The article below was originally posted as a translation from the Italian at Voltairenet.com.
Hong Kong, the Treaty of Nanjing Returns
by Manlio Dinucci
Clearly, some young people in Hong Kong have adopted British culture - after the handover to China of their special province. They do not know the history of their country and what they owe to the Peoples’ Republic of China. For their great grandparents, London had brought only misery and desolation, causing the collapse of the Middle Kingdom.
VOLTAIRE NETWORK | ROME (ITALY) | 24 SEPTEMBER 2019
Hundreds of young Chinese, in front of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, sing the God Save the Queen and shout "Great Britain Saves Hong Kong", a rally call in London by 130 parliamentarians who ask that British citizenship be given to residents of the former colony. In this way, Britain is emerging in world public opinion, particularly among young people, as a guarantor of legality and human rights. To do this, History is being erased.
It is therefore necessary, before any other consideration, to know the historical episodes which, in the first half of the 19th century, brought the Chinese territory of Hong Kong under British rule.
To penetrate China, then ruled by the Qing dynasty, Britain resorted to the distribution of opium, which it shipped by sea from India where it held the monopoly. The drug market spread rapidly in the country, causing serious economic, physical, moral and social damage that provoked the reaction of the Chinese authorities. But when they confiscated stored opium in Canton and burned it, the British troops occupied this city and other coastal cities with the first Opium War, forcing China to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842.
In Article 3 it states: "As it is obviously necessary and desirable for British subjects to have ports for their ships and their stores, China will forever cede the island of Hong Kong to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. and her heirs ". In Article 6 the Treaty stipulates: "Since Her Britannic Majesty’s Government was obliged to send an expeditionary force to obtain compensation for the damage caused by the Chinese authorities’ violent and unjust procedure, China agrees to pay to Her British Majesty the sum of $ 12 million for expenses incurred.
The Nanking Treaty is the first of the unequal treaties by which the European powers (Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Italy), Tsarist Russia, Japan and the United States secured in China, by the force of arms, a series of privileges: the cession of Hong Kong to Great Britain in 1843, the sharp reduction of taxes on foreign goods (at a time when European governments were erecting customs barriers to protect their industries), the opening of the main ports to foreign vessels and the right to have urban areas under their own administration ("concessions") exempted from Chinese authority.
In 1898 Great Britain annexed the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong and the so-called News Territories, conceded by China to be "rented" for 99 years.
The widespread dissatisfaction with these impositions exploded towards the end of the 19th century in a popular revolt - that of the Boxers - against which intervened an international expeditionary force of 16,000 men under British command, in which Italy also participated (and France, NdT).
Landing in Tianjin (T’ien Tsin) in August 1900, the force sacked Beijing and other cities, destroying many villages and massacring the population. Later, Britain took control of Tibet in 1903, while Czarist Russia and Japan shared Manchuria in 1907.
In China, reduced to a colonial or semi-colonial state, Hong Kong became the main door of exchange based on the plunder of resources and slave labour exploitation of the population. A huge mass of Chinese were forced to emigrate mainly to the United States, Australia and South-East Asia, where they were subjected to similar conditions of exploitation and discrimination.
A question arises spontaneously: Which history books are young people who ask Britain to "save Hong Kong" studying?
Il Manifesto (Italy)
NYT CHEERLEADS US COLOUR REVOLUTION IN HONG KONG
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SPONTANEOUS PROTEST (eg, Hong Kong)
There are two NGOs in Hong Kong that receive funding from the NED (National Endowment of Democracy), an organization that is dedicated to meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries for the purpose of regime change and has instigated and promoted the overthrow of democratically elected governments, including the government of Ukraine that was overthrown in 2014. These 2 NED-funded groups are Human Rights in China and the Laogai Research Foundation.
In the following you will find our translation of an article from RIA Novosti with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
It is easy to see why the US has lost the hearts and minds of the Middle East (the Arab Youth Poll tells the story). After all, the US has slapped crippling sanctions on Syria, virtually banning the rebuilding of the country its policies have destroyed. Yes, folks, rebuilding Syrian schools is banned under US policy!
Opening of a school in Damascus rebuilt with funds raised in Russia
In Damascus, a secondary school has been opened that was damaged during the fighting and rebuilt with [private] funds raised in Russia.
The renovated school is located in the Barza region of northeast Damascus.
During the years of intense hostilities, the school was shelled by militants; internally displaced persons lived in the building.
Funds for repairs were raised by the Inter-Religious Working Group to Assist Syria as part of the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations.
"We arrived in your hospitable country to open a school renovated with funds that our faithful, Christians and Muslims, collected bit by bit," said hieromonk Stefan, secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, at the opening ceremony.
“The guarantee that peace in Syria will ultimately be established is your children. If they are brought up in a peaceful spirit as patriots of their country, no one and nothing will divert them from the peaceful path,” the hieromonk added.
The head of the Department of Education of Damascus, Gassan Al-Lyahham, thanked the Russian side for the implementation of the project. “Thanks to this initiative, we can see what real friendship looks like,” he said.
Now the school has a capacity for 200 students.
Other educational institutions plan to join the school.
After unification, the number of students will increase by a factor of six.
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora.
Q: While the USA fought so hard and went to many wars to stop the spread of communism around the world, why it allowed China to continue the path of communism and let it grow economically?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered 3m ago
Vince: This is an excellent question and Richard Nixon is a perfect illustration for the real motivation — ulterior motive — behind US wars in the first 3 decades after WW II.
The pretext for the wars in N Korea and Vietnam was “to stop the spread of communism.” But Nixon, for example, who is reputed to be perhaps the most anti-communist president of all, while initially supporting the Vietnam war, later advocated for the potentially disastrous and absurd idea of granting communist China Most Favoured Nation status (his secretary of state Henry Kissinger may have been the brains behind this idea). He left office before his administration could successfully initiate the legislation toward this end, but the Carter administration went on to fulfil this Nixon dream with the passage of a law in Congress granting MFN status to China.
So if “stopping the spread of communism” was not the real motive for the bloody failed Korean and Vietman wars foisted on the public by adept US propagandists in msm and government, what could have been the real motive for all the carnage inflicted on both US service men and helpless villagers in Asia?
By the process of elimination, two possible motives stands out:
1—to weaken Russia
2—to drive a wedge between Russia and China.
In fact, at least one legislator did mention, during the debate over the granting of MFN status, that separating the two partners USSR and China would be one of the advantages of this new relationship with China — although that point was generally kept away from public view.
The other main argument was equally absurd: free trade with China would open up a vast new market. It was obvious to mentally competent people back then that this vast new market was a buyer's market, not a seller's market for the US, and that it would create a massive trade deficit with China, but that was hardly ever mentioned in the frenzy to get this disastrous legislation passed.
At any rate, there is no reason to swallow the government position that the Korean and Vietnamese wars had something to do with stopping communism.
It seems now in retrospect that Russophobia, which had infected the West – starting in England – for almost 2 centuries, was the real motive for the campaign for rapprochement with China. The desire to drive a wedge between Russia and China is still very much a motive of US foreign policy makers. This would potentially weaken both countries, and that is still the main goal of the incompetent US policy makers. The harder they struggle to reach the goal, the farther from their grasp it slips, because both countries can see the truth and are working harder than ever to move toward an alliance for defence and for economic survival.
Relevant to US foreign policy
The real government of the US. It’s not the people
The Kennan Institute at the Wilson Centre says it “is committed to improving American expertise and knowledge of Russia, Ukraine, and the region.” But wouldn’t knowledge of Russia include an in-depth coverage of the Russians’ love of their leader and the reasons for it. You’d think so. Instead it posted a piece on Aleksey Navalny, a US-backed Russian politician trained at Yale in the ways and means of overthrowing Putin. Although Navalny has been convicted of fraud, he is still organizing thugs who stage oft-times violent riots, the latest of which caused several million roubles worth of damage to a car rental business and a restaurant along the route of the riot. But the Kennan institute portrays Navalny – known affectionately in Russia as the “hateful blogger,” as a hero in their recent post on him. After all, if an idea is worth supporting, it’s worth rioting and vandalizing for. (Oh, but the writer of the piece omitted to tell us about the violent riots, just portrayed Navalny as a clever fellow who knew how to manipulate the Russian local elections and called him a hero.)
Like many liberal US think tanks, the Wilson Centre is keen on spreading across the globe its conception of US-style “democracy.”
