Understanding Jewish Power – By Kevin Barrett (VT)

 

Who has helped create a war-addicted America?

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Philip Giraldi spoke on the “Zionism” panel I moderated at the Deep Truth Conference last weekend. Click HERE to watch all the panels—you can get the ticket by donating any amount.

In the past, Philip Giraldi like most other “respectable” voices tried to avoid using the J-word. But as it has become increasingly clear that the pathology behind Zionism has Jewish roots, more and more people are waking up and speaking out.

The best book ever on the Jewish question, the book that woke me up, is Laurent Guyénot’s From Yahweh to Zion. My interview with Laurent Guyénot, posted below, provides an introduction.

Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor

Understanding Jewish Power: Who has helped create a war-addicted America?

By Philip Giraldi, Unz Review

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London.

I recently was asked to speak at an online conference entitled Deep Truth: Encountering Deep State Lies. My panel addressed Understanding Zionism: Deconstructing the Power Paradigm and my own topic was How Jewish Power Sustains the Israel Narrative. Working on my presentation, I was forced to confront the evolution of my own views on both the corruption of government in the United States and the ability of powerful domestic lobbies to deliberately distort the perception of national interests to benefit foreign countries even when that activity does terrible damage to the U.S.

My personal journey began half a century ago. I became part of the U.S. national security state after being drafted for the Vietnam War when I graduated from college in 1968. I was at the time, vaguely pro-war, having bought into the media argument that international communism was mounting a major threat in southeast Asia. I also found the anti-war student movement distasteful because I was acquainted with many of its spokesmen and knew that they were chiefly motivated by a desire to avoid the draft, not due to any perception that the war itself was wrong or misguided. I knew a lot about the Punic Wars but precious little about former French Indochina and I suspect that those chanting “Ho-ho-Ho Chi Minh” might have known even less that I did.

Because I spoke some Russian, I wound up in an army intelligence collection unit in West Berlin for three years where I and my fifty or so comrades did absolutely nothing but drink and party. It was my introduction to how government really works when it was not working at all and it did provide me with GI Bill money to go to grad school. After my PhD came a relatively easy transition to CIA given the fact that my degree was so obscure that no one but the government would hire me.

The journey from an army unit that was asleep at the wheel to the CIA, which was in full downsizing crisis mode post-Vietnam, was educational. Whereas the army was too bloated and complacent even to fake it, the Agency was fully capable of creating crises and then acting like the defender of American interests as it worked to resolve the various situations that it had invented. The war against Eurocommunism, which I was engaged in, was hyped and billed as the next great threat against the American way of life after the Vietnam blunder, swallowing up resources pointlessly as neither France, nor Spain nor Italy ever came close to entering the Red orbit.

As I climbed up the CIA ladder I also noticed something else. There was the equivalent of a worldwide conspiracy to promote threats to keep big national security-based government well-funded and in place. When I was in Turkey I began to note considerable intelligence liaison reporting coming from the Israelis and others promoting their own agendas. The material was frequently fictional in nature, but the danger was that it was being mixed in with more credible reporting which gave it traction. U.S. government consumers of the reporting would inevitably absorb the dubious viewpoint being promoted that Arabs and Iranians were fundamentally untrustworthy and were in bed with the Soviets.

There was considerable negative reporting on Saddam Hussein also coming out of Israel and motivated by his support of the Palestinians. Some of this ultimately surfaced in the Pentagon’s Paul Wolfowitz-Doug Feith assessments of “intelligence that had been missed” which eventually became pretexts for the catastrophic Iraq War. I later learned that both Feith and Wolfowitz had a virtually revolving door of Israeli intelligence officials and diplomats running through their Pentagon offices in the lead-up to that war.

It did not take much to connect the dots and realize that Israel, far from being a friend and ally, was the principal catalyst for the many missteps that the United States has made in the Middle East. U.S. policy in the region was being deliberately shaped around Israeli concerns by American Jews ensconced in the Pentagon and White House who certainly knew exactly what they were doing. No one should blame the Israelis for acting in their own self-interest, but every loyal American should blame the Libbys, Feiths and Wolfowitzes for their willingness to place Israeli interests ahead of those of their own country.

After my departure from government in part over my disagreement with the Iraq War, this willingness to place the United States in peril to serve the interests of a foreign country began to bother me, and there is no country that manipulates the U.S. government better or more persistently than Israel. I gradually became involved with those who were pushing back against the Israel Lobby, though it was not generally referred to in those terms before Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer produced their seminal work The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2006.

It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States is deeply involved in a series of seemingly endless wars pitting it against predominantly Muslim nations even though Washington has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary of a coordinated effort mounted by more than 600 Jewish organizations in the U.S. that have at least as part of their programs the promotion and protection of Israel. Ironically, organizations that promote the interests of a foreign government are supposed to be registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA) but not a single pro-Israel organization has ever done so nor even been seriously challenged on the issue, a tribute to their power in dealing with the federal government.

Those who are in the drivers’ seat of the Israel promotion process are what some would describe as the Israel Lobby but which I would prefer to call a subset of the Jewish Lobby, which in itself is supported by something I would designate Jewish Power, an aggregate of Jewish money, control over key aspects of the media and entertainment industries plus easy access to corrupted politicians desirous of positive press and campaign donations. This penetration and control of the public discourse has resulted in the creation of what I would refer to as the official “Israel narrative,” in which Israel, which claims perpetual victimhood, is reflexively referred to as “the only democracy in the Middle East” and “Washington’s closest ally and friend,” assertions that are completely false but which have been aggressively and successfully promoted to shape how Americans view the Israeli-Arab conflict. Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation are invariably described as “terrorists” both in the U.S. and Israel.

Jewish Power is a funny thing. If you read the Jewish media or the Israeli press, to include Forward, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post, you will find frequent references to it, nearly always seen as completely laudable. Bottom feeder Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard recently boasted that “Jews should not apologize for being so rich, controlling the media or influencing public debate…they have earned it…never apologize for using your strength…”

For many Jews like Dershowitz, Jewish power is something to be proud of, but they also believe that it should never be noticed or examined by non-Jews. Gentile criticism of Jewish collective behavior is something that must continue to be forbidden, just as the expression “Israeli Lobby” was largely taboo before Walt and Mearsheimer. Israeli partisans regularly engage in the defamation of individuals, including myself, who do not conform to the taboos as anti-Semites or holocaust deniers, labels deliberately used as weapons to end discussion and silence critics whenever necessary.

So why do I think that we have to start talking about Jewish Power as opposed to the euphemism Israel Lobby? It is because the wars in the Middle East, which have done so much to damage the United States and were at least in part arranged to benefit Israel, have been largely driven by wealthy and powerful Jews. If America goes to war with Iran, as is increasingly likely, it will be all about Israel and it will be arranged by the political and financial services Washington-Wall Street axis, make no mistake.

To my mind, Israel is America’s number one foreign policy problem in that it is able and willing to start potentially catastrophic wars with countries that it has demonized but that do not threaten the U.S. And those doing the manipulating are bipartisan Jewish oligarchs with deep pockets that support the multitude of pro-Israel organizations, think tanks and media outlets that have done so much to corrupt America’s political process. Hollywood producer Haim Saban, a principal Democratic Party supporter, has said that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. Principal GOP funder casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who served in the U.S. Army in World War 2, has said that he regrets that service and would have preferred to be in the Israel Defense Forces. They as well as others, including fund manager Paul Singer and Home Depot’s Bernard Marcus, are Jews laboring on behalf of the self-proclaimed Jewish State while the neoconservatives, fiercely protective of Israel, are also nearly all Jewish. Asserting that the fact that they are Jews acting for a Jewish state should be irrelevant as they are also doing what is good for America, as is commonly done by their apologists, is logically inconsistent and borders on absurdity. As for the frequently cited Bible belt Christian-Zionists who support Israel, they are, to be sure, numerous, but they do not have the access to real power in the United States that Jews have.

Jewish Power is also what has in part driven the United States into a moral cesspit. Israeli snipers shoot dead scores of unarmed Gazan demonstrators and hardly anyone in Washington has anything to say about it. America’s Ambassador to Israel, an Orthodox Jewish lawyer named David Friedman who has multiple ties to Israel’s illegal settlements, uses his position to defend Israel, ignoring U.S. interests. Last week he held a press conference in which he told reporters to “shut their mouths” in their criticism of Israel’s slaughter of Gazans.

