh, but you’re not allowed to say things like that. “That’s medical misinformation!” No, it’s not, because we’re not giving medical advice. We’re simply speculating. (And reporting what others have said.)

So in our next story, we see that the censorship axe is coming down with unprecedented ferocity on anybody who expresses any opinions on any of this stuff that deviate one iota from the official party line as created by the WHO and Faucci and Bill Gates and all their friends. And here’s Senator Klobuchar telling us that they’ve got to start seriously censoring the vaccine skeptics, the super-spreaders of misinformation. So if you express an unorthodox opinion now, you’re the equivalent of somebody who’s killing people by spreading an evil virus. And in this climate…The problem with this, it seems to me, Lucy, is that how can we believe the Orthodox party line when anybody who expresses anything else is axed and destroyed and censored and suppressed? There’s no robust free debate. And so God knows how many experts are out there (who dissent but are afraid to go public.)

Lucy Morgan Edwards: In the UK, it’s worse than that. So they’re going to be seeking to criminalize anyone who expresses opinions that don’t conform to the big tech big pharma view of COVID and what’s going on. There was a very good piece yesterday on UK Column News that went through the development of this increasing censorship and deplatforming. And the drive by the British government just to shut down any alternative viewpoints, any discussion, any academic discussion and so on, and that started really with David Cameron’s speech to the U.N., I think it was in 2013, where he laid out really what they were going to do, and the the non-tolerance for any alternative viewpoints. It was it was a real whoring of his position, actually. I felt it was absolutely disgraceful speech. And of course, the British government operates through Ofcom, which is a quasi governmental organisation, which is pretty totalitarian and is involved in the development of 5G and holds licenses and is therefore profiting from the development of 5G, which they’re, of course, trying to put in in tandem with all of this censorship that’s going on in order to suck up our data and surveil us increasingly.

Kevin Barrett: And so who knows how many experts are out there who actually agree with the skeptics but are afraid to say anything because they’re afraid that they’ll be deplatformed or fired or have their careers or reputations ruined. And that means it’s very hard for us to know what the truth is because it could easily be the majority of the experts that deviate from the party line in the privacy of their own minds, but are afraid to say anything. So in this kind of atmosphere of ferocious, hysterical censorship, it’s impossible to get at the truth. And so anybody who wants to genuinely convince us that the Orthodox line is correct should not be doing this! They should be encouraging free and fearless debate. And then we’ll see how many experts really think this and how many experts really think that. But as it stands right now, we can’t possibly know.

BIOGRAPHYKevin BarrettDr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.

He is host of TRUTH JIHAD RADIO; a hard driving weekly radio show funded by listener donations at Patreon.com and FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS (FFWN); a audio-video show produced by Tony Hall, Allan Reese, and Kevin himself. FFWN is funded through FundRazr.

He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.

Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.http://www.truthjihad.comtruthjihad@gmail.com

Who Wags the Dog? Israel’s Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle East

Who Wags the Dog? Israel's Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle  East - Islam Times
Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi April 22, 2021

Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby.

Donald Trump, who was elected President of the United States in 2016, may have won due to voters attracted by his pledge to end many of the “stupid” wars that the American military was involved in worldwide. In the event, however, he ended no wars in spite of several attempts to withdraw from Afghanistan and Syria, and almost started new conflicts with cruise missile attacks and the assassination of an Iranian general. Trump was consistently outmaneuvered by his “experts” on the National Security Council and at the Pentagon, who insisted that it was too early to disengage from the Middle East and Central Asia, that America’s own national security would be threatened.

Trump did not have either the experience or the grit necessary to override his generals and national security team, so he deferred to their judgement. And as has been well documented he was under constant pressure to do Israel’s bidding in the region, which mandated a continued substantial US military presence to protect the Jewish state and to provide cover for the regular attacks staged by the Israelis against several of their neighbors. Motivated by the substantial political donations coming from multi-billionaires like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Trump conceded more to Israel than any previous president, recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital as well as Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights while also giving the green light to settlement expansion and eventual incorporation of all of the occupied West Bank into Greater Israel.

President Joe Biden has already indicated that he will if anything out-do Trump when it comes to favoring America’s persistent “ally” and “best friend” in the Middle East. Biden, who has declared himself to be a “Zionist,” is responding to the same lobbying and media power that Israel’s friends are able to assert over any US national government. In addition, his own Democratic Party in Congress is also the home of most of the federal government’s genuine Zionists, namely the numerous mostly Jewish legislators who have long dedicated themselves to advancing Israeli interests. Finally, Biden has chosen to surround himself with large numbers of Jewish appointed officials as his foreign policy and national security team, many of whom have close and enduring personal ties to Israel, to include service in the Israeli Army.

The new Secretary of Defense, former Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin has recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he confirmed one’s worst fears about the direction the Biden Administration is moving in. It was a first visit to Israel by a Biden Administration cabinet member. Austin met with his counterpart Benny Gantz and also with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom warned him that Israel considered renewal of any nuclear arms limitation agreement with Iran to be a threat, only delaying development of a weapon. As Bibi expressed it, “Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

Austin responded by the usual two-step avoiding Israel’s expressed concerns, which might be considered a threat of an Israeli veto on Biden’s attempt to revert to the original 2015 JCPOA multilateral pact. He said that the Biden administration would continue to guarantee Israel’s “qualitative military edge” as an element in America’s “strong commitment to Israel and the Israeli people,” adding that “our bilateral relationship with Israel in particular is central to regional stability and security in the Middle East. During our meeting I reaffirmed to Minister Gantz our commitment to Israel is enduring and it is ironclad.”

Wrong answer general. The foreign policy of any country should be based on actual interests, not on political donations and effective lobbying, still less on what one reads in the Zionist mainstream media in the US. Netanyahu has stated that the Iran agreement is “fatally flawed” and has said recently that “History has taught us that deals like this, with extremist regimes like this, are worth nothing.” Israel, which uniquely has a secret nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, is one of the world’s leading violators of attempts to limit nuclear proliferation. It is also destabilizing to the entire Middle East region, an apartheid state – not a democracy – and its government is widely regarded as right-wing extremist. That Netanyahu should feel somehow empowered to talk down to the Iranians, and to the US, remains a mystery.

Beyond what goes on between Washington and Jerusalem, the real center of power, the Israel Lobby, consists of a large number of separate organizations that act collectively to advance Israeli interests. There is considerable corruption in the process, with cooperative congressmen being rewarded while those who resist are targeted for replacement. Much of the legwork on subverting Capitol Hill and the White House is done by foundations, which often pretend to be educational to obtain tax exempt status. “Experts” from the various pro-Israel groups are then seeded into the decision-making process of the federal government, serving as gatekeepers to prevent consideration of any legislation that might be objected to by Netanyahu.

One of the most active lobbying groups is the so-called Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) which is in fact closely tied to and takes direction from the Israeli Embassy in Washington. FDD is particularly focused on going to war with Iran and whenever there are discussions on Iran policy on Capitol Hill one can be sure that an FDD expert will be present and active.

And if you really want to know why America’s foreign policy has been so self-destructive, it has recently been learned that FDD was actually able to insert one of its employees into the National Security Council under Donald Trump. According to a report on Bloomberg, Richard Goldberg, an outspoken anti-Iran hawk and former associate of John Bolton, is leaving the council and would be returning “to [the Foundation for Defense of Democracies], which continued to pay his salary during his time on the National Security Council.”

The NSC exists to provide the president with the best possible intelligence and analysis available for dealing with problem areas, something that Goldberg, due to his conflict of interest, would have been unlikely to provide, particularly as he was still on the FDD payroll and was also being given generous travel expenses while working for the government. Whether he was also being paid by the NSC, which is referred to as “double dipping,” is not known. In any event, there is something very wrong about the appointment of a paid partisan who seeks war with a particular country to a vital national security position where objectivity is an imperative. Ned Price, former special assistant to President Obama on national security, commented “…we now know a White House point person on Iran policy was receiving a salary from and remained employed by an organization that has put forward some of the most extreme and dangerous pro-regime change policies.”

So Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel itself and its demonic prime minister on one side and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby on the other. Unfortunately, one cannot expect the United States to get out from under the Israeli thumb no matter whom is elected president.

أمريكا في اللحظة السوفيتية America in the Soviet Moment

** Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation **

أمريكا في اللحظة السوفيتية

فاضل الربيعي يكتب أمريكا دخلت اللحظة السوفيتية :: الأنباط
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فاضل الربيعي

القليلونَ فقط -من المحلّلينَ والمتابعينَ- مَنْ يتذكّر اليوم، ما حدثَ في الماضي القريب، عندما شَهِدَ العالمُ ما يمكنُ تسميتهُ بـ(اللّحظةِ السّوفيتيّةِ عام 1989-1990) آنذاك كانَ الرئيسُ السّوفياتيّ بوريس يلتسين يترنّحُ من السّكرِ في اللّقاءاتِ الرسميّة، ومعه كانَ الاتّحادُ السّوفياتيّ يترنّحُ دونَ سكرٍ،و كان يلتسن زعيماً كحوليّاً وفاسداً ومُثيراً للسخريةِ، والعالم كلّهُ آنذاك سَخِرَ منهَ ومن بلاده، ومثل عملاقٍ بقدمين من طين، انهارَ الاتّحادُ السوفياتيّ العظيم فجأةً في لحظةٍ ماجنةٍ، حينَ وقعَ انقلابٌ عسكريٌّ انتهى بتفكّكه. ترنّحَ العملاقُ وسقطَ فجأةً وسطَ ذهولِ العالم

 . اليوم، تبدو الولاياتُ المتّحدةُ الأمريكيّةُ، وكأنّها دخلت (اللّحظةَ السّوفيتيّة) ذاتها، فثمّة زعيمٌ يترنح، وبلدٌ عملاقٌ يتصدّعُ بطريقةٍ مفضوحةٍ. ترامب الأمريكيّ من هذا المنظور يُكرّرُ صورةَ يلتسن السّوفياتيّ، ولكنْ بدلاً من أنْ يبدوَ ترامب سكّيراً، سيبدوُ مُهرِّجاً.. ماذا يعني هذا؟ يعني هذا ببساطة، أنَّ العالمَ دخلَ من جديد في حالةِ سيولة سبقَ وأنْ دخلَها مع انهيارِ الاتّحادِ السّوفياتيّ، بيد أنَّ العالمَ مع ذلكَ يُعيدُ تشكيلَ نفسهِ كمادّةٍ صلبةٍ من جديد، لأنّهُ يُغادرُ عصراً ويدخلُ عصراً جديداً. بكلامٍ موازٍ؛ دونالد ترامب الأمريكيّ هو بوريس يلتسن السّوفياتيّ، وهما معاً منْ يصنعا اللّحظة ذاتها. كِلاهما جاءَ للقيامِ بالواجبِ المطلوبِ منه. تفكيكُ البلد القديم ببنائِهِ المُتهالِكِ وجدرانِهِ المُتصدّعة. أحدهما اختارَ شخصيّة (السكّير) والآخر اختارَ شخصيّةَ (المهرّج)، إنّها حفلةُ إعادةِ بناءِ العالمِ من جديد، وعلى القادةِ

في عام 1987 نشر المستقبليّ الأمريكيّ آليفين توفلر ثلاثةُ كتبٍ هي الأشهرُ بين كتبه (الموجةُ الثالثةُ وخرائطُ العالمِ وتوزيع/ تشظّي السُّلطة .

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في الكتاب الأول، تنبأَ توفلر بانهيارِ الاتّحادِ السوفياتيّ في غضونِ بضعِ سنوات، وهذا ما تحقّقَ بشكلٍ مُذهل، فبعدَ بضعِ سنواتٍ بالفعلِ من صدورِ الكتابِ سقطَ العملاقُ ذو القدمين الطّينيتّين.

في هذا الوقتِ، وحين صدرَ كتاب توفلر، كنتُ أعيشُ مع أُسرتي في بلغرد (يوغسلافيا)، وصادفَ أنّني ومجموعةٌ من الشّبابِ الفلسطينيّينَ قرّرنا القيام برحلةٍ سريعةٍ لرومانيا المجاورة، في بوخارست – رومانيا، تحدثتُ مع الملحقِ الثّقافيّ في السّفارةِ الفلسطينيّة، فقال لي إنّهُ عَلِمَ من أصدقاءَ لهُ في قيادةِ الحزبِ الشّيوعيّ الرومانيّ أنَّ الرئيسَ شاوشيسكو طلبَ ترجمة كتابِ توفلر، ثمّ وزّعَ بنفسِهِ عشر نسخٍ منه فقط على أعضاءِ في المكتبِ السياسيّ للحزبِ الشّيوعيّ الرّومانيّ، وكان شاوشيسكو مرعوباً ممّا يجري في العالم، وأيقنَ أنَّ هذه النبوءةَ ليست مجرّدَ نبوءة.


حينَ عدتُ إلى بلغراد دعوتُ إلى منزلي رفاقاً لي من الحزبِ الشّيوعيّ اليوغسلافيّ، كنّا نسهرُ معاً باستمرار، فجاءَ ثلاثةٌ منهم فقط مع زوجاتِهم، وكنتُ أُلاحظُ أنَّ زوجاتِ رفاقي اليوغسلاف كُنَّ حزيناتٍ وهنَّ يُحدثنَ زوجتي عن (تنظيفِ البنادق). انتبهتُ إلى سياقِ الحديثِ لكنّني لمْ أفهم النقاشَ بدقّةٍ، ولذا بادرتُ إلى طرحِ السّؤالِ الآتي الذي كان يلحُ عليّ: “هل بدأتم حقاً بتنظيفِ (البواريد)؟ هذا يعني أنَّ يوغسلافيا تتّجهُ نحو الحربِ؟”، ثم سألتهم: “والآن قولوا لي ما الذي جاءَ من أجلهِ غورباتشوف اليوم، لقد رأيتُ في التلفزيون أنّهُ جاءَ لزيارةِ الرئيسِ اليوغسلافيّ (الشهيد) ميلوسوفيتش، لكنّه غادرَ بعدَ ساعةٍ واحدةٍ فقط، وكان مُتجهِماً وبدا عليهِ الانزعاجُ، ما الذي يحدث؟” فقال لي أحدهم: اسمع يارفيق، جاءَ غورباتشوف اليوم برسالةٍ من الأمريكيّينَ مفادُها الآتي: سيّد سلوبودان ميلوسوفيتش فكّكَ يوغسلافيا بهدوءٍ أو سنأتي لتفكيكِها بالقوّة، وأذكرُ أنّني في اليوم التالي، كنتُ ضمن المتظاهرينَ في شارعِ تيتو -في قلبِ بغراد- حينَ ذهينا إلى البرلمانِ نُحيّي الرئيسَ (الشهيد) سلوبودان ميلوسوفيتش الذي قالَ وهو يُخاطبُنا: سأموتُ دِفعاً عن يوغسلافيا موحّدة، سأقاتلُ إلى النهاية. كان الأمريكيونَ يريدونَ منه تفكيكَ يوغسلافيا إلى (فيدراليّات) وليس تحويلَ يوغسلافيا إلى دولةٍ فيدراليّة؛ أي كانوا يخطّطونَ لتمزيقِها، وكان رسولُهم غورباتشوف هو الدّمية التي تحكّمَ بها السكّير بوريس يلتسن.

