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.

Pompeo: US Will ‘Not Allow Iran to Develop a Nuclear Weapon’ – By SPUTNIK

A Ghadr-H missile, center, a solid-fuel surface-to-surface Sejjil missile and a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran

© AP Photo / Vahid Salemi

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is monitoring media reports about Iran’s plans to build up its nuclear capacity, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity,” Pompeo wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve.”

Iranian state media reported earlier in the day that the government has ordered to start operations to boost uranium enrichment in light of the recent US decision to re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

Pompeo called Iran’s actions another representation of Tehran’s “foolishly squandering its resources.” Therefore, protests in the country come as no surprise, the US secretary of state concluded.US President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States would pull out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump also decided to restore wide-ranging sanctions on Iran, including secondary sanctions against financial institutions of third countries doing business with Tehran.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries — China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.The deal stipulated the gradual lifting of the anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

US Challenges Russia to Nuclear War – By Eric ZUESSE (Strategic Cultural Foundation)

US Challenges Russia to Nuclear War

Now that the United States (with the cooperation of its NATO partners) has turned the former Soviet Union’s states other than Russia into NATO allies, and has likewise turned the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact allies into America’s own military allies in NATO, the United States is finally turning the screws directly against Russia itself, by, in effect, challenging Russia to defend its ally Syria. The US is warning Syria’s Government that Syrian land, which is occupied by the US and by the anti-Government forces that the US protects in Syria, is no longer really Syria’s land. The US is saying that there will be direct war between Syria’s armed forces and America’s armed forces if Syria tries to restore its control over that land. Tacitly, America’s message in this to Moscow is: now is the time for you to quit defending Syria’s Government, because, if you don’t — if you come to Syria’s defense as Syria tries to kill those occupying forces (including the US troops and advisors who are occupying Syria) — then you (Russia) will be at war against the United States, even though the US is clearly the invader, and Russia (as Syria’s ally) is clearly the defender.

Peter Korzun, my colleague at the Strategic Culture Foundation, headlined on May 29th“US State Department Tells Syria What It Can and Can’t Do on Its Own Soil” and he opened:

“The US State Department has warned Syria against launching an offensive against terrorist positions in southern Syria. The statement claims that the American military will respond if Syrian forces launch an operation aimed at restoring the legitimate government’s control over the rebel-held areas, including the territory in southwestern Syria between Daraa and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Washington is issuing orders to a nation whose leadership never invited America in the first place! The very idea that another country would tell the internationally recognized Syrian government that it cannot take steps to establish control over parts of its own national territory is odd and preposterous by any measure.”

The pro-Government side calls those “terrorist positions,” but the US-and-allied side, the invaders, call them “freedom fighters” (even though the US side has long been led by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and has increasingly been relying upon anti-Arabic Kurds). But whatever they are, the United States has no legal authority to tell Syria’s Government what to do or not do on Syrian land.

Russia’s basic position, at least ever since Vladimir Putin came into power in 2000, is that every nation’s sovereignty over its own land is the essential foundation-stone upon which democracy has even a possibility to exist — without that, a land cannot even possibly be a democracy. The US Government is now directly challenging that basic principle, and moreover is doing so over parts of the sovereign territory of Syria, an ally of Russia, which largely depends upon Russia to help it defeat the tens of thousands of invading and occupying forces.

If Russia allows the US to take over — either directly or via the US Government’s Al Qaeda-linked or its anti-Arab Kurdish proxy forces — portions of Syrian territory, then Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, will be seen as being today’s version of Britain’s leader Neville Chamberlain, famous, as Wikipedia puts it, for “his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany.”

So: Putin will now be faced with either knuckling under now, or else standing on basic international democratic principles, especially the principle that each nation’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and is the sole foundation upon which democracy is even possible to exist or to evolve into being.

However, this matter is far from being the only way in which the US Government now is challenging Russia to World War III. On May 30th, the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak bannered “US trains armed groups at Tanf base for new terror corridor” and reported that:

New terror organizations are being established by the US at the Tanf military base in southern Syria that is run by Washington, where a number of armed groups are being trained in order to be used as a pretext to justify US presence in the war-torn country. …

Military training is being conducted for “moderate” opposition groups in al-Tanf, where both the US and UK have bases.

These groups are made up of structures that have been established through US financing and have not been accepted under the umbrella of opposition groups approved by Turkey and the FSA.

From Deir Ezzor to Haifa

Claiming to be “training the opposition” in Tanf, the US is training operation militants under perception of being “at an equal distance to all groups.”

Apart from the so-called opposition that is linked to al-Qaeda, Daesh [ISIS] terrorists brought from Raqqa, western Deir Ezzor and the Golan Heights are being trained in the Tanf camp. …

The plan is to transport Iraqi oil to the Haifa [Israel] Port on the Mediterranean through Deir Ezzor and Tanf.

Actually, Deir Ezzor is also the capital of Syria’s own oil-producing region, and so this action by the United States is more than about merely a transit-route for Iraq’s oil to reach Israel; it is also (and very much) about America attempting theft of oil from Syrian land.