However, in the US style “democracy,” politicians are elected on the basis of lies, often-false promises and almost always-false assumptions, and, according to a Pew Research poll no one is happy with their government. I had shown here that, thanks to this chicanery and manipulation of minds, there is actually nothing resembling democracy in America, which is de facto controlled by a list of interest groups. It is amazing that any American could believe that he or she is in any way participating by his/her vote to the decision making process.
In this system, as long as the Establishment operatives give the people the illusion that they are in charge, they accept the fraud. At bottom, they want peace, but in the matrix of available options, they somehow suspect that peace is a subversive trap and they therefore reject the concept out of hand and would never be caught dead voting for a “peace” candidate, even if one could be found (Ron Paul is the only exception. He almost got elected). They want, on some level, a sustainable debt but are brainwashed into believing – without requiring proof – that not spending more and more on arms for the military would dangerously weaken the US. Thus they are locked into a set of assumptions, including the assumption that peace is subversive and anti-American and that fighting the debt by not investing excessively in arms and military adventures would weaken them and enable the enemy to enslave them. These two assumptions are the most important but not nearly the only ones – and few citizens require any evidence to support them. These two assumptions support a common narrative promulgated by both major political parties. Americans who deny either of these assumptions are unpatriotic or even traitors and, so goes the given wisdom, if an enemy manages to conquer America, it will be their fault.
Although attitudes differ somewhat between the two parties, some of the many additional assumptions that the American msm and political class insist their underlings accept include the assumption that:
̶ Russia, China, Iran and Assad’s Syrian government are enemies that harbour sinister plans to take over the the Western world and the Middle East, respectively. The US must invest in arms that can counter any arms Russia or China possess, no matter who much congress must spend to acquire them. In this way, it is virtually impossible for any politician to strongly oppose the profligate spending that drives the unwieldy national debt.
̶̶ The Sunni Wahhabists of Saudi are reliable allies (even though they sponsor al-Qaeda and ISIS) but the Shiites in Iran, Syria and Iraq, who successfully fight these terrorists, are not to be trusted. Until recently, this assumption has been shared by both sides of the aisle (though not so much by the grassroots). The Kashoggi killing has made it possible, for now, to mildly criticise Saudi, and even Congress has made purely symbolic moves in that direction. But until that grisly event, no federal politician had dared to breathe a word of reproach in Riadh’s direction, despite the kingdom’s sponsorship of ISIS and al-Qaeda and the latter’s rebrandings.
̶ Capitalism, even the increasingly predatory variety dominating the US economy, is indispensable to the economic health of the nation and any attempt to reform it would be dangerous and automatically lead to communism and gulags, making slaves of all Americans. Reincarnations of Mao and Stalin would emerge, goes the narrative.
̶ Iran is a tyrannical nation that harbours plans to destroy Israel and take over the Middle East (even though Europe does not think so, and even though Iran knows that if it were to attack Israel unprovoked, it would lose the option to trade freely with other countries – indeed it would lose the support of its most staunch supporter Russia, so of course it will not do it). AIPAC would rain fire and brimstone on any candidate who spoke too softly on Iran.
̶ Israel must be supported by the US regardless of its apartheid, its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, its territorial confiscation, and its refusal to comply with humanitarian UN rules. Anyone opposing any Israeli policy, regardless of how warlike or inhumane, is a dangerous far-leftist. Christian Zionism, the most powerful voting bloc in the world, supported by AIPAC, decrees this. In this way, the general assumptions of the nation overcome the time-honoured Constitutional ban on favouring one religion over others.
̶ The US is entitled to invade or infiltrate and change foreign regimes as it sees fit because it is morally superior to all other nations.
̶ The US is exceptional and is perfectly entitled to write its own international laws and to ignore the ones on the books at the UN unless they favour the US. Israel enjoys the same privileges.
̶ The Federal Reserve must be given free rein to set monetary policies as it sees fit, even though it is not officially a branch of the government. No one may challenge its freedom to set and implement these policies even though the constitution says “Congress shall coin money and set the value thereof.” No politician would dare to challenge the power of the Fed and no moderator in a TV debate would ever give a candidate for federal office a question that could lead to such a challenge.
Essentially no candidates for federal office would dare to challenge any of the above assumptions and their debate moderators are aware that questions that might challenge them are off limits. Can this really be democracy? Is this a bad dream?
Assumptions for conservatives:
̶ Providing state-administered health care, even in life-or-death cases, is a dangerous policy that would bankrupt the US (this despite the fact that many prosperous countries around the world have socialized medicine).
̶ The limitation of individual rights to own the gun of their choice is absolutely out of the question, regardless of whatever gun violence may be occurring at any given time.
The above conservative assumptions may, however, be challenged by liberals, but doing so is dangerous to careers.
̶ For liberals, there is a need to censor certain kinds of speech, such as criticism of Israel or criticism of gender choice.
̶ For liberals, Russia did the US irreparable harm by “meddling in the US elections.” Some Republicans also buy this absurd assumption.
̶ For liberals, gender is up to the individual to choose and any country (except close allies like Saudi and the UAE) that denies its citizens the right to choose its own gender is a human rights violator and needs US NGOs to initiate and finance a colour revolution to topple its regime.
The above liberal assumptions can be challenged by conservative politicians but doing so can be hazardous.
Further, since there are two political parties that have different subsets of unproven assumptions that are simply taken as givens by the adherents, the country is permanently divided by these secondary assumptions that are in fact virtually meaningless – such as the assumption among conservatives that any form of gun control would automatically lead to more murders and forfeiture of freedom, while any form of government assistance to individuals is evil and is the source of the unsustainable debt, and, on the other hand, the assumption among Democrats and many Republicans as well that US style democracy is vital to America’s health and any country that does not adopt this mode of governance is a threat to the very existence of the US and the entire planet and must be challenged by US reformers via NGOs and other actors, and even invaded if necessary. This insistence that all nations implement US style democracy (which I have shown does not even exist) has caused NATO to take its warships and aircraft to the very borders of Russia and China, flirting with the possibility of a nuclear WW III by accident.
The characteristic US style of governance, based on certain of the above assumptions for liberals and certain ones for conservatives, creates a perpetual divide which makes it impossible to define any kind of purpose and direction of the nation. Such governance might therefore be termed an “incoherent democracy.” One political group will point to the promotion of gender choice and say “this is who we are,” while another, pious, group will point to the religion-based support of Israel (notwithstanding its cruel wars on Arabs) and say “this is who we are” while still others will point to tolerance for drug use and unlimited immigration and say “this is who we are.” Yet, sadly, there is no consensus and in reality, there is no “we” because no one can define the hopelessly splintered America.
The ill effects of the above outlined deficit of meaningful democracy and this political division of the American people are evident everywhere:
̶ a rapidly growing income gap that threatens the existence of the middle class,
̶ a staggering and unsustainable debt that threatens the value of the US dollar and its position in the world of finance and threatens America with hyperinflation,
̶ and a military that is perpetually at war with countries that are not threatening to the American people, wars that it always loses.
In short, Americans live with a constant low-key tension, chaos and sense of doom that robs everyone of their peace of mind and, yes, of the happiness that everyone would admit that they long for if they were free to speak their mind. But, of course, admitting that would be to challenge the sacred cow assumptions.
On the other hand, there is a kind of “democracy” in Russia that is based mostly on truths rather than lies. While Americans are taught to hate and fear, for example, Syria, Iraq, Russia and China, and are taught by their warmongering politicians on both sides of the aisle that it is necessary for the US military and NATO to conduct various provocations such as taking their warplanes and warships to the very shores of Russia and China and conducting menacing and provocative in-your-face drills in order to deter these countries from carrying out imaginary plans that neither country has ever enunciated, the Russian government simply tells their people the truth about these provocations, showing them why it is necessary to develop effective arms to thwart aggression by the US and its allies (such as Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian’s plan to destroy Kaliningrad unprovoked, as reported by Reuters). Thus, the US invents enemies, while Russia and China confronts the real, declared enemy, Washington.
Thanks to its particular variety of democracy aimed at pleasing the average Russian rather than just the oligarchs, Russia has made major strides in the Middle East, where the US and Israel have learned to respect its military might and where governments are turning to it for assistance in economy (such as the Russian industrial zone in Egypt’s Suez area and the Kalashnikov factory in Venezuela), diplomacy (such as arbitration in the return of refugees from Lebanon to Syria), security, eg, a strong Russian hand against Israel’s missile attacks on its neighbours and effective deterrence against US aggression in Syria, achieved thanks to ingenious novel weapons including electronic warfare systems that do not harm humans or property but effectively prevent attacks, and arms sales everywhere (particularly now that US air defences have failed in the Houthi attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities).
