In the following is our translation of a troubling analysis from RIA Novosti with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
In a nutshell, according to Danilov, it looks like Washington has never learned the important lessons from our recent failures and is determined to blunder into failure time and time again, believing that, far from abandoning our flawed recipes, we need to double or triple them to achieve the desired results. Danilov nails it in the following description of a US “expert” and his deluded idea of how to fix the coronavirus problem using military strategy:
“...Stephen Myrow, who managed to work both in the US occupation administration in Iraq in 2004 and in the US Treasury during the 2008-2009 crisis, and, accordingly, now feels that he has the practical experience necessary to decisively defeat the epidemic. It is significant that the expert compares the coronavirus pandemic with another "epidemic" – that is, a wave of Iraqi attacks on the US military, complaining that Washington failed to allocate military and financial resources for a long time, and so if they had allocated more money and soldiers, then everything would have been resolved more easily. It does not occur to him that the mistake was the operation in Iraq itself, not minor flaws in its execution.” [my highlighting]
The thing is, there is a desperate need for new blood in US think tanks and politics, but instead Washington is simply recycling the same tired old ideas and fostering more of the inbreeding, and the idiocy to which it gives birth.
But, both Russian and US geopolitical thinkers ignore is a deeper concern in international relations and that is the thinking of the US grassroots, a chilling percentage of whom choose leaders according to a convoluted system of mysticism that puts modern secular Israel at the centre of the spiritual universe thanks to a tragic misreading of the Judaic and Christian scriptures. It is of little use to combat sclerotic thinking on the rarefied think-tank level without simultaneously exposing the flaws in its support base, ie, grassroots thinking, which has always focussed on mysticism rather than on concrete knowledge and real-world solutions. I have proven here that this cult-like worship of modern Israel it is definitely not about the Israel of Ezekiel’s prophecy as it is believed to be by these cultists, who dominate US politics. This cult is at the heart of US-led wars, sanctions and propaganda that destroys and undermines once-stable and prosperous whole nations and societies and their economies, all of which defies the spirit of traditional Judaism and Christianity, as expressed in the Torah and again in the New Testament. It can be boiled down to a simple formula:
You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
American Evangelicals and Israeli political leaders defy and violate this teaching with all their policies toward our Semitic and Persian brothers in the Middle East, treating them with utter disdain and, yes, hatred and racism. And then they wonder why Western recipes fail so dramatically time and time again even when they are doubled and tripled. After all, doubling the recipe will not improve the taste of a bland unpalatable cake.
There is only one country that adheres to the above scriptural teaching in its policy toward the rest of the world, and that is Russia. And that is precisely why Washington wants us to think of the Russians – as well as their Chinese partners – as enemies who must be opposed militarily. They literally believe they can destroy decency and godliness with lethal arms!
I suspect that, because of the above-described sclerotic grassroots thinking, no meaningful change whatsoever can come from within the US. It must come from the East. Ivan Danilov’s essay in the following supports this suspicion, showing how refractory Washington is to abandoning its old ambition of conquering other nations rather than winning minds and cooperating with them to make a better, more-harmonious world. No amount of political bombast can make this recipe work.
Washington has figured out how to restore global leadership
March 30, 2020
In times of crisis, the essence of not only individual citizens, but also entire countries is manifested. Heroism and selfishness, negligence and responsibility, concern for the public good and neglect of common sense – all this is highlighted vividly and clearly. All countries are looking for ways to overcome the epidemic, but some succeed efficiently, while others do not. Some find an opportunity to lend a helping hand to those who have suffered the most, as, for example, Russia and China do in Italy. And some, on the contrary, try to rack up the maximum number of political points on the epidemic, using it to advance the idea of creating a "world government," or to restore "American leadership" on the planet.
Some are worried about people's lives, while some are worried that the former hegemony is not the same as before, and they attribute Washington's geopolitical problems to the "Chinese virus." The epidemic, in a sense, allows you to look inside the souls of those who make decisions and make expert recommendations in the framework of the "pyramids of power" and the "deep states" of our Western partners. And the picture is pretty disappointing: judging by the considerations expressed by them, the leading power of the Western world (the owner of both an impressive nuclear arsenal and a printing press for the base currency of the global financial system) has ultimately forgotten how to cope with problems that cannot be bombed or bribed away.
[Keep in mind that Danilov’s descriptions of all the “intellectuals” and their ideas, discussed in the following, are extremely sarcastic in tone.]
Obviously, the United States now needs sources of inspiration, and the expert community offers these sources in the most decisive way. For example, William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment, the oldest US expert centre in international affairs, advises the authoritative Wall Street Journal to turn to the experience of centuries ago, because at that time the United States risked missing the opportunity to establish a new world order, but it mustered its strength and did not miss this chance, thereby rendering the world a great service. [A “service” that, you will recall, culminated in WW II]
"In the spring of 1919, when the major powers gathered at Versailles to agree on the structure of the world after World War I, President Woodrow Wilson was lying in bed with the flu. At that moment, when Dr. Wilson said," it seemed that all of civilization was at stake,” the terrifying pandemic of influenza [the so-called Spanish flu] cast a shadow over the prospect of a new order,” Mr. Burns explains, and nonetheless proposes mustering [US] strength and putting this order in place. At the same time, note that the head of the Carnegie Endowment clearly and publicly recognizes the magnitude of the problem that Washington was facing, and did not just collide with it, but plunged into it – even before the world was blanketed with coronavirus.
If someone else had set forth the same theses, and not the venerable and meritorious American expert and head of one of the most influential American NGOs, he would have definitely been accused of working for either Moscow or Beijing. According to Burns, an ideal storm has now gathered, consisting of major shifts in the balance of power and large-scale political, economic, technological and environmental transformations: "The competition of the great powers has returned; China has risen, and America’s old domination has been lost. The world economic and military centre of gravity is shifting from west to east. The technological revolution is transforming our way of living, working and waging wars. Tensions between open and closed societies are growing, nationalization is re-appearing and authoritarianism, and democracy, apparently, are being inverted. Tailwind globalization has turned into a powerful headwind, while climate change looms as an existential threat.”
The recipe offered by the president of the Carnegie Endowment is that the United States must abandon its isolation from globalization and, at the same time, from the illusion that restoring American global leadership will be an easy process. Mr. Burns emphasizes that although the current US leadership is worse off than George W. Bush or Harry Truman, it is still possible to make America a “democratic example” and also a quiet haven in the world of an ideal storm.
As another specific measure, American society and political leaders are encouraged to rediscover "a sense of the meaning of life" and "American enlightened selfishness." With all due respect to the intellectual power of the authoritative US think tank, there are certain doubts that the overseas [ie, US] "enlightened egoism" combined with acute nostalgia from the time of George W. Bush and the rampant globalization of the 2000s will indeed become the magic elixir that will restore American hegemony, and will also give the United States the status of a global role model.
The Bloomberg agency publishes proposals of a more pragmatic nature from a prominent representative of a relatively young generation of experts - Stephen Myrow, who managed to work both in the US occupation administration in Iraq in 2004 and in the US Treasury during the 2008-2009 crisis, and, accordingly, now feels that he has the practical experience necessary to decisively defeat the epidemic. It is significant that the expert compares the coronavirus pandemic with another "epidemic" – that is, a wave of Iraqi attacks on the US military, complaining that Washington failed to allocate military and financial resources for a long time, and so if they had allocated more money and soldiers, then everything would have been resolved more easily. It does not occur to him that the mistake was the operation in Iraq itself, not minor flaws in its execution.
[This reveals an inherent flaw in the thinking of US “intellectuals,” who simply can’t abandon old failed ideas and invariably try to re-invent them without abandoning them as they should. This signals the main failure of Making America Great Again. And –though Danilov doesn’t mention this – it’s not just the elites but also, and more importantly, the grassroots that cement these ideas in place.]
He cites as a positive example the actions of the US Treasury Department in 2008-2009, which simply “flooded everything with money,” and did it quickly and decisively, despite political risks. You may notice that while the United States is trying to follow just such a scenario, such actions have negative consequences: this corporate American method, wherever it is used, leads to an explosive increase in social inequality, and the newly printed money finds its way mainly into the hands of the rich and corporations while the inability to save and earn income on one’s savings deprives the poor of the future. [Because the newly printed money must be created in an atmosphere of low, zero or negative interest rates, which kill savings.]