Furthermore, on May 23rd, Joe Gould at Defense News headlined “House rejects limit on new nuclear warhead” and he reported that the US House, in fulfillment of the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which seeks to lower the threshold for nuclear war so as to expand the types of circumstances in which the US will “go nuclear,” rejected, by a vote of 226 to 188, a Democratic Party supported measure opposing lowering of the nuclear threshold. President Trump wants to be allowed to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons in a conflict. The new, smaller, nuclear warheads, a “W76-2 variant,” have 43% the yield of the bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima, but it’s called a ‘tactical nuclear weapon’ meaning that it is supposedly intended for use in ‘conventional’ wars, so that it is actually designed to eliminate altogether the previous meta-strategic principle, of “Mutually Assured Destruction” pertaining to nuclear war (that nuclear weapons are justifiable only in order to prevent another World War, never in order to win such a war) that successfully prevented nuclear war till now — that once a side has introduced nuclear weapons into a military conflict, it has started a nuclear war and is challenging any opponent to either go nuclear itself or else surrender — America’s new meta-strategic doctrine (since 2006) is “Nuclear Primacy”: winning a nuclear war. (See this and this.)

US President Trump is now pushing to the limit, presumably in the confident expectation that as the US President, he can safely grab any territory he wishes, and steal any oil or other natural resource that he wishes, anywhere he wants — regardless of what the Russian Government, or anyone else, thinks or wants.

Though his words often contradict that, this is now clearly what he is, in fact, doing (or trying to do), and the current US House of Representatives, at least, is saying yes to this, as constituting American values and policies, now.

Trump — not in words but in facts — is “betting the house” on this.

Moreover, as I headlined on May 26th at Strategic Culture, “Credible Report Alleges US Relocates ISIS from Syria and Iraq into Russia via Afghanistan.” Trump is apparently trying to use these terrorists as — again like the US used them in Afghanistan in order to weaken the Soviet Union — so as to weaken Russia, but this time is even trying to infiltrate them into Russia itself.

Even Adolf Hitler, prior to WWII, didn’t lunge for Britain’s jugular. It’s difficult to think of a nation’s leader who has been this bold. I confess that I can’t.

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Netanyahu and May ‘partners in crime’ over Gaza’s ‘rivers of blood’, Palestinian activist tells RT – By RT

Netanyahu and May ‘partners in crime’ over Gaza’s ‘rivers of blood’,  Palestinian activist tells RT
British PM Theresa May is complicit in the ‘crimes’ of her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, a leading UK-based Palestinian campaigner has told RT, a day before the Israeli leader visits London.

Netanyahu has this week been visiting his European allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, lobbying them to follow the US and withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

While he plans to do the same with May, London-based Palestinian activists are demanding he face questions over the scores of Palestinians shot in Gaza by the Israeli military in the past two months.

Up to 121 Palestinians have been killed and around 13,000 injured since the Great Return March started on March 30. Protesters marched to a fence, erected by the Israeli government, demanding the right to return to the land they were expelled or fled from following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. As they approached the fence they were shot at. Israel claims most of the protesters were Hamas ‘terrorists’ trying to infiltrate their country.

In the UK, thousands are expected to protest outside Downing Street on Tuesday for all of those killed, which include Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najjar ,21, who was shot dead by Israeli snipers last Friday while helping those injured by the Israel Defence Force’s use of live ammunition.

Up to 50 UK health workers signed a letter saying they are “deeply concerned about the level of violence” in Gaza, citing that Al-Najjar’s death was in “violation” of the Geneva Conventions. They called on the government to follow suit and urged the UN to launch an independent inquiry into her visibly unprovoked killing.

Adie Mormech, from Stop Arming Israel and previously a lecturer in Gaza, told RT: “Razan is the second Palestinian medic to be killed in the last 2 months and many more have been shot and injured.

“The horror of these crimes against the Palestinians is clear for all who dare to look, well documented by all the major human right organisations and amidst the ongoing, crippling 11 year siege of Gaza that I spent two years living in, when it was deplorable but not as bad as it is now.

“One has to ask, how many medics, with their hands in the air, have to be executed by the Israeli army until the world holds Israel to account?”

The Downing Street protest comes shortly after it surfaced that the UK’s defense contractors are selling a record amount of arms to Israel.

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), the UK last year issued £221m worth of arms licenses to defense contractors selling military equipment to Israel. A significant increase compared to £86 million ($114 million) in 2016.

Mormech said: “Britain has increased Israeli weapons exports the more Palestinians have been murdered. It is appalling and completely inexcusable that Israel is rewarded by Britain given the rivers of blood that are currently flowing through Gaza from the shootings and accompanying bombing campaigns.

“The fact Netanyahu is visiting the UK says to me that these are partners in crimes, profiting from the spoils of the brutality with which Israel is treating the Palestinians.”

The recent escalation of violence has prompted various British politicians to demand the the government halts its arms sales to Israel, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calling for their review in April.

The conduct by the IDF over the past sixty days has been met with international criticism from human rights organizations, who have called into question the appropriateness of using live ammunition against peaceful protesters. Israel blames Palestinian organization Hamas for the casualties, and claimed most of those killed were members of terrorist groups trying to make it into the country to attack Jewish forces and civilians.

The UN has launched a war crime investigation into what it described as Israel’s “wholly disproportionate” reaction to the protesters. The US was one of the two states opposed to the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution, while the UK was among the 14 to abstain.

By Claire Gilbody-Dickerson, RT

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OAS Panel Dutifully Ignores Zionist Abuses, Pushes Venezuela Regime Change – by Elliott Gabriel (MINT PRESS)

 

WASHINGTON — Venezuela is in the vise-grip of a deep crisis; this much was undeniable even prior to the release of a 400-page report by a dubious “independent panel of experts” at the Organization of American States (OAS).

For the past several years, the South American country has been mired in crippling inflation, major shortages of food and goods, and widespread political turmoil. Tens of thousands of desperate people have spilled across the border, multiplying the presence of unauthorized Venezuelan migrants across the Andes. Cities have witnessed violent clashes between the anti-Chavista­ U.S.-backed opposition and the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, with opposition forces firebombing public transportation systems and children’s hospitals, and even burning alleged Chavistas alive in broad daylight.