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في هذهِ اللّحظة، وحين كانَ غورباتشوف يقومُ بتفكيكِ الاتّحادِ السوفياتيّ، تمّ تدبيرُ (الثورةِ الأمريكيّة) ضدّ شاوشيسكو التي انتهت بقتلِهِ بطريقةٍ بَشِعةٍ، وفي يومِ مصرعِ الرئيسِ الشّهيد شاوشيسكو الذي يُوصَفُ ظلماً بالمجرمِ والقاتل –وياللمفارقة- كانت بوخارست تعلنُ رسميّاً أنّها بلدٌ (دون ديونٍ خارجيّة)؛ أي صفر ديون.

في هذه اللّحظةِ السوفيتيّة المأسويّة، كانَ صدّام حسين يدخلُ الكويتَ، وكثيرونَ يعتقدونَ حتّى اليوم أنَّ الرجلَ الأحمقَ تصرّفَ بحماقةٍ وحسب، وبرأييّ؛ الأمرُ كان مُختلفاً، فكان العراقُ يُدركُ أنَّ خرائطَ العالم التي تَنبّأَ بها توفلر وُضِعَت قيد التطبيق، ولذا حاولَ صدّام حسين العبثَ بالخرائطِ، وكان أوّل ما فعلهُ أنْ جعلَ الكويتَ (محافظةً عراقيّةً)، وكانت المعادلةُ بالنسبةِ لبلدٍ طرفيٍّ صغير من بلدانِ العالمِ الثّالث، وهو يراقبُ تفكّك الإمبراطوريّاتِ والدولِ على النحو الآتي: ما دامَ الأمريكيّونَ سيعبثونَ بخرائطِ العالم، فعلى العالمِ أنْ يعبثَ بخرائطِ أمريكا. لمْ يكن صدّام حسين مجرّد أحمقٍ وحسب، هذه صورةٌ نمطيّةٌ مُزعِجةٌ ولا قيمةَ لها في أيّ تحليلٍ علميّ، وفي النهايةِ هو رئيسُ دولةٍ إقليميّةٍ مهمّةٍ كانَ لديها ما يكفي من المعطياتِ عمّا يجري في العالم، ومهما يكن، وأيّاً يكن (ما إذا كانَ غزو الكويت حماقةً أمْ لا) فليسَ هذا الأمرُ المهمُّ في هذا التحليل، المهمُّ أنْ نلاحظَ هذا الجو الدوليّ الذي بدأَ بالتشكّل.


وهكذا، وقُبيلَ احتلالِ العراقِ (مارس/ آذار 2003) بثلاثةِ أشهرٍ تقريباً، وحينَ مضى أكثرُ من عقدٍ من الزّمنِ على انهيارِ العالمِ القديم، وحينَ كنتُ أعيشُ مع أُسرتي في هولندا، ذهبتُ إلى بغدادَ بدعوةٍ من وزيرِ الخارجيِةِ المرحوم طارق عزيز، بالنسبةِ لي كانَ الأُستاذ طارق عزيز -رحمه الله- صديقاً، وكنتُ أعرفهُ منذُ وقتٍ طويل، وفي بغداد التي عُدتُ إليها من المنفى بعد نحو 30 عاماً -كمعارضٍ- التقيتُ السيّدَ عزة الدوري (عزة إبراهيم نائبُ الرئيسِ صدّام حسين). وسالتُه خلالَ لقاءٍ استمرَّ لساعاتٍ، (ما أرويه –هنا- هو تاريخٌ، وللجميعِ الحقّ في اتّخاذِ أيّ موقف، لكن يجبُ احترامُ الواقعةِ التي أرويها لأنّني أكتبُ بموضوعيّةٍ وللتاريخ).

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مالذي يريدهُ الأمريكيّونَ منكم، أعني ما الذي طلبوهُ منكم بالضبط؟ لماذا هذا الإلحاحُ على إسقاطِ النظامِ في بغدادَ، رجاء قلْ لي ماذا طلبَ الأمريكيّونَ منكم؟ فقالَ لي حرفيّاً ما يأتي (وباللّهجةِ العراقية):

– يا رفيق.. طلبوا منّا شيئاً قُلنا لهم لا نقدر عليه. خذوهُ بالقوّة.

فقلتُ لهُ على الفور:

– شكراً لكَ.. فَهِمت ما طلبوهُ منكم، لقد طلبوا منكم ما طلبوهُ من بلغراد.

في الواقعِ طلبَ الأمريكيّونَ من صدّام حسين عام 1990 ما طلبوهُ من سلوبودان ميلوسوفيتش عام 1987 (ثلاث سنوات فقط) : تفكيك يوغسلافيا/ تفكيك العراق. بعدَ عشرِ سنواتٍ من العِنادِ والحصارِ الرهيبِ جاءَ الأمريكيّونَ بأنفسِهم لتفيككِ العراق.

ما دامَ سلوبودان ميلوسوفيتش لم يُفككّ يوغسلافيا بهدوء، فقدَ جاءَ الأمريكيّونَ بأنفسِهم وقاموا بتفكيكِها، تماماً كما حذّرَ غورباغتشوف، وحين امتنعَ صدّام حسين عن تنفيذِ ما طلبهُ الأمريكيّونَ جاؤوا بأنفسِهم، وكانت هناك (خرائط العالم) الجديدةِ التي تنبّأ بها آلفين توفلر.

الأمريكيّونَ كانوا يعرفونَ أنّهم سوفَ يتفكّكونَ كبلدٍ عملاق، بعدَ عقودٍ ثلاثةٍ أو أكثرَ قليلاً من تفكّكِ الاتّحادِ السّوفياتيّ، لكنّهم قرّروا أنّهم يجبُ أنْ يُفكّكوا العالمَ كلّه خلال 30 عاماً. 

سأُلخّصُ الفكرةَ الجوهريّةَ في كتبِ آلفين توفلر الثلاثة ولمن لا يعرف؛ فإن المؤلّفُ كانَ عاملاً في مصانعِ سيّاراتٍ من أصولٍ تروتسكية، لكنّهُ درسَ وأصبحَ أستاذاً جامعيّاً، ثمَّ انضمّ إلى فريقِ المستقبليّين، وهو فريقٌ متخصّصٌ مهمّته التنبؤ بالمستقبلِ. توفلر قالَ وداعاً للشيوعيّةِ وأصبحَ مُوالياً للرأسماليّةِ.

ببساطة، مرّت البشريّةُ -برأي توفلر- بثلاثِ موجاتٍ كُبرى، الزراعيّة قبلَ 10 آلاف عامٍ، ثمَّ الموجةُ الصناعيّةُ قبلَ بضعةِ قرون، والآن، يدخلُ العالمُ عصرَ الموجةِ الثالثة (ما بعدَ العصرِ الصناعيّ: عصرُ السّلعةِ النّاعمةِ، أي الـ Software). برأي توفلر، إنَّ العصرَ الصناعيّ انتهى واختفى ولمْ يَعُد لهُ وجود، حتى تعبير (لندن مدينةُ الضبابِ) اختفى؛ لأنَّ لندن لمْ تَعُد كما كانت في القرنِ التاسعِ عشر تستخدمُ الفحمَ في التدفئةِ، وبحيث تتشكّلُ سحابةٌ من الضبابِ في سمائِها، لقد اختفى عصرُ المداخنِ والمحتشداتِ العمّاليّة، والأيديولوجيّاتِ الثوريّة (الشّيوعيّة واليساريّةِ وثورات اللّاهوت الثوريّ في أمريكا اللّاتينيّة)، وفي هذا السّياق وكما اختفت النّازيّةُ، فسوفَ تختفي الصّهيونيّةُ بما هي نتاجُ هذا العصرِ، وكما تزولُ المصانعُ والمحتشدات ويتلاشى الدُّخانُ، ويحلُّ محلّها نمطٌ جديدٌ من إنتاجِ (السّلعِ الناعمةِ) فسوفَ تذهبُ هذه الأيديولوجيّاتِ هباءً مع الدُّخان، والعالمُ سينتقلُ بالفعلِ إلى عصرِ السّلعةِ الناعمةِ؛ أي أنّه سوفَ يتحوّلُ إلى وادي سيلكون.
 

ولذا، اختفى الاتّحادُ السّوفياتيّ من الوجود. 

لكنَّ آلفين توفلر أضافَ ما يأتي: انتبهوا، بعدَ خمسة وثلاثينَ أو أربعينَ عاماً سوفَ تختفي الولاياتُ المتّحدةُ الأمريكيّة أيضاً، فقط لأنَّ العصرَ الذي وُلِدَت فيه ووُلد فيه الاتّحاد السوفياتي قد تلاشى وجاءَ عصرٌ جديدٌ، سوفَ يتمزّقُ المجتمعُ الأمريكيّ بثوراتِ السّودِ/ الزنوجِ وطموحِ الولاياتِ الغنيّة، وفي هذا الكتابِ أيضاً، تنبّأ توفلر بـ(أيديولوجيّاتٍ جديدةٍ) سوفَ تحلُّ محلَّ إيديولوجيّاتِ العصرِ الصناعيّ، وفي خرائطِ العالمِ تنبّأ بأوروبا أُخرى غير التي نعرفها، سوف تختفي أوروبا الغربيّة التي نعرفها، هذه التي قالَ عنها وزيرُ الدّفاعِ الأمريكيّ رامسفيلد بعدَ أسبوعٍ فقط من احتلالِ العراقِ ومن العاصمةِ بغداد: “وداعاً أوروبا العجوز”.

أنباء غير مؤكدة عن وفاة وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم | الرجل

كثيرونَ لمْ يصدّقوا ما قالهُ وليد المعلّم أعظمُ وزيرِ خارجيّةٍ لسورية المُعاصرة، حين خاطبَ الصّحفيّينَ في مكتبةِ الأسد قبلَ أعوام: انسوا أوروبا، لقد شطبناها من الخريطةِ، هناك أوروبا جديدةٌ تولدُ هي أوروبا الشّرقيّة (الأرثوذكسيّة من بلغاريا حتّى اليونان). ولذا يحاولُ الناتو نشرَ أسلحتهُ في أراضيها بيأس، إنّها أوروبا الجديدة التي سوفَ تُلاقي روسيا الجديدة وأمريكا الجديدة (بعدَ عشرِ سنوات)، ولأنَّ الولاياتِ المتّحدةَ الأمريكيّةَ هي اليوم في اللّحظةِ السوفيتيّة، فهذا يعني أنَّ العالمَ دخلَ عصرَ (توريعِ السّلطةِ) أو تشظّي السُّلطة. 

في قلبِ هذه اللّحظةِ التاريخيّةِ أصبحت سورية مطبخَ العالمِ الجديد -ويا للأسف-؛ أيّ المكان الذي سوفَ تتقرّرُ فيه حصصُ وأحجامُ الدولِ. إنّها المكانُ الذي سوفَ يتمكّنُ فيه العالمُ من الانتقالِ النهائيّ من (حالةِ السيولةِ) إلى (حالةِ الصَّلابةِ).

لقد لَعِبَ بوريس يلتسن دورَهُ كسكّيرٍ ثمَّ سلّمَ الأمانةَ لبوتين، وترامب اليوم يلعبُ دورَهُ كمهرّجٍ قبلَ أنْ يُسلّمَ الأمانةَ لـ(بوتين أمريكيّ) يُعيدُ بناءَ أمريكا المُتهالِكة. في مزحةٍ عابرةٍ قال بوتين تعليقاً على قراراتِ ترامب “إنّهُ ينفّذُ ما تطلبهُ الآلة”. نعم، هناك (آلةٌ) تأمرُ الرئيسَ أنْ يبدوَ سكّيراً أو مُهرِّجاً، ولكن شرطَ أنْ ينفذَ، ليس مهمّاً ما هي هيئتهُ، سكّيراً يكونُ أو مهرّجاً، ليخترَ ما يشاء. المهمُ أنْ ينفّذَ.

في نبوءةِ توفل نقرأ الآتي: الولاياتُ المتّحدةُ الأمريكيّةُ على طريقِ الاتّحادِ السوفياتيّ سوف تختفي وتتفككّ، لكنّها سوفَ تَعودُ في شكلٍ آخرَ. عاملُ السيّاراتِ التروتسكي الذي أصبحَ من أنبياءِ أمريكا، لا ينطقُ عن هَوى، (إنْ هو إلّا وحيٌ يُوحى) كما في القرآن الكريم. إنّهُ مُتنبئ وليسَ نبيّاً، أي كاهنٌ في المؤسّسةِ الرأسماليّةِ التي تقبضُ على عنقِ العالمِ وقد خرجَ إلى الأسواِق ليتنبأَ مُحذِّراً أنَّ أمريكا دخلت اللّحظة السوفيتيّة، وسوفَ تنهارُ كما انهارَ الاتّحادِ السّوفياتيّ، وأنَّ المهرّجَ الأمريكيّ مثل السكّيرِ السّوفياتيّ يمكنُ أنْ يسقطَ في أيّ لحظةٍ وفجأةً. القوى العظمى كما قالَ ماو تسي تونغ ذاتَ يوم: عملاقٌ بقدمينِ من طين، وحين يترنّحُ العملاقُ في لحظةِ سكرٍ أو تهريجٍ لا فرقَ؛ فإنَّ القدمينِ الطّينيّين سوفَ تتداعيانِ وتتلاشى (المادّةُ الصمغيّة) اللّاصقةُ فيهما.

في مقالةٍ قادمةٍ سوفَ أروي لكم ما سمعتهُ من الرئيسِ بشار الأسد حين التقيتهُ مرتين وأهديتهُ نسخة من مؤلّفي الضّخم (فلسطين المُتخيّلة). 

الحربُ على سوريّةَ جرت على خلفيّةِ الطّلبِ نفسه:

فكّك بهدوءٍ أو نأتي لتفكيكِ سورية.

الأسد حين يتجوّلُ في الغوطةِ مع بدايةِ ربيعِ سورية؛ فإنّهُ يرسلُ رسالةً بليغةً:

أنا لا أترنّح.


America in the Soviet Moment

فاضل الربيعي يكتب أمريكا دخلت اللحظة السوفيتية :: الأنباط

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Fadel Al-Rubaie

Only a few analysts and followers remember today what happened in the recent past, when the world witnessed what might be called the Soviet moment of 1989-1990. The Soviet Union was reeling without sugar, Yeltsin was an alcoholic, corrupt and ridiculous leader, and the whole world at the time mocked him and his country, and like a giant with two feet of mud, the great Soviet Union collapsed at a crazy moment, when a military coup ended in its disintegration. The giant lurched and suddenly fell amidst the amazement of the world. Today, the United States of America seems to have entered the same (Soviet moment), a leader is reeling, and a giant country is cracking in a scandalous way. From this perspective, The American Trump repeats Yeltsin’s Soviet image, but instead of trump looking drunk, he will look like a clown. What does that mean? This simply means that the world has re-entered into a state of liquidity that had already entered it with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the world is nevertheless reshaping itself as a solid material, as it leaves an era and enters a new era. In parallel, Donald Trump is the Soviet Boris Yeltsin, and they are together making the same moment. They both came to do the duty required of him. Dismantling the old country with its dilapidated structure and cracked walls. One chose the character of the drunk and the other chose the character of the clown, it’s a party to rebuild the world again, and the leaders have to master/disguise in a specific form.