When a young Palestinian nurse is deliberately targeted and killed while treating a wounded man, it hardly appears in the U.S. media. Arab teenagers are shot in the back while running away from Israeli gunmen while a young woman is sentenced to prison for slapping an Israel soldier who had just shot her cousin and was invading her home. Heavily armed Israeli settlers run amok on the West Bank, beating and killing Arabs and destroying their livelihoods. That is what Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are all about and that is precisely the kind of a nation that America should not want to become, but unfortunately the role of Washington as Israel’s obedient poodle has our once great country moving in the wrong direction. This has all been brought about by Jewish Power and it is time to wake up to that fact and address it squarely.

Renowned Economist Turns Psychologist on Donald Trump: ‘He’s a Delusional, Psychopathic Threat’ – By Hal Brown / Daily Kos (ALTERNET.ORG)


Jeffrey Sachs wants to remove the president using the 25th Amendment
By Hal Brown / Daily Kos
June 3, 2018, 6:42 AM GMT

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The word is getting out. Finally. After numerous psychotherapists weighed in on assessing Trump as being not only psychologically unfit to be president, but alarmingly (as the expert contributors to a best selling book put it in their title) a dangerous case.

Jeffrey Sachs is an “ American economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank Columbia bestows on its faculty. He is known as one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty.” (Wikipedia).
Renowned Economist Jeffrey Sachs Rips Trump As A Gibbering, ‘Delusional’ ThreatHe calls forremovalof the president using the 25th Amendment.
Don’t let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs has written a scathing takedown of President Donald Trump, calling him a delusional, psychopathic “threat to the nation and the world.”

He might be a “Manchurian Candidate” who is working as a “stooge” for some foreign power to destroy the U.S., Sachs wrote on CCN’s website Friday, referring to the spy movie thriller.

“Much more likely, Trump is just mentally unstable and narcissistic,” he added, calling the new announcement of tariffs on exports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union part of a “psychopath’s trade war.”

Sachs uses the word gibbering in his title which is an unfortunate choice in my opinion because the crucial word in the title is delusional. This is a psychiatric term. Addressing trade policy and tariffs, the economist says Trump is “mentally unstable and narcissistic.” Exactly! He could just as easily be trying to make sense of Trump’s approach to N. Korea.
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On CNN Sachs said that we “probably never before had a delusional president, one who speaks gibberish, insults those around him including his closest associates, and baffles the world. We strive to make sense of Trump’s nonsense, implicitly assuming some hidden strategy. There is none.”

There’s no reason for an educated person to be “baffled” by Trump’s behavior. Every Trump utterance, every decision, which has caused sensible observers to be puzzled and troubled because they seemed abnormal, unhinged, and incoherent can be explained by Trump’s psychopathology.
http://www.change.org/…

Last year clinical psychologist Dr. John Gartner started a petition demanding that Trump be removed under the 25th Amendment: “We Have a Duty to Warn the World About Donald Trump.”

This came at a time when few people even knew what it was. Now everyone following the psychological decompensation of Trump knows what it is, including economist Sachs:

The “real answer” is to remove Trump from office using the 25th Amendment to replace him, Sachs concludes.
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“Trump is unwell and unfit to be president. He is a growing threat to the nation and the world.

“The emperor had no clothes. This president has no sense,” he concluded.

It is gratifying that more and more experts in fields other than psychology are putting it all together.

ANOTHER AMERICAN CW FALSE FLAG OPERATION IS COMING; SYRIAN ARMY BEGINS RELEASING SOLDIERS TO CIVILIAN LIFE; SAA CRUSHES ISIS ATTACK IN DZ PLANNED BY U.S. SPEC OPER TERRORISTS – By Ziad Fadel

Read this article right away:
http://www.syrianews.cc/usa-new-chemical-attack-false-flag-syria/

Buffoon American WOG and permanent delegate to the U.N. brandishes more faked photos taken by the now-disgraced “White Helmets” at the U.N.S.C.  The British delegate to her left scowls as he pretends to be offended by the staged scenes.  Oh, yawn!  (Don’t forget to read the link at the beginning)

If our friends at Syrianews are right, the White Helmets, in perfect coordination with both MI6 and CIA, will stage a new atrocity in order to frame the Syrian government.  We expect Ivanka Trump, the know-nothing daughter of America’s chief meat head, to charge down the hallowed halls of the White House to beg her father to “get Assad!”  That’s what she did to cause the last attack on the Shu’ayraat AB in Homs last year.  “Please, daddy, you gotta make Assad pay for this.”  (Even if the CW attack didn’t happen!)

As sickening as these scenarios have become;  the persistent lying, hyperbole, poor acting, and incongruent evidence, all coming together to form an hastily-produced, stale porridge of putrescent and hackneyed pontifications; with Merkel and Justin Trudeau staring down solemnly as one photo-op replaces another –  we must, nevertheless, pinch our noses and suffer the olfactory emanations from this coming swamp of tarted up vilification.  Oh, our redoubtable Vanessa Beeley will call out the liars and rebut all the indictments, yet, the agenda plays on and on with no end in sight.  Brandon Turbeville will drown the perpetrators in their own cesspool of lies.  Eva Bartlett will rail against the prevaricating pimps of poop and imposture with her sterling coolness and sincerity.  And, if you read the readers’ comments to the articles by the MSM, you’ll find that the message is being absorbed by the public.

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DAYR EL-ZOR:

The U.S. just can’t get it right.  When Trump announces his intent to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria “real soon” after they vanquish ISIS , another shadow agency is found providing bases, logistical assistance and planning for exactly the same terrorist group they are there to supposedly fight and destroy!

Yesterday, a two-pronged attack took place at 2 villages in the Albu-Kamaal area on the Euphrates.  At Al-Hasraat Villlage, the SAA killed almost all ISIS terrorists and destroyed over 3 pickups with 23mm cannons.  The captured terrorists confessed to being trained by United States Special Operations contractors working out of Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border.

At Al-Shu’fa Village, SAA troops, dug in inside well-prepared defensive berms, came under attack from another group of ISIS rodents who had originated on the Syrian-Iraqi border.  They, too, were annihilated by the SAA.

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DAMASCUS:  Imagine our delight when we heard that my wife’s nephew, Rayyaan, an officer in the SAA for over 7 years now, has been honorably discharged from service in the army so that he can go back to civilian life.  He had to put his legal career on hold to serve the cause of freedom from terrorism. This is now happening all over Syria as reservists and members of the NDF/PDC complete their overlong tours of duty.  The army will now go back to its original numbers with a 500% improvement in available military technology.  We are proud of them and their service to flag and country.

 

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Here is a bunch of new articles from Brandon:

https://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/russia-hints-isis-linked-forces-operating-in-us-controlled-zones-in-syria-photos-already-show-us-protecting-terrorists-in-tanf.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-warns-of-firm-response-if-syria-attacks-isis-no-really.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/7-countries-in-5-years-2007-wesley-clark-interview-reveals-us-plan-to-go-to-war-with-iraq-iran-syria-libya-lebanon-somalia-and-sudan

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-france-uk-establish-more-bases-in-syria-to-push-breakup-of-country.html

 

Great article from USA Today debunking the entire idea of overthrowing the government of Iran:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/31/iran-regime-change-american-troops-military-draft-column/656240002/

 

Mary Woodard and Kevin Hester sent me this RT interview with Dr. Assad conducted by Murad Gazdiev:

http://www.syrianews.cc/assad-all-syria-will-be-liberated/

 

Dimitry Porphyris sent me this article about the decapitation of 2 Syrian soldiers by ISIS west of Al-Mayaadeen.  It’s in French but the pictures tell the entire tale.  Note how ISIS refers to our army as the “Alawi Army”:

https://dimpenews.com/2018/06/01/18-l-etat-islamique-isis-a-decapite-un-soldat-syrien-a-ouest-de-la-ville-de-mayadeen-province-de-deir-ezzor/

 

 

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Oil and gas geopolitics: No shelter from the coming storm – By Pepe Escobar ( Asia Times) (SOTT)

A man stands at an oil terminal at Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates

© Karim Sahib / AFP
A man stands at an oil terminal at Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates.

There could be widespread ramifications from US energy independence and looming US sanctions on Iran and Russia; states in Central Asia could be hit hard, as well as serious possible impacts on global oil production and the West.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are in deep debate on whether to raise OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by 1 million barrels a day to offset the drastic plunge in Venezuela’s production plus possible shortfalls when new US sanctions on Iran kick in in November.