Meanwhile, the streets themselves — deprived of economic security – have become the stage for a virtual war between criminal elements, both organized and unorganized, and state security forces.

Yet, lost amid the laser-sharp focus on the “violence” of the Bolivarian Republic, the structural violence of U.S. imperialist hegemony remains undiscussed, almost taboo, and thus escapes culpability for the ruinous plight of the people of Venezuela.

 

The OAS: Washington’s “Ministry of Colonies”

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles speaks to the media following his meeting with Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro, at the OAS building in Washington, March 31, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Chief among the tools used by Washington in its withering economic siege on Venezuela is the OAS. Formed at the dawn of the Cold War in 1948, the OAS was conceived for the purpose of providing the nations of the Western Hemisphere with the ability to settle disputes through mediation, arbitration, dialogue and good-faith peace-building measures.

Since then, however, the Washington-based OAS has come to be regarded as a vulgar tool of U.S. imperialism – earning the title of the “U.S. Ministry of Colonies” from Havana following post-revolutionary Cuba’s expulsion from the body in 1961. As such, it is now being wielded for the express purpose of effecting “regime change” in Caracas, a move that would not only remove a major regional obstacle to U.S. domination of the region but would also open the door to the exploitation of Venezuela’s massive crude oil deposits – as well as its people – by Western multinational corporations.

On May 29, the OAS panel of “independent experts” convened in Washington to build the case for toppling the Bolivarian government and prosecuting Maduro at the International Criminal Court (ICC). As journalist Max Blumenthal said:

The panel comprised a collection of aggressive advocates of regime change in Venezuela. I attended the event to question the self-proclaimed experts on their ulterior agenda and the absurd contradictions behind their claims to support universal human rights.”

Let’s look at one example of such absurdity, as embodied by former Canadian Justice Minister, human rights celebrity, and “independent expert” Irwin Cotler.

 

An advocate for “universal” human rights … with exceptions

Cotler — an international human-rights lawyer and former Conservative, who recently joined Canada’s ruling Liberal Party — has long stood at the forefront of the West’s inquisitions against the governments of the Global South. While he has made questionable claims that he represented anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela in court, he has also championed right-wing Venezuelan coup leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez holds a Venezuelan national flag as he greets a group of opposition protesters outside his home in Caracas, Venezuela, July 8, 2017. (AP/Fernando Llano)

Speaking to The Canadian Jewish News upon his appointment to the OAS panel last October, Cotler said:

The international experts panel is as timely as it is necessary. As Venezuela slides into dictatorship … and the human suffering of the Venezuelan people intensifies, the restoration of democracy and human rights while combating the culture of impunity is an overriding priority.”

Yet while Cotler has spoken passionately about the plight of human rights victims in some parts of the world – earning the title of “Counsel for the Oppressed” from flagship Canadian magazine Maclean’s – the award-winning rights champion has simultaneously shown scant concern for the plight of the Palestinian people suffering genocide at the hands of an Israeli state that acts with complete impunity.

Surely the plight of Gaza – which has been subjected to 11 years of a suffocating siege by land, air, and sea – would elicit a twinge of sympathy from any supporter of “universal human rights”? Sadly, not only has this not been the case but Cotler’s antipathy toward extending “universal” rights to Palestinians was made shockingly clear in his unflinching accusation that resistance-movement Hamas was to blame for the shocking massacre of 62 unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip last month.

If Cotler deserves distinction, it is for his fanatical devotion to the Zionist project, and his knee-jerk rallying to the defense of its actions on the basis of defending the right of the Jewish “original aboriginal people” to an ethno-religious colony built atop the freshly-bulldozed or bombed homes of Palestinians.

Israeli apartheid institutions deny the people of Palestine their own universal right to self-determination by imposing suffocating restrictions on their movement, travel, and trade. Israeli security forces have been criticized by rights organizations for resorting to the very kinds of excessive and wanton force for which Cotler has castigated Venezuela — including the extrajudicial killing and torture of unarmed Palestinians, including children. While Cotler has called on Western countries to intervene in cases of genocide, he is firmly against any criticism of Israeli apartheid or the construction of huge settlements within the occupied West Bank, which remains illegal under international law despite the apathy of Ottawa and Washington.


Read more from Elliott Gabriel


In the eyes of Cotler, the State of Israel and the Jewish People are one in the same. For this partisan of the universal application of human rights law, any criticism of Tel Aviv – whether its leadership is Labor or Likud, liberal-colonial or fascist-colonial – is a manifestation of the “new anti-Semitism” and the denial of Israel’s right to live as equals in the “Family of Nations,” as the tired old Zionist cliché goes.

It’s as if Cotler — whose ruling Liberal Party prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has apologized for Canada’s settler-colonial crimes against First Nations peoples — sees the “Family of Nations” as those countries — such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia — that completely did away with their indigenous populations. So now the European Jews who claim “Israel” as their home deserve a crack at it. Understood.

But what boundless cynicism does it require to claim with a straight face that the human-rights situation in Venezuela is even worse than that in the Gaza Strip – where Israeli bombings are routine, a blockade prevents medical goods and foodstuffs from entering the enclave, and the Israelis experiment with cruelly novel forms of repression and over a decade of collective punishment against a people guilty of resisting, and voting for what he calls “terror group Hamas”?