In 1987 the American futurist Alvin Toffler published three books, most famous among his books (The Third Wave, Maps of the World, and The Distribution / Fragment of Power.

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In the first book, Toffler predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union within a few years, and this was achieved in an amazing way. Indeed, a few years after the publication of the book, the two-footed giant had fallen.

At this time, when Tofler’s book was published, I was living with my family in Belgrade (Yugoslavia), and it happened that I and a group of Palestinian youth decided to make a quick trip to neighboring Romania, in Bucharest I spoke with the cultural attaché at the Palestinian embassy, and he told me that he had learned from friends in the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party said that President Ceausescu requested the translation of Toffler’s book, and then distributed only 10 copies of it to members of the Political Bureau of the Roman Communist Party, and Ceausescu was terrified of what was going on in the world, and knew that this prophecy was not just a prophecy.

When I got back to Belgrade, I invited my comrades from the Yugoslav Communist Party to my home. Only three of them came with their wives, and I noticed that the wives of my Yugoslav comrades were sad while they were talking to my wife about (cleaning the guns). I paid attention to the context of the conversation, but I did not understand the discussion precisely, and so I asked “Did you really start cleaning the guns? This means that Yugoslavia is heading towards war?” Then I asked them: “Now tell me what Gorbachev came for today, I saw on television that he came to visit Yugoslav President (martyr) Milosevic, but he left only an hour later, and he appeared to be upset, what is going on? ”

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One of them said to me:“ Listen, comrade. Gorbachev came today with a message from the Americans saying the following: Mister Slobodan Milosevic, dismantled Yugoslavia calmly, or we will come to dismantle it by force, and I remember that the next day, I was among the demonstrators on Tito Street – in the heart of Belgrade – when we went to parliament to salute President (martyr) Slobodan Milosevic, he said, “I will die in defense of a united Yugoslavia, I will fight to the end. The Americans wanted him to dismantle Yugoslavia into federalism, not to turn Yugoslavia into a federal state, i.e., they were planning to tear it apart, and their messenger Gorbachev was the puppet ruled by the drunk Boris Yeltsin.

At this moment, when Gorbachev was dismantling the Soviet Union, the (American Revolution) was orchestrated against Ceausescu, which ended in a gruesome manner, and on the day of the death of the martyr president Ceausescu, who was unjustly described as a criminal and murderer— And ironically – Bucharest was officially declaring that it was a country (without foreign debts); That is, zero debts.

At this tragic Soviet moment, Saddam Hussein was entering Kuwait, and many believe to this day that the foolish man only acted foolishly, and in my opinion, it was different, Iraq was aware that the maps of the world that Toffler had predicted had been put into practice, so Saddam Hussein tried to tamper with the maps, and the first thing he did was to make Kuwait (an Iraqi province), and the equation for him was: As long as the Americans tamper with the maps of the world, the world must tamper with the maps. USA. Saddam Hussein was not just a fool, this is a disturbing stereotype that has no value in any scientific analysis, and in the end he is the head of an important regional state who had enough information about what is going on in the world.

Thus, about three months before the occupation of Iraq (March 2003), and when more than a decade had passed since the collapse of the old world, and when I lived with my family in the Netherlands, I went to Baghdad at the invitation of the late Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, for me it was the professor. Tariq Aziz – may God have mercy on him – is a friend, and I have known him for a long time, and in Baghdad, to which I returned from exile after nearly 30 years – as an opponent – I met Mr. Azza al-Douri (Azza Ibrahim, Vice President Saddam Hussein). During a meeting that lasted for hours, I asked him, (What I am telling – here – is history, and everyone has the right to take any position, but the incident I tell must be respected because I write objectively and for history).

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What exactly do the Americans want from you? Why is this insistence on overthrowing the regime in Baghdad, please tell me what the Americans have asked of you? He “Comrade. They asked us for something that we told them that we cannot do. Take it by force.”

I said to him immediately:

– Thank you. I understand what they asked of you, they asked you what they asked Belgrade.

In fact, in 1990, the Americans asked Saddam Hussein for what they had asked Slobodan Milosevic in 1987 (before three years): to dismantle Iraq. After 10 years of stubbornness and terrible siege, the Americans themselves came to dismantle Iraq.

As long as Slobodan Milosevic did not quietly dismantle Yugoslavia, the Americans came themselves and dismantled it, just as Gorbachev warned, when Saddam Hussein refrained from doing what the Americans had asked for themselves, and there were new (world maps) predicted by Alvin Toffler. The Americans knew they would disintegrate as a giant country, three or a little more decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union but decided that they should dismantle the whole world in 30 years.

I’ll sum up the core idea in Alvin Toffler’s three books and for those who don’t know; the author was a worker in Trotsky car factories, but studied and became a university professor, and then joined the Futures Team, a specialized team tasked with predicting the future. Toffler said goodbye to communism and became pro-capitalist.

Simply put, humanity, in Toffler’s view, went through three major waves, agriculture 10,000 years ago, then the industrial wave a few centuries ago, and now, the world is entering the age of the third wave (post-industrial era: the era of soft commodity, software). In Toffler’s view, the industrial age is over and disappeared and no longer exists, even the expression “London is the city of fog” disappeared, because London is no longer what it was in the 19th century, using coal for heating, and so that a cloud of fog is formed in its skies, the age of chimneys and labor tensions, revolutionary ideologies (communism, leftists and theology revolutions) has disappeared. In this context Just as Nazism disappeared, Zionism will disappear as it is the product of this era, and as factories and gatherings disappear and the smoke disappears, and a new pattern of production of (soft goods) will replace them, these ideologies will be wasted with smoke, and the world will indeed move into the era of soft commodity;. That is, it will turn into Silicon Valley.

The Soviet Union therefore disappeared from existence.

But Alvin Toffler added the following: Be careful, after thirty-five or forty years, the United States of America will disappear as well, only because the era in which the Soviet Union was born has disappeared and a new era has come, the American society will be torn apart by the black and black revolutions. In this book also, Toffler predicted (new ideologies) that will replace the ideologies of the industrial age, and in the maps of the world he predicted a Europe other than the one we know, the western Europe we know will disappear, this is what US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said about a week after the occupation of Iraq and from the capital Baghdad: “Farewell, old Europe.”

Many did not believe what Walid al-Muallem, the greatest foreign minister of contemporary Syria, said when he addressed journalists in the al-Assad library years ago: “Forget Europe, we have removed it from the map, there is a new Europe that is being born, which is Eastern Europe” (Orthodoxy from Bulgaria to Greece). Therefore, NATO is trying to spread its weapons in its lands desperately, it is the new Europe that will meet the new Russia and the new America (after ten years), and because the United States of America is today in the Soviet moment, this means that the world has entered an era of (scourging power) or the fragmentation of power.

At the heart of this historic moment, Syria has become the kitchen of the new world, and, unfortunately, where the quotas and sizes of countries will be decided. It’s where the world will be able to make the final transition from (a state of liquidity) to a (a state of solidity).

Boris Yeltsin played his role as a drunkard and then handed over the trust to Putin, and today Trump is playing his role as a clown before handing over the trust to (an American Putin) rebuilding a rickety America.

In a passing joke, Putin said, commenting on Trump’s decisions, “He does what the machine requires.” Yes, there is a (machine) that orders the president to appear to be a drunkard or a clown, but on condition that he implement, it does not matter what his appearance is, whether he is a drunkard or a clown, to choose what he wants. The important thing is to carry out.

The Trotsky car worker, who became one of the “prophets” of America, does not utter a whim, (it is only a revelation that is revealed) as in the Holy Quran. He is not a prophet, but, a priest in the capitalist institution that grabs the neck of the world and has gone out to the markets to prophesy that America has entered the Soviet moment, and will collapse like the Soviet Union collapsed, and that an American clown like a Soviet drunk can fall at any moment and suddenly. The great powers, as Mao Zedong once said: a giant with two feet of clay, and when the giant staggers in a moment of drunkenness or clowning, it makes no difference. The clay feet will crumble and the (resin) sticking in them will dissolve.

In a forthcoming article, I will narrate to you what I heard from President Bashar al-Assad when I met him twice and presented him with a copy of the authors of the great (Imagined Palestine). The war against Syria took place against the background of the same demand: “Disassemble quietly, or we will come to dismantle Syria“. Assad when he wanders around Ghouta at the beginning of the Syrian Spring; It sends an eloquent message:

I am not reeling.

The Myth of Peace in the Middle East: Deconstructing the Naturalization Narrative

April 16, 2021Articles,

American-Israeli delegation visit to Morocco in December 2020. (Photo: US Embassy Jerusalem, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Mohamed El Metmari

This critical essay deconstructs the political narrative surrounding the naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab countries and Israel formally known as the Abrahamic Accords or Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East. It offers unique perspectives and analysis of these accords and their true geopolitical intentions. Primarily, it argues how the peace promised by these newly established ties remains just a myth as it explores the true objectives behind them. Interestingly enough, it also highlights the true goals behind the U.S’ mediations in these Accords.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the hottest yet unresolved political issues of today. Whereas this conflict is not heading towards any resolutions soon, the recent naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab regimes and the apartheid state of Israel may mark a future shift in Middle East’s political scene.

Earlier to these agreements, boycotting Israel was these Arab nations’ approach to show support for Palestinians and their claims. Before 2020, only two bordering countries have had diplomatic ties with Israel; that is, Egypt and Jordan. This number has risen to six as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have set full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel as part of Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East known formally as the Abrahamic Accords.

Celebrating the first occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords, Trump hosted a signing ceremony in the White House and had the following rash statement to announce: “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.” By this politically immature statement, Trump seemed as if he had finally found a solution to the conflict in the region.

As for peace in the region is concerned, Jared Kushner’s peace plans do not make any sense. Apart from Sudan, none of the countries involved with these accords are in conflict with Israel. On the opposite, Morocco and so the Gulf States have retained very healthy diplomatic relations with Israel, even if they were undeclared publicly. For instance, Morocco has had a fair share of intelligence-sharing with Israel since the mid-sixties. On top of that, the two countries had liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat from Sept. 1, 1994, to Oct. 23, 2000. Not to mention Morocco’s contribution in populating Israel by handing over its Jewish population to the newly established Jewish state during the reign of the Moroccan king Hassan II.

Granted, Israel supports the totalitarian regimes of the region mainly because these totalitarianisms do not demand accountability for its human rights and international law violations. Hence, most Arab dictatorships have been dealing with Israel on political and security levels; especially after the outbreak of the Arab spring where these regimes had to obtain the latest spying and security tech to topple every dissident in their population who desires regime change. Whereas the case of the Washington Post’s correspondent Jamal Khashoggi remains the most covered case, Amnesty International has reported that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi’s phone has also been infected with the Israeli Pegasus spyware.

The Myth of Peace: Deception, Expansion and Dispossession.

Each time an Arab country initiates full diplomatic relations with Israel, its local propaganda machine makes it look as a major historical event that has occurred in the country. Some media outlets have gone far with this. For example, they take the religious tolerance preached in the Muslim faith as a pretext for setting these normalization agreements with this ‘Jewish’ nation. Other media platforms, however, have beautified the image of Israel’s apartheid regime via elaborate historical descriptions of Jewish culture and heritage. This is not wrong at all, but what is wrong is to evoke this history only at this particular event ignoring Israel’s present violations of International Law and Human rights and most of all occupation of Palestinian lands. This is why it is easy to deconstruct the naturalization narrative and prove that it is just a myth.

First of all, the context of these agreements was preceded and controlled by the 2020 US elections. Trump’s administration had tried to convince the American public that it will be the first administration that ends the conflict in the Middle East and thus planning on gaining a potential leverage in the election race. But despite the occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords last year and even Trump’s administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, it still was not enough to win Trump the approval of the devastated American public. This is mainly because Americans wanted Trump out of the White House at any cost; even if it meant choosing the lesser evil of the two candidates in the elections.

Meanwhile, these events come as a perfect opportunity to boost the reputation of the Likud party and more specifically the reputation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose image has been stained by his corruption and monopoly of the Israeli political scene. Unlike Trump, the chances of him getting replaced in the upcoming Israeli elections are relatively low because of his firm grip on power and the lack of his equal in the Israeli political arena. Furthermore, with the massive press coverage that comes with such events, Netanyahu, similarly to Trump, wanted the spotlights on him to distract the public from his administration’s terrible handling of Covid-19 and thus gaining significant leverage in the elections.

Second, the biggest gain for Israel from these new ties with the Arab States and Morocco is that it reinforces its political influence in the Middle East. Not only this, but unlocking Israel’s geo-political isolation in the region as well. And since this newly granted influence to Israel is an approved one, it gives it freedom to expand and occupy more without any opposition. Of course, if Israel is gaining a legitimate influence in the region, this means that Palestine’s position will exacerbate. And thus the Palestinian cause will no longer have the leverage it has on the Middle Eastern political scene.

Furthermore, Israel’s decision to create ties with the Gulf countries in specific is not arbitrary. This move was motivated by economic reasons. As it is known, the Khaleeji people are the biggest consumers in the region. Hence the khaleeji market becomes a perfect destination for Israeli goods. Israeli products, foods in specific, can even replace other products coming from other countries because of the close distance and the low shipping costs. Additionally, Sudan may not offer much as markets are concerned, but it is definitely a great source of agricultural imports for Israel. Being the mediator between Israel and its “new” allies, the US benefits from these agreements as well since it is Israel’s biggest ally. After all, any ongoing political conflict between Israel and any of the Middle Eastern countries is primarily endangering US’ political and economic interests in the region. In other words, the mediation of the US in these so-called Peace agreements is not out of a sort of altruism because the US is only after its share of the pie.

Third, to say that these newly established ties will bring “peace” to the region is ludicrous and rash but not totally wrong. But for whom this peace is served; for Palestine, for the Arab States, or for Israel? To give a rather simple and short answer, it is apt to say it remains just a myth for the Palestinians in specific, but it means more security and power for the Israeli side in particular. To put it differently, with Israel having full diplomatic ties with these Arab countries and Morocco, it becomes easy for it to carry its annexation plans and dispossession of Palestinian lands without being held accountable. And the Palestinians are likely to be displaced gradually and implicitly to one of these countries. Apparently, Morocco and the rich Gulf states are the biggest fish that Israel could ever come to terms with. Since they provide financial comfort and political stability, some Palestinians may choose these destinations over their currently Israeli-occupied and war-inflected homes.

