The China Moment

The China Moment

November 19, 2020

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

China has achieved the almost impossible – a free trade agreement with 14 countries – the ten ASEAN, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether 15 countries, including China. The so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was in negotiations during eight years – and achieved to pull together a group of countries for free trade, i.e. some 2.2 billion people, commanding some 30% of the world’s GDP. This is a never before reached agreement in size, value and tenor. The RCEP was signed during the 37th ASEAN Summit on 11 November in Vietnam.

On top of being the largest such trade agreement in human history, it also associates with and binds to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), or also called the New Silk Road, which in itself comprises already more than 130 countries and more than 30 international organizations. In addition, China and Russia have a longstanding strategic partnership, containing bilateral agreements that also enter into this new trade fold – plus the countries of the Central Asia Economic Union (CAEU), consisting mostly of former Soviet Republics, are also integrated into this eastern trade block.

The conglomerate of agreements and sub-agreements between Asian-Pacific countries that will cooperate with RCEP, is bound together by for the west a little-understood Asian Pact, called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai as an intergovernmental organization composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO’s purpose is to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region, join forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Much of the funding for RCEP and BRI projects will be in the form of low-cost loans from China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and other Chinese and participating countries’ national funding sources. In the hard times emerging from the covid crisis, many countries may need grant assistance to be able to recover as quickly as possible their huge socioeconomic losses created by the pandemic. In this sense, it is likely that the new Silk Road may enhance a special “Health Road” across the Asian Continent.

See map (Wikipedia).

The real beauty of this RCEP agreement is that it pursues a steady course forward, despite all the adversities imposed by the west, foremost the US of A. In fact, the RCEP may, as “byproduct”, integrate the huge Continent of Eurasia that spans all the way from western Europe to what is called Asia and covering the Middle East as well as North Africa, of some 55 million square kilometers (km2).

The crux of the RCEP agreement’s trade deals is that they will be carried out in local currencies and in yuan – no US dollars. The RCEP is a massive instrument for dedollarizing, primarily the Asia-Pacific Region, and gradually the rest of the world.

Much of the BRI infrastructure investments, or New Silk Road, may be funded by other currencies than the US dollar. China’s new digital Renminbi (RMB) or yuan soon being rolled out internationally as legal tender for international payments and transfers, will drastically reduce the use of the dollar. The new digital RMB will become attractive for many countries which are fed up with being subjected to US sanctions, because using the US-dollar, they automatically become vulnerable to being punished with dollar blockages, confiscations of resources, whenever their international “behavior” doesn’t conform with the mandates of Washington’s.

Even country reserves can be stolen, a crime perpetrated by Washington with impunity and with the help of the UK, in full sight of the world, stealing 1.2 billion dollars’ worth of Venezuelan gold deposited with the Bank of England. Only a cumbersome lengthy legal process in UK courts initiated by Venezuela could eventually free the funds to be returned to the jurisdiction of Caracas. This is a warning for many countries, who want to jump the fiat-dollar-ship and join an honest trading and reserve currency, offered by China’s solid and stable economy-backed RMB / yuan.

The dollar is already today in decline. When some 20-25 years ago about 90% of all worldwide held reserve-assets were denominated in US dollars, this proportion has shrunk by today to below 60% – and keeps declining. The emerging international RMB / yuan, together with a RCEP- and BRI-strengthened Chinese economy, may further contribute to a dedollarization, as well as dehegemonization of the United States in the world. Simultaneously and progressively the international digital RMB / yuan may also be replacing the US-dollar / euro reserves in countries’ coffers around the globe.

The US-dollar may eventually return to be just a local US-currency, as it should be. Under China’s philosophy, the unilateral word will transform into a multi-polar world. The RCEP and New Silk Road combination are rapidly pursuing this noble objective, a goal that will bring much more equilibrium into the world.

For the west adapting to this new reality may not be easy. Cooperation instead of competition has never been a western concept or philosophy. For hundreds if not thousands of years the western dominance has left a sad legacy of exploitation of the poor by the rich colonial masters and of bloody wars.

Cooperation instead of competition and warrying for power, is a concept not easily adhered to by the west. It is clearly visible by US-instigated trade wars, and possibly a currency war between the US and China may already be in the making. The FED has vaguely expressed its plans to also launch a digital, possibly cryptic, blockchain-based currency to counter the new RMB / yuan – not yet even launched internationally. Details of the FED’s plans are at the time of this writing not clear.

Having to adapt to the new RCEP, conforming to an agreement among equals, will not come easy for the west. The west will not let go and may use to the utmost possible, its creation and western biased World Trade Organization (WTO), to sabotage as much as possible the RCEP’s trade deals and BRI-infrastructure, as well as cross-border industrial development advances.

The west, led by the US – and always backed by the Pentagon and NATO, may not shy from threatening countries participating in China’s projects, but to no avail. Under Tao philosophy, China will move forward with her partners, like steadily flowing water, constantly creating, avoiding obstacles, in pursuit of her noble goal – a world in Peace with a bright common future.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

تحالف خماسيّ دوليّ في وجه القطبيّة الأميركيّة وأعوانها

د. وفيق إبراهيم

التمرد الدولي على الأحادية القطبية الاميركية يتأجج في أميركا الجنوبية والقوقاز وبحر السلع والتنافسات الاقتصادية، لكنه يرتدي في الشرق الأوسط شكل استعادة سورية لسيادتها بشكل كامل، وذلك من خلال الإمساك بوجهي أزمتها الداخلي المتعلق بالميادين العسكرية والخارجي المتجسد بنحو ستة ملايين نازح سوريّ ينتشرون في تركيا والأردن ولبنان وأوروبا ومصر وأنحاء اخرى متوزعة.

واذا كانت الدولة السورية نجحت في الانتصار مع تحالفاتها الروسية والإيرانية وحزب الله على المشروع الإرهابي المدعوم خليجياً وأميركياً فإنها تعمل على استعادة النازحين ضمن إطارها الوطني.

إلا أنها تصطدم بعجزها الاقتصاديّ عن استيعاب هذه الأعداد الكبيرة نتيجة لتدمير معظم مناطقها. هذا بالإضافة الى الحصار والعقوبات الأميركية، الاوروبية والخليجية التي تصيب بنيوياً الاقتصاد السوري بما يؤدي الى تراجع إمكانياته بمعدلات كبيرة.

هناك أمثلة على المحاولات الاميركية لمنع الدولة السورية من استكمال سيادتها، يكفي أن الأميركيين مارسوا ضغوطاً لمنع مصر والإمارات ودول اخرى في اوروبا من حضور المؤتمر الدولي الذي اعدته سورية قبل يومين لمعالجة أزمة النازحين منها.

واتفقوا مع اوروبا والخليج على ممارسة ضغوط في كل الاتجاهات لمنع نجاحه في معالجة ازمة النازحين.

هؤلاء جميعاً مقتنعون بوجهة النظر الاميركية التي تجزم ان استكمال سورية لسيادتها الدستورية والشعبية لن تقتصر تداعياتها على الشرق العربي.

فسورية حليف لاتجاه دولي إقليمي وعربي يعمل على مكافحة النفوذ الاميركي والادوار الاوروبية والخليجية المنصاعة له.

هنا يقدم الاميركيون نموذجاً عن قوة سورية، يظهر بوضوح في قدرتها على جمع 26 بلداً في مؤتمرها الخاص للنازحين ونجاحها في التمهيد لحلف خماسي يرفع شعار كسر الحظر الأميركي مع تحالفاته في السماح بعودتهم الى ديارهم.

مَن هو هذا الخماسي؟ وما هو مشروعه الفعلي؟ إنه سورية وروسيا وإيران والصين وفنزويلا، يرفعون شعار العمل الجدي والحازم على دفع أكبر كمية ممكنة من النازحين للعودة الى ديارهم.

هذا جانب هام جداً من المشروع الخماسيّ، إلا ان هذا الجانب يعمل على توطيد أواصر العلاقات الدولية لهذا الخماسي في مواجهة القطبية الأميركية.

بما يؤدي الى توتير أميركي – خليجي – إسرائيلي مع ضياع اوروبي لم يعُد يعرف ماذا يفعل.

لذلك يحاول الاميركيون بزخم شديد عرقلة إعادة النازحين الى ديارهم في إطار خطة عميقة لإجهاض هذه الخماسية. ويرى الاميركيون ان هذه الخماسية تتضمن بشكل عملي خمسة مشاريع، الاول هو مشروع الدولة السورية المعروف والثاني هو الطموح الروسي للعودة الى القطبية العالمية من خلال دور بلاده في آسيا الوسطى وسورية وفنزويلا وعلاقاته العميقة بكل من الصين وايران.

أما المشروع الثالث فهو الصين التي تعتقد ان هيمنتها الاقتصادية على العالم لم تعد بعيدة وقد لا تتأخر عن 2025، بما يؤكد حاجتها الى تحالفات وازنة في مختلف القارات كإسناد يمنع الأميركيين من الاستفراد بها. لذلك نراها وللمرة الأولى تلتحق بمؤتمر النازحين «السوري» وتتبنى مواقف جذريّة من الصراع مع الأميركيين.

لجهة المشروع الرابع فهو إيران التي نجحت ببناء تحالفات قوية من افغانستان الى باكستان واليمن والعراق وسورية وصولاً الى حليفها القوي حزب الله، هذا رغم الحصار المضروب عليها من قبل الخليجيين والاوروبيين والاميركيين.

هذا ما يدفع ايران الى الإصرار على حماية الدولة السورية حليفتها الاساسية في مجابهة الاميركيين والاسرائيليين، بما يؤدي الى تزخيم جبهة التصدي بالتعاون مع روسيا والصين وفنزويلا في قلب اميركا الجنوبية المجاورة للأميركيين في الشمال.

يتبقى المشروع الخامس الخاص بفنزويلا التي تتعرّض منذ 15 سنة لحصار اميركي يعمل على إسقاط دولتها للسيطرة على أكبر آبار للنفط في العالم تختزنها في اراضيها.

هذه الدول الخمس التي اجتمعت مع 21 دولة اخرى في مؤتمر النازحين في دمشق بدأت تتحضر جدياً لبناء آليات تعرقل القطبية الاميركية الأحادية، التي لا تعمل إلا وقف برنامج يقوم على نهب ثروات العالم وتدمير الدول التي ترفض هذا الاجتياح الاميركي المستمر من 1990.

فهل تنجح هذه الخماسية؟

هذه الدول ليس لديها خيارات كثيرة، فإما ان يهزمها الاميركي نهائياً ويلحقها بمستعمراته او تنتصر عليه وتصمد لتمهّد الطريق نحو نظام قطبي جديد يمنع العربدة واحتلال الدول واستعمال لغة الحروب والحصار والمقاطعات لتركيع الدول.

بما يؤكد أن هذه الخماسية ماضية نحو مجابهة الأميركية لإعادة استقرار نسبي كبير للعلاقات الدولية.

Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela can buy weapons from any country that wants to sell them, even the United States, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told reporters.

During a press conference, broadcast on Twitter, Maduro was again asked to comment on the words of Colombian President Ivan Duque, that Venezuela bought missiles from Iran.