Palestinian protesters gather in front of burned tires while Israeli soldiers fire teargas during clashes with Israeli troops along Gaza's border with Israel, Friday, April 6, 2018. Palestinians torched piles of tires near Gaza's border with Israel on Friday, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the air and drawing Israeli fire that killed one man in the second large protest in the volatile area in a week. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Of course, Cotler has also explicitly called for the “Responsibility to Protect” the people of Syria from “mass atrocity crimes” committed by the “regime” of President Bashar al-Assad. What else could one expect from such a typically hypocritical Western human-rights imperialist?

As Blumenthal noted in a recent interview with The Real News:

Whenever Israel committed some kind of atrocity, the Mavi Marmara massacre or one war after another in Gaza, Cotler would rush out, just like Dershowitz, as Israel’s public advocate … So, he’s just a suspicious, sort of morally dubious, figure. And for him to be on this panel, I think they just deserved to be questioned about that.”

 

The OAS panel: a mouthpiece of imperialism

Cotler is far from alone among the morally dubious figures arrogating moral authority to themselves; OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro has also praised the Israelis, favorably comparing the scandal-ridden Netanyahu government to that of Maduro, despite the latter head of state not having launched aggressive wars on his own population or neighboring states. In the meantime, Almagro has been relatively silent in respect to the Western Hemisphere’s most pressing human-rights crises — such as the Mexican government’s crackdowns on social movements resisting neoliberal structural reforms, assassinations of social movement leaders and paramilitary attacks on rural and Indigenous communities throughout Latin America, and the parliamentary coup against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The OAS panel on crimes against humanity in Venezuela is overseen by Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo, another friend of the Israelis. The former International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has advised the Israelis on how to evade criminal charges for their perpetual expansion of illegal settlements — maintaining that the settler-colonial state could wage a successful defense by manipulating international perceptions through legal arguments justifying the displacement of Palestinians and expropriation of their land, “once [legal permission is] ratified by the [Israeli] top court,” which Ocampo called “highly respected internationally.”

Ocampo hasn’t met a regime-change operation he hasn’t liked: while heading the ICC prosecutor’s office, he has called for warrants to arrest Sudanese President Omar Bashir, late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his officials, and Syria’s president. His seeming obsession with toppling leaders in the postcolonial world led Gambia Information Minister Sheriff Bojang to note in October 2016 that the ICC is, “in fact, an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color.”

As one can clearly see, the figures comprising the OAS panel are hardly “independent” and instead represent the White House and right-wing Latin America’s agenda to wage a violent coup against what remains of Venezuelan democracy.

Rather than serving the cause of humanitarianism and human rights, Cotler and his accomplices are selling their legal “expertise” to the cause of creating further suffering for the Venezuelan people through a stepped-up sanctions blockade – the preliminary step toward overthrowing the Bolivarian Republic and reducing a proudly independent nation to a state of neocolonial bondage.

Top Photo | Demonstrators gather in Bolivar Square to show their support of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela and Palestinian medics evacuate a colleague wounded by Israeli troops along Gaza’s border with Israel (AP/Adel Hana).

Elliott Gabriel is a former staff writer for teleSUR English and a MintPress News contributor based in Quito, Ecuador. He has taken extensive part in advocacy and organizing in the pro-labor, migrant justice and police accountability movements of Southern California and the state’s Central Coast.

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Washington considers direct intervention in siege of Yemeni port city -By Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

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By Bill Van Auken
5 June 2018

In what would constitute a major escalation of the US role in the near-genocidal war waged over the last three years by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Yemen, US officials were in discussions yesterday on the Pentagon taking a direct role in the siege of the country’s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Saudi and UAE-led forces came within 10 km of Hodeidah on Monday, having pushed north up Yemen’s western coast with the aid of relentless air strikes against Houthi rebel forces, which control the city as well as the country’s northwestern provinces, including the capital of Sana’a, which is 230 miles to the north.

The Wall Street Journal Monday cited US officials reporting that “The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct US support to seize Yemen’s main port. …”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strong proponent of global US military intervention, has asked American officials to come up with a “quick assessment” of the prospects for a direct US military role in the siege of Hodeidah.

The Journal report cited one official raising doubts that the US-backed forces “would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident.” Another senior American official, however, told the Journal: “We have folks who are frustrated and ready to say: ‘Let’s do this. We’ve been flirting with this for a long time. Something needs to change the dynamic, and if we help the Emiratis do it better, this could be good.’ ”

A battle for control of Hodeidah poses a direct threat to the city’s civilian population of 400,000, with the potential of a Saudi blitzkrieg combined with a direct US intervention recreating the kind of mass slaughter unleashed by the Pentagon in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.

More broadly, such a siege threatens the lives of millions of Yemenis in the Houthi-controlled highlands, for whom Hodeidah is the sole aid lifeline in a country historically reliant on imports for 90 percent of its food.

Even before taking into account the catastrophic impact of closing down this port, the chief aid official at the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, warned last week that by the end of this year, another 10 million Yemenis will join the 8.4 million who are already on the brink of starvation in what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Hundreds of foreign aid workers have reportedly evacuated the city, and it was reported on Monday that a UN aid vessel came under direct attack by Saudi warplanes. The city is already under bombardment from both the air and the sea.

“Thousands of civilians are fleeing from the outskirts of Hodeidah which is now a battle zone,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Reuters. “We cannot have war in Hodeidah, it would be like war in Rotterdam or Antwerp, these are comparable cities in Europe.” He added that such a war would mean “nothing coming through” in terms of food and other aid for the country’s starving population.