Thanks to this Russian form of democracy, which we can call “coherent democracy,” and which involves a strong hand in government, not in deceiving the populace as US democracy regularly does, but in actually giving its people what they need and want, Russia has the healthiest and most stable economy of any world power, as I explained here.
Now the reason US democracy ideologues give for defending “democracy” (and exporting it to countries not aligned with the US) is freedom. They insist US style democracy gives people “freedom.”
However, like most Westerners, they reference only individual freedom, which is the form of freedom least capable of providing for human needs such as security, social harmony, economic health and peace.
So what other form of freedom is there, you ask (assuming you are an indoctrinated Westerner)?
The other vital form of freedom is national freedom, ie, sovereignty, the freedom of a people to determine and control their own destiny. While individual freedom can provide a citizen with a perplexing array of options, including one’s very own choice of gender, the choice to buy a gun for defence, the choice to burn the national flag if so desired, the choice to work or go on welfare, the choice to start your own business (Russians also have this choice, BTW), or your own blog (Russians also have this choice) etc, Russia emphasizes national freedom, also known as sovereignty. Thanks to their coherent form of democracy, Russian people know that their government is dedicated to ensuring their security against Western aggression, not leading them into wars against countries that are not a threat to Russians just to please the blood thirst of a few twisted oligarchs. To defend their sovereignty, the Kremlin has banned a list of foreign agents, mostly US NGOs like USAID, NED and Soros’ Open Society foundations that are busy in other parts of the former Soviet Bloc setting up propaganda systems and civil organizations designed to topple leaders willing to trade and confer with the Russians – leaders like Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who attempted to stay on good terms with both Russia and the West but was toppled by a US-backed illegal and violent coup, sponsored and aided by the above-named NGOs and no less than the State Department, when he declined to make Ukraine an associate member of the EU (a bloc that is now crumbling) and thereby bring it into the US sphere of influence. This same regime change pattern is also being pursued in Kyrgyzstan, as I explained here and in Hong Kong, as I explained here. Russia is currently coping with a colour revolution attempt by Aleksei Navalny, a US-trained puppet eerily similar to Juan Guaido. While Guaido got his regime change training at Harvard, Navalny received training in the World Fellows program at Yale, which has also trained colour revolution leaders of other countries. Navalny is supported by many Americans who naively think he aims to improve conditions in Russia. Russia defends not only its own sovereignty (national freedom of choice) but also that of other countries, and has forced the “democracy”-exporting US to stand down in Syria, Venezuela and Iran and has also counteracted Israeli missile strikes in Syria and Lebanon.
By contrast, the US “democratic” system that denies its people a preferred coherent direction can be likened to an airliner in which the passengers vote every two hours or so on the direction in which they want to fly. A flight posted as Chicago-bound, for example, may wind up landing in Seattle, depending on how the vote turned out. This is an absurd example, of course, but so is a country whose people have no coherent direction or goals and are voting for candidates that only serve the interest of interest groups that despise them. In fact, the latter case is actually more absurd.
A look at the current presidential hopefuls reveals that none of them list anything like “ending the endless US wars” as part of their platform. Now, if you took a poll among Americans and asked if they think peace is a vital goal for their country, most would say yes. But if you watched the televised presidential debates every four years over the last half-century, you would have heard almost no moderator asking questions pertaining to this vital issue. Ron Paul was a standout in that he raised this issue as central to his platform. In fact, the enormous success of his crowd funding showed that the US grassroots was ready for this issue to be raised. But the Establishment operatives who designed the questions in the debates made sure that no direct questions were raised that would give a possible peace candidate a chance to show-case his or her views and promises in that area. Today the US has a possible peace candidate in Tulsi Gabbard but after her televised appearance at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame event, where she came out strongly against US invasions, her Facebook presentation was pulled and then restored. Clearly the powers that be do not want their precious war industry tampered with. Yet they call this democracy?
A further look at the presidential candidates’ platforms shows that no one is challenging the power of AIPAC to virtually choose the candidate of its choice.
Nor are any candidates challenging the debt and promising to fix it.
You can’t call the US a democracy until these sacred cows are challenged. It probably won’t happen until the US dollar loses its hegemonic status and God only knows what will happen then to the world economy.
Made in USA: Democratic Navalni
by Manlio Dinucci
The Western Press films the challenger, Alexei Navalny: a Russian blogger funded by the NED/CIA. In addition to the fact that his audience is restricted to the middle class in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, his visibility masks the genuine opposition within Russia: inside the Kremlin, a number of high officials miss the time when they were able to spend their week-ends in the West.
VOLTAIRE NETWORK | ROME (ITALY) | 29 MARCH 2017
A police officer smashes down the door with a portable battering ram; another one enters, pointing a pistol and strikes several times, a man who, roused by the storm in, reached for a baseball bat; yet other police officers point their guns at a child who has already raised his arms: scenes of ordinary “legal” violence in the United States, reported a week ago, with video clips by the New York Times, that talks about the “trail of blood” triggered by these “raids”, carried out by former soldiers, who have been recruited into the police force, applying the same raid techniques that would be applied in raids in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Our mass media shield our eyes from all this. These same media outlets splash on the front page [photos of] the Russian police arresting Alexei Navalni in Moscow for a demonstration that had not been authorized. An “affront to fundamental democratic values” – this is how the US State Department defines it and firmly requires his immediate release and that of the others detainees. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative of Foreign Policy, also condemns the Russian government because “it prevents the fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly from being exercised”. Thus, in support of the new champion of “democratic values”, everyone is united in the new campaign launched against Russia in tones that typify the Cold War.
Who is Alexei Navalni? From his official profile, we read that he trained in the US, at Yale University, as a “fellow” (a chosen member) of the “Greenberg World Fellows Program”. This programme was established in 2002, and each year, just 16 individuals with attributes that make them “global leaders” are selected from all around the world. They form part of a network of “leaders globally committed to making the world a better place”. At the moment, this network is composed of 291 fellows from 87 countries, one in contact with the other and all linked to the US centre, Yale.
Navalni is, at the same time, the co-founder of the movement “Alternative democracy”. This is one of the beneficiaries of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a powerful US “private non-profit foundation” which funds, which are even provided by the Congress, openly or under the counter, thousands of non-governmental organizations in more than 90 countries to “advance democracy” . NED, a CIA outlet for covert operations, was and is, particularly active in Ukraine. It was here that it supported (according to what is reported) “the Maiden Square Revolution which crushed a corrupt government which stood in the way of democracy”. The result of the Maiden Square Putsch: an even more corrupt government has come into power. Indeed, its democratic character finds expression in the Neo-Nazis that hold key positions in it.
In Russia, activities of “undesirable non-governmental organizations” is prohibited and this is why NED has not stopped campaigning against the Russian government. Thus NED accuses it of spearheading an aggressive foreign policy to bring within its sphere of influence, states that previously formed part of the USSR. This charge is the foundation of the basis for the US/Nato strategy against Russia. The technique, now consolidated, is that of the “orange revolutions”: gaining mileage on the back of genuine or invented cases of corruption and other bones of dissatisfaction so as to whip up an anti-government rebellion, which will weaken the state from within, while increasing military, political and economic pressure externally. Alexei Navalni’s activities should be viewed in this context. He specialized at Yale as a lawyer, defending the rights of the vulnerable against abuse by the powerful.
Il Manifesto (Italy)
There is a plethora of reports and analyses on the latest Houthi air strike on Saudi oil processing facilities at Saudi Aramco that caused a major spike in oil prices around the world. The following is a series of articles and links to help the interested reader understand what is happening and what can be expected in the future. Introductory notes and notes [in brackets] are by Vince Dhimos.
Once again, we are reminded of the 1974 pact, which I have dubbed the Petrodollar Agreement, concluded between Richard Nixon and King Faisal, which enjoins the US to use its armed forces to defend the Saudi dictators – at variance with the Constitution – and obliges the Saudis to use no other currency but the US dollar in trade settlements and as reserves. I had written extensively about this risky agreement that, by all appearances, has led the US to wage useless and extravagantly expensive wars in the Middle East (although the special special relationship with Israel has reinforced the destructive effect).