Stephen Bannon – a banker, political strategist, head of the Trump presidential campaign headquarters in 2016 and the actual "author" of his election success – said many times that it was the injustice and social consequences of the decisions made in 2008 that led to an increase in the demand for populism and to destroy the existing American system, which opened the door to Trump's victory.
From this point of view, one can say of the American expert community that it has not forgotten anything and has not learned anything. [As witnessed, for example, by Trump’s recent record-size “coronavirus bailout” funded with newly printed dollars]. A dollar printing press and a claim to world leadership is still the "elite’s recipe." And it is not a fact that this will suffice in the long run. It is unlikely that such an example of behaviour on the part of Washington will create the necessary prerequisites for the restoration of world leadership. But they will definitely try. The main concern is that in the process of restoring leadership after the epidemic, Washington will again be tempted to bomb someone in the name of democracy – judging by expert assessments, this is practically the only measure that for some of them seems to be the absolutely universal solution to any geopolitical problem.
Iraq assumes full control of military base in Nineveh province
Xinhua, March 27, 2020
BAGHDAD, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Thursday took over full control of al-Qayyara military base from the U.S.-led coalition forces in the northern province of Nineveh.
"The international coalition forces handed over the al-Qayyara base to Iraqi forces at the request of the Iraqi government after the end of their combat mission," the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The military base is the second that Iraq has received from the international coalition forces within a week, according to the statement.
It said that Iraq will also take full control of other bases, including K1 in the country's northern province of Kirkuk, and the Habbaniyah base in the western province of Anbar, in addition to a coalition headquarters within the complex of Nineveh Operations Command.
The handover of al-Qayyara base confirms the ability of the Iraqi forces to maintain the security and sovereignty of Iraq from any attack, the statement added.
On Jan. 5, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, just two days after a U.S. drone strike on a convoy at Baghdad airport, which killed Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolution Guards Corps.
Over 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support Iraqi forces in battles against the Islamic State (IS), mainly for training and advisory purposes.
The troops were part of the U.S.-led international coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.
Iraq to play serious role in deescalating conflict between US and Iran: PM
By News Desk -2020-03-29
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.)- Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zurfi announced that his country will begin to play a serious role in alleviating the conflict between Tehran and Washington, and in removing Iraq and the region completely from its dangerous repercussions.
Zurfi tweeted on Sunday: “The increase in geopolitical tension in the region, especially the conflict between the United States and the neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, has negative repercussions on the Iraqi political, economic and security situation.”
“Therefore, we will start playing a serious role in alleviating this conflict and removing Iraq and the region from its dangerous repercussions,” he continued.
In another tweet, he said, “Iran’s help in facing the Corona virus will contribute to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe that the Iranian people are suffering in a frightening way, and the international community should help them by lifting or easing the sanctions and providing medical treatments because of this health and security repercussions on Iraq, being the most extended and closely related neighbor to the Islamic Republic.”
Iraq has been at the forefront of this conflict between the U.S. and Iran, as both nations have used the country to launch attacks against each other.
Analyst calls sanctions on Iran ‘a moral abomination’
March 29, 2020 - 22:4
TEHRAN - The Trump administration’s move to impose further sanctions against Iran at a time when the country is battling the new coronavirus pandemic is a “moral abomination,” an American political analyst said on Saturday.
Rodney Martin, the former congressional staffer based in Arizona, suggested the world leaders should ignore U.S. sanctions and form a “new economic cooperative” to counter the restrictive measures.
Martin made the remarks during a phone interview with Press TV when asked to comment on Russia’s call for the urgent lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran as the bans have led to the flare-up of the deadly virus in the country.
The U.S Treasury imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran on Thursday, targeting construction and maritime sectors.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday that the “unprecedented political and economic pressure” on Iran allowed the outbreak to take hold in the country as Tehran is unable to buy medicine and medical equipment due to Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic.
“Russia is correct to seek an end to U.S. sanctions on Iran,” Martin said.
“Quite frankly, there should be no sanctions to any country, be it Iran, Venezuela or for that matter Russia during this worldwide pandemic, particularly with regard to Iran who has been just absolutely hit very hard… and [is] now suffering both from economic terrorism by the West and this horrific pandemic.”
Martin added, “The sanctions must end and there should be quick condemnation throughout the world to the fact that Iran continues to suffer both economic sanctions wherein they cannot purchase medical supplies and medical equipment.”
Iran is hit worst by the coronavirus in the Middle East. It just comes after Italy and Spain in Europe. As of Sunday, Covid-19 has killed over 2,600 Iranians and infected about 39,000.
“This is a moral abomination on the part of the United States and should be condemned, and if the United States refuses to heed the moral calls to remove economic sanctions as it is caving in to the wishes of its neocon and Zionist masters, then the world is going to have to come together — both European leaders, leaders in Moscow, leaders in India, leaders in China, and they are going to collectively ignore the U.S. sanctions and come together as a new economic cooperative,” the political analyst underlined.
According to Press TV, the coronavirus outbreak has prompted various international leaders, figures and groups to call for Washington to suspend its sanctions against Iran as well as several other countries.
Earlier this week, eight countries sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warning about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on the international anti-coronavirus efforts.
U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – JCPOA - in May 2018, restored the previous sanctions and added new ones. It has even introduced a total ban on Iran’s oil export to strangulate the Iranian economy.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered the White House to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.
In a post on his Twitter account on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the world to “stop obeying immoral and illegal U.S. sanctions” on Iran.
Saudi Coalition targets IRGC advisers in Yemen
By News Desk -2020-03-30
BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M) – Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Arab Coalition forces, said that the coalition carried out a specific operation to neutralize and destroy military targets belonging to the Ansarallah forces in Yemen.
Al-Maliki said in a statement, published on the website of the official Saudi Press Agency, that it “follows the statement issued by the joint coalition forces command regarding the terrorist Houthi militia’s attacks against civilians, including citizens and residents, on the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday evening.”
He continued that the operations of Ansarallah “express the brutality of this terrorist militia and those behind it with its grave violations of international humanitarian law, especially in light of the global health situation to confront the coronavirus (Covid-19) and an extension of the responsibility towards protecting citizens and residents on the territory of the Kingdom.”
The coalition spokesman claimed that their forces attacked the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) experts that are currently deployed to Yemen.
“The targets that were destroyed included the advanced sites of the terrorist militia, such as storing, assembling, and installing ballistic missiles and drones, and the whereabouts of experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and armories, and military targets were distributed in a number of governorates in areas controlled by the terrorist militia, including one in Al-Hodeidah.
He added that “preventive measures were taken to protect civilians after the Houthi militia took residential neighborhoods as military headquarters and took civilians as human shields.”
US, Israel conduct military exercise with F-35 jets
US propaganda has it that Israel needs to be protected against Iran, but Iran has never attacked Israel, while Israel routinely attacks Iranian installations that are legally located, by invitation, in Syria. Meanwhile, the Israeli fighter jets that launch these missiles that kill Iranians and Syrians both, are invading Lebanese air space. They are illegal invaders.
Yet the US supports the Israeli invaders wholeheartedly.
As stated above, this injustice is due in large part to the unconditional support given by the US and especially Evangelicals, not only to modern Israel but also to its war crimes and genocidal policies against Palestinians.
It is due to a misreading of the Bible by about 80% of Evangelical churches. Anyone who wants to obey the commandment to love ones neighbour as oneself and who therefore cares about the lives of people in the Middle East must start with the churches and educate Christians as to what Zionism really is. You can start with this:
by Vince Dhimos
I have already posted an article showing that General Soleimani most likely died because he wanted to initiate a thaw in Saudi-Iran relations. In other words, he died for peace, assassinated by a country whose leaders fear peace more than anything. This is a startling realization and it shatters my previous theory that Saudi was dragging the US into war in the Middle East. It was not Saudi after all but a smaller Middle East state with no oil reserve that pushes for war with Iran, but also has pushed the US into the Iraq war, the involvement in Syria and Libya and God knows what else, on the counterintuitive theory that provoking all one’s neighbours makes one more secure. The Saudi leadership has already admitted that it had funded terrorists in cooperation with the US during the Cold War. In fact, MBS disclosed during an interview with US media that the US had urged Saudi to promote Wahhabism – the religion of ISIS andal-Qaeda – to counter Russian influence in the Muslim world during the cold war.