It was reported Monday that a UN mediator, Martin Griffiths, had arrived in Sana’a to present a proposal for a Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah and the placing of the port under UN supervision. It was not clear, however, whether either the Houthi-led administration or the Saudi and UAE-led forces would adhere to such a settlement.

The Saudi-led “coalition” wants to secure its grip over Hodeidah in order to starve into submission the entire population in the areas under Houthi control.

Sharpening the tensions and creating the conditions for even greater slaughter, the Saudi and UAE monarchies are pursuing conflicting interests in their military interventions in Yemen, with Riyadh attempting to re-install the puppet government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the UAE supporting secessionists who are seeking to revive the former state of South Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched the war in March 2015, carrying out relentless airstrikes ever since that have devastated civilian neighborhoods, vital infrastructure, factories and even farms. Mass civilian casualties have resulted from the bombing of funerals and weddings, with the death toll from these attacks now over 13,000, with many more dying from hunger and disease. More than 2,200 people have lost their lives to a cholera epidemic that has infected 1.1 million people, while the country has seen its first outbreak of diphtheria since 1982

From the beginning of the Saudi onslaught, the Obama administration provided indispensable US military support, selling Saudi Arabia and the UAE bombs (including outlawed cluster munitions) and warplanes used to strike Yemen, providing mid-air refueling to Saudi jets to assure continuous bombardment, and setting up a joint US-Saudi command to render logistical aid, including intelligence used in selecting targets. At the same time, US special forces units and armed drones have been deployed in Yemen for assassination missions against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Trump administration has escalated US involvement, with not only massive new arms sales to the Saudi monarchy, but also the deployment of US special operations troops to fight directly alongside Saudi forces. Revealed a month ago, this deployment was carried out behind the backs of the American people and without informing Congress, much less gaining its authorization. While explained as a mission to protect Saudi Arabia’s borders with Yemen, the purpose of the US troop deployment appears to be far broader.

Driving the US toward increasingly direct intervention in a war that has pitted the obscenely rich oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf against the poorest nation in the Arab world is the broader strategy elaborated by the Trump administration in preparation for a military confrontation with Iran.

The US and its allies have cast the war in Yemen as a so-called proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Washington making unsubstantiated allegations that Iran has supplied the Houthi rebels with arms. The reality is that both Washington and Riyadh see the domination of Yemen by any government that is not a US-Saudi puppet regime as an unacceptable threat.

The discussions in Washington on an escalation of direct US intervention in Yemen are unfolding in the context of the sharp ratcheting up of US sanctions and threats against Iran following President Trump’s unilateral May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the so-called P5+1—the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia.

A more direct US military intervention in Yemen may prove the stepping stone to a region-wide war aimed against Iran and at the securing of US imperialism’s unfettered control over the energy-rich and strategically vital Middle East.

What Trump’s Policy of Energy Dominance Means for the World -By Alastair CROOKE – (STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION)

What Trump’s Policy of Energy Dominance Means for the World

Two weeks ago, we wrote about how President Trump’s foreign policy somehow had ‘folded’ into ‘neo-Americanism’, and quoted US Foreign Affairs Professor, Russell-Mead, suggesting that Trump’s 8 May metamorphosis (the exit from JCPOA), represented something new, a step-change of direction (from his being principally a sharp Art of the Deal negotiator), toward – pace, Russell-Mead – “a neo-American era in world politics – rather than an [Obama-ist] post-American one”. “The administration wants to enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline (as allegedly, Obama did). For now, at least, the Middle East is the centrepiece of this new assertiveness”, Russell-Mead opined, explaining that this new Trump impulse stems from: [Trump’s] instincts telling him that most Americans are anything but eager for a “post-American” world. Mr. Trump’s supporters don’t want long wars, but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline”.

There is something of a paradox here: Trump and his base deplore the cost and commitment of the huge American defence umbrella, spread across the globe by the globalists (sentiments aggravated by the supposed ingratitude of its beneficiaries) – yet the President wants to “enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline”. That is, he wants more power, but less empire. How might he square this circle?

Well, a pointer arose almost a year earlier, when on 29 June 2017, the President used a quite unexpected word when speaking at an Energy Department event: Unleashing American Energy. Instead of talking about American energy independence, as might be expected, he heralded instead, a new era of American energy “dominance”.

In a speech “that sought to underscore a break with the policies of Barack Obama”, the FT notes, Mr Trump tied energy to his America First agenda…“The truth is we now have near limitless supplies of energy in our country,” Mr Trump said. “We are really in the driving seat, and you know what: we don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty, and tell us what to do, and how to do it. That’s not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only the American energy independence that we’ve been looking for, for so long – but American energy dominance,” he said.

It seems, as Chris Cook explains, that Gary Cohn, then chief economic adviser to the President had a part in the genesis to this ambition. Cohn (then at Goldman Sachs), together with a colleague from Morgan Stanley, conceived of a plan in 2000 to take control of the global oil trading market through an electronic trading platform, based in New York. In brief, the big banks, attracted huge quantities of ‘managed money’ (from such as hedge funds), to the market, to bet on future prices (without their ever actually taking delivery of crude: trading ‘paper oil’, rather than physical oil). And, at the same time, these banks worked in collusion with the major oil producers (including later, Saudi Arabia) to pre-purchase physical oil in such a way that, by withholding, or releasing physical crude from, or onto the market, the big NY banks were able to ‘influence’ the prices (by creating a shortage, or a glut).