However, it is worth mentioning that the Emiratis as well as the Saudis despise the Palestinians. Hence, the Palestinians will never accept the reality of being displaced to one of these two countries. Meanwhile, this does not apply to either Kuwait or Oman in which do not have a strong political influence in the region. Apart from Morocco, they maybe the desired destination Israel is looking for to displace the Palestinians to after annexing their lands. Whether the two countries agree to normalize relations with Israel in the future or not, it does not really matter as long they are subservient to UAE and Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the Palestinians are likely to resist as they usually do.

Concurrently, Israel is likely to pressure them to accept this bitter reality as it has been doing for the last decades. Hence, Israel will possibly seek not only to increase its siege and pressure on the borders and checkpoints, but it may also instigate a war with Hamas as a pretext for a military escalation. Hamas, on the other hand, will be, as always, scapegoated for the whole thing especially that it is classified as a terrorist organization. Therefore, the peace that Israel is seeking is a peace with the Palestinians out of Palestine.

However, Israel is not the only benefactor from these agreements. Clearly, the Gulf States have paid for US military protection by signing these accords. But UAE in specific have had further arms deals and gained even more political protection against the Iranian influence in the Arab peninsula. Nonetheless, when a country signs a peace deal, it does not instantly demand acquirement of advanced F-35 stealth Jet, which is what this Gulf State did, because the two are paradoxical. Therefore, in opposition to the classic definitions of peace treaties, the brokered peace from these agreements is a purchased one like many peace agreements that have been signed before it in the region. After all, Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel so it is de-listed from the state-sponsors of terror, the Gulf States signed them as a payment for US military protection and Morocco got support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Therefore, as all the purchased peace agreements the Middle East has witnessed over modern history- whether it is peace for land, peace in exchange of monopoly or what have you- this one is also doomed to be broken by conflict since it is not based on a balanced compromise where two equal parties meet in the middle. Rather, it is a political move towards accumulation of power where the main side of this conflict, meaning the Palestinians, is not even included in these agreements.

The US, Morocco, and Israel: A Geopolitical Chess Game over Africa

The fact that Israel has pursued diplomatic relations with Morocco- a country so far away from the Middle East’s political discourse- is by no means for peace as it is claimed by any of the Accords’ orchestrators. The moment it was announced that Morocco was to resume relations with Israel, Moroccan propaganda machines overshadowed the controversies that come with this event by preaching to the public about the Moroccan Jewish heritage and the coexistence of the Abrahamic religions in this homogeneous sphere. This normalization was depicted as a win-win situation for Morocco especially that Trump has rewarded Morocco’s approval of its resumption of relations with the apartheid regime by signing a presidential proclamation that recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The celebrations following this recognition covered up totally for the naturalization. This proclamation has even become an independent narrative of its own. The official discourse in Moroccan media has asserted that this recognition is the fruit of long-lasting diplomatic ties between Morocco and the US and not as a part of the Abrahamic Accords. Moreover, many factors influence politics, but altruism is not one of them. Taking the fact that Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US in 1777, and the two countries long diplomatic relations, it stands as a surprise that it took so much time for the US to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara or at least support its claim diplomatically.

Meanwhile, political terminology is important here because Moroccan media had it intentionally mixed up to alleviate the Moroccan public’s rage. Trump’s presidential proclamation does not recognize the Western Sahara region as a Moroccan entity as they have claimed, but it only recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over it. These are two different things, because Morocco has already been practicing sovereignty over the region although with some difficulties mainly caused by intense altercations with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. The only thing that Morocco has needed is legitimacy and this proclamation happens to be it. Obviously, this is a simple treat from the US for Morocco’s acceptance of the resumption of relations with Israel.

Nevertheless, the majority of the Moroccan public welcomed Trump’s move, but they abhorred Morocco’s establishment of ties with Israel. Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, has refused to call this an act of “naturalization” of relations. For him, normalization is a Middle Eastern term that does not apply to Morocco which is not a neighboring country to Israel. Indeed, Morocco’s North African location and its large indigenous Amazigh population make it hard to proclaim the country as purely Arab.

Bourita has preferred using the term “resumption” of relations instead. As mentioned earlier, Morocco and Israel had Liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat before Morocco had to close their office in response to Israeli repression of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Not to mention, there is a number of almost 800.000 Jews of Moroccan decent living in Israel right now.

Obviously, Israel remains the biggest benefactor from these naturalization agreements. However, the US did not take part in them without purpose. The existence of Israel in the Middle East protects American interests in the region. That is why Zionist lobbies in the US always do their best to empower this regime. And this is what AIPAC is doing and what Christians United for Israel and other Zionist lobbies are doing. As a result, this support for the apartheid regime enables the US to retain its firm grip on Middle East’s political and economic affairs. These are all facts now. But the case of Morocco is still a uniquely dubious one. Pressing Morocco – a country so far away from The Middle East’s frenzy and even terminology to sign these deals seems confusing to say the least; especially that Morocco is not a rich country like the Gulf States.

However, ever since Morocco’s rejoining the African Union in 2017, many countries and the US particularly have started to look for ways to intensify their relations with this African country more than before. To illustrate, Morocco’s main weapon supplies come from the US. Granted, the influence of the US embassy in Rabat has surpassed diplomatic lines to influencing Moroccan cultural context and even influencing Moroccan academia via its grants and many programs and English learning courses. This soft pressure changes the structure of Moroccan society with time. As of now, although French is the official second language in Morocco, the majority of Moroccan youth, many of whom have benefited from US grants and programs, speak English. This is not bad at all, but again, politics is the game of interests and not altruisms. Implemented in these courses and grants are soft ideologies that create sympathy and acceptance of US values and democracy in the Moroccan community. In the long run, acceptance of the US image rises even if its intentions in the region are not necessarily benevolent.

To connect this to the question at hand, Morocco remains the US’ key holder to the African Union and African countries. This strategic move to invest in Morocco politically and economically and then support its sovereignty over its full territorial land comes as the price for infiltrating a fertile network of rising African economies. Hence, these countries become perfect investment destinations for the US. And although China is the biggest player in Africa as economy is involved, not counting the previous colonial powers of Africa, the US is doing the best it can to take this role in the near future. After its degrading failure to do so under pretexts of humanitarian aid and war on terror, the UShas finally chosen this diplomatic direction to overtake Russian and Chinese influences in Africa. It is hence a perfectly played chess game over geopolitical expansion and power. Peace and human rights preached in these agreements however, are turned into industries that are used to further their dominance and hegemony.

Additionally, what makes Morocco exceptional is its officials’ diplomatic maturity and its political stability in comparison to the Middle East and other African countries. Also, Morocco’s ability to repay its debts boosts foreign investors’ confidence to embark on the Moroccan market. Not to mention, Morocco itself needs this kind of political and economic partnership and support as it seeks to take the lead as an African power. However, this pursuit remains far-fetched without having full sovereignty over its lands or without having strong allies.

Meanwhile, Moroccan King Mohamed VI has confirmed that Morocco’s position on Palestine remains unchanged. He has also affirmed that he places his country’s territorial issue and the Palestinian cause at the same level, and that the kingdom will use its new position to push for a conflict resolution in the region. Thus, Morocco is playing it as safe as it could as it is placing itself neither with the current, nor against it.

All in all, Morocco and the Arab regimes’ decision to normalize relations with Israel is not promising of any lasting peace between Palestine and Israel simply because Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories will gain significant legitimacy from the establishment of these diplomatic ties. Especially that these Arab States are not democratic themselves so they can account it for its infringement of international law and human rights. Granted, since the Palestinian question, the right of self-determination and the right of return are not included in the official discourse of these peace agreements, a resolution for the Palestinian- Israeli conflict remains just a myth that appears to be tangible with propaganda and exclusionary media narratives.

– Mohamed El Metmari is an independent writer and researcher affiliated with the faculty of Letters and Humanities of Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Martil, Morocco. He is an Open Hands Initiative’s Conflict Resolution alumnus. Currently, he is conducting a Master’s thesis centered on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His articles have appeared on Aljazeera Arabic, SasaPost, and Countercurrents. He contributed this essay to The Palestine Chronicle.

انقلاب في الأردن أم في أميركا؟

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
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الأخبار

عمرو علان

الثلاثاء 13 نيسان 2021

تتميّز المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية بموقع جغرافي مميّز، فهي تشكل فاصلاً جغرافياً وحاجزاً بشرياً بين الكيان الصهيوني وبين العراق والسعودية، وبصورة ما أيضاً بين سوريا والكيان الغاصب، إذا ما أخذنا في الحسبان الحدود الأردنية السورية المشتركة، بالإضافة إلى كون الحدود بين الأردن وفلسطين المحتلة هي الأطول من بين دول الطوق.

أما سياسياً، فالمَلَكية في الأردن وأجهزة الدولة تربطهما مع المملكة المتحدة البريطانية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية علاقات وثيقة وقديمة أمنياً واستخبارياً وعسكرياً، ناهيكم بالعلاقات المميزة بين الحكم الأردني وبين الكيان الصهيوني، تتضافر كل هذه العوامل لتجعل الأردن ذا أهمية خاصة في الإستراتيجية الأميركية تُجاه العالم العربي، لذلك تُعد ديمومة الحكم في الأردن واستقراره من المسلّمات في العقيدة الأميركية، وبناءً عليه يُستبعد حصول أي تغيير أو محاولات تغيير في الحكم الأردني دون أن تكون لها ارتباطات دولية وإقليمية، أو دون أن تكون محكومة بسقف أميركي لا يسمح بانزلاق الساحة الأردنية إلى فوضى غير منضبطة، تُفضي إلى انعكاسات أمنية خطيرة على كيان العدو. إذن كيف يمكن تفسير إجهاض ما بات مرجّحاً أنه كان محاولة لاستبدال رأس الحكم الأردني عبر إحلال الأمير حمزة بن الحسين وليّ العهد السابق محل أخيه غير الشقيق الملك عبدالله الثاني؟
بدايةً نستذكر «صفقة القرن» التي طرحها الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، والتي كانت ترتكز على ثلاثي ترامب وابن سلمان ونتنياهو، وكان واضحاً عدم رضى الأردن الرسمي عن تلك الصفقة بما تشكّله من تهديد مباشر للوصاية الهاشمية على المقدّسات في القدس المحتلة، ومن حيث كونها مقدمة لتنفيذ مخطط الوطن البديل في الأردن، وكان حضور الملك عبدالله الثاني لقمة القدس الاستثنائية التي عُقدت في إسطنبول في كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2017 برغم الضغوط الإقليمية التي تعرّض لها آنذاك مع محمود عباس لثنيهما عن الحضور علامة فارقة في العلاقات السعودية الأردنية، حيث ظهرت للعلن بعدها آثار توتر العلاقات عبر وقف المساعدات السعودية للأردن وعبر ضغوط أخرى، لكن ما شهدناه في الأيام القليلة الماضية يشير إلى أن تأزّم العلاقات هو أكثر عمقاً مما كان ظاهراً، وأنه مذّاك الحين بدأت السعودية والإمارات بالتعاون مع نتنياهو بالإعداد إلى استبدال رأس الحكم في الأردن ضمن مسعى تنفيذ «صفقة القرن»، وعلى الأرجح أن ذلك كان بعلم ورضى أميركيين لما يشكّله الأردن من أهمية في الاستراتيجية الأميركية.

ما موقع الأردن من الإستراتيجية الجديدة لإدارة بايدن؟ هل تقرر تحويل المملكة الهاشميّة إلى ما يشبه قاعدة عسكرية أمريكية؟


لكن تعثر تطبيق «صفقة القرن»، وصعود الديمقراطيين إلى سدة الحكم الذين جاؤوا باستراتيجية مغايرة لتلك التي اتّبعها ترامب، يبدو أنهما فرضا تبديلاً في الأولويات الأميركية وتغييراً في طريقة التعاطي الأميركي مع ملفات المنطقة، ولقد كان لافتاً إبرام الاتفاقية العسكرية الأميركية الأردنية أخيراً، التي لاقت استياءً كبيراً في الأوساط الأردنية لما تتضمنه من تنازل عن السيادة الأردنية لمصلحة القوات العسكرية الأميركية، والتي تُحوِّل الأردن على امتداد أراضيه إلى قاعدة عسكرية أميركية، وقد تزامن توقيع هذه الاتفاقية مع الإعلان عن إحباط محاولة إطاحة العاهل الأردني عبدالله الثاني، لذلك يصير من المشروع ربط الخطوتين، إحداهما بالأخرى.
إذا ما صحّت هذه القراءة، فنحن نشهد انقلاباً في الإستراتيجية الأميركية تُجاه المنطقة العربية اقتضى طيّ صفحة مشروع سابق لمصلحة مسار جديد يتم العمل به، ويصير معه البعد الداخلي الأردني للأحداث تفصيلاً، ويصبح السؤالان الأهم: ما الذي ترسمه إدارة جو بايدن للمستقبل؟ وما هو موقع الأردن في هذه الإستراتيجية الجديدة الذي يلزمه معها تحويل الأردن إلى ما يشبه القاعدة العسكرية الأميركية؟
من المبكر الإجابة عن هذين التساؤلين بشكل قطعي، فنحن في انتظار تكشُّف المزيد من المعطيات، لكن من المفروغ منه أن احتمالية الانسحاب الأميركي من العراق، ومصير التوصل إلى تفاهم في الملف النووي الإيراني من عدمه، وما يخفيه الأميركي لسوريا في قابل الأيام، هي قضايا لعبت كلها أو بعضها دوراً في الهزة غير المسبوقة التي شهدها الأردن في هذه الأيام القليلة، وفي تحويل الأردن إلى منصة عسكرية أميركية يمكن استعمالها بصورة أو بأخرى.

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RUSSIAN-SYRIAN GAS CONTRACT HINTS AT SYRIA’S RECOVERY

Source

 09.04.2021

Russian-Syrian Gas Contract Hints At Syria’s Recovery

Submitted by Steven Sahiounie.

The Syrian government signed a 4-year contract in March with Capital Limited, a Russian firm, to conduct oil and gas exploration in the area known as block No. 1 in the Syrian exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of the Tartous province.

The disputed maritime area covers 2,250 square kilometers on the Syrian-Lebanese maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea.

Large reservoirs of natural gas have been discovered under the seafloor of the eastern Mediterranean and the neighboring nations and energy exploration companies are eager to exploit these gas deposits.

The Levantine basin has proven reserves of more than 60 trillion cubic feet of gas. The US Geological Survey has estimated that 1.7 billion barrels of oil lie in the basin, and as much as 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. That amount of gas is equivalent to about 76 years of gas consumption in the European Union (EU).javascript:window[“$iceContent”]

Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels and serves as a transition fuel towards more renewables, and to replace coal and nuclear electric generation across the EU.  Gas is the energy of demand for the EU, which is the biggest emerging gas market in the world.

In December 2013, Damascus entered into a major agreement with Moscow to explore oil and gas in the offshore territorial waters for 25 years.  Drilling and exploration costs were estimated at $100 million.  Russia would finance these activities with expenditures recovered from eventual production.

The 2013 deal for gas exploration involved Russia’s SoyuzNefteGaz; however, the current contract involves two Russian companies, Capital Limited and East Med Amrit.