An Arabic-language interview with an Iranian political analyst that I am reading at Al Jazeera completely demystifies Washington’s motives for the 24/7 anti-Iran propaganda, the pull-out from the Iran deal and the threat of war on Iran from the White House. It is not all Saudi’s instigation after all that brings war in the Middle East. New Silk Strategies will run our full translation of this Arabic-language interview.
Quote from above-linked article:
“Masjedi said top Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani, killed at Baghdad airport in a US air raid last month, was carrying a message setting out Iran's position on possible rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi state news agency reported.”
QUOTE FROM THE TRANSLATED ARTICLE (to appear soon at NSS):
“Iranian media warned that America adopts a policy of fear mongering about Tehran, as an approach to blackmailing some Gulf countries, explaining that the goal of the surprise visit of the US Secretary of Defense to Riyadh and Israel's participation in the Bahrain conference is to eliminate any possible Iran-Gulf rapprochement.”
The Al Jazeera article, and the killing of Soleimani at precisely the time when he was about to deliver a message of reconciliation to Saudi Arabia is solid evidence that the US, on behalf of Israel, is working feverisly to keep up a warlike atmosphere in the Middle East. Washington’s obviously panicked response to the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran to Tehran also shows the US knows there is a potential for rapprochement between Iran (and hence the Shiite world) and the Gulf States. Saudi Arabia was opposed to Israeli aggression until about the time of the 1974 petrodollar agreement between Nixon and King Faisal, which essentially bought Saudi’s loyalty to the US and hence an unofficial working relationship with Israel. This was the Saudi royals betraying their people, but since the royals also bought their loyalty with enormous amounts of US dollars, a wholly artificial relationship could be maintained between US-Israel and the Gulf States. But the fact that it is artificial and not based on spontaneous people-to-people trust shows that there is always underlying tension that can eventually upset the unwholesome scheme. Russia is the fly in the ointment here. By intervening in the Syrian conflict in September 2015 and thus strengthening the Shiite world, and now by refusing to cut oil production and breaking off with OPEC, thereby administering the coup de grace to US shale, and simultaneously inducing Saudi to jeopardize its own oil industry with dangerously low prices per barrel, Russia is tampering with the mechanism that has held in place the exquisitely delicate ties between the US and the Gulf States. Putin’s shrewd dealings could cause Riyadh to detach itself from Washington, delivering the death blow to nearly 5 decades of mischief that nearly destroyed the Middle East and brought on a catastrophic debt that the Fed is furiously struggling to pay by relentless printing of dollars – with no further options open. Western media and government officials would have you believe everything is under control but nothing could be further from the truth. Especially now that the COVID19 epidemic is upon us.
Look, when you have to struggle, even rush to Riyadh, to plead with the Saudi crown prince not to negotiate with Iran, there is obviously a potential disaster in the making that would be unleashed by a rapprochement between Saudi and Iran and the US is in utter panic over this possibility. But by “disaster,” we are looking through Washington’s prism, with disaster meaning peace and hence a further loss of US influence. Good for the world, bad for the Washington connivers.
After all, te UAE, once Saudi’s accomplice, is no longer on board with the US scheme to keep up the hostility toward Iran and is ending its intervention in Yemen.
Contrast this US alarm with Putin’s serenity and sang-froid. At least we know who looks like a winner and who looks like a deer in the headlights.
When the US has to desperately plead with Saudi not to negotiate with Iran for fear that peace may break out, something is terribly wrong.
The aforementioned article to be presented in translation plus the killing of Gen. Soleimani at the critical moment when he was about to deliver an offer of reconciliation to Saudi changed my mind about the role played by the Saudis in influencing the US. I once supported the view that Saudi was key to the stability of the USD, and this was in fact the view held by Nixon and subsequent administrations since him. It now appears that the US is controlling Saudi on behalf of Israel, and we can surmise that this is not a new policy. This means that the petrodollar agreement with Saudi was quite likely largely a ruse intended to convince investors and influencers that the US must support Saudi policies, including their wars and, clandestinely, their terrorists in the Middle East on behalf of the USD, and it was also a way of keeping the Saudis in line behind the US and Israel. After all the 1973 oil price war had been led by Saudi Arabia angry at the US for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur war that year (mirroring the current Saudi overproduction that threatens US oil). The petrodollar deal has meanwhile tamed Saudi and made it essentially pro-Israel – all for a price, though that may change now that MBS has decided to punish the US shale business. As for the belief that Saudi is actually propping up the USD, the fact is, for years, Saudi has held no more than half the dollar amount in US Treasuries as either China or Japan, and no one has claimed that the Japanese or the Chinese are responsible for propping up the US dollar! This myth of the Saudi-buoyed petrodollar helped keep politicians and presidents in line, not necessarily to support Saudi but in fact to support Israel, which, like Israel, sees Iran and the Shiite world in general as the enemy – simply because these countries refuse to recognized Israel, and generally to go along with Israeli-US policies – which are ultimately set by Israel and supported by the US, acting as its loyal proxy. I think if you look at events and US policy in the Middle East through this prism you will find no more mystery in the events happening there. It is all falling in place. No msm commentater will tell you this and the grassroots are lightyears away from recognizing the truth. They are psychological slaves and want you to be their slaves in turn.
The US is led by radicals, who want constant war and insist on accruing a dangerously high debt that cannot be paid down or off. The average Western mind has been prograqmmed through habit and constant daily exposure to this radical agenda and is no longer capable of assessing its surroundings. In fact, ironically, any ideas falling outside this narrow radical spectrum will seem radical to the programmed Westerner. He has been radicalized but thinks his assessment of the world is normal. He is like the prisoners chained in the cave in Plato’s allegory. All they see of the world is what they can see from this restricted vantage point. They haven’t a clue as to what the outside world really looks like. This is the Westerner, chained down by the political class and exposed only to the media’s narrative of the world, seen through their grotesquely distorted prism. A few think they have found the “truth” because they were told by their “liberator” that the liberal media have been feeding them lies, and of course, this is not wholly erroneous. What they fail to grasp is that not all lies come from liberals and that both left and right are feeding them a constant diet of distortion, making it virtually impossible to see the world for what it is. For example, they are fed the false information, sold as axiomatic, that Iran is inherently evil while the Saudis are our friends who keep our dollar strong. The Russians are the enemy and only NATO can keep us safe. Israel is the Holy Land and the Bible enjoins us to send her powerful weapons to defend against the evil Palestinians and to ward off the evil spell of the godless globalist UN that seeks to enslave Israel (the bedrock of this idea is “Christian” Zionism, deconstructed here based on scripture). China steals our intellectual resources and we are their economic slaves who yearn to be free. And so on and so forth, and to doubt this is to betray one’s country and be cast into outer darkness. Fear keeps us in thrall to the puppeteers who pull our strings.
But there is a way to escape this indoctrination. Stop consuming Western media and start reading Sputnik, TASS and RT for a focused view and read Al Masdar and Southfront to learn what is really happening in the Syrian theatre. But this advice sounds radical to Westerners whose heads have been in thrall to the indoctrinators and they would sooner eat a bug than read “Russian propaganda.” They believe implicitly that Russia is aggressive while the US is the moral godly country whose mission is to keep the rest of the world safe and secure from leftism and godlessness, which are supposedly lurking around every corner of the globe.
The truth is, though, that if you look more closely at the world, you will easily see that the US is like an arsonist running around torching everything in sight while Russia is following it and putting out the fires. Now forest fire fighters know that sometimes you have to cut down a swath of trees to control a fire. But no one would call a forest fire fighter an arsonist. Yet, because Russia uses the only available means of fighting the forest fires, it is condemned as if it were the one who started the fires.
Middle East war news follows.
We absolutely do not encourage anyone to come here first or prefer NSS to read about the conflict. We include this for readers too busy to browse other sites. Go to Al Masdar and Southfront. Support Southfront if possible. The Western msm is not doing its job. Why? Because news from Syria and Iraq shows that the US is gradually losing its influence there. Thus US media simply ignore this news.
RUSSIA SENDS 13TH IL-76 TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT WITH VIRAL AGENT DEFENSE EXPERTS AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO FIGHT COVID-19 TO ITALY
On March 23, the Russian Defense Ministry sent a 13th IL-76 military transport aircraft with medical equipment and specialists to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to Italy.