To give some idea of the capacity of these bankers to ‘influence’ price, by mid – 2008, it was estimated that some $260 billion of ‘managed’ (speculative) investment money was in play in energy markets, completely dwarfing the value of the oil actually coming out of the North Sea each month, at maybe $4 to $5 billion, at most. These ‘paper’ oil-option plays would therefore often trump the ‘fundamentals’ of real supply, and real end-user demand.

‘Step one’ for Cohn, was therefore, for the US to manage the trading market, both in price and access – with U.S. antagonists such as Iran or Russia, being able to access the market on inferior terms, if at all. The putative ‘step two’, has been to nurse US shale production, build new American LNG export terminals, and open America to further oil and gas exploration, whilst strong-arming everyone from Germany to South Korea and China, to buy American LNG exports. And ‘thirdly’, with Gulf oil exports already under the US umbrella, there were then, two major Middle East energy producers beyond the boundaries of cartel ‘influence’ (falling more into rival Russia’s strategic energy-producing ‘heartland’): Iran – which is now the subject of regime change–style, economic siege on its oil exports, and Iraq, which is subject of intense (soft) political pressures (such as threatening to sanction Iraq under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) to force its adherence to the western sphere.

What would this Trump notion of energy dominance mean in simple language? The US – were energy dominance to succeed – simply would control the tap to the economic development – or its lack thereof – for rivals China, and Asia. And the US could squeeze Russia’s revenues in this way, too. In short, the US could put a tourniquet on China’s and Russia’s economic development plans. Is this why JCPOA was revoked by President Trump?

Here then, is the squaring of that circle (more US power, yet less empire): Trump’s US aims for ‘domination’, not through the globalists’ permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals. In this way, Trump can ‘bring the troops home’, and yet America keeps its hegemony. Military conflict becomes a last resort.

Senior advisor Peter Navarro said on NPR earlier this week that “we can stop them [the Chinese] from putting our high tech companies out of business” and “buying up our crown jewels of technology … Every time we innovate something new, China comes in and buys it, or steals it.” 

Is this then Trump’s plan: By market domination and trade war, to prolong America’s ‘superiority’ of technology, finance and energy – and not somehow be obliged to “adjust to decline”? And by acting in this way, curtail – or at least postpone – the emergence of rivals? Two questions in this context immediately present themselves: Is this formula the adoption of neo-conservatism, by the US Administration, which Trump’s own base so detests? And, secondly, can the approach work?

It is not neo-conservatism, perhaps – but rather a re-working of a theme. The American neo-conservatives largely wanted to take a hammer to the parts of the world they didn’t like; and to replace it with something they did. Trump’s method is more Machiavellian in character.

The roots to both of these currents of thought lie however – more than partly – with Carl Schmitt’s influence on American conservative thinking through his friend, Leo Strauss, at Chicago (whether not, Trump has ever read either man, the ideas still circulate in the US ether). Schmitt held that politics (in contrast to the liberal/ humanist vein) has nothing to do with making the world fairer, or more just – that is the work of moralists and theologians – politics for Schmitt, concerns power and political survival, and nothing more.

Liberals (and globalists), Schmitt suggested, are queasy at using power to crush alternative forces from emerging: their optimistic view of human nature leads them to believe in the possibility of mediation and compromise. The Schmittian optic, however dismissed derisively the liberal view, in favour of an emphasis on the role of power, pure and simple – based on a darker understanding of the true nature of ‘others’ and rivals. This point seems to go to the root of Trump’s thinking: Obama and the ‘liberals’ were ready to trade the ‘crown jewels’ of ‘Our Culture’ (financial, technological and energy expertise) through some multilateral ‘affirmative action’ that would help less developed states (such as rival China up the ladder). Perhaps such thoughts too, lay behind Trump’s withdrawal from the Climate Accord: Why help putative rivals, whist, at same time, imposing voluntary handicaps on one’s own Culture?

It is on this latter, quite narrow pivot (the imperative of keeping American power intact), that neo-cons and Trumpists, come together: And both also share in their disdain for utopian liberals who would fritter away the crown jewels of western Culture – for some or other humanitarian ideal – only to allow America’s determined rivals to rise up and overthrow America and its Culture (in this optic).

The common ground between both currents, is expressed with remarkable candour through Berlusconi’s comment that “we must be aware of the superiority of our [western] civilisation”. Steve Bannon says something very similar, though couched in the merits of preserving (a threatened) western Judeo-Christian culture.

This sense of Cultural advantage that must at all costs be recuperated and preserved perhaps goes some (but not all) way towards accounting for Trump’s ardent support for Israel: Speaking to Israel’s Channel Two, Richard Spencer, a prominent leader of the American Alt-Right (and one component to Trump’s base), highlighted the deeply felt the dispossession of white people, in their own country [the US]:

“… an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. – Just as you want a secure homeland in Israel.” 

So, can the attempt to leverage and weaponise the American élites’ Culture – through the dollar, and putative energy hegemony, and its hold over technology transfer – succeed in holding on to American ‘Culture’ (in the reductionist construct of Trump’s base)? This is the sixty-four thousand dollar question, as they say. It may just easily provoke an equally powerful reaction; and a lot can happen domestically in the US, between now, and the November, US mid-term, elections, which might either confirm the President in power – or undo him. It is difficult to hold to any analytic horizon beyond that. 

But a larger point is whilst Trump feels passionately about American Culture and hegemony; the leaders of the non-West today, feel just as passionately that it is time for ‘the American Century’ to yield place. Just as after WWII, former colonial states wanted independence – so, now, today’s leaders want an end to dollar monopoly, they want an opt-out from the global, US-led order and its so-called ‘international’ institutions; they want to ‘be’ in their own distinctive cultural way – and they want their sovereignties back. This is not just cultural and economic nationalism, it portends a significant inflection point – away from neo-liberal economics, from individualism and raw commercialism – towards a more rounded human experience.