Probably the best equipped to analyse the situation in depth is David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. His is also the scariest column of our series because it indicates that the US has lost considerable power in the Middle East and is flopping about like a landed fish. Trump makes plenty of noise, just as he did in Syria when he said he was ready to hit Assad’s facilities again but then declined to do so after hearing from the Russians, or after promising to unleash hell on Venezuela but then declined to do so when the Russians landed their bombers there, or when he made a suspiciously phony-sounding claim that he had ordered a strike on Iran but then called back the bombers. Putin, who knows Trump’s MO well, likes to quote, in such instances, the proverb: the dog barks and the caravan moves on.
Trump and the Saudis sowed chaos. Iran is giving it back
17 September 2019
A cursory look at the balance of power in the region will show how unequal a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran will be
Shock and awe.
The words the Pentagon used when it enjoyed a monopoly on the use of force and was about to rain it down on Saddam Hussein, are coming back to haunt it, two presidents on.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are shocked and awed by Iran. Tehran - and not Washington - is adept at mounting displays of rapid dominance to disorientate its enemy. No greater display of shock and awe could have been mounted than the one that hit two of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil terminals on Saturday.
Drones or missiles?
The Saudis were defenceless and the target was hit with pinpoint accuracy. Try, as the US might, to avert the attention to Iran, there is little doubt that at least some of the drones and possibly missiles used in the attack flew over Kuwait, which means that they were flying south from Iraq.
The attack was witnessed and recorded by a bird hunter on the triangular border of Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
The attack was witnessed and recorded by a bird hunter on the triangular border of Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In three different clips sounds of low flying drones or missiles are heard -- all of whom are travelling south.
In the video which has gone viral on social media, the bird hunter refers to four to five smaller planes which were followed by what he thought were missiles. He said he was near Salmi where the three borders meet at the time of the attack on Saturday morning.
Even better, from Iran’s point of view, was the row that followed the attacks, between a justifiably irate Iraqi prime minister and Pompeo.
Initially, the Americans released satellite pictures of the oil tanks being hit from the northwest – evidence that the drones and missiles came from Iraq, not eastwards from Iran. However they were soon forced to backtrack and claim the attacks came directly from Iran.
[Iraqi Prime Minister] Adel Abdul Mahdi’s statement, which he compelled the Americans to endorse, was a masterful mixture of denial and confirmatory threat. He denied the attack had been launched from Iraqi soil - in contradiction to the intelligence briefing he had just received - and threatened anyone against using proxies on Iraq’s soil.
This was aimed at Pompeo, as much as it was anyone else.
Another Gulf war
Months before, the US had floated the idea with Abdul Mahdi that the US wanted to bomb Iraqi Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy militia, from where a drone strike against Saudi Arabia had originated.
Abdul Mahdi persuaded Pompeo to stand that attack down. The US instead allowed Israeli drones to strike Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation Units (PMUs) or al-Hashd al-Shaabi targets from Kurdish bases in Syria. [Hashd al-Shaabi is a big headache for the Iraqi government and the US because, though it had been deemed a paramilitary force, backed by Iran, it also is now recognized as part of the official Iraqi armed forces. This is why it was futile for Israel to attack it in mid-July and why the West is careful not to condemn it as an Iranian terrorist group. Politically, the US presence is hanging on by a thread in Iraq and must be extremely careful to keep up the pretence that it is there to fight terrorists (though US pols have already said US troops must be there to offset Iranian influence But the Iranian forces and Iraqi forces are like a set of Siamese twins and no longer separable. A powerful parliamentary bloc in Iraq condemned the attack and blamed both Israel and the US, calling it an “act of war.” Trump’s wiggle room just keeps shrinking. Russia, grasping this weakness, has just told Israel it will no longer tolerate further Israeli attacks in Syria and has given Assad the green light to use its S-300 system to shoot down invading Israeli aircraft] Was the US, let alone a president fighting re-election, prepared for another Gulf War? Had not his country seen enough war this century?
After these attacks, Abdul Mahdi faced intense domestic pressure from his political allies to publically name Israel as the aggressor. He refused for the very reason that he today denies where the retaliatory drones came from.
Had he named America’s principle ally in the region, he would have declared that a state of war existed between thousands of US troops on his soil and al-Hashd, Iraq’s best troops, which he is trying painfully to re-integrate into his national forces.
Did America really want that to happen? Was the US, let alone a president fighting re-election, prepared for another Gulf War? Had not his country seen enough war this century?
Abdul Madhi’s arguments hit home.
Scrambling around for ways of delivering a “proportionate” response, Trump and Pompeo did not have an answer then and do not have one now.
'Locked and loaded'
To date, Iran and its network of militias in Yemen and Iraq have shot down a US drone, blown holes through tankers off the Emirati ports [this attack was not proven to be done by Iran], seized a British tanker, attacked airports, pipelines and oil terminals, and now have delivered the biggest strike against Saudi oilfields in the long and war-torn history of the Gulf.
Neither during the Iran-Iraq War, nor Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and the first Gulf War, nor in the Second Iraq War, has Saudi Arabia ever had to halve its oil production, as it has done this week.
By so doing, Iran is sending Trump a clear message: "You want chaos? You want to tear up international treaties negotiated by your predecessor and slap sanctions on us? Well, we can give you chaos, and you will soon find out how vulnerable your allies are.”
Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, has used every international forum for months to signal Iran’s intentions to fight back. He said this in August in Stockholm: "President Trump cannot be unpredictable and expect others to be predictable. Unpredictability will lead to mutual unpredictability and unpredictability is chaos.”
Zarif was not listened to then. Maybe he will be now.
A cursory look at the balance of power in the region will show Trump how unequal a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran will be.
The strategic depth
It has taken Iran decades to create what it calls a “strategic depth" of battle-hardened militias by whom it has always stood, funded, armed and trained. And it is not about to abandon them now, however much they are hit by Israel.
Saudi Arabia has also funded and backed militias in the region, particularly in Syria, but is notorious for dumping its allies and talking instead to their enemies. This happened in Syria and Yemen.
Iran, which has survived decades of sanctions and war, has a high pain threshold. It has developed its own arms industry and it can defend itself.
Saudi Arabia has a very low pain threshold and cannot defend itself. As Trump himself reminded it, the kingdom would not last for two weeks without American protection.
Iran’s regional network is in place and fully functioning. Its weapons are locked and loaded. It has built a strategic alliance with two of the region's other military powers - Russia and Turkey - which appears able to survive considerable tensions in Syria.
Saudi Arabia’s regional network is crumbling. Its closest ally, the United Arab Emirates, has clearly parted company with the Saudi coalition assembled to fight the Houthis in Yemen. The UAE's announcement that its forces were leaving Yemen took the Saudis by surprise.
Then came the fight between rival proxy militias over the southern port of Aden, which involved Saudi and Emirati planes bombing each other’s Yemeni proxies. The Emirati plan - to install southern separatists in the south and leave the north to rot – clearly does not solve Riyadh’s problem, all of which continues in the north.
The tensions between the Saudis and the Emiratis over Yemen burst into state-controlled media.
When six Emiratis soldiers died recently, there was some evidence to believe that they had been killed in Libya, not in Yemen. The Emiratis could not admit their forces were fighting alongside Khalifa Haftar and thus breaking the international embargo.
The Saudi state run al Arabiya channel, which ironically is based in Dubai, refused to tow the official Emirati line and said merely the soldiers had been “killed”. They refused to describe them as martyrs.
This led to an extraordinary outburst from a UAE activist close to the government in Abu Dhabi, Hamed al Mazroui. Mazroui described Al Arabiya as "the whore of all media, with no competitor". He deleted the tweet but kept up his fire on its director Abdulrahman al-Rashed.
On the ground, the Houthis understand what the Emirates are trying to do and the implicit Faustian pact the UAE is making with Iran - you keep the north, we will have the south. The Houthis exchanged prisoners with Emirati-backed militias, while they refused a prisoner exchange with forces loyal to the exiled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
Wider afield, Iran now has established ties with Turkey and Russia, despite the very different agendas the three regional powers pursue in Syria. Not content with the chaos it has created in its own backyard, Saudi Arabia is continuing to seek new battlegrounds and opening up new fronts.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lost patience, as he puts it, with Turkey over its handling of the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last Octobar in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. [Well, after all, the grisly murder, apparently ordered by the prince, took place in a Saudi embassy in Turkey!]
Accordingly, he has decided to step up his campaign against Turkey by fishing in Cypriot waters. The Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Adulaziz al Assaf said during a visit to Cyprus that Saudi Arabia supports the Greek Cypriots against Turkey’s oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean.
Running out of allies
Not surprisingly, the Saudis are finding themselves with no ally to protect them. They cannot fight Iran alone. Stupidity and inexperience are the two guiding lights of its de facto ruler, the crown prince. Who else could have promised to take the battle "into the heart of Iran" only to find himself dousing fires in the heart of Saudi Arabia?