“Venezuela can buy bullets, weaponry, tanks, planes and missiles from a country that wants to sell them, be it the United States, Colombia, Iran, Russia, China, India – any country”, Maduro said.

Maduro also said Venezuela and Iran had long-term relationships in many sectors.

“Duque said that Venezuela had bought missiles from Iran. And I replied that this was not true, but it seemed to me a very good idea”, he said, adding that if necessary, Venezuela would consider such an issue.

The political situation in Venezuela worsened in January 2019, when opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust reelected President Maduro from power.

Guaido was quickly endorsed by the United States and its allies in Latin America, while Russia, China, Turkey and several other nations only recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Maduro himself has characterized the events in the country as an attempted coup so that the US could take control of Venezuela’s rich resources, especially oil.

Since then, the Trump administration has been extending support to Guaido, while slapping Caracas with a set of sanctions, the most painful of which turned out to be the freezing of the country’s accounts in Europe and the blocking of assets and interests of the oil and gas company PDVSA within US jurisdiction.

American Militarism Marches On: No Discussion or Media Coverage of Washington’s War Against the World

Philip Giraldi October 22, 2020

Nearly everyone has heard the comment attributed for former Clinton consigliere Rahm Emanuel that one should never let a good crisis go to waste. The implication of the comment is that if there is a major crisis going on the cover it provides permits one to do all sorts of things under the radar that would otherwise be unacceptable. That aphorism is particularly true in the current context as there are multiple crises taking place simultaneously, all of which are being exploited to various degrees by interested parties.

One of the more interesting stories carefully hidden by the smoke being generate by civil unrest, plague and personal scandals is the continued march of American militarism. The story is particularly compelling as neither main party candidate is bothering to talk about it and there is no discussion of foreign policy even planned for the final presidential debate. Last week eccentric multi billionaire Elon Musk announced that he and the Pentagon are developing a new 7,500 m.p.h. missile capable of delivering 80 tons of military cargo nearly anywhere in the world in under an hour. It would undoubtedly be a major advanced capability catering to those military planners who envision continued U.S. intervention worldwide for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, agreement on a new START treaty that would limit the proliferation of some hypersonic weapon systems is stalled because the White House wants to include China in any deal. Beijing is not interested, particularly as Donald Trump is also claiming that Beijing will pay for the multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages that the United States will ultimately require to combat the coronavirus “… because this was not caused by our workers and our people, this was caused by China and China will pay us back in one form or another. We’re gonna take it from China. I tell you now, it’s coming out of China. They’re the ones that caused this problem.”

Indeed, China and Russia continue to be the boogeymen trotted out regularly to scare Americans. Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department issued a statement warning that “some foreign governments, such as those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation, seek to exert influence over U.S. foreign policy through lobbyists, external experts, and think tanks.” Why the statement was issued at this time, so close to elections is unclear, though it is possibly an attempt to line up possible scapegoats if the electoral process does not produce results acceptable to whomever loses. In fact, Russia and China hardly find a place on the list of those who fund lobbyists and think tanks.

Also of interest is another story about how Washington has chosen to interact with the world, one involving both enemy du jour Iran and Venezuela. Readers will undoubtedly recall how the United States seized in international waters four Greek owned but Liberian flagged tankers loaded with gasoline that were bound for Venezuela. The tankers were transporting more than a million gallons of fuel to economic basket case Venezuela, a country which is in its sad condition due to sanctions and other “maximum pressure” imposed by Washington, which has also sanctioned Venezuela’s own oil industry. The fuel was seized based on unilaterally imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian sale or export of its own petroleum products, a move intended to strangle the Iranian economy and bring about an uprising of the Iranian people. As the sanctions imposed by Washington are not supported by the United Nations or by any other legal authority, the seizure is little more than exercise of a bit of force majeure that used to be called piracy.

Even though foreign and national security policy has not really been discussed in either the Biden or Trump campaign, there is general agreement in both parties that Venezuela is a rogue regime that must be replaced while Iran is an actual, tangible threat due to its alleged misbehavior in the Middle East. It has been dubbed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the “number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Saner voices have observed that neither Venezuela nor Iran threaten the United States in any way and that the U.S. and Israel continue to kill many more civilians than Iran ever has, but they have been drowned out by the media talking heads who constantly spout the established narrative.

Well, the alleged Iranian fuel has arrived in New Jersey and a legal battle for custody of it has begun.  The fuel had been removed from the Greek tankers and transferred to other tankers for removal to the United States but the complication is that the Trump administration must now prove its case for forfeiture before the oil can be sold. The U.S. justification for seizing the cargoes is the claim that the fuel was an asset of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Treasury, Justice and State Departments have conveniently designated a foreign terrorist organization. But that contention is disputed by the cargoes’ owners, who claim to have nothing to do with the IRGC. They include other energy exporters and shippers in the Middle East, namely Mobin International Limited, Oman Fuel Trading Ltd and Sohar Fuel Trading LLC FZ. They have filed a motion for dismissal and are seeking return of the fuel plus additional compensation for the losses they have suffered. One has to hope they win as it is the United States that is in the wrong in this case.

The entire saga of the tankers and the fuel is symptomatic of the undeclared economic warfare that the United States now prefers to use when dealing with adversaries. And there is considerable evidence to suggest that Washington is trying to goad Iran into responding with force, providing the U.S. government with a plausible rationale for responding in kind. President Trump has directly threatened Iran in an October 9th public statement in which he promised the Iranians that “If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before.”

So, Washington’s aggression directed against much of the world continues with a national election less than two weeks away but no one is talking about it. That would seem odd in and of itself, but the sad part is that it is deliberate collusion on the part of government and media to make sure the voting public remains unaware the extent to which the United States has in reality become a pariah, a full-time bully in its foreign relations.

The 2020 Election: Nothing Will Change

By Robert Fantina

Global Research, October 25, 2020

With the first of three scheduled presidential debates (aka brawl) between President Donald Trump and his opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, now history, the pundits will fall all over themselves to determine what it all means. Who won? Did either candidate deliver a fatal blow to the election chances of the other? Did Biden disprove the Trump-encouraged rumors about his senility? Did Trump manage to sway any undecided voters?

We will not dwell here on the fact that many other, highly-qualified candidates are running for president (this writer, a U.S. citizen who moved to Canada fifteen years ago, will vote for Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation for president).

No, with all the discussion about Trump and Biden, it is beneficial, this writer thinks, to consider what continues to happen in the world, that has lost the attention of the press, and therefore, the public. We will present a short, albeit incomplete, list.

Internationally:

  • Millions of people in Yemen, many of them children, risk starvation due to the U.S.-supported Saudi Arabian assault on that nation.
  • Palestinians still live under the harshest and most brutal conditions in the world, all financed and supported by the United States.
  • The U.S. war against the people of Afghanistan continues in it’s nineteenth year. A large segment of the Afghan population now has never known anything but war.
  • The people of Iran continue to struggle in many ways – economically and medically – against U.S. sanctions, imposed when the U.S., against the wishes of the other participants of the agreement and most of the world community, violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • The people of Venezuela struggle against sanctions, also imposed by the United States, because they had the temerity to re-elect a president displeasing to the U.S. Trump and his cohorts say that Nicholas Maduro is not the legitimate president, forgetting or ignoring the fact that Trump himself did not win the majority vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. His odious opponent in that election, Hillary Clinton, did.
  • Migrant children continue to be caged at theS. – Mexico border.
  • The U.S. continues to maintain the most cordial relations with some of the world’s major violators of human rights, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. This should not be surprising, since the U.S. itself made the list of ’10 Global Hotspots for Major Human Rights Violations in 2017’, and things have only worsened since then.
  • As India heads towards genocide in Kashmir, the U.S. government, not wanting to annoy the Indian government, ignores it, as it ignores the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.

Domestically Trump vs Biden: Lose/Lose for Palestine

It is, perhaps, whimsical for this writer to hope that the public will concern itself with these issues, and ponder carefully the upcoming election. Yes, another Supreme Court appointment by Trump could turn back the U.S. clock to a time of very limited consumer protections, a further reduction of environmental regulations, and greater racial inequality (even worse than it is today), and a host of other hard-won victories. Black lives will not matter; international law will continue to be held in contempt (although that is business-as-usual for the U.S.), and U.S. warmongering and war-making will continue, with all the destruction and slaughter of innocent men, women and children that that always brings.

There are some people who believe a Biden presidency will usher in change. Has hell frozen over? He has a long record in government of ‘business as usual’, so looking for change from him and the Democratic Party is an exercise in futility.

Others praise Trump as an effective leader, one who has done much to help the people of the nation.  This narrative deserves a prominent place with ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ and other fairy tales. It, like them, has no basis in reality and is simply a figment of the collective right-wing imagination.

The United States, from its earliest years, has a been a force for violence, destruction and death on the global stage. As its wealth and power have increased, so have its violent tendencies. It overthrows foreign governments, invades sovereign nations, issues crippling sanctions against governments and individuals that displease it, and threaten its allies if they don’t follow along.

The 2020 election will change none of this.

It is said that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Unless and until the public stops looking to the Democratic and Republican Parties for solutions to problems, leadership in troubled times and assistance in creating and maintaining a peaceful world, no election will alter the tragic and violent trajectory of the United States. The longer that recognition is delayed, the more people will suffer, in the U.S. and around the globe.

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Featured image is from InfoWarsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Robert Fantina, Global Research, 2020

واشنطن تستعدّ لشنّ حرب نوويّة ضدّ موسكو وبكين…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

في الوقت الذي ينشغل فيه الرأي العام والإعلام الأميركيين بمهرجان الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية فإن المخططين الاستراتيجيين العسكريين في واشنطن منشغلون بالتخطيط لحرب نووية ضدّ كل من موسكو وبكين.

اي انّ الولايات المتحدة قد تجاوزت مرحلة الحشد الاستراتيجي ضدّ هاتين القوتين العظميين، الصين الشعبية وروسيا الاتحادية، وانتقلت الى مرحلة الاستعداد العملياتي لتنفيذ ضربات نووية ضدهما، وذلك بعد فشل كل المشاريع الأميركية، في كل من غرب آسيا وجنوب شرق آسيا (بحار الصين) وأميركا الجنوبية (فنزويلا)، التي كانت تهدف الى استعادة الهيمنة الأميركية المطلقة على العالم والتي بدأت بالذوبان، بعد صعود القوى الدوليّة، روسيا والصين، والقوى الاقليمية الدولية، الجمهورية الاسلامية، وبعد ان بدأ الاقتصاد الصيني يقترب بتوأدة / بثبات من التربع على الكرسي الاقتصادي الاول في العالم.