The problem is that even a production raise would not be enough, according to Credit Suisse; only 500,000 barrels a day would be added to the global market.

Oil has spiked as high as $80 a barrel – unheard of since 2014. A production spike could certainly halt the trend. At the same time, key supply players would rather keep crude futures at $70-$80 a barrel. But the price could even hit $100 before the end of the year, depending on the impact that US sanctions have.

Persian Gulf traders told Asia Times the current oil price would be “much higher today if the Gulf States played their usual role at OPEC and cut back production” – to 10% or 15% or 20% of OPEC supply. According to an Abu Dhabi trader, “present OPEC cutbacks only target 1.8 million barrels a day, which is ridiculous, and indicates that the US is still pressuring to hold down the price.”

A Saudi-Russia deal could certainly turn the tables.

And then there’s the further issue of depleting OPEC supplies. There’s a consensus among traders that, “the depletion that has to be replaced is about 8% of total supply, which comes out to approximately 8 million barrels a day per year. Most of this has been made up by pre-2014 drilling but in the next four years will fall short very considerably as drilling has collapsed 50%.”

So, uncertainty seems to be the rule. To add to this, Societe Generale has forecast that US sanctions might remove as much as 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude from the global market.

And that leads us to the real big story for the foreseeable future, as Asia Times cross-referenced analyses from Persian Gulf traders with diplomats in the European Union; beyond technical issues, the point is how oil and energy markets are hostage to geopolitical pressure.

The US is in a relatively comfortable position. US oil production has reached 10.7 million barrels per day – enough for domestic needs. And shale oil production is expected to rise to a record 7.18 million barrels a day next month, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

The US imports only 3.7 million barrels a day – three million of them from Canada. As traders in the Persian Gulf confirmed, the US “imports heavy and exports light oil. In three years the country will be essentially totally independent.”

Sanctions or bust

Once again, the heart of the matter concerns the petrodollar. After the Trump administration’s unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union diplomats in Brussels, off the record, and still in shock, admit that they blundered by not “configuring the eurozone as distinct and separate to the dollar hegemony”. Now they may be made to pay the price of their impotence via their “outlawed” trade with Iran.

The EU – at least rhetorically – now wants to pay for Iranian oil in euros. Add to it the Trump administration’s ultimatum to Chancellor Merkel: give up the Nord Stream II gas pipeline from Russia or we will slap you with extra tariffs on steel and aluminum – to gauge the incandescence of current US-EU relations.

This Deutsche Bank Research report has the merit of highlighting the advantages of Nord Stream 2. It hits one of the nerves, when it stresses that, “Russian gas flows through the Ukraine look set to continue following the expiry of the old contracts in 2019”. That “may foster acceptance of Nord Stream 2.”

But that does not tell the whole story.

EU diplomats fear that “the US can strangle Iran by blocking them from SWIFT and CHIPS [payment systems] so that they cannot clear their transactions, and can possibly strangle them with sanctions.” Meanwhile, in the Persian Gulf, it’s no secret among traders that sooner or later it must be factored in that Iran, in the eventuality of a US attack, “has the power to bring down Western economies by destroying 20% of the oil production in the Middle East. And Russia has that power too. Russia is largely self-sufficient for its needs. It can win this as an economic battle rather than a military one”.

The US seems to be extending the proverbial “offer you can’t refuse” to the EU; an elusive, assured delivery of LNG in the (unlikely) event of a cutoff of Russian natural gas to the European Union.

First of all, Gazprom has no intention to ditch its extremely lucrative European market. Moreover, this supposed American LNG capacity “does not exist as yet in the United States. The US cannot replace Russian oil or gas for the EU”, traders said, even as “Russian oil deliveries to the EU have dropped 40% while exports of Russian oil to China have risen about 30%.”

Oblivious to facts, Capitol Hill, through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), is getting ready to slap Russian defense and energy sectors with devastating secondary sanctions applied to nations doing business with Moscow.

And this sanction double trouble, on both Iran and Russia, is bound to have immense repercussions not only in Europe but all across Central Asia.

Trouble in Kazakhstan

Take Kazakhstan’s massive top three energy projects: Tengiz, Kashagan and Karachaganak. The majority of Kazakhstan’s crude exports flow through the 1,500km-long Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) – partially owned by Moscow (Transneft owns 24% compared to 15% by Chevron and 7.5% by Exxon Mobil).

The expansion of both Tengiz and Kashagan, which pump roughly 950,000 barrels a day to the Russian Black Sea coast, depends on Russian transit routes.

Karachaganak’s 250,000 barrels a day of condensate go into the CPC, and most of its 18 billion cubic meters of gas a year go to Russia and are marketed by Gazprom.

Chevron and Exxon Mobil have stakes in Tengiz, Exxon in Kashagan and Chevron in Karachaganak.

Russian oil and gas executives have been caught in the US sanctions web. Transneft has been under sanctions since 2014. Now imagine Washington deciding that Chevron and Exxon Mobil cannot continue to do business with Russian companies.

Compound it with the reaction from Russia. A recent law criminalizes Russian companies which abide by US sanctions – and further retaliation may include cutting off US companies from access to Russian infrastructure.

Persian Gulf traders argue that if Russia was finally convinced to “divert their oil and natural gas supplies to China, and the EU becomes totally exposed to the Middle East for their oil supplies based on the grave instability of the Gulf states, then Europe could find itself collapsing in an economic sense by a Gulf states oil cutoff.”

The nuclear option

And that plunges us into the heart of the geopolitical game, as admitted, never on the record, by experts in Brussels; the EU has got to reevaluate its strategic alliance with an essentially energy independent US, as “we are risking all our energy resources over their Halford Mackinder geopolitical analysis that they must break up Russia and China.”

That’s a direct reference to the late Mackinder epigone Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who died dreaming of turning China against Russia.

In Brussels, there’s increased recognition that US pressure on Iran, Russia and China is out of geopolitical fear the entire Eurasian land mass, organized as a super-trading bloc via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), is slipping away from Washington’s influence.

This analysis gets closer to how the three key nodes of 21st century Eurasia integration – Russia, China and Iran – have identified the key issue; both the euro and the yuan must bypass the petrodollar, the ideal means, as the Chinese stress, to “end the oscillation between strong and weak dollar cycles, which has been so profitable for US financial institutions, but lethal to emerging markets.”

And that’s why the Shanghai oil futures experiment is such a game-changer, already deepening China’s sovereign bond market. Persian Gulf traders show a keen interest in how Asian traders are profiting from the fact the petro-yuan may be redeemed for gold. Iranian oil being sold in Shanghai will further expand the process.

It’s also no secret among Persian Gulf traders that in the – hopefully unlikely – event of a US-Saudi-Israeli war in Southwest Asia against Iran, a real scenario war-gamed by the Pentagon would be “the destruction of oil wells in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. The Strait of Hormuz does not have to be blocked as destroying the oil wells would be far more effective.”

And what the potential loss of over 20% of the world’s oil supply would mean is terrifying; the implosion, with unforeseen consequences, of the quadrillion derivatives pyramid, and consequentially of the entire Western financial casino superstructure.

Call it a nuclear financial weapon of mass destruction chain reaction. Compared to that, the 2008 financial crisis would be little more than a walk in an ecologically friendly park.

See Also:

Assad: Israel’s Lackeys Are Losing Syria War – By Jonas E. Alexis (VT)

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…by Jonas E. Alexis

We all know by now that Israel has been supporting legions of terrorist organs in Syria. We all know that they want Assad’s head on a silver platter. We all know that the United States has been doing Israel’s dirty work in the region. And we all know that the war itself has caused countless lives and has destroyed much of the country.

But Bashar Assad is still thriving. In fact, he has recently announced that Israel’s multiple puppets and assets in Syria—ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the so-called rebels, etc.[1]—are losing the war.

It is “self-evident,” said Assad, that “we are moving closer to the end of the conflict,” and that “without external interference it won’t take more than a year to settle the situation in Syria.”[2]

The war would have been over long ago, continued Assad, if the US and its supporters were not bringing in “more terrorism.” Certainly no person with an ounce of brain cells knocking together can dispute that statement. We can say with certainty that Israel has been supporting terrorists who even ended up eating people’s hearts! Putin did say something about that. He declared then:

“These are people who don’t just kill their enemies, they open up their bodies, and eat their intestines in front of the public and the cameras. Are these the people you want to… supply with weapons?”[3]

Did the Israeli regime and the US stop supporting those bloodthirsty terrorists? Did they even consider the possibility that supporting terrorism could backfire? Did they revise Shelley’s Frankenstein?

