China Will Burst NATO’s Inflated Delusions

May 26, 2023


Natasha Wright is а linguist and translator by profession and an aspiring political analyst. As is often the case, life takes us along its meandering pathways (her name and surname is a pen name thanks to her personal life history). Hopefully, she will go the same route as Noam Chomsky did, from the most profound linguistics to thought-provoking political writing.

Natasha Wright

The situation will in all likelihood turn sour even more because NATO cannot stop its woeful warmongering and waging endless wars.

We are living in turbulent times indeed. Vital volumes of history are being written right before our very eyes.

You may have noticed that “Dr Doom” is sending out doom-and-gloom messages yet again. Fortune reported back in April that Nouriel Roubini (aka Dr Doom) is warning of painful stagflation caused by a new Cold War with China and the balkanization of the global economy.

Al Jazeera also reported on Roubini’s downcast views, saying, “the world is headed for dark times in the next 20 years.”

No wonder Dr Doom, who leapt to financial stardom by predicting an economic catastrophe in 2008, is now warning the world that the conflict between the United States and China is simmering – and surely not only in the area of economics.

However, the global situation is so frighteningly serious that it will most surely crescendo into a double-dip recession for a plethora of other factors as well as from the prevailing sentiments in the Pentagon predicting a forthcoming war with China.

We are living through truly turbulent times. There are countless politically crucial things happening globally that boggle the mind. If one remembers the events only this January when Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, visited Japan and Korea, one can sense, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “something rotten in the state of NATOstan”.

During the course of both fleeting visits, Stoltenberg pledged to foster bilateral relations due to the historic challenges that NATO is dealing with, such as the war in Ukraine. He went on to brag that NATO already has established liaison offices globally, the main ones in New York and Vienna, and particularly indicative is the one in Ukraine. At its foundation at the inception of the Cold War in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization comprised 12 nations set up at the behest of the U.S. The military bloc now comprises 31 members and is increasingly appointing itself with a global role.

As a reminder, NATO already has permanent liaison offices in the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. A proposed Japan office caused considerable commotion.

NATO claims to be based on the right of states to determine their own foreign policy and to exercise collective self-defense. Despite lofty claims of upholding “democratic values”, the U.S.-dominated military alliance has been strong-arming a number of countries to join without their populations exercising a democratic mandate by holding referenda.

NATO likes turning its alleged allies into geopolitical dwarves held at gunpoint, regardless of their size or geography. Claims by the military bloc – that opening a regional liaison office in East Asia is merely an indicator of changing global security environment – sound euphemistic.

Some political analysts have observed that if NATO meanders into Asian affairs it will likely bring Russia and China even closer together. Ironically, the expansionism of the U.S.-led military bloc brings with it self-fulfilling prophecies. The global insecurity it incessantly warns about is of its own perception and making.

Nevertheless, Beijing is fully aware that if NATO places its head in a crouching tiger’s mouth, then one day it might get bitten off.

NATO has already brutally provoked the war in Ukraine, yet now the U.S.-led military vehicle wants to expand to the Far East. Its solicitous focus on Japan is particularly alarming given the vile history of Japanese genocidal aggression toward China.

That is a toxic thorn for China stuck into Asia and it will be therefore pulled out, according to the Global Times. The news outlet can be seen as reflecting the thinking of the political leadership in Beijing. The Chinese are thus fully aware of NATO’s encroaching thorns and they will not be sleep walking into disaster.

The Global Times continued: “Japan should not forget that while the Meiji Restoration made it richer and stronger, it also brought about the Westernization of Japan and its policy of leaving Asia and entering Europe, which at one time made the desire for empire extremely strong. The madness of pursuing Asian hegemony and sphere of influence led it to become a militaristic war-mongering demon, which brought deep disaster to Asian countries.”

Moreover, the Global Times’ editorial warned: “Japan wants to introduce NATO into Asia for its security. However, Japan’s security can never be achieved by relying on the military support of the U.S. or NATO. In fact, the more closely Japan cooperates with the U.S. or NATO militarily, the less it will obtain the security it wants, and the less likely it will be able to change its image as a geo-strategic dwarf.”

Don’t you just love how Beijing is calling a NATO spade a spade? “The sewage of the Cold War,” is how the Global Times referred to the U.S.-led military bloc.

And all that comes in perfect unison with Moscow’s increasingly contemptuous views of NATO as a threat to world security.

Lest we forget, the United States has instigated the vast majority (80 per cent) of the 200 or so armed conflicts that are estimated to have occurred globally from the end of World War Two until 2001. If we include the post-9/11 decades up to the present, the American responsibility for global violence might be as high as 90-95 per cent. And this is for a nation whose population is only 4.25 per cent of the globe. How utterly nefarious and condemnable is that odious record?

Shall we now mention some significant military mathematics? The Economist reports on research comparing military power of the U.S. vs China. The U.S. military budget is four times bigger than that of China. But the Chinese Navy surpassed the U.S. Navy as the biggest in the world sometime around 2020. The Pentagon continues using euphemisms, such as it considers China a “pacing challenge”.

The dilemma that appears to exasperate Western military commanders is whether China can continue on the same path and expand its military capacity to challenge the U.S. hegemony, or whether China’s relative power might be reaching its peak. The shipbuilding industry requires exorbitant investment since it requires a booming industrial base. The dilemma for the U.S. is its economic stagnation and the number of its warships are declining, in contrast to a sharp increase in the number of Chinese ships.

As for the total number of military vessels from aircraft carriers to submarines, frigates and destroyers, China surpasses the U.S. by a ratio of 390:296. It is forecast that China will have 400 warships in the next two years whereas the number of American ones will decrease to around 290. The ones which have fallen into obsolescence are to be written off. The Chinese advantage stems from having the biggest shipbuilding industry in the world. Some 44 per cent of all the ships built worldwide in 2021 were from Chinese yards.

China and its military forces are currently fully focused on Taiwan whereas the U.S. forces are scattered around globally in over 800 bases owing to untenable hegemonic ambitions. China has pledged to reclaim Taiwan if necessary by force, so tensions are running high on both sides.

Time though works in Beijing’s favor.

In the long run, the situation will in all likelihood turn sour even more because NATO cannot stop its woeful warmongering and waging endless wars.

Also by this author

‘Nothing left’: Zelensky acknowledges loss of Bakhmut

May 21, 2023

Source: Agencies

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in the garden at Chequers, in Aylesbury, England, on May 15, 2023 (AP)

By Al Mayadeen English 

Russian troops successfully gained control over Bakhmut, and Zelensky acknowledges its loss.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emerged on Sunday to acknowledge Bakhmut’s defeat to the Russians, saying there was “nothing left” of the city.

When asked if Ukrainian soldiers were still holding out or if Russia had taken the city, Zelensky was evasive, saying only, “You have to understand there is nothing” there.

“For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”

Retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik that the Russian forces’ control over the important transport hub of Bakhmut on May 20 marks a critical turning point in the battle between Kiev and Moscow.

The liberation of Bakhmut demonstrates that Ukraine’s political leadership’s approach has failed, because what happened there will be directly blamed on Zelensky and his remaining cadre, Kwiatkowski said.

Russia’s victory in Bakhmut is significant “practically and symbolically,” she said. “In practical and strategic terms, control of the city in its entirety allows the start of rebuilding and normalization there for the people of the city, and real hope for the end of the [Bakhmut] “meat-grinder.” While Ukrainian forces may still attack the city from the west and north, the decision on who holds the city is in practical terms already decided, the former analyst for the US Department of Defense said.
For months, the besieged city of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) had been the hub of warfare between Russia and Ukraine. The hard-fought city was finally seized on May 20 by assault units of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC) and the Russian armed forces.

The fact that Russian troops proved to be highly successful in expelling the Ukrainian armed forces from Bakhmut points to a “decisive change along the dividing line between Ukraine and Russia”, Kwiatkowski explained.

The timing is critical in this case, since it occurred during or before the “anticipated” Ukrainian counteroffensive, she added. “Just as the Wagner Group returns east for rest and recuperation, the Ukrainian Army, both soldiers, and leadership, should be similarly returning “home” to rest and regroup. Clearly, the Ukrainian strategy to hold ever tinier portions of the city at a huge and disproportionate cost to its remaining military has failed,” Kwiatkowski said.

Read next: Former US Marine fighting alongside Ukrainian forces killed in Bakhmut

The fall of Bakhmut by Ukraine may also put a dent in the West’s thus far unwavering willingness to supply arms to Ukraine. “The decision in the West, in DC and Kiev, will need to be made – escalation into a direct NATO-Russia war, which will cost everyone and lead to catastrophe, or to cut losses, and settle the conflict so that the West can stop bleeding money and armaments, and start buying up the western part of Ukraine,” Kwiatkowski emphasized.
According to the analyst, Zelensky is increasingly behaving “as if he does not understand the reality of the situation.” “He acts like this loss will not be blamed by Ukrainians on his “leadership” and capabilities to deliver on his many promises. At best, he faces a blow to his credibility at home, and at worst he may not be able to return to Kiev safely from his current, and since the war started rare, overseas travel.”
As for the so-called collective West, it may use the liberation of Bakhmut as a sign that it is “time to settle,” Kwiatkowski said.

“With the complete fall of [Bakhmut], Zelensky’s usefulness to the West, and to his own people, has suddenly become very limited,” the Retired officer concluded.

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Ukraine Has Five Months to Impress US Before Being Pressured into Peace Talks

May 19, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

US media is reporting that Ukraine has five months to show demonstrable and significant gains or Western allies fear financial and military support from the US may wane and pressure will mount on the country to enter into peace negotiations.

US media reported on the matter, citing several senior European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The United States is entering an election cycle and it is important, one European official says, that the American public can be sold on the idea that the more than $113 billion in taxpayer aid given to Ukraine has been effective and “to prove that all of those aid packages have been successful in terms of Ukrainian advances.”

US officials contend that the current $48 billion package which was authorized last year, is enough to sustain Ukraine for roughly five more months, but European allies are concerned future aid packages from the US will come close to matching that level.

Nevertheless, earlier this month Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said his country needed more Western weapons before he could order the start of Ukraine’s much-hyped counter-offensive. He visited four NATO nations this week, Italy, Germany, France, and the UK, securing billions in more aid, but European support is still a fraction of what the US has been providing.

The US government has also hit its self-imposed debt ceiling, which has led to a debate on domestic spending. Some social programs may be cut in the negotiations, which would make selling aid packages to the American taxpayer even more difficult if Ukraine cannot be presented as a winning bet.

US President Joe Biden has, publicly at least, remained steadfast in his support for Ukraine. Before heading to the G7 Summit on Wednesday, a White House official said that “President Biden has been very clear about supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

However, Biden’s likely opponent in 2024, former President Donald Trump, said last week he didn’t think of the war “in terms of winning and losing,” and is instead focused on “getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.” He also would not commit to sending more aid packages and promised to end the war “in 24 hours.”

And there have been hints from other Republicans that support for Ukraine is not unlimited. While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy [R-CA] said he will “continue to support” aid to Ukraine, he also said previously that it won’t come in the form of a “blank check.”

Support among the American public for Ukraine has also been slipping. Polls have shown support as low as 48% in January and while other polls have had that number over 50% in more recent months, it is still far from last summer when 73% of Americans supported military aid to Ukraine.

Without significant gains by the Ukrainian armed forces, it is unlikely that trend will reverse itself.

“If we get to September and Ukraine has not made significant gains, then the international pressure on [the West] to bring them to negotiations will be enormous,” one official said.

Both the UN General Assembly and G20 summit take place in September. Both events would represent an opportunity to get both sides to the negotiating table.

Several countries have offered to act as mediators, including China, Brazil and Turkey, but Zelensky has rejected mediation since the beginning of the conflict when Ukraine pulled out of negotiations mediated by Turkey. On Saturday, he rejected another offer from Pope Francis for mediation.

But much of Ukraine’s sustained capabilities depend on Western support, and another European official said they “can’t keep the same level of assistance forever,” though he felt another year or two may be possible.

America gives Ukraine 5 months before cutting support, disrupting its access to the F-16, and strikes targeting the Crimean railways
379 _ A radioactive cloud from the detonation of depleted uranium missile stores in Ukraine and the completion of control over Bakhmut

عقيدة الروس القتالية في أوكرانيا ومطحنة عتاد الناتو

الأربعاء 17 أيار 2023

محمد صادق الحسيني

منذ أن أنجز الروس مهمتهم الأساسية في العملية الخاصة في أوكرانيا بتحرير الدونباس بمحافظاته الأربع ذات الأكثرية الروسية، وهم يقاتلون بأسلوب بديع وفريد… إذ يحصرون القتال في مربعات صغيرة، يطوّقونها ويحاصروها ثم يحرّرونها قطعة قطعة، وهم يستدرجون أسلحة وعتاد الناتو الى تلك المربعات ليدفنوها في أرض أوكرانيا بأقلّ الخسائر البشرية وبأقلّ حجم من الأعتدة والأسلحة الثقيلة من طرفهم.

هكذا يعملون منذ أشهر في باخموت (حلب أوكرانيا)، وكذلك يفعلون في سائر المناطق التي يستطلعونها بأنها غاية نهائية لذخيرة وعتاد وأسلحة لدول وجيوش ومرتزقة الناتو.

واحدة من أهمّ العمليات وأخطرها وأدقّها، كانت في مدينة خليمنيتسكي.
وتعقيباً على قيام الجيش الروسي أخيراً بتدمير أضخم مستودع ذخيره في أوكرانيا، افاد مصدر خاص بما يلي:

أولا ـ إنّ هذا المستودع، الواقع غرب مدينة خليمينتسكي، يقع ضمن منطقة عسكرية كبيرة جداً وكان يحتوي على ما مجموعه: اثنين وخمسين ألف قذيفة مدفعية، من عيار 155 ملم، تحتوي على مادة اليورانيوم المنضب، قامت الولايات المتحده بتزويد أوكرانيا بها خلال الأشهر الثلاثة الماضية.

ثانيا ـ تمّ قصف هذا المستودع بصواريخ بعيدة المدى وعالية الدقه، مما أدّى الى إزالته عن وجه الأرض تماماً، إضافةً الى منشآت عسكرية أخرى قريبةً منه.

ثالثا ـ يظهر من الفيديوات المرفقة، التي نشرها موقع: ذي وور زون الأميركي المتخصّص بالشؤون العسكرية والأمنية، ان كتلة اللهب والدخان، الناجمة عن انفجار المستودع، قد صعدت بشكل عمودي ثم تحوّلت تدريجياً الى شكل قرص من الفطر، وهو الشكل التقليديّ المعروف للتفجيرات النووية.

رابعاـ كان من المفترض، حسب خطط غرفة عمليات حلف شمال الأطلسي في العاصمة البولندية وارسو، المخصصة لإدارة العمليات العسكرية في أوكرانيا، أن يجري نقل هذه الذخائر لألوية مدفعية الميدان الأوكرانية، المعدّة لتغطية قاطع جبهتي زاباروجيا وخيرسون، حيث كان من المفترض أن يتركز الجهد الأطلسي الرئيسي على هاتين الجبهتين، لمحاولة قطع التواصل البري بين روسيا وشبه جزيرة القرم، وربما عبور القوات الأوكرانية لحدود شبه الجزيره الشمالية والشمالية الشرقية.

خامسا ـ شكلت هذه الضربة الصاروخية الاستراتيجية، ضدّ القدرات التسليحية الأطلسية في أوكرانيا، ضربة قصمت ظهر جنرالات الأطلسي، الذين أشرفوا على عمليات حشد الأسلحة والذخائر والقوات الضرورية، لتنفيذ الهجوم المُشار إليه أعلاه، تحت إشراف غرفة العمليات المذكوره آنفاً إضافة الى غرفة عمليات متقدّمة، مقرّها مدينة لفوف الواقعة غرب أوكرانيا قرب الحدود البولندية وغرفة عمليات ميدانية، مقرّها مدينة نيكولاييڤ، التي لا تبعد عن خطوط الجبهة سوى ما يقارب عشرين كيلومتراً.

سادسا ـ وهذا يعني أنّ الجيش الروسي قد قضى نهائياً والى غير رجعة، على اية احتمالات لتنفيذ الجيش الأوكراني عمليات هجومية، ربما كانت تهدف الى تغيير موازين القوى في الميدان. الأمر الذي يعني حسماً استراتيجياً، لنتيجة المواجهة الروسية مع حلف الأطلسي على ارض أوكرانيا، دون ان تخسر القوات المسلحة الروسية جندياً واحداً او قطعة سلاح واحدة، مع ما يعنيه ذلك من تداعيات على خطط حلفها الأطلسي، بقيادة واشنطن، على الصعيد الاستراتيجي الدولي.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

فيديوات ذات صلة

المسائية | حرب روسيا وأوكرانيا إلى مزيد من التصعيد
انتقام بوتين ! تدمير منظومة باتريوت في اوكرانيا بعد خداعها بالصواريخ الروسية واموال اوكرانيا تنفذ

مقالات ذات صلة

Ukraine trap; EU stuck in old era as Global South crafts multipolarity

May 2 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Hussein Assaf 

Europe must accept the fact that the world today is no longer the Western playground and that the growing anti-hegemonic sentiment among nations is irreversible.

It’s important to emphasize that Europe was not a victim in the current world order run by Washington, but rather a participant. Its contributions were destructive, filled with colonialism, theft, dismantling, and murder of nations that directly led to corruption, poverty, and injustice worldwide.

Europe’s bloody history

Despite Europe joining the global financial systems established by the US in the 20th century, such as the IMF and World Bank, the continent has used these tools to deepen its colonialism and expansion policies towards countries worldwide. It has even leveraged its position with bodies like the UN and UNSC to exploit weaker states and enforce its hegemonic agendas, including wealth looting and proxy wars against rivals politically and economically. 

However, the rise of the Global South in recent years has allowed its nations to counter the hegemonic exploitation of international bodies by funneling their resources into their economies to advance in the new world order. By engaging with the Western coalition while shielding themselves from their malicious agendas, these nations can benefit in the long run. 

Post-WW2 world order

After World War II, the United States emerged as an unrivaled superpower, untouched by the catastrophic destruction of the war and claiming a barely earned victory. Between 1944 and 1949, milestone events secured the unipolar order under the US and placed the EU under Washington’s direct influence for decades to come.

Bretton Woods in 1944 established the USD as the global reserve and trade currency, while the Marshall Plan in 1945 provided funding to Western European countries that agreed to follow America’s dictates to rehabilitate and rebuild their infrastructure and industrial capabilities (note that the plan’s funds were used to purchase American goods). 

The establishment of the IMF and World Bank enforced the new world monetary and financial system crafted by Washington. The Truman Doctrine finally ensured that Western Europe became a follower of Washington’s foreign policies. 

Establishing NATO, a war coalition under Washington’s direct control, was the highlight of that period. It served the interests of the United States and ensured that Europe did not attempt to create a sovereign military power but rather relied on the US for protection. 

The final blows to Europe’s industrial complex in the 20th century were the Nixon Shock in 1971, where the bloc’s member states found themselves stuck with paper notes whose value was solely determined by Washington, and in 1974 when the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed to peg oil to the USD – establishing the petrodollar. This meant that Europe’s access to the world’s largest energy reserve was now controlled by Washington. 

The petrodollar required Europe to maintain an abundance of USD reserves for oil purchases, resulting in increased investment in American treasury bonds and currency inflow to US markets. Despite partnering with the US in its bloody crusades over the past decades, the EU’s interests were not taken into consideration by Washington. 

The US has used its European allies as tools in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the destruction of Libya and Syria, and relations with the Arab world (the world’s richest energy region). Although Europe faced similar political and public backlash, it was the US that acquired the real strategic interests. 

Disregarding the changed world we live in, the EU continues to live under a WW2 mentality. 

Despite warnings against militarily provoking Russia, the EU doubled down on the American-NATO illusion that being the strongest military coalition worldwide guarantees inevitable victory, and using force to impose the West’s worldview remains a viable option. 

Self-destructive tendencies

After years of Russia sending signals and after many world vocal warnings, including from prominent Western figures like Kissinger, regarding NATO’s eastward expansion, European member states made the same mistake and adopted Washington’s doctrine on Moscow, leading to a conflict with Russia. Despite the historic failure of this approach, EU leaders repeatedly attempted to humiliate Russia and publicly claimed that the West aimed to bring Moscow to its knees since the beginning of the war in Ukraine until recently. 

The conflict with Russia has deeper repercussions on the EU than just preventing mutually beneficial trade ties that would put both economies on a trajectory of development and growth. The United States aims to fight against the growing Global South, with China at the top, and to cut off any attempts by its European allies to further integrate with Asia’s rising powers.

Following the start of the war in Ukraine, Europe not only faced energy shortages, while US energy companies continued to extract oil from Iraq, Syria, and Libya but also realized how Washington was profiting from the very war they had incited. They were overcharged for LNG at three to four times the price sold within the domestic US market, which itself impacted their major industry’s capabilities to continue production.

On the other hand, the US led an international campaign to force its European allies mainly to adopt a price cap on Russian oil. But despite Washington’s push for this bill, Americans themselves were not affected nor were they directly part of the pressure campaign in Moscow, mainly since they did not rely on Russian oil, and with the petrodollar in place, it did not matter how much the EU paid for oil, as the currency used would go back to US banks. 

Soon, Europe, left alone after countries such as Japan did not abide by the price cap, found that it still had to buy Russian Urals but with additional middlemen fees through countries such as India.

The EU witnessed firsthand the US tearing down their economies, which are under increased levels of deindustrialization, with industry giants moving to the US for lower energy prices and a more business-friendly environment crafted by Washington to lure companies mainly from its European allies.

As a result, Europe found itself seeking energy from African nations that it had previously colonized and destroyed. EU officials scrambled through countries like Algeria and Libya to secure gas and oil. 

As the world order shifts towards a more multipolar one with a center of gravity shifting towards China, Europe has begun to become aware that the US-led model that has dominated the world order for decades has not brought the desired outcome for the bloc. Despite benefiting immorally from genocidal campaigns and being America’s partner in crime, Europe’s gains were short-lived. 

With a history of self-destructive tendencies and after years of psycho-preparation and media propaganda, Europe was politically and economically prepared to repeat its historic mistakes in its approach to Russia and later to China.

The West quickly convinced its public that the rivalry with Russia was ideological and existential, that joining NATO and dropping neutrality (as with Finland and Sweden) was the only secure way to protect against the demons of the East, and that China is at the core of everything against the neoliberal values of the West.

Inevitable Multipolar world order 

During a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on April 18, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde noted that the world is becoming more multipolar, with a fragmentation of the global economy into competing blocs. 

Lagarde stated that this new “global map” would have “first-order implications,” with the possibility of two blocs emerging, led by China and the US.

On many levels, Lagarde’s statement hits the core of the current world state of affairs.

The US reintroduced the political bloc mentality on a wider scale through the proxy war in Ukraine, pulling all its strings and employing all its accumulated influence to focus its power on obstructing a Eurasian uprising and realigning Europe’s foreign policy towards dismantling connections with China and Russia.

The post-WW2 era, characterized by bloc politics pushed by the US, is no longer feasible in the current period of deep integration, interest overlaps, and political complexity established by globalization, advanced trading networks, financial intertwining, and complementary production needs.

The West’s expansion of NATO forces to Russia’s border, followed by Moscow’s campaign to protect its national security, has put the global change on a pedestal.

The fallout of the Western-Russian war in Ukraine and the historic barrage of sanctions against Moscow has led to the fracturing of the financial system, and exposed the fragility of the West’s proclaimed “rules-based international world order”.

During an event hosted at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies last January to discuss the current state of world powers, the editor-in-chief of the Beijing Cultural Review (BCR) said that the fallout of the Western-Russian war in Ukraine led to events that could have never been imagined earlier.

“These [events] include the fracturing of the financial system, the expropriation and seizure of Russian private assets, and the freezing of Russian foreign exchange reserves. These are all abominable and unimaginable forms of confrontation,” Yang Ping said in his speech.

“The world is moving inexorably in the direction of decoupling. The phenomenon of politics affecting the economy and the capitalist political order no longer upholding the capitalist economic order is extremely striking.”

If not for the war in Ukraine, Ping’s statement regarding the world taking shape would have been shunned by Western experts as an illusion or merely a forecast, but now, and thanks to the West’s undivided efforts, the world is moving inexorably towards decoupling, and the phenomenon of politics affecting the economy is becoming strikingly apparent; a world with limited Western hegemony is on track to becoming an irreversible reality.

Europe’s amputated foreign policy

In recent months, top EU leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock have visited China amid rising global tensions.

Their visits aimed to balance relations between the US and China as Washington’s hostility towards Beijing escalated, its sanctions against the Asian giant increased, and its provocative actions in the South China Sea intensified.

Macron’s visit, in particular, was noteworthy, as it seemed to reassure China of Europe’s distinct position from Washington’s policies against Asian giants. Despite announcing that the main reason for his visit was to push Beijing against arming Russia and push Moscow to end the war, behind the scenes, Macron’s visit aimed to assert Europe’s position.

He stated that Europe should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren’t ours and that the government must build a “third pole.”

“We must be clear where our views overlap with the US, but whether it’s about Ukraine, relations with China, or sanctions, we have a European strategy,” the French leader said then.

“We don’t want to get into a bloc versus bloc logic.”

At first, many European leaders publicly announced or hinted at their support for Macron’s move, considering it a positive approach to their largest trading partner.

But later, some European leaders expressed their rejection of his statements, the most blatant of which was the finance minister in Scholz’s government, Christian Lindner, who said that Macron’s “Idea of strategic autonomy of the European Union,” is “naïve.” Of course, the statement was not objected to by the German Chancellor, signaling that the minister has also voiced Scholz’s opinion.

Following Lindner’s remarks, and after von der Leyen reaffirmed the bloc’s neutral position on the Taiwan Strait issue provoked by the US during an EU parliamentary hearing on April 18, Manfred Weber, who helms the Parliament’s largest group, the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), accused Macron of “destroying” European unity with his trip to China, and that the French president “weakened the EU” and “made clear the great rift within the European Union in defining a common strategic plan against Beijing.”

To counter Macron’s position that the Taiwan issue is not a European concern, Weber also compared the matter to the war going on in Ukraine from Washington’s perspective.

“We shouldn’t be surprised if Washington starts asking whether Ukraine is a European issue,” Weber said. The question they may ask, he warned: “Why should American taxpayers do so much to defend Ukraine?”

His comments, of course, are nothing but shortsighted and delusional, given that the war in Ukraine was created and pushed forward by the US’ decades-long policies on NATO’s take against Russia.

From an outside observer, the contradicting statements – while also taking into account that the bloc members are dividing roles – can only be described as a political mess, a loss of strategic planning, and entails that the union is currently lacking the tools to form a united framework to establish a basis to approach the Global South as a whole, and especially China.

Is the EU’s policy being molded by an actual comprehensive overview of the world’s geopolitical shifts, or is it being dictated by a handful of US pawns that have served nothing but American hawks since they took office?

Blind Economic outlook as bloc 

The disunity in Europe extends beyond just their political approach to China, as trade policies with their largest business partner also show division. 

In 2020, China and the EU agreed on a trade framework, eliminating Chinese restrictions on European companies and investments in China. However, the deal was put on hold after the bloc sanctioned Beijing for alleged human rights abuses and China responded with sanctions of its own.

Just under two weeks after Macron’s and von der Leyen’s trip to China, the EU leaders said that they consider the deal with China as not applicable anymore, following the events since it was reached in 2020.

“We started negotiations around about 10 years ago and concluded the comprehensive agreement on investment two years ago. A lot has happened since then,” she said, adding that Europe’s “position is that we do have to reassess the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment,” she said earlier in April.

On his part, Macron considered that the agreement today is “less urgent,” and “just not practicable”.

On the other hand, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz lately has been pushing for “reactivating” the agreement and considered it was time to reinstate the deal and put it back on track.

It is understandable that this dynamic is not unusual between world powers, especially at a time when the globe is witnessing historic geopolitical shifts, and it is definitely not unusual considering that the American influence across Europe and its leaders is still very significant, and Washington’s sanctions sword is constantly raised against its allies.

However, the lack of a united foreign policy within the bloc may negatively impact its position in the emerging multipolar world order and lead to the weakening or collapse of the union. Europe’s incomplete and fragile relations with growing global pillars, especially China and the emerging Global South, may also be observed from Beijing’s perspective.

Losing post-WW2 against Global South 

Europe’s lack of clear foreign policy extends beyond its position on China, as it also pertains to the US’s declared soft war on the Asian giant. 

For decades, Brussels relied on the assumption of a long-term realm by Washington as the unipolar power, which led the bloc to neglect sustainable and strong relations with the Global South.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the Global South has made unexpected, unprecedented moves, guided by the goal of forming sovereign policies that are far from Western hegemony led by Washington. They declared historic political shifts, leading to the formation of a new and influential world pillar in the multipolar era.

Protectionist economic policies, accompanied by subsidization, act for vital sectors like electric vehicles and batteries.

More systems (such as BRICS and SCO) and countries are growing monetary bodies and alternative trade frameworks to those dominated and influenced directly by the United States. It has become clear that political global organizations such as the UNSC and the UN, which were long exploited by Washington and its European allies to extend their hegemony and colonialism, are slowly losing more relevance and impact on the global arena.

On April 16, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in an interview with CNN, said that the United States economic sanctions imposed on Russia and other nations have put the dollar’s hegemony at risk as targeted countries seek out an alternative.

“There is a risk when we use financial sanctions that are linked to the role of the dollar that over time it could undermine the hegemony of the dollar,” she said then.

Financial global institutions and systems such as the IMF, World Bank, and SWIFT, are gradually declining as de-dollarization proceeds and countries are finding alternatives to bypass the West’s complete influence, including mutual lending and local currency trade, sovereign projects, in addition to domestic SWIFT alternatives such as China’s CIPS, Russia’s SFPS, and Iran’s SEPAM, to name some.

The movement today is driven by Beijing along with other powers including Brazil, India,  Russia, Iran, and South Africa, among others.

Despite all signs in previous years of the emergence of the new geopolitical reality, Europe failed to form appropriate policies and outline a vision to engage and adapt to these drastic global shifts, nor did it take advantage of some of the outcomes that fall into its interest, such as de-dollarization and the end of the petrodollar. Instead, Europe insisted on following Washington’s agenda, further sidelining its world influence.


On March 10, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic relations and reopen missions after seven years of strained ties. 

Talks were brokered in Beijing under the auspices of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Western role, especially that of Washington, in inciting dispute and rift between the two nations was criminal, leading to tens of thousands of deaths, mass destruction, displacement of hundreds of thousands, and feelings of hate among the people of the region.

China managed in just a few months to achieve what the United Nations and other international political bodies failed to do, marking Beijing’s first public political approach to the Middle East. The Beijing-brokered rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh reveals Europe’s falling influence in the region and the growing tendency of countries to sideline the West in bilateral issues. It also highlights China’s rise as a peace-bringing and key power in the region.

Oppressed nations rejoice 

Europe’s centuries-long history of producing global superpowers makes it a hybrid bloc with a combined cultural, political, social, economic, and institutional maturity that can quickly adapt to world geopolitical shifts and overcome emerging challenges. 

However, it can be argued that the current world challenges are unprecedented, especially with the concept of globalization and the world’s interconnectedness.

Europe today has limited options that require a new approach and view of the world, with a humble and realistic policy that acknowledges the end of its hegemony and the adoption of sovereignty and mutual respect in bilateral relations.

The EU must also accept that the world is no longer a Western playground and that anti-hegemonic sentiment among nations is irreversible in a multipolar world. Regardless of Europe’s decisions, oppressed nations are watching the declining global influence of the colonial bloc with joy.

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Clown Prince Zelensky’s Charge of the Light-Headed Brigade into Crimea

April 29, 2023

Declan Hayes

As long as Anglo-American war profiteers continue to enjoy their safe havens in Western Europe and the U.S., we will never see an end to their crimes.

Ukrainian coke-head Clown Prince Zelensky imagines his lemmings are re-fighting the 1853-1856 Crimean war, where Sir Colin Campbell’s 93rd Highlanders famously gave us the “thin red line” (nice painting, Robert Gibb) of gallant Scots slaughtering the Orthodox Christian hordes, where Lord Raglan’s Light Brigade famously charged the wrong Russian guns (nice poem, Lord Tennyson) and where Florence Nightingale (Fleet Street’s Lady with the Lamp) made a name for herself comforting the dying Tommies the Famine Queen doomed to death in Crimea.

Though Crimea is no stranger to bloodshed, all battles fought there seem to have been akin to those of Stalingrad on a bad day. When the Reds overran Crimea’s Whites in the Russian Civil War, they had a five to one advantage and they attacked from over the shallow marshes dividing Crimea from the rest of Russia, an option Zelensky’s lemmings do not have.

When Hitler’s Army Group South captured Crimea, they had the help of the Italian navy and Dora, the giant Schwerer Gustav railway gun. Although the Crimean peninsula witnessed some of the heaviest fighting of the entire Eastern Front during the eight months it took the Soviets to boot out Hitler’s Army Group South, that ferocious fighting and huge loss of life should still be a factor for Zelensky’s doomed Army Group South to ponder, even though they march not to Hitler’s drum, but to that of Zelensky’s own candy man.

Although this excellent article summarises that and other Crimean battles, its main contribution is it tells us that this pending Crimean battle is, like all Crimean battles before it, not about the integrity of Zelensky’s artificial Ukrainian rump Reich but about controlling the Crimean peninsula so as to control the Black Sea and entry to the Bosporus Straits.

When looked at through that more sober strategic vista, Zelensky is just a coked-up NATO bit player. Whether it is plagiarising Churchill or King Henry V for the British Parliament, or aping Stalin’s Order 227 ordering his rump Reich’s lemmings to fight to the last man, Zelensky’s role is to parrot the lines his candy men give him and nothing more. Though this former porno actor is not a serious player, his collaboration with the Banderites has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians and, for that, he and his wife should pay, just as Mussolini and his mistress paid. That said, they are but well-paid bit players in this Russo-Ukrainian tragedy and are of no major strategic consequence.

In the unlikely event Zelensky’s Army Group South were to capture Sevastopol, then Russia’s Black Sea fleet would be permanently neutralised and the Russian Navy would effectively only be left with Vladivostok, Murmansk and the Baltic. As NATO’s Army Group North is upping the ante to a nuclear showdown around the Kola peninsula and, as Army Group Centre, spear-headed by Warsaw’s day dreamers, wants to restore the former glories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Eastern Europe, Murmansk and the Baltic included, are in for a very bumpy ride.

And all for what? Certainly not for Ukraine, whose people are already sick of their coke-addled puppet President. The goal is to box Russia in from Crimea in the South up to Kola in the Arctic and to thereby reduce Russia to a giant quarry for Uncle Sam and his fellow-pirates to pillage.

It would be a simple, daring and, perhaps, even perfect plan if it did not have one central flaw. Russians have proved themselves, time and again, masters at defensive warfare and nowhere more so than in Crimea, which is the penultimate goal of Army Group South.

Should Zelensky’s lemmings move on Crimea, Russian naval and land artillery will turn the Perekop Isthmus into a lake of Ukrainian blood, an unrelenting fire-zone where everything that moves dies. Ukrainian troops attacking over the Syvash during low tide will find themselves isolated when the tide comes back in with the non-stop incoming Russian artillery and rocket fire they’ll have to contend with making Lord Raglan’s Light Brigade Charge look like a master class in military genius.

As an amphibious or airborne assault are both logistically impossible without major NATO input along the lines of D Day, the Perekop Isthmus and the Syvash are Crimea’s only two vulnerable points, if indeed they are really vulnerable.

Though NATO’s goal is to control the Black Sea, just as its previous goals included taking control of the Yalu River, the Ho Chi Minh trail and Helmand Province, the really tangible goal is again just to milk the Western tax-payer by gathering funding, material & manpower to slaughter Russian children, Korean children, Vietnamese children, Afghan children or whomever else it is who happens to be in the way of these serial mass murderers.

Though Zelensky and his wife have serious fraud and other cases to answer for, neither they nor the putative leaders of Army Group South are the main culprits in all of this. That honour belongs to Joe Biden, the Big Guy and the arms and Big Pharma companies he and his whole stinking family are in hock to. Consider this recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI), showing that Europe’s military expenditure saw its sharpest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years and that total global military expenditure has reached a new, unprecedented height of $2.24 trillion, with the Yanks taking up the lion’s share of that colossal amount. What this means in plain English is that not only Zelensky but Crooked Joe Biden and the other gangsters of the British and American regimes are coining it, just as they did in all their other previous money-making wars.

Whether we are talking about Crimea, Murmansk, the Black Sea or the Straits of Taiwan, NATO’s goal remains the same one of controlling the world’s choke points and sea lanes to extract rents that are not their due.

Although the High Commands of Russia, China and NATO are undoubtedly aware of all this, the real question is what can be done about it. As the war mongering Economist magazine has kindly informed us that Russia exchanged 60 Su-35 aircraft with Iran for several thousand kamikaze drones, the Iranians are certainly making their own considerable contribution to bringing peace to Europe.

But what of China, The Economist and ourselves? Could China not sail a peace-seeking flotilla of its modern war ships into the Black Sea on the same pretext that little Germany uses to send its spy ships to the Chinese coast because Josep Borell (a Barcelona waiter who plays a double act with Forest Gump doppelganger Ursula von der Leyen), asked them to? And what of The Economist and NATO’s other media outlets, who continue to cleanse themselves of all dissenting voices? NATO’s recent media scalps have included Tucker Carlson, today’s right-wing equivalent of Phil Donahue, whom NATO filleted for opposing their Iraqi genocide. And, though they are big fish, the little fish have not been forgotten either. The CIA have arrested members of obscure African-American groups for being Putin agents (Assad apologists are last year’s fashion) and the Germans have, as previously discussed, put a bounty out on citizen journalist Alina Lipp and her family. Stopping Russian journalists accompanying Lavrov to the United Nations is, of course, par for the course as all one can expect from these CIA pigs is an ignorant grunt.

Although Army Group South has not got a hope in hell of over-running Crimea, it will, together with Army Group North and Army Group Centre, achieve a number of key NATO objectives. They will keep Russia under pressure, they will further emasculate Central and Western Europe, they will make a ton of money for Joe Mr Big Guy Biden and his ilk and Hollywood and the media will have a great and lucrative time spinning all of this and promising more of the same star-spangled hypocrisy to their tens of millions of gullible customers.

Perhaps things were much the same when the Tauri, the Scythians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines all, so long ago, jostled over this part of Russia. Who, bar the ancient historians, is to know? And who is to care as a gang of American draft dodgers are set to bring more misery on Europe not only through this revamped Army Group South, but through Army Group North and Army Group Centre as well.? Although the hope of the civilised world has to be that the forces of Belarus and Russia will prevail, as long as these Anglo-American war profiteers continue to enjoy their safe havens in Western Europe and the United States, we will never see an end to their crimes, not in Crimea, not in the Black Sea nor anywhere else under our common canopy.


The U.S. Proxy War Against Russia & China Is Increasingly Seen Globally As A Disaster Made By American And NATO Lies

April 28, 2023


The proxy war in Ukraine is an imperialist adventure that has been financially ruinous, has destroyed Ukraine, and is driving a dangerous all-out war with Russia and China that could turn into a nuclear armageddon.

It has become patently obvious to the world that the conflict in Ukraine is a dirty and desperate geopolitical confrontation, despite massive Western media efforts to portray it as something else more noble – the usual charade of chivalry and virtue to disguise naked Western imperialism.

The death and destruction in Ukraine is nothing but a proxy war by the United States and its NATO partners to defeat Russia in a strategic gambit. But the unspoken objective does not end with Russia. The U.S. and its Western imperialist lackeys are driven to push for confrontation with China too.

As if taking on Russia is not reckless enough! The Western powers want to double down on their warmongering with China. This is all because the underlying impetus is for Washington and its Western minions to promote U.S.-led dominance of the global order. Russia and China are the main obstacles to that path of would-be dominance, and hence we see this manic drive for aggression stemming from Washington, the executive power of the Western order.

It should be obvious that while the U.S.-led NATO axis has stoked the war in Ukraine to calamitous heights, this same axis is wantonly inciting tensions with China. This observation alone should be enough to condemn the criminality of Western powers.

This week saw the NATO powers deliver depleted uranium weapons to the Kiev regime, while the United States announced that it would be docking submarine nuclear warheads in South Korea, a move that infuriated China which pointed out that Washington was violating decades-old commitments to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Of course, such perverse provocation is par for the course as far as Washington is concerned. It is done deliberately in a conscious effort to exacerbate tensions and escalate militarism. Peace and security are anathemas to the U.S. (and its minions) whose whole ideological raison d’être is to aggravate war to gratify corporate capitalist addiction – a system that is increasingly bankrupt and dysfunctional, and hence the insane desperation for craving “war-fixes”.

In a scathing speech to the United Nations Security Council this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserted that the conflict in Ukraine cannot be properly resolved without an understanding of the geopolitical context. In other words, the war in the former Soviet republic which erupted last February has bigger causes than what the Western powers and their compliant news media would try to pretend otherwise.

Defense of Ukraine? Defense of democracy? Defense of international law? Defense of national sovereignty? These are some of the laughable claims made by Washington and its allies. One only has to consider the decades of total trashing of the UN Charter and democratic principles by the United States and its rogue partners in their pursuit of criminal wars to realize that their virtue-signaling over Ukraine is a vile joke.

Lavrov’s address to the Security Council was a stunning rebuke of the hypocrisy and criminality of the United States, Britain, France, Germany and other NATO powers, as well as the European Union. His speech was akin to the scene in the classic old movie The Wizard of Oz when the curtain was pulled back on the buffoonish villain for all to see. Any objective observer would agree with the Russian foreign minister’s excoriating survey of modern history and why the war in Ukraine has tragically manifested. Lamentably, if we fail to understand history and the real causes of conflicts, then we are condemned to repeat the horrors.

Ironically, Western leaders have at times revealed the bigger geopolitical agenda with their own misspoken arrogant words. U.S. President Joe Biden had previously blurted out a call for regime change in Moscow while his senior aides, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, have succumbed to the intoxication of their narcissism and hubris by saying that the purpose of the war in Ukraine is the “defeat of Russia”.

Other NATO senior figures, such as the stupid, conceited Polish leaders and their Baltic buddies, have also come out and stated that the war’s ulterior agenda is to vanquish Russia. The fascist skeletons of their Nazi-collusion past have resurrected their deathly rattles, uncontrollably.

As Lavrov’s address to the Security Council intimates, the systematic violation of the UN Charter by the United States and its Western partners is a deplorable continuation of the Nazi fascism and imperialist barbarism that was supposed to have been defeated in World War Two. The culmination of the constant, unbridled Western imperialist criminality and its state terrorism is the current war in Ukraine and the growing aggression toward China over Taiwan as a pretext.

In all of this, woefully, the Western public has been flagrantly lied to by their governments and media as to the real nature of the war in Ukraine. American and European citizens have been bilked for hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up a Nazi regime in Kiev whose function is to act as a NATO spear-tip against Russia, and ultimately China when the NATO powers feel they are done with Ukraine. (The latter is a futile ambition, as is becoming increasingly evident.)

Journalists and antiwar activists in the West who highlight the malfeasance over Ukraine are either sacked, vilified, censored, or sanctioned into poverty, or even imprisoned.

Nevertheless, the Western public and the rest of the world are increasingly becoming aware of the odious charade. By definition, charades are inevitably untenable.

The Global South – the majority of the 193 nations at the UN – has had it with Western capitalist hegemony and its outrageous neocolonialist privileges. The incremental dumping of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency for trade is a testament to the historic shift towards a multipolar order in defiance of Western unipolar elitism. The nations of Africa, Latin America and Asia understand that the U.S.-led NATO war in Ukraine is a desperate last-ditch bid to preserve an imperialist global order which should have been eradicated after World War Two with the establishment of the United Nations, but which, regrettably, was not. Because the root cause of imperialism is the AngloAmerican-led Western capitalist order. The end of World War Two, as with World War One, was but a pause in the historical killing machine.

It is now increasingly evident in the light of leaked documents from the Pentagon that the war in Ukraine is a disaster. The Kiev regime is facing defeat at the hands of superior Russian forces even though that regime has been flooded with weapons by the United States and NATO. Great expectations of a Ukrainian victory that were widely predicted by Western leaders and media have been shown to be empty, contemptible lies.

The side-show of this war is a gargantuan racket. Western arms companies have raked in unprecedented profits, while the NATO-backed cabal in Kiev has skimmed off hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the same Kiev regime that is burning down Orthodox Christian churches, exterminating the Russian language, lionizing World War Two Nazi criminals, and locking up any critical opposition and media.

But the main takeaway is the lies that the United States and Western lackeys, including the entire media industry, have been telling about the proxy war in Ukraine. This war is an imperialist adventure that has been financially ruinous, has destroyed Ukraine, and is driving a dangerous all-out war with Russia and China that could turn into a nuclear armageddon.

We should not be surprised by such blatant lying and deception. President Joe Biden and his administration have been telling barefaced lies to conceal the corruption oozing out of Biden’s own family. Biden and his son Hunter have exploited Ukraine since the CIA-backed coup in Kiev in 2014 for personal enrichment. The president has even reportedly got his senior aides to do his bidding to censor intelligence agencies and media from revealing to the public the corruption at the heart of his family. (Risibly, the truth is smeared as Russian or Chinese disinformation!)

The lies that Biden and his administration tell about personal corruption are indelibly coupled with the lies told about the proxy war in Ukraine.

It is increasingly clear that the American public, the European public, and the rest of the world have been duped in multiple ways. The phony war in Ukraine is exposing the deep, stinking well of corruption in this White House. There will be hell to pay.

Leaked Pentagon Docs Say Russia Can Keep Funding Ukraine War Despite Sanctions

A US assessment says Russia’s economic elite will likely not withdraw their support for Putin

by Dave DeCamp 

Leaked US military documents show the US believes Russia will be able to continue funding its war in Ukraine for at least another year despite Western sanctions, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The assessments were part of a trove of documents allegedly released by Jack Teixeira, an Air National guardsman who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted for the leaks.

According to the Post, the leaked documents show that Russia’s economic elite are unlikely to withdraw support for Russian President Vladimir Putin even if they don’t agree entirely on the actions in Ukraine and have taken a hit from US sanctions.

“Moscow is relying on increased corporate taxes, its sovereign wealth fund, increased imports and businesses adaptability to help mitigate economic pressures,” the assessment reads.

The Post said the documents are marked with a code that suggests the intelligence was gathered by intercepting private conversations held by Russians on limiting the impact of sanctions.

While Russia’s economy took a major hit from Western sanctions, Moscow’s efforts to shield itself from the US-led economic campaign has kept its currency strong and allowed energy exports to keep flowing.

In the early days of the invasion, President Biden bragged that sanctions turned the Russian ruble into “rubble,” but it quickly bounced back and was one of the strongest-performing currencies of 2022. The ruble is currently at similar levels to how it was performing before the invasion.

Russia has also found new markets for its oil in Asia, and its oil revenue has continued to soar despite the G7’s attempts to place a price cap on Russian crude. The US is pushing other G7 nations to agree on new sanctions that would ban all exports to Russia but is facing pushback from the EU and Japan.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave. 

The historic US-Saudi relationship cannot bounce back

April 25 2023

US imports of Saudi oil are at historic lows, Chinese purchases of Saudi oil continue to grow, and Russian-Saudi energy interests have fully converged. If it’s ‘all about the economy,’ then Saudi-US ties may never quite recover.


By Mohammad Hasan Sweidan

“Our allies in the Gulf no longer honor the deal that was made decades ago even though we still have a big physical military presence in the Gulf, bigger than ever before, and we keep giving Gulf nations a pass on human rights violations. Too often our Middle East allies act in conflict with our security interests.”

– Chairman of the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism of Committee on Foreign Relations in the US Senate, Senator Chris Murphy, July 2022.

The war in Ukraine and the intensification of Great Power competition have cast a shadow over global markets and prompted some surprising changes in the foreign policies of states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among those countries, and its relationship with the US is currently passing through a very critical period. Today, Riyadh seeks a more conditional relationship with Washington, one that takes into account converging Saudi interests with non-western states.

There are many reasons why the kingdom is adopting a more pragmatic foreign policy. One of the key factors is energy relations, particularly as Riyadh seeks to preserve and grow its mutual interests with other major powers, such as China and Russia.

The birth of the petrodollar

The “Nixon Shock” in 1971 marked a shift in economic policy for the US, which sought to prioritize its own economic growth and stability over that of other states. This led to the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement and the convertibility of US dollars into gold. Washington moved instead to establish a new system in which the US dollar was pegged to a commodity with global demand in order to maintain its position as the world’s dominant reserve currency.

In 1974, the petrodollar agreement was struck, in which Saudi Arabia agreed to sell oil exclusively in US dollars in exchange for US military, security, and economic development assistance. The deal effectively tied the value of the US dollar to global demand for oil and ensured its continued dominance as the world’s primary reserve currency.

US dependence on Saudi oil

After the petrodollar agreement, Saudi oil exports to the US surged, making Saudi Arabia’s security all the more critical for Washington. By 1991, the US imported 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of Saudi oil, a sharp increase from 438,000 bpd in 1974.

This represented 29.5 percent of the total US oil imports in 1991, and 26.4 percent of the total Saudi oil exports – further emphasizing for Washington the importance of maintaining Saudi Arabia’s security and stability. But the staggering dependence on foreign – and Saudi – oil imports also created political blowback in the US, which launched plans to reduce its imports and ramp up domestic oil production.

This was motivated by several factors, including the potential negative impact of any energy market shocks – such as the decline in Iranian oil exports after the 1979 Islamic Revolution – on the US economy, the potential impact of geopolitical disputes on West Asian oil exports, and technological advances that facilitated increased oil production in the US.

Over the following decades, Washington was able to successfully reduce its oil imports from Saudi Arabia: In 2020, the US only imported 356,000 bpd of Saudi oil, which accounted for just 6 percent of all US oil imports and 4.8 percent of all Saudi oil exports.

Changing oil market dynamics

In this process, Saudi Arabia lost much of its value as a market for the Americans, and the US is no longer dependent on Saudi Arabia as a significant oil source. Furthermore, the US’ significant increase in shale oil production created a major new competitor in the energy market, which raised concerns in Riyadh about its declining influence as a strategic supplier of oil to the world.

To diversify its oil export options, Saudi Arabia began turning eastward to China, the world’s largest oil importer. Over the past two decades, Saudi Arabia has gradually become China’s primary source of oil, with Chinese oil imports from Saudi Arabia increasing by 16.3 percent between 1994 and 2005, reaching 1.75 million bpd in 2022.

Changing oil market dynamics

In this process, Saudi Arabia lost much of its value as a market for the Americans, and the US is no longer dependent on Saudi Arabia as a significant oil source. Furthermore, the US’ significant increase in shale oil production created a major new competitor in the energy market, which raised concerns in Riyadh about its declining influence as a strategic supplier of oil to the world.

To diversify its oil export options, Saudi Arabia began turning eastward to China, the world’s largest oil importer. Over the past two decades, Saudi Arabia has gradually become China’s primary source of oil, with Chinese oil imports from Saudi Arabia increasing by 16.3 percent between 1994 and 2005, reaching 1.75 million bpd in 2022.

Strengthening economic and diplomatic relations with Beijing has become a necessity for Riyadh, which derives 70 percent of its export revenues from oil. The same applies to China, a global power that actively seeks to diversify its oil sources to prevent reliance on a single country.

In recent years, Russia has also emerged as an essential oil industry partner for the Saudis. The creation of OPEC+ was a response to falling crude oil prices caused partly by the substantial increase in US shale oil production since 2011.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s top oil exporters, and their cooperation has proven vital for controlling prices by coordinating the quantities of oil pumped into the markets. This led to the 2016 expansion of OPEC – which is controlled by Saudi Arabia – and the establishment of OPEC+ to include Russia.

OPEC+ cooperation after price war

After the negative consequences of the 2020 price war among key oil producers, both Riyadh and Moscow recognized the importance of cooperation to safeguard their energy interests.

In March of that year, OPEC+ had convened in Vienna to address the decline in oil demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the organization’s largest producer, proposed reducing production to stabilize prices at a reasonable, higher level, while Russia, the largest non-OPEC producer in OPEC +, opposed the cuts and moved to increase its oil production.

In response to Moscow’s move, the Saudis increased their own production and announced unexpected cuts in oil prices ranging from $6 and $8 per barrel for importers in Europe, Asia, and the US. This announcement triggered a sharp drop in oil prices, with Brent crude plummeting by 30 percent – marking the biggest decline since the 1991 Gulf War – while the WTI benchmark fell by 20 percent.

On 9 March, global stock markets experienced significant losses, and the Russian ruble declined by 7 percent against the US dollar, reaching its lowest level in four years.

The oil price war lasted for approximately a month before OPEC+ members reached a new agreement in April that included historic oil production cuts of 10 million bpd. This experience marked the beginning of uninterrupted energy cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia: prioritizing its interests

Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war in February 2022, the US has pressured its allies to comply with western sanctions against Russia. Washington has sought to persuade OPEC leader Riyadh to increase oil production to curb the price hike caused by the conflict, but so far, the Saudis have refused these demands.

This has led to heightened US-Saudi tensions, which prompted US President Joe Biden’s unsuccessful visit to Jeddah in July 2022 to try to convince Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to raise oil production levels.

Furthermore, western attempts to establish a price ceiling on Russian oil served only to alarm Saudi Arabia, as it would open the door for customers to impose oil prices on sellers. Despite aggressive attempts to undermine Russia’s energy sector, the US-European western alliance has been unable to do so, and in fact, led to an increase in Russian energy exports to Europe, China, and India last year.

A number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, have helped buoy Russian energy exports by purchasing Russian oil and re-exporting it to needy European markets – or using it locally to boost their export revenues. As Russia is the second-largest exporter of oil worldwide, its isolation from the markets would otherwise have significant repercussions, especially for oil-exporting states.

The war in Ukraine demonstrated that Riyadh is prepared to confront Washington when it feels its energy interests are under threat. Today, the US is no longer an energy partner for Saudi Arabia, but rather a competitor. In its stead, Beijing and Moscow have risen to become essential partners for Riyadh, and the mutual energy interests are a major factor behind MbS’ efforts to diversify his country’s foreign policy options.

The US and Saudi Arabia: No longer energy allies

Since the Cold War era began, oil has been a key pillar of the Russian (and former Soviet) economy. It has long been a US priority to be able to influence prices as a pressure tool against Moscow. Since Saudi Arabia is considered an oil superpower, Washington’s cooperation with Riyadh – despite its own dramatically reduced Saudi oil imports – is at the heart of US economic strategies to counter Russia.

For example, in the mid-eighties, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the US asked the Saudis to flood oil markets in order to lower prices and undermine the oil revenue-reliant USSR. In 1986, oil prices dropped by two-thirds, from $30 per barrel to nearly $10 per barrel, ultimately crippling the Soviet economy and its geopolitical reach.

But attitudes have sharply altered during the intervening 37 years. Saudi Arabia now views the US as an energy market competitor due to Washington’s increased shale oil production and disinterest in boosting oil imports.

Between 2010 and 2021, US shale oil production grew from approximately 0.59 million bpd to 9.06 million bpd. Riyadh’s response to this new geo-economic development was to raise oil production in 2016, with the aim of lowering prices to undercut the US shale industry, which operates at significantly higher costs.

The Saudis indeed fear a declining role as a strategic supplier of global oil, in large part due to expanded US shale production and energy self-sufficiency. This has driven the Saudis to try and reimpose their oil superiority by lowering prices to undercut competitors with higher production costs – despite the short-term domestic damage caused by increased Saudi oil production.

To this day, Saudi Arabia continues to present an obstacle to US energy interests, and has instead found most common ground with Washington’s main adversaries – Russia, China, Iran – with whom Riyadh’s energy interests intersect.

Contrary to expectations since the outbreak of the Ukraine war in February 2022, all US efforts to persuade Riyadh to flood global oil markets have failed, and the Russians have managed to maintain both their exports and their economy. It has become manifestly clear to Washington’s decision-makers that Saudi Arabia today is not the Saudi Arabia of 1985, willing to undermine its own revenues and energy interests in order to serve a US geopolitical agenda.

Discussions in Washington today have likewise turned to the feasibility of maintaining the US commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security, particularly since Riyadh neither provides Americans with energy nor follows its political diktats.

Some believe that the US’ role of acting as a security guarantor in the Persian Gulf merely serves Beijing’s interests by securing China’s main energy sources. Yet others argue that a US military withdrawal from the Persian Gulf will create a vacuum filled by Beijing, which will keenly seek to ensure its own energy security.

The one point of clarity, however, is that US-Saudi energy interests are no longer synergistic and that Riyadh’s interests line up far more closely with those of Beijing and Moscow. This remains a key factor driving Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and economic diversification today.

What remains to be seen is how far the Saudis – deeply and historically bound to western interests – will be willing to challenge the US’ regional hegemony as their goals diverge and Riyadh finds common cause with Washington’s rivals.

Perspectives from Eastern Europe – Many Want to See a Russian Defeat

APRIL 11, 2023



Back in the 1970s I was part of the Field Trade Craft course for new Case Officers at the Central Intelligence Agency’s principal training facility, located at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Virginia. Peary was and still is referred to by one and all as “the Farm,” though it engaged in animal husbandry only in the most basic sense. One of the instructors had part of a poem by Rudyard Kipling displayed on his office door. It read:

The toad beneath the harrow knows

Exactly where each tooth-point goes:

The butterfly upon the road

Preaches contentment to the toad

Some of the students began referring to themselves as “toads” and were expecting the worst from the instructors to bring them into conformity with Agency expectations, while they also identified the instructors as the butterflies who were telling them to shut up and play along if they wished to be certified to go overseas. Everyone knew it was a matter of perception of one’s role or status, with the students resigned to punishment or worse like the toads, while the instructors, whose viewpoints and expectations were quite different, could blithely assure their victims that everything was proceeding just as it should be.

That there will always be toads and butterflies engaged in national security issues is a given, while perceptions of what is important or significant will vary depending on one’s individual life and cultural experiences. Or, to put it another way, one’s basic views are not predetermined and will depend very much on which side of a fence one is standing on.

All of that said, I have recently returned from a three-week trip that included stops in seven countries in Eastern Europe. In preparation for the journey, I arranged for contact with a number of local journalists, politicians and academics in the various countries. Those whom I selected were generally determined by me to be active in the more conservative parties in their respective countries, providing something of a comfort zone for myself given my own inclinations. What I really wanted to know was how the war in Ukraine really was being perceived by both the national elites as well as by the ordinary citizens.

I expected responses that would be in sync with my own views, i.e. that the war was avoidable but had been demanded by both Britain and the US to weaken Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin; that all parties engaged at any level in the conflict should be calling for a cease fire and negotiations to end the fighting; and that Russia has legitimate national security concerns that must be addressed even while one is condemning the use of military force in this instance.

While there were some variations in the responses of my interlocutors, I quickly learned that the war in Ukraine, if not popular, was considered to be a necessary step to limit what was described repeatedly as an allegedly autocratic if not kleptocratic Putin’s desire to recreate the old Soviet Union, using military force as necessary. I energetically disputed that view on two levels: first, the Russia does not have the resources to entertain such an agenda, as the Ukraine fighting has demonstrated, and secondly, that Putin’s often cited comments relating to the “disastrous” dissolution of the Soviet Union clearly refer to the catastrophic looting of Russia’s resources that took place subsequently under Boris Yeltsin. Putin was not referring to a yearning to recreate the Warsaw Pact or anything like that.

Indeed, the anti-Russian sentiment surprised me among people who are, undeniably, on the front line of the conflict and should normally be wary of involvement. Only in Serbia, which has deep historical, cultural and religious ties to Russia, did a leading journalist tell me that his countrymen’s views of the Ukraine conflict are essential divided “fifty-fifty” with half of the nation and even some of its leaders supporting Ukraine’s defense. In other Eastern European countries, the viewpoint was much more decisively pro-Ukrainian. One Czech Republic academic described his country’s leaders as “heros” because they, joined by presidents from Poland and Slovenia, traveled to Kiev when the war started to pledge their personal support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Several contacts provided a more plausible reason for the tilt towards Ukraine: they wanted to prevent any return to Russian dominance of the region which just might lead to a return to Moscow’s centralized control and a possible adoption of the types of statecraft employed under the communist regimes set up by the Kremlin in the wake of the Second World War. They want to weaken Russia, whatever it takes, so that it can no longer play a dominant role in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

More to the point, they want hands off the prosperity that they have experienced since the collapse of the Soviet Union slightly more than thirty years ago. Most of the nations in Eastern Europe are now visibly prosperous with expensive restaurants, chic hotels and rows of Italian and French branded shops in the downtown areas. Even when one sees the monstrous Stalinist apartment blocks defiling many urban areas while also witnessing evidence in rural areas of abandoned buildings and bullet holes in facades dating from the troubles in the 1990s, the impression was definitely upscale. I saw more expensive automobiles on my journey than I have ever seen elsewhere, to included the ubiquitous Mercedes and BMWs and also the much more exclusive Maseratis and Lamborghinis as well as a few Bentleys and Rolls Royces. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, has less than 3 million inhabitants who have registered 1.5 million automobiles. And, I noted, that streets and roads throughout the East were better maintained than they are in many parts of Joe Biden’s America.

Bear in mind that many people now living in Eastern Europe have direct and largely unfavorable memories of the economic and social failures dating to the time when Soviet-communist proxies ruled backed up by military interventions (Hungary, Czechoslovakia) when anyone stepped out of line. And the younger generation knows only free markets and relatively free elections and would be even less disposed towards wanting to return to the old ways as described by their parents. All that adds up to concern over a possibly irredentist Russia.

So, it would seem to me that it is fear of a reversion to something like “the specter haunting Europe” communism that appears to be what prevails and has shaped attitudes and perspectives, and communism historically speaking means Russia like it or not. I did indeed argue against judging today’s Russia by a standard of guilt by association with a discarded socio-economic concept, particularly as Russia is certainly at least comparable to most of Eastern Europe in terms of the freedom of elections and other fundamental liberties. And there is also the common bond of the Orthodox religion, which is the majority creed in most states in the region, even if one Slovak intellectual described to me the religiosity of his fellow countrymen as “they are all pagans.”

So, it is reasonable to suggest that some kind of amicable multilateral relationship would be preferred over an arrangement where a neocon driven hostile military alliance is confronting the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. But be that as it may, my trip opened up my eyes to the reality that Eastern Europeans have legitimate concerns over what Russia represents based on historical realities. It is undeniably a factor in how support for increased NATO/western intervention is lining up and, in that context, it should be noted that the Polish, Czech and Slovak governments have been leaders in providing weapons drawn from their own arsenals to the Ukrainians. One has to hope that at a certain point everyone will come to their senses and realize that killing tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians has been a pointless exercise that will only delay an inevitable negotiated resolution of the conflict.

Leaks show Ukraine sought to target Russia in Syria via Kurdish SDF

April 22, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Myriam Charabaty 

Newly leaked documents reveal a rather likely alliance between Ukraine and the Syrian Democratic Forces, which under the patronage of the US made plans, as early as 2018, to attack Russian troops in Syria, while think tanks have written of such a scenario as early as 2014.

Leaked documents reveal Ukraine had an interest in targeting Russia in Syria proving the geopolitical grounds drove the collective West’s war on Syria.

The publication of allegedly leaked Pentagon documents indicated that the Ukrainian military intelligence officials planned, in numbers and tactics, to take advantage of what Sputnik called the “long-time US proxy against Russian forces in Syria” to attack Russian forces in Syria. An act that might have severe ramifications for multiple parties in the war-torn Arab country.

The Washington Post, in their report on the leaked files, highlighted that the Ukrainian plan would have been an “introduction of a new battlefield” located “thousands of miles from the war in Ukraine” which appeared to be designed to “impose costs and casualties on Russia and its Wagner paramilitary group.”

According to the leaks, the Syria operation would have provided Ukraine with “deniability options” given that the Russian positions that would be targeted were previously attacked by US-backed and Turkish-backed militias fighting the Syrian government on Syrian territories.

Understanding the document, credibility, rhetoric

It is worth noting that the documents bore the mark HCS-P, which stands for HUMINT Control System – Product. In other words, the documents are part of the final report, which is the product of the raw operational intelligence compiled over a time period.

WashPo claimed to have exclusively obtained the document which was not reported on during the frenzy of the Ukraine documents leaked by Jack Teixeira.

In 2015, the Russian military intervened in Syria, following an official government request by the host country, and it was in line with that intervention that Russia deployed personnel and equipment to the Syrian territories and established fortified bases. 

In 2014, before Russia’s intervention, and just after the color revolution in Ukraine, which tipped the scale in favor of the collective West, the Carnegie Middle East Center (a US think tank) argued that both Russia and the collective West had a greater interest in maintaining security in Ukraine than in Syria, but that Syria is a geostrategic location which can offer high-risk/high-reward bargains.

In that regard, they wrote, “Leaders in Moscow, Brussels, Berlin, and Washington may well end up using their political leverage in Syria as a bargaining chip to gain concessions where they think it really matters—that is, in Ukraine.”

Understanding the choice

Planning for the attack, the WashPo report read, was halted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in December 2022, however, the plan considered “training operatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).” 

The SDF, which is classified by Sputnik as a US proxy, was described by the Washington Post as “the main partner of US troops in Syria.”

The Kurdish forces controlled northeastern Syria under the excuse of Syrian Kurdistan, which allegedly gave the group legitimacy as it breached Syria’s territorial integrity and threatened its sovereignty, which proved to be favorable for the US.

As such, the decision to launch strikes against Russia through the SDF would consolidate the “deniability option” by making the attack appear to be attributed to a “front, defunct or active non-state groups.”

According to a new publication by the Levantine Research Unit of the Emirates Policy Center, a UAE think tank, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration, of which the SDF is an integral and major group, understood that any political and tactical trajectory that undermined “US influence in Syria” would inevitably “deal with a major and potentially final blow to the Kurdish national project in Syria.”

This comes to show the integral relationship not only between the SDF and the US vis-a-vis their often shared bases, as reported by The Washington Post, but also shows that the existence of a “Kurdish national project” is founded on the presence of US influence in Syria. That influence was regarded by the Syrian government as a flagrant occupation of Syrian territories, coupled with the looting Syria’s oil riches.

The strategy: SDF, Ukraine, US & Turkey

Interestingly, the leaked documents show that the Ukrainian military intelligence officers leaned more toward targeting Russian forces through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). They considered that such attacks could be “small”, or containable, allowing Ukraine to limit its strikes against the Wagner Group.

Ukrainian intelligence officers argued that the trained SDF operatives would conduct “unspecified ‘direct action’ activities along with UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] attacks,” the leaked documents read.

SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami denied that claim, telling WashPo “The documents that you are talking about regarding our forces are not real; our forces have never been a side in the Russian-Ukrainian war.”

Opposite to what Shami said, the leaked documents stated, according to The Washington Post, that the SDF sought “training, air defense systems, and a guarantee that its role would be kept secret in exchange for supporting Ukrainian operations” and established a clear condition forbidding any strikes against Russian position within the SDF-controlled region.

Significantly, the documents revealed that Turkey was also aware of the planned potential attack, despite no clear proof of the extent of Ankara’s knowledge on the matter. However, The Washington Post reported that Turkey had suggested the Ukrainians stage their attacks away from regions controlled by Turkey-backed militias. To “avoid potential blowback,” Ankara proposed the attacks emerge from the Kurdish-controlled region.

It is also worth noting that Turkey believes the SDF to be an enemy, in the sense that it considered its “core military element, the People’s Protection Units or YPG, to be a terrorist group,” the Washington Post wrote.

That being said, it is arguable that it would not make sense that Turkey would agree to Ukraine arming an enemy of the state. However, according to a former US official that worked in the region who had spoken to the Washington Post, Turkey considered the elimination of “the military capability and leadership of the SDF” to be a “goal.”

In that context, the former official argued, “If Turkey were to be greeted with such a plan, it would be in their interest to bait the Ukraine-SDF alliance into drawing the wrath of Russia.”

In turn, the leaked product recognized that the attacks being planned by Ukraine could “complicate” US operations in eastern Syria in light of the fact that Russia could, as a result of any attack, guard Syrian airspace “more aggressively” and move its air defense weapons.

In that regard, the leak cited, according to the Washington Post, a “previously undisclosed Nov. 27 incident” wherein “a Russian SA-22 air defense system based in eastern Syria fired on a U.S. MQ-9 drone.”

Tactic: Location, weaponry, options

A campaign of “notional” covert operations by the Ukrainian intelligence was also revealed by the leaked documents. The product ranked the attacks based on which operations would result in more aggressive Russian retaliations, and which would be the most costly for Russia in terms of damage.

The documents considered that any attack on fortified “priority” Russian facilities near Damascus and the Syrian coast would be very costly for Russia and equally very dangerous for the executing coalition.

The lower risk and lower cost position would be “Russia-affiliated petroleum infrastructure” in central Syria. The leaked files depicted those targets as “poorly protected,” and as such, any attack on these locations would impose “modest costs”, particularly on Russia’s Wagner group.

The product also depicted an escalation graph according to the Washington Post. The highest on the graph was an attack on a “key Russian facility.” Alongside the escalation-rating graph was another graphic, dated 2018, outlining an attack on Latakia’s Bassel Al-Assad Airport. The suggested airport significantly shares facilities with the Hmeimim Air Base, which is considered to be Russia’s primary military base in Syria.

Notably, in 2018 that very air base was targeted by a “swarm” of UAVs that news outlets reported on, saying that “Syrian opposition UAVs” were “used” in the attack.

The documents, according to the Washington Post report, highlighted “the departure point and flight path of the UAV from a location in Idlib governorate around 50 kilometers northeast of the air base and illustrates how it flew over the air base itself.” The departure point closely correlates to the location from which Russia said the drones took off.

Moreover, the leaked product also offered potential options. It denoted that the Russian naval base on the Syrian coastal city of Tartus could have been attacked using Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USV). 

The lower-risk location exhibited on the escalation graph was an “oil and gas infrastructure” located in central Syria. A photograph, dated January 5, was attached to that option, and indicated that the target was set for the “Wagner-associated Jihar gas plant,” which is located in Syria’s Palmyra.

On the photograph, The Washington Post revealed, there were weaponry options categorized into “Group 1 or 2 UAVs.” These categories are likely in reference to the US Department of Defense ranking system which, the news outlet, argued was based on the “size, weight and speed of its unmanned aerial vehicles from lowest to highest.”

Furthermore, the document also mentioned potential strikes on Wagner positions as one of the lowest-risk objectives for Russian escalation. A shot depicts parked vehicles and facilities at a Wagner facility near the Syrian town of Al-Furqlus.

What happened?

The leaked HCS-P marked document revealed that in November, potential logistical barriers to achieving their targets have been identified by Ukrainian military intelligence officers. 

According to the documents, the officers noted complications such as “issues with intra-Kurdish border controls and establishing a base of operations.”

Based on WashPo, the involved officers discovered, by December 29, that the Ukrainian President had “halted their planning”. The outlet explained that the document does not reveal any clear and concise reason as to why the operations were halted, however, it assessed a “variety of reasons”.

On one end, the Washington Post wrote that what resulted in that decision could have been tied to US pressure, as well as Kiev’s limited supply of drones. Moreover, the media outlet said one possibility could have also been that President Volodomyr Zelensky doubted that any of the outlined attacks would succeed in helping Kiev reach its goals. 
On the other hand, it was written that the documents explained that the “comparative success” of operations conducted within Russia could have played a role in the decision-making process, leading up to the halt of operations in Syria. 

In turn, the documents argued that there is a very low probability that Kiev would “revive the plans” without a green light from both the US and Turkey. Additionally, it was noted that in the event that the plans do get revived and the SDF conducts an attack on behalf of Ukraine, then the attack would likely “incur a Russian response targeting U.S. interests in the region if support for an operation is attributed to the United States.”

US influence in Syria cannot handle another blow

Reports have recently shown that even US and Western analysts believed that the US has failed to “establish deterrence” in Syria and Iraq, which led a number of US officials to urge Pentagon to withdraw US troops from the region.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, had earlier posted on Twitter “Warmongers in both parties say keeping troops in Syria is necessary to preserve the balance of power. That is simply not true. If they believe that, they should say it directly to the parents of Americans in Syria who have to sleep there tonight and guard oil fields against Iranian drones. We need to bring our troops home.”

In parallel, it is noteworthy to remind that Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, underlined that Iran’s goal to expel US troops from the region will continue until achieved.

Moreover, Bagheri pointed out that Operation Martyr Soleimani, wherein Iran targeted the Ain Al-Assad occupation base in Iraq days after the US assassinated martyr Qassem Soleimani, was the first retaliatory measure that was able to tear down US hegemony in the region in move unseen in the past 70 years.

Significantly, Bagheri warned that the operation was just the beginning of the strategy of Iran and the Axis of Resistance to expel US forces from the region, stressing that this goal will be pursued until achieved.

At a time when Syria has succeeded in resisting the global war against its Arab identity and defending its existence, and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s legitimate position has once again been acknowledged by Arab and global leaders, the US influence in Syria is threatened to dwindle and eventually vanish.

With Syria and Turkey’s rapprochement and the Kurdistan Autonomous Administration affirming adherence to Syria’s “territorial integrity,” the SDF has become significantly less likely to bargain their fate in favor of the US and Ukraine.

The West has lost its war in Syria, despite the long-lasting damage it has created, and the region has established its unwillingness to serve as a pawn in any proxy war that goes against its intrinsic and existential interests amid a changing global political order and geopolitical landscape.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: Supporting Armed Resistance in West Bank is a Priority

 April 13, 2023

The Al-Quds Tribune event, which convenes the leaders of the Resistance Axis movements in Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, and Bahrain, has commenced on Thursday with resounding zeal.

This annual affair, held on the momentous occasion of International Al-Quds Day, transpires amidst the backdrop of ongoing and wide-reaching events unfurling in the occupied Palestinian territories, punctuated by a brazen Zionist endeavor to commandeer and Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This gathering of eminent and valiant leaders serves as a powerful testament to the unity that pervades the arenas of resistance throughout the Islamic world, as well as to the nation’s steadfast readiness to expend all that is dear and precious to safeguard its sacred domains and thwart the pernicious schemes of Zionist Judaization.

Assembled in solidarity, these leaders avow to hold steadfast to their cause, unyielding in their determination to fight until liberation is secured, and to establish a bright future replete with freedom, dignity, and justice for all.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed that marking Al-Quds Day is part of the battle aimed at liberating the entire Palestine from the Israeli occupation.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that, year after year, it is reaffirmed that that marking International Quds Day, which was declared by Imam Khomeini more than 40 years ago and confirmed by Imam Khamenei, is an essential and real part of the great battle that our nation and people have waged in order to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine, all of Palestine.

The axis of resistance and all its components–states, movements, and people have been always at the forefront of the battle.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed that, every year on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, all minds, hearts, wills, feelings, arenas, squares, fronts, fists, forearms, platforms, voices, throats, and pens converge on the centrality of Al-Quds and its cause as well as the project to  restore it from the clutches of the occupation.

His eminence highlighted the importance of taking into consideration all the annual developments in the occupation entity, the region as well as the whole world, considering that all those developments serve the resistance battle against the Israeli occupation and the US hegemony.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that, internationally, the world is moving steadily towards a multipolar world order, which ends the hegemony of the one pole, represented by the United States of America, the absolute protector of the Zionist entity

Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted also the latest developments of the confrontation in Ukraine, the conflict between Russia and NATO as well as USA, the escalating tensions between China and the United States of America, and the European confusion in this regard.

Regionally, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored the importance of the Iranian-Saudi agreement in China, stressing that it reflects the failure of terrorist schemes and the tendency to maintain calm and run dialogues to resolve differences.

Hezbollah Secretary General also noted that the latest regional developments block all the sedition ways which harm the Umma and serve the Zionist schemes, maintaining that the restored contacts between some Arab countries and Syria would negatively affect the normalization path and the Israeli plot to establish an Arab axis to confront the axis of resistance.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah has been tracking the Zionist crises for several years, adding that the extent of differences and divisions in the occupation entity is unprecedented since 1948.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the escalating armed resistance in the West Bank, the popular support to the resistance fighters inside and outside Palestine, the youths participation in the clashes with the Zionst occupation forces, the Palestinian persistence and insistence versus the Zionist confusion and fear, and the growing capabilities of the resistance in the Gaza have maintained the fraternity of victory.

Sayyed Nasrallah concluded his address by reiterating he importance of militarily supporting the Palestinian resistance in West Bank which comprises Al-Quds shield and protects the Islamic and Christian sanctities in the Holy City.

Hezbollah Secretray General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

The Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, delivered a powerful speech during the annual ‘Tribune of Al-Quds’ activity, highlighting the significance of International Al-Quds Day.

“Quds Day summarizes history, abbreviates geography, and becomes the title of the rise of a nation that possesses absolute certainty of victory and the liberation of Palestine, Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its mosque (Al-Aqsa),” he proclaimed.

Al-Nakhalah expressed his concern over the continued oppression and bloodshed in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque. He emphasized that the Zionist invaders are constantly trampling on everything that is sacred to the Palestinian people. Furthermore, he called on the Arab and Muslim nations to recognize the reality of the situation and join the resistance against the usurping regime of Israel.

“On Quds Day, here are the arenas of resistance confirming their presence and support for the Palestinian people and resistance,” Al-Nakhalah stated. He expressed his confidence that the resistance will continue to raise its flag everywhere and that the Palestinian people will remain steadfast in their struggle for freedom.

He concluded by affirming the unwavering commitment to unity “as a nation with a unified message, and we declare that Al-Quds is our symbol of determination and resilience.” “We vow to continue our fight for liberation until victory is achieved, and Al-Quds remains the beacon of hope for our cause,” he ended up saying.

Islamic Jihad Chief Ziad Nakhala

In his address at the annual Al-Quds Tribune event on the occasion of International Al-Quds Day, Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church emphasized that Al-Quds is a trust in the necks of all people. He asserted that unity among Palestinians is a powerful force, and that they will remain united in this holy city, regardless of religious differences.

The Archbishop further denounced the conspiracy of those who storm Al-Aqsa and seek to violate its sanctities, be they Islamic or Christian, and emphasized that the occupation seeks to uproot and alienate the Palestinian people and obliterate the features of the city. Nevertheless, Archbishop Hanna reiterated that the occupation will not succeed in its plans because the Palestinian people will remain steadfast in their defence of their rights and principles.

“Jerusalem is the symbol of the unity of Christian and Muslim sons who coexist in the city, and it represents a crucial address for the Palestinian people,” he said.

Archbishop Hanna issued an appeal to all Christian and Muslim religious authorities for the need of interaction, cooperation, and consultation to preserve the sanctity of Jerusalem, which is the cradle of their shared history, heritage, and identity. He stressed that Al-Quds Day is an opportunity to remind everyone of their responsibilities towards Al-Quds, the city that awaits the return of the Palestinian people, so that it can once again become the capital of Palestine and a destination for free people everywhere. “Despite the conspiracies and the ambitions of the occupation, the Palestinian people remain determined to remain in their homeland, defending their sacred part of the world in the name of the entire nation.”

Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church

For his part, the esteemed Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, renowned preacher of the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, emphasized the importance of Jerusalem in our daily lives, stressing that it must be firmly rooted in our hearts, souls, and minds at all times.

Speaking at the annual “Al-Quds Tribune” event, commemorating the momentous occasion of International Al-Quds Day, Sheikh Sabri emphasized that Jerusalem is not only the axis of Palestine but also the focal point of the Islamic world. He further expounded that the cause of Al-Quds is an unyielding and indelible one, an issue that will persist as long as there are individuals who believe in it and hold it as the center of their aspirations.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri

Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim emphasized the significance of International Al-Quds Day and its potential to bring the nation together on the truth, righteousness, and piety. He stressed the importance of uniting behind the noble mosques of Al-Aqsa and the Holy Mosque, which attract the hearts of the nation and hold a connection to the missionary role of the Messenger of God and Islam. Sheikh Qassim noted that the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Quds, and Palestine is not only an issue for Muslims but also an issue for all of humanity.

Despite the political troubles faced by the Bahraini people, Sheikh Qassim affirmed that Islam and the Islamic countries hold a significant position in the mentality, psyche, and will of the people, and they remain committed to supporting the truth and justice of every cause of Islam, Muslims, and their lands. Sheikh Qassim expressed his greetings and support to the resistance youth in the West Bank and Al-Quds and all resistance fighters on behalf of Palestine, Al-Quds, and Al-Aqsa. He stated that the entire nation that is sincere with them will support them along the line as long as life lasts.

Sheikh Isa Qassem

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The first China-UAE gas deal in yuan: A new blow to dollar dominance

April 06 2023

Chinese allies control 40 percent of OPEC+ oil reserves, and the GCC controls another 40 percent. With this China-UAE gas trade settled in yuan, the petrodollar today is under serious threat.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

ByA Cradle Correspondent

On 28 March, the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX) made history by announcing the first-ever deal on importing 65,000 tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the UAE, settled in the Chinese yuan currency. China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and French TotalEnergies finalized the transaction, and TotalEnergies confirmed that the LNG imported was from the Persian Gulf state.

China’s Global Times in a report the following day, cited the chairman of the SHPGX, Guo Xu as saying that the deal is:

“A meaningful attempt to promote multi-currency pricing, settlement and cross-border payment in international LNG trading. It also provides a new channel for international players to participate in the Chinese market, helping to build a new pattern of dual circulation in China.”

Beijing pushes yuan for energy trade

The yuan settlement of international LNG trading is a “major event in China’s market-oriented oil and gas reform, which will help promote the docking of international and domestic markets,” the report quoted experts as saying.

The development comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in December 2022, during a landmark visit to Riyadh, that his country should make “full use” of the SHPGX as a platform to carry out yuan settlement of oil and gas trade.

This deal represents a departure from the decades-long practice of conducting global oil sales exclusively in US dollars. A prominent economist, who spoke to The Cradle, speculated that “the French either resorted to the yuan due to the acute shortage of Russian gas supplies to the European continent, or they have reserves in the Chinese currency that they want to use.”

The deal came as a surprise, as French President Emmanuel Macron typically does not take such steps without the approval of the US. As for the UAE, the move is part of a larger trend of Persian Gulf countries opening up to China in the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Biden administration’s shift in regional policies.

The yuan payment also follows the global polarization taking place over the Ukraine war and further demonstrates the reluctance of Persian Gulf states to align with western hostility toward Russia, China, and other US adversaries. According to the same economist, “The Emirati move cannot be separated from the changes taking place in the world. Abu Dhabi and Riyadh sense the global imbalance of power, and decided to expand the margins of their international relations.”

Yuan’s growing acceptance

Given the current global geopolitical shifts, the yuan is gaining increased acceptance as an international currency. Since President Xi Jinping assumed office, China has settled agreements with several countries in its local currency in an attempt to challenge the dominance of the US dollar in global trade.

As a result, the yuan has become the world’s fifth-largest payment currency, the third-largest currency in trade settlement, and the fifth-largest reserve currency. According to the Global Times, the yuan today accounts for 7 percent of all foreign exchange trades worldwide and has experienced the most significant expansion in currency market share over the past three years.

Experts have noted that “with the recovery of the momentum of China’s economic growth and the further opening of the financial market, the investment and hedging function of the yuan has gradually increased.”

In an article earlier this year for The Cradle, Pakistani analyst F. M. Shakil cited the Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which shows that:

“The percentage of US dollars in central bank reserves has decreased by 12 percent since 1999, while the percentage of other currencies, particularly the Chinese yuan, have shown an increasing trend with a 9 percent rise during this period.”

Shakil also noted that the “cumulative cross-border yuan settlement handled in Xinjiang (western China), the financial hub between China and Central Asia, exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) as early as 2013 and reached 260 billion yuan in 2018.”

He concluded that “dollar reserves are dwindling and the influence of the United States of America is receding in the global economy, which represents an opportunity for regional powers’ currencies and alternative payment systems.”

Rise of the petroyuan

Since 2009, Beijing has implemented a policy to reduce its reliance on the US dollar in commercial transactions. This policy includes settling the majority of its goods in foreign markets in its local currency, establishing mutual lines of credit with several central banks worldwide, and negotiating with West Asian and North African countries to conduct trade using the yuan. These efforts have started to show results recently, with a number of Asian governments partially adopting the Chinese currency.

Iraq is one of the countries that have partially adopted the yuan in trade. In February, the Iraqi Central Bank announced plans to allow direct settlement of trade from China in yuan to improve access to foreign currency and compensate for the dollar shortage in local markets, largely due to measures imposed by the Federal Reserve on money transfers leaving Iraq to prevent them from reaching Tehran and Damascus. Egypt also announced its intention to issue yuan bonds last August.

Russia has played a significant role in changing the course of the yuan by signing the Eastern Natural Gas Pipeline Agreement from Russia to China and converting the currencies of gas payments from the US dollar to the Chinese yuan and the Russian ruble.

According to the latest data from the Russian Central Bank, the yuan has become a major player in Russia’s foreign trade, with its share of import settlements increasing from just 4 percent in January 2022 to 23 percent by the end of the year. The yuan’s share of exports rose from 0.5 percent to 16 percent in the same period.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese president encouraged Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to use the SHPGX for yuan-based energy deals. The visit also saw China and Saudi Arabia sign over $30 billion in trade deals, which some analysts believe marks the rise of the petroyuan.

According to US-based Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela – all allies of China – account for 40 percent of OPEC+’s proven oil reserves, with the GCC making up another 40 percent. If these three states alone settle their energy exports in yuan, the petroyuan is here to stay.

A response to US policy 

In a January interview with Bloomberg, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said that “the kingdom is open to trading in currencies other than the US dollar in order to improve trade.”

Interestingly, despite being a stalwart US ally for decades, Riyadh is deepening its ties with key trading partners, including Beijing, as China imported over 500 million tons of crude oil and over 100 million tons of natural gas, including 63.44 million tons of LNG, in 2022.

Middle East Briefing suggests that this shift towards national currencies in global trade “is partly due to Washington’s sanctions policy against Russia.” Riyadh is now “following an increasing trend of hedging against US dollar use in trade” amid concerns that the US may use its currency as a weapon for trade and sanctions.

The trend towards using national currencies in global trade chains has continued to mature, with recent developments, including the announcement of two large-scale investment plans in China by Saudi oil giant Aramco.

The first plan involves building an integrated refining and chemicals plant in Liaoning Province, while the second plan involves Aramco’s acquisition of 10 percent of the shares of Rongsheng Petrochemical Company.

Meanwhile, the emirate of Dubai has opened its door to dealing in the Chinese currency in its global financial center, and Brazil and China have agreed to ditch the dollar and use their local currencies in their commercial dealings. In addition, Brazil and Argentina have announced the start of work on launching a common currency in their commercial dealings, dubbed “Sur.”

The petrodollar under threat

Petrodollars refer to US dollars used to purchase crude oil following a 1974 deal struck between Washington and Riyadh. The agreement not only ensured the military defense of the kingdom through US guarantees but also secured a steady stream of foreign purchases of US Treasury bonds and debt, which is a strategy of recycling the petrodollars back to Washington through Saudi Arabia’s reserves.

This transformed the ability of oil-rich Arab states to weaponize their vast energy resources against malign western policies – into a powerful economic weapon for the Americans, who, overnight, became the masters of the oil market. Today, however, with China’s rapid steps to challenge this entrenched system, there is a global spotlight on the rise of the Petroyuan versus the decline of the Petrodollar.

Asia Financial describes China’s deal with TotalEnergies as a “step forward in China’s long-term battle to reduce the power and reach of US dollar hegemony,” adding that “further such moves appear to be in the winds.” Importantly, according to Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at Kpler:

“While the dollar will likely remain the dominant global currency in the near future, the rise of a so-called petroyuan will gain momentum as China leverages its status as the world’s largest oil importer.”

Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering accepting payment for its oil exports to China in yuan. However, any such shift is likely to be marginal, as most West Asian currencies are pegged to the US dollar, and accepting payments in other currencies increases foreign exchange risk.

Researcher P.S. Srinivas opined last year that oil deals with countries in West Asia “do not constitute a threat to the US dollar,” and the likelihood of the yuan replacing the US dollar as the benchmark currency for pricing is even more remote due to China’s capital controls and the yuan’s lack of convertibility.

While the possibility of the yuan gaining greater prominence in the global oil trade cannot be ruled out, it is unlikely to replace the US dollar as the primary currency for pricing in the oil and gas industry in the short term.

Most West Asian nations continue to maintain a vested interest in preserving the strength of the dollar, and any shift towards accepting payments in other currencies is likely to be minimal, at first. In the next few years, it will be important to keep an eye on China’s slow but steady ascent to global economic dominance and the growing usage of the yuan in international trade.

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


MARCH 27TH, 2023


By Kit Klarenberg

In February, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published an extensive investigation into the spectacular collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’ (ANDSF), which the U.S. spent two decades and $90 billion building. In common with previous SIGAR reports, it offers a remarkably uncompromising, no-punches-pulled assessment, exposing corruption, incompetence, lies, and delusion every step of the way.

At the report’s core is a highly detailed timeline of the ANDSF’s – and, therefore, the Afghan government’s – disintegration. That SIGAR was able to construct such a painstaking obituary is nothing short of miraculous, for the Special Inspector General was stonewalled and obstructed at every turn by the agencies it is officially charged with scrutinizing.

The Pentagon and State Department rejected SIGAR’s jurisdiction over them, declined to review interim drafts of the report, denied access to their staff, and “mostly” refused to answer requests for information. “Very few” documents SIGAR asked for were turned over, and material disclosed “was often not materially relevant to our objectives.”

In lieu of cooperation from the guilty parties, SIGAR conducted a panoply of probing interviews with U.S. and Afghan officials. While often unnamed, their admissions and analysis provide stunning insight into conversations, deliberations, and machinations hidden from public view at the time. Together, these accounts help explain how the ANDSF, much-vaunted by the White House until its demise, failed so spectacularly.

It is a highly cinematic retelling that is part thriller, part farce. Take, for example, a former “senior Afghan national security official” recounting the morning of August 15, 2021, the day Kabul fell. As Americans rushed to depart the country, en route to a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani, he was told by the Presidential Protective Service chief that the Taliban, contrary to promises not to enter the city, had done so.

In the president’s office, the pair scrambled to draft an official statement to be transmitted domestically and internationally on the group’s unwelcome arrival. A secretary was asked to request some green tea from catering, as was customary in such meetings:

He went and brought the tray himself. Wait a minute, what happened to the server? He said, there’s no one left. People in our offices had abandoned and they had gone…[By around] 10 or 11, we no longer had a consolidated security force.”

This mass walkout was evident in every state apparatus. The president contacted the head of the National Security Directorate, the Afghan government’s primary intelligence service, which was created in the early 2000s by the CIA, requesting he rally operatives “to keep order in Kabul.” The Directorate chief regretfully informed him that the formerly 500-strong force tasked with managing the city’s defense now numbered less than 20 people.

Back at the President’s office, as word spread of police units all over the city summarily abandoning their posts en masse, the few in-house security officers who had come into work that day began shedding their official livery, which they’d pre-emptively donned over civilian clothes. By 11 am, all their uniforms were literally consigned to the garbage – and with that, the Afghan government ceased to exist.


This cataclysm came to pass first gradually, then rapidly.

Despite the vast financial, material and practical assistance Washington provided to the ANDSF over the years, the force was throughout its life completely dependent on the U.S., not only for anti-Taliban military operations but to make sure the Kabul paid soldiers’ salaries. Its undoing was ensured in February 2020, when the Doha Agreement was reached by the Taliban and Trump administration, which set a blueprint for eventual American withdrawal.

This concord immediately led to a drastic, total scaling back of Washington’s assistance, in particular airstrikes, which were fundamental to the ANDSF’s ability to stop the Taliban’s encroachment. The previous year, the U.S. had conducted 7,423 airstrikes on the force’s behalf, the most since 2009.

Overnight, though, this ceased outright, leaving air defense the exclusive responsibility of the Afghan Air Force, as per the agreement. In practice, Kabul’s fighter fleet consisted of just two A-29s, aging propeller-toting Brazilian-made light aircraft designed to operate in low-threat environments.

This also immediately crippled the ANDSF’s logistical capability. Weapons and supplies could not be ferried by ground quickly enough to meet operational demands, leading to the force lacking ammunition, food, water, and other vital resources necessary to sustain anti-Taliban military engagements.

Muddying matters even further, the full terms of the Doha Agreement were seemingly kept confidential from local police, security forces, and even the government. A former Afghan army general quoted by SIGAR suggests U.S. forces on the ground were likewise “confused about what to engage and what not to,” and thus forced to coordinate with the Pentagon and State Department “on an hourly basis…to get clarification on what they could do.”

Portraits Of Taliban Fighters - Afghanistan
A Taliban fighter holds an American-made M16 rifle in Kabul, December 12, 2021. Photo | Sipa via AP

“They would see the Taliban attacking our checkpoints. They would have videos of the Taliban doing it. But they would say we are not able to engage because we have limitations,” he records. “The Taliban started moving around connecting their small pockets of fighting groups across the country, uniting them and making the fighting units bigger and bigger. The U.S. would watch but do nothing because of the Agreement.”

Come May 2021, when the Taliban offensive began, demoralized, ill-equipped protective forces – who, in some cases, hadn’t seen their families or been paid for over six months – offered little resistance. Some of them joined the Taliban, and others were bribed to give up their positions. The ease with which the group breezed through fortified territory gave rise to a “conspiracy theory” circulating through state institutions that “the Americans wanted the Taliban to come back to power,” according to a former government minister.

The Taliban purportedly seized upon this development, publicizing they had “some kind of a secret deal with the Americans…under which certain districts or provinces would be surrendered to them” to facilitate ANDSF capitulations, according to an ex-Afghan national security official:

[Defeat] was going to happen anyway, so why would they want to die… they used that tactic very well throughout the country, they used it with local commanders, leaders in their areas, parliamentarians.”


It is tantalizing indeed to consider whether, far from “conspiracy theory,” the Doha Agreement did indeed amount to the Taliban being given free rein to take back control of Afghanistan and the apparent surprise of U.S. officials at the pace of the government’s collapse was just for show.

However, SIGAR outlines a total lack of professional oversight on the ANDSF’s development and capabilities, which “prevented a clear picture of reality on the ground” from emerging to any relevant party before it was too late. This was no accident, though; the Afghan government and military, their trainers and the Pentagon alike were all heavily incentivized to lie to one another, and political leaders in Washington, who were in turn motivated to mislead the public and justify the enormous investment.

This deceit also conveniently obscured industrial-scale corruption and embezzlement within the ANDSF. As prior SIGAR reports also found, so much money and equipment were flowing into Afghanistan without any supervision whatsoever, and weaponry and other aid were misused, stolen or illegally sold off with ease by Afghans, U.S. personnel and Pentagon contractors.

SIGAR ominously warns that a similar absence of accountability is evident in the “unprecedented” U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022.

“Diversion to illicit markets, misuse amongst groups fighting in Ukraine, or their acquisition by Russia or other non-state actors” are resultantly considered “likely unavoidable” consequences of this wellspring. Despite U.S. leaders promising a keen eye is being kept on the weapons shipments, SIGAR’s report makes clear these same officials did not even know what was being sent to Afghanistan. Is the same true for Kiev?

In a perverse irony, some of the American military equipment rescued from capture by the Taliban has been dispatched to Ukraine – specifically, fighter jets that could not be used by the Afghan Air Force. For the most part, though, what ended up in Kabul is now in the hands of a formerly sworn enemy, with armored vehicles and military aircraft featuring prominently in the group’s propaganda and training videos.

There are disturbing historical echoes in this. In the 1980s, the CIA and MI6 provided Afghanistan’s Mujahideen with 600 Blowpipe anti-aircraft missiles to take down Red Army jets and helicopters. Following the 2001 NATO invasion, these weapons were routinely found in Taliban and Al-Qaeda arms caches across the country. As late as 2010, Western media was reporting the shoulder-fired Blowpipes were a major threat to American operations there.

In the present day, the U.S. has provided 1,400 MANPADS – another shoulder-fired missile – to Ukraine. The State Department believes these weapons “pose a serious threat to passenger air travel, the commercial aviation industry, and military aircraft around the world.” Since the 1970s, over 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by MANPADS.


One of the SIGAR report’s most striking sections documents the Afghan government’s failure to dedicate any time or resources at all to planning how the country’s assorted U.S.-created and sustained political, judicial, security and military institutions might operate post-withdrawal. Refusal might be more accurate – for as August 2021 approached, Ghani and his men remained implacably convinced the U.S. was not going anywhere and acted accordingly.

The reasons for this catastrophic oversight were manifold. First and foremost, neither President Ghani nor his administration at any point considered the prospect of total U.S. withdrawal to be remotely credible or even possible. They reasoned that Washington had expended so much blood and treasure over so many years, and the country was so strategically significant it would never be fully jilted by its generous benefactor.

In fact, they were certain the U.S. could not leave without the government’s express consent under the terms of the Bilateral Security Agreement inked in September 2014 by Kabul and Washington. It enshrined a permanent American troop presence in the country “until the end of 2024 and beyond” unless terminated by either side with two years’ notice.

Taliban-controlled Afghanistan
Taliban fighters patrol in front of a torn photo of Ashraf Ghani on the wall of a city hall, Aug. 21, 2021. Photo | Kyodo via AP

As such, when U.S. officials began warning Afghan ministers the withdrawal would very much be total, they simply were not listened to. A State Department official despairingly recalls how Ghani interpreted his repeated cautions of what was to soon come as a mere diplomatic bluff intended to “shape his behavior.” Declaring Afghanistan to be “the most important piece of real estate in the world,” he asked the official airily, “how could you leave a territory as important geopolitically?”

“That [sic] was some of the toughest conversations I had with the President of Afghanistan,” the State Department official lamented. “I tried to plead with him, saying I know he’s very well-connected but, in our system, the President ultimately decides, and he should take this seriously not to miscalculate.”

A staggering blunder indeed, but in their defense, Ghani et al. were encouraged in their delusion by contradictory and conflicting messages, both private and public, from U.S. officials.

“They refuted profusely any argument their negotiations with the Taliban and their subsequent deal…was essentially a guise to withdraw all of their troops,” a former Afghan national security advisor alleges, adding:

We were constantly reassured the [U.S.] was committed to the partnership with the Afghan government. They insisted they wanted a peaceful Afghanistan in which the gains of the last 20 years would be preserved. They maintained this position until the very end.”

Ghani’s close personal connections to the U.S. power elite also helped foster the sense he was a “made man” and wouldn’t be discarded by his fellow gangsters. Hekmat Karzai, former Afghan deputy foreign minister, records how the president “thought he knew Washington, though many of these senators were his close friends…he was able to address both houses of Congress, and he thought he had lobbyists in Washington that were pulling for him.”


The SIGAR report offers no formal recommendations for the U.S. government. It is simply intended as a comprehensive postmortem to enhance public understanding of how unaccountably vast American taxpayer funds were spent on a nation-building project thousands of miles away from home, which ultimately failed miserably.

Yet, the lessons for all U.S. allies, particularly those heavily dependent on Washington’s diplomatic, financial and military backing, could not be starker. SIGAR’s findings are particularly relevant to consider in the context of the Ukraine conflict, given there are increasingly unambiguous indications the day Kiev is thrown under a bus by its Western sponsors rapidly approaches.

At the end of January, influential Pentagon-funded think tank RAND published a report, “Avoiding a Long War,” which concluded the risks and costs of keeping the conflict grinding on through endless weapons shipments and bottomless financial aid far outweighed any benefits to the U.S. It accordingly urged policymakers to immediately start laying foundations for a future “shift” in support for Ukraine, nudging Kiev to rein in its ambitions and rhetoric and initiate peace negotiations with Moscow.

It may be no coincidence that in the RAND report’s wake, public pronouncements by U.S. officials are no longer tubthumping and bullish, and there has been a marked shift in media reporting on the conflict. Stories of Ukrainian battlefield success and heroism and Russian incompetence and embarrassment, a daily staple for much of 2022, have suddenly become rather scarce.

In their place, numerous outlets have published detailed accounts of the bleak reality of the frontline, with poorly equipped, untrained Ukrainian conscripts forcibly marched into a relentless, highly lethal deluge of artillery fire while Russian forces steadily gain ground. Kiev’s personnel losses, a closely guarded state secret hitherto consistently downplayed by the media, are now widely acknowledged to be catastrophic and unsustainable.

On March 12, Politico reported Washington’s unity with Ukraine was “slowly cracking apart,” and administration officials privately worry so much manpower and ammunition is being expended that no counteroffensive can ever be mounted. It was also claimed – contrary to Biden’s explicit pledge to support the proxy war “as long as it takes” – Kiev had been plainly informed that U.S. support would not continue “indefinitely at this level.”

If true, there is no indication that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received the memo. He recently hailed Kiev’s “invincibility” and dubbed 2023 “the year of victory.” His military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov has even suggested Ukrainians will be vacationing in Crimea this summer.

Maintaining the morale of one’s citizens, soldiers and foreign backers during wartime is absolutely essential, and the former comedian has proven himself highly adept in this regard. Yet, the same U.S. figures who not long ago readily echoed and legitimized this optimism are now actively repudiating Zelensky’s swagger. On February 15, Secretary of State Antony Blinken gravely warned Ukraine that its dream of retaking Crimea was not only fantastical but even trying would inevitably lead to a severe counter-response from Moscow.

This unprecedented intervention was in direct keeping with the RAND report’s contention that Kiev regaining territory from Russia was of “debatable” value to American interests, given “the risks of nuclear use or a Russia-NATO war would spike.” Ukrainian land being considered so expendable raises the obvious prospect Washington could compel Kiev to cede even more to Moscow in a peace deal.

One cannot help but wonder if, behind closed doors, Zelensky is in the manner of Ghani, being warned that Washington’s total withdrawal from the proxy war impends, but these entreaties are similarly falling on deaf ears.

If so, the Ukrainian president can be forgiven for similarly thinking the prospect to be inconceivable. Pan-Western public and political sympathy, fawning profiles in prominent newspapers and magazines, unrelenting positive media coverage, high-level visits to and from Washington, London and other centers of power, and ceaseless statements of solidarity from overseas would convince any leader they were eternally indispensable. But the U.S. abandoning Afghanistan entirely was likewise beyond belief to all concerned until it happened.

It is easily forgotten that in June 2021, Ghani flew to Washington for a well-publicized personal summit with Biden as the Taliban simultaneously surged across the country, inexorably seizing district after district. Widely reported as a strong signal that the White House still steadfastly supported Kabul, a government spokesperson said the visit would “highlight the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues.”

Less than three months later, Ghani would unceremoniously flee Kabul for the United Arab Emirates, where he has languished in almost total obscurity ever since, completely forgotten by the Western media and forsaken by his former “friends.” The “most important piece of real estate in the world” likewise almost instantly vanished from headlines and mainstream political discourse following the Taliban’s takeover, never to return.

This time round, U.S. investment is lower, the stakes far higher, and extrication considerably easier. And as the RAND report argued, the Ukraine conflict is taking up valuable time and energy of military chiefs, which could instead be more fruitfully devoted to planning a war with China, a horrific prospect now openly mooted in Washington. The only question is how many more Ukrainians will needlessly die before the forewarned “shift” in American policy comes to pass, and Beijing is in the firing line.

CIA Larry Johnson: “What’s Coming IS WORSE THAN A WW3, THIS IS SERIOUS” in Exclusive Interview

Mar 30, 2023

Red Pilled TV

CIA Larry Johnson

Premiered 11 hours ago #larryjohnson#interview#redpilledtv

“What’s Coming IS WORSE THAN A WW3, THIS IS SERIOUS” in Exclusive Interview Larry Johnson is back on the show to talk about the war in Ukraine.

Johnson gives his assessment of where things stand on the ground. They talk about the astounding casualty numbers and the horrifying nature of the battle over Bakhmut. Johnson then gives some predictions for the next stages of the war.

They talk about the rising tension with China. They agree there is no need to go to war with China but discuss what may explain the sudden attention shift towards Beijing. Lastly, they talk about the effects of cronyism in the weapons industry and the probability of a nuclear war.

Find more @judgenapolitano-judgingfre7226 Discussed on the show: “This Time It’s Different” (The American Conservative) “Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut: ‘Our troops are not being protected’” (Kyiv Independent) Larry Johnson is an American blogger and former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. He is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group).

الدور الروسي في مواجهة مشروع أميركا الجديد

 الخميس 23 آذار 2023

أمل أبو زيد  

(أ ف ب )

يوم تحدّث فوكوياما، منذ ثلاثين سنة، نيابة عن العقل السياسي لدولة واشنطن العميقة، عن مفهوم «»، لم يكن يقصد مجرد نقاش عقلاني سلمي هادئ بين نهجين فكريين فلسفيين وحسب. ذلك أن الأحداث المتلاحقة على مستوى العالم لم تتأخّر في التأكيد بشكل يومي أن المقصود هو انتصار معسكر على آخر، وسيطرة كاملة لهذا المعسكر على العالم، جيوسياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً وثقافياً وتكنولوجياً. وهو المشهد الذي وصفه سيد البيت الأبيض يومها بـ«النظام العالمي الجديد».

هذا النظام، كان، في الفكرة والواقع، نظاماً إمبراطورياً، إذ يكفي للدلالة على ذلك أن رؤية فوكوياما لم تكن إلّا استلهاماً لزمن نابليون بعد معركة إيينا. غير أن المشكلة بدأت عندما راح سيّد هذا العالم الجديد يتصرّف بشكل لا ينسجم مع المسؤولية العالمية الجديدة. وعلى مدى نحو ربع قرن تقريباً، سُجِّل عدم احترام لمبادئ الشرعية الدولية، لا بل خروج صريح عن أطر مؤسّساتها، وعدم احترام لمبدأ سياسة الدول ووحدة أراضيها، وصولاً إلى شنّ حروب من خارج الشرعية الدولية، استهدفت دولاً وسلامة أراضيها ووحدتها وشعوبها.

هذه السلوكيات السياسية والعسكرية، ترافقت مع سلوكيات مماثلة على الصعيد الاقتصادي والتنموي والتجاري على مستوى العالم، بما كرّس نهج الهيمنة وسياسات النفوذ العالمية، فضلاً عن محاولة تركيز ثروات الأرض في قبضة طرف واحد، ما فاقم الفجوة التنموية بين المناطق والبلدان والقارات، وأدّى إلى زيادة مشاعر الحرمان والغُبن لدى أكثرية شعوب الأرض.

بعد عشرين سنة من هذه السياسات، انطلقت في الشرق الأوسط، بمصادفة غريبة وبشكل متزامن، عاصفة ما سُمّي «الربيع العربي»، الذي ظهر فعلياً أنه كان محاولة لإسقاط كل النظام القائم وتبديل كل دولة بأنظمة جديدة قائمة على شرعية دينية ما. حتى أن الرئيس الأميركي السابق، باراك أوباما، كان صريحاً أكثر من اللزوم في كلامه عن شعوب الشرق الأوسط في خطابه الشهير في جامعة القاهرة عام 2009، وبعدها في «عقيدة أوباما»، وصولاً إلى الصدفة الأكثر غرابة في صدور الأمر الرئاسي عنه في آب 2010 والذي يتكلم صراحة عن تغيير مشهد الشرق الأوسط قبل أسابيع قليلة من اندلاع أولى عواصف الربيع العربي بدءاً من تونس في كانون الأول من العام 2010.

في الجهة المقابلة من الشرق الأوسط، بدأت السياسات الأميركية تركّز على عنوان واضح: نحن ذاهبون إلى إعادة تشكيل نظام سيطرتنا العالمي الجديد باحتواء الصين، وبالتالي على الدول الأخرى، من أوروبا كلها، وروسيا وتركيا، وصولاً إلى جنوب شرقي آسيا والدول المشاطئة لبحر الصين، أن تكون مجرّد أحجار قرميد في أيدينا لبناء السور الأميركي العظيم حول التنين الصيني لترويضه وإخضاعه… وكل الباقي تفاصيل.

أمام هذا الواقع، وبعدما تأكّدت روسيا من دوافع السياسات الأميركية ومساراتها، خصوصاً في ما يتعلق بما تمّ تحضيره ضدّها انطلاقاً من دولة أوكرانيا، بدأت روسيا العمل مع شركائها وحلفائها باتجاه تشكّل نظام عالمي جديد للخروج من الزعامة الأحادية والدفع باتجاه عالم متعدّد الأقطاب. وما التطورات العسكرية الجارية في أوكرانيا إلّا دليل واضح على عملية الانتقال إلى معادلة دولية مختلفة أدّت إلى خلط أوراق العلاقات التجارية والتحالفات الدولية وإلى قيام سياسات ومحاور اقتصادية ومالية جديدة من شأنها أن تخلص إلى توازن قوى إقليمي ودولي، والأخذ في الاعتبار المصالح المشروعة لكل اللاعبين على المسرح الدولي، وتخلق قواعد جديدة لحل الصراعات والنزاعات الدولية.

إنّ الأزمة الحالية مع أوكرانيا، ومع المعسكر الغربي بأكمله، هي فرصة نادرة وسانحة وفريدة لكي يتمكّن الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، من إثبات حضوره على الساحة الدولية

إنّ الأزمة الحالية مع أوكرانيا، ومع المعسكر الغربي بأكمله، هي فرصة نادرة وسانحة وفريدة لكي يتمكّن الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، من إثبات حضوره على الساحة الدولية وسط التصاعد المتنامي للقوة الصينية، وهيمنة أميركا على المشهد الحالي، مع إدراكه بأن هذا العالم الجديد لديه سمات وعلامات فارقة، أهمها:

-أولاً: تحوّل روسيا نحو الشرق. هذا التحوّل لم يأخذ أشكاله الواضحة إلا منذ عشر سنوات تقريباً، وأَخَذَ البُعدين الاقتصادي والجيوسياسي، بعد إعادة دمج شبه جزيرة القرم، ما وضع حداً، على الأقل في ذلك الوقت، لتوسيع التحالفات الغربية، مثل حلف شمال الأطلسي، في المناطق التي تعتبرها روسيا حيوية لأمنها القومي. وترافق تحوّل روسيا نحو الشرق، وتحوّل الصين غرباً نحو أوروبا من خلال «مبادرة الحزام وطريق الحرير»، مع تغيير أكثر أهمية في نظام العلاقات الدولية بأكمله، أي نهاية هيمنة الغرب التي امتدّت لفترة 500 عام بما في ذلك النظام الليبرالي المهيمن في السنوات السبعين الماضية.

-ثانياً: الكثير من المتغيّرات ستحدّد شكل العالم الجديد. قد نشهد نشوء أوراسيا الكبرى. وهذا المفهوم وُلد في روسيا وشمل منذ البداية أوروبا أو جزءاً منها جغرافياً. وقد تصبح أوراسيا مركز الاقتصاد والسياسة والثقافة، وليس أوروبا كما كانت الحال خلال الخمسة قرون الماضية.

-ثالثاً: إن استراتيجية «التوجّه شرقاً» التي اعتمدتها موسكو رداً على القيود الغربية غير المسبوقة ومحاولات عزلها، دفعت في اتجاه علاقات شراكة استراتيجية روسية-صينية، وليس نموذج «تحالف». وهذا يُسهم في استقرار العلاقات بينهما ويعطيهما مساحة كاملة من التعاون من دون أن يلزم أي جانب بإدخال تعديلات كبرى على سياسته.

-رابعاً: إنّ الحضور الروسي في الشرق الأوسط، وتحديداً منذ تواجدها في سوريا عام 2015، أفسح لها المجال في التقدّم على واجهة التأثير الدولي في المنطقة، وتطوير حضورها ودورها وعلاقاتها، ولا سيما مع دول الخليج التي أطلقت معها حواراً استراتيجياً ومبادرة لضمان الأمن في الخليج. فإلى جانب المجابهة الأميركية-الإيرانية، والسعودية-الإيرانية، هناك العداء الإيراني-الإسرائيلي، والصراع السني-الشيعي، والصراع العربي-الإسرائيلي، إذ إن روسيا تبقى اللاعب الوحيد القادر على مخاطبة الجميع والدفع في اتجاه حلّ للنزاعات الإقليمية.

وبالفعل، هناك توجّه روسي جديد في منطقة الشرق الأوسط يهدف إلى تأمين النموّ الاقتصادي المتسارع لها، وهي مدركة لفوائد إعادة تفعيل العلاقات التاريخية مع عدد من دول المنطقة وتطويرها، وأيضاً لضرورة توظيف كل قدراتها بهدف دعم تحركاتها وتحقيق أهدافها، ومن أهمها وأبرزها ديبلوماسية القمة والوساطة، مع اختلاف فاعليتها من قضية إلى أخرى.

-خامساً: الملف النووي الإيراني الذي كان واحداً من أبرز الضحايا السياسية للحرب في أوكرانيا. فقد بدا واضحاً أن فرصة إحياء الاتفاق النووي التي لاحت في عام 2021، تبدّدت في عام 2022 بسبب الحرب وتأثيرها على مسألتين؛ الأولى تتعلق بالتغيير الحاصل في موقف إيران التي لم تعد على عجلة من أمرها بعدما تغيرت المعطيات الجيوسياسية والاقتصادية بفعل حرب أوكرانيا. فإيران تبيع نفطها وبرنامجها النووي يتقدّم، في حين أن قدرة أميركا والدول الغربية على استخدام السلاح الاقتصادي تتراجع. والثانية، تتعلق بالأزمة المستجدة والمتفاقمة بين إيران والتحالف الأميركي-الأوروبي الذي يسعى لمعاقبة إيران بسبب دعمها لروسيا في الحرب وتزويدها بمسيّرات وصواريخ، بحسب زعمهم، وبسبب إسهامها في تعزيز المحور الشرقي وبناء النظام العالمي الجديد عبر المشاغبة على أميركا وسياساتها في المنطقة.

-سادساً: دور تركيا المتعاظم في المنطقة، إذ إن الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان كان أول وأكبر المستفيدين من الحرب التي أعطته دوراً محورياً هو دور الوسيط بين روسيا وأوكرانيا، وبين روسيا والولايات المتحدة بدرجة أقل، مثبتاً قدرة فائقة على السير بين توازناتٍ وتناقضاتٍ دقيقة، إضافة إلى «تصفير» مشكلاته مع دول المنطقة، وتهدئة الحرارة في العلاقات التركية مع دول الخليج وأيضاً مع إسرائيل.

-سابعاً: دور السعودية المتنامي في المنطقة، إذ أدرك ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان كيف يستغلّ الحرب والمتغيّرات الجيوسياسية والاقتصادية في العالم ليحوّلها إلى فرصة لإظهار أهمية السعودية ومكانتها وشخصيتها، ودفع الولايات المتحدة على الأخذ في الاعتبار مصالح السعودية السياسية والاقتصادية، بعدما اتّسمت السياسة الأميركية بالتخبّط والتردّد وعدم الوضوح.

ويرى ابن سلمان أن الحرب في أوكرانيا هي فرصة لتصحيح المسار ولا يجوز تفويتها. وبدافع التحوّط الاستراتيجي هو ينسج منذ فترة انزياحاً جدياً نحو تنويع الشراكات مع الصين وروسيا والهند، ويعتبر أن الاصطفاف الدولي المطلوب هو استحقاق كبير يجب تحويله إلى فرصة وجعل الثمن كبيراً. ومن غير الجائز، برأيه، التسرّع والهرولة المجانية في اتجاه الغرب، خصوصاً أن النفط لا يزال قيمة أساسية في المعادلات التجارية والسياسية. ثم إنّ الحرب نفسها خلقت مساراً مختلفاً عن المرسوم في عالم الطاقة، ورفعت الأسعار وعادت بالفائدة على الخزينة السعودية.

بعد مرور سنة على معارك أوكرانيا، تجد أوروبا صعوبة في متابعة مسارها، لأنها أصبحت تعاني من الانكماش الاقتصادي والتجاري والموجة التضخمية الناتجة من ارتفاع أسعار الطاقة والغذاء، وهي تقف عاجزة عن القيام بأي خطوة إيجابية تجاه روسيا، ما أدّى إلى هبوط سعر اليورو والجنيه الاسترليني وإلى إقفال شركات وهجرة الاستثمارات.

ويتعيّن على أوروبا أن تقرّر إذا كانت تريد القيام بدور نشط في بناء شراكة جديدة، أم أن هذه الشراكة ستُبنى من دونها، ثم ضدّها، ومن دون مراعاة مصالحها. واستطراداً، على أوروبا التوقّف عن الانزلاق أكثر في الأزمة الحضارية والتخلّي عن محاولات الاتّحاد ضدّ الأعداء الوهميين مثل روسيا أو الصين.

في عام 1991، انتهت حقبة الحرب الباردة التي بدأت بعد انتهاء الحرب العالمية الثانية، وثمّة بوادر واضحة تؤشّر إلى احتمال بدء مرحلة جديدة وبناء نظام عالمي جديد انطلاقاً مما يجري في أوكرانيا، لتصبح عام 2022 بداية حقبة جديدة وخطّاً زمنياً فاصلاً بين مرحلتين وعالمين.

إنّ كل أزمة تحمل في طياتها فرصة للحلّ. وهذه الأزمة الغربية الحالية في إدارة العالم التي نعيشها اليوم، وخصوصاً في الفوضى التي خلّفتها على مستوى أوروبا والشرق الأوسط، حملت فرصة واضحة؛ وهي التي تجسّدت في خروج كل القوى الأساسية على الهيمنة الأميركية وبروز اتجاه جديد لديها لإعادة تشكيل نظام منطقتها بشكل أكثر استقلالية وتوازناً. وهو ما نشهده اليوم في العلاقات التركية-الأميركية وحتى السعودية-الأميركية، وصولاً إلى الكباش الكبير بين واشنطن وطهران وموسكو. نظام جديد يجب أن يقوم على أسس واضحة، أهمها؛ أولاً، إعادة الأهمية لمفهوم الاستقرار في هذه المنطقة الحيوية للعالم. وثانياً، إعادة الأولوية لضرورة اعتماد سياسات تنموية صحيحة تستثمر ثروات هذه المنطقة لمصلحة مجتمعاتها وشعوبها. وهذا يقتضي قيام أُطر تعاون بين هذه الدول بعيدة كلياً عن مفاهيم الهيمنة والنفوذ والتدخّل في الدول.
أخيراً، ومنذ عشرة أعوام، بدت واشنطن وكأنها تقول لعالمنا الممتدّ على ضفّتي المتوسط، وصولاً إلى أوروبا والشرق الأوسط الواسع: أنتم جسرٌ، وظيفته الوحيدة هي وصولنا إلى الصين… ولا وظيفة أو قيمة أخرى لكم. وفيما هذا العالم يحاول أن يقول لواشنطن: نحن قلب العالم، في مصادر طاقته وممرّات تجارته وحركة شعوبه وسكانه وهجراته ولا يمكن للأطراف أن تقتل القلب أو تقتطعه من جسدها، وتتوهّم أنها يمكن أن تظلّ على قيد الحياة.

هذا هو جوهر الصراع اليوم… وعلى نتيجته يتوقف مصير كل العالم لعقود كثيرة مقبلة.

* نائب سابق، ومستشار الرئيس ميشال عون للشؤون الروسية

Israel’s uncertain future in the wake of Great Power conflict

March 21 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

As global power dynamics continue to shift, Israel’s close western alignment could limit its ability to engage with emerging powers in the east. Arch-rival Iran, which has established ties with Russia and China, will be better positioned to gain from the shifting geopolitical landscape.

By Mohamad Hasan Sweidan

Great-power competition has the potential to significantly impact the future of Israel. As a key player in West Asia, Israel is likely to be affected by the actions and strategies of major powers such as the US, China, and Russia.

The US has historically been a strong ally of Israel, providing significant military and economic aid. However, Washington’s current strategy of thwarting growing Chinese and Russian political and economic influence around the world may lead to increased pressure on Israel, a western-creation, to align with US interests in the region.

At the same time, China and Russia are rapidly expanding their stakes in West Asia, which may set back Israel’s recent rapprochement progress with neighboring states. In the past few years, Tel Aviv has offered itself to Arab states as a strong regional replacement for waning US presence, and a buffer against Iran’s rise.

But Beijing’s key role in brokering an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran is likely to impact Israel’s dealings with both of those countries – and other Arab states. Will they need that Israeli military buffer if global power China – or Russia – can troubleshoot conflict and usher in peace?

Furthermore, as great-power competition intensifies, Israel, like other small states, will come under pressure to align with one side. This could impact Israel’s ability to maintain its independence and pursue its own interests in the region.

Great Power competition: a heavy burden on Israel

In recent years, Israel has developed multifaceted relationships with both China and Russia, which have reaped both economic and political benefits for Tel Aviv. China has been one of the top global investors in West Asia and North Africa, with Israel ranking eighth on the list of beneficiary states since 2005 and receiving just over $12 billion in Chinese investments since 2010. In the past, Washington has given Israel some leeway in its foreign policy initiatives, but since the Ukraine conflict, US flexibility has been abruptly halted

Senior analyst on Israeli affairs at Al-Akhbar newspaper, Ali Haidar, told The Cradle that “Israel has a specific margin to preserve its interests. This is something that the United States understands and considers.”

“At the same time, there are red lines that Israel cannot cross, but it can, through its relations and contacts with the US administration and influential parties, contribute to adapting and circumventing them to some extent.”

As the competition between the US, on the one hand, and Moscow and Beijing on the other, intensifies, Israel’s ability to maneuver is becoming increasingly limited, and Washington’s pressure is mounting. This pressure demands that Tel Aviv take positions more aligned with US interests, which in turn constrain cooperation between Israel and Russia, and China.

According to Manuel Trajtenberg, director of Israel’s National Security Institute:

“The increasing pressure on Israel to pivot in this context presents it with weighty dilemmas, and a policy change in the wake of that could significantly reduce its space for political-security maneuvering.”

This was exemplified by Israel’s attempts to mediate the conflict in Ukraine, which were quickly abandoned under coercion from Washington to take a clear position in support of the west and against Moscow.

This US pressure was also reflected in Israel’s military aggressions against Syria. In March 2022, the number of Israeli strikes targeting Syria decreased to only one strike from four the month before, suggesting that Tel Aviv was apprehensive of a Russian reaction. As a result, any imbalance in the relationship between Israel and Russia may have direct consequences for Israel’s interests – if Moscow decides to take action.

China’s presence in West Asia and North Africa

In the early 2010s, China began to expand its presence in the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) regions. One of the major milestones of China’s modern foreign policy was the announcement of its ambitious, multi-continent Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. To date, at least 17 countries from the region have joined the initiative:

WANA states that have joined China’s BRI

China also signed bilateral partnership agreements with 13 countries in the region between 2014 and 2022. Notably, Israel has not entered into any association agreement with China and has not joined the BRI.

WANA states with bilateral strategic partnerships with China

By brokering the Iran-Saudi deal in the aftermath of high-profile visits to Tehran and Riyadh by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has now signaled that it intends to play a more active role in resolving conflicts and disputes in the region, much to Washington’s alarm. US reaction to this game-changing agreement has been hyper-focused on the geopolitical ramifications of China bringing the two parties to the table, rather than discussion about the agreement itself.

As China’s influence in the region continues to grow, Israel remains constrained by “American concerns,” preventing it from deepening its relations with China, while other regional states are lining up to strike deals with Beijing.

Analyst Haidar has noted that “the US’s obstruction of Israeli engagement with China will limit Tel Aviv’s ability to forge strong economic and political ties with Beijing,” adding, “This is a practical example of Israel’s commitment to what the United States regards as its vital interests, which Israel is prohibited from crossing.”

In 2019, in order to protect Washington’s interests, the Israeli government established a committee to evaluate the national security implications of foreign investments – with a specific focus on China.

Furthermore, the US and Israel have agreed to tighten control over the export of advanced technologies to China. That noose will further tighten as the economic competition between Washington and Beijing intensifies, and Israel – a major recipient of US technologies – may well be forced into this confrontation with China.

Iranian cooperation with Russia and China

One significant consequence of the intensifying competition between great powers is China and Russia’s efforts to strengthen their cooperation with key states, particularly those that oppose aggressive western hegemony.

Their alignment of interests has led to a palpable warming in relations between Iran, Russia, and China, and some concrete steps forward. The three states are more frequently engaging in joint military exercises, and military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran has thrived over the broader Eurasian-Atlanticist conflict in Ukraine.

Hostile US policies aimed at Russia and China have encouraged them to seek out and establish supportive multilateral institutions such as the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Tehran has, in turn, applied for membership in both organizations, which led to Iran’s formal ascension to the SCO last year – making it the organization’s ninth member state and its first West Asian participant.

In this context, Haidar points out that “One of the most important concepts that resonate on the tongues of officials and experts in Israel is the seriousness of the repercussions of the intensification of the international conflict on the region and Israel.” This, he argued, is “centered on Iran’s openness to Asian powers and the implications of that.”

He also contends that “rapid international changes” could present new opportunities for Iran, which is currently facing an economic assault from the west. These changes, Haidar explains, may enable Iran to counter the sanctions pressures, which undermines Israel’s multi-pronged strategy for confronting Iran.

Today, Israel’s position in the western axis limits its ability to keep up with Iran’s geopolitical expansion eastward. As the Global Power conflict intensifies and the opposing poles become more defined, Israel’s maneuvering room will shrink, while the Islamic Republic – never reliant on the west – will have a wider range of options available to it.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, argued that Iran occupies an important place in the process of reshaping the axis of countries hostile to the US and the west:

“The Iranian regime is positioning itself as an active player in the confrontation with the liberal democratic camp led by the US. It identifies the West’s weakness and is exploiting it as far as possible.”

Israel’s shrinking geopolitics

According to the latest annual intelligence estimate of the Israeli military’s Intelligence Directorate, global trends, the Iranian and Palestinian theaters form Tel Aviv’s 2023 threat triangle.

“At the center of this triangle will be the international tendencies that affect Israel and its security; the global instability that stems mainly from the conflict between the United States and China will continue and intensify.”

Today, Israel faces some momentous challenges to its future, not only from extreme domestic polarization but particularly from the intensification of global conflict and the decline of western hegemony. Iran’s growing international engagement, and the solidification of its relations with Asian powers, are unfolding as Tel Aviv’s options are shrinking.

There is also a correlation between the strength of US deterrence and influence in the region and Israel’s ability to exercise its own deterrence capabilities. As US power weakens, it is likely to have a negative impact on Israel’s ability to deter its enemies.

Moreover, the growing number of states “oscillating” between east and west, and maneuvering to take advantage of great-power competition, is another challenge for Israel. Even staunch US allies in the Persian Gulf – once scrambling to normalize relations with Israel – are looking for room to maneuver with the rising east, as seen with Riyadh’s readiness for Chinese mediation in negotiations with Iran.

While Israel may have some margin to distance itself from direct confrontation with China and Russia, the repercussions of the Great Power conflict are likely to buoy the fortunes of the region’s Axis of Resistance – in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq – with any balance of power shift away from US and Israeli hegemony.

In short, Israel’s ability to leverage its western connections for geopolitical gain has shrunk considerably while its rivals race ahead to establish themselves comfortably in West Asia’s new multipolarity.

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

balance of powerBRIBRICS+ChinaChinese investmentsGlobal Power conflictIranIsraelmilitary deterrencenational security

باخموت: المعركة الفاصلة والتراجع المستحيل

 الأربعاء 15 آذار 2023

ناصر قنديل

تدور معارك مدينة باخموت منذ شهور ببطء شديد وضراوة عالية، ولم يعُد مهماً النقاش حول أهمية المدينة الاستراتيجية، سواء بصفتها عقدة وصل الطرقات الكبرى بين الشرق والغرب والشمال والجنوب، أو مفتاح السيطرة على منطقة دونباس، بعدما صار محسوماً أن القوات الروسية تضع نخبتها القتالية إلى جانب قوات فاغنر بهدف السيطرة على المدينة، وتقابلها القوات الأوكرانية بقتال مستميت لعشرات آلاف جنود القوات الخاصة، وتتمركز من حول معركة المدينة وصولاً الى الخطوط الخلفية في القوات الروسية والأوكرانية وما تحتويه من مئات المدافع وراجمات الصواريخ، وطلعات القوات الجوية القتالية والمسيّرة للفريقين في أجواء المدينة وما حولها، وصار واضحاً أن أحداً لن يتراجع للآخر ويصرف النظر عن معركة المدينة، بصورة تجعلها أم المعارك في أوكرانيا.

لم تنفع النصائح الغربية في إقناع القيادة الأوكرانية بالتخلي عن باخموت، ولا أدّى التقدم الروسي الى إقناع القيادة الأوكرانية بأن الثبات في المدينة ميؤوس منه، ووفق الخبراء تتشكل في المدينة أضخم التحصينات الأوكرانية، ما يجعل التقدم كل متر بمتر بكلفة عالية اختصاراً للمشهد من الزاوية الروسية، وهذا يعني عملياً أنه كما كانت معارك في أول الحرب علامة على وجهة المرحلة الأولى منها، وتأمين تدحرج انتصارات شواطئ بحر آزوف والبحر الأسود لصالح روسيا، قبل أن تستعيد القوات الأوكرانية زمام المبادرة في جبهتي خاركيف وخيرسون وتفرض على القوات الروسية الانسحاب، تبدو معركة باخموت بتراضي الطرفين هي المنازلة الحاسمة التي سيكون لمن يربحها فرصة التقدّم السريع بعدها نحو النصر، ونجاح القوات الأوكرانية في الصمود ومنع النصر الروسي في باخموت، سوف يكرّس موازين قوى متعادلة، لا يمكن للروس إنكارها. وهذا يعني فتح مسار تفاوضي على قاعدة ميزان قوى راجح لصالح أوكرانيا، رغم صعوبة الحديث عن شعار إخراج القوات الروسية من كل الأراضي الأوكرانية الى حدود عام 2014، لكن اندحار القوات الأوكرانية سوف يعني أن ما سقط بيد الروس ليس باخموت، بل أوكرانيا بكاملها، حتى لو لم تدخلها القوت الروسية.

المعركة الاستراتيجية الفاصلة محطّة معروفة في كل الحروب، حيث يتمسك الطرفان المتقابلان بنقطة مفصلية في الجغرافيا، سرعان ما تتحوّل إلى نقطة معنوية، تواكبها مواقف معلنة وقرارات عملية تدفع الحرب باتجاه يربط مصيرها بمصير هذه المعركة. وهكذا هي باخموت اليوم، كما كانت معركة العلمين في الحرب العالمية الثانية، والقصير أو حلب في الحرب السورية، ومعارك بنت جبيل وعيتا ومارون في حرب 2006، وواقعياً لا تكون ميزات النقطة التي تقع فيها المعركة الفاصلة هي التي قرّرت لها هذه الصفة، بقدر ما يكون الإصرار السياسي على المعنوي سبباً في العناد العسكري بقبول الزجّ بأهم المقدرات في معركتها، وكلما كبرت الخسائر في خوض المعركة زادت قيمتها الى حد يجعلها موازية لحجم التكلفة التي ترتبت عليها، وليس لأهميتها بذاتها بمعزل عن هذه التكلفة، ويصير العناد السياسي والعسكري تعبيراً عن عدم القدرة على التسليم بهدر هذه التكلفة العالية، والمضي قدماً، على طريقة المقامر الذي يخسر ماله وتصبح قيمة اشتراكه في اللعبة بحجم ديونه وخسائره، أملاً بتعويضها كلها بربح يجمع خبراء الغرب على أن النصر الروسي في باخموت حتميّ، ولذلك نصحوا الأوكرانيين بعدم تحويلها الى مقبرة للجيش الأوكراني، بحيث يصبح محسوماً مصير كل المعارك اللاحقة مع إعلان الجيش الروسي إكمال السيطرة على باخموت، ويصرخ القادة الأوكرانيون اليوم طلباً لمزيد من الذخائر الصاروخية والمدفعية الذكية، ويرد قادة الغرب أن مخزونهم نفد، ويصرخ القادة الأوكرانيون انهم يحتاجون فوراً إلى طائرات مقاتلة لتغيير الموازين، ويتردّد الغرب في تقديم طائراته وقوداً لمعركة محسومة الخسارة.

ايام أو أسابيع وتصبح باخموت في قبضة الجيش الروسي، وتكون حرب أوكرانيا ولو استمرّت في جبهات أخرى، قد حسمت، لأن من خسر باخموت لن يستطيع النصر في سواها.

مقالات ذات صلة

Russia Strikes Kyiv, Odesa & Kharkiv – Col Doug Macgregor

March 10, 2023

A barrage of more than 80 Russian missiles and a smaller number of exploding drones hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across Ukraine.

Lessons Learned from First Year of The Ukrainian War

March 8, 2023

By Dr. Hosam Matar | Al-Akhbar Newspaper

Translated by Staff

1.Developing a decision-making system is part of the war

The Russian operation in Ukraine was an additional evidence that major countries possess highly specialized institutions and agencies with substantial resources in security, intelligence, politics and research, could engage in uncalculated adventures. The most recent examples are associated with the United States in its wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. These mistakes occur as a result of an inherent flaw in the decision-making process, resulting from pressure from the domestic sphere (severe divisions and major crises), or due to flaws in decision-making rules or relationships between the decision-makers. This flaw results in distortion in conclusions, assessments, and expectations, which push these countries towards choices based on incorrect assumptions. In addition, major powers sometimes suffer from excessive confidence or excessive fears linked to their history, glory, image, pride, belief in their material capabilities, broad definitions of their interests, and permanent readiness to seize the imagined opportunities.

The US policy in Ukraine was based on the concept of aggressive realism to achieve dominance and use Ukraine to contain Russia in its vital and historical sphere. This is seen by Russia as an ideal recipe for eliminating the Russian nation and its message. Therefore, Moscow had no choice but to stop the American project in Ukraine, which became active in 2014. However, the Russian strategy to achieve this was built on wrong assumptions, including underestimating the American incentive to stop the deterioration of the Western alliance and its institutional capabilities in defense and diplomacy, the lack of accurate knowledge of the development of the Ukrainian military force and the firmness of Ukrainian nationalism, which was reshaped on the basis of hatred for Russia through a Western-sponsored comprehensive and systematic process. And thus, Putin estimated that he would launch a special limited operation against a weak and isolated system, but he found himself in a wide-scale war against NATO as a whole.

The lesson learned here is that in a highly complex and intertwined world, those who want to engage in complex conflicts and competitions must improve their decision-making system to ensure sufficient information knowledge and the ability to process it systematically and comprehensively, to learn rapidly, and to recognize the ideological limits. Only then, taking the risk at the appropriate time is ok. Problems that affect the domestic policy or the structure of the political player may be reflected in the efficiency of managing conflicts and competitions, making it easier for opponents to practice deception and enticement. Maintaining, developing, and improving your system requires costly or sometimes risky measures [such as stimulating competitions within the political system], but it is part of the confrontation strategy.

2.The US is waking up, but at noon!

In the first year of the war, American performance was significantly efficient, whether in marshalling the West or strengthening the Ukrainian confrontational capabilities, restricting Russia’s options or managing the international arena. The United States, though in a historical decline, still has differential features in several fields. However, the focal point here is that Washington is making every possible effort to try to launch a historical awakening in which all its power drivers are mobilized, due to the consensus of the US elite that the country’s position in the global system is facing an exceptional test that feeds on the high levels of domestic turmoil. Washington experienced this awakening at the end of the 1960s when it realized the extent of the Soviet technological progress and the catastrophic possibilities it could have on the struggle of the two nuclear powers. Therefore, Washington had no choice but to avoid losing the Ukrainian war, as it was at the beginning of a long-term fierce competition with China in an updated version of the Cold War.

The governing establishment in Washington is struggling to achieve a comprehensive US amplification in foreign policy in the next few years, which includes accelerating the building of deterrent military capabilities, enhancing international partnerships and integration, attempting to infiltrate the Southern countries, mobilizing the elements of internal power, and restoring and maintaining the institutions of the current international system. This is a difficult task, as the escalating internal divisions in the US, if not controlled by the US establishment, are most evident in the turmoil of the US foreign policy, and the international arena is witnessing structural shifts that are difficult to contain. 

From what can be gained from this, is a precise understanding of the current American situation in its historical moment. We should not exaggerate the rapidness of its decline or estimate that it is losing the initiative, nor should we be driven by its apparent momentum to ignore its structural problems. In our region, Washington wants to avoid major wars, but with intense efforts to harness the Axis of Resistance and the swinging countries within its grand strategy to confront the Chinese challenge.

However, it wants the factor of time to be in its favor by building a system of allies and undermining the resistance system through: (1) military deterrence so that it can practice (2) suffocation and (3) infiltration while reducing the possibility of a wide-scale escalation as a result. Based on this estimation, the forces of resistance continue to build unparalleled and precise military capabilities enhanced by technology, while raising the combat spirit, cultural mobilization, and developing margins of maneuver and field risk-taking. However, the US remains in urgent need of a major awakening in the areas of compound/gray zone warfare, i.e., information campaigns, soft power, economy, cyber, and political warfare. This awakening requires flexibility and boldness in looking at the structure of the Axis of Resistance system in terms of institutional efficiency, rules of operating, inter-agency cooperation, decision-making mechanisms, production of elites and ideas, maintenance of popular legitimacy, networking of interests, and strengthening common identity elements…etc.

3.The rebellion of the southern countries: a divided world

While Washington succeeded in mobilizing the Western camp, it was surprised that the so-called Global South countries, including the emerging powers, defied following the US policy and kept their relationships with Russia, although they expressed an initial rejection of the war in Ukraine. Countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and the UAE continued to cooperate with Russia in vital issues of mutual interests (armament, energy, and evading sanctions). Similarly, global opinion polls showed high support for both China and Russia in the vast majority of the Global South countries. The Ukrainian war revealed the concentration of raw materials, energy, food sources, and precious metals in the southern countries and the dependence of a large part of the global supply chains on them. This was one of the motives of the recent American rush towards Africa and the reaffirmation of its security commitment in the Gulf region. 

Cambridge University recently addressed a large number of surveys [covering 137 countries] to conclude that the world is sharply divided between a majority that strongly supports Russia and China in “non-liberal” countries [6.3 billion people] and a majority that strongly opposes them in liberal democracies [1.2 billion people]. The effects of this emerged during the Munich Security Conference [February 2023], where Western powers showed concern over the positions of the Global South countries, which seem to be frustrated with the international system that ignores their interests and is characterized by double standards and the pursuit of hegemony. Russia and China take advantage of this position to network economically and spread their political narratives. Therefore, recommendations were issued to listen to the concerns of the Global South countries and enhance cooperation with them in face of the economic, developmental, and health challenges, as well as reforming international institutions to grant some of these countries consolation prizes.

The increasing numbers of “swinging” countries that are seeking economic benefits, reclaiming their vital areas, or stabilizing their political systems in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, generate opportunities for the anti-US system forces [especially those who possess natural resources or important geostrategic positions or large markets] for regional cooperation, joint projects, and evading the sanctions systems [through local currency exchange, bartering, or selling at discounted prices]. The continuation of this trend of detaching interests between the Western system and the rising and developing world countries enables the emergence of alternative sharing systems [economic, financial, developmental, and political] that will accelerate, if successful, the transformation of the international environment to create an alternative to the post-Cold War system. 

4.Washington is unable to divide its rivals.

Perhaps one of the incentives behind the Russian decision to assume that the issue would not require more than a special military operation, is that Moscow believed that Washington would find a major interest in the limited objection to the Russian operation to keep Moscow away from China. In any case, it appears that Washington preferred to strike rather than satisfy Moscow based on the principle of starting with the weakest opponent when facing two adversaries. Similarly, in the case of Iran, the American approach reduced the space for negotiation and settlement, pushing Tehran towards deeper alignment with the East. What is driving Washington in this direction is that the incentives for the opposing forces to confront it are high and all of them sense that they are facing a historical turning point that they will not give up on and will not be tempted by “the poisoned carrots.”

This is a debatable point in the US, where some criticize the Biden administration’s approach for ignoring that, apart from the common position of hostility towards Washington, the interests of the three powers are not homogeneous and that it is better to neutralize the weakest and isolate China. While the approach of the US administration believes that none of the three powers should be tolerated so that Washington can regain its credibility with its allies in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East and be able to enhance a binary narrative of the world, dictatorship/democracy or pro-/against- international system, as a necessary condition for rebuilding its world alliances that began to disintegrate after the war on Iraq in 2003. In this context, Washington is making efforts to isolate opponents from supply chains, especially in sensitive sectors, and is accelerating the energy isolation of Europe from Russia, to erase any form of Western dependence on the rising powers in all possible fields.

However, Washington is working hard to weaken the ties between these countries. It is exerting concentrated efforts and pressures [deterrence through intimidation, warning, and information campaigns] to prevent China from providing Russia with a clear aid. Then, it can use this to weaken China’s image as a rising international power that can be relied upon. From this viewpoint, the amount of Western anger over Russia’s use of Iranian drones, apart from its tactical impact, is related to concerns about the success of tests of networking and partnership between these forces.

Likewise, pressure is mounting to keep Chinese companies away from the markets of swinging countries through smear campaigns [unjust Chinese debts], threatening with sanctions, questioning the feasibility, and tempting with alternatives. Strengthening cooperation between countries and forces hostile to Washington should be built on an understanding of the limits of common interests, developing what can be mutual benefits, enhancing forms of communication and dialogue through bilateral and multilateral frameworks and institutions, especially regarding political, economic, financial, and technological alternatives, making the necessary compromises, and accumulating success stories.

The Western alliance’s ferocity in imposing sanctions on Russia may have pushed other forces to be cautious, but it has also revealed to them that rising from within the structure of the existing international system is doomed to fail.

5.The militarization of the Western alliance

The Ukrainian war represented a golden opportunity for Washington to push its allies around the world towards rebuilding their military capabilities and allowing it to redeploy and expand within their own countries as it sees fit. A comprehensive militarization process was launched near China for the Pacific region, including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. In Europe, Germany returned to arming itself, and many European countries increased the scopes allocated to military spending from their national budgets, while Washington strengthened its military presence in Eastern Europe. In the Middle East, Washington launched a series of initiatives for military and security networking and integration, especially in the naval and missile fields, coinciding with the inclusion of the ‘Israeli’ entity in the US Central Command. Whatever the outcome of the war, Washington will be keen to rebuild Ukraine – or what is left of it – especially militarily, security, and economically, to become a sustainable vital challenge for Russia, making it just a regional power unable to initiate internationally. There are also calls for the establishment of a new Warsaw Pact that includes Poland and the Baltic States in addition to Ukraine.

This path aims to enhance the US deterrence against international competitors to prevent them from developing their interests and influence and restrict their ability to respond to the US attempts of tightening and infiltration. It also aims to militarily align with allies and reestablish stability in the swinging countries. The war has revealed a significant decline in the West’s capabilities in the military industry, which is finally evident in the decrease in ammunition supplies to the Ukrainian forces. This has prompted Washington and Moscow to redirect a portion of civilian manufacturing efforts towards the military field. This direction will impose severe pressures on the economies of the countries of the Western alliance that may trigger internal divisions, as well as revive historical fears among these countries, especially with the prevailing waves of nationalism.

Although the war emphasized the significant advantages of technology in the military field, especially in intelligence gathering and analysis, precision ammunition [missiles, shells, and drones], efficient networking of operational arms and their integration, and strategic management, it also reaffirmed the vital importance of the efficiency and capabilities of fighters [especially field officers] and their skills in innovating field solutions and independent thinking when necessary. It also highlighted the need to deal with the enemy’s technological superiority [through intense dispersion, constant movement, expert concealment, and effective use of available asymmetrical technology at a reasonable cost] and fight within highly flexible, decentralized formations, in addition to high morale and spiritual incentives.

6.Nationalism is the last resort

The Ukrainian war confirmed the high advantages of mobilizing and investing the nationalist sentiment in geopolitical competitions. The new Ukrainian nationalism, which has emerged since 2014 under Western sponsorship, has enabled the rapid and cohesive construction of a socially solid military force, while at the same time the Russian nationalist sentiment is being fueled by the idea that there is a civilizational war that aims to uproot the Russian nation, which is still popularly fortified by President Putin despite his military forces’ modest performance. In the end, nationalism is portrayed as meaning the national sovereignty, popular will, and cultural and religious particularities, in contrast to a renewed Western colonial project that seeks to infiltrate countries, seize their decisions, and destroy their cultural and civilizational elements, in order to subjugate them and seize their wealth. By the way, many Western newspapers in recent years have criticized the rising Nazi trend in Ukraine against people of Russian origin and Russian symbols, while the official Western discourse insists that the war in Ukraine is against a democratic government.

The global neoliberal trend diagnoses the nationalist wave as a serious threat, claiming that it is being exploited as a crane for anti-democratic, anti-individual freedom, closed-market, and irrational ideas. Therefore, there have been liberal discussions in recent years on how to withdraw the issue of nationalism from the hands of non-liberal entities and reconcile liberalism and nationalism. What worries the US establishment is that the triumph of nationalist models around the world enhances the power of the new right-wing trend in the United States, while the current US administration tries to convince Americans that the globalized US foreign policy is necessary for the American middle class. Increasing numbers of political actors adopt investment in nationalist symbols as a solid basis for building a strong and cohesive identity that makes them more capable of mobilizing and controlling society [or part of it] in the context of a specific political project. As for forces outside the Western camp specifically, they find in nationalism a fortress that achieves a kind of asymmetrical balance against the US hostility, with a tendency to integrate nationalism with another source of legitimacy of a religious or ideological nature.

This nationalist practice has been expanding in our region in recent years, either due to the US pressure to create rooted contradictions between the peoples of the region, or due to the need for ruling regimes to seek refuge behind a solid identity to overcome internal and external challenges. Often, there is a debate about the relationship between the national, nationalistic, and religious identity, and attempts are made to reconcile these identities or some of them, as in Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The violent pressures of the globalized liberal cultural symbols on our societies create a need to combine a greater number of common symbols that can reduce the possibilities of cultural infiltration. Here, there are calls to revive Asian symbols in the identities of peoples in the West Asia region as an additional defense line and a bridge towards deeper relations with the emerging Asian powers.


The biggest dilemma in Ukraine is that the defeat will be catastrophic whether for Washington or Moscow, and existential for Ukraine. This generates the inclination that the Ukrainian war will not end with a decisive victory for either side, but will instead transform into a low-intensity conflict in the near future, with Russian forces controlling most of the territories in the four provinces or just in Donbass [i.e. without Kherson and Zaporozhye]. Then the parties will regroup, draw lessons, accumulate strength, and wait for a favorable political moment to resume fighting on a larger scale.

It is said that strategies are built on optimistic aspirations for the future and harsh tragedies of the past. Undoubtedly, the Ukrainian war, whose results are still open to all possibilities, will have a significant impact on decision-making processes, the understanding of modern warfare, the building of military power, and the trajectory of great power conflict during the current century. Without a decisive victory, each side can present their own narrative of victory in Moscow, Kiev, and Washington, while the victory for the others lies in improving their chances of winning when their turn comes.

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