Earlier, the Russian military announced that it was sending 9 IL-76 aircraft with 8 mobile medical teams, at least 100 viral agent defense experts and various military equipment (dozens of pieces) to assist Italy in the war on COVID-19. However, when the Russian COVID-19 response team deployed in Italy, it appeared that the situation there was worse that it had been even expected. So, the Russian side opted to increase its means and forces involved in the campaign to assist the Italian side.
Russia Sends 13th Il-76 Transport AIrcraft With Viral Agent Defense Experts And Medical Equipment To Fight COVID-19 To Italy
Amid the acute crisis with the outbreak in Italy, it’s interesting to note that Russia, China and Cuba are the main states that are now assisting the country. At the same time, the ‘democratic nations’ led by the United States remain silent or prefent to demonstrate their moral support to the Italian nation.
Breaking: Russian air defenses confront hostile missiles at Hmeimim Airbase in Syria
By News Desk -2020-03-240
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 A.M.) – Minutes ago, the Russian military activated their air defense systems at the Hmeimim Airbase, following an attempted attack on the installation.
According to preliminary reports, the Russian air defenses intercepted the hostile projectiles before they could hit the airbase.
No further details were released.
In the past, attacks on the Hmeimim Airbase were carried out from the Idlib-Latakia axis in the Jabal Al-Akrad region, which is under the control of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).
Update (12:20 A.M.): Russian air defenses intercepted missiles around the Hmeimim Airbase and coastal city of Jableh.
SDF RELEASES TENS OF ISIS MEMBERS IN EASTERN SYRIA. TURKEY, RUSSIA STRUGGLE WITH IDLIB DE-ESCALATION
SDF Releases Tens Of ISIS Members In Eastern Syria. Turkey, Russia Struggle With Idlib De-Escalation
On March 23, Russian and Turkish forces carried out a second limited joint patrol in southern Idlib. The patrol involved six armoured vehicles and took place along a short chunk of the M4 highway west of the government-controlled town of Saraqib. This part of the highway remains the only safe place within the entire security zone, which was set to be established in the framework of the Russian-Turkish de-escalation agreement.
After the March 23 patrol, the Turkish side got additional time to neutralize terrorists and radicals entrenched in the agreed to buffer zone. This was the second time when Moscow provided Ankara with such an opportunity. However, Ankara seems to be taking very little or no efforts to do so.
Over the past days, the Turkish Army established observation points near Khattab and Msheirfeh and made a formal attempt to de-block the highway removing earthen mounds made by terrorists. Despite these heroic efforts of the Turkish military, the M4 remains in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked groups and the security zone there exists only on paper. Such a situation on the ground is slowly but inevitably leading to the resumption of hostilities in the region.
Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating in the Rukban refugee camp within the US-controlled zone of al-Tanf. According to media reports, people in the camp have to pay money for tents and the bare necessities, and are forcefully recruited into the ranks of US-backed militant groups. Additionally, militants sabotage the evacuation of refugees from the camp.
A series of IED attacks rocked the town of Tabqah, controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on March 21. IED explosions targeted positions, vehicles and personnel of the SDF next to the Andalusia pool and the Maysalun roundabout. 6 SDF members were reportedly killed. Pro-opposition sources immediately blamed ‘Assad agents’ for the attack. Kurdish sources blame ISIS and Turkey.
On March 22, the SDF released 80 ISIS members that had been captured during the combat operations along the eastern bank of the Euphrates. All the released individuals are reportedly Syrian citizens, from the governorates of Raqqa, al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor. During the last few years, the SDF has released hundreds of ex-ISIS fighters.
The group often does this for money or upon request from influential figures, like tribal leaders, businessmen and local commanders. This SDF behavior likely contributed to the reemergence of ISIS cells in eastern Syria. Last week, ISIS announced that its fighters had assassinated 40 people in the province of Deir Ezzor during the last 3 months.
Jihadists destroy bridge along M-4 Highway to block Russian forces
By News Desk -2020-03-25
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels in the Jisr Al-Shughour countryside have once again blocked the strategic M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway) by destroying the road used for the joint Turkish-Russian patrols.
According to reports, the jihadist rebels destroyed the bridge inside the town of Al-Kfeir, thus blocking the Russian forces from accessing the highway around the Jisr Al-Shughour District.
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الجماعات الإرهابية تفجر جسر بلدة الكفير الواقع على طريق M4 حلب اللاذقية ، ويعد ثاني جسر تدمره جماعات مسلحة رافضة لاتفاق موسكو
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This is the second bridge that has been destroyed by the jihadist rebels in the Idlib Governorate since the Moscow Agreement was put in place on March 5th.
The Russian military has been unable to complete their agreed upon patrols along the M-4 Highway due to the destruction of the roadway and security threats by the jihadist rebels.
According to the Russian Reconciliation Center, Turkey has vowed to expel these extremist groups from the highway, but they have failed to do so thus far.
China successfully launches military satellites into space
By News Desk -2020-03-250
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – On Tuesday morning, China announced that they had successfully launched a batch of satellites into space.
According to the Chinese government, their military launched three new military surveillance satellites into orbit via their Long March 2C rocket.
The Long March 2C rocket was reportedly launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province; these satellites were confirmed in orbit later in the day.
The three satellites “will be used for electromagnetic environment detection and related technological tests,” China’s state-run news outlet CCTV reported.
These satellites will join the Chuangxin-5 satellite constellation, which now consists of 18 Yaogan satellites that have been launching in batches of three since the first trio launched in 2017.
First we need to get something out of the way: Yes, local officials – not the national PRC government – apparently did censor doctors in Wuhan who were telling the truth about a novel coronavirus that broke out there. It delayed the response and was irresponsible,
I suppose, however, that these whistle-blowing docs were seen initially as dissidents. And do you know what dissidents are today in the vast Asian space around Russia and China? Typically, they are disgruntled misfits inspired, and often paid, by US-based activists working hard in US NGOs with billions in US financing, both governmental and private, to bring down these governments. Kyrgyzstan is crawling with them. So is Kazakhstan. Georgia and Uzbekistan, as well as Montenegro to the west. All are targets for regime change. But China is a prime target, as is Russia. These do-gooders see their task as dragging these countries away from their home governments and putting the Neo-colonial USA in charge of things. Their chef d’oeuvre is Ukraine, which they set about to democratize and freedomize in 2014, even sending the assistant secretary of state to the Maidan to hand out brochures and pastries to the unsuspecting protesters, who weren’t sure what it was they wanted – though they figured if the fabulously wealthy US is behind this, they’d prosper. The result? Ukraine is now the poorest country in Europe, according to IMF stats, is ungovernable, hopelessly corrupt and at war with itself.
These regime change interventions are China’s biggest fear. So they are quick to swat down dissent. The local officials were wrong in that case. But can you blame them for being nervous?
We recently read that Senator Marco Rubio, who ran against Trump in 2016 on the platform that Trump’s hands were too small, is now shrieking that the US is too dependent on China and this latest novel coronavirus outbreak supposedly proves this. Funny thing though. China managed to get the epidemic under control in record time while US officials are still saying “wha hoppen?” and running around like beheaded chickens. Could it be that dependence on China is not the real issue here? I mean, Rubio is a politician and his mouth was moving.
The reason for Rubio’s Chicken Little warning was an op-ed in a Chinese newspaper that Rubio – who would love to be president and saw how Trump succeeded by blaming scapegoats for all of America’s problems – claimed was a threat to all of America.
Rubio’s comment was picked up by major news outlets. The US government newspaper The Blaze ran the headline:
Communist China threatens to deny lifesaving coronavirus medication to the US,
with the subtext:
Sen. Rubio warns the US is 'dangerously reliant' on China
Rubio’s hysteria was over an article in a Chinese government online newspaper Xinhuanet. It was in Chinese and I went to the trouble of reading it just to see what the fuss was all about.
Here is what I discovered, not to my surprise.
1—it is not a threat. The fact that it is in Chinese shows it was not intended for Western audiences. You can't threaten someone if you don't communicate in their language. I translated the most relevant paragraphs for you. See below.
2—It is not written by a Chinese official. It was an anonymous selection from WeChat, a Chinese social media network. Although the Chinese author did not say it, the US has, after all, imposed vicious sanctions on at least 4 countries that most certainly killed many people through starvation and lack of medicine. Cuba, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and Iran, for example. Now that the US has been hit by the devastating epidemic, how do you like sanctions, folks? This is what the US has been doing for years to innocent civilians everywhere! And American msm and pols have the nerve to thow stones at China!