Of course not. They wanted to pursue diabolical activities which always get them into trouble. Assad continued:

“War is the worst choice but sometimes you only have this choice. Factions like Al-Qaeda, like ISIS, like Al-Nusra, and the like-minded groups, they’re not ready for any dialogue… So, the only option to deal with those factions is force.”[4]

Assad moved on to drop the atomic bomb on the United States and indeed the Israeli regime:

“The United States is losing its cards. The main card was Al-Nusra, that was called ‘moderate,’ but when scandals started leaking that they’re not moderate, that they’re Al-Qaeda, which is supposed to be fought by the United States, they started looking for another card. This card is the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] now.”[5]

The Israeli regime, said Assad, is panicking because they are losing the war. They have also resorted to threats, which they think would strike fears in the hearts of their enemies. Assad said:

“The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now, for around seven decades, in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threaten in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling because they are losing the ‘dear ones,’ the dear ones Al-Nusra and ISIS, that’s why Israel is panicking recently, and we understand their feeling.”[6]

Assad meticulously deconstructed the Zionist/Israeli position, which always seeks fresh blood and bodies in the region. One should give much respect to Assad for standing up against a powerful empire.


  • [1] Rory Jones, “Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2018; “Israel Reportedly Providing Direct Aid, Funding to Syrian Rebels,” Haaretz, June 19, 2017.
  • [2] “US ‘losing its cards’ in Syria: Highlights of RT’s interview with Bashar Assad,” Russia Today, June 1, 2018.
  • [3] “Face-to-face with Abu Sakkar, Syria’s ‘heart-eating cannibal,’” BBC, July 5, 2013.
  • [4] Ibid.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Ibid.

JOYLESS IN ZION – By Phillip Weiss (MONDOWEISS)

I never went to Israel when I was young, but I had a girlfriend who had been there and she told me that the Israelis were tough. She’d had fun there: she slept on beaches and smoked dope and made a lot of friends. But the Israelis were much tougher than we were, she said both admiringly and wearily. It wasn’t just their famous rudeness but their view of life; it was hard to be around them.

Now I’m back from my 13th trip to Israel and I can say, they are too tough.

I’ve been visiting through a distinct period: Israeli violence against non-state actors, Lebanon 2006 to Gaza 2018. Israel has regularly meted out violent punishment to those who defy or provoke it or shoot rockets or don’t believe in its right to exist, five bouts of punishment, six counting the era of knife attacks. It doesn’t seem that Israel has gained anything from all that violence, the thousands or tens of thousands dead. The Israelis are more insecure than ever. When you travel through occupied territory on Route 443, the Israeli flagwaving doesn’t stop. The Palestinian cabdriver said the flag was a Big Lie: it informs the Palestinians that this is Israel when it’s not. It is the same imposture at the police station in East Jerusalem: a lot of flags and a star of David, symbols that the people who are served by the station all disdain.

Or look at the banners on the Ministry of Justice, again in Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem. The Israelis are not sure themselves that they are going to be around that long. Ahmadinejad got into their heads when he said, they will vanish from the page of time. Netanyahu’s keen desire, Joseph Massad writes in Electronic Intifada, is that Israel will be around another 30 years: “the Hasmonean kingdom survived for only about 80 years[in the second century BC],” and so he is “working to ensure that modern Israel will surpass that mark and reach its 100th birthday.”

That’s not very confident.

 

 

++++++++

The New York Times did a piece suggesting that Israelis have a conscience about the violence they poured forth at the Gaza border, and they hope that it was the right thing to do. But Gideon Levy says they have lost their conscience; and that was my impression too from interviewing Israeli Jews in West Jerusalem. I talked to 20 people. Every one expressed support for the killings. There was simply no dissent, even from a Meretz supporter.

I asked why Israel was getting such bad press over the shootings; and here are some responses:

“On whose head is the blood in Gaza? 100 percent on the leftwing media that hates Israel, and is Arab owned. Hamas used their own population as  a defensive shield.” (Avraham Feld, 65)

“We behaved very, very gentle with them. It doesn’t look gentle. But out of 40,000, 60 [dead] is not many. If it wasn’t gentle, we would kill a few 100s.” (Rami, a shopowner.)

“Our problem in Israel is a very, very small group of Jews. But they have the microphone and they hate themselves. They talk against us. And that’s why those in America– they don’t like Israel. For 1000 years we are used to it– people who are against Israel and the Jews.” (Nehama, 47.)

“I think there was no other option. Just to watch and allow people passing through the fence? The problem [with the headlines]– it’s a question of hasbara.”  (Moshe Ardon, 66, Meretz).

“These are not peaceful people. If 20 percent have a flag, then 10 behind them have a gun.” (A man from Kibbutz Ruhana, not far from Gaza).

“We Israelis have a clear system when someone threatens to come to the fence. First a warning shot, then if he keeps coming, we shoot in the leg. If they do come more, we have to shoot him.” (Shmuel, 14, walking with his mother)

There is no debate. Just like Gaza 2014 and Cast Lead before that nine years ago: 90 percent of Israeli society is behind it. The people all echo the talking points and insulate themselves from world opinion. This is the way a cult works, enclosing its thinking from the outside world, including the large portion of the neighboring population who don’t buy what they say. The world’s condemnation only makes them feel more certain of their own righteousness and, surely too, their superiority to ordinary unenlightened people. They become more hardened, and self-involved.

 

+++++++

The time my girlfriend went out, 40 years ago, Zionism was fun. Not for its victims of course. But it was the time when Israel figured for Americans, and American Jews, like such a good healthy idealistic fulfilling life-charged undertaking. You’ve seen the newsreels of the Zionists dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv, or in the dusty roads of their kibbutzim: that excitement was communicated to us. Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky, and Tony Judt all went over to work on kibbutzes in that spirit. People read Amos Oz novels about the Galilee.

Look at these photographs of Zionists celebrating the harvest in Yad Mordechai, a kibbutz not far from Gaza that I visited on Nakba Day. Grapes bow their shoulders. They dance as the combine sucks up grain…

 

That time is over. Now Israel is held in contempt by much of the western world, and Israelis know it even as they get down to the hard business of shooting border-crossers.

 

+++++++

My host at an Airbnb in West Jerusalem confronted me for my views. We’d been friendly for two days, I kept praising her sparkling clean apartment; but she brought up my work and upbraided me– her guest, twice her age–  and told me what I should not write, and accused me of BDS, and called me a self hating Jew. I was upset and wrote a lot of it down:

“So you write bad things about Israel. Like what, you are for BDS?

“What do you want us to do? So–what should we do?

“But we are a democracy. You don’t have the whole picture. You shouldn’t be writing these things about us without knowing what is going on.

“You are going to compare us to the Nazis next, aren’t you? [I’d compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to her parents’ experience in Russia]

“This is our land. We are a people like any other, not a religion. It is different, and we need a state.

“No, the Palestinians are not happy, but that is their leaders’ fault. They’ve never accepted the Jewish state. Then they bombed us in the second intifada.

“You don’t have the full picture so you should not write about this. I think you are this way because you don’t like being Jewish. There are Jews who are like this.”

 

++++++

My next host was just as tough in his own way. He was in the kitchen after work, guiding religious Zionist tours of the Old City, when I asked him, “What is the strategy in Gaza?” His wife sighed. “Oh the people are suffering there, it is very bad in Gaza.” But he sprawled out in his armchair in a crude manner familiar to me from Israeli men, with one knee up and the other leg extended, and rubbed his scalp in a gesture of thoughtfulness.

“In Gaza you are seeing what we Israelis call – [he says the Hebrew phrase] — conflict management. No one knows how to end it so they manage it. Yesterday was a bloody day as you know [the day of 62 killed] but today was quiet. That is because the message has been sent that if they do more today, then Israel will respond, very hard, and there will be more loss of life, so they pull back. Everyone knows there could be another war, and they don’t want that.”

A young man says that killing 62 people is sending a message…

This is a big reason why American Jewish communal responses are so terrible. Jewish leaders have lots of Israeli friends who hold forth to them in such terms, as though this is a real strategy; and the Americans are at a loss to criticize.

As my mother’s best friend Golda told me when I first came out here, at age 50: Aliyah means to go up. “When we moved here [in 1968], we went up. You in the Diaspora we call yoredim. You are lower.” That is the essential relationship, and all the big American Jewish orgs have no problem with that.