وبالنظر إلى أهمية هذا الموقع الإخباري، الذي تديره وزارة الخارجية الالمانية، بشكل غير مباشر، ويرأس تحريره هورست تويبرت ، المعروف بارتباطاته الوثيقة ليس فقط بالخارجية الألمانية، وإنما باجهزة الاستخبارات الالمانية، وفِي مقدمتها الاستخبارات العسكرية، وبالنظر الى ما جاء في التقرير من تفاصيل غاية في الأهمية، والتي سنأتي على ذكرها لاحقاً، وانطلاقاً من ردود الفعل الروسية، الدبلوماسية والإعلامية، على هذه الاستعدادات العسكرية الأميركية الأطلسية الخطيرة، فإن من الضروري التأكيد على النقاط المهمة التالية:

أولاً: امتلاك القيادة السياسية والعسكرية الروسية والصينية معلومات دقيقة جداً، عن خطط الحرب النووية التي يجري التخطيط لها، في البنتاغون الأميركي وفي دوائر حلف شمال الأطلسي في أوروبا، وهو:

البقية

Iran Preparing to Unveil New Chopper, Drone and Missile-Laden Warship Capable of Reaching US Coast

13:26 GMT 10.10.2020

In this Feb. 21, 2010 photo, two clerics stand at left as Iran's Jamaran guided-missile destroyer and navy members prepare for an exercise in the Persian Gulf, along the coast of Iran.

by Ilya Tsukanov

The Islamic Republic Navy’s fleet of surface warships includes vessels ranging from small patrol boats and corvettes to Moudge-class frigates. Over the last decade, Iranian ships have made port visits to countries ranging from Syria and South Africa to China. But Tehran has yet to make good on plans to send its ships to the Western Hemisphere.

Iran is preparing to unveil a new warship capable of circumnavigating the globe three times over without refueling, enabling it to reach any point on the planet and giving Tehran a tit-for-tat capability to respond to the deployment of US warships off Iran’s coast.

Speaking to Iranian media on Saturday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi revealed that the auxiliary ship, named the ‘Persian Gulf’, will be equipped with a range of weapons systems, including missiles, drones and helicopters.

The ship is expected to be formally unveiled sometime between November 21 and December 20.

According to Khanzadi, the Persian Gulf’s deployment will help ensure “defence and security stability” in the region and beyond.

The commander did not provide any more details about the Persian Gulf’s characteristics or capabilities. Last month however, he announced that the Navy would soon unveil a 231-meter-long dock ship capable of carrying up to seven choppers, as well as drones, missiles and electronic warfare equipment. It’s not clear whether the ‘Persian Gulf’ and this new dock ship are one and the same vessel.

Iran will mark Navy Day on November 28. This year, the force is expected to take delivery of several new warships, including the Dena Moudge-class frigate, the Saba minesweeper and a new class of missile boats.

Khanzadi did not specify where his force’s new ultra-long range vessel might be deployed. In recent years, Iranian warships have made port visits throughout the Middle East, East Asia and the east coast of Africa, and have taken part in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden against Somali pirates. However, despite repeated talk of plans to sail ships further west into the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Hemisphere, Tehran has yet to do so.

Guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110)

© WIKIPEDIA / U.S. NAVY

US Sails Warship Off Venezuela’s Coastal Waters Citing Treaty Washington Itself Hasn’t Ratified

This spring, Iran did send civilian tanker ships filled with fuel, food and supplies to sanctions-starved Venezuela, with the latest flotilla arriving in the Latin American country in late September.

Tehran has also repeatedly urged the US to stop deploying its warships in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East generally, proposing that regional powers take care of the region’s security instead. In 2019, at the UN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed the creation of a ‘Coalition of Hope’ including all nations which border on the Persian Gulf.

Late last month, after the US parked a carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, Rouhani accused US forces in the Middle East of undermining regional stability and security, and called on all nations in the region where American troops are based to make a concerted effort to expel them.

Related

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

By Staff, Agencies

The final tanker in a flotilla of three Iranian fuel tankers docked at eastern Venezuela’s Guaraguao port on Sunday, Refinitiv Eikon data and a person familiar with the matter reported, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised to normalize fuel supply in the gasoline-starved country.

The three tankers, which began arriving last week, brought some 820,000 barrels of fuel to the South American country, where severe shortages of gasoline — as well as unreliable power, water and cooking gas supplies — have led to a wave of protests in the neglected interior in recent weeks.

The shortages come as state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela’s once-formidable 1.3 million barrel per day [bpd] refining network has all but collapsed, although two refineries have for the past week been producing around 50,000 bpd of gasoline.

Maduro last week announced a new rationing plan, set to begin on Monday, in which authorities would distribute fuel according to motorists’ license plate numbers.

“Tomorrow, October 5, the plan to normalize and restart the gasoline distribution situation begins,” Maduro said in a Sunday state television address. “We have in the last week managed to produce the gasoline and other products Venezuela needs, in addition to the good quantity of gasoline that has arrived from abroad.”

The Faxon entered Venezuelan waters on Saturday and docked at the Guaraguao fuel port, which is connected to the Puerto La Cruz refinery, on Sunday afternoon, according to the person familiar with the matter. The other tankers are docked at refineries in the west and central regions of Venezuela.

Iran and Venezuela intensified economic cooperation this year as the United States ramped up sanctions on both countries’ oil industries.

A Stroke of Genius

A Stroke of Genius

October 02, 2020

by Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog

It takes strength, endurance, resignation and stomach to like Donald Trump. Not for what he actually is. Under the pen of Alexandre Dumas, for example, Trump may even appear as a not-dislikable Yankee D’Artagnan of sorts. Maybe with less finesse than the original musketeer, whose contained yet French swaggering captivated millions of readers, when reading was still ‘cool’.

Rather for some infamous things Trump did and for some unspeakable people he has endorsed or surrounded himself with.

As for things evil, I’ll refer, for one, to the disgraceful delivery of the stolen Golan Heights to the Zionist entity – proving that before the Arabs’ complaints were to be finally dismissed, all remedy should be hopeless.

The other is the treatment and characterization of Venezuela. Some words, in time, are debased by vulgar application, and can be no longer heard without the involuntary recollection of unpleasing images. Such is the case of ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘socialism’ uttered by Trump and his minions.

This is no place for platitudes about socialism, but using ‘socialism’ as an excuse to strangle Venezuela is yet an atrocious misuse of language and thought. For it forces Venezuelans to see Americans as strangers to whom Venezuelan life is indifferent, or enemies, for whom Venezuelans’ deaths are desirable.

As for Trump’s associated detestable characters there is only the embarrassment of choice. Elliott Abrams, for one, the disgust of whom arises from the revival of images he is commonly associated with, notably the Nicaraguan ‘Contras’ campaign, for which he was actually tried and condemned as one who has committed a crime. In other words a criminal.

Besides, Abrams is the perfect live embodiment of the Merchant of Venice, seeing whom a protagonist in the play exclaims, “Here comes the devil, in the likeness of a (term and characterization avoided for they may be disturbing to some readers).”

On a related subject, I read recently that Jewish financiers and academics are developing artificial intelligence in order to ceaselessly scan the Internet for “hidden anti-Semitism on social media.”

The Times of Britain reports, “Workers on the “Decoding Anti-Semitism Project” will write algorithms to find codes such as “Juice” instead of “Jews” and look for anti-Jewish narratives, conspiracy theories and stereotypes that are harder to detect automatically than explicit racism. They hope to develop a tool that can scan websites and social media profiles for implicit anti-Semitism.”

A strange range of Jews and European crypto-academic characters staff this curious venture. The prize is several million euros in grants, donated by the German-Jewish Alfred Landecker Foundation, an NGO with strings that suggest both comedy and tragedy.

Who established the Alfred Landecker Foundation? The Reimann family, German billionaires who own controlling stakes in Krispy Kreme, Dr. Pepper and other major players in the goy-poisoning food-market. The Reimanns have pledged 250 million euros during the next 10 years.

The family is not Jewish, but was targeted for “reparations” by sundry Jewish “defense bodies.” It began last year when some influential Jewish journalists and organizations triggered an international public relations blackmail campaign against the Reimanns. For, apparently, there were some skeletons in the Reimanns’ National Socialist past.

Devra First, for example, a Jewish journalist at the Boston Globe, led one of the early attacks with an article titled, “I found out Nazi money is behind my favorite coffee. Should I keep drinking it?” It is easy to predict that she may not drink the coffee but keep the money.

As for the “Decoding Anti-Semitism Project,” given the massive Zionist successful fight against free speech, the reader can easily imagine and construe the consequences.

But I digress. Another obnoxious, despicable and ridicule character is the hyper-buffoon Juan Guaidó, whom most of my readers would not probably even trust to park their car – a veritable master at making a complete ass of himself worldwide. For example, by believing that two pranksters posing as the President of Switzerland and his interpreter asked his ‘permission’ to transfer Venezuelan government money held in Swizerland to Guaìdo’s personal Swiss bank account. And to whom Guaidó pledged his help in promoting a color revolution in the Russian Federation to replace Putin with Navalny.

But returning to Trump, we may set all of the above apart, when recognizing genius. For such I rate his having made himself recognized as Covid-19 positive (along with his wife). Even if he (and supposedly she) are asymptomatic and apparently in good health.

For, by doing so, he may avoid the traps inherent in the patently pitiful debates. He will equally avoid the violent (BLM, Antifa) predicted outbreaks associated with his public presence, and maybe even direct terrorist assaults.

Furthermore, he will be able to wage his electoral campaign from the White House, maybe in front of the fireplace (FD Roosevelt style). While his enemies will be inherently prevented from criticism of the venue and the reason thereof.

After all they vehemently maligned him for having been ‘soft’ on Covid. Therefore they cannot certainly expect him to violate the quarantine, risking to infect all he comes in contact with. And by appearing in TV in good health, he may actually and factually counterbalance the apocalyptic narratives of the mainstream media and associates.

Furthermore, his enemies cannot even utter the suspicion that he is simulating the malady. For if the suspicion arose that the ‘swabs’ can be a tool for manipulation, liable to yield unreliable or even purposely inaccurate answers, the whole construct would begin to creak.

Hence Trump, for once, has defeated his enemies by using their very tools.

All of the above does not change the reality that – even assuming no fraud in the elections, given the documented ease of deception without a user-registration system – the Americans will still be compelled to chose the lesser of two evils, commonly known as the evil of two lessers.

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that US President Donald Trump’s administration gave its approval to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] to carry out recent “covert and terrorist operations” against an array of targets in the country.

“They have given the CIA the green light to come with direct agents to covert and terrorist operations against oil, electricity, military, electoral targets and other dirty covert actions like those used by the CIA,” he told state television in Spanish on Tuesday, speaking of the Trump administration. 

This comes amid a series of developments that followed the capture of an alleged US spy near Venezuela’s largest oil refinery earlier this month.

Following an investigation into the matter, the Venezuelan president claimed that the spy, who was arrested alongside three others in Falcon State, served as a communications operator at a CIA base in Iraq between 2006 and 2016.

Maduro also reiterated accusations against the US Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], which he claims has been used by the White House to attack Venezuela and overthrow Caracas.

“It has placed the DEA as the operator agency of the attack against Venezuela, what is new today is not that the DEA is involved with the Colombian drug trafficking group to attack Venezuela, the new thing is that they have approved that the CIA get involved in operations terrorist attacks against Venezuela,” he stated on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a group of 13 individuals were captured by Venezuelan security forces. Two of the 13 detainees were later identified as US citizens Luke Denman and Airan Barry.

A testimony published soon after showed a detainee claiming the group was made up of “intermediaries of the security chief of the USA president, they say they are from the security advisory of Donald Trump,” according to a translated tweet.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol claimed that one of the men was a DEA agent. However, the DEA has denied these allegations.

Maduro also warned on Tuesday that Colombian President Ivan Duque has been recruiting drug smugglers ahead of a planned attack on Venezuela.