He is alone, save for a reluctant and quixotic US president who has fewer cards to play than he has. Trump’s behaviour is not a great return for the investment of hundreds of millions of riyals that bin Salman spent on US arms contracts.
The least that could be said of previous generations of Saudi leaders was that for all their faults, they kept cautious control of their region. They knew how to balance competing interests and played host to most of them.
Mohammed Bin Salman has thrown caution to the wind and now finds himself with few cards to play. Yemen, Oman and Jordan are hostile. Qatar and Turkey have openly sided with Iran. The Emiratis pursue their own agenda.
Unlike Iran, the Saudis are not used to hardship and are profoundly ill suited to waging a regional war which they themselves promoted. Perhaps that is why a profound silence will follow the show of shock and awe that took place on Saturday.
Analysis on RT blames US defence failure.
The US and its allies have acted on the assumption that the more money you throw at defence, the safer you are. The massive Houthi strike on the Saudi oil fields is proof that this is nonsense. Saudi has US Patriot defences and now it has wrecked oil processing facilities.
NSS has written previously on the myth that the Saudi use of exclusively dollars as reserves and for settlements in its oil business will keep the dollar afloat forever. Major investors in Treasuries believe this implicitly. Will they continue to keep the faith now after this? Will the next thing to fall be the dollar?
On the other hand I respectfully disagree with this analysis because it ignores the main point, namely, that the US has no business agreeing to defend another country. The Constitution says the armed forces are there to defend the nation, not a foreign dictatorship.
US defense failure… Why Washington has to blame Iran over Saudi attacks
The devastating blitz on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has led to a flurry of accusations from US officials blaming Iran. The reason for the finger-pointing is simple: Washington’s spectacular failure to protect its Saudi ally.
The Trump administration needs to scapegoat Iran for the latest military assault on Saudi Arabia because to acknowledge that the Houthi rebels mounted such an audacious assault on the oil kingdom’s heartland would be an admission of American inadequacy.
Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars in recent years purchasing US Patriot missile defense systems and supposedly cutting-edge radar technology from the Pentagon. If the Yemeni rebels can fly combat drones up to 1,000 kilometers into Saudi territory and knock out the linchpin production sites in the kingdom’s oil industry, then that should be a matter of huge embarrassment for US “protectors.”
American defense of Saudi Arabia is germane to their historical relationship. Saudi oil exports nominated in dollars for trade – the biggest on the planet – are vital for maintaining the petrodollar global market, which is in turn crucial for American economic power. In return, the US is obligated to be a protector of the Saudi monarchy, which comes with the lucrative added benefit of selling the kingdom weapons worth billions of dollars every year.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Saudi Arabia has the world’s third biggest military budget, behind the US and China. With an annual spend of around $68 billion, it is the world’s number one in terms of percentage of gross domestic product (8.8 per cent). Most of the Saudi arms are sourced from the US, with Patriot missile systems in particular being a recent big-ticket item.
Yet for all that financial largesse and the finest American military technology, the oil kingdom just witnessed a potentially crippling wave of air assaults on its vital oil industry. Saudi oil production at its mammoth refinery complex at Abqaiq, 205 miles (330 kms) east of the capital Riyadh, was down 50 per cent after it was engulfed by flames following air strikes. One of the Saudi’s biggest oilfields, at Khurais, also in the Eastern Province, was also partially closed.
There are credible reports that the damage is much more serious than the Saudi officials are conceding. These key industrial sites may take weeks to repair.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got it half right when he claimed, “Iran launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”.
Yes, it is unprecedented. But Pompeo and other US officials have most likely got it wrong about blaming Iran.
Some Trump administration officials told US media that “cruise missiles” were responsible for the giant fireballs seen over the Saudi oil facilities. One was quoted anonymously as saying: “There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this… there’s no escaping it. There is no other candidate.”
In a hurried effort to substantiate accusations against Iran, satellite images were released which show what appears to be the aftermath of the air strike on the Abqaiq refinery complex. US officials claim the location of the explosions indicate the weapons originated not from Yemen to the south, but from either Iran or Iraq.
Even the normally dutiful New York Times expressed doubt about that claim, commenting in its report: “The satellite photographs released on Sunday did not appear as clear cut as officials suggested, with some appearing to show damage on the western side of facilities, not from the direction of Iran or Iraq.”
The accusations made by Pompeo and others are assertions in place of substantiated claims.
It is noteworthy that President Donald Trump refrained from openly blaming Iran by name, merely hinting at the possibility. If Pompeo is so adamant in fingering Iran, why didn’t Trump? Also, the president made a telling remark when he said he was “waiting for verification” from Saudi Arabia “as to who they believe was the cause of the attack.” Again, if US officials are explicitly accusing Iran then why is Trump saying he wants “verification” from the Saudis?
For its part, Iran has flatly dismissed the allegations that it had any involvement, saying that statements by Pompeo were “blind” and tantamount to setting up a conflict.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi also rejected claims that his country’s territory might have been used by pro-Iranian Shia militants to launch the air strikes.
The Houthi rebels in Yemen have issued unambiguous statements claiming responsibility for the air raids on the Saudi oil installations. They were specific that the weapons were drones, not missiles, adding with details that 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were deployed.
Notably too, most US media reported initially that the attacks were by drones flown from Yemen. Associated Press reported a level of sophistication in the attacks whereby drones were used first to disable the US Patriot radar systems before other UAVs proceeded to execute the air strikes.
It therefore seems that US officials are attempting to switch the story by blaming Iran. It is reckless scapegoating because the logical consequence could elicit a military attack against Iran, in which event Tehran has warned it is ready for war.
The rationale for blaming Iran is that the Yemeni rebels (which Iran supports politically) are just not capable of using drones with such dramatic success against the Saudi oil industry. The culprit must be Iran, so the rationale goes. This is a follow-on from alleged sabotage by Iran against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf earlier this summer.
However, a timeline shows that the Houthis are more than capable of launching ever-more powerful ballistic missiles and deeper penetrating drones into Saudi territory. The rebels have been using drones from the beginning of the war which the US-backed Saudi-UAE coalition launched on the southern Arabian country in March 2015.
Over the past four years, the Houthi aerial firepower has gradually improved. Earlier, the Saudis, with American defense systems, were able to intercept drones and missiles from Yemen. But over the last year, the rebels have increased their success rate for hitting targets in the Saudi interior, including the capital Riyadh.
In May this year, Houthi drones hit Saudi Arabia’s crucial east-west pipeline. Then in August, drones and ballistic missiles were reported to have struck the Shaybah oil field near the border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as the Dammam exporting complex in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
The Yemenis claim they are taking the war to Saudi Arabia and the UAE after years of relentless air strikes on their homeland which have resulted in nearly 90,000 dead. A recent UN report censured the US, Britain and France for possible complicity in war crimes through their military support for the Saudi coalition.
There must be trepidation among the monarchs in Saudi Arabia and the UAE that the rebels from war-torn and starving Yemen are now coming after them with drones that could demolish their oil economies. What’s more, the much-vaunted American protector is not able to deliver on its strategic bargain, despite billions of dollars of Pentagon weaponry. That’s why Washington has to find an excuse by casting Iran as the villain.
Tulsi taunts Trump
Tulsi Gabbard, candidate for the US presidency, criticised Trump for saying he is waiting for word from Saudi as to who the Kingdom says is responsible and has repeated the tired old phrase that he is “locked and loaded” ready to attack whoever destroyed the Saudi Aramco plants. She says it sounds like he is a pimp treating the men and women in uniform as prostitutes.
On Monday US President Donald Trump said his country was “locked and loaded”, ready to respond to Saturday’s drone attacks targeting two Saudi Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, which set the oil facilities ablaze and prompted the kingdom to halt about half of its crude output.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) iverbally attacked US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy on Monday evening.
In a video released on Twitter, Gabbard denounced the idea of defending Saudi Arabia: “We are not your prostitutes. You are not our pimp.”
Gabbard was responding to President Trump’s statements about a potential US response to a recent attack, claimed by Houthi rebels, on oilfields in Saudi Arabia that threatened global oil supplies and the security of a key Washington ally.
On 16 September, Donald Trump said the US was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond to drone attacks on a Saudi Aramco petroleum processing facility in Saudi Arabia. US officials claimed evidence pointed to Iranian involvement, despite the Yemeni Houthi rebels claiming responsibility.