 

+++++++

One of the most striking things about this visit was how naked the apartheid is. Back in the States of course it is still a heresy to say that Israel is an apartheid country. But when you are over there it feels frank and unadorned. Everyone knows there is one sovereign between the river and the sea, and that sovereign must be Jewish. Here’s my list of evidence:

–Arriving at the Tel Aviv airport, I mill about with a couple thousand other arrivals over the 40 minutes it takes to exit, and I see just a handful of Arabs. The Massachusetts-sized country I’m coming into is half Arab, there are Arab lands all around. But these people are obviously not wanted here, are often subject to searches here. And the walls contain messages that exclude them. They avoid the place.

–Israeli forces shut down Damascus Gate on the night before Nakba Day, May 14. They are only letting some people through. A group of women in hijabs waits. I come up and the guards wave me right through. I am the correct race.

–At a demonstration against the new embassy earlier that day, several different protests were sequestered in a free speech area: notably a bunch of young mostly American Jews called All That’s Left, and a lot of Palestinian demonstrators, including legislators, waving Palestinian flags. For more than an hour the police dose out brutality against the Palestinian demonstrators for holding up Palestinian flags and chanting for the liberation of Palestine. They ignore the Jews, whose messages are chiefly about occupation.

–The two principal peoples of the land are segregated, and there is complete separation in consciousness. In the Israeli neighborhoods of West Jerusalem you see very few Palestinians. And of course the opposite goes for Palestine. “If I go into an Arab village, even inside Israel, they will kill me– make me into pieces,” Rami, the storekeeper wearing a kipa, explains earnestly to me. On May 14, the night of 62 slaughtered at the fence in Gaza, I walked to a restaurant in the German Colony on the foot/bike-path on the old train line. I heard an Israeli-American discussing new robotic technology to his son and two men discussing international media. The restaurant was full of chatter and laughter. It goes without saying that the Palestinians I talked to that day and the next were filled with anguish and sorrow, and had one subject.

–The Palestinian taxi drivers I met speak Hebrew. It’s required in schools. One’s son studies at the Hebrew University. No Israeli I met speaks Arabic. I’m told the amount of Arabic in Israeli schools is derisory. Everyone knows what the master tongue is.

–Israelis I interviewed said that they preferred a Jewish state to a democracy where Palestinians could vote. “No, they must not vote. I don’t know how many citizens of Falastin want to kill us. They would make an Arab anti-semitic prime minister. And this is the only Jewish country in the world.”—Rami, who votes Likud. And a middleaged Labor voter from Hadera who’d come to visit the Sderot lookout over Gaza says the same thing. “We can’t have majority Arabs. The problem is Hamas sends people to the fence with an ideology, Palestine is from the river to the sea, and there should be no Jewish state.” Liberal Zionists in America like to say that Israel will face a choice between being Jewish and a democracy. But Israel long ago made that choice, and took the Jewish part, not the democracy.

It is amazing that such a naked system of inequality is so successfully defended in the United States. But it is. I’ve often referred to Wolf Blitzer and Terry Gross shaming Jimmy Carter in 2006 for using the word apartheid in the title of his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter was ostracized from the Democratic Party, too, for saying that. Then you go there and it’s apartheid without any pretense.

Now and then the truth breaks through back home – when Stephen Robert the former chancellor of Brown wrote in The Nation that Israel is “apartheid on steroids.” Or when Palestinians speak. But it’s still rare. More often it’s David Brooks writing in the New York Times that he gets “gooey eyed” about Israel having been out a dozen times.

That’s the real miracle of Israel: the hasbara, rationalizing this situation to the west.

 

+++++

The American Jews at the anti-embassy rally were much more involved emotionally with Palestinians and the Palestinian story than my Israeli hosts. But those American Jews were nothing like the Palestinian demonstrators. They needed to separate themselves from the Palestinians as the Palestinians chanted “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free.”

The American have so much less at stake than the Palestinians. Look at this Palestinian woman covering her face as she protests. She has a lot to lose. The American Jews seem very entitled by comparison, and of course: We are.

But the Palestinian suffering this time has had a political effect on American Jews. Natalie Portman acted because of Palestinians being shot at the fence. Jeffrey Goldberg needed to distance himself. Writer/professor Emily Bazelon was moved by her son’s anger at the killings. “Came home and my 15 year old was on the phone with his senators asking them to condemn Israel’s actions. My main feeling: he’s expressing his Jewish values. What a terribly sad day.”

Losing Goldberg (which I’ve predicted) means there will be more defections to come. The firewall doesn’t work if it’s just Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss and Shmuel Rosner, with help from Tom Friedman. You need a powerful center. But Eric Alterman has misgivings about Israel, Eric Goldstein of the Jewish Federations can’t full-throatedly defend it anymore, and J Street is even losing a little faith.

Young Jewish journalists will be emboldened, to follow the Max Blumenthal path. I know how journalists behave. The essence of mainstream journalism (and maybe of all social interaction!) is self-censorship. Now journalists see that there are career points to be made by being critical. Natalie Portman hasn’t turned into fairy dust; and they want to show that they are as smart as a pretty actress. They see Peter Beinart (who is actually halfway honest) being more and more outspoken on the question, maybe because he also wants to keep up with Portman. They see Michelle Goldberg getting more vocal, and more and more American scholars coming out for one state. Because as everyone knows who has been there, it is the reality, one state, with apartheid.

Secretly these journalists have always agreed with Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah, there is a problem with a Jewish state, the two-state solution as imagined is a form of apartheid; but they don’t want to be crazy outliers, they want to be sure that the Dershowitz/Oren/Foxman sharks aren’t still in the water. Now they begin to think that they can have a great success by turning against Israel. And that they can express these thoughts without losing work.

Older Jews are surely afraid what will happen when the young turn on Israel entirely and say, Where were you when they were killing unarmed protesters? During the last Israeli slaughter, 2014, Emily Bazelon supported the Israeli actions against Gaza that killed 2200, and acknowledged then that American Jews and Israeli Jews are family, cousins or brothers and sisters, and need to look out for one another. She aligned herself with centrist Zionists, Yossi Klein Halevi, Jonathan Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg. But that Jewish consensus is now shattered, and Bazelon is listening to her son.

 

+++++

Going out there gets harder and harder. The Israelis have a high standard of living, but what are they living for? Ideals that it is hard to justify in this day and age. The Israeli Jews have lost touch with the tender filaments of human connection. Of course their relations with the Palestinians have done this to them. You cannot watch thousands of unarmed young people being shot at the Gaza border and approve it heartily without having blocked off some avenues of the soul.

I worried about my mind when I was there. The rates of depression in Palestine are incredible, pushing 40 percent, four or five times normal rates. But the Israelis are as bad off mentally in their own way as the Palestinians, or worse. They know their indifference to others’ opinions cannot last. On the day I stopped people in West Jerusalem to ask about Gaza, 20 people refused to talk. They frowned and shook their heads. They knew that the world won’t understand them, and they walked hurriedly by.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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A View from the Rubble of Sana’a: What Happens When an Airstrike Hits Your Street – by Ahmed Abdulkareem (MINT PRESS)

SANA’A, YEMEN — The late morning sun conspired with a cloudless blue sky to frame the Al Tahir commercial district here in a shimmering champagne glow. With the noon hour approaching, swatches of life unfurl like images in a Diego Rivera mural: Al Qasr Street begins to swell with cars, courier trucks and bicycles, while pedestrians trickle into the appliance stores,  cafes and pharmacies that sit in the shadow of the presidential palace.

A motorist, Ibrahim Abdulkareem, heads to the hospital where his wife — badly injured in a Saudi airstrike that destroyed his home and killed his two-year-old son — is scheduled for yet another surgery. A 13-year-old boy with a mop of thick black hair, Amin Al Wazi, sits listless and cross-legged against a wall, hoping to earn a few bucks by offering the use of his digital blue bathroom scale for a small donation. The child has been a fixture on the street for months, since his family arrived in this capital city after fleeing the Saudi aerial attacks in western Yemen.

Suddenly, a plane’s loud whirring pierces Al Tahir’s preoccupied hum, followed by a deafening explosion, and then another, a few minutes later. When finally the thick black smoke begins to dissipate, Abdulkareem climbs from his car to discover that the orderly streetscape has been transformed into a hellish scene, like some overwrought imagining of Dante: roughly five football fields of thick, choking dust, smoldering shops, mangled metal, and charred corpses buried under mountains of rubble. Anguished moans and screams fill the air like an aria of grief and pain.