The area in which Russian companies are being allowed to operate is disputed by the Lebanese, with the maritime borders drawn by the Syrians, especially in Block No. 1, overlapping significantly with Block No. 1 and Block No. 2 on the Lebanese side, and encroaching approximately 750 square kilometers within Lebanon’s maritime border.

Lebanon was busy demarcating its southern maritime and land borders with Israel for years, without making any progress.

On April 6, Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe said that Lebanese President Michel Aoun held a phone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the demarcation of maritime borders between the two countries. Wehbe said Aoun confirmed in his call with Assad that “Lebanon won’t accept to diminish from its sovereignty over its waters”, and confirmed that his country sticks to demarcating the maritime borders via negotiations, and not court disputes.

The majority of the land borders between the two countries have been demarcated in 1971, while the maritime borders between Syria and Lebanon have not been delineated. Lebanon had previously demarcated its maritime borders in 2011, and in 2014 launched a round of primary licenses and invited bids for Block No. 1 in the north, but Syria did not recognize the Lebanese demarcation. Damascus objected to the unilateral Lebanese demarcation of its exclusive economic zone in the north, by sending a protest letter to the United Nations in 2014.

Wehbe said that Beirut must negotiate with Damascus about the demarcation of maritime borders.

“This is not an act of aggression but every state demands its rights according to its perspective,” Wehbe said, adding that negotiations must take place within the framework of international laws and the brotherly relations between the two countries.

In late 2010, a dramatic discovery was made in the eastern Mediterranean of a huge natural gas field offshore, in what geologists call the Levant or Levantine Basin. The discovery set into motion a geopolitical plan devised in Washington and Tel Aviv back in 1996.  By March 2011 Syria was immersed into a revolution instigated and fueled by the CIA on orders from President Obama.

In August 2011 findings were revealed by Syrian exploration companies of an immense gas field in Qara near the border with Lebanon and near the port of Tartus, which was leased to the Russian navy. The gas reserves are believed to be equal to or exceed those of Qatar.  The US-backed rebels kept the fighting focused in the area to prevent the recovery of the gas.

Trump ordered the US troops illegally occupying Syria to stay and steal the oil.  The US military prevents the Syrian government from using the oil in the northeast to rebuild or recover from 10 years of war.

The US, NATO, and the EU all worked in coordination to destroy Syria and keep it from reaching its potential as an energy-sufficient nation.

Washington’s ‘regime-change’ strategy was based on instigating internal chaos in Syria through the use of CIA training and weapons of armed fighters following Radical Islam, which they thought would end with an Islamic State as opposed to the existing secular government in Damascus, and supported through the coffers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both nations state sponsors of Radical Islam.

The US lost the war in Syria. But, Washington will continue to isolate Russia and try to prevent the unchanged government in Damascus from the gas reserves off-shore.

Turkey began the US-NATO war against Syria as a team player. Turkey was used as a transit point for all the hundreds of thousands of foreign terrorists from the four corners of the globe who flocked to Syria on Team-USA to oust the Syrian government, in favor of Radical Islam. However, Turkey feels left out of the lucrative gas deals, and envious of its neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey is trying to disrupt energy exploration. Meanwhile, it is the babysitter of the Al Qaeda terrorists in control of Idlib and determined to maintain the status quo in Idlib.

While Russia has been in the Syrian port of Tartus for decades, it was in 2015 that they were invited to Syria militarily in the darkest days of terrorist expansion.  The Russians have a long and bloody experience with Radical Islamic terrorists on Russian soil. With Syria laying on the southern front of Russia, it was seen as a national security threat to allow an Islamic state to be proclaimed in Damascus, even if it was only the Muslim Brotherhood politicians supported by the US and housed in hotels in Istanbul.

The Russians felt they could either defeat the terrorists in Syria or wait and fight them on the streets of Moscow. Radical Islam is neither a religion, nor a sect, but a political ideology that is very difficult to deal with once US weapons are placed in their hands.

In 2012, F. William Engdahl wrote a prophetic article Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War. He wrote, “The battle for the future control of Syria is at the heart of this enormous geopolitical war and tug of war. Its resolution will have enormous consequences for either world peace or endless war and conflict and slaughter.”

Engdahl theorized that Syria would ultimately be a major source for Russian-managed gas flows to the EU.

In late 2015, Pepe Escobar, a journalist with Asia Times, wrote a groundbreaking article Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War”.

Escobar wrote, “Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war.”

In the article, he takes you back to 2009 when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline traversing Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria to Turkey, to supply the EU.

However, in 2010 Syria chose a competing project, the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That choice set into motion what the western media terms as the Syrian civil war, but in reality was never civil, and was a classic US ‘regime-change’ project which featured a cast of thousands, and among the supporters were the heads of state from most of the civilised world.

After 10 years of war, Syria may finally be approaching the endgame. President Assad’s government is looking to post-war recovery and reconstruction, which will need foreign and domestic investments. The energy sector is crucial. Syria’s oil exports accounted for 30% of pre-war revenue, and the prospect of gas output was revealed just as the war ramped up. US and EU sanctions will make foreign investment difficult, but the world is watching Russia in the waters off Syria.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist and political commentator.

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Whose interests are really being served with US anti-China alliance?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 28, 2021

NEO – Building an anti-China Alliance is the Last US Bid for Political Survival in Asia & the Pacific

by Salman Rafi Sheikh, …with New Eastern Outlook, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Is this Biden reinventing Trump’s unipolar power dominance via a two step Biden unipolar power move in Asia with allies in tow, so they are available for cannon fodder use when deemed necessary to keep US trade fluctuations down?

What is important in this Biden plan story is to take a broad overview. By pulling allies into a coalition, he is positioning them for bullet magnets in case of hostilities. So one has to ask, why would they want this exposure when they can just be trade friendly countries with China and sit on the sidelines during a war?

China has no real invasion capability at this point, and has been spending its military money on a defensive navy as protection against the massive US navy firepower. It is also building a strong retaliatory defense as a first strike deterrent. If you want to talk about a threat, that is an undeniable one.

Within this context, to call China’s Navy expansion a threat is just hoaxing the American people to support an aggressive policy by the US to move into a first strike decapitation capability to threaten China.

As for why our own government would want to create a Neo Cold war against someone, the answer is the usual one. The uber wealth interests, who have their hooks deep inside our government, can see themselves making a shit load of military funding money ‘confronting China’, and also Russia, if the peacetime economy is looking dim for them.

NATO is doing a similar move pushing up to the Russian border via Ukraine. Then we have the US wanting the EU to be more dependent on US energy, not for their own security, but so we can have that advantage over them in a time of need.

And, there is the not discussed item that for Biden’s much hyped infrastructure spending to create high paying jobs here, US products based on such will be much less marketable overseas.

Biden needs a cover to always have sanctions put on China so Americans can’t buy Chinese, even if it is better, because sanctions run up the costs.

Economists have always warned that such contrived market moves fail in the long run.

But for countries with a huge military and unlimited borrowing power, which the super rich love, a slow peacetime trade market can always be replaced by a profitable war time market in a jiffy. Think false flag. You just have to press the right buttons… Jim W. Dean ]

First published … March 25, 2021

While the recently held QUAD summit-meeting did not mention China directly, there is little gainsaying that the basic thrust of the group is against China.

Although there are internal disagreements on whether to tackle China through military means or otherwise, or whether to keep this grouping strictly anti-China or not, the Biden administration has no doubts.

For them, the QUAD is a ‘Asia Pivot 2.0.’ and that the very survival of the US in Asia & the Pacific depends on selling a ‘China threat’ and subsequently placing itself as the primary bulwark against it; hence, the hurriedly done arrangements to hold QUAD’s first ever summit level meeting.

In other words, at the heart of Biden’s “China Strategy” is the imperative of rebuilding ties with allies in Asia & the Pacific, especially those frustrated by Trump’s policies, and then assembling a grand anti-China coalition.

Therefore, while the QUAD summit did not mention China as the rival, the so-called “The Spirit of the QUAD” is more than categorically specific about establishing a US led regime of rules governing Asia & the Pacific.

“The spirit” is about making the QUAD “strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.” As such, while the summit did not mention China, it still addressed China directly. Indeed, this was more about making China “hear.”

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told a US Congress House Foreign Affairs Committee that

“the more China hears not just our opprobrium, but a course of opprobrium from around the world the better the chance that we’ll get some changes. We have a number of steps we have taken, or can take, going forward to include for those directly responsible for acts of genocide, gross human rights violations – sanctions, visa restrictions, etc.”

Again, while the QUAD summit was not overtly anti-China, the Biden administration’s follow up visits to Asia & the Pacific are very much focused on building and cementing anti-China alliance.

For instance, the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday March 13 that he was traveling to Asia to boost military cooperation with American allies and foster “credible deterrence” against China, adding that “China is our pacing threat” and that “Our goal is to make sure that we have the capabilities and the operational plans and concepts to be able to offer credible deterrence to China or anybody else who would want to take on the US”

Criticising the Trump administration’s ambivalent policies that concerned themselves with ‘trade war’ and ‘deal making’, Austin said while the US competitive edge has eroded, “We still maintain the edge and we’re going to increase the edge going forward.”

The key to increasing the edge is through alliances. It is the alliances that, as Austin emphasised, “give us a lot more capability and so one of the big things the Secretary of State and I want to do, is begin to strengthen those alliances — great alliances, great partnerships to begin with.” This will be the key to furthering US interests in Asia & the Pacific against China.

Accordingly, Austin’s visits to Japan and South Korea are most likely to focus on repairing the damaged done to their ties by the Trump administration.

While Japanese officials are sure to seek assurances from Austin that the US military would come to Japan’s aid in the event of a conflict with China over the Senkaku Islands, his time in Seoul is expected to be consumed with the question of whether to resume regular large-scale military exercises with South Korea, which Trump had abruptly cancelled. 

Already, the two countries have reached a cost-sharing agreement for stationing American troops in South Korea, a presence that Trump had also threatened to end.

Austin’s full-scale visit to Asia & the Pacific also includes India, another QUAD member and a country at its lowest point in relations with China in decades after deadly clashes last year. Austin’s visit, therefore, will be particularly focused on utilizing the existing tensions between India & China to the US’ advantage.

The US, as it stands, cannot let these opportunities un-utilized; for, such opportunities allow them [the US ] to inject themselves in conflict zones in ways that, instead of de-escalating tensions, serve US interests first and foremost. If the US needs India as an ally against China, it needs to convince the Modi regime that India’s survival against China demands partnership with the US.

Again, the fact that the Trump administration stood virtually aloof in the last year India-China border skirmishes did a great deal of damage to India’s belief about the extent to which it could rely on the US. Austin’s mission will be, first and foremost, focused on rebuilding India’s belief and assuring the Indian government of the inevitability of the US support for their survival against China.

There is little gainsaying that the core focus of the Biden administration’s foreign policy is China. This is evident not only from the first ever summit level meeting of the QUAD, but also from Lloyd Austin’s first ever overseas mission as the Pentagon Chief.

What it shows is that the Biden administration, which is still less than two months into the presidency, is in no hurry to change of the course of tense relations with Chain set by the Trump administration.

In fact, the Biden administration is not only building on the same tensions, but is also utilizing its relatively more “responsible”, more “democratic” and more “stable and predictable” outlook as compared to the previous administration to woo their somewhat estranged allies into a sort of “global coalition” that Mike Pompeo had sought, and failed, to build and lead.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

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

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

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Trump Laughs at How Biden Stumbled Down Air Force One Stairs: “I Didn’t Lose to Him”

‘I didn’t lose to him’: Trump mocks Biden’s Air Force One steps fall (VIDEO)

March 21, 2021

Former US President Donald Trump poked fun at President Joe Biden after the latter tumbled down the stairs to Air Force One on Friday.

“I watched as Joe Biden went up the stairs today on Air Force One and I said, ‘I didn’t lose to him’ – we didn’t lose to him,” Trump said in the short clip posted on TikTok, which was reportedly captured at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

“Almost 75 million votes and probably a lot more than that,” Trump continued on the footage, referring to his allegations of voter fraud during the presidential election.

In the above-mentioned video clip, the former US president referred to the recent footage of Joe Biden tumbling downstairs when walking up to Air Force One, the presidential jet.

The video of the 78-year-old slipping on stairs hard, then walking up and giving a salute, went viral immediately, triggering an avalanche of memes and jokes as well as concerns about the President’s health.

The White House blamed the weather for the incident, saying that “it’s pretty windy outside. It’s very windy”.

Donald Trump’s son also took the chance to crack a joke or two about the oldest person to assume the presidency tripping stairs to his jet.

Source: Agencies

The Puppet Masters: Is There Really a Deep State?

The danger posed by the Deep State is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable, Phil Giraldi writes.

Conspiracy Theory

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, March 19, 2021

Strategic Culture Foundation 18 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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As a former intelligence officer, I find it amusing to read articles in the mainstream media that blithely report how the latest international outrages are undoubtedly the work of CIA and the rest of the U.S. government’s national security alphabet soup. The recurring claim that the CIA is somehow running the world by virtue of a vast conspiracy that includes the secret intelligence agencies of a number of countries, using blackmail and other inducements to corrupt vulnerable politicians and opinion makers, has entered into the DNA of journalists worldwide, frequently without any evidence that the current crop of spies is capable to doing anything more complicated than getting out of bed in the morning.

One problem with the theory about total global dominance through espionage is the sheer logistics of it all. Directing political and economic developments in two hundred nations simultaneously must require a lot of space and a large staff. Is there a huge office hidden in Langley? Or the Pentagon? Or in the White House West Wing itself? Or is it in one of the secure facilities that have been popping up like mushrooms just off of the Dulles Toll Road in Herndon Virginia?

To provide evidence that intelligence agencies extend their tentacles just about everywhere, the other claim that is nearly always made is that all former spooks are part of the conspiracy, as once you learn the secret handshake to join CIA, NSA or the FBI you never stop being “one of them.” Well, that might be true in some cases but the majority of former spooks are quite happy to be “former,” and one might also observe that many voices in the anti-war movement, such as it is, come from intelligence, law enforcement or military backgrounds. Of course, the conspiracy theorists will explain that away by claiming that it is a conspiracy within a conspiracy, making the dissidents little better than double agents or gatekeepers who are put in place to make sure that the opposition doesn’t become too effective.

Given the fact that how the so-called American “Deep State” actually gets together and plots is unknown, one would have to concede that it is an organization without much structure, unlike the original Turkish Deep State (Derin Devlet), which coined the phrase, that actually met and had centralized planning. I would suggest that the problem is one of definitions and it also helps to know how the national security state is structured and what its legitimate mission is. The CIA, for example, employs about 20,000 people, nearly all of whom work in various divisions that collect information (spying), analysis, technology and also are divided into staffs that work transnationally on issues like terrorism, narcotics, and nuclear proliferation. The overwhelming majority of those employees have political views and vote but there is a consensus that what their work entails is apolitical. The actual politics of how policy comes out the other end is confined to a very small group at the top, some of whom are themselves political appointees.