The US president did not mention Iran, but wrote on Twitter he had “reason to believe that we know the culprit” behind the series of attacks on the Abqaiq facility that disrupted more than half of the kingdom’s oil output and will affect global supplies.
Trump tweeted: “[We] are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] as to who they believe was the cause of this attack and under what terms we would proceed!”
Important reading from Global Research:
Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran over Saudi Strike?
By Rep. Ron Paul
The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. Read more...
Trump Awaits Orders from Saudis; and Why the Houthis Could Have Done It
By Juan Cole
Trump’s bizarre infatuation with strongmen and dictators was on full display in his response to Saturday’s drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. Read more...
Impact of Yemeni Attack on Saudi ARAMCO Oil Facilities
By Peter Koenig and Press TV
When the Saudis agreed in the early 1970’s as head of OPEC and on behalf of OPEC, to sell crude only in US-dollars, the US Administration offered them in turn – “forever” military protection, in the form of multiple military bases in the Saudi territories. Read more...
Trump: Saudi Arabia’s Bitch
By Kurt Nimmo
“Saudi Arabia’s Bitch”. That’s what Democrat candidate Tulsi Gabbard calls President Trump for his slavish reliance on Saudi Arabia to declare Iran responsible for last weekend’s attack on Saudi oil resources. Read more...
Sanders Warns Trump Against Illegal Iran Strike
By Bryant Harris
The attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facility over the weekend and President Donald Trump’s subsequent tweet that the United States is “locked and loaded” immediately prompted presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to fire back. Read more...
The Ansarullah’s Drone Strike against Saudi Arabia’s Oil Facilities Was a Classic “David vs. Goliath” Moment?
By Andrew Korybko
This weekend’s massive drone strike by Yemen’s Ansarullah rebels against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia was a classic David vs. Goliath moment where a smaller force inflicted a devastating blow against their much larger opponent, one which even surpasses its legendary predecessor because of its potential global consequences. Read more...
“Drone Attack” on Saudi Oil – Who Benefits?
By Tony Cartalucci
Following an ambiguous and evidence-free description of the supposed attacks, the BBC even included an entire section titled, “Who could be behind the attacks?” dedicated to politically expedient speculation aimed ultimately at Tehran. Read more...
The following article from Jerusalem Post is absolutely earth shattering. Commentary is by Vince Dhimos.
Never has Putin ever gotten so tough with his friend Netanyahu. So what does this mean? It means Russia is not going to carry Netanyahu’s water in the neck-and-neck presidential race between Bibi and Benny Gantz (who is also a hawk but perhaps less of one than Bibi? After all, it was Netanyahu who threatened to annex the West Bank, absolutely illegally). Putin’s new tougher position shatters Bibi’s hopes. It means that Russia is taking steps right now to ensure that the whole world, especially the US, knows that it is not putting up with any more games aimed at waging war on its ally Iran. In that last summit meeting in Israel, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made a bombshell statement: Iran is and always will be a Russian ally. Those words by a high Russian official effectively took the wind out of the sails of most US officials plotting war on Iran (though some, like the psychopathic and seriously mentally challenged Lindsey Graham, obviously believing Russia would stand down, insisted that now is the time to hit Iran hard). Until Patrushev made that surprise statement, Western wishful thinkers had hoped that during that summit in Israel, the Western con artists could perhaps pull Russia away from Iran. Big flop. And now this.
So what may have made the difference? We may never know, but I suspect Iran has decided to apply some pressure to Russia. Remember that Iran has been pressuring Europe to hurry up and develop and use its INSTEX instrument to bypass US sanctions. This Iranian pressure consists of threats to stop complying with the terms of the JCPOA (Iran Deal), particularly as pertain to the enriching of uranium, which it is ratcheting up gradually. Europe has agreed to stick to its terms under the Iran Deal but, in Tehran’s view, is dragging its feet, most likely for fear of further Trump tariffs. As a result, Europe-Iran trade is lagging and Iran is losing money. Given this tendency of Iran to pressure its friend and allies, it would not be surprising if Iran were applying similar pressure to Russia. Assuming the Yemeni Houthis are an Iran proxy, the latest attack on Saudi oil facilities could be part of this pressure (although it is not known whether the Houthis are acting on behalf of Iran). Given Security Council Secretary Patrushev’s statement to Netanyahu and Bolton that Iran is an ally and always will be, Iran may have decided to push this a little further. After all, Iran has been almost inhumanly patient in Syria (and also lately in Lebanon and Iraq as well), tolerating hundreds of attacks (mostly unreported in the West) by Israel on Iran’s paramilitary fighters. After all, even if Iran or Hezbollah were producing weapons that could be used against Israel, they were not actually harming Israel and given the 2006 attack by Israel on Hezbollah and Lebanon, the country that hosted it, the Iranians are certainly justified, from a rational -- ie, non-US -- viewpoint, in preparing arms to defend against a belligerent Israel. Yet Russia, while defending the Syrian people against terrorism since September 2015, just kept standing down and watching the Israeli attacks without ever standing up to Israel or warning it to stop its illegal incursions. The only red line for them was that Israel should not harm any Russian assets. It could also be that the Russian people themselves were also tired of watching this abuse of Russian allies and were tired of Putin’s extreme saintly patience in the face of Israeli aggression.
Further, Russia certainly knew that it could exert some influence on today’s presidential elections and since Netanyahu refused to accommodate Russian wishes and also endangered Russian troops in Syria, and most likely was behind some of the drone attacks on Russian air base Hmeimim at Latakia, the Kremlin was simply fed up.
But beyond this, Trump and various members of the US government keep spouting anti-Iran war rhetoric and Russia may realize it is time to act and stop the build-up to a possible WW III scenario, particularly now that it has asserted that Iran is an ally. Allies protect and defend each other.
At any rate, Russia just keeps getting tougher and tougher on both Israel and the US. Any misfits like Graham who think they can just waltz into Iran and “break the regime’s back” is whistling Dixie, and way out of tune at that.
At this time, the polls have closed and exit polls are showing Netanyahu trailing Gantz.
RUSSIA PREVENTS ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA
Israeli sources called Netanyahu's quick Russian visit – to try and convince Putin to ignore Israel's attacks in Syria – "a failure."
BY YASSER OKBI/MAARIV
SEPTEMBER 14, 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
The controversy between Israel and Russia regarding airstrikes of Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq continues, despite the meeting Between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was reported on Friday by Independent Arabia.
According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli air strikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice – and that during August, Moscow stopped an air strike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S-300 missile battery is placed.
Moreover, it was claimed that another air strike was planned for a week later on a Syrian outpost in the Qunaitra area and a third one on a sensitive area in Latakia. This development is what pushed Netanyahu to have his quick visit in Russia to try and convince Putin to ignore Israel's attacks in Syria. According to the Russian source, Putin let Netanyahu know that his country will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime's army, or any of the weapons being given to it, because giving such a permission would be seen as giving Israel leniency – something that contradicts Russia's goal of assisting the Syrian regime.
The British-Arabic news outlet reported that Netanyahu tried to present a positive message of the cooperation between the two countries and even tried to use it for his election campaign, but it didn't work. Israeli sources who have spoken with the newspaper called the meeting "a failure." They claimed that everything regarding the air strikes in Iraq and Syria, since they were in the public eye, embarrassed the Russians terribly in the eyes of their allies in the area – Syria, Iran and the militias that support them.
The Russian source said: "Putin has expressed his dissatisfaction from Israel's latest actions in Lebanon," and even emphasized to Netanyahu that he "rejects the aggression towards Lebanon's sovereignty," something which had never been heard from him. Putin further stated that someone is cheating him in regards to Syria and Lebanon, and that he will not let it go without a response. According to him, Netanyahu was warned not to strike such targets in the future.
The news website added that more Israeli sources have said similar things on the subject and that the visit was meant to reduce the severity of the controversy between the countries into a tactical one, rather than an ideological one.
Translated by Jerusalem Post staff.
After the attack on the Saudi oil facility, do you believe Trump was right to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal?
Westerners, especially Americans, must be very careful not to let their politicians and msm pull their strings. Most have never learned to do their own research in the area of foreign policy, and that is the main reason so many Americans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, etc, have lost their lives and America has accrued a staggering $22.5 trillion debt that will never be paid down or off.
The fact is, this question is in line with the US Establishment narrative that the Iranians had always intended to do harm to the US and its allies.