“Do not gather,” warn the paramedics rushing to the scene to warn against the Saudi tactic of “double-tapping,” intended to inflict maximum damage. “The Saudi airplanes will come back.”

Abdulkareem ignores their admonition and climbs from his car, rushing to help.

“Do not worry, you will be fine!” he assures the first casualty he stumbles upon, an elderly man sitting in a heap of twisted metal and shattered glass. His legs have been shorn off in the blast, and Abdulkareem hopes that his lie will provide the dying man with some comfort in his final moment. He helps rescue workers load the body into an ambulance where the man draws his last breath.

Across the street, men pull Al Wazi’s lifeless body from a pile of rubble. “It is him,” shouts a shopkeeper, his face covered with soot and dust. “It is the boy of the digital scale; he is dead.”

The boy and his weigh scale were fixtures on Al Qasr Street since he and his family moved here months ago from western Yemen after an airstrike at a Yemen wedding party left more than 85 civilians dead, including his father.

Come rain or shine, the cold of winter or the searing heat of a Yemen summer, he was there at first light to eke out something resembling a living for himself and his family. The nearby shopkeepers erupt in anger at the discovery of his body, and curse the Saudis who accuse Houthi rebels of being proxies of their historic rival, Iran.  

“He was no Iranian expert,” cries out Ali Ahmed, the owner of a nearby restaurant, as he scrambles past capsized plastic white tables and splintered blue tiles. “He is a young boy; he was no Houthi leader. Are we carrying a missile ballistic platform? Are the civilians from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards or Hezbollah?”

 

Predictable death by air and sea

Gawad Awad, a severely malnourished Yemeni 4-month-old, lies in the lap of his mother, Heba Ahmed, in the Al-Sadaqa Hospital in Aden, Yemen, this Feb. 13, 2018 photo. Gawad weighed 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds). Aden’s hospital is the best supplied in southern Yemen, but many of the other hospitals around the south are short of supplies and under staff, and families with starving children can’t afford to make the trip to Aden. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Since this war began in 2015, Saudi airstrikes in this tiny nation on the Red Sea have become almost as predictable as the tide. And, combined with a suffocating blockade of Yemen’s ports, children here are more likely to die before their 18th birthday than anywhere else in the world. In November 2017, Save the Children estimated that as many as 130 children were dying every day in Yemen, and more than 50,000 children died over the calendar year.

In December 2016, UNICEF reported that a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections. And the U.K.-based NGO Disasters and Emergencies Committee’s recent report put the number of preventable deaths at 10,000.

That, Yemenis say, is not a coincidence. Ignored by the Western media and unseen by the rest of the world, the Saudis abide by few rules of war, in their attempt to ethnically cleanse this nation of 27 million people, and clear a path for Western powers to seize control of its mineral resources and its ports that are a gateway to the Arab world, Europe and Asia.

Speaking at a news conference in the Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that April has been the deadliest month this year so far with a sharp increase in civilian casualties in Yemen.

Increasingly, the UN asserts, the attacks are in densely populated areas, such as the one here in Sana’a targeting the presidential palace. The Saudi airstrikes also raise questions about whether the Saudis are adhering to the legal principle of proportional response so often violated by Israel’s use of sophisticated drones and other weaponry to retaliate against Palestinians for launching World War I-era rockets, many of which land harmlessly.

The airstrike here that killed Amin Al Wazi left another nine civilians dead and 82 more injured, but it was fairly unremarkable for all but those who lived through it.

 

Bombers see a puff of smoke, a father sees the bloodied corpse of his child

Ibrahim has seen worse. In 2015, he lost his infant daughter in an airstrike, the same one that left his wife badly injured and in need of surgery on the day of the airstrikes on the presidential palace.

The night of that airstrike, Ibrahim, an engineer, told MintPress he awoke to the sound of his wife screaming. She was pinned under the rubble of their collapsed walls. His two-year-old daughter was completely buried under plaster and stone. Ibrahim told MintPress it took hours to dig out first his wife, and then his daughter from the rubble, and remove the shrapnel from the girl’s tiny body.

Said Ibrahim:

I did not give up; her blood was dripping on my clothes as I ran to (the) hospital hoping to see her smile again. Doctors were trying to bring her back to life but it was too late. I fainted to the floor.”

Top Photo | People inspect the rubble of homes destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News and local Yemeni media.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

US Warns India Not to Buy Russian Weapons – By Peter KORZUN ( Strategic Culture Foundation)

US Warns India Not to Buy Russian WeaponsPeter KORZUN | 01.06.2018 | SECURITY / DEFENSE

The US does not shy away from openly threatening its allies and friends into submission. America’s major defense partners could face tough sanctions for purchases of Russian military equipment. Since January 29, the US has been imposing punitive measures under the CAATSA on foreign entities and individuals who cooperate with Russia in the field of defense or intelligence gathering. Congress is not inclined to give the administration the right of waiver to make an exception from the rule for some close allies. Despite that, many of them remain adamant in their intent to purchase the weapons they need from Russia.

Washington is exerting pressure on Turkey to make it abandon the plans to purchase Russia S-400 Triumf state-of-the-art air defense systems. So far, Ankara stood tall refusing to bow. US Congress is already considering the proposals on halting US arms sales to that country.

Unlike Turkey, India is not a NATO ally but its desire to acquire the Triumf triggers a negative reaction in the US. American lawmakers not only express concern over the planned deal but also issue warnings that sensitive American military technology may be banned from being shared with India in future. According to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, “There is a lot of concern in the US administration and Congress with the S-400.” India’s decision will be made final before the October Russia-India summit. During the informal talks in Sochi in May 2018, President Putin and Prime Minister Modi discussed the ways to get around the US potential sanctions when the deal goes through. Both countries have pledged to jointly create a plan to keep it out of CAATSA. New Delhi has just concluded price talks on the S-400 deal with Moscow, saying it will go ahead, no matter what the US says or does.

Those who follow the news on arms trade know well that India is interested in purchasing 22 American Predator Guardian drones for its Navy. It’s also willing to acquire the weapon the US has not sold anyone so far: 80-100 Avenger (Predator C) armed drones for the Air Force. The price may be as high as $8 billion. The F-16 production on Indian soil is also in doubt. All these projects are questioned as the US sticks to its guns implementing the “do it or else” policy. But it will hardly work with India, a nation known for its independent foreign policy. It has never bowed to any pressure from outside since its independence.

Iraq, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia and Vietnam are among the countries threatened by sanctions if they go on with the plans to purchase Russian weapons. Many of them are particularly interested in the S-400. There is a catch here. If you make an exemption, others will feel humiliated and demand waivers too, but if you punish nobody then what is CAATSA for? Perhaps, the entire policy of punishing others in case of non-compliance with US laws is fundamentally wrong. It may not push Russia out of the international arms market but rather make its products a commercial success. After all, it’s an open secret that the S-400 is much more capable than the US Patriot air-defense system.

Turkey is told that if it buys Russia arms, the US won’t sell it F-35 aircraft. India may not get drones in case it purchases the S-400s. The essence is the same: sovereign countries are to be deprived of their right to have the best. They’d better be satisfied with what the US imposes or face punitive measures for daring not to comply. But many of them will not. For instance, there is little doubt that the pressure will make US-Indian relations hit a rough patch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis sought waivers for allies buying Russian weapons but failed to persuade Congress to give the administration this right. Besides, State Secretary Mike Pompeo holds a different view on the issue.

The “arms twisting” approach is prevalent in US foreign policy and even NATO allies are no exception. According to The Times, President Trump is expected to scale back America’s commitments or even issue an ultimatum over further American involvement in Europe.

No world leaders taking part in the St. Petersburg’s economic forum (SPIEF-2018) in May were happy about the US ultimatums as well as the sanctions against Russia, especially at a time it is leaving recession behind and oil prices are going up. The complains were made heard and concerns voiced at the conference held in the country, which is the prime target of American attacks. Nobody admired the trade wars the US has unleashed. May was the month the US stepped up its attacks on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline – the project Germany, Austria and some other European countries want to go through so much.

Israel was the only country to greet the US withdrawal from the Iran deal. Nobody endorsed the President Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting in Singapore with the North Korean leader (it may still take place, the talks are underway).