The tide, in the wake of WWII, surely was irreversible then. I can even recall the former European colonialists subsequently bemoaning their forced withdrawal: “They’ll [the former colonies] regret it”, they confidently predicted. (No, they never did.) The tide today runs strongly too, and has spread, even, to Europe. Where – who knows – whether the Europeans will have the spine to push back against Trump’s financial and trade machinations: It will be an important litmus for what comes next.

But what is different now (from then), is that currency hegemony, technological prowess, and energy ‘domination’, are not, at all, assured to western possession. They are no longer theirs. They began their migration, some time ago.

Russia’s Growing Influence in Sub-Saharan Africa – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Russia’s Growing Influence in Sub-Saharan Africa
Arkady SAVITSKY | 05.06.2018 | WORLD / Africa

Rwanda wants to buy Russian air defense systems. The issue was discussed during the visit of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to that country on June 3. The Rwandan security forces already use helicopters, small arms and Ural Typhoon mine-resistant armored trucks produced in Russia.

Moscow has recently ramped up its military assistance to the Central African Republic (CAR) upon the request of the country’s government. Last month, Russian President Putin met CAR’s President Faustin Archange Touadera in St. Petersburg to hold talks on boosting bilateral ties, including military cooperation. It’s done in strict compliance with international law. In December 2017, the UN Security Council approved a deal allowing Russia to send arms and military instructors to that crisis-hit country. The UN was provided with the serial numbers of the transferred weapons to enable international observers to track them. The arms deliveries are gratuitous.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a traditional ally of the West, has begun shifting its foreign policy priorities looking for other partners. Last month, the DR Congo’s government announced its decision to revive the 1999 military agreement with Russia. It wants Moscow to deliver armament and train military personnel of the DRC. It also hopes to expand the bilateral economic cooperation, covering the mineral production, agriculture and humanitarian contacts.

In 2017, Russia signed a $1 billion defence cooperation agreements with Angola and Nigeria. Moscow and Luanda are in talks on increasing the scope of military ties.

Russian Rosoboronexport has long-term relations with Angola, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and several other sub-Saharan nations that include arms sales and equipment maintenance. Since 2013, the construction of service centers has been in full swing. In 2017, Russian weapons were delivered to the following sub-Saharan African nations: Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, and Angola (Su-30K jets). A contract was confirmed with Equatorial Guinea for purchase of Pantsyr-S1 air defense systems. In August 2017, Burkina Faso ordered two Mi-171 helicopters. Russia is the leading arms importer to the region, accounting for 30% of all supplies.

Russia’s weapons are in high demand being cheap and effective as has been proven by their use during the Syrian conflict. The thriving military cooperation goes hand in hand with developing ties in other areas. Trade with African countries located south of the Sahara desert was $3.6 billion in 2017. For comparison, it was $3.3 billion in 2016 and $2.2 billion in 2015. Russia is involved in exploration, mining, and energy projects. ALROSA, a diamond-mining company, operates in Angola, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Namibia. The talks are on the way to reach an agreement with the African partners to avoid double taxation and protect intellectual property.

Transport and agriculture are promising areas for joint projects. The construction of nuclear science centers in Zambia and Nigeria, as well as a nuclear power plant in South Africa, a BRICS member, are on the talks’ agenda. In April, the government of Sudan invited Russia to take part in its energy projects. Khartoum and Moscow enjoy special relationship. Last year, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir asked the Russian president for “protection from the aggressive acts of the United States.” 28 out of 55 African nations have growing trade with Russia. Cooperation with Ghana, Tanzania has promising future. Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe are historical friends with experience of doing business with Russian partners. The relations with the African Union are considered in Moscow as an issue of special importance.

In March, FM Lavrov toured Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Ethiopia to boost multifaceted relationships. The same month, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was signed to open new horizons for economic cooperation. In January, the Single African Air Transport Market was launched to be made even more attractive with coming in force of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, the right of Establishment and the Right of Residence. Russian businessmen will get more information on new opportunities when they visit the first Intra-African Trade Fair to take place in Cairo on December 11-17, 2018. The program of Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) held in May included special sessions on business and investment opportunities within the framework of the “Russia – Africa Business Dialogue.” The SPIEF-2018 held two special celebrations to mark Africa Day and the 55th anniversary of the African Union.

The US influence in the sub-Saharan Africa is on the wane. In contrast, Russia is making strides to strengthen its position in the region. President Vladimir Putin announced the policy of boosting ties with the region in 2006 when he visited Sub-Saharan Africa. He kept his word. The region has become an essential vector for the foreign policy of Russia, which is becoming another major player on the continent.

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Over 70 Syrian tribal leaders form coalition to expel illegal US and French forces from Syria – By SPUTNIK

syrian tribal leaders coalition june 2018

The tribal leaders announced the formation of a popular resistance unit that will fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army in a bid to liberate all Syrian lands and all foreign forces in Syria.

The presence of US troops in Syria is escalating tensions between government forces and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with some politicians and Syrian Army officers accusing the SDF of serving as “puppets” for the US and other western powers.

In excess of 70 Syrian tribal leaders met in the Aleppo Governorate, specifically the city of Deir Hafer, over the weekend to discuss plans and coordinate with one another to remove US forces from Syria, Al-Masdar News reported on Sunday.

Via a joint statement, the tribes, which are predominately Sunni Muslims, announced the formation of a coalition to oust US and French military personnel from Syria, in addition to liberating territory held by the SDF, provided Damascus is unable to negotiate a reconciliation deal with them.