“Ivan Duque is directly articulating the drug trafficking gangs and has placed the drug trafficking gangs of La Guajira and other places to prepare his group of hit men and terrorists to come and attack Venezuela in the coming weeks,” he claimed.

Maduro’s announcement of this anticipated attack comes a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions against the Venezuelan president, as well as against the Iranian Defense Ministry and other Iranian officials.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran had worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” Pompeo said on Monday.

The Venezuelan president and 14 present and past government officials were previously indicted by the US Department of Justice on narcoterrorism charges.

The Trump administration has also offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maduro. Allies of the president, like Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, also had multi-million-dollar bounties placed on them by the US government.

هل اقتربت الحرب النهائية في سورية؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتراجع الموانع التي كانت تحول دون فتح معارك واسعة لطرد الأميركيين من شرقي الفرات والأتراك من منطقة ادلب.

هذا استنتاج روسي أطلقه وزير خارجيتهم لافروف الذي أعلن أن المعارضة السورية التقليدية انتهت ولم يبق إلا هيئة تحرير الشام وريثة منظمة القاعدة في ادلب المدعومة من قوات تركية منتشرة فيها، مضيفاً ان الاميركيين في شرق الفرات يحتلون المنطقة بالتعاون مع انفصاليين أكراد وتسرق شركاتهم الاميركية النفط السوري.

هناك اذاً تحولٌ عميقٌ في الموقف الروسي الذي يحدد للمرة الأولى ضرورة العمل على تحرير شرقي الفرات وطرد الهيئات الإرهابية من مناطق النفوذ التركي.

ولتجميل موقفه قال إن الاتراك يعملون على تضييق الرقعة التي يسيطر عليها الإرهاب في ادلب.

لماذا هذه الاندفاعة الروسية المفاجئة؟

يعتقد البعض أنها ردة فعل على التدخلات الاميركية الخطيرة في بيلاروسيا التي تستهدف النفوذ الروسي فيها بالإضافة الى الضغوط الأميركية على المانيا واوكرانيا وتركيا لإلغاء الخطوط التي تنقل الغاز الروسي الى اوروبا.

يمكن إضافة التحركات الاميركية العنيفة لإسقاط الرئيس الفنزويلي مادورو صديق الروس والصينيين.

قد تكون هذه الأسباب راسخة في العقل الروسي، لكنها ليست عناصر وحيدة تحكم المعطيات الحقيقية.

لذلك تجب العودة الى مركزية الأسباب المتعلقة بأمرين: انهيار المعارضات الداخلية السورية واستمرار الاحتلالين التركي والاميركي.

الى جانب حصار اقتصادي اميركي يقفل حدود سورية مع الأردن والعراق ويعمل على إقفالها نهائياً من جهة لبنان، خصوصاً أن معلومات فرنسية كشفت عن سرقة مصرفية مشبوهة أخلت فيها بنوك لبنانية ودائع سورية قيمتها أربعون مليار دولار تقريباً كان رجال أعمال سوريون يستخدمونها لاستيراد بضائع للزوم الأسواق السورية عبر حدود لبنان.

بما يعني أن هذا الحصار الأميركي للبنان وسورية يريد خنق البلدين معاً.

ولا يمكن ايقافه إلا بإلغاء الدور الاحتلالي الأميركي في شرق سورية وذلك لإلغاء المشروع الانفصالي الكردي وتحرير آبار النفط والغاز لإعادة استخدامها في تلبية الاستهلاك السوري الداخلي الذي يتعرّض حالياً لأزمة وقود كبيرة هي جزء كبير من ازمة اقتصادية عامة تدفع بسورية الى مزيد من الفقر.

هذا الى جانب اقتراب موسم الشتاء الذي يستهلك فيه السوريون عادة كميات أكبر من الطاقة.

أما الأسباب الأكثر عمقاً فلها علاقة بإصرار الدولة السورية على تحرير كامل أراضيها المحتلة، انسجاماً مع وطنيّتها وتطبيقاً للقانون الدولي الذي يعتبر أي قوة عسكرية تتموضع في أراضي بلد آخر غير دولتها ومن دون موافقة اصحاب السيادة هي قوة احتلال، يمكن التعامل معها بالقوة المسلحة.

الموضوع اذاً ليس موضوع قوانين دولية ينتهكها الأميركيون بشكل دائم منذ خروجهم الى ملعب المنافسات الدولية بعد انتصارهم في الحرب العالمية الثانية في 1945.

إنها مسألة موازين قوى تدفع مَن يحوز عليها الى تحصيل حقوقه. هذا في حالة سورية، او الاعتداء على الآخرين وفق النموذج الاميركي والتركي.

وفقاً لهذا المعطى المثبت بالأسانيد التاريخية، تستشعر الدولة السورية والحليف الروسي والصديق الايراني ان انتهاء المعارضات السورية الداخلية هو التوقيت الدقيق للبدء بالتعامل مع آخر المعوقات التي لا تزال تعرقل سيادة سورية على كامل أراضيها واستعادتها للموقع الداخلي والإقليمي والازدهار الاقتصادي.

ما يجب التأكيد عليه بعد هذه القراءة ان تصريح لافروف هو نتيجة مشاورات مع الرئيس الأسد وقيادته استناداً الى تغيير في موازين القوى الداخلية لمصلحة حلف الدولة السورية.

لجهة هذه الموازين، يكفي أن هناك تمرداً من أبناء شرق الفرات على الحلف الأميركي – الكردي يتطوّر بسرعة نحو التحالف مع الدولة السورية على الرغم من محاولات سعودية – إماراتية لإعادة جذب العشائر السورية في الشرق لحضن الأميركيين وبالتعاون مع قوات قسد الكردية الانفصالية.

كما أن أبناء ادلب وشريط الحدود السورية مع تركيا يعلنون سخطهم من الدور التركي الذي يصفونه بشبيه الاحتلالات الأميركية والتركية.

هل تندلع الحرب السورية على الأميركيين والأتراك في وقت قريب؟

الظروف أصبحت ناضجة إلا أن الواضح ان الروس يعوّلون على علاقاتهم بالأتراك لإقناعهم بالانسحاب من ادلب ويعتقدون ان انطلاق المقاومة الشعبية السورية في شرقي الفرات بالتنسيق مع الجيش العربي السوري هو الفيصل في إقناع التركي بالتراجع الى أراضيه من دون أي تسويات لا يزال يصرّ عليها بين الدولة السورية والاخوان المسلمين.

تشير هذه المعطيات الى أن الازمة السورية تدخل الحروب الأخيرة من معارك تحرير سورية واستعادتها لسيادتها من جهة ودورها الإقليمي في كبح مسلسل التطبيع من جهة ثانية وتحالفاتها العربية والإقليمية والدولية التي تعمل على إسقاط النظام الأحادي القطبي الاميركي لمصلحة عالم أكثر أماناً واستقراراً.

مقالات متعلقة

Maduro: EU Demand to Delay Election in Venezuela ‘Impossible

Source

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed as “impossible” the EU’s suggestion to postpone the country’s December 6 election to meet the bloc’s conditions to dispatch an observer mission, blaming the idea on US pressure.

“It is impossible because there is a very clear constitutional mandate,” Maduro said Thursday in a nationally televised address. “We want to have a good relationship with the European Union, but Washington does not let them.”

Maduro has repeatedly maintained that the administration of hawkish US President Donald Trump is persistently plotting to topple his government in a coup to seize control of the oil-rich nation’s huge crude oil reserves.

Relations between Caracas and Washington have drastically deteriorated in recent years amid multiple efforts by the US government to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company and other industries in its bid to destabilize the country.

Venezuela’s constitution requires a new poll every five years while US-backed opposition parties have vowed to boycott the election.

European and Latin American ministers in the International Contact Group (ICG) declared after their video conference on Thursday that conditions were not ripe to send observers to Venezuela’s parliamentary elections next December.

“ICG members concluded that conditions are not met, at the moment, for a transparent, inclusive, free and fair electoral process,” the group announced in a statement following the conference chaired by EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell.

The ICG groups European countries including Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as well as a number of Latin American countries. Argentina is back in the group while Bolivia has left it.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza invited observers from the United Nations and the European Union, in letters addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Borrell early this month, to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country.

In the letters, Arreaza outlined “the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

Maduro pardoned over 100 legislators and associates of US-sponsored opposition figure Juan Guaido to promote national reconciliation ahead of the congressional elections in December.

Guaido pushed Venezuela into political turmoil by dismissing the results of the 2018 presidential election after Maduro won nearly 70 percent of the votes. The opposition figure declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January last year and later launched a US-backed abortive coup to oust Maduro’s elected government.

Source: Agecnies

Will Belarus become the next Banderastan?

THE SAKER • AUGUST 19, 2020

The situation in Belarus is evolving very rapidly, and not for the better, to say the least. A lot has been going on, but here is a summary of what are the most crucial developments in my opinion:

  • Last Sunday was a major success for the Belarusian opposition: huge crowds took to the streets of several Belarusian cities and, in most cases, the demonstrations were peaceful.
  • Belarus now has its own “Juan Guaido” in the person of Svetlana Tikhanovskaia – whose only “qualification” to lead the opposition is that is that her husband is in jail. Tikhanovskaia has already declared herself the “national leader” of Belarus.
  • The Belarusian opposition formed a coordinating committee which is staffed by well-known and long-time rabid russophobes.
  • The program of the opposition (they call it “Reanimation package of reforms for Belarus”) is simple: new “fair” elections followed by the following goals: Belarus must withdrawn from all the collective agreements she has with Russia (including the union state, the SCO, etc.). Instead, the national goal ought to be, what else, to join NATO and the EU. All the Russian military forces in Belarus must be expelled. The Belarusian language must be reimposed, Ukie-style, on the Belarusian society (including, apparently, the military – good luck with that!). Russian organizations will be banned in Belarus, and Russian TV channels forbidden. The border with Russia must be closed. Next, a new, independent “Belarusian Orthodox Church” must be created. Finally, the Belarusian economy will “reformed” – meaning that whatever can be sold will be sold, then the country will be deindustrialized (like the Ukraine or the Baltic states).
  • At this point, it is pretty clear that the Western-controlled “opposition” has successfully taken over the control of the events from the very REAL local popular opposition. This mechanism (the hijacking of a truly popular and legitimate opposition by western controlled agents of influence) is exactly what happened in the Ukraine, in Syria and in many other places (I would eve argue that this is what is happening to the US right now). Some Belarusian ambassadors (Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden) have now sided with the opposition just like what happened with Venezuela, Syria and other countries.

To be honest, there are more similarities between the recent events in Venezuela and what is now taking place in Belarus, it’s not just Tikhanovskaia as the Belarusian Guaido. For example, Lukashenko made at least as many, if not more, crucial mistakes than Maduro and now there is hell to pay for it.