The US and its European allies appear to go separate ways on defense. On May 27, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for a European operation in North Africa to stem the immigrants’ flows. Austria will take over the EU Presidency for six months starting in July. The idea has been being floated since a long time ago. Europe’s main security concern is the protection of its borders, not taking part in US ventures in faraway places or provoking Russia by deploying forces near its borders. The EU is gradually moving to its own deterrence and defense posture, which may not necessarily meet US interests.

The US policy of diktat will backlash, bringing together those who are threatened by US sanctions. The EU is about to fight back, Turkey sticks to its guns, India has refused to bow. American allies will have to work out their own approaches to international problems, using quite different instruments to achieve the desired goals. The US global standing will be weakened. By trying to isolate others America will isolate itself. But the addiction to teach, dictate and bark orders is too great to get easily rid of. It takes time to realize that the times have changed. What worked well yesterday has become counterproductive today.

The Syria connection to Iran, Afghanistan and China – By Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) (THE SAKER)

SYRIANFORALLSYRIANS

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Iranian academic spells out Iran’s position in the Middle East and questions US policy toward the region; amid reports that the Qods force is unlikely to disband, and that Daesh (ISIS) is being moved the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

A crucial question has been consuming policymakers in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: Does the Trump administration have a strategic plan for the Middle East or not?

Few are more apt to answer than Saadallah Zarei, dean of the Institute of Strategic Studies Andishe Sazan-e Noor in Tehran. Zarei, a soft-spoken, extremely discreet man I met in Mashhad a few days ago, happens to be not only one of Iran’s top strategic analysts but also a key brain behind the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani – the ultimate bête noire outside the Beltway.

So US strategists could do worse than paying attention to Zarei.

While the US “owns 37 fixed military bases and almost 70 movable bases in the Middle East”, Zarei said, “We do not observe specific and exact strategies.”

He stressed his perplexity with “contradictory behavior related to the Shi’ite population. America’s behavior in terms of the Shi’ite population of Bahrain and their rights, the Zaydi Shi’ite population in Yemen and Kashmir and also the Shi’ite population in Lebanon, which is 35% of the total population, is not specified and nobody knows how the Americans think about Shi’ites and how they act.”

Zarei also notes that “America does not have a specific policy about the democracies of Turkey and Iran. There is not any specific strategy about democracy in Iraq and Lebanon too. America talks about democracy as an American value and tries to generalize it, but in this region, we see that the best friends of the US are countries where there is no election in their political systems.”

The bottom line, according to Zarei, is that “the US strategy is not coherent in the Middle East. I think this is the main reason for the failure of American policies in this region.”

Enter the Hazaras

Now zoom in from the macro-analysis to the micro-view on the ground. Compare Zarei to Komeil, a 24-year-old Hazara Shi’ite from Kabul. Komeil is one among as many as 14,000 soldiers, all Hazara Afghans, carrying an Afghan passport, which made up the Liwa Fatemiyoun brigade fighting in Syria. We met in Mashhad, where he is spending Ramadan, before going back to the frontlines next month.

One of the key founders of Fatemiyoun, in 2013, was Abu Ahmad, killed by a missile, of unknown origin, near the Golan Heights, in 2015. At first, the brigade was a religious organization set up “to defend Shi’ite holy shrines in Syria” or, as Komeil prefers to stress, “defend humanity, weak people”.

No Fatemiyoun fighters carry Iranian passports – even though some, like Komeil, do live in eastern Iran; he’s been in Mashhad since 2011.  Almost all of them are volunteers; Komeil followed “friends” who joined the brigade. He undertook military training in Bagram airbase when he was part of the Afghan Army.

Komeil told me he engaged in direct combat with an assortment of Salafi-jihadis – from Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra to smaller outfits that were part of the vast, rambling Free Syrian Army umbrella. He’s been on the frontlines non-stop for three years, fighting mostly in “Sham and Zenaybi” near Damascus, and was also present at the liberation of Aleppo.

He described Daesh jihadis as “very difficult” in battle. He says he saw Daesh fighters wearing “American clothes” and carrying American-made rifles. Captured prisoners had “food from Saudi Arabia and Qatar”. He personally captured a “French lady working with Daesh” but did not know what happened to her, saying only that “Commanders treat our prisoners well.” He swears “less than 10%” of Daesh jihadis are Syrians – “There are Saudis, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Pakistanis, English, French and Germans.”

In contrast to the propaganda barrage across the Beltway, Komeil is adamant there are no Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military commanders active with Fatemiyoun, and no Hezbollah. They fight “side by side” – and the Iranians are essentially military advisers. He depicted Fatemiyoun as a totally independent outfit. This would indicate their military training was mostly acquired as members of the Afghan Army, and not via the IRGC.

Komeil said the fabled Qods Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani did visit the group, but “only once”. Each force is responsible for its own area of operations; Fatimiyoun; Hezbollah; the Syria Arab Army (SAA); the Pakistanis (“strong fighters”); the al-Defae-Watan, which he portrayed as an equivalent of the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi (also known as the “People Mobilization Units”); and the Medariyoun also from Iraq.

The ‘Shi’ite crescent’, revisited

The Obama administration admitted at least that Iranian military advisers, alongside Russia air power and Hezbollah fighters, helped the SAA to defeat Daesh and other Salafi-jihadi outfits in Syria.

But, for the Trump administration – in sync with Israel and Saudi Arabia – it’s all black and white; all forces under Iranian command have to leave Syria (and that would include Fatemiyoun). That’s not going to happen; the virtual total collapse of what is loosely defined in the Beltway as “moderate rebels” – al-Qaeda in Syria included – yielded a power vacuum duly occupied by Damascus. And Damascus still needs all these forces to extinguish Salafi-jihadism for good.

Iran exerts influence throughout an arc from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. As Zarei analyzed: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has a specific strategy in the region. We have specific principles, friends, and capabilities. In addition, we have a coherent understanding of our enemy and we know where should we stand in the next 20 years. Therefore, we try to use our capabilities carefully and manage the job gradually.”

This has nothing to do with a threatening “Shi’ite crescent”, as suggested by Jordan’s King Abdullah way back in 2004. It’s been essentially a slow-motion Iranian countercoup against the US non-strategy across Southwest Asia since “Shock and Awe” in 2003 – as Zarei identified it.

The Qods Force – formed during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s – is the extraterritorial extension of the IRGC. I talked to quite a few war veterans in Karaj, where they gather in an association set up in a replica bunker serving delicious osh soup – a Persian equivalent of Tuscan pasta and fagioli – after meetings. Commander Syed Mohammad Yayavi said there is no way the Trump administration’s demand, expressed by Secretary of State Pompeo, for Iran to dismantle the Qods Force, will ever be accepted.

The Qods Force could be described as an equivalent of the US Special Forces and CIA special ops all rolled into one. For Washington, that’s a terror organization. Yet in practice, the Qods Force is as much an arm of Iranian national security policy across Southwest Asia as the Pentagon and CIA enforcing US national security interests all around the world.

And there’s remarkable continuity. At the “bunker” in Karaj I talked to Mohammad Nejad, a retired Iranian Air Force colonel who acquired his Iran-Iraq battle experience when he was in his mid-twenties, fighting in Bushher. Two years ago he was back in Syria for two months, serving as a military adviser.

All eyes on the SCO

The incoherent US strategy in the Middle East described by Zarei also applies to Afghanistan. Another demand by the Trump administration is that Tehran must stop supporting the Taliban.

Facts on the ground are infinitely more nuanced. The endless US war in Afghanistan has generated millions of refugees; many of them live in Iran. In parallel, Washington has set up a permanent network of Afghan military bases – which Tehran identifies as a serious threat, capable of supporting covert ops inside Iran.

So what happens is that Tehran, with minimal means – and in tandem with intelligence services from Pakistan and Russia – does support small groups in western Afghanistan, around Herat, including some that are loosely linked with the Taliban.

But that fits into a much larger Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) strategy. SCO members Russia, China and Pakistan, as well as future member Iran, not to mention future member Afghanistan, all want an Asian, SCO-driven solution for the Afghan tragedy. And that must include a place for the Taliban in the government in Kabul.

Now compare that with the avowed Trump administration ploy geared to provoke regime change in Tehran. Saudi Arabia is already on it. Riyadh, via a think tank allegedly supported by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, has been funding a string of hardcore anti-Shi’ite madrassas in Balochistan in Pakistan, which borders Sistan-Balochistan province in Iran.