3—The author goes on to point out that the Chinese government is not like the vindictive US government and would never deny Americans badly needed medical supplies and equipment. So how is this a threat?
Below is our translation of the most relevant passages of the Xinhua op-ed referenced by the US government news outlets, with notes by Vince Dhimos [in brackets]. The first three paragraphs are the ones that caused all the hubbub, taken out of context, of course.
TRANSLATION FROM http://www.xinhuanet.com/2020-03/04/c_1125660473.htm published March 3:
If China retaliated against the United States at this time, in addition to announcing the travel ban on the United States, and if it also announced strategic control of medical products and a ban on exports to the United States, then the United States would fall into the ocean of novel coronavirus.
According to the US CDC officials, most masks in the United States are made in China and imported from China. If China banned the export of masks to the United States, the United States would experience a mask shortage, and the most basic measures to prevent the novel coronavirus would be impossible.
[The next paragraph makes an oblique allusion to Trump’s insistence on having all products made in the US and perhaps to his offer to buy out German company CureVac, having all its future COVID19 cures manufactured in the US with exclusive US rights to all its patents.]. The author is simply saying that China would never do anything this juvenile and selfish.]
Also according to US CDC officials, most of the drugs in the United States are imported, and some drugs are imported from Europe. However, Europe also places the production base of these drugs in China, so more than 90% of the US imported drugs are related to China. The implication is that at this time, if China announced that its drugs should be as domestic as possible and banned exports, the United States would fall into the hell of the novel coronavirus infection epidemic.
[The paragraph below shows why this was not a threat but a reminder that China behaves like a civilized country, unlike the US]
However, there is a great love in the world. The Chinese people and the Chinese government have never done this sort of thing. They have not insulted the United States, nor have they banned the export of masks and medicines to the United States. As China’s novel coronavirus infection epidemic is gradually controlled, China’s ability to export masks and medicines will be greatly enhanced, and the United States is one of the countries on the demand side. US government officials, such as Secretary of Commerce Rose, US Secretary of State Pompeo, and US White House Economic Adviser Navarro, have publicly gloated over China's novel coronavirus infection epidemic, saying that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus infection epidemic in China is good for the United States and will help companies return to the United States. It also called on companies around the world to consider the risks of China's supply chain. Even the infamous "Wall Street Journal" published a famous "China is the real sick man in Asia," and the "New York Times" in the United States also published a document condemning the closure of Wuhan, China, as a violation of human rights. The American culture of throwing stones is really shameless. Today, Feng Shui [a Chinese system of interior home design said to bring good luck] is turning around, and the United States has become a victim of the novel coronavirus epidemic. At this time, China has not thrown stones and has not condemned the United States. At this time, the United States should put its mistakes behind it and apologize to China for its actions.
In the following is our translation of a report from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica with comments and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
Another report on the same subject was published in Defense One but there was no mention that the supplies were scarce in virus-stricken Italy. Interestingly, though, the comments were very critical of the US for scarfing up these items urgently needed by the Italians.
Coronavirus, half a million swabs from a company in Brescia go to the United States
Products in the outbreak area of the epidemic in Italy would have sufficed for the needs of the whole North [of Italy]. The diagnostic kits were instead sold to the US and transported by military aircraft. The company: “everything is normal, there is no shortage.” Did anyone in our country know this?
by GIANLUCA DI FEO
March 19, 2020
The whole world says it's a war. And for the first time in history it seems to be everyone against everyone, without any alliances. Each nation thinks for itself, using every means to guarantee the winning weapons against the virus: swabs, masks, respirators. So the United States managed to buy in Brescia half a million kits to detect the infection. And they shipped them to Memphis in a military aircraft.
America celebrated on Wednesday the arrival of a load of swabs, just half a million of them. An impressive supply: in our country since the beginning of the epidemic, just over 100 thousand have been made. But that supply landed in the USA. It came from the American base in Aviano, not far from Pordenone. Yes, in Italy there was a colossal reserve of diagnostic tests, available a few tens of kilometres from the epicentre of Covid-19: tools that our regions are frantically hunting for to stem the spread of the disease but that they can’t be found.
The announcement of the transatlantic expedition was made on Instagram, together with a photo showing the hold of a four-engine Air Force C-17 Globemaster full of containers with kits. Then the post was removed. But the news found official confirmation in the words of the Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman. "There are multiple elements to take the test,” explained General Paul Friedrichs, of the central medical command. “The first are the swabs that are used to collect the samples from people, then there is the liquid for developing them. This is what we have brought from Italy." The general said the materials are produced in the US and abroad, without specifying where they were found. And he added: "This is a great example of how nations work together to ensure that global problems are solved."
And half a million tests have been produced in Italy. From a company in Brescia, the city that is currently at the forefront of the battle against the disease. Copan Diagnostics. Ambassador Lewis Einsenberg confirms this to La Repubblica: "We are delighted that the Italian company Copan Diagnostics continues to produce swabs for the Covid-19 tests in sufficient quantities to satisfy requests in Italy and sales abroad. The Italian private sector is helping save lives in the world. I congratulate you on this effort." And he specifies: "The United States will continue to purchase these pads from Italian companies according to its needs. The United States and Italy continue to work together in close collaboration."
The news is surprising. The Lombard company had enough swabs available for the needs of the entire North, but instead it was sold ovreseas. Did they beat us on the price? There is a wealth of information circulating about the US government's efforts to stock up against Covid-19. The White House, for example, would have offered very high sums to obtain the exclusive vaccine tested by the German CureVac laboratories: an operation blocked by a Berlin intervention followed by that of the European Union which has allocated 80 million to prevent the patent leak. In these hours, there are world auctions to buy even rising stock of masks and respirators at increasing prices: an economic challenge, in which the strongest wins. Like in war. But waged without any alliances. [Compare this with China, which is donating supplies and medical services].
At the beginning it was thought that the swabs came from American military bases. In Aviano there is a large deposit of medical materials, accumulated in case of a conflict. It's the Medical War Reserve Materiel of the 31st U.S. regiment: a video from last December shows a gigantic hangar full of components for field hospitals, diagnostic instruments and medicines. All ready to be boarded on planes and arrive anywhere in a few hours. Another escort is reportedly at Camp Darby, just outside Livorno, the largest arsenal located outside the States. Both strategic warehouses in the Pentagon documents are indicated, albeit at the last point of the priorities, as usable for "host nations." That is, Italy. But nothing has been made available to our country. Quoting Winston Churchill, in his book the legendary general Jim Mattis, former head of the Pentagon, wrote: "There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, fighting without allies," It was a critique of Donald Trump's foreign policy. A warning that also applies in the war against the virus.
But the reality is different
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: WHY DOES THE EU STAND SILENT ON THE CASE OF SYRIAN REFUGEES
You need to understand that for the top ranking EU officials, bringing in more member countries is top priority and Turkey is the main target. This is not readily apparent because Turkey keeps begging to accede and is being turned down for various reasons – valid reasons. The EU’s tolerance toward Turkey illustrates this. Further, since the EU knows how desperate Turkey is to join their empire, they know it will never go too far in sullying Brussels. Their desire to build their empire is based not on tangible gains but on ideology. Their idea is to gain territory and control thereover, adding its economy to the EU’s, bringing the new member under its laws and enjoining it to pay heavy tribute to Brussels. Turkey, with its large economy and position in the Middle East is a tempting target for accession, although despite having economic powers like France and Germany as members, the EU Central Bank is still obliged to print billions of euros, following the US exmple and the economic fate of the EU is by no means certain.
Thus, between the issue of reducing immigration and annexing Turkey, the latter wins hand down and the EU is willing to pay Turkey billions of euros for tending a refugee camp to bring the country into the EU’s sphere of influence. But unfortunately for the refugees, it is not about them, not at all.
While the EU – along with the West at large – keeps up a righteous verbal insistence on reducing the number of refugees from Syria, it refuses to do the obvious things that would control the refugee flow, and that is, the following, in coordination with the US:
1--Lift the sanctions on Syrians in Syria that make it difficult for them to buy food and medicine (yes, technically, international law forbids direct sanctions on medicine, but when you prevent them from earning a living, well. you understand. Medicines and doctors cost money- The same applies to Iran).