Let’s look at Lukashenko’s actions:

  • Now Lukashenko is fuming against the West again, to the degree that he actually moved the most capable Belarusian military unit (the 103rd Special Mobile Guards Airborne Brigade from Vitebsk) to the western border, and the rest of the military forces have been put on high alert. Lukashenko explained that by saying that there is a real risk of western military intervention (which is utter nonsense, NATO does not have what it takes to attack Russia, which is present in Belarus, and survive).
  • Lukashenko and at least two of his ministers did go out to talk to the protesters, which is a courageous act which should not be overlooked (as in: Lukashenko, for all his very real faults, is no Ianukovich, and neither are many of his ministers). The meetings did not go well, especially for the two ministers who both clearly lack the undeniable personal charisma of Lukashenko.
  • Lukashenko has also publicly admitted that he has to engage Belarusian special forces against some demonstrations. He gave no further details, but that admission is interesting as it shows two things: a) since special forces had to be used, it means that other police forces were either unable or unwilling to control the situation and b) elite Belarusian forces are still backing Lukashenko
  • Lukashenko has also called Putin several times and he is now declaring that the current threat is not only a threat to Belarus, but also a threat to Russia. Clearly, Lukashenko is begging for Russian help.
  • Lukashenko has publicly declared “unless you remove me there will be no other elections” adding that the opposition would have to kill him before it will get to destroy Belarus (again – the dude is no Ianukovich).

Now let’s also note what Lukashenko has NOT done:

  • He has not fired his ministers of foreign affairs and the head of the Belarusian KGB (according to a pro opposition Telegram channel the Minister of Foreign Affairs did resign, but Lukashenko has rejected his resignation; this is one of the many rumors about Belarus inundating Telegram right now)
  • He has NOT declared that his so-called “multi-vector policy” (i.e. courting the West) was a mistake or that it has now been changed or abandoned. Clearly, and in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Lukashenko still hopes that he can somehow sit between the two chairs of submission to the Empire or reunification with Russia.
  • He has not apologized to Putin and/or Russia for all the false accusations he was hurling at them just a few days ago.
  • Paradoxically, following the numerous cases of wanton violence which the Belarusian cops used initially, now the streets are almost entirely free from any police forces. On one hand this is good, the violence used initially did A LOT of damage to the government and it got people very angry. Furthermore, the amount of violence by the opposition did dramatically decrease too, which is also good. But the problem is that there are now very clearly special organized groups, not necessarily formed by locals, who are now trying to seize power illegally and by violence. It is vital that the Belarusian KGB now locate and arrest these people. My fear is that the Belarusian KGB has been infiltrated by pro-western elements who will be hard to neutralize.

Now let’s look at what the “collective West” has done:

  • The West has clearly taken a consolidated, common, position towards this crisis. The West does not recognize the outcome of the elections and the West has now thrown its full weight behind the so-called “opposition”.
  • Western leaders have called Putin, apparently to demand that Russia not intervene in Belarus. Putin apparently told them that what is taking place is Belarus is none of their business, thank you.
  • It is now clear that the West will accept nothing short of what we could call a “Ukronazi outcome” and that the Empire will use all its resources short of military action to try to seize control of Belarus.

Next, let’s look at what Belarus’ neighbors are doing:

  • Very predictably, the Poles are clearly thinking that they will restore something which is know by the evocative (to some..) concept of “Rzeczpospolita” in Polish and which roughly translates as “Polish Commonwealth” (see here for a quick primer). In this context, it is very important to understand that modern Poland is an ideological heir to the infamous Józef Piłsudski (here for details). This means that Poland’s ultimate goal is to break up Russia, restore the Polish Commonwealth, and become a willing prostitute to the western power, especially the US (it is just as easy for the current Polish pseudo-patriots to prostitute their nation to the US as it was for Piłsudski to prostitute himself before Hitler). If some of you bump into the concepts of “Prometheism” or “Intermarium” then click on these words for more details. It is hardly surprising that the nation Winston Churchill called the “the hyena of Europe” would pounce on Belarus: the Poles always, always, attack when either they think that a) there is some big guy behind them and b) that their victim is weak. I fully expect the Pope to publicly “pray for peace in Belarus” and express his “distress” at the violence. Truly – this has been the same gang for almost 1000 years (see here and here) and they are still at it. There is really nothing new under the sun…
  • The clueless Balts also want to join the Rzeczpospolita for a very simple reasons: they are terrified that the West will eventually dump them and they know that by themselves they will never achieve anything. So as much as the Poles like to hide behind the US, the Balts like to hide behind Poland. Finally, these countries probably realize that even Belarus alone could prevail militarily over them, nevermind Russia, so they figure that united and protected by Uncle Shmuel they will seize Russia like they seized the Ukraine and finally (!) become the (collective?) “Prometheus” they think they are, but which history never allowed them to become.
  • As for the EU gerontocrats, they are just doing what they know how to do: try to impersonate some kind of (moral?) “authority” which gets to decide which elections are fair, which are not, which regimes get to beat up demonstrators (Macron anybody?) and which ones must immediately yield to the demands of a carefully controlled “opposition”. It is especially touching to see Merkel who clearly does not realize the utter contempt the Russians feel for her and for what she stands for.

Lastly, let’s look at what Putin and other Russians are saying:

  • Putin and Xi have both recognized the outcome of the elections. Frankly, I don’t know of any halfway serious source which would dispute the fact that Lukashenko beat Tikhanovskaia by a wide margin. Yes, I also seriously doubt the frankly silly 80% vs 10% figures, but I doubt those who say that Lukashenko lost even more. Neither Putin nor Xi will “unrecongnize” these elections. Which means that neither Putin nor Xi will ever accept the western narrative about what happened or what is happening now.
  • Putin’s reaction to Lukashenko’s phone calls appears to be a special kind of “restrained goodwill” or “polite benevolence”. Clearly, nobody in Russia has forgotten what just happened and I notice a very clear trend on Russian talkshows, news reports and articles: while most Russians sincerely see Belarusians as fellow Russian brothers, the level of frustration and even disgust with Lukashenko is hard not to notice, and it is only growing. Even very pro-Kremlin commentators are losing their cool with what Lukashenko is doing (they are no less angry at what Lukashenko is not doing), I think of Igor Korotchenko, the head of the Public Council under the Ministry of defense of the Russian Federation, a typical Kremlin-insider, who has now declared that the Belarusian Foreign Minister is a “foreign agent of influence” (which I don’t doubt) and that Russia ought to demand that he be fired. I can only agree with him.
  • Crucially, in the official summary transcript of the telephone conversation between Lukashenko and Putin the latter repeated that the integration between Russia and Belarus must continue. Here is how the Kremlin put it: “The Russian side reaffirmed its readiness to render the necessary assistance to resolve the challenges facing Belarus based on the principles of the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State, as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, if necessary“. In other words, Putin is laying down the legal framework under which Russia might intervene in some manner, especially if such an intervention is officially requested by Minsk.

Now let’s summarize what is really taking place, I will also do that in the form of a bullet-point list:

  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians are fed up with Lukashenko
  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians still support Lukashenko (if only as a guarantor against a Ukraine-like collapse).
  • There is no doubt that the legitimate Belarusian opposition was quickly and effortlessly co-opted by western and, let’s call them “Promethean”, special services.
  • Lukashenko was so sure of himself, that he never bothered to really campaign, to talk and plead with his own people. He entered this election cocky sure of himself, only to find out that what is immediate entourage of yes-man (they stand when they report to him) either was lying or was clueless.
  • Next, it is also clear that Lukashenko was sure that between his KGB and the Belarusian riot police, he could easily clear the streets. And while this seemed to work for 24 hours, the last couple of days are proof that the regime has lost control of the streets and/or is clueless as to what to do next. Furthermore, while you can use riot police to disperse demonstrators, you cannot use this riot police to force anybody to work: there are many consistent reports of strikes in major Belarusian plans and corporation. How will Lukashenko force these people to work? He cannot. In fact, he specifically said so when he declared that strikes will destroy Belarus. There are now even reports that the company Belaruskalii, one of the most profitable companies in Belarus (it produces potassium fertilizer) has now stopped working.
  • In extremis, Lukashenko began calling Putin and he even said “we, Russians” during a public meeting. Right now I know of no respectable analyst in Russia who would believe that Putin owes Lukashenko anything.
  • The blame for what just happened cannot be placed solely on Lukashenko’s infinite arrogance, the infiltration of the Belarusian KGB or on Ukronazi provocations: it is possible that the SVR and GRU dropped the ball in this instance, in spite of the fact that what happened was easy to predict (and many did predict this). Had it not been for the superb work of the FSB, it is quite possible that by now some Russian citizens would be sitting in Ukronazi jails. The Russian Foreign Ministry also appears to have been caught off guard. I don’t necessarily feel that “heads should roll” at the SVR/GRU, but at the very least there ought to be a full internal investigation on why this crisis apparently caught the Kremlin off-guard and some “organizational conclusions” ought to be drawn. By the way, there is also the possibility that the SVR/GRU and Ministry of Foreign Affairs didprovide timely and substantive (actionable) warnings. In this case, the problem is with the heads of these services, the Russian government and the President. It is sometimes said that the process of intelligence involves three phases referred to as the “three As”: acquisition (data collection), analysis (data management and interpretation) and acceptance (convincing the political decision makers). I do, obviously, not know at what level this failure happened, but I see it as a clear sign of a major problem.

Now lets look at the core of the “Russian problem in Belarus”: it is simple, really: Belarusians are Russians, even more so than the Ukrainians. Not only that, but judging from the footage from Belarus (on all changes and from all sources), while the (supposed) “leaders” of the so-called “opposition” are all rabid russophobes, the vast majority of those who protested against Lukashenko are not.

The problem here is that it is impossible to get truly reliable numbers. Official Belarusian polls are a joke, but “opposition” polls, or western run polls, are probably even MORE unreliable. Then there is the fact that Minsk is somewhat of a special case amongst Belarusian cities. Furthermore, there is a difference between urban and rural Belarus. And, finally, the opposition itself is not monolithic at all, and when somebody is asked whether he supports Lukashenko or not, there are many possible reasons why somebody might reply “no” (heck, many Russians in Russia do not support Lukashenko either). So we have to accept that until some kind of normalcy return to Belarus and truly free elections are held, nobody will know for sure what percentage of Belarusian think about this crisis or Lukashenko.

Then there is the fact that, just as in Syria or the Ukraine, the initial protest were legitimate, both in terms of having many valid reasons to protest and in terms of being truly local, not controlled from aboard. But then, just as in Syria and in the Ukraine, these protests were infiltrated and co-opted by foreign agents. Ideally, Russia would want to support the original/real demonstrators as much as possible within reason and counter-act the infiltrated subversives. But how can the Russian separate them unless they themselves make it happen?

One idea circulated here and there is that Russia should intervene very openly, in the context of the Union State between Russia and Belarus and, even more so, under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Putin did mention this organization already, so this is definitely an option for Russia. But would that be a good option?

To be honest, I am not even sure that there are ANY good options left for Russia. I mentioned several times that I personally came to conclusion that the only possibly way for the Belarusian people to remain free is to join Russia. I still think that. However, I am not at all sure that this is even really possible right now, if only because the only interlocutor of Moscow in Belarus appears to be losing control of his own government and because there is no easy way to make progress on this issue while Belarus is at the very real risk of complete collapse.

The root cause of it all?

Corruption. As always.

It is often said that the Ukrainian leaders since 1991 were terrible, and that is true: every one of them seemed to be acting in some kind of toxic freak show. And yes, in Belarus, people feared the cops and the KGB a lot more than the did in the Ukraine. But that does not necessarily mean that Belarus was less corrupt. All this means, is that in Belarus the government did a great job running a semi-feudal system of protection which only guaranteed that only officials and their “business partners” got to make good money.