Firstly, if the US had remained in and upheld the Iran Deal, the world would be able to monitor any Iranian nuclear activity that might lead to the development of a nuclear weapon. They now have forfeited that very important factor in world peace. And ironically, Israel, the country that pushed hardest to prevent and then stop the deal, is now significantly less safe and secure. Indeed, because of this irrational pullout by the US, Iran is slowly increasing the enrichment of its uranium. Nobody wanted this and it did not have to be. Ironically, while the US has been a perfect lapdog for Netanyahu, his acquiescence to all of Israel's reckless actions is making Israel less safe. Trump is acting like an indulgent father who, instead of trying to persuade his addict son to kick the drug habit, keeps hiring expensive lawyers to keep him out of jail and deeper and deeper in trouble. Thus, the US by its silence, is encouraging Israel to keep attacking Syria, Iraq and Lebanon with missiles and killing terror-fighting troops and destroying infrastructure -- all clear-cut acts of war!
Secondly, the Yemeni Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi oil facility, so what does this have to do with Iran?
Let’s be realistic. Iran is a sovereign country. While we are constantly exposed to the line “Israel has a right to defend itself,” Americans are subliminally taught that Iran does NOT have the right to defend itself and must keep allowing its troops to be murdered by Israeli missiles. So one nation is sovereign and the other is not? How can this position possibly be defended?
For years, Israel has been constantly attacking targets in Syria, as reported here Israel has launched countless strikes in Syria. What's new is Russia's response
claiming that each strike was conducted to prevent the Iranian fighters in Syria from developing or accumulating weapons with which to attack Israel and that such a strike was imminent but that Israel had heroically prevented it. But according to this narrative, Iran would have had prepared hundreds of such strikes, each thwarted by the heroic little nation of Israel. However, this story does not hold water because if the Iranians were preparing an unprovoked attack on IsraeL for all those years when the latter has been pounding Syria with missiles, then the Iranians would have long destroyed Tel Aviv. After all, Iran has stashed over 100,000 missiles, some guided, in hidden mountain redoubts, and if it had wanted to destroy Tel Aviv, it could easily have done it long ago.
This and other facts give Russia confidence that Iran is not about to destroy Israel. And Russia cares deeply about Israel because about 20% of Israelis were born in Russia, and Putin considers Netanyanu a friend.
So do Iran and Hezbollah have weapons stashed in Syria (and also in Iraq and Lebanon) that can be used against Israel? You bet they do! I suspect, however, that less than 5% of Americans are aware that Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006 and nearly destroyed the country but that, by cleverly outmanoeuvring Israel, Hezbollah saved Lebanon from being completely destroyed of becoming a vassal to Israel. Even the small number of Americans who do know the intimate details about this war probably generally are unaware that the pretext for the Israeli attack was false:
From Israel Admits that the Justification for Waging the 2006 War on Lebanon Was Fabricated - Global Research
“Shortly after their capture, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the event as an “act of war” by Lebanon. He didn’t mention the fact Israel continuously carries acts similar events in Lebanon since “Operation Litani” in 1978. He didn’t mention the fact that the Lebanese government wasn’t involved. Moreover, it couldn’t be involved because Israel had damaged the Lebanese government control over the southern parts of the country.”
Israel was therefore the main aggressor but contrived to make it look like Lebanon had provoked the war.
Now then, while the Israeli and US Establishments shriek about Hezbollah being “the enemy” and “terrorists,” people who know their history understand that without Hezbollah and Iranian arms, Lebanon would not be safe. The fact is, the real issue is Lebanon’s security but Israel pretends it is all about keeping Israel safe. This narrative could never convince an educated populace, but after all, we are talking about the dumbed-down victims of the US msm who rarely study foreign affairs, foreign cultures or anything of the kind.
Of course, we can’t expect Trump — who admits he gets all his news from TV — to know enough about the Middle East conflicts and their history to make wise decisions. But we might at least expect him to do enough homework to keep us all out of WW III. So, based on the above, is he justified in pulling out of the Iran deal and thereby infuriating Iran?
Russia seems to be the only sane world power on the planet. While the US reflexively carries Israel’s water and defends it even in the indefensible, Russia has a balanced view and makes it a point to understand both sides of the conflict. It also treats both sides with respect.
That is why Russia has done two seemingly contradictory things:
1—In a recent summit in Israel, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told Netanyahu and the now-out-to-pasture John Bolton that Iran is a Russian ally and always will be. Pretty strong medicine considering that the Western media were chanting in unison that the US was hoping this meeting would help pull Russia away from Iran.
2—On the other side of the coin, according to Times of Israel (Russian official: If Iran attacks Israel, we’ll stand with you):
“’In the case of aggression against Israel, not only will the United States stand by Israel’s side — Russia, too, will be on Israel’s side,” Russian Deputy Ambassador to Israel Leonid Frolov said. “Many of our countrymen live here in Israel, and Israel in general is a friendly nation, and therefore we won’t allow any aggression against Israel.’”
Now this is real diplomacy by a country that really wants peace. Contrast this position with the US, which defends ONLY Israel all the time and always considers Iran an enemy – yet hypocritically draughts “peace” plans that attempt to buy the Palestinians with dollars but at the expense of what little territory they have left. That latter approach, dear reader, is a recipe for chaos and war in the Middle East, and indeed, it is it not what have we seen there in the decades since the founding of Israel in 1948?
AIPAC (a group that decides who gets to be president and censors internet content to hide Israeli blemishes)
ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST=PALESTINIANS’ DUTY TO DIE
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/ls-right-to-existarabs-right-to-die (was posted at Quora but was pulled for violating an unnamed rule. Only my posts exposing Israel’s indiscretions get pulled)
POPULAR US RELIGIOUS CULT DEFILES THE HOLY LAND
IS ISRAEL PUSHING LEBANON TOWARD A SECURITY ACCORD WITH RUSSIA?
U.S. QUICKLY MAKING ITSELF IRRELEVANT IN THE MIDDLE EAST
VINCE ON QUORA: WHY IS THE WEST SO UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF THE PALESTINIANS?
VINCE ON QUORA: WHY DOES THE US SHOW UNWAVERING SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL AND NOT PALESTINE? (DECONSTRUCTING “CHRISTIAN” ZIONISM)
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/vince-on-quora-why-does-the-us-show-unwavering-support-for-israel-and-not-palestine (reasons for US policies)
In the following you will find our translation of a report from RIA Novosti with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
There were a few reports in Western media as well on the latest statement by Netanyahu to Putin in their last meeting, but American journos write pure propaganda, all the time. They never criticise Israel’s extreme belligerence toward Iran yet constantly remind us that Iran’s leaders warn Israel that if it attacks Iran, it will be destroyed, trying to make the case for war on Iran. Yet, the US does exactly the same sort of thing when it warns Iran that if it should overstep its bounds, the US will attack it (despite the fact that this could lead to WW III), and when Trump reminded Iran that he has the power to kill 10 million Iranians. Nothing could be more unfair or one-sided than US "journalism," but that is what we have come to expect from US “news” reports.
The article below explains the Russian view.
"Iran is our neighbour, one of the most important centres of power in the Middle East, Iran has been fighting terrorism together with us, is connected with our great economic interests. Iran has never openly declared its desire to put the Muslim population of the former Soviet Union under its wing,"
If US journalists were honest, they would admit that, despite Donald Trump’s repeated statement that “Iran is the biggest terror sponsor in the world,” it is Saudi Arabia that has spawned ISIS, al-Qaeda and the latter’s rebrandings, and that Iran is the Muslim nation besides Syria that has most effectively fought and heroically shed blood to defeat the major terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. They would also admit that, given Israel’s constant homicidal missile attacks on Iranian assets in Syria, where they are operating legally – unlike the US, which has not been invited -- any arms that the Iranians have accumulated or built in Syria (or in Lebanon and Iraq, which Israel has also attacked) are, by any logical criteria, to be used defensively and not to attack Israel unprovoked.
Now the msm propagandists would also have us believe that Hezbollah, the Iran-related movement in Lebanon, is a threat and a terror group, despite the fact that it was Hezbollah that saved Lebanon from destruction and subjugation to Israel in 2006. The fact that very few if any US politicians on either side of the aisle have dared to challenge these false narratives is solid evidence that defeating the so-called Deep State that opposes Trump will in no way lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East. The opposition to Trump is based on secondary issues – in fact, non-issues – such as the accusation that Russia substantially affected the outcome of the last presidential election (as if the hypocritical US had not carried out a successful coup in Ukraine that nearly bankrupted that nation). This accusation of Russian meddling, which has never been proven, pales beside the conflict fuelled by the Saudi-Israeli desire to antagonize the Shia and the Palestinians and start a war in Gaza and in Iran that would set fire to the entire Middle East and quite possibly spill over into a major confrontation of the US with Russia (and possibly China). What Israel really wants is in fact unthinkable but Westerners are supposed to think Iran and Palestine can be defeated without any repercussions in the rest of the Muslim world. Only the brain dead and the brain washed could believe this. This is why the Russian viewpoint is an important antidote to the toxic rhetoric of the US msm and political class.