2--Stop embargoing the importation of energy sources into Syria. They have enough oil in natural deposits to sustain themselves but the US and Coalition have sequestered these resources and deny them access to them. Syria troops that tried to approach oil-rich Deir Ezzor, once under Obama and once under Trump, for example, have been mowed down by US forces. In fact, Trump recently said “we’re going to keep the oil” (in Syria). And to add insult to injury, the Syrian people are denied access to oil and gas imports. Russia has done a heroic job of by-passing this embargo, preventing a cataclysmic humanitarian crisis, but the West is committing a crime against humanity with these sanctions and embargo.
3--Return Syrian oil to its rightful owner, the Syrian people.
4--Send Turkey the unmistakable message that Syria is for the Syrians, and if the Turks want to enter, they need permission of the Syrian government. In reality, the US-aligned Turks are working with terrorist groups to seize more and more land in Idlib and Aleppo provinces. Further, in the past, Turkey coordinated its efforts with terrorists to destroy the city of Aleppo – one of the biggest industrial cities in the Middle East, and steal its industrial equipment (see the above video, choose YouTube option). The US and EU did nothing to halt this criminal activity. Fortunately, Russia has greatly aided Syria in retaking the city, which is now rebuilding its industry, thanks to Russian and Chinese aid.
This report tells why the West has always worked hand in hand with Erdoğan’s Turkey to bring chaos to Syria. This video shows how Turkey helped terrorists destroy and dismantle Aleppo’s industry.
5--Recognize and respect the sovereignty of Syrian land and the Syrians. This means stop pretending the US and its coalition of thieves and pirates have property rights in Syria. No matter what the Western press and politicians say, it is an illegal occupation.
To give you an idea of how far the EU and the rest of Europe are from a rational approach to Turkey and Syria, here is an excerpt from a report from Deutsche Welle:
“The EU has signalled its willingness to invest several billion euros more over the coming years, and Merkel said Germany would also be willing to help build refugee housing in Turkish-controlled areas within Syria.”
In other words, Germany is acknowledging Turkish rights in Syria that do not exist. There should be no Turkish-controlled areas there unless Syria has allowed this, but such is not the case. Thus, all US-allies in Syria are outlaws.
Showcasing the hypocrisy of the West, European donors have said they are willing to help rebuild Syria but only after a “political settlement” is reached. The term “political settlement” is code for Assad’s ouster.
All of this is superfluous blather, however, because Assad has vowed never to accept a penny of aid from any country that has aided in invading and occupying Syria. That leaves the entire West out. Assad has said that friendly countries like Russia, China and Iran will have priority in the rebuilding of Syria.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: COULD CORONAVIRUS CHANGE THE GEOPOLITICAL CLIMATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITH REGARDS TO RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The pandemic has already brought about monumental changes both economically and geopolitically.
Firstly, it constituted a black swan event that served as a catalyst for Russia to refuse to continue its oil production cuts in coordination with Saudi and the rest of OPEC, which had repeatedly invited Russia to join the alliance. Now we have a better idea of why Russia turned down the offer. Saudi immediately followed suit by halting its own production cuts and pulling out all stops in oil production. The intended result is that US oil will be crushed, leaving less competition for OPEC and reducing the membership of the organization. In the long run, this should boost oil prices, but not until after a blood bath in the oil markets. It is not yet clear whether the actions of Russia and Saudi are secretly coordinated or separate and competitive.
The combined effect of this economic hit and the spread of the COVID19 infection in the US has made it much more difficult for the US to continue its misadventures in the Middle East. For example, following a rocket attack on a base housing US and Coalition military personnel during the last few days, the US is pulling out of the second biggest base it occupies in Iraq, and this may not be the last pull-out. For Trump it is beneficial for the embarrassing pull-out to be happening at a time when the public is distracted with news of the epidemic.
As my readers know, Israel has been fighting in tandem with the US for years by attacking “Iranian” targets primarily in Syria but also in Iraq (the term “Iranian target) is ingenuously used by Israel and the US because the groups impacted by the strikes generally include a considerable number of either Iraqis or Syrians). By acting as a de facto proxy of the US, Israel was providing cover in the joint effort to weaken Assad’s power with less overt involvement by the US, which could thus pretend to be pulling out of the Middle East while supporting both Turkey and Israel in their support of terrorist groups indirectly sponsored by the US. But the epidemic has weakened the US position, making it less affordable to continue the illegal occupation of Iraq and Syria. This makes it less feasible for the unofficial proxies like Turkey and Israel to continue their aggression in those two countries, since both of them also have their hands full with the fight against the viral infection. Now it must, however, be recognized that Iran is also very hard hit and has its hands full too. In addition, Erdoğan has received a serious dressing-down from Putin for his attacks on Syrian troops in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and is keeping a low profile. (To understand the utterly criminal role US ally Turkey has played in northern Syria, view this video). But so far there have been no reports of Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria having suffered from COVID19. Russia has also been spared to a large extent, with exceptionally few cases within its borders so far. (You can follow the progress of the Russian fight against COVID19 by reading Sputnik, TASS or RT).
Thus, Russia has meanwhile sent reinforcements of military equipment to the Syrian ally, which is making enormous gains in its fight against terrorists in Idlib.
To learn about the war progress in the Middle East, you can subscribe to or regularly visit:
Al Masdar (Vince Dhimos's answer to Why is China hesitating to admit the fact that there will be an international tribunal to bring China's leaders to justice for covering up the Chinese virus? Experts like Theodore R. Wade Jr. agree with this fact.) and
The epidemic may not greatly affect US-Israel relations but it already has changed the game plan in the Middle East, weakening the efforts of Israel and the US in their plan to disrupt life in Iraq and Syria and to murder Iranians.
Meanwhile the Iran-backed Houthis have taken advantage of the confusion caused by the epidemic in the US – which supports the Saudis in their inhumane war on Yemeni civilians – and have launched successful strikes on Saudi oil facilities. These strikes were followed by the usual non-response of an increasingly irrelevant US.
As far as Israel is concerned in this context, the indirect consequences of the epidemic are the further weakening of the US, Israel’s indispensable partner in Middle East mischief. Once the US is sufficiently weakened by the oil crisis triggered as an indirect result of the epidemic, coupled with the epidemic itself in the US, it is unlikely that the US will have the wherewithal to maintain its presence in the Middle East, where it is already being pushed out by Iraq, Syria and Russia. Once that happens, Israel will likely be weakened by the loss of its partner and will be forced to become more receptive to Russian demands for peace. It could then be expected to reduce its aggression against Syria, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon – and perhaps against Palestine.
Recent US activities in the Middle East, such as the murder of General Soleimani and US pressure on the Gulf States, show that one of the most important influences of the US on the Middle East is its pressure not to dialogue with Iran. This showcases the US Establishment’s absolute phobia of possible rapprochement between warring states and clearly indicates that the US is the fly in the ointment when it comes to peace making in the region. Could it be that this undue pressure is no longer entirely welcomed by the Saudis and may be one of the reasons why Saudi started the oil price war that is bringing down US shale oil? Just an idle thought but a possibility.
Whatever the case may be, as a general rule, the more power Israel and the US lose, the more power Russia acquires and the more peaceful the Middle East will become.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: WHO’S WINNING THE US-CHINA CORONAVIRUS PROPAGANDA WAR?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
There are always two sides to every propaganda campaign, the propaganda source (disseminator) and the targeted news consumer who receives the propaganda. The characteristics of both sides determine the efficacy of the campaign.
If the propaganda is based mostly or all on facts and reason, and if the target group is intelligent, then this more refined type of propaganda will likely succeed.
On the other hand, if the propaganda source is based on low information and emotional language targeted at a group predisposed to respond favourably to certain psychological and cultural triggers, this coarse type of propaganda can also succeed if the target group is not well educated or is mentally ill-equipped to recognize and resist psychological suggestion and is poorly informed about the subject matter involved.
The US almost invariably resorts to the latter kind of propaganda and so far has succeeded in many ways. For example, the US people in general (though not all) responded well to the false reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which led to a war that was disastrous for both he US and the Iraqis. They also responded favourably to Trump’s ban on travel visas for Muslims because the people were conditioned by reports from the Middle East of Muslim radicals committing atrocities. Propaganda in the msm and in pro-Israel blogs reinforced their prejudice toward Muslims in general even though the Muslims who were terrorists were a tiny minority and almost all were Sunni Wahhabists who were taught from childhood that everyone who believes differently from them is evil and ought to be killed (which is not to say that all Wahhabists are potential killers because many are decent people).