And this is not a Belarus or Ukrainian problem only. The exact same thing took place in Russia in the 90s. It is not even a personality problem, it is a class problem, in the Marxist sense of the word.

We need to remember that the CPSU and its Nomenklatura was a fantastically corrupt organization, not necessarily at the member level, but as a whole. I would summarize the “integrity” of these people as so:

  • First they betrayed Stalin and the ideals of Marxism-Leninism (Khrushchev years)
  • Then they betrayed their own USSR and CPSU (Brezhnev & Gorbachev years)
  • Then they disguised themselves as patriots (or even nationalists, like that hardcore communist ideologue Kravchuk did!).
  • Next, they deeply penetrated the West to seek protection, hide their real revenues and obtain the right to rule.
  • Next, they sucked their countries dry of all their wealth while their personal worth skyrocketed.
  • Finally, they all volunteered to prostitute themselves and their people before the West.

These guys have no more morals than an amoeba and they are as ruthless as any psychopath. They used to prostitute themselves before their Party bosses, and now they do the same to their AngloZionist ones.

So here is the question: how could Russia remove this ruling class without a) major bloodshed and b) making it look like what Russia is really doing is trying to save Lukashenko?

What Russia really needs now is for the West to do something as terminally stupid as when the US tried to overthrow Erdogan. But that would only be sufficient to bring Lukashenko to heel and get rid of some of the most dangerous elements in his entourage. The bigger problem is how could Russia help the Belarusian people?

Just tossing more money at the Belarusian regime makes no sense and does not work. Been there, done that.

Using military force is possible (I don’t expect anybody in the Belarusian military, at least key commanders and units, to object to this). But that is very tricky and outright politically dangerous. It might also not be correctly understood by Belarusians and by many Russians too.

The first conclusion I personally am coming to is that Russia must not do anything which could be credibly construed as “saving Lukashenko”. Lukashenko needs no “saving”. Belarus does.

Second, while in military terms securing Belarus would not be a problem for the Russian military, in political terms it would be a major crisis as the West would, no doubt, pounce on that to not only impose more sanctions (that is not really a problem) but also to create a New Cold War in which mentally sane and patriotic Europeans would be “shouted down” by hysterical mantras about “the Russians are coming! the Russians are coming!”.

I am also concerned about the recent military moves by Belarus. To forward deploy high readiness forces near the Polish border is a very bad idea: considering the historical record the Russians should never assume that any Polish leader won’t do something fantastically stupid which will end up as fantastically tragic. I don’t believe for one second that NATO has plans to invade Belarus. If anything, Lukashenko and Russia ought to leave what is called a “tripwire force” in the West while preparing their strategic defenses in depth. There is NO need to go and provoke the Poles, the Balts or anybody else in NATO.

If given a choice, Putin would probably want for both Lukashenko and the so-called ‘opposition’ to go (this reminds me of the Argentinian “que se vayan todos” or the Lebanese كلهم يعني كلهم both of which can be roughly translated as “they all have to go”and “all means all” – including both Tikhanovskaia AND Lukashenko.

At the time of writing this (Aug. 19th) it appears that Lukashenko will now have to chose between the “civilized West” and “Putin’s bloody Mordor”. Truly, he really has no option other than to chose Moscow, but that does not at all mean that Moscow thinks that there is anything salvageable from Lukashenko’s regime. His latest “zag!” back to being a “Russian brother” is way too little and way too late. And if his foreign minister and his head of KGB are still in the next government, all this talk will also become irrelevant and meaningless.

Simply put: if Lukashenko wants to remain in power he has only one option – beg for Putin’s mercy, not publicly, of course, be most emphatically and as sincerely as he can pretend to be. Then he needs to purge his government from every single name Putin (or the Russian special services) will hand to him. Yes, that means that he has to truly and really relinquish control. As for Putin, he needs to address both the Russian and the Belarusian people to explain whatever decision he comes to. This is, yet again, a situation where Putin’s biggest weapon might be his very high popular support (not only in Russia, but also, by all accounts, in Belarus).

Right now it appears that the West seriously fears a Russian intervention: they probably (correctly) realize how easy it would be for Russia and how there is absolutely nothing anybody, including NATO or, even less so, the EU could do about it. Trump personally has much bigger fish to fry and I doubt if he cares much. But his narcissistic Secretary of State probably feels like he can turn Belarus into another US-run Banderastan.

So what can happen next?

I think that it is crucial that Russia reach out to the non-US-controlled opposition in Belarus, publicly, and try to establish some kind of dialog. Russia also has to publicly warn the people of Belarus that if they allow the current US-controlled “opposition leaders” to come to power, Belarus will collapse just like the Ukraine did.

This might be the strongest argument Russia could repeat over and over again: as bad as Lukashenko was, if he is overthrown in some kind of Maidan-like coup, then Belarus will become the next Banderastan. This will be a major headache for Russia, but Russia can easily survive this. Belarus cannot.

But simply keeping Lukashenko in power is no solution either: whether he did or did not win the latest elections is not even the real issue anymore – the real issue is that he did lose his credibility with pretty much everybody involved. For this reason alone – Lukashenko has to go. Next, some kind of government of national unity which would include the main political forces in Belarus except the ones controlled by the West should probably be formed. Finally, whoever is in power in Minsk needs to set a course on a full reintegration of Belarus into Russia. That remains the only viable long-term solution for the people of Belarus.

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

August 10, 2020

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

At the end of the year 2019, I wrote: „From my point of view, 2019 was a very positive year and I am convinced that the same will be the case for 2020.“ Unfortunately, my expectations for 2020 have turned out to be too optimistic. There is however no reason to hang one’s head. The general outlook remains positive, a Western dominated world has gone forever.

Shit Happens

The year 2020 started badly with to murder of general Soleimani. Even, US-president Trump could „proudly“ claim that he was responsible for this abominable act, without paying an appropriate prize, until now. The reaction of the Iranian people and of other peoples in the region were very impressive, but there was also this accident with the Ukrainian civil aircraft. Next, there was a very positive offensive of the Syrian army and its allies against the terrorists in Idlib. However, an impertinent invasion of Turkey, openly supporting the terrorists and partly replacing them, was able to stop the offensive. It is true that, in March, there was an agreement between Russia and Turkey concerning the situation in Idlib. But this agreement was not as positive as expected. The Syrian government and the Syrian Army did not obtain an adequate place in this agreement. Since then, the situation in Idlib and in the other parts of Syria occupied by Turkey or USA or Israel is rather blocked, the Syrian side could not make real progressses in the liberation of her country.

Next came this pandemic. Again, it is true that in the first phase, the rich European and North-American countries were the most touched. But in the sequel, the countries of the global South were more and more affected, in particular in Latin America. In Russia also, the pandemic has become a big problem. And while it is clear that the economy in the rich European countries is really suffering, the situation for the peoples in the global South is even worse, for obvious reasons. Among other things, their central banks cannot so easily provide lot of money.

And now, there is this terrible explosion in Beyrouth.

Some Positive Developments

Nevertheless, the post-Western side has made progresses, in a calm and solid way. China has adopted a key law concerning Honk Kong which gives better possibilities in order to fight against the criminals there, the latter being openly supported by the West. In Russia, important amendments of the constitution were adopted by a clear majority. An economic collaboration between Iran and Venezuela is developing, despite the stubborn opposition of the USA. A plan for a long term, big partnership between China and Iran has been elaborated. Also, Iran and Syria have formally strengthen their military cooperation. The patriotic forces in Yemen could liberate more parts of their country and are now close to the strategic city of Ma’rib.

During the pandemic, Cuba has gained many friends because of her medical system. Countries like China, Vietnam, Syria, as well as the Hezbollah in Lebanon have reacted fast and predominantly correct, better than many other countries. Due to the fact that the economy in East Asia and Southeast Asia seems to recover quite well from the pandemic, it can be expected that the Western influence in this crucial region will further weaken. And I would say that the general situation in China remains very pleasant.

Destructive Attitude of the Hegemonic West

The hegemonic West is in the defensive. Their behavior is more and more destructive. The USA are no longer capable of developing their proper strength so they just concentrate on bothering the others. The sanctions against Syria and Lebanon, against Huawei, and against the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 are typical examples.

The West is still in a big crisis. In the USA in particular, the crisis is quite enormous. Also in Israel, with the repetitions of elections and an unstable government, the current conditions are not so well. Nonetheless, the USA and Israel remain as aggressive and as brutal as ever and, at least for the moment, they are not stopped. However, one gets the strong impression that their actions are increasingly desperate.

The rich European countries do not intend to change something important in order to do more for a world of more justice. They continue with their anti-Chinese, anti-Russian, anti-Iranian, anti-Syrian, and anti-Venezuelan politics, more or less with impunity. On the other hand, during the pandemic, the popularity of the USA in the rich European countries has got weak and the general pressure for a more autonomous European politic is clearly increasing.

Blame the West or Strengthen the Own Position ?

The combination of the occurring problems described above and the destructive attitude of the West often provoke a reaction which blames the West for all these problems. The meaning is quite popular that the Ukrainian plane was hit due to Western sabotage, that the pandemic was a US bio-attack against China, or that the Beyrouth explosion was the result of an outside strike. Of course, all this is possible. Morally speaking, Western hegemonists and Zionists are certainly able of such criminal acts, there have been enough examples in the past.

Nevertheless, there is also the question of a wise general approach to the current situation. What signifies this spontaneous leaning to see the West as the responsible? Certainly, on the one hand, there is the intention to counter the Western media for which it is inconceivable that the West is behind atrocities. On the other hand, there is also the result that the West appears as almighty. This is a defensive position which lacks confidence in one’s own strength.

Objectively speaking, Western hegemonism is much weaker now than in the past. They are not almighty. They are not at all able of planing all in advance – and of acting accordingly. They are not omniscient and they are not unbeatable masters of manipulation.

Look at Hassan Nasrallah’s speech of August 7. This is a very good example of concentrating on one’s own strength. Nasrallah focused on Lebanon and the Lebanese people. He expressed his feelings for the affected families and promised help for them. He called for solidarity and unity in Lebanon. He spoke of his conviction that Lebanon will be able to establish the causes of the explosions, to identify those who are responsible, and to hold them accountable. He insisted that this tragedy also gives opportunities for Lebanon. He spoke in positive terms of the international solidarity, which happens despite the US sanctions against Lebanon. Nasrallah finally clearly stated that all those who try to exploit this tragedy in order to attack Hezbollah, will fail.

China is another example of this mood. Since the Chinese people has stood up in 1949, China has learned to carefully analyze the own situation and to accept that not all problems come from outside.

Similarly, when you are against capitalism, it is notwithstanding wrong to blame capitalists for all economic problems. And governments in the Western countries are not always wrong and are not always corrupt. Moreover, you cannot blame the Western media for all your erroneous ideas – nor can I blame somebody else when my proper ideas turn out to be mistaken.