To be sure, one can and probably should oppose the policies of regime change that the Agency is engaged in worldwide but there is one important consideration that has to be understood. Those policies are set by the country’s civilian leadership (president, secretary of state and national security council) and they are imposed on CIA by its own political leadership. The Agency does not hold referenda among its employees to determine which foreign policy option is preferable any more than soldiers in the 101st Airborne are consulted when they receive orders to deploy.Rethinking National Security: CIA and FBI Are Corrupt, but What About Congress?

Nearly all current and former intelligence officers that I know are, in fact, opposed to the politics of U.S. global dominance that have been pretty much in place since 9/11, most particularly as evidenced by the continued conflict with Russia, the ramping up of aggression with China, and the regime change policies relating to Syria, Iran and Venezuela. Those officers often consider the invasions and exercise of “maximum pressure” to have been failures. Those policies were supported by truculent language, sanctions and displays of military readiness by the Trump Administration but it now appears clear that they will all be continued in one form or another under President Joe Biden, likely to include even more aggression against Russia through proxies in Ukraine and Georgia.

The officers engaged in such operations also observe that regime change has basically come out of the closet since 2001. George W. Bush announced that there was a “new sheriff in town” and the gloves would be coming off. Things that the intelligence agencies used to do are now done right out in the open, using military resources against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria while the biggest change of all, in Ukraine in 2014, was largely engineered by Victoria Nuland at the State Department. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was also active in Russia supporting opposition parties until the Kremlin forced them to leave the country.

So, it is fair to say that the Deep State is not a function of either the CIA or the FBI, but at the same time the involvement of John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey in the plot to destroy Donald Trump is disturbing, as the three men headed the Agency, the Office of National Intelligence and Bureau. They appear to have played critical leadership roles in carrying out this conspiracy and they may not have operated on their own. Almost certainly what they may have done would have been either explicitly or implicitly authorized by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, and others in his national security team.

It is now known that President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan created a secret interagency Trump Task Force in early 2016. Rather than working against genuine foreign threats, this Task Force played a critical role in creating and feeding the meme that Donald Trump was a tool of the Russians and a puppet of President Vladimir Putin, a claim that still surfaces regularly to this day. Working with Clapper, Brennan fabricated the narrative that “Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.” Brennan and Clapper promoted that tale even though they knew very well that Russia and the United States have carried out a broad array of covert actions against each other, including information operations, for the past seventy years, but they pretended that what happened in 2016 was qualitatively and substantively different even though the “evidence” produced to support that claim is weak to nonexistent.

I would, nevertheless, argue that their behavior, though it exploited intelligence resources, was not intrinsic to the organizations that they led, that the three of them were part and parcel of the real Deep State, which consists of a consensus view on running the country that is held by nearly all of the elements that together make up the American Establishment, with its political power focused in Washington and its financial center in New York City. It should come as no surprise that those government officials who are complicit in the process are often personally rewarded with highly paid sinecure jobs in financial services, which they know nothing about, when they “retire.”

The danger posed by the Deep State, or, if you choose, the Establishment, is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable. Even though it does not actually meet in secret, it does operate through relationships that are not transparent and as the media is part of it, there is little chance that its activity will be exposed. One notes that while the Deep State is mentioned frequently in the national media there has been little effort to identify its components and how it operates.

Viewed in that fashion, the argument that there exists a cohesive group of power brokers who really run the country and are even able to coopt those who are ostensibly dedicated to keeping the country safe becomes much more plausible without denigrating the many honest people who are employed by the national security agencies. The Deep State conspirators don’t have to meet to plot as they all understand very well what has to be done to maintain their supremacy. That is the real danger. The Biden Administration will surely demonstrate over the next several months that the Deep State is still with us and more powerful than ever as it operates both inside and outside the government itself. And the real danger comes from the Democrats now in charge, who are if anything more given to playing with consensus politics that involve phony threats than were the Republicans.

*

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT PUTIN

March 18, 2021

Dear friends: this column shows how matters stand. Support this website or darkness will arrive.

Has Biden’s Description of Putin as a Killer Finally Dispelled Kremlin Hopes for Good Relations?

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT PUTIN

Paul Craig Roberts

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to Biden’s unacceptable characterization of Russia’s president as a killer by stating that Biden had made it clear that “he doesn’t want to normalize relations.”  In the Kremlin does hope burn eternal?  It has been obvious to me for many years that Washington does not want normal relations with Russia or any country. Washington wants a hegemonic relationship with Washington as the hegemon and Russia as the obedient puppet as Russia was during the Yeltsin decade.

Just consider the past four years of Trump’s presidency.  Trump declared his intention of normalizing relations with Russia and for this reason his presidency was destroyed by the American Establishment.

There is no prospect of Russia having normal relations with the US and its Empire.  The destruction of Trump’s presidency and the theft of his reelection is proof that the American Establishment will not tolerate a president who intends a normal diplomatic relationship with a sovereign Russia. This one intention was all it took to destroy Trump’s presidency.  Trump was immediately confronted with three years of orchestrated “Russiagate,” followed by two attempted impeachments of Trump on false grounds, and his reelection was stolen. The American judiciary refused to even look at the overwhelming evidence of the stolen election.  Did the Kremlim really believe that Biden was going to repeat Trump’s self-destruction and make friends with Russia?

Despite all the clarity in Biden’s accusation, backed up by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki that “the Russians will be held accountable,”  Russian Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reaffirmed Russia’s interest in “preventing the irreversible degradation” of Russian bilateral ties with the US.

Amazing.  It seems the Kremlin is incapable of acknowledging reality.  In 2016 Hillary Clinton, who was expected to be the next US president, called Putin the “new Hitler.”  How does this differ from Biden calling Putin a killer? It is official Western policy to demonize Putin and Russia. The demonization of Putin and Russia  has been underway for years.

Putin’s forbearance is remarkable. He treats these calculated insults as if they are water off a duck’s back.  But Putin’s response does not serve peace or Russian interests.  

Dear President Putin, please permit me to offer an explanation of the threat that you and the entire world face.  Washington and the American foreign policy establishment hates your guts.  They hate you because you restored Russia’s sovereignty and, thereby, put a powerful country in the way of American hegemony.  Remember the Wolfowitz Doctrine (1992):

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

You, President Putin and you alone, are responsible for the “re-emergence of a new rival . . . sufficient to generate global power.”  Therefore, you are an unpardonable constraint on American hegemony, and “our first objective” is to remove the constraint you place on American hegemony. 

This neoconservative policy remains in place. No alternative has come forward. Recently, two Russian analysts at the hegemonic Atlantic Council suggested that Washington pursue a less hostile approach to Russia.  They were immediately denounced by the other 22 members of the council’s foreign policy experts.

See: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/03/17/washington-has-resurrected-the-specter-of-nuclear-armageddon/  

It could not be stated any clearer that Russia is in Washington’s way.  Does the Kremlin lack people familiar with the English language?

Whoever is advising the Kremlin is an idiot.  Every time the Kremlin replies to insults and false accusations from Washington, the Kremlin hands to the entire Western media—a propaganda ministry, the likes of which has never before existed on earth and can be found only in science fiction such as George Orwell’s 1984—the opportunity to repeat the charge:  “Today the Kremlin spokesman denied that Putin is a killer.”

If I may offer my advice, President Putin, explain to Peskov and to Zakharov not to respond to accusations and insults.  Ignore them.  Say nothing. Stop trying to appeal to Washington and its NATO puppets.  The fact that Russia believes facts are relevant is seen by the West as a sign of great weakness.  Facts don’t matter in the West.  Russiagate proved that for you.  

Go about your business where you are welcomed and regarded as a potential protector against Washington, such as Iran.  Form an explicit mutual defense pact with China.  Not even criminally insane Washington will take on Russia and China.  Add Iran and the Taliban.  The best way to keep Islamic terrorism out of the Russian Federation is to befriend them and turn them against Washington.  Beat Washington at its own game.  And by all means, stop Israel and Washington from attacking Syrian territory.  Until you show Russia’s power, you will not be taken seriously. The longer you are not taken seriously, the greater the likelihood that threats against Russia will mount until nuclear war arrives.  Obviously, Russia is not taken seriously with American Democrat leaders describing the President of Russia as the “new Hitler” and “a killer.”  No American president dared to speak of a Soviet leader, where there actually was justification for the charge, in such terms.  

I offer this advice not because I am pro-Russia and anti-America, but because I worked with President Reagan to achieve the goal of ending the Cold War and its threat of nuclear Armageddon.  People can go on all they want about climate change and Covid, but nuclear war is an end times occurance.  

The American neoconservative intent to acquire world hegemony will bring nuclear war unless you turn Russia’s back to the decadent, corrupt, and dying West and protect with decisive force the interests of Russia and her friends.  Washington denies you friends in Europe.  Find them elsewhere.  The peace of the world is at stake.

Blockbuster: Biden Rolling Back Israel’s ‘Free Ride,’ Ready to Recognize Palestinian State

Plans for ‘reset’ of PA ties include rollback of Trump policies legitimizing settlements, $15 million in COVID-related aid to Palestinians

Times of Israel: The Biden administration will reportedly push for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, reinstating US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to more traditionally held positions than those of former president Donald Trump.

memo titled “The US Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward,” which was revealed Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi-based The National, also showed that the Biden administration is planning on announcing a $15 million aid package in coronavirus-related humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians as early as this month.

Drafted by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, the memo also details plans to roll back various Trump policies that Washington believes made reaching a two-state solution more difficult, such as US legitimization of the settlement enterprise.

Amr recommends in the memo that the White House back a two-state framework “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees.”

Hady Amr, now US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, speaks at the Brookings Institute, where he was a fellow, on December 3, 2018. (Screen capture/YouTube)

While behind closed doors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has participated in peace negotiations based on the 1967 lines, publicly the formula is not very popular in Israel, particularly among the right wing, which is expected to further expand in the Knesset after next week’s election.

The memo discusses “rolling back certain steps by the prior administration that bring into question our commitment or pose real barriers to a two-state solution, such as country of origin labeling.”

The memo was referring to a last-minute policy change announced by Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which requires all US exports from the settlements to be labeled as having been “made in Israel.”

Since 1995, US policy had required products made in the West Bank and Gaza to be labeled as such. That directive was republished in 2016 by the Obama administration, which warned that labeling goods as “made in Israel” could lead to fines. Prior to the Oslo Accords, however, all products manufactured in these areas were required to mention Israel in their label when exporting to the United States.

The Pompeo order went into effect in December, but manufacturers were given a 90-day grace period, until March 23, to implement the change.

“As we reset US relations with the Palestinians, the Palestinian body politic is at an inflection point as it moves towards its first elections in 15 years,” the new memo reads. “At the same time, we [the US] suffer from a lack of connective tissue following the 2018 closure of the PLO office in Washington and refusal of Palestinian Authority leadership to directly engage with our embassy to Israel.

The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization, pictured in 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump closed the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington in 2018, against the backdrop of the PA’s boycott of his administration following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In 2019, the Trump administration shuttered the US consulate in Jerusalem, which served as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The mission was folded into the US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and the previous position of consul-general was dissolved.

Before the Trump administration began tightening the screws on the PA in 2018 for refusing to engage with its peace efforts, the United States was the single largest donor country to the PA.

The US paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the PA’s creditors, such as the Israeli state utility companies from which the Palestinians purchase water and electricity. They paid for training for the PA’s security forces and numerous infrastructure projects.

Washington also gave hundreds of millions a year in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — known as UNRWA — which is in charge of administering the daily needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants across the Middle East.

The memo, which was passed along to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, highlights UNRWA in particular as one of the organizations the Biden administration plans to back in order to aid the Palestinians.

Israel accuses UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, criticizing the agency’s practice of extending refugee status to millions of descendants, rather than only to the original refugees as is the norm with most refugee populations worldwide.

Then-US president Donald Trump (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas leave following a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

Noting major economic disparities between Israelis and Palestinians, the memo states that the Biden administration is “planning a full range of economic, security and humanitarian assistance programs [for Palestinians], including through UN Relief and World Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).”

“State and USAID are working towards a restart of US assistance to the Palestinians in late March or early April,” the memo says, adding that the COVID-related humanitarian relief package will be announced beforehand.

The memo reveals the administration’s plans to “take a two-fold approach of maintaining and ideally improving the US relationship with Israel by deepening its integration into the region while resetting the US relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership.”

It notes Amr’s “listening sessions” with senior officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry who “welcomed the restart of US-Palestinian relations.”

The United States consulate building in Jerusalem, March 4, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Notably, those two offices are controlled by Blue and White ministers Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi who hold more moderate public stances on the Palestinian issue than Netanyahu and his Likud party. Gantz and Ashkenazi have taken pride in their efforts to block Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plans last year.

One section of the memo likely to please both sides of the political spectrum in Israel is its support for expanding the normalization agreements brokered by the Trump administration between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors.

However, Amr also writes of using such agreements “to support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people.” Netanyahu has sought to divorce the normalization deals from the Palestinian issue, arguing that the peace deals prove that Israel can expand its diplomatic ties in the region without making concessions to the Palestinians.

As previously pledged by Biden officials, the memo floats the idea of reopening an independent consulate akin to the one that served as the de facto mission to the Palestinians and operated out of the western part of Jerusalem until 2019. Doing so would signal US recommitment to a two-state solution, the document says. However, no final decisions have been made yet on the matter.

Benny Gantz (left) and Gabi Ashkenazi of the Blue and White party arrive to give a joint a statement in Tel Aviv on February 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The memo notes the Biden administration’s commitment to engaging the international community via the UN and the Middle East Quartet, which consists of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

The document notes the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections in May and presidential elections in July, adding that it has been 15 years since Palestinians have been able to elect their representatives.

“But the implications of an election remain uncertain: the collapse of a power-sharing agreement after the prior elections led to the Hamas takeover of Gaza [in 2007],” the memo says, noting the PA request that the US push Jerusalem to allow elections to take place in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, but not stating Washington’s position on the matter.

“We are analyzing the evolving situation and will propose a US posture together with the inter-agency,” the memo reads.

The lack of position on elections is likely to disappoint Ramallah as Palestinian officials have been lobbying Washington in recent weeks to come out in support of the democratic process, sources familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Joe Biden after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP/Bernat Armangue)

Amr recommends the Biden administration push the PA to clamp down on incitement while also calling out Israeli settlement expansion on land that Palestinians hope will be part of their future state.

The memo reveals that talks are underway with the PA leadership aimed at altering Ramallah’s controversial payment of stipends to Palestinian security prisoners, including those convicted of terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

The altered policy currently being discussed in Ramallah would base the stipends on prisoners’ financial need rather than the length of their sentence, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel in January.

The Biden administration will also seek to boost Palestinian institutions. “This includes strengthening civil society, media watchdogs and other elements of the fourth estate, such as emphasizing to the [Palestinian Authority] the need to protect civil society through the reductions of arrests of bloggers and dissidents,” the memo reads.