The Saudi plan is to at least disrupt the emergence of Chabahar port, which happens to be the entry point of India’s own New Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. BRICS member India, alongside Russia and China, won’t be exactly pleased; and India is also a new SCO member, and absolutely adverse to all forms of Salafi-jihadism.

Adding even more trouble to this heady mix, the Attorney General for Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, on a visit to Iran, received a warning that Daesh “is being moved” to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Who’s doing the moving is unclear. What’s certain is that ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K – that is, Daesh’s Afghan branch – is actually fighting the Taliban.

Coincidentally, US airpower is also fighting the Taliban, via Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. One report detailed how “the number of US weapons released in support of Freedom’s Sentinel increased to 562 in April, the highest monthly total of 2018 and the second highest total for any month since October 2011.”

So, it’s the Taliban that are getting heavily bombed, not ISIS-K. No wonder SCO nations are on red alert. The real mystery is still to be unlocked by Pakistani intelligence: that is, in what part of the porous Af-Pak border are over 4,000 well-weaponized ISIS-K jihadis being lodged?

Who will rebuild Syria?

And that leads us to the ultimate inter-connector: China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Syrian colleague Walid Muallem have a very close relationship. President Xi Jinping is a firm supporter of the Astana peace process featuring Russia, Iran and Turkey. China announced last November that it would deploy special forces to Syria against all strands of Salafi-jihadism; the Chinese goal is to “neutralize” 5,000 Uyghur fighters who have acted as “moderate rebels”, because of concern about militants causing violence if they return to Xinjiang.

But most of all, China will be deeply involved in Syrian reconstruction; towns, villages, roads, railways, bridges, schools, hospitals, all connectivity networks. Syria will be rebuilt by China, Russia (energy, infrastructure) and Iran (power grids), not the US or the Gulf petro-monarchies. US and EU sanctions are still in effect, banning commercial operations both in US dollars and euros.

This coincides with a meeting in Beijing last week of SCO security council chiefs. Politburo heavyweight Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, discussed matters extensively with top Russian security expert Nikolai Patrushev.

The 18th SCO summit will be held in Qingdao on June 9. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be there. India and Pakistan will be there. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will be there, representing Iran as an observer, and will meet face to face with Putin and Xi. That’s where all Syria-Afghanistan connections will converge.

Sinister Choreography of the MH17 Probe to Smear Russia – By Finian CUNNINGHAM – (Strategic Culture Foundation )

Sinister Choreography of the MH17 Probe to Smear Russia

The Dutch-led probe into the 2014 Malaysian airliner disaster has the hallmarks of a psychological operation to frame-up Russia and to justify further sanctions and aggression from the NATO powers.

The so-called Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released an update last Thursday on its ongoing probe into the MH17 air disaster over Eastern Ukraine, in which all 298 people onboard were killed. The JIT’s latest release moves the accusation of culpability closer to Russia, with the team claiming that an anti-aircraft Buk missile, which allegedly shot down the plane, was brought into Ukraine by Russia’s 53rd Brigade based in Kursk, southwest Russia.

Then on Friday, the day after the high-profile JIT presentation, a news report compiled by US-based McClatchy News and UK-based self-styled online investigative website Bellingcat was published claiming to have identified a senior Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer as being involved in the transport of the missile system.

The Russian GRU officer is named as Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov. The report includes a photograph of the named man, who is said to have at least one residential address in Moscow and who used the call sign “Orion”. Tellingly, the McClatchy report claims that news of identifying the Russian military officer was not known by the JIT when it made its presentation the day before. But McClatchy reported that the Dutch-led investigators now want to arraign “Orion”.

Over the weekend, the Dutch, Australian and British governments upped the ante by formally accusing Russia, and demanding that Moscow pay financial compensation to families of the crash victims. Most of those onboard the doomed MH17 were Dutch, Malaysian and Australian nationals.

What we are seeing here is a choreographed sequence trying to give the public impression that developments in the probe are taking a natural course based on “evidence” imputing blame to Russia. The same technique of media psychological operation can be seen in the Skripal poisoning affair in which Moscow is blamed for trying to assassinate a former spy in England. Allegations, purported evidence, and then sanctions (expulsion of Russian diplomats) all follow a choreographed sequence.

On the MH17 incident, Russia has vehemently denied any involvement in the passenger plane’s downing. Moscow says its own investigation into the incident points to the Kiev regime’s armed forces as being responsible, possibly using their stock of Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft missiles. Significantly, Russia’s investigative results have been spurned by the JIT, while Moscow’s offers of contributing to the probe have been rebuffed. As in the Skripal affair, where the British authorities have also refused Russia’s offers of joint investigation, or Russia’s ability to independently verify the supposedly incriminating data.

In a dramatic twist, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that the missile casing displayed by the Dutch investigators bore features dating the weapon to 1986 when Ukraine was a Soviet Republic. The Russian military said that all such Buk models were replaced by its forces in 2011. Therefore, the alleged offensive weapon presented by the JIT last week could not have come from Russian forces. Besides, Moscow denies that any of its brigades crossed into Ukrainian territory.

The JIT, which includes investigators from Holland, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and – invidiously – Ukrainian secret services, openly acknowledged in its presentation last week that it is cooperating with the Britain-based Bellingcat website. The latter is cited for its analysis of videos purporting to show the transport of a Russian military Buk convoy through Eastern Ukraine at around the time of the airliner being shot down. Those videos have already been exposed as fabrications.

Now it seems rather strange that the JIT was reported by McClatchy as not knowing of Bellingcat’s next “scoop” published the following day in which it claims to identify a Russian military officer, named as Oleg Ivannikov or Orion, for being involved in coordinating the transport of the Buk convoy, which the JIT says came from the 53rd Brigade in Russia’s Kursk.

The JIT and Bellingcat have collaborated in a previous update to its MH17 probe, in 2016, when the dubious videos were presented as purportedly showing the Buk convoy traversing Eastern Ukraine back to Russia. Bellingcat was cited again in the JIT’s update last Thursday.

That raises the question of why the information claiming to identify the Russian military officer was not available to JIT, even though the latter has worked closely with Bellingcat before? It was the next day when the McClatchy-Bellingcat news report came out, seemingly separate to the JIT presentation.

The sequence suggests a concerted effort to “build” a public perception that “clues” into the cause of the air crash and the incrimination of Russia are being assembled in an independent manner. When, in reality, the sequence is actually a deliberately orchestrated media campaign, to more effectively smear Russia.

Bellingcat’s media activities indicate that it is not the supposed “independent online investigative website” it claims to be. During the Syrian war, it has helped to peddle claims that videos sourced from the White Helmets are “authentic” when in fact there is strong evidence that the White Helmets have been fabricating videos of atrocities on behalf of NATO-sponsored terrorists in order to smear the Syrian government and its Russian ally.

For the Dutch-led JIT to associate with Bellingcat as a source of “evidence” is a matter of grave concern as to the probe’s professional credibility.

Moreover, what is also fatally damaging to the MH17 probe is that the Ukrainian secret services (SBU) under the control of the Western-backed Kiev regime, which came to power in the NATO-backed February 2014 coup d’état, is the source for much of the so-called evidence implicating Russia or the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine for shooting down the MH17 airliner.

The dubious videos cited by the JIT and Bellingcat were sourced from the SBU. Those videos were purportedly posted on social media at the time of the plane crash by anonymous members of the public. The Russian government has dismissed those videos as fake.

The latest claims by McClatchy and Bellingcat of identifying a Russian military officer are based on allegations that mobile phone intercepts are attributable to the man named as Orion. Bellingcat appears to have expended a lot of effort trawling through digital phone books to identify the individual. The report also relies on embellishment of Orion’s alleged secret military career in Ukraine and South Ossetia by way of lending a sense of credibility and sinister innuendo.

However, the bottomline is that McClatchy and Bellingcat both admit that they are relying on the Ukrainian secret services for their phone intercepts, as they had previously for the videos of the alleged Russian Buk convoy.

The SBU and its Kiev masters have an obvious axe to grind against Moscow. Their partisan position, not to say potential liability for the air crash, thus makes the JIT and subsequent Western media reporting highly suspect.

Such close involvement of a Western media outlet (McClatchy) with a fake news engine (Bellingcat) and Ukrainian state intelligence is indicative of coordinated public psychological operation to smear Russia.

The prompt responses from Western governments calling for criminal proceedings against Moscow are further indication that the whole effort is an orchestrated campaign to frame-up Russia.

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