During these deceitful propaganda campaigns, very few Americans ever stopped to think that the US had slaughtered millions of civilians from Dresden to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, to Korea (3 million!), to Vietnam (2.5 million), Iraq (estimates up to a million), Syria, Afghanistan, and has recently hinted it may do more killing in Iran and Venezuela, and this being the case, wouldn’t that make Christianity the religion of death? But thinking people know that the people in government who decide to wage these wars are hardly guided by Christian principles, and that likewise, Muslim radicals are not good Muslims, so perhaps except for Trump and his followers, most people realize that no mainstream religion is responsible per se for any atrocity.
Thus the propaganda that prompted people to accept these wars was low on information but targeted at a group that generally self-described as Christians (but were indoctrinated to believe that God loves American warmongers) and had little or no knowledge of a highly nuanced Middle East that can only be understood, and just to some extent, after years of intense detailed and nuanced study.
This same devious principle is currently being used by the US government to stoke hatred against the Chinese.
America was always generally kindly disposed to the Chinese and relations between the two countries were good. But clever propaganda, disguised as “news” or statements of deranged politicians managed to convince a certain group of ideologically bound ultra-nationalists that China, the country that sweated day and night for decades to provide Americans with cheap clothes, medicines, toys, electronics and other necessities, was the enemy. This propaganda effort by politicians and msm is a grave injustice. Incredibly, the higher echelons of the US government are working overtime to make their citizens believe that a proud nation with 5,000 years of history and achievements such as the invention of gun powder, rocketry, paper, a writing system, canal building and the wheel (independently of elsewhere), and with the hardest working and smartest people on the planet, are their enemy. Nothing could be more despicable.
As for the Chinese propaganda, it is a completely different style because it is based on demonstrable facts and reason. Ultimately, that means it is not exactly propaganda in the traditional sense but rather a kind of educational campaign. The Chinese have every right to wonder why the CDC closed down an army bio lab in August 2019 because of inadequate waste water treatment and whether an American carrying the disease acquired from this wastewater may have come to the army games in Wuhan in October and stayed there for a while, infecting a person who later carried the virus into the Wuhan market in November, when, according to the Chinese government, it actually started with a then-unrecognized case (Timeline of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic in November 2019 – January 2020 - Wikipedia). The timeline fits the events as we know them. Please tell me what’s wrong with questioning the origin of a disease that has turned into a global pandemic and may affect every human being on the planet! Yet the US government says they should not air these questions, just keep them to themselves — even though the US government and low-life activists in msm have been working 24/7 to smear the Chinese and ultimately to put them out of business. But perhaps this is not surprising in a day and age when award-winning journalist Julian Assange is sitting in jail enduring daily abuse, even being denied access to his lawyer. What is he doing there if America and the UK are really democracies as they claim to be?
What if the notion that the West is democratic is a conspiracy theory?
You don’t have to believe the Chinese government’s theory, which may or may not correspond to reality. But instead of reprimanding them for thinking out loud, the State Department could have chosen the more civilized approach of sitting down and discussing the issue with them. And if they really believe the US narrative is accurate and the Chinese theory is erroneous, then that would eventually come out during these talks.
But that would have required diplomacy, and who would ever expect the highest-level, highest-paid diplomats in the world to use diplomacy when their government has the biggest arsenal, the US dollar cum printing press, and economic sanctions at their disposal with which to punish people who dare to think the thoughts banned in the Land of the Free?
In the following is our translation of an article from RIA Novosti with notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos (notations in parentheses are the author’s).
Donald Trump is not doing well in handling the US part of the pandemic, but after all, he's never done this before. But the good news is that it's all China's fault.
Feel safer now?
US President names the culprits of the epidemic
March 18, 2020
In an ideal world, periods of global epidemics and natural cataclysms of a planetary scale should lead to the unification of mankind to combat a common threat.
Moreover, in the case of coronavirus, the disease does not check the passport, nationality and registration before infecting a particular person. Thus, this is exactly the very kind of danger that directly relates to all representatives of our biological species.
The reality turned out to be rather disappointing, because the search for ways to combat the disease is accompanied by disputes about the "nationality of the virus," and this is occurring not only, and not so much, among the idle inhabitants of different countries in quarantine, but at the highest international level.
The stakes in these disputes, unfortunately, are much higher than might appear at first glance: a country that cunning sponsors of information warfare manage to label as coronavirus "initiators" may well be forced to "pay and repent" in the truest sense of the word.
In Berlin, Washington was severely criticized for trying to lure with big bucks the German firm CureVac, which is developing a vaccine against coronavirus.
Donald Trump can safely be considered the main beneficiary in the search for the "ethnicity" of the virus, and for several reasons. First of all, the epidemic simply fits perfectly with the main political narrative of the Trump administration, which boils down to the formula: "China is to blame for everything, China must be punished, and only then will we make America great again."
It is impossible not to notice that while other countries did not tightly close the borders or failed to close them at all, they prepared tests for coronavirus and generally prepared for the risk that an epidemic would come to them (which, in fact, happened), senior representatives of the White House were promoting the idea of exporting American factories from China, because, due to the quarantine (which was then perceived by the Americans as a "totalitarian measure"), American consumers risked "not getting Chinese goods."
In part, this was justified – due to the shutdown of Chinese production, the United States risked being left without medicines, medical masks and medical equipment (which they had forgotten how to produce on their own), but still the situation in which the administration is concerned about the "Chinese question" rather than steps for protecting Americans from an epidemic, it didn’t look very savoury. "In an interview with Fox News and the Fox Business Channel, [Peter] Navarro (Trump's adviser. - Ed.) Stated that the presidential administration is focused on moving production chains to the United States from China, India and Europe in the context of a coronavirus outbreak," wrote American news portal Breitbart on February 26.
It is easy to guess that "moving production chains" is a matter of several years, but they were talking about for days. The New York Times aptly noted after the outbreak in the USA that "China gave the West time to prepare. The West was ineptly wasting it."
The American solution was easily found (and this time “Russian intervention” could not be blamed), and they are now absolutely consciously and absolutely consistently “politically branding” the epidemic as having been caused by the “Chinese virus.” Donald Trump systematically calls it that on his personal twitter, and his supporters do likewise. [China thinks the US may be behind the pandemic, and an increasing number of Westerners and Russians agree: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/march-17th-2020]
For example, in his message of support for US airlines, Trump wrote: “The United States will provide strong support to industries such as airlines and others that are particularly vulnerable to the Chinese virus. We will be stronger than ever before!” Despite all the protests of Chinese diplomats that were transferred to the US State Department and voiced through the official Chinese media, Trump continues to speak in the same vein. The calculation is clear: if China is to blame for everything, then it would be impossible to make official Washington claims for poor quality work to prevent the epidemic, and this will not work if all public anger is directed towards Beijing. This strategy already has consequences that would be funny if they happened in less sad circumstances. Americans are now lining up long lines in supermarkets, trying (sometimes with physical violence against other customers) to acquire supplies of toilet paper, products and weapons, and information about this is all over American social networks and the media. At the same time, numerous stores located in Chinatowns (and other "Asian" areas) are empty of customers, despite the fact that their shelves are bursting with "scarce items" (that is, the same toilet paper and canned goods that the Americans crave). The phenomenon has even attracted the attention of regional media that publish life hacks that the way to find a "scarce item" is precisely to go for a purchase in Chinatown.
When the foundation of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma published information that he would make 500 thousand tests for coronavirus and medical masks available for free in the USA, the reaction of American social network users in places was extremely negative: Mr. Ma was criticized because “China was to blame,” and some commentators insisted that tests and masks should be discarded precisely because of their Chinese origin.
It is worth noting that refusing the help of a Hong Kong philanthropist (who also sent aid to Italy and African countries) would not be the most rational step, because in America there are indeed problems with tests for coronavirus. The Atlantic magazine reported on March 13 its investigation, showing that "it can only be confirmed that 13,953 tests (for coronavirus. - Ed.) Were conducted at the national level." For comparison, according to a TASS report dated March 15, "in the laboratories of Rospotrebnadzor [Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare], more than 104 thousand studies have been performed on coronavirus. <...> The department pointed out that all the subjects of Russia are provided with sufficient quantities of test systems."