ABOUT VT EDITORS

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Blockbuster/Exclusive: More Mossad Ties between ‘Bear Spray Killers’ , proof of Israel’s role in January 6

By VT Editors -March 16, 2021

January 6 was a last ditch attempt by Israel to save the Trump presidency and turn the US into a full-fledge colony of Israel.  How anti-Semitic does that sound?How true does it sound?VT Exclusive: We have been doing background on the January 6 killers of Officer Sicknick.  When Elie Khater was arrested getting off a plane from Israel and that was hidden, we knew there was something else.We then found this article from Newsweek, owned by former Congresswoman Jane Harmon, who was “busted” for trying to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who gave America’s NOC List to the Russians. This is the real story and why every top US intel official for 28 years demand he “burn in hell.”Now we find young Israeli “American’ Elie Khater, the alleged murder, was, with his mother, evacuated from Lebanon to save them from Hezbollah, in 2006, by the US military.Dad is never mentioned nor is why they were there serving in an unnamed intelligence capacity.  Fake people, fake restaurants, no murder charges…it keeps getting better and better…

Onscene: Pain, Joy, After Leaving Lebanon

BY NEWSWEEK STAFF 

Sitting aboard the USS Trenton as it leaves Lebanon, Elie Khater is crying. But unlike most Americans aboard this amphibious assault ship, her tears are not those of joy over escaping a country tumbling into war. The 43-year-old mother of four is sobbing because the clashes between Israel and Hizbullah have forced her out of her adopted home in Kherbert Kanafar, a small village where her husband’s family has a fruit orchard and where the New Jersey native has lived since 1994.

The Khaters decided to leave Lebanon after Israeli airstrikes hit nearby villages and roads, cutting off most escape routes. Their harrowing drive to Beirut on a bomb-damaged road was terrifying; now the prospect of going back to America breaks her heart. “Lebanon has become my country and it’s is horrible beyond words to be leaving behind my extended family, my friends, my life,” she weeps.

The Khaters were among the thousands of foreigners trapped in Lebanon when fighting broke out 10 days ago. On Friday, an estimated 4,000 Americans were scheduled to leave for Cyprus in what Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, the U.S. Marine Corps officer commanding the operation, calls a “voluntary withdrawal.” A similar number have already been evacuated over the last two days, with the United States chartering ferry boats and rerouting seven naval ships to help Americans trying get out. Helicopters were also deployed to fly out humanitarian cases like the elderly and disabled.

Why aren’t they charged as cop killers?  Could it be because of reasons only VT will publish?  Arrested in the airport while exiting a plane from Tel Aviv…shouldn’t that fact be gotten out?  We think so…and hiding it tells us volumes…

VT: Julian Elie Khater was picked up today as he got off a plane from Tel Aviv at the Newark Airport. Both Khater and George Tanios are childhood friends who grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Jewish community, just outside Philadelphia.

Khater fled to Israel after the killing of Officer Sicknick during the January 6 coup attempt by Donald Trump.  Autopsy results have been withheld, particularly toxicology, but VT sources say Officer Sicknick died from a reaction to being soaked with powerful “Bear Spray”, listed as a “dangerous weapon.” 

Video exists showing both Khater and Tanios deploying bear spray against Officer Sicknick, but it also shows that both were coordinating deployment of chemical weapons with highly trained teams that were searching for members of Congress, teams allegedly in communication with GOP House members.

This is a separate FBI investigation. A House investigation has published 2000 pages of tweets from members of the House and Senate that were used, it is alleged, “in real time” to hunt Vice President Pence and his family and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

We also found, with little effort, that Tanios’ restaurant, if you can call it that, is fake as well.

VT’s sources say both Khater and Tanios are former IDF intelligence and are Israeli citizens. We also learn that Tanio’s “restaurant” is not so much either, one review at Tripadvisor:

and from Yelp:

Every decent Mossad agent is taught to keep their cover and make money at their side business.  Certainly the Mossad’s highly paid journalists are proof of this.  Look at Hannity and Carlson…

WaPo: Federal authorities have arrested and charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot but have not determined whether the exposure caused his death.

Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania and George Pierre Tanios, 39 of Morgantown, W.Va., were arrested Sunday and are expected to appear in federal court Monday.

“Give me that bear s—,” Khater allegedly said to Tanios on video recorded at the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol at 2:14 p.m., where Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks, arrest papers say.

About nine minutes later, after Khater said he had been hit with bear spray, Khater is seen on video discharging a canister into the face of Sicknick and two other officers, arrest papers allege.

Khater and Tanios are charged with nine counts including assaulting three officers with a deadly weapon — Sicknick, another U.S. Capitol Police officer identified as C. Edwards, and a D.C. police officer identified as B. Chapman. They are also charged with civil disorder and obstruction of a congressional proceeding. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors filed charges after tipsters contacted the FBI allegedly identifying Khater and Tanios from wanted images released by the bureau from surveillance video and officer-worn body camera footage, the complaint said. It said the men grew up together in New Jersey, and that Khater had worked in State College, Pa., and Tanios owns a business in Morgantown.

*

Arrested at Newark Airport getting off a plane from Israel in an FBI sting, something censored by the Washington Post

Khater was arrested Sunday in Newark, N.J., according to an unsealed arrest warrant signed by a magistrate judge on March 6. Family for Khater could not be immediately reached.

Questions remain about whether anyone will be held criminally responsible in Sicknick’s death. Autopsy results for Sicknick were still pending as of Monday, according to a spokeswoman for the deputy mayor of public safety in D.C.

Without a cause of death, his case has not been established as a homicide, although charging papers allege that evidence of an assault on Sicknick is clear on video.

This is, officially, the longest autopsy ever.  It it isn’t a coincidental natural death, then it is a homicide.  Why the games.  Both impeachment docs and US Atty. Rosen stated Sicknick was murdered and did so many weeks ago.

An FBI agent alleged in charging papers that publicly available video showed that after Khater asked for the bear spray, Tanios replied, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet … it’s still early.” The agent said the exchange showed that the two allegedly were “working in concert and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement.”

The agent asserted that the men “appeared to time the deployment of chemical substances to coincide with other rioters’ efforts to forcibly remove the bike rack barriers that were preventing the rioters from moving closer to the Capitol building,” using their hands, ropes and straps.

All three officers were temporarily blinded and incapacitated for more than 20 minutes, and Edwards sustained scarring beneath her eyes for several weeks, charging papers said.

Sicknick died at a hospital about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 7, one day after 139 police officers were reportedly assaulted by an angry mob of Trump supporters wielding sledge hammers, baseball bats, hockey sticks, crutches and flagpoles. At least 800 people entered the Capitol after a smaller number forced entry, police have testified, seeking to block Congress from confirming the November presidential election victory of Joe Biden.

FBI focuses on video of Capitol Police officer being sprayed with chemicals

Referring to Sicknick, a House-passed article of impeachment charged Trump with inciting insurrection, alleging that members of a crowd he addressed “injured and killed law enforcement personnel.” Trump was acquitted after 57 senators voted to convict him for inciting the attack, 10 short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Then-acting U.S. attorney general Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement shortly afterward that Sicknick died of “the injuries he suffered defending the U.S. Capitol,” echoing a statement by Capitol Police.

Investigators determined that he did not die of blunt force trauma, people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. After more than two months, no autopsy or toxicology report has been made public.

This report, however, has been kept from the public.  Is it because every suspect arrested can be charged with full 1st Degree Murder, not simply trespass, as per well established legal precedent.

Officer Brian D. Sicknick recalled for his ‘shared humanity’The senator described Sicknick’s death as a “crime” that “demands the full attention of federal law enforcement.” He said “when white supremacists attacked our nation’s capital, they took the life of one of our officers. They spilled his blood, they took a son away from his parents. They took a sibling away from their brothers.”

Beaten, sprayed with mace and hit with stun guns: Police describe injuries to dozens of officers during assault on U.S. Capitol


Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios – charged and arrested in the Death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknick

Finally and yes it was captured on Body Worn Camera(s)

Both charged (these are incredibly serious charges);

18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. § 372 – Conspiracy to Injure an Officer; 18 U.S.C. § 231(a)(3) – Civil Disorder; 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) – Obstructing or Impeding Any Official Proceeding; 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1), (2), (4), (b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B) – Physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying dangerous weapon, and resulting in significant bodily injury; 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(f) – Violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol Grounds; and 18 U.S.C. § 2 – Aiding and Abetting.

As the affidavit reads:

“Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes…

….defendants, JULIAN ELIE KHATER and GEORGE PIERRE TANIOS, working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes….”

Again I’ll never understand why the “fire extinguisher” took root – I repeatedly tried to tell my readers that was disinformation that the death was likely caused by the excessive deployment of a chemical irritant;

“KHATER continues to talk animatedly with TANIOS. At approximately 2:20 p.m., KHATER walks through the crowd to within a few steps of the bike rack barrier. KHATER is standing directly across from a line of law enforcement officers to include U.S. Capitol Police (“USCP”) Officers B. Sicknick and C. Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) Officer D. Chapman, who was equipped with a functioning body worn camera (“BWC”) device.

Officer Chapman’s BWC shows that at 2:23 p.m., the rioters begin pulling on a bike rack to Chapman’s left, using ropes and their hands to pull the rack away. Seconds later, KHATER is observed with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side. Officer Chapman’s BWC confirms that KHATER was standing only five to eight feet away from the officers.

“Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes, as described in further detail…

“KHATER is again observed raising his arm and continues to spray in the direction of law enforcement officers. MPD Lt. Bagshaw notices these actions and approaches KHATER. At 2:23 p.m., Lt. Bagshaw then sprays KHATER, as observed on both surveillance footage and Lt. Bagshaw’s BWC….”

“All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray. Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes, including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks…”

“Defendant KHATER was listed as subject number 190. Defendant TANIOS was listed as subject number 254. A tipster to the FBI provided information that TANIOS and KHATER knew each other and grew up together in New Jersey…”

So investigators received several tips and subsequently reviewed the defendant’s LinkedIn account and other social media accounts

It came down to the “Sandwich University” sweatshirt and a keen eye by both a former coworker and the investigators …

“kingofthefatsandwich.” no really that’s in the affidavit …

Redacted Affiliation Found here. According to the DOJ-OPA:

“…arrested on Sunday in connection with a complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., charging them with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting federal officers, among other charges, on Jan. 6.  Khater was arrested as he disembarked from an airplane at Newark Airport in New Jersey.  Tanios was arrested at his residence in West Virginia.

Motion for Detention filed by USA as to Defendant Tanios:

https://ecf.wvnd.uscourts.gov/doc1/19903090082

Or via my public drive https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xwceNNp-gLcaVKJte87Ds6ViR76Er1av/view?usp=drivesdk

Sorry more files incoming – paperless Minute Order WVDC- Defendant Tanios

United States v. 2012 White Jeep Grand Cherokee with West Virginia License Tag 53T507, VIN 1C4RJFAT2CC204303 (1:21-mj-00024) ECF

-and it is well worth reading the 65+page affidavit in support of the search warrant – I uploaded it to my public drive, found here. I literally have <27 minutes before I have to jump on a Teams Call – so I’m speedy racing through the Court Documents

United States v. 708 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26505 (1:21-mj-00025)

Seized)(mh) (copy USA, Agent) (Entered: 03/14/2021)

Document Number:1 Attachment Description Affidavit Agent – Attachment A – Property to be Searched and Attachment B – Description of Property to be Seized

United States v. 205 Blue Ridge Lane, Morgantown, WV 26508 (1:21-mj-00026) ECF

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duffe

ditors@veteranstoday.com

Congress May Have to Act to Punish Saudi Arabia

Congress May Have to Act to Punish Saudi Arabia

By David M. Wight, Washington Post

While President Biden enjoyed widespread praise for releasing an intelligence report concluding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he also received criticism for not sanctioning Mohammed. On March 1, Rep. Tom Malinowski [D-N.J.] introduced a bill denying the prince entry into the United States and conditioning any future US arms sales to Saudi Arabia upon the White House certifying that the kingdom was no longer intimidating its critics in the United States.

That fits with a recent trend: Both Biden and members of Congress have vocally supported curbing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in part because of the killing of Khashoggi. Their willingness to follow through, however, will face the same challenges that confronted, and ultimately torpedoed, President Jimmy Carter’s resolve to reduce arms sales to the Saudis. In fact, several key developments in US-Saudi relations transformed Carter and members of Congress from advocates of arms-sales restrictions to promoters of expanding sales.

From the 1940s through the 1960s, the United States, Saudi Arabia’s primary arms provider, limited the size and scope of the weapons it sold to the Saudis so as to conserve its limited budget and restrain potential arms races in the Middle East.

During the 1970s, however, oil prices skyrocketed, and Saudi Arabia, at that point the largest oil exporter in the world, enjoyed a windfall. Suddenly, the kingdom had unparalleled influence over the global oil market and enormous revenue with which to buy imports, including weapons. Conversely, the United States experienced rapidly rising energy import costs and fuel shortages. These problems compounded when Saudi Arabia led an Arab oil embargo against the United States in retaliation for its massive arms resupply to “Israel” during the 1973 Arab-“Israeli” War.

The administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford worked strenuously to repair Washington’s tattered alliance with the Saudi monarchy and obtain its help in restraining oil prices, in large part by offering the sale of advanced US weapons. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger offered Saudi King Faisal the US government’s “cooperation in the military field … to strengthen our friendship on a long-term basis.” Faisal and his successors responded positively, ending the Arab oil embargo in 1974 and subduing demands within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for even higher oil prices. In exchange, US arms and military construction sales to Saudi Arabia soared from $300 million in 1972 to $7.1 billion in 1976.

Yet this provoked increasing opposition within the United States, including in Congress. An array of factors drove this opposition, including a desire to protect “Israel’s” military superiority, to curb costly arms races, to reduce the potential for war and to prevent powerful weapons technology from falling into hostile hands through theft or a coup. Accordingly, in 1974, Congress passed a law empowering itself to veto major arms sales approved by the president. In 1976, a bipartisan coalition used that new tool to compel Ford to reduce missile sales to Saudi Arabia.

That year, Carter, as a presidential candidate, declared that the rise in US arms sales to the Arab world constituted “a deviation from idealism … from a commitment to [‘Israel’]” and “a yielding to economic pressure … on the oil issue.” Once president, while seeking to preserve Saudi-US cooperation, Carter worked to steadily reduce weapons and military construction sales to Saudi Arabia. In 1977, during his first year in office, they dropped by more than two-thirds.

But Saudi leaders relentlessly pressed for more US weapons, saying they needed to defend themselves against Soviet-armed countries such as Iraq and what was then South Yemen. They especially desired to purchase advanced F-15 jet fighters. Saudi Crown Prince Fahd, for example, told the US ambassador that “the F-15 issue was a basic, crucial test of our relationship” and threatened to obtain comparable weapons from France, Britain or even the Soviet Union, countries that had ignored Carter’s entreaties for shared restraint in global arms transfers.

To preserve the Saudi-US relationship and obtain Saudi cooperation on oil and the Arab-“Israeli” ‘peace’ process, Carter shifted course and agreed to the F-15 sales in 1978. Activists and members of Congress mobilized to block the deal, however, including a young Sen. Joe Biden. Carter, along with Saudi-hired PR firms and corporations doing business in the kingdom, spent significant political and monetary capital in making the case to the American public and Congress that the sale served US interests. In a concession to Congress, Carter provided written assurance that the Saudis would not be given certain missile capabilities for their F-15s. Even then, Carter barely won — the House voted to block the sale, and the Senate fell short of a veto only by six votes after an acrimonious debate.