#حسين_مرتضى The Syrian clans announce the formation of resistance factions to confront the American, French and Turkish occupation.
The tribesmen also reportedly discussed the prospect of fighting Turkish forces in northwestern Syria.

The different tribes hail from various parts of Syria which are currently occupied by US-backed forces, including the oil-rich provinces of Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah.

Although there’s been some low-level, sporadic clashes and attacks on SDF bases in northern Syria in recent months, particularly in the Raqqa Governorate, where the Popular Resistance of Raqqa (PRoR) operates, we are yet to see the[m] launch a widescale, continuous anti-SDF operation, by either the Syrian Army or local militiamen.

However, in a recent interview with RT, President Bashar al-Assad warned that a widescale anti-SDF offensive would be launched if negotiations fail.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army is mobilizing and deploying forces to southern Syria ahead of a major offensive in the Deraa government, where militants control a large chunk of territory, including parts of the provincial capital.

Last Friday, a military source confirmed to Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem that Hezbollah troops and other Iran-backed militiamen won’t be involved in the offensive, likely as part of an acceptable compromise reached with Israel via Russian mediators.

Comment: See also:

Uran-9: the Russian Army Leads the World in Ground-Combat Robots – B Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation )

Uran-9: the Russian Army Leads the World in Ground-Combat Robots

The Russian military is increasingly relying on robots to minimize casualties in current and future conflicts. The defense industry has achieved technological breakthroughs that have made it the world leader in the development of unmanned ground-combat systems. This gives Russian soldiers a major edge on the battlefield. The Platforma-M automated systems patrol key infrastructure installations, including military bases for ground and naval strategic nuclear forces. Other Russian military robots are already performing important missions on the ground. Many of them have been tested on Syrian battlefields.

The Uran-9 tracked Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), or remote-controlled tank, is larger than the others and is capable of the most difficult missions under combat conditions, in addition to its primary missions, which are reconnaissance and the fire-support of infantry units. Unique and unrivaled, this — the world’s one and only operational unmanned battle tank — is an example that illustrates how artificial intelligence boosts the capabilities of Russia’s contemporary systems.

This new “wonder weapon” has seen action in Syria. Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Borisov, responsible for armaments and acquisitions, has confirmed this information.

The weapons system includes two vehicles to fulfill command and control functions and a transporter truck for moving the tank from place to place. The UGV can travel at a top speed of 35 km/h on highways. Its maximum cross-country speed is 25 km/h, and off-road — 10 km/h. The average specific ground pressure is 0.6kg/sq.

The armament suite includes a 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon, the primary weapon consisting of a coaxial 7.62mm 2A72 machine gun to engage ground-based light armored targets, four 9M120 Ataka anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs, two on each side), and 6 thermobaric rocket launchers (three on each side of the turret). The Uran-9 has been reconfigured to carry point-defense systems.

The auto-cannon has a fire rate of 350 to 400 rounds per minute and can shoot high explosive incendiary and armor-piercing ammunition against ground and low-flying aerial targets. The ATGMs have a range of 0.4 km to 6 km, enabling them to hit a tank with 90% probability. Four Igla-S surface-to-air missiles can shoot down low-flying aerial targets at a range of 3 km. In addition to this formidable suite of weapons, its smaller silhouette makes the Uran-9 harder to hit than any other platform of comparable lethality.

The system can take out any target from personnel assets to heavy vehicles and heavily protected sites. The heavily armed Uran-9 can provide backup for soldiers located in areas of contention.

The robot’s optics and targeting system consists of electro-optic and thermal imaging cameras and a laser designator. The fire-control system makes it possible to detect, identify, and track traveling enemy targets from a distance of 6 km during the day and 3 km at night. The drone can operate in either autonomous or manual mode.

The software is the hard part. It has been reported that Russia has already tested the Unicum software package (Skynet) that provides the artificial intelligence that allows unmanned systems to perform complicated functions on their own. Up to ten robotic systems can be guided, automatically distributing the information and assigning each mission to a commander . Any robotic system — sea, ground, or air-based — can be equipped with Unicum.

The software package can be used to coordinate the activities of the Uran-9 as a killing element and the Uran-6 – another example of Russian leadership in ground UGV technology. The remote-controlled mine-clearing robotic system can operate at a safe distance of up to one km. away, doing the work of 20 sappers. Able to survive mine explosions of up to 60kg of TNT, it searches for mines and unexploded ordnance in order to neutralize it and clear the way for the forces to advance. With a mine-clearing speed of 2 km/h and a maximum speed of 5 km/h, the Uran-6 robot can operate continuously for up to five hours, overcoming 1.2 m-high obstacles and crossing 1.5m-wide trenches. It can climb 20° inclines. The system did a great job clearing the area in and around the Syrian town of Palmyra in April 2016. Roughly, 19,000 explosive devices were defused.

Both the Uran-9 and the Uran-6 took part in the May 9 Victory Day Parade in Moscow and were presented to the spectators there as systems that had demonstrated their effectiveness in Syria.

Many nations are making efforts to develop unmanned ground combat vehicles, but only Russia has an operational UGV that has been tested under combat conditions, leaving the US behind. Under the direction of an operator working at a safe distance, the well-armed, fast, agile, and small Uran-9 is a real boon for the Russian infantry on the battlefield. The art of war is changing and so is Russia’s military, steadily building what other nations still don’t have — a ground force of unmanned tanks with formidable strike capability that utilize artificial intelligence to coordinate their activity.

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