It is significant that the US State Department in the person of Mike Pompeo is very offended when Chinese diplomats begin to publicly ask uncomfortable questions about the source of the virus, hinting at the possibility of its American beginning. [Here is our story on that: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/march-17th-2020]
One can already say that the diplomatic and informational struggle for the right to blame someone else for all the problems associated with the epidemic will continue for many months – or even years – after the epidemic itself ends. But it is unlikely that the efforts spent on this will bring even a little comfort and help to those who have suffered or will suffer from the virus.
Today’s news on the Middle East war, from Southfront:
U.S. FORCES WITHDRAW FROM KEY BASE NEAR SYRIAN BORDER. MORE ROCKET ATTACKS ON US TARGETS IN IRAQ
March 18, 2020
Late on March 17, at least three rockets struck the area near the US embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. This was the fourth such attack in the span of a week. A day earlier, a pair of rockets struck the Besmaya base south of Baghdad. This military facility is the second largest military base operated by the US-led coalition in Iraq after Camp Taji.
The threat of rocket attacks already forced the US military to announce that it is evacuating some of its bases in the country. The al-Qaim base, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, is among them. The al-Qaim facility has been an important logistical and operational hub employed by US forces for operations in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Its presence there, as well as in Syria’s al-Tanf, has allowed the US to project its power along the Syrian-Iraqi border more effectively and to support Israeli military actions against Iranian-backed forces in the area.
Al-Qaim is located on the highway between the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. The town of al-Bukamal, which Israeli and US media often label as a stronghold of Iranian-backed forces, is located on the Syrian side of the border.
The withdrawal from al-Qaim is a signal that the US has been forced to admit that its attempts to cut off the land link between Syria, Iraq and Iran have failed. Washington was seeking to prevent a free movement of troops, weapons and other supplies from one country to another.
Meanwhile in Syria, the Idlib zone remains the main focus of tensions. Idlib armed groups and their supporters continue blocking efforts to create a security zone along the M4 highway in southern Idlib, as had been agreed by Turkey and Russia. These actions are accompanied by a fierce war propaganda campaign against the Damascus government, Iran and Russia. If the situation develops in this direction and further, the only remaining option to implement the new de-escalation deal and neutralize the terrorist threat will be a new military operation.
This just in from Al Masdar
Ansarallah forces bomb several Saudi oil facilities
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – The Ansarallah forces announced on Wednesday that their air force heavily targeted several Saudi economic facilities, including oil and gas fields.
The spokesman for the Ansarallah-aligned Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier Yahya Sare’a, stated at a press conference broadcast: “The Saudi enemy received painful strikes in response to its escalation on the ground and air in the battle to liberate Al-Jawf.”
“The Air Force conducted 54 operations, including 33 operations targeting several Saudi military and economic sites,” he continued.
“The operations of the air force managed to inflict heavy losses on the enemy in terms of equipment and lives in addition to economic losses as a result of targeting vital installations related to the oil and gas industry,” he would add.
His statement comes at the same time that the Ansarallah forces announced that their troops had reached the gates of Marib city in northern Yemen.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WHY DOES AMERICA WANT TO TAKE THE FUTURE CORONAVIRUS VACCINE AND NOT SHARE IT WITH EUROPE? ARE WE NOT ALLIES?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
All we know now is that a report to this effect exists:
Covid-19: Trump allegedly wanted exclusive rights to vaccine, Germany trying to intervene
“Welt am Sonntag quoted an unidentified German government source as saying Trump was trying to secure the scientists' work exclusively, and would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States”.”
I found this gem in a German magazine (my translation):
USA wollen deutsche Coronavirus-Impfstoff-Firma übernehmen
Previously, the “Welt am Sonntag” reported without mentioning sources that the federal government was trying to keep the company in Germany with financial offers. The US government is interested in an exclusive use of the vaccine for the United States.
ORIGINAL: Zuvor hatte die “Welt am Sonntag” ohne Nennung von Quellen berichtet, die Bundesregierung versuche das Unternehmen mit finanziellen Angeboten in Deutschland zu halten. Die US-Regierung sei an einer exklusiven Nutzung des Impfstoffes für die USA interessiert.
To be fair, there may be a misunderstanding here, but if Trump is attempting to use the vaccine ONLY in the US and keep it away from the rest of the world, then that sounds a lot like a crime against humanity. And after Trump’s naked attempt to cause great harm to the Russian economy and force Germany to buy high-priced US LNG by shutting down the Nord Stream 2 project that was almost completed, can anyone honestly say this report is uncharacteristic of Donald Trump?
If true, it would also support the theory, expressed in Russia and China (but almost completely suppressed in the West), that the US may have been at the origin of the COVID19 release in the first place. I am not opining on that theory, just saying that if the German report above is accurate, the US position sounds Kafkaesque and a country that would callously deny the world the use of a vaccine that could save millions of lives is capable of anything. This would be predatory capitalism taken to the utmost limits of depravity.
Let’s hope the report of Trump demanding exclusive use in the US is somehow inaccurate, although it has been published in many German media outlets.
Whether true or not, the report will have permanent repercussions on the relations between the US and Europe — as well as the rest of the world. Who will ever trust America again?
It’s not just health issues. The US Establishment – including both parties – is guided not by considerations of security or safety, but purely by politics.
I had shown before that, for example, Trump’s ban on visas for Muslims was not about keeping Americans safe because, while purporting to ban “Muslims,” in a bid to cater to the Islamophobia of many voters, it actually exempted Saudis, who adhere to the most intolerant and violent religious sect in the world, ie, Wahhabism. Trump didn’t want to offend his pals in Riyadh by keeping Americans safe.
The blanket travel ban for the EU is controversial but at least it may well save lives. However, the UK and Israel are not subject to any US travel bans although the number of COVID19 cases there are comparable or higher than in some European countries. The US wants to be “nice” to these two countries. But in so doing, it risks harming them and Americans. For one thing, since air travel from the rest of Europe is now banned, we can expect people from all over Europe –including countries with high infection rates – to flock to the UK to board planes en route for the US. This means more exposure of UK citizens to carriers of the disease.
Meanwhile, that friend of all nations Donald Trump has generously offered unspecified “help” to Iran now that it is inundated with COVID19 cases – despite not having any more contact with China than other nations. Trouble is, he has been “helping” through further sanctions that impoverish the “noble Iranian people,” preventing them from obtaining adequate nutrition and medicine. Now he says he wants to help and the Iranians have said “that’s ok, just lift the sanctions.”
Of course, he won’t. But sometime take a look at a map of Iran. You will see Afghanistan over on its eastern border, with 12,000 US troops currently stationed there. You will see on the western border Iraq with 12,000 US troops who have been asked by the Iraqi parliament to leave but won’t. You will see Kuwait, with 13,000 US troops stationed there, and just 400 miles south of there, lies Saudi Arabia, with at least 3,000 US troops. Just across the Gulf of Hormuz from Iran lies the tiny country of United Arab Emirates (UAE), with about 5,000 US troops. That makes at least 45,000 US troops in countries bordering or very close to Iran, which is a breeding ground for COVID19 and, despite the heroic efforts of the msm to squelch rational suspicions, there is much speculation on the true origin of the epidemic (as we reported here and here).
The US has been painfully slow to react to the epidemic. On March 9, Defense One ran the self-explanatory headline: The US Has Tested Fewer than 5,000 People for the Coronavirus — and That’s a Big Problem.
And another Defense One report states:
“...while the American capacity to test for the coronavirus has ramped up significantly over the past few days, local officials can still test only several thousand people a day, not the tens or hundreds of thousands indicated by the White House’s promises.”
The US approach to COVID19 testing is emblematic of how Western democracy works. It is a matter of politicians’ and oligarchs’ greed vs the people’s need.
Time magazine describes the plight of a man who went for COVID-19 testing after a trip abroad:
“...the bill arrived for $3,270 and his insurance company said he’d have to pay $1,400 out of pocket.” The testing is now free in the US, but they were free from the outset in China, allowing that country to proceed rapidly in controlling the spread of the disease.
In South Korea, COVID-19 testing is free and fast. Consequently, over a quarter of a million have been tested so far, as opposed to around 5,000 in the US.
That is the steep price we pay for “democracy.” The Chinese, on the other hand, have taken a unified national approach, and according to the WHO document:
Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission
“China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic. A particularly compelling statistic is that on the first day of the advance team’s work there were 2478 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in China. Two weeks later, on the final day of this Mission, China reported 409 newly confirmed cases. This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.”
Chinese policies save lives, US policies make politics.