During the pandemic in the Western countries, the same type of questions arose. Who should be blamed, who can be made responsible? Attacking routinely the governments is rather defensive. Insisting during months on the question whether wearing a mask is a good thing, is a job for specialists, not for anti-hegemonic people. And all these claims that the whole pandemic is essentially a big manipulation, show a quite immature viewpoint.

I can only repeat: In order to build a post-Western (and post-Zionist) world, it is not enough to blame the West (and the Zionists). Own values and own concepts are required. If there are problems, one should look for opportunities.

Very probable, the difficulties inside the anti-hegemonic movement of the last months are temporary, they are not due to a reinforcement of the hegemonic camp. Remaining calm, solid, confident, and positive is an appropriate attitude.

To Understand Iran’s 150-Year Fight, Follow the Trail of Blood and Oil

To Understand Iran's 150-Year Fight, Follow the Trail of Blood and ...

Cynthia Chung May 23, 2020

This past Sunday, April 17th, a dispute between Iran and the U.S. occurred over the U.S.’ decision to increase its military presence in Caribbean and Eastern Pacific waters, with the purported reason being a counter-narcotics campaign.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this past Sunday, that the real purpose for this move by the U.S. is to “intervene and create disruption in the transfer of Iran’s fuel to Venezuela.” In the same letter, Zarif expressed concern over “the United States’ intention to consider dangerous, unlawful and provocative measures against Iranian oil tankers engaged in perfectly lawful international commerce with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

The Iranian deployment consists of five tankers carrying around $45.5million of gasoline and related products, as part of a wider deal between Iran and Venezuela. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on both nations’ oil exports.

For the first time since 1962, Iran has requested IMF assistance due to severe shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Iran requesting an emergency loan of $5 billion. However, the request is currently being blocked by the U.S., which accounts for slightly more than 16.5% of IMF’s voting shares and has an effective veto over decisions.

Iran is presently experiencing a critical shortage of medicines and equipment amid the pandemic, and yet is prohibited from purchasing medicines and supplies because of the banking sanctions.

It is clear that these manoeuvres against Iran are not on behalf of anyone’s “security” but rather an attempt to force Iran to finally bend the knee and be reduced to a state of complete dependence.

Iran has fought a long fight to claim its independence from western powers.

However, what if I were to tell you that once there was a time when Iran and the U.S. had good relations and that the U.S. was in fact the leading promoter and supporter of Iran’s sovereignty?

Almost out of a Shakespearean play of tragedy and betrayal, the relationship was jeopardised by a third player. As identified by John Perkins, in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, the first ever U.S. coup against a foreign country was the overthrow of Iran’s nationalist Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953. However, what is often left out…is that it was a British authored and designed operation.

In order for us to understand how and why the U.S. was dragged into such an affair, our story starts 150 years ago…

Dieu et mon droit

It all started in 1872, with Nasir al-Din Shah having granted to the British Baron Julius de Reuter, rights to Iran’s entire economic estate. Reuter not only controlled Iran’s industry, farming, and rail transportation, but also held the right to issue currency and to set up a national bank, called the Imperial Bank of Persia, which was under direct British control.

In 1901, Muzzaffar al-Din Shah negotiated what became known as the D’Arcy Contract, granting William Knox D’Arcy, a millionaire London socialite, the special and exclusive privilege to basically own and manage the natural gas and petroleum of Iran for a term of 60 years.

In May 26th 1908 D’Arcy struck pay-dirt in Iran, discovering a huge oil field in Masjed-Soleiman. Britain immediately set up APOC in 1908, purchasing the rights to the black gold from D’Arcy. Six years later, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill gave the order to purchase 51% of APOC, effectively nationalizing the company. This was to ensure the free flow of oil to the British navy. It was the first company to extract petroleum from Iran.

Iran received only 16% of the royalties on the oil.

Britain continued to pursue total control of Iran, not through colonial occupation, but rather through economic “agreements”. In the midst of carving up the empire’s new “jewels” of the Middle East from the Sykes-Picot fraud on the Arabian people and the illegal British occupation of Palestine, the notorious Anglo-Persian Agreement of Aug 19, 1919 was also signed, with London effectively turning Iran into a de facto protectorate run by British “advisors”. Britain had succeeded in becoming the masters of Iran’s natural resources through this agreement.

Iran received almost nothing in return, not even oil from APOC for domestic consumption, but rather had to import it from the Soviet Union!

On Nov 28th 1932 Reza Shah announced that he would be cancelling the British concession to APOC. The British Navy was heavily dependent on cheap Iranian oil and thus Britain refused to acquiesce. A compromise was reached in 1933 through bilateral negotiations and the British managed to extend their concession up until 1993! Iran had succeeded in getting the British to pay a higher price but it still did not control its own oil.

The American Relationship

Despite claiming a neutral stance for Iran during WWII, word had gotten out that Reza Shah was apparently sympathetic to the cause of Hitler. The argument was thus used that a pro-German Iran could become a launching pad for an attack against the Soviet Union, justifying British and Soviet entry into the country on Aug 25th 1941 for what would be a several years’ occupation. On Sept 16th Reza was forced by the British to abdicate and go into exile transferring power to his 22 year old son, Mohammad Reza Shah.

Mohammad Reza Shah was not happy with the joint occupation and sought an American military presence as a mediator to British and Soviet interests. The Shah sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug 25th 1941 asking him to:

“be good enough to interest yourself in this incident…I beg Your Excellency to take efficacious and urgent humanitarian steps to put an end to these acts of aggression.”

In response to this plea, Roosevelt sent Gen. Patrick Hurley as his special representative to Iran to help prepare what was to become the Iran Declaration, finally adopted at the Tehran Conference where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill would agree to guarantee the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Iran.

The Iran Declaration was used to finally end the foreign occupation of Iran after WWII, despite some resistance, and would play a crucial role in Iran’s future fight for sovereignty. The Iran Declaration thus proved itself to be more than just words, and this would certainly never have happened if not for FDR.

As part of Hurley’s report to FDR, he wrote some biting words on the present system of British imperialism, “The imperialism of Germany, Japan, Italy, France… will, we hope, end or be radically revised by this war [WWII]. British imperialism seems to have acquired a new life. . . What appears to be a new life… is the result of the infusion, into its emaciated form, of the blood of productivity and liberty from a free nation [Iran] through Lend-Lease.”

Roosevelt sent a copy of the Hurley report to Churchill with his thoughts on the matter: “The enclosed memorandum was sent to me… I rather like his general approach to the care and education of what used to be called ‘backward countries’…the point of all this is that I do not want the United States to acquire a ‘zone of influence,’ or any other nation for that matter [in Iran].”

Churchill was less than enthusiastic on the Hurley-FDR vision. He was particularly irked by Hurley’s notion that British imperialism were in conflict with democracy.

FDR died only a few months later, and with his interment, Hurley’s plans for American support for a sovereign and democratic Iran as a model for the rest of the Middle East were relegated to the dust bins of time and forgotten by much of the world.

Following WWII, nationalistic sentiments were on the rise including in the Middle East, the most notable being Iran. However, following the death of FDR the British were free to disingenuously respond to Iran’s request for better economic conditions by offering what was called the “Supplemental Agreement”, in May 1949. This entailed a better payment in royalties but still denied Iran any oversight over accounts or any other form of control over Iranian oil.

Enter Mosaddegh

In the late 1940s, a new political force emerged in Iran called the National Front led by Mohammad Mosaddegh. Their campaign was centered on the demand to nationalize the AIOC and the people of Iran were in accord, electing Mosaddegh into the Majlis (parliament) in 1949.

Mosaddegh lost no time, and quickly became the head of the Majlis Oil Committee which was tasked to study the British “Supplemental Agreement”. When it came time to put it to a vote on Nov 25th 1950, the committee delivered a resounding “no” to the British proposition.

Less than four months later, the Majlis voted on March 15th 1951 for nationalization of the AIOC, and it was renamed as the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Less than two months later, Mosaddegh became Prime Minister of Iran on April 28th 1951.

The British were left empty handed.

Twice the British tried to argue their case before the international community, once in May 1951 at The Hague and again in October at the UN Security Council. Both attempts were to lose to Mosaddegh’s defense. Mosaddegh had earned a Ph.D. in law from the Neuchatel Law School in Switzerland in 1914.

This was anything but a formal victory. It was to set a precedent in the international community that a country’s right to national sovereignty would be favored over Britain’s imperial “claims”, which were exposed during these two very public trials as amounting to nothing more than the threats and bribes of pirates.

At the UN Security Council, Mosaddegh responded to Britain’s imperial ambitions over Iran with these eloquent words:

“My countrymen lack the bare necessities of existence…Our greatest natural asset is oil. This should be the source of work and food for the population of Iran. Its exploitation should properly be our national industry, and the revenue from it should go to improve our conditions of life. As now organized, however, the petroleum industry has contributed practically nothing to the well-being of the people or to the technical progress or industrial development of my country…if we are to tolerate a situation in which the Iranian plays the part of a mere manual worker in the oil fields…and if foreign exploiters continue to appropriate practically all of the income, then our people will remain forever in a state of poverty and misery. These are the reasons that have prompted the Iranian parliament… to vote unanimously in favor of nationalizing the oil industry.”

A British coup

The British were fuming over Mosaddegh’s high profile humiliation of the British Empire’s claim to Iran’s oil. Mosaddegh would have to be deposed, however, this could not look like a British retaliation.

During Averell Harrimann’s visit to Tehran in July 1951, in an attempt to salvage the broken British-Iranian relationship, Mosaddegh is reported to have said,

“You do not know how crafty they are. You do not know how evil they are. You do not know how they sully everything they touch.”

As coup rumours circulated and reports were rife of British contact being sought with Iranian military officers, Mosaddegh severed diplomatic relations with the UK on Oct 16th 1952. The British were further humiliated and had to leave the country taking their agents with them.

It was at this point that Churchill “invited” his lap dog, de facto president Truman, to participate in his vision for regime change in Iran. In November 1952, NSC 136 and 136/I were written into record, Truman had agreed to promote direct intervention in Iran through covert operations and even military force. A detailed plan was approved on Jan 8th 1953 which was 12 days before Eisenhower was inaugurated.

The management of this covert operation was under the treasonous Dulles brothers, who would use the very same technique when JFK first entered office in setting him up with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, however, JFK managed to publicly expose Allan Dulles in this scheme and fired him. Dulles had been the Director of the CIA for 8 years up until that point, and was Deputy Director of the CIA for two years prior. Refer to my paper on this for further details.

A preliminary meeting in Washington saw representatives of the Near East and Africa Division (NEA) with British Intelligence. The key personalities were Christopher Montague Woodhouse who had been station chief for British Intelligence in Tehran and on the American side Kermit Roosevelt (son of Teddy Roosevelt) acting as NEA Division Chief. It was the British who would propose a joint political action to remove Prime Minister Mosaddegh according to CIA documents, which were in part leaked by the New York Times on April 16th 2000. The final plan was codenamed TPAJAX.

Appendix B, aka “London Draft of the TPAJAX Operational Plan” was black propaganda aimed at hammering out these themes 1) Mosaddegh favors the Tudeh Party and the USSR 2) Mosaddegh is an enemy of Islam since he associates with Tudeh.