Russia is the undisputed peace maker in the Middle East. Unlike the US, Russia not only does not take sides in the Israel-Iran conflict, it also guarantees Israel against the Iranian aggression that Israel and the US pretend will happen any moment now. This is reported by RIA Novosti but I was unable to find a corresponding report in the Western press.
Expert comments on Netanyahu’s statement about Iran’s danger to Russia
MOSCOW, Sep 12 - RIA News. The position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the danger of Iran to Russia is not new and has been broadcast for several years, it is connected with the struggle of Shiites and Sunnis within Islam, Tatyana Karasova, head of the Israel and Jewish Communities Studies Department of the Institute of Oriental Studies, told RIA Novosti.
Netanyahu arrives on Thursday on a working visit to Sochi, where he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an interview with RBC, he assessed the state of relations between Russia and Iran. In his opinion, the positions of Moscow and Tehran do not always coincide. In addition, the Israeli prime minister listed Iran among two "dangers for the future of Russia." Ultimately, according to Netanyahu, Tehran will aim weapons and ideology not only at the West and Israel, but also at Russia.
"This idea is not new, he (Netanyahu - Ed.) Has long been trying to convey to the whole world that the confrontation with Iran should be global and civilizational, that this is a war of civilizations, because it is a radical Shiite Islamism that has global claims, which wants to establish the power of the Shiite branch from Islam to the whole world. This is the concept of Netanyahu, "said Karasova. The expert noted that, according to the Israeli Prime Minister, "Iran’s claims are to unite all Muslims under its own banner."
In her opinion, it is more and more about the international confrontation between the two main branches in Islam - Shiism and Sunnism.
“The Sunni branch is deeply antagonistic towards Shiites, it is an internal struggle within Islam itself. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Iran’s aspirations go not only against America or against neighbours in the region, but also against neighbours in the former Soviet Union. Therefore, it is always trying to show the need to unite in the fight against Iran not only to some Sunni states of the Middle East, but also to all states that have a Muslim population, of course, primarily Russia," explained the expert.
In her opinion, Russia needs not only to take note, but also to analyse this opinion, but exclusively from its point of view. "Iran is our neighbour, one of the most important centres of power in the Middle East, Iran has been fighting terrorism together with us, is connected with our great economic interests. Iran has never openly declared its desire to take the Muslim population of the former Soviet Union under its wing," emphasized the political scientist. [my highlighting, Vince]
In the following you will find our translation of an article from FBA Ekonomika segodnya with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. With lucrative energy deals, Iraq would appear to be the next plum to fall into the Russian basket, after Syria and Iran. But Lebanon is not far behind. Once Russian influence is firmly established in Iraq, and then Lebanon, the ducks will all be lined up for Moscow, and Washington will have very little wiggle room in the Middle East.
The “bait” is oil and gas cooperation. Lebanon shares offshore gas deposits with Israel and is auctioning off sectors. Russia is a likely purchaser. Russia once aided Lebanon militarily but relations cooled later. However, Russia recently already sold ammunition to Lebanon, initially for military use, but the ever-meddling US nixed the deal and the ammo went to the Interior Ministry instead. However, Israel’s missile attack on the country may well push Lebanon into Russia’s embrace. I reported on recent events in Russia-Lebanon relations here and here. It must be noted that China is also investing heavily in Iraq, including in energy. The US appears to have a diminishing role.
After Israel’s missile attack on Iraq, the already-tenuous US-Iraq relations are on tenterhooks. A major parliamentary bloc has already made Israel and the US co-responsible for the attack and has called it a “declaration of war.” Trump’s cosiness with Israel will garner him points with Tel Aviv, but the latter is not exactly where the power is centred in the Middle East.
Remember that all major news from the Middle East is inter-related and the bad news generally has Washington’s bloody footprints all over it.
The solution to the "Kurdistan problem" opens up new prospects for Russia in Iraq
September 10, 2019
The problem of Iraqi Kurdistan, which was trying to promote the idea of broad autonomy, was solved by Baghdad by having all contracts go through the central government. According to Boris Dolgov, senior researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia is now facing new prospects in Iraq.
Cooperation between Russia and Iraq
Iraq expects to expand the participation of Russian companies in the development of oil fields in the republic. This was stated by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq, Muayed Saleh, at a meeting with the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev. According to Saleh, one of the Russian companies is already starting to develop deposits in the Ramadi area, so Baghdad expects an increase in investment by 2030 to $45 billion. [The Ramadi area contains deposits of both gas and oil]
For its part, the Federation Council intends to continue to develop cooperation with Iraq at the political level. In the very near future, the issue of a visit to Russia by the head of the Iraqi parliament Mohammed al-Halbusi will be decided. Russian lawmakers are seriously interested in a regular working dialogue with Iraqi colleagues who are involved in international issues and bilateral relations with Russia.
“Indeed, we are witnessing a rapprochement between Russia and Iraq, and we must speak, first of all, about cooperation in the economic and political spheres. There are strong historical roots between Iraq and Russia, because since the Soviet times we have been closely cooperating with this country. It is worth noting that a large number of Iraqi citizens have studied both in the USSR and in Russia, and some of them still occupy fairly high posts in Iraq.
Cooperation and friendly relations were interrupted at one time by several tragic events, including aggression against Iraq, regime change in this country and the fight against ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation, Ed. FBA). As a result, largely thanks to the participation of the Russian Federation in Iraq, victory over the terrorists was nevertheless achieved,” Boris Dolgov explains. [While most Western journos have given short or no shrift to the subject of Russian assistance in counter-terror in Iraq (you know why), we managed to find one exception in the Fiscal Times]
Russian companies really have big contracts with Iraqi business, whose representatives have repeatedly come to our country. According to our interlocutor, Russian companies continue to develop contacts and implement projects in Iraq. The proposed visit of Iraqi parliamentarians and statesmen is a continuation of Russia's policy towards Iraq, which remains an influential country in the Middle East and one of the richest in the world in terms of oil reserves.
Oil and gas projects in Iraq
In turn, the most important territory for the implementation of oil and gas projects in Iraq is Iraqi Kurdistan. According to some reports, Iraqi Kurdistan has the sixth largest oil reserves in the world, amounting to 45 billion barrels, and up to 60% of all Iraqi oil is already produced here.
Rich mineral resources are attracted by the world's leading oil companies, including Exxon, Total, Chevron, Talisman Energy and others. At the same time, industrial production actually began only in 2006, when the Norwegian energy company DNO drilled the first well since the invasion of Iraq.
Russian companies could not help but participate in the development of the deposits. The most interesting thing for Russian oil companies here is that the operating costs of hydrocarbon extraction are quite low. As Alexander Frolov, deputy director general of the National Energy Institute, previously suggested, perhaps the largest reserves of cheap oil in the world today are located in Iraqi Kurdistan. The greatest interest here is demonstrated by the oil companies of the Big Three.
The solution to the problem of Iraqi Kurdistan
“Iraqi oil is really very high in quality, and its production does not require the highest costs, which makes the fields extremely attractive for any oil companies. The Iraqi side is also interested in attracting investment. The good news is that Iraq’s policies are balanced between relations with the West as a whole and with Russia.
All this productively affects economic ties. Iran has broad ties with Iraq, which is also a positive factor that opens up new prospects for Russia in Iraq. Relations between Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government of Iraq remain an important issue, but Baghdad still has managed to resolve the most acute disagreements.
At one time, Kurdistan leaders tried to promote their idea of broad autonomy, and even held a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan. But the central government of Iraq came out firmly enough, and Kurdistan remained part of Iraq, living by common laws. Recent decisions of the central government are regulated in such a way that any contracts with foreign countries for the development of deposits in the country, including in the territory of Kurdistan, must be concluded through Baghdad,” Dolgov explains
Serious money is being invested in the Iranian [sic] oil industry by Russian companies, but the matter is not limited to them. In addition to production, educational projects are also underway; Russia helps to train local personnel in the oil and gas industry. There are also plans for the development of local processing, but this is already a distant prospect. Both parties are satisfied with the cooperation, and it continues to develop.