Two events the following year shook Saudi and US leaders. The 1979 Iranian revolution ousted the US-aligned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and replaced him with the hostile Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran’s massive stockpile of US-made weapons now threatened Saudi Arabia. The Soviet Union subsequently invaded Afghanistan, further inflaming the fears of Saudi royals that the Soviets aimed to encircle and conquer them. These two events generated new urgent pleas from Saudi Arabia for additional US arms.

For Carter and many members of Congress, these events made the Saudi kingdom appear even more vital to US interests. In response, they approved $10.2 billion in arms and military construction sales to Saudi Arabia to reassure its leaders of Washington’s commitment to their security. This decision ended presidential efforts to meaningfully restrain Saudi arms purchases for four decades — until now-President Biden entered office.

In the first weeks of his presidency, Biden declared an end to US support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, where the use of US weapons has inflamed anti-American sentiment and exacerbated a conflict that has killed more than 200,000 Yemenis. He likewise ordered a halt and review of last-minute arms agreements for Saudi Arabia authorized by predecessor Donald Trump. This has raised the hopes of some activists and politicians that Biden might continue to restrict arms to Saudi Arabia so long as its rulers endanger US interests and human rights. But the experience of the Carter administration cautions against assuming this is inevitable, as does Biden’s refusal to sanction Mohammed.

Some of today’s circumstances are quite different from those of the 1970s. Saudi Arabia’s influence over US oil supplies and prices is significantly less now than it was during the Carter years, lessening the pressure on Washington to satisfy arms requests. Conversely, however, the contemporary alliance between “Israel” and Saudi Arabia against Iran means pro-“Israel” lobbyists, a major force against arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, now present, at most, a diminished hurdle.

But the basic bargain established by Nixon and Faisal, and ultimately retained by Carter, remains on the table: The United States sells arms to Saudi Arabia in exchange for Saudi cooperation on issues prioritized by Washington. Whether this arrangement persists depends on the calculations of leaders in both countries.

Saudi Arabia will continue to argue that the threat from Iran necessitates increased weapons imports and threaten to acquire arms elsewhere if US offers are not forthcoming. That would be costly for the Saudis, because their armed forces are heavily reliant on US weapons technology and training, and it would inevitably weaken the Saudi-US relationship. Yet Saudi leaders may reluctantly attempt such an undertaking if they determine Washington has abandoned the alliance or attached too many strings to it.

The Biden administration seeks to maintain the Saudi-US partnership but expects greater Saudi cooperation on human rights and US strategic concerns in exchange for more US weapons. How demanding Biden will be on these points remains to be seen. But just as for Carter, the more Biden believes vital US interests in the Middle East are threatened by Iran or another power, the more likely he is to abandon other objectives and turn to arms sales to secure the Saudi-US alliance.

Congress could prove to be a wild card: It will weigh the same issues as the White House, but historically it has shown more appetite for restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia. This raises the possibility that it could step in if the administration proves too acquiescent.

Blinken paves the way for a return to the nuclear deal in compliance with Iran’s terms بلينكين يمهّد للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي رضوخاً لشروط إيران

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Blinken paves the way for a return to the nuclear deal in compliance with Iran’s terms

Nasser Kandil

– In the context of a radio interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she said, “We have come a long way towards preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and all of this was subsequently abandoned by the Trump administration. Current U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken responded to Clinton’s question about his expectations of the outcome of Iran’s absence from the 5+1 meeting, with the participation of Russia and China, by saying that Iran “is speeding up towards the day when it will have the ability to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon in a very short time», considering that when the agreement was reached in 2015, Iran was tending to make this period a mere weeks. Blinken warned that allowing this to happen, and Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon, or being on the threshold of possessing a nuclear weapon, “enables it to act with greater impunity,” noting that taking military action against it would have “different consequences,” concluding that “the best answer is” We reached the agreement “that” put the nuclear program in a box, cut its tracks to be able to produce the materials needed to make a nuclear weapon, “and pushed the period called” the time of penetration to more than one year. “

– Blinken said that because of the agreement «we had very strong sanctions » through the use of the Snapback mechanism, to automatically reimpose them if Iran violates the agreement, adding that “after we got out of the deal, Iran felt good,” as if saying: “We can move forward; We no longer comply with the commitments we made. ” And Blinken went on to say,“ And now she returns to that point, where she can produce fissile material for a very powerful weapon in a short time. He stressed that «we have an interest in returning it to the box, then see if we can actually build something longer and stronger in terms of the duration of the agreement, as well as deal with some of the other actions that Iran is taking, because we have a real problem with ballistic missiles and what they are doing in their vicinity».

– In practice, Blinken rearranged President Joe Biden’s administration vision papers regarding the Iranian nuclear file, from the stage on which Iran should start the first step, to the stage we started the first step with the indirect release of Iranian deposits of more than ten billion dollars in South Korea and Iraq, in exchange for Iran attending a joint session Within the 5 + 1 platform, and then here he is rearranging the cards again with Iran’s refusal of less than an American declaration to retract the sanctions as a condition for Iran’s retreat from implementing its obligations stipulated in the agreement. He withdraws from the table the issues of Iranian missiles and Iran’s regional role to the post-return phase. Regarding the nuclear agreement, and the implementation of its obligations from both sides, that is, the lifting of sanctions in return for Iran’s return to its obligations, Blinken’s equation is clear, that Iran is comfortable not returning and approaching with a missile speed that it has sufficient capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon, and that Washington has an interest in blocking this path, and that the abolition of sanctions is a reasonable cost to achieve this goal, because the alternative is to confront a situation that “enables it to act with impunity.” “Knowing that carrying out military action against it will have various consequences,” concluding that “the best answer we came to was the agreement” that “put the nuclear program in a box and cut its paths to be able to produce the materials they need to build a nuclear weapon, and pay the nominal period at the time of penetration.” To more than one year ».

– The Biden administration in Blinkin’s tongue goes back to what the Barack Obama administration reached when Biden was vice president, betting on more time to bring Iran to an agreement that includes the missile file and the regional situation will mean giving Iran more time to acquire the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon. The bet that something has changed as a result of the sanctions imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump, is disappointing, as Iran appears more comfortable in its steps outside the agreement than it was in the days of previous negotiations, so priority is given to returning to the agreement and then it is possible to know what should be done to discuss the rest, “We have an interest in returning that to a box, and then seeing if we can actually build something longer and stronger in terms of the duration of the agreement, as well as deal with some other measures that Iran is taking, because we have a real problem with ballistic missiles and what they are doing in their vicinity.”

بلينكين يمهّد للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي رضوخاً لشروط إيران

ناصر قنديل

في سياق حوار إذاعيّ مع وزيرة الخارجية السابقة هيلاري كلينتون قالت فيه «قطعنا شوطاً طويلاً نحو منع إيران من الحصول على سلاح نووي، وكل ذلك جرى التخلي بعد ذلك عنه من قبل إدارة ترامب. أجاب وزير الخارجية الأميركية الحالي توني بلينكين على سؤال كلينتون حول توقعاته لنتائج غياب إيران عن الاجتماع الذي وافقت عليه واشنطن ضمن صيغة الـ 5+1، بمشاركة روسيا والصين، بالقول بأن إيران «تسرع نحو اليوم الذي سيكون لديها فيه القدرة على إنتاج ما يكفي من المواد الانشطارية لسلاح نووي في وقت قصير جداً»، معتبراً أنه عند التوصل إلى الاتفاق عام 2015، كانت إيران تتجه إلى جعل ​​هذه المدة مجرد أسابيع. ونبّه بلينكن إلى أن السماح بحدوث ذلك، وامتلاك إيران سلاحاً نووياً، أو أن تكون على عتبة امتلاك سلاح نووي «يمكنها من التصرف مع إفلات أكبر من العقاب»، علماً بأن القيام بعمل عسكري ضدها ستكون له «عواقب مختلفة»، مستنتجاً أن «أفضل إجابة توصلنا إليها كانت الاتفاق» الذي «وضع البرنامج النووي في صندوق، وقطع مساراته لتكون قادرة على إنتاج المواد التي تحتاج إليها لصنع سلاح نووي»، ودفع المدة المسماة «وقت الاختراق إلى أكثر من عام واحد».

قال بلينكن إنه بسبب الاتفاق «كانت لدينا عقوبات قويّة للغاية»، عبر استخدام آلية «سناب باك»، لإعادة فرضها بصورة تلقائية إذا انتهكت إيران الاتفاقية، مضيفاً أن «الأهم من ذلك هو نظام المراقبة والتفتيش الأكثر تدخلاً الذي نمتلكه على الإطلاق لأي اتفاق للحدّ من الأسلحة». وقال إنه «بعد خروجنا من الصفقة، شعرت إيران بحال جيدة»، كأنما تقول: «يمكننا المضي قدماً؛ لم نعد نمتثل للالتزامات التي تعهدنا بها»، واستطرد بلينكن: «وها هي الآن تعود إلى تلك النقطة، حيث يمكن أن تنتج مواد انشطارية لسلاح في غاية القوة في وقت قصير»، وشدّد على أن «لدينا مصلحة في إعادة ذلك إلى صندوق، ثم معرفة ما إذا كان بإمكاننا بالفعل بناء شيء أطول وأقوى من حيث مدة الاتفاق، وكذلك التعامل مع بعض الإجراءات الأخرى التي تتخذها إيران، لأن لدينا مشكلة حقيقية مع الصواريخ الباليستية وما تقوم به في جوارها».

عملياً أعاد بلينكين ترتيب أوراق رؤية إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن تجاه الملف النووي الإيراني، من مرحلة على إيران أن تبدأ الخطوة الأولى، إلى مرحلة بدأنا الخطوة الأولى بالإفراج غير المباشر عن ودائع إيرانية تزيد عن عشرة مليارات دولار في كوريا الجنوبية والعراق، مقابل حضور إيران لجلسة مشتركة ضمن منصة الـ 5+1، ثم ها هو يعيد ترتيب الأوراق مجدداً مع رفض إيران لما هو أقل من إعلان أميركي بالتراجع عن العقوبات كشرط لتراجع إيران عن تنفيذ موجباتها التي نص عليها الاتفاق، فيسحب عن الطاولة قضيتي الصواريخ الإيرانية والدور الإقليمي لإيران إلى مرحلة تعقب العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، وتنفيذ موجباته من الفريقين، أي رفع العقوبات مقابل عودة إيران الى التزاماتها. ومعادلة بلينكين واضحة، أن إيران مرتاحة لعدم العودة والاقتراب بسرعة صاروخية من امتلاك مقدرات كافية لإنتاج سلاح نووي، وأن واشنطن صاحبة مصلحة بقطع الطريق على هذا المسار، وأن إلغاء العقوبات كلفة معقولة لتحقيق هذا الهدف، لأن البديل هو مواجهة وضع «يمكنها من التصرف مع إفلات أكبر من العقاب»، مضيفاً، «علماً بأن القيام بعمل عسكري ضدها ستكون له عواقب مختلفة»، مستنتجاً أن «أفضل إجابة توصلنا إليها كانت الاتفاق» الذي «وضع البرنامج النووي في صندوق، وقطع مساراته لتكون قادرة على إنتاج المواد التي تحتاج إليها لصنع سلاح نووي، ودفع المدة المسمّاة وقت الاختراق إلى أكثر من عام واحد».

تعود إدارة بايدن بلسان بلينكين الى ما توصلت اليه إدارة باراك أوباما يوم كان بايدن نائباً للرئيس، وهو أن الرهان على مزيد من الوقت لجلب إيران إلى اتفاق يتضمن ملف الصواريخ والوضع الإقليمي، سيعني منح إيران المزيد من الوقت لامتلاك مقدرات إنتاج سلاح نووي، وأن الرهان على أن ثمّة ما تغير بفعل العقوبات التي فرضتها إدارة الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، يكشف عقماً وخيبة، فإيران تظهر أكثر راحة في خطواتها خارج الاتفاق مما كانت عليه أيام المفاوضات السابقة، لذلك يعطي الأولوية للعودة إلى الاتفاق وبعدها يمكن معرفة ما يجب فعله لبحث الباقي، بقوله، «لدينا مصلحة في إعادة ذلك إلى صندوق، ثم معرفة ما إذا كان بإمكاننا بالفعل بناء شيء أطول وأقوى من حيث مدة الاتفاق، وكذلك التعامل مع بعض الإجراءات الأخرى التي تتخذها إيران، لأن لدينا مشكلة حقيقية مع الصواريخ الباليستية وما تقوم به في جوارها».

MSM IN PRAISE OF BIDEN’S STRATEGIC GENIUS

MSM In Praise Of Biden's Strategic Genius

On February 26th, US President Joe Biden ordered a strategic strike on pro-Iranian groups on the border between Syria and Iraq.

It allegedly targeted a weapon’s shipment, caused massive damage, had casualties, the entire package.

US Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jets dropped 7 GPS-guided bombs on the position. It was a “shot across the bow” and a sort of warning to Iran.

It was also at a very strategic location – somewhere that the Syrian Arab Army and President Bashar al-Assad had failed to consolidate power ever since 2014. So that an escalation is avoided with the Syrian government.

Syrian and Russian forces are not deployed where U.S. jets struck last night. They have not been there for nearly a decade.

This is, of course, hailed as a genius move, especially compared with former US President Donald Trump’s strikes on Syria.

In April 2017, Trump approved a Tomahawk cruise missile strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government after alleged chemical weapons were used to kill Syrian civilians. There is still no proof of that.

Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were launched from two US warships to destroy an airbase used the Syrian military.

One year later, Trump approved a second Tomahawk strike to destroy an alleged chemical weapons production facility. French and British forces joined in that effort, as well. U.S. warships in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf launched missiles into Syria.

The April 2018 strike marked the combat debut for the Virginia-class submarine. USS John Warner launched six Tomahawks from the Mediterranean into Syria.

And in what appears to be the crown difference, according to MSM, between Trump and Biden:

The Virginia-class submarine dove and prepared to sink any Russian warships should they take action against any U.S. Navy ships in the area including one that was acting as a decoy and didn’t launch missiles into Syria.

The decoy part has never been revealed, the time had come 3 years later.

Those two strikes in April of 2017 and 2018 were the first time the U.S. military has struck Assad’s forces in Syria after critics said Obama backed down from enforcing his red line on chemical weapons.

Still, Obama, carried out so many more strikes on various targets throughout the Middle East.

A better comparison for this week’s strike in Eastern Syria is when Trump approved the U.S. military to launch airstrikes in that same area in December 2019 when an American contractor was killed in a rocket attack in Iraq days prior.

The entire MSM narrative regarding the strikes by Trump and Biden is this – Trump was willing to allegedly cause a large escalation, while Biden simply struck one of the most low significance locations, so as not to cause to any further issues.

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