The aim of such tactics was to drive a wedge between Mosaddegh and his National Front on the one side and his clerical allies, especially Kashani on the other. Demonstrations against Mosaddegh in the streets were to provide the pretext for bought MPs to hold a vote against him, if he refused to step down the plan was to have Fazlollah Zahedi, leader of the opposition, to arrest him. Zahedi, as laid out in Appendix B was selected by the British to replace Mosaddegh as Prime Minister after the coup.

Chief of Staff Gen. Taghi Riahi found out about the coup plans and alerted Mosaddegh in time. When the chief of the Imperial Guards, Col. Nasiri went to Mosaddegh’s house the evening before the planned coup day (Aug 16th) to arrest him, Nasiri himself was taken as prisoner by the pro- Mosaddegh military. Zahedi managed to flee.

The coup attempt had failed and the word spread fast, crowds flooded the streets supporting Mosaddegh and denouncing the Shah. The Shah left the country quickly.

The CIA informed of the fiasco alerted Kermit Roosevelt that he should leave Iran immediately. But Kermit believed the coup could still work and would make a second attempt three days later. British Intelligence and CIA orchestrated demonstrations set to the streets on Aug 19th. The royal decrees signed by the Shah for the deposal of Mosaddegh to be replaced by Zahedi were made public in the press that very day with the radio news announcing: that Zahedi was Prime Minister, that Mosaddegh had been ousted and that the Shah would return soon.

Military units were dispatched to Mosaddegh’s home. As his house was being destroyed by gunfire and tanks, Mosaddegh managed to escape. It is said he later turned himself in to the authorities.

After a ten-week period in a military prison, Mosaddegh was tried on charges of treason, because he had allegedly mobilized for a rebellion and had contradicted the Shah. In fact, the accused treason was a nationalistic response to a foreign led coup.

Mosaddegh was promptly found guilty and sentenced to death, later lessened to three years in prison, followed by house arrest.

Mosaddegh’s response to the kangaroo court proceedings was,

“My only crime is that I nationalized the oil industry and removed from this land the network of colonialism and the political and economic influence of the greatest empire [the British Empire] on Earth.”

Members of his government were also arrested, as were the leading military who remained loyal to him. Six hundred of the 6, 000 of these men were executed.

Even after Mosaddegh had passed away, on March 5th, 1967, his enemies were fearful of his influence. Mosaddegh had requested that upon his death, he be buried in the public graveyard beside the victims of the political violence that occurred on the 21st July 1952 from British-backed Ahmad Qavam who ordered soldiers to shoot at Mosaddegh nationalists during a demonstration, resulting in a blood bath. Not wanting his grave to become the site of political manifestations, a public funeral for Mosaddegh was denied and his body was quietly buried underneath the floorboards of a room in his house.

WHEN HEZBOLLAH FLAGS UP THE CHINA AND IRAN OPTIONS THE US TREMBLES

Source

Meeting Between The Lebanese Cabinet With Ambassador Wang Kejian, The Chinese Ambassador To Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Hastily and under the watchful eye of Israeli and US drones, Hezbollah is storing hundreds of tons of food stock, supplied by Iran, in dozens of improvised warehouses on the Syrian-Lebanese border. This new and unusual step by Hezbollah reflects Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent promise to prevent the starvation threat looming for the Lebanese population. 

The US-Israel war against the “Axis of the Resistance” continues but with different tools. It is progressing from waging wars with armies on the ground as the US did in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, and as Israel did in Lebanon in 2006, to the assassination of key figures in Iraq. And now it is the sanctions war on Iran, Syria and Lebanon and the intimidation of Iraq. Last January, following the US’s unlawful targeted killing of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani – UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard described it as “an act of war” – President Donald Trump threatened to slap sanctions on Iraq “like they’ve never seen before” if Baghdad were to ask for US troops to withdraw from Mesopotamia. Iran has survived 40 years of continuous and escalating US sanctions, and Syria has just been faced with the unilateral and harsh “Caesar’s Act” sanction: the country has already been under EU-US sanctions for the last nine years.

The dire economic situation and the sharp devaluation of the local currency that led to prices of foodstuffs skyrocketing are pressing the Lebanese government and the quasi-state actor, Hezbollah, to look for solutions distinct from the US dictate and objectives. For this purpose, Sayyed Nasrallah proposed that the government look towards the East, to China and Russia, without necessarily turning its back on the West, unless the US continues its harsh punishment which is hitting the entire Lebanese population. 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s suggestion that the government “go East” created a storm in Washington, aware of the growing threat of the colossal Chinese economy and its partners around the globe that are threatening US hegemony. US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea criticised Lebanon’s overture to China in a move indicating the confusion of the US administration. Sayyed Nasrallah’s blow “below the belt” pushed the US administration off balance. Sayyed Nasrallah proposed turning the country’s compass towards the two countries (China and Iran) declared most despicable by the Trump administration. These countries have the capacity to counteract US actions against Lebanon.

This economic strangulation is known as the “soft war” because it costs the US and Israel no human losses. Nevertheless, what US planning did not foresee is the reaction of the opposite camp. The “Axis of the Resistance” has been pushed to be more creative, to learn ways to survive in solidarity, and to overcome the difficult challenges posed by the US and Israel.

Iran promised to support its allies in the Middle East (and in the Caribbean) by exporting oil to Venezuela under the watchful but impotent eyes of the US. Whereas the US treats those who believe they are allies as disposable pawns, interested only in the well-being of Israel. Indeed, the US ambassador, in a private meeting with Prime Minister Diab, raised the Israeli request to establish maritime and land borders between Lebanon and Israel, a request the government in Beirut has always turned down. The US is trying to offer temporary solutions to Lebanon to keep it in limbo and dependent on Washington’s mood and blessing, as long as the Lebanese government doesn’t take that real step towards China for alternative energy and infrastructure.

Hezbollah’s military capability has confirmed a robust seat for the organisation in many theatres around the Middle East. Sayyed Nasrallah’s last speech was not aiming to increase his popularity but was a road map and a plan of action preparing his group to cover some of the needs of the population. The US may indeed be thinking of even further sanctions and other ways to counter Hezbollah. The so-called “soft war” is only just beginning, but the “Axis of the Resistance” seems indubitably ready to produce counter-measures.

Proofread by:  C.G.B. and  Maurice Brasher

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

Reasons why Iran backs Venezuela

Source

July 8, 2020 – 13:48

As two oil-producing countries under U.S. sanctions, Iran and Venezuela have been working in recent years to strengthen geopolitical ties to relieve U.S. pressure and find a solution to improve their economies.

A significant expansion in Iran-Venezuela relations would allow the presidents of both countries – Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and Nicolas Maduro in Caracas – to challenge the United States’ imperialist policies.

 This relationship will calm down sentiments of anti-American groups inside Iran and Venezuela and shows their strong ties and alliance as two members of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Over the past weeks, Tehran has come to the aid of Caracas in various ways, sending fuel, refinery parts, and more recently humanitarian aid. Fuel delivery is a lifeline for the Maduro government. Venezuela has been suffering from a shortage of gasoline, basic foodstuffs, and medicine amid the economic crisis. 

American sanctions and pressure on the left-wing government in Venezuela have led to a sharp decline in public services and a spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Through supporting Maduro, Iran tries to turn Venezuela into a foothold to challenge U.S. hegemony and revive anti-imperialist policies in the world.

 Besides, Iran is working hard to increase its influence in Latin America, which has long been considered U.S. “backyard” and increase its access to various resources in the continent. 

“Iran flew out some $500 million in gold bullion as payment for services rendered,” according to a Bloomberg report. However, officials in Iran dismissed the report.

The gradual increase in U.S. sanctions against Caracas even pushed back Maduro’s loyal ally Russia. Pressure from Washington caused Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil firm, to cease operations in Venezuela in March and sell all of its assets in the country.

That’s why the Maduro government needs Iran’s collaboration to strengthen its hand against U.S. sanctions, as the country is grappling with harsh U.S. restrictions on its oil exports and international financial transactions.

 Iran is experiencing worse economic sanctions. This happened after the U.S. under the Trump presidency unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

Although Russia and China have continued to support Venezuela by sending humanitarian aid to the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say Caracas no longer can request multibillion-dollar loans from its international allies as the country has pre-sold its oil for the coming year, which caused the price of this product to fall to its lowest level in history.

But, Tehran-Caracas relations made a fuss, when Western media focused on Iran’s flights to Venezuela in recent weeks; the flights which were reportedly carrying Iranian oil industry equipment and technology for unused Venezuelan refineries.

In mid-May, the news of five Iranian tankers carrying 1.5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela dominated the headlines. The measure raised concerns if the U.S. Navy would stop the cargo.

It caused both Iranian and Venezuelan leaders to warn the U.S. about any wrong step which may threaten global peace and security.

Iranian oil tankers were eventually escorted into Venezuelan territorial waters by planes and ships from the Venezuelan armed forces to temporarily solve the country’s shortage of fuel.

This collaboration was described as a political victory over U.S. sanctions and bullying in the world.

With officials promising to ship more fuel and food from Tehran to Caracas, it seems that Iran is going to be the greatest help to the Venezuelan economy; It would be enough to turn up the heat on the United States and its allies, especially if Latin America’s political pendulum swings back to the radical left.

UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

Source

George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

Related News

Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

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Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered EU envoy Isabel Brilhante Pedrosato to leave within 72 hours after the EU sanctioned a group of Venezuelan officials.

“I have decided to give the European Union ambassador 72 hours to leave the country,” Maduro said in a televised address, also noting that Pedrosato will be allowed to use a plane to leave the country.

“Enough of European colonialism against Venezuela,” Maduro added.

Maduro’s order comes hours after the Council of the European Union on Monday sanctioned 11 additional Venezuelan officials, including parliamentarians, a magistrate and a senior military chief, for acting against the National Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition, Reuters reported. The individuals sanctioned are recognized by the Maduro government but not by the members of the Assembly.

The sanctions include a travel ban and an asset freeze. So far, 36 Venezuelan officials linked to the Maduro government face sanctions.

According to the Council, the 11 newly-sanctioned individuals “are particularly responsible for acting against the democratic functioning of the National Assembly, including stripping the parliamentary immunity of several of its members,” Reuters reported. The Council also accused the individuals of “creating obstacles to a political and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.”

The United States itself has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. On January 23, 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president, denouncing Maduro’s government as undemocratic and calling for Maduro’s ouster. Since then, several failed attempts have been made to remove Maduro from power.

Last year, the US also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA. Recently, the Trump administration sanctioned three Mexico-based individuals for selling crude oil from Venezuela.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime created a secret network to evade sanctions, which Treasury has now exposed,” US Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich said in a statement at the time. “The United States will continue to relentlessly pursue sanctions evaders, who plunder Venezuela’s resources for personal gain at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”

Last Wednesday, Washington also imposed sanctions on the captains of five Iranian tankers over oil deliveries to Venezuela.

“Today, the United States is sanctioning five Iranian ship captains who delivered around 1.5 million barrels of Iranian gasoline to Venezuela in support of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Maduro has repeatedly stated that the US is using sanctions to choke out his government and gain access to the country’s oil reserves, which are the largest in the world.

“Let’s not allow a Vietnam in Latin America,” Maduro said last year, warning against the dangers of US intervention.”If the United States intends to intervene here, they will have a Vietnam worse than what they can imagine. Let’s not allow